Wednesday, February 21, 2018

What Am I Reading Wednesday (2/21/2018)

Welcome to the first What Am I Reading Wednesday of 2018!

(I told you it was going to happen this month!)

Title: Get Your Book in the News: How to Write a Press Release That Announces Your Book

Author: Sandra Beckwith

First Reading: Yes

Initial Impression: Sandra has utilized her experience as a publicist to bring DIY self-promotion savvy to both traditional and self-published authors!

Get Your Book In the News offers writers a comprehensive guide on the best practices for creating and distributing an effective press release.

Beckwith starts out by going into detail about what exactly a press release is, how they are used, and which are the most common outlets used to present your press release. From there, she teaches how to craft the message that best represents your book.

As a writer who is still on the fence about whether I want to pursue traditional or self-publishing once my first book is finished, it's great to know that this type of resource is available. Also, let's face it, even traditionally published authors have to do some promotional legwork.

Stay tuned for the Writing Desk Blog's February author interview with Sandra, this Friday (2/23/18)!

About the Author:

Sandra Beckwith is an author and national award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to save thousands of dollars by doing their own publicity, promotion, and marketing. You might have seen her on “The Montel Williams Show,” or “CBS This Morning,” or read about her in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, or USA Today. Feedspot has ranked her website, Build Book Buzz, as # 7 among thousands of book marketing blogs; it has also been named a top website for authors and writers four other times. 

Keep Up with Sandra: 

You can find more about Sandra, her publications, and her services for authors at:
Build Book Buzz
Twitter: @sandrabeckwith
Instagram: @buildbookbuzz 

Friday, February 16, 2018

NEW RELEASE: The Latest Short Story Collection by Nicole Sixx

How awesome is it when you find out a writer you enjoy has released a new book?

I'll admit, I've been playing catch up these last couple of weeks. Between spending time with my family and my digital detox week away, there are so many books I hadn't even realized had been published already.

In particular, Nicole Sixx, author of the chilling short story collection Some Fucked Up Shit, has recently published her latest in the series, Some Fucked Up Shit: Ghosts!

I love it when covers in a series follow a similar theme!
As many of you wonderful readers might remember, Nicole was my first interview guest on The Writing Desk Blog. That post was so popular that I decided to proceed with making interviews a regular event here on the blog, and somehow I've managed to convince a different writer/publishing professional to speak with me every month since then!

I can't wait to pick up a copy of Some Fucked Up Shit: Ghosts! Stay tuned for a future What Am I Reading Wednesday review.  

About the Author: 

Horror writer by day, late night rocker girl by night. Nicole Sixx grew up on the ugly side of the Colorado foster care system and was provided a window into the darker side of the human soul that she draws on for her writing to provide realism and depth. Her loved ones keep her human, her writing keeps her sane. Nicole currently resides in West Hollywood with her two cats, Buddy and Trouble.*

*Official bio provided on Nicole's Amazon author profile*

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

QUARTERLY GOALS: 2017-Q4 Review & 2018-Q1 New Goals

Hello, Writing Desk Readers! 
Happy Valentine's Day/Galentine's Day/Wednesday/Hump Day/Whatever Day you're celebrating! 

I appreciate everyone's patience with the frequency of updates on the blog these last few weeks. As many of you know by now, my grandmother recently passed away and before that her health was on a decline, so one update per week was the best I could do.

If you want to see the most amazing photo of her, and also proof that she was way cooler than I'll ever be, you can take a look at the Instagram post I made shortly after her passing. The definition of a 1960's glamorous lady!

And now, let's take a look at my final goals from 2017-Q4, and how much I was able to accomplish.

2017-Q4 Goals: 

1) Hold my first GIVEAWAY!
- DONE! I gave away THREE copies of Carolina Crimes: 21 Tales of Need, Greed, & Dirty Deeds! Not to mention a ton of "Do Not Disturb the Reader" bookmarks. It was an amazing feeling putting those packages in the mail, and they all arrived safely!

2) Announce and implement the second project I devised in Q3. I truly hope everyone enjoys this, it's something I've never done before as a writer. 
- Half done. This project was announced, but I decided to wait until the new year to actually start the serializing of my YA sci-fi novella, Grave Diggers. (Q1 Hint: The first installment is coming in March!)

3) This is the big one. COMPLETE my 60,000 word count goal for Book Project #1 by Thanksgiving! Or, at the very latest, by New Years. 
- I won't lie, dear Writing Desk readers, this one did not go as planned. Due to my grandmother's waning health, I decided to push back my writing schedule to spend more time with her and my family.

4) Start sending out sections of Book Project #1 to my critique partners. They've actually already read the first few pages and a short synopsis I put together for them. So, we're off to a good start!
- This was actually DONE! So far, I've sent roughly 30,000 words to one of my critique partners, and the other has let me know she's ready to start reading as well. 

5) Start edits for Book Project #1, based on critique partner review, to plan for the beta-reader phase.
- DONE! I was able to put the notes from my first critique partner to good use, in lieu of the new writing that I decided to push back.

3.5 out of 5! That's more than I was expecting, if I'm being honest. I know we're already halfway through the quarter, but let's move on to my goals for 2018-Q1!

 2018-Q1 Goals:

1) Publish the first installment of my YA sci-fi novella, Grave Diggers, in March 2018. I'm so excited to share this story with everyone, and I'd love your feedback on if you'd like to see it turned into a full-length novel!

2) Finalize a set update schedule for Grave Diggers. Should it be weekly? Bi-weekly? Whatever the decision, I'll be posting the schedule here on the blog, so readers can know what dates to expect new installments.

3) Resume work on Book Project #1 (I'm horrible at titles, so that's what we're going to continue calling it for now) and complete the first draft by mid-Q2. I'm giving myself a little cushion here, mostly because I want to go back through the outline and re-work a few things. 

4) Find at least one writing/book convention or retreat to attend this year. Suggestions are welcome!

5) Continue to pre-plan weekly posts for The Writing Desk Blog. This includes the monthly author/writing industry interviews.

I'm leaving the list at five goals for now, but hopefully I can add a few more as the quarter progresses.  

What goals have you set for yourself in this new year? What is your best method to keep yourself accountable? Please share in the comments below! 

**If you try to comment on this or any post and are unable to, please send me a message on Instagram, Twitter, or to The comments issues I was having last year are supposed to be fixed, but I want to be sure!**

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Thank you, Tamora Pierce.

I'm back from my week-long digital detox, dear Writing Desk Readers!

What better way to celebrate than with the timely arrival of the latest novel from the amazing Tamora Pierce, Tempests & Slaughter!

It's so beautiful!

My friends on Instagram will have already seen my hyper-excited post when it arrived last night. I actually pre-ordered this novel last year, and have been gushing about it ever since.

Tempests & Slaughter focuses on the early life of one of Pierce's most iconic characters, the mage Numair Salmalin.  I can vividly remember picking up my first Tamora Pierce novel, Wild Magic, as I was just entering middle school. I became instantly fascinated by Numair's character and how he interacted with the world around him. Now, over a decade later, I finally get to learn what made Numair into the man he was by the time his narrative in Wild Magic, and many other novels, came around.

The pre-order copy of Tempests & Slaughter also happens to be a special edition version, with a free poster included with the book! I don’t care what anyone says, this is getting framed and it’s going next to the letter I received from Ms. Pierce all those years ago. That's right, in middle school I managed to find Tamora Pierce's email address, wrote her a fan letter, and was beyond thrilled when I received a sincere reply.

Tamora Pierce was the author whose work and words encouraged me to hold onto my dreams of becoming a professional writer. This was at a time when I'd let myself become discouraged by negative people who didn't actually care about what I wanted for myself.  Anyone with a passion for their future knows they'll encounter those naysayers at some point, and the best reaction is to prove them wrong. 

So, what I want to say again, is thank you, Ms. Pierce.

Thank you for writing your amazing books filled with strong characters, and even stronger heroines.

Thank you for reaching out to a young fan who wanted to be like you more than anything in the world.

And thank you for taking the time to share Numair's story. I know it was worth the wait.    

Monday, January 29, 2018

I'm Taking A Digital Detox

My Dear Writing Desk Readers,

I have decided that I will be taking a digital detox week.

Starting tonight (1/29) at 8:00pm, I will be completely offline (other than when I need to use my laptop for my day-job). There will be no blog or social media updates for the rest of the week, and I will only be answering phone calls/texts/emails when absolutely necessary or in the event of an emergency.

Any writing will be done the old fashioned way - paper and pen.

A coworker of mine actually did this last year, and when their week was up they were amazed. Not only had they been much more productive (both personally and professionally) during that week than they had in the entire month prior, but they also felt a steady feeling of relaxation after disconnecting from the digital world for a little while.

I'm sure I'll have to remind myself not to check my Instagram and Twitter feeds. If I get an idea for a new blog post, it's just going to have to go down on a sticky note for later.

When I'm not working, I plan on doing whatever comes to mind! If I want to read, I'll plop down with a book. If I want to take a walk, then I'm headed outside. If I have a hankering to see a play or go enjoy a meal by myself...well, you get the idea.

So, I hope everyone has a fantastic week. Take some time for yourselves to do something that brings you joy, and I'll be back next Monday (2/5) to catch up and share my digital detox experiences!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

UPDATE: Author Interview Schedule

It's mid-week, dear Writing Desk Readers, and I have a quick update to make.

In case you haven't already noticed, there will be no author interview for January 2018. As much as I wanted to kick the year off with a new interview, I decided to push the blog agenda back due to a family member having surgery.

The good news is that the surgery went well, and now I can start to get things back on schedule.

This means that the following posts can be expected in February:

  • The first author interview of 2018.
  • The first What Am I Reading Wednesday of 2018.
  • My Q4-2017 recap and overview of Q1-2018 goals.

I'd like to take this opportunity to ask: What other post topics are you interested in seeing this year from the Writing Desk Blog? 

I'm already planning to include more posts on news in the publishing industry, release information on upcoming novels/story collections (like Monday's post on Jenna Moreci's latest novel!), and I will also be implementing the serialization of my YA science fiction novella that was going through the beta-reader process back in the early days of the Writing Desk Blog.

What else would you like to see? Let me know in the comments below, on Instagram, or on Twitter!

Monday, January 22, 2018

We Have A Release Date for Jenna Moreci's New Novel!

Happy Monday Readers,

It's official, we now have a release date for Jenna Moreci's latest novel, The Savior's Champion!

But wait, there's more!

Not only do have the release date (April 24, 2018), we also have the official cover reveal and book trailer!

I won't lie, this cover gives me chills!

Many of my longtime Writing Desk Readers will already know, I've shared Jenna as an excellent Writing Resource here on the blog, and her debut novel Eve: The Awakening was among the first group of books featured in the What Am I Reading Wednesday series. I think it goes without saying, I'm very excited for the release of her second novel!

You can find more information on Jenna, her books, her Youtube channel, and much more on her (beautifully redesigned!) website:

Book trailers are becoming much more prevalent, especially with the ability to share them across multiple platforms. What do you think of book trailers? Let me know!

I'll leave you now with the book trailer for The Savior's Champion: