Category Archives: Ellie’s World

So Close I Can Taste It

Penned Con 2016 is 22 hours away, wait no it’s 21 hours now.


Welcome to our fair city!

A few words of advice:

  • don’t park your cars on the streets downtown.
  • be sure to check out the zoo.
  • don’t forget to try St. Louis foods – toasted ravioli,  gooey butter cake(I personally hate this but most people like it.)
  • Make time to  try Ted Drewes –  voted the #1 Best place for ice cream!
  • Be prepared for any kind of weather. IF you’re here longer than 4 hours the weather is bound to change!
  • Visit the arch. You haven’t experienced terror until you are  swaying at the top during strong winds!

Yesterday I packed, unpacked, and repacked my tub at least 3 times. I ran to the store, obtained chocolate to have at my table, and chocolate and wine for a prize basket. I got my hair cut –  or butchered as it turns out. I rewarded myself with a manicure,  then because I hit a goal for my weight loss I splurged on a pedicure. I’d pay them $100.00 for an hour in that chair. OMFG!  That was better than a massage. I think I need a smoke!

So, today I am tidying things at home waiting for my assistant to  arrive so we can head north to set up. While waiting,  I have  ingested  much caffeine, and just as much sugar in the form of my favorite little round treats, skittles. Considering I haven’t had any sugar for the past three weeks,  I am super buzzed. Who needs alcohol? I swear I can FEEL the rainbow! I’d be willing to bet I could carry this tub to the 13th floor taking the stairs! I won’t, I’m not supposed to be lifting anything over twenty pounds.

I’ve laid out my outfits five times at least.  OH right, laundry. I might need underclothes that are dry.  Savannah an Jolanthe are already on the road heading  in this direction. I’m going to head north   in late afternoon. The bad thing is I’ll be right in the middle of rush hour traffic. The good thing is, most of the drivers will be heading out of the city.

There will be pictures to follow from PEnned. Unfortunately I won’t be able to upload them until afterwards.

Hope to see as many of you as can make it!

Till next time,






One Week

Seven days. BREATHE.

Seven days until the day before Penned Con, the day to set up and be ready when the doors open at 9:00 am on the 23rd. BREATHE. 

I planned ahead.  I didn’t procrastinate until the last minute like I usually do. Never the less, I am scrambling. My  books have not arrived.  They were supposed to arrive  this Monday, the 12th. One box arrived, the other did not.  I have zero books of my newest release for Penned. ZERO! Breathe!

I called,  I called more people, where are my books? Good news,  they are going to correct their mistake at no additional cost. They will send them priority. I’m still panicking.  I spent a ton of money much to my husband’s chagrin on these really super cute Action for Autism swag pieces. What good are they if I don’t have  books? This is an author event, not a cool swag event.

Don’t get me wrong,  there will be some cool swag.  I am always  looking for cool swag pieces  that might fit with some of my other book ideas. Yes, I’ll freely admit that if I see an idea I like I’m stealing it. I will make it my own of course, unique in some way.

I have rack cards – check.  I have business cards for my editing – check.  Wine charms – check. Bookmarks – check.  Books – . . . books? No books.  YET.  I am a firm believer in positive thinking but for the love of humanity I am freaking out right now.  Inhale’, exhale’, inhale’, exhale’ . . .  screw this I need some wine.  A LOT of wine.

Next week  at this time, I’ll be on the rooftop with some great authors.  I hope that I will have  books to sell. That is kind of the point, right? Otherwise, I may end up being the comic relief. Pa dum pum! I’ll be  rehearsing my stand-up routine just in case.

Are you coming to Penned Con? The latest numbers are that 900+ people will be there not counting authors. I’ll be the one in the first room cracking jokes and laughing like a loon. Hope to see you there!

A Path Less Traveled

Girl Wearing Walking Boots Hiking Up A Mountain

Sometimes  it is good to take a step back and reevaluate. Are you where you want to be? Is the plan taking you in the direction of your dreams? Did you take a wrong turn   at Memphis?

I’ve been working  on a project that has caused me to do that, step back and evaluate where I am , where I want to be, and how much progress I have made in the direction of my dream.  *SIGH* How did I get so far off course from my original plan?

It’s ironic that life imitates fiction. Or in my case, imitates my plans for one of my stories. I make outlines, detailed in places, fuzzy in others.  I don’t always know details for a specific point, but I have  a plan. As I progress, I reach a point during the writing that I have to wad up the rest of the  plan and start over.

That’s been the way my life has gone as well.  I make a plan,  then  intend to follow the plan  until I reach a point that it’s obviously not working.  Time to wad that one up and toss in the trash bin. While working on this project I realized how far I’ve deviated from the original plan, the secondary plan, and even the tertiary plan.

I could throw up my hands and yell to the sky why bother or I can knuckle down and plot a new course. I’ll bet you can’t  guess which one I’m doing.  I will say that the scenery is ever changing. I am not  watching the same trees go by day after day. I’m not taking the same route. I haven’t mapped out the entire route yet, but I have my destination marked and  have made blocks of the entire trip. Currently, I’m working on a detailed mapping of the first block, getting back onto the main road.

I get overwhelmed by the big picture at times and lose my way. I am a detail oriented person. I work best with smaller sections at a time. Besides, If I plotted out the entire route from here to my final destination, I would end up taking several side roads and changing the  course anyway.

The thing about an outline, it’s a guideline. It’s the rough sketch that gives the artist a basic skeletal structure for their masterpiece.  My course is in pencil, roughly sketched. If it were in pen, I would  feel conflicted about having to follow the inked lines.  I wouldn’t do it,  I’d feel guilty about not doing it, but it wouldn’t change the fact that everything is fluid and I would be moving in the general direction of the  graphite line.

Life is an adventure that is meant to be an exciting journey, not  a network of rails that take us only along the major lines, never exploring the hills and valleys. Those hills and valleys are where the treasures lie, where the masses do not travel.  Mass transit is ok at times, but lacing up those hiking boots and experiencing the warmth of the sun on your skin, the brisk morning air, or even that nasty spider web that you walked into are moments that you can never get on the commuter train. I’m takingthee path less traveled.

The next part of my personal journey happens to be up a steep hill. It’s going to be hard work. It is a difficult climb, but I can’t wait to see the view from the top.

Where is your plan taking you? Is it in the direction you want to go? Do you need to readjust your course?

Until next time, write on!




Plan With Me – Step 12 Finally!

It’s finally here! Step 12. You’ve been patiently waiting for weeks. You thought I’d never get to the end, but now it’s finally here.

The last and final step to be followed by the BONUS 3 Step Short Cut. YAY!

So what is it? What is the final step?

Step 12 – Know Your Enemy

Who is your enemy?

You are. Well, technically your Inner demon.  Your Inner Demon is the voice of negativity that fights you in your  achievements. It tells you why not. It makes you thin that the pitfalls and dangers that lay in your way are insurmountable and that you shouldn’t even try.

It is an invisible but destructive force that opposed you every single time that you try to make an improvement in your life, your work habits, basically in any area of your life.

The Inner Demon uses 3 main weapons.

  1. FEAR – Fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of social interaction, fear of whatever your personal demon knows will trip your trigger. Your countermeasure to combat fear is to START. Do something. make small steps, incremental changes. Just DO IT!
  2. UNCERTAINTY – Unsure of what to do, where to start, where to go next. . . . this can leave you immobilized. That is the goal. Keep you from stepping out of your safe little box. Keep you inactive in working towards your goals.  Days, weeks, months can pass without accomplishing the smallest steps in the direction of your goals if you give in to uncertainty. Your countermeasure to this is FOCUS. Focus on the current step. Focus on the  overall arching idea. Focus on completing the task. This is where we put blinders on  and keep our head down quietly plodding through the mundane while our inner demon laughs at us.  You have to develop thick skin. You have to learn to ignore that particular voice inside your head.
  3. Inner demon’s third and most often used weapon is DOUBT. Doubting ourselves, doubting our abilities, doubting our ideas . . . you get the idea. Your best weapon to combat this is to FINISH.  Finish the project. Finish the book! Finish whatever it is that  you want to accomplish.

Recognize the voice of your inner demon. Know that you have what it takes to achieve your dreams.  Now get out there and DO IT!

OK, OK I promised the BONUS 3 Step Short Cut.

shortcut to writing

Honestly, did you really think there was going to be a short cut?  Writing is work. It’s not going to get done my chasing  after shortcuts! I condensed it down to 12 steps, that’s about as short as it gets. The bottom line is that you have to employ the ABC method in the meme.  Apply Butt to the Chair! It’s the only way to make the words happen.

Now get out there, put your best game face on, wipe away the tears, and  get back in the game!

‘Til next time




Plan With Me – Step 11 Almost There!

This week  is step 11 out of 12. Don’t quit on me now!

I know you’re tired of waiting. I know you want to just get on with it.  If it were a book you’d flip to the  end and be done.

Here’s a quick review to catch you up before we move on. People learn by repetition. Trust me, this is going to be beneficial in the end.

This twelve step process is thorough. If you follow the guidelines, then you will be able to map  your success. For those that stick through to the very end, I’m going to give you a BONUS 3 Step Short Cut. YAY!

It’s so close you can almost taste it.

Step 11- Separation of Powers

I have touched on this before either on here, or on my personal blog.

Editing requires using the left brain. Writing requires the right brain. For the best results, separate your writing from the editing.


  • big picture oriented
  • imagination rules
  • symbols and imagery
  • present and future
  • philosophy and religion
  • faith
  • intuition
  • appreciates
  • spatial perception
  • presents possibilities
  • impetuous
  • risk-taking


  • detail oriented
  • facts rule
  • words and language
  • present and past
  • math and science
  •  reasoning
  • knowledge
  • acknowledges
  • order perception
  •  forms strategies
  • practical
  •  safe

Both are vitally important to the writing life. Both are necessary. However, they should be done sequentially not simultaneously.

You should resist the urge to edit while writing. Depending on whether or not you are a morning person or a night owl,   choose whichever one works best for your creative side. For instance: I am a night owl. I do my best writing in the evening. I do best on editing in the morning when the creative side of my brain hasn’t yet awakened.

Just a side note,  the editing voice will often override the creative voice if you try  to write and edit at the same time which will result in you second guessing every word that you try to put down on the page. Likewise, if you try to edit when you are in creative mode, the bohemian carefree creative within will  mock the editorial voice. It’s best to separate the two.

I know many writers who claim to do both but I also hear their tales of woe of fighting themselves.

Balance – it’s all about the yin/yang and keeping your chakra clean. Or at least appeasing the caffeine monster.


‘Til next time




Plan With Me – Step 10

This week  is step 10 out of 12.  I know you’re tired of waiting. I know you want to just get on with it.  Be patient grasshopper.

Here’s a quick review to catch you up before we move on. People learn by repetition. Trust me, this is going to be beneficial in the end.

This twelve step process is thorough. If you follow the guidelines, then you will be able to map  your success. For those that stick through to the very end, I’m going to give you a BONUS 3 Step Short Cut. It’s so close you can almost taste it.

Step 10- Start Easy

Listen very carefully. This is vitally important.

Write the easy chapters first!

IF you are a planner, then this should be super easy. If you’re a pantser, then you already  have a starting point in your mind.  You can always fill in the  background and details later.

If you’re writing a full-length novel of 50,ooo words or more it’s like starting a cruise ship.  It takes a while for the engines to actually move the behemoth forward.  slowly at first it eases away from the docks. Cautiously moving beyond the buoy markers until it reaches open water where they can increase the speed.

Maybe you only have a vague sketch of an idea. Write that down. Then build on it. Break it down into small bites. The way you tackle a big project is to build momentum.  A few check marks   moving in the forward direction will help build momentum.

Even if you skip around, it’s progress!

You should be getting excited now.  You should be  getting out your notebook or opening your Scrivener file  inspired with possibilities.   Click like and start  planning!

‘Til next time




Plan With Me – Step 9

This week  is step 9 out of 12.  I know you’re tired of waiting. I know you want to just get on with it.  Be patient grasshopper.

Here’s a quick review to catch you up before we move on. People learn by repetition. Trust me, this is going to be beneficial in the end.

This twelve step process is thorough. If you follow the guidelines, then you will be able to map  your success. For those that stick through to the very end, I’m going to give you a BONUS 3 Step Short Cut. You’re almost there.

Step 9- Create Your Templates

I debated  about putting this right after step 7  and before research. In my process,  research usually occurs before  I set up my chapters because I  want to make certain that I can do what I am planning to do. This involves research.  If a pneumatic nail gun is not strong enough to pierce  a man’s  chest and puncture his heart, I need to know that before I plan to  use  that method of murder.  If a heroin addict doesn’t behave a certain way, I need to know that to lend realism to my character. Therefore,  research was slipped in before this step, but this ties in directly to step 7 of setting up your structure.

A simple template will help you move forward so that you are not reinventing the wheel each and every chapter.  Think about that for a second.  If your book is 30 chapters long, a template is going to save you numerous hours.

Tailor the template for your purposes.  You are going to create a one of a kind custom made template for YOU. Not for your friend, not for  the people in your writing group, but a custom fit for YOU.

In each chapter, we need to have  the basic set up of the book:

  • beginning
  • middle
  •  end

Each chapter should be able to stand alone on the scene  or scenes that are happening at that  time.  Your basic model as listed above ( beginning, middle, end) may be  expanded to the Freytag method: exposition, inciting incident, complication, climax, reversal, falling action,  resolution, and the denouement.

Not every chapter may include every aspect, but if you have a spot for it in your template,    it’s easy to plug in the parts that you need.

Here’s a breakdown of  parts:

  1. Title – I like to title my chapters, but you don’t have to. Numeric chapters work fine.
  2. Epigraph – again, not necessary but can lend to the story if the epigraphs are pertinent. In Valkyrie’s Curse I use epigraphs from the poetic edda,  sort of a Bible for Viking lore.
  3. Anecdote –   if you are writing humor this is important.  If you are writing about a serious issue an anectdote may soften the  hard topic.
  4. body of chapter –  this is where we break out the elements of story as listed above
  5. illustrations –  if you are writing a children’s book you may need illustrations. If you are writing a nonfiction you may need to include an illustration of your topic.
  6. conclusion – most often used for a nonfiction, but always good to remember  so that you have wrapped up a scene and not left a gaping plot hole.

By knowing what needs to go into each chapter, your mind can focus on the story instead of structure. Creativity gets bogged down when details of structure are weighing on your mind.

Even though I have a rough outline for my story, when the characters go off on a tangent that wasn’t included in the original outline,  you need to think fast to either change your outline or adjust the story to get them back on track.  These points give you  some general guidelines of framework of which to work within.

Honestly, this is like  the rough 2 X 4 construction of a new house.  There are framed walls,   doorwars, windows, but at this  stage in the construction it’s difficult for anyone outside the construction industry to discern  what it will look like in the end. The electrical work isn’t in, the ductwork isn’t installed,   it looks like a maze of lumber.

But by the time the drywall is up and the homeowner can put their finishing touches by selecting  paint, tile, flooring, fixtures, the house becomes a home. That’s how it is with this. Your template becomes a story bringing the characters to life on the pages.

You should be getting excited now.  You should be  getting out your notebook or opening your Scrivener file  inspired with possibilities.  Why are you still here?  Click like and start  planning!


‘Til next time




Plan With Me – Step 8


The finish line is within sight! This week marks 3/4 of the way there.  This is the last lap. Don’t quit on me now!

Plan With Me – Halfway Mark

Plan With Me – Step 7

Step 8 – Research.

Using one of my own stories as an example,  I needed to research several things.

  • Sailing terms
  •  All about marinas
  • Beachfront community
  • Tourism
  • Pneumatic nail guns
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  •  heroin addiction


Maybe you need to research dragons,   werewolves, vampires,  anaphylactic shock, or mythical beings.  Whatever it is that you need to do research on, you will need a way to keep it  organized.

I needed to have an  organized system to keep my data, unlike the usual stacks of paper scattered across my desk that I can’t put my fingers on when I need it. Do you remember back on step 4 when I talked about your toolbox?  One of the tools I recommended was Evernote. This is a valuable software for keeping your Research organized. One handy-dandy place to keep all of my stored information,  web addresses,  bits of fun facts and miscellaneous points of interest organized  by categories within the program.

By creating a system of tags for your book, you can collect your stored data, by placing them in an easy to access manner.


Primary tags:                                                    Secondary tags:

Chapter 1                                                                                   epigraph

chapter 2                                                                                    murder weapon

chapter 3                                                                                    sailing terms

chapter 4                                                                                     police procedures

chapter 5                                                                                      heroine addiction


Whatever headings you decide,  you are able to keep all of the information organized and ready to access.  Is it mandatory? NO.  But why not help yourself with  the proper tools?

Whatever it is you need to  research, make a system to keep the information organized and available.

What’s next?  Rounding the second corner of the last leg  will take us to next week’s topic.

‘Til then




Plan With Me – Step 7

Last week we hit the halfway mark in this series of posts. Instead of directing you to all of the previous posts, I will give you the link to last week’s halfway mark summary. If you decide to explore further, then you’ll have the links.

Plan With Me – Halfway Mark

This twelve step process is thorough. If you follow the guidelines, then you will be able to map  your success. For those that stick through to the very end, I’m going to give you a BONUS 3 Step Short Cut. Does that appeal to anyone?

Yes? Great! I’m with you. I’ve already done the research to  compile this series, and I’m ready to move on. It’s sort of like writing the first draft. Then in revisions, you’re  reading through and it’s easy to rush yourself because you already know the story. I’m feeling conflicted about wanting to dump the volume of information and move on and knowing that the up front work is only a matter of due diligence.  So in that vein, I’m sorry but I won’t short change  my audience  because we live in a frantic fast paced society that has only encouraged my ADHD tendencies.

No? You want to take the scenic route? Great! I’ve got my notes organized to continue laying out this master plan. I have so many notes that I could probably make this into a short book if I wanted to. Hmm.  Yeah, I could do that.  Trust me, I have  enough notes on it already. These posts aren’t even a third of the volume I’ve collected.  An expanded serial post like we used to do on Storytime Trysts. . . . I could  do that. Go drink some coffee for a few minutes while I  make a few notes on my calendar.

Alrighty, where were we?   *Reviewing while sipping coffee.* Yeah, ADHD tendencies. . . and  here folks, is an example of my level of distraction. FOCUS – it’s what I need a heavy dose of.

Step 7 – Set Up The Book

Let’s start with Structure.

Since Eclectic Bard Books publishes works of fiction,  let’s focus on   the structure for fiction books.

The structure is like the framework of your house.  A basic blueprint of a book can be broken down into 3 parts.

  1. Front matter
  2. Main body
  3. Back Matter

You thought I was going to say beginning, middle, and end didn’t you? There you go jumping ahead of me.

You may be wondering,  why would I break out the front matter and the back matter from the story itself?  Because – when you are having one of those days when your brain will not focus on the  next scene, your muse has gone off to the Caribbean with  one of your rival friends, and you are  faced with a blank screen, you can  mark off one of the items of either of those categories so your writing  time hasn’t been wasted.

I hate having to put the dreaded forward arrow in my planner that signifies moving a task to the next day because I didn’t get it accomplished.  I’m all about being able to mark off an item on the to do list. Isn’t it better to be able to mark off  that you completed something  than to have wasted the time?

Breaking down these 3 parts into smaller bites will give you items that can easily be marked off of the list.

Front Matter: 

  • endorsements  –   others recommending your book
  • half title page
  • other books by you – if this is your first book, this will be omitted.  If you only have one or a few books under your belt, then this will be a quick list  and a fast task to finish.
  • full title page
  •  copyright page – this won’t be complete until the book is uploaded and  you are almost ready to publish,  but you can  get most of it finished.
  • dedication page –  this one can be simple or complex, depending on the author.
  •  acknowledgments – again, simple or complex. This one often gets into more details, thanking individuals, acknowledging those who have helped  such as your beta readers, your editor,  location experts,  medical advisors,  experts that you’ve talked with to glean information, the barista at the coffee shop, etc.
  •  table of contents – not always required but if you are like me and like to name your chapters, it’s good to have a TOC to list them with your clever names. 🙂
  • foreword –  this is often a few words by someone respectable  that could lend value to your work
  • preface –  a bit about  your process,   your story, the content, or  a specific note from the author.

Main Body:

You would imagine that  this is where the  beginning middle and end would go, right? Sort of.  I have a two-fold process.

Part 1: story structure

  • beginning
  • middle
  • end

Part 2:  the parts within each chapter:

  • Title
  • epigraph
  • beginning/middle/end
  •  denouement

Titling your chapters isn’t necessary, it’s a matter of personal preference.  Epigraphs aren’t necessary, again –  a matter of  style. Some  genres lend themselves well to the usage of epigraphs. Aedan’s work is a great example of  using epigraphs.

Back Matter:

  • Afterword –most often, this  is a note from the author either about what inspired the story or  some aspect that  was not included in the story.
  • appendices – most often used in nonfiction
  • Resource List – most often used in nonfiction
  • Glossary – especially important if you are using foreign language, created terms, or obscure references 
  • Bibliography – most often used in nonfiction
  • Index –
  •  Author Bio – you definitely want to include this
  • Contact Information – where fans can find you
  • Blurb for Next book – This also gives you a direction for your next step and keeps you accountable to stay on track and focused on one project.

When I set up my initial file in Scrivener, I make a template for each chapter. The current project includes an epigraph.

This is a basic skeletal framework. When I outline in Scrivener, it’s like using the old index card method as I  lay out my virtual index cards on the corkboard.

By this point you should have your story concept  in mind,  the  plot  figured out or if you are a pantser, at least a direction that you want to go in. Here is  where you  can spend your time figuring out your characters because most often  the story  is character driven.

Laying out this basic structure will give you points to work on  in your daily  writing sessions. This method installs  milestones so that you know a starting and stopping point for each session. Reaching  these mini milestones gives you a sense of  accomplishment that keeps you moving forward.

If you are contracting someone else to ghost write for you,  then this framework will give you a series of checkpoints to easily check  their progress against  your timeline.

Another benefit of establishing this framework is that it allows you a better grasp for your timeline and  a realistic  date for completion.

What’s next? Research – now it’s getting fun!

‘Til then




Plan With Me – Halfway Mark

Over the last seven weeks for my slot, I’ve been  giving steps to a simple plan to expedite the writing process.  You can find the previous posts here:

We’ve reached the halfway mark  and I thought it would be a good time to review before moving on.

Introduction:  In order to succeed you need a plan. You’ve heard the expression, Failure to plan is planning to fail.  There are some who seriously need to make a plan, any plan.  I have plans. I have detailed plans to the point that I often over plan and doesn’t allow for LIFE to happen as it’s known to do.

You know that crisis that pops up 3 days before deadline that you’re already behind on? NO? Is that just me? Sorry but I know there are others that this applies to as well.

Part of  my take away from this is to simplify my own plans and leave some wiggle room.  Idealistically there shouldn’t have to be wiggle room but I’ve  made that mistake too many times to count. Sometimes I am an idealist. Other times I’m a cynical “old dog”. OLD DOG – OLDER TRICKS.

You  need to ask yourself what your take away is. Is  it to make a plan?  To modify your plan? To simplify it?

Step 1 – Determine Your Role.

Are you going to be the author, the writer, or both?

STEP 2 – Schedule your time.

Author:  Contact your writer and determine a reasonable timeline.

Writer: Schedule your writing allowing for other aspects of your life. If you work a  nine to five job, it’s unrealistic to think you can write a full-length novel  in thirty days. Aside from NaNoWriMo,  which is insane anyway, reduce unnecessary stress by allowing yourself reasonable time.

Just this past week, I’ve revised my schedule as I was on the brink of losing it for real. Life seldom  turns out like we want or plan. We ‘overcome, adapt, and improvise’. Most of the time we are making it up as we go along, a life of improv! Make the best of it and make time to pursue your dreams.

STEP 3 – your support system

Select your fortress of solitude! OK, since I can’t afford my own island off the coast of Fiji, I will have to settle for a reasonable spot in my home. This has been a major complication for me with limited space and a continued fight for my own space ka known as an office.

I have put my foot down and am currently waiting on electrical work to be done, which I have no experience in.  This issue was supposed to be addressed nearly two months ago. I worked diligently cleaning and clearing an area to carve out my own office space. I can’t express the level of frustration to discover that while I have been waiting on the electrical, my space has been reclaimed. This. Is. Not. Cool.

While I work to set up my own area/office space, let me give you a  few more tips to improve your chances.

  • Eliminate distractions.
  • Keep the temperatures moderately cool – we think better   and are more productive.
  • Choose your background music carefully.  I often have a playlist that corresponds to the writing mood. It would not work to use the hard-driving heavy metal playlist while writing a tender love scene. Likewise, the  classical instrumental will not work for battle scenes in my paranormal fantasy.
  • Stay hydrated and eat proper food.  Proper food is not a bag full of Cheetos followed by a mountain dew/ vodka chaser.

Another aspect of this is addressed by Savannah in The Business of You. Take the time to read this excellent short article!

STEP 4 – what’s in your toolbox?

Scrivener – my word processing tool of choice.  Microsoft Office Suite with Word is great,  but it’s  not as flexible as Scrivener.  Scrivener was designed for a writer.

Evernote  is awesome for collecting research.  You can find the information on that at

Grammarly – a free application with option for an upgrade is a helpful tool, but I wouldn’t count on it as your only editor.

There is also one called Hemingway – I haven’t looked into that yet, but it’s on my to-do list.

Another tool that is invaluable for me is Dragon Naturally Speaking.

Resource Library:

  • Elements of Style – Strunk
  • On Writing by William Zinsser

Those will get you started.

STEP 5- create

Create a formal book proposal. This will give you clarity about:

  • your target market
  • your content
  • your value
  • your promotion

Your book proposal will be your blueprint to success.  By writing your book proposal, even if you are self-publishing, it lends validity to your efforts.

STEP 6- establish your goals


Goal Setting – Everyone  that knows me knows that I am all about the goals. Without a goal line, how do you know when you’ve finished? Goals are important, so are deadlines.

What is your manuscript length? This will help calculate your goals.

Smaller books are actually  a good option. For a book of 100 pages or less, 60% of the readers finish the book. If you double that to 200 [ages –  the percentage drops to 20.

The average fiction novel ranges from 75000 words to 120000 words.

Deadlines: You can run a simple algorithm through a program called The Book Calculator to get an example of a realistic projected timeline for completion.

Set a goal for yourself, a realistic goal whether you use The Book Calculator or not.


What’s next? We’ll start  on the  second half of this series. Next week we start to get into the meat, You don’t want to miss it. Until then, have a fabulous 4th of July weekend and celebrate

‘Til then