Category: Blog

Release Day Announcement

Release Day Announcement

I have to admit there were a few times I didn’t think I’d ever be writing this post. Yet, here I am, typing away at my keyboard with an official release date for my novel. Okay, so here we go.

My young adult fantasy novel “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone” will be available for purchase on March 22nd 2018. Of course, it will be available on Amazon but I also plan on using other distribution channels for everyone to have access to it.

I’m really excited to be taking this big step in my writing career. I first started writing this novel when I was in middle school. A favorite teacher of mine had encouraged me to write after doing well on a Language Arts assignment in her class. At the time, I had no clue her encouragement would lead to years of writing, editing, writing some more, market research and…well, you know what I mean. To sum it up, this novel has been a long time in the making.

Additionally, if you’ve been following my journey for some time, you’ll know I’ve only gotten to this point after making lots of mistakes. Though I talk about it openly now, my horrible stumble in the romance genre used to be a sore point for me. Not only was I writing in a genre that I had no interest in at the time but I had no clue what it took to be an author. Of course, learning from those mistakes lead me here, so I wouldn’t change the experiences for anything.

Because this is just an announcement post, it’s not going to be too long. What I want to talk about before wrapping this post up are a few of the themes in “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone.” In the future, I may go into more detail about experiences I’ve had that are reflected in the story. However, for this post, I’m keeping it simple.

One of the major themes is living outside the standard, hence the use of the word pariah which means outcast or reject. Throughout our lives we’re told what we’re supposed to do, who we’re supposed to become and how we’re supposed to act. If you choose to purchase my novel, I hope the idea of breaking those standards comes across to you. Because throughout my life and throughout this writing journey, what I’m learning is that what fits for someone else doesn’t fit for me…and that’s okay. More importantly, I’m learning that there is no such thing as a planned life. Life itself is so sporadic it can never be held down well enough to really be planned.

Usually when one tries to do this, the result isn’t what they exactly expected and they may not even be happy with the life they end up living. So, with that said, live your life as you see fit. Be fearless in your dreams and deviate from the path because climbing a mountain of your choosing is more fulfilling than drowning in a sea of others’ expectations.

And never forget to write your way through life. See ya next week.

Publishing Your Novel In A Not So Nice World

Publishing Your Novel In A Not So Nice World

The thought of finally having your manuscript out in the world is both exhilarating and nausea-inducing. Something you’ve put so much energy, time, and maybe even some tears into (not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything) is finally going to be available to the public. You’ll finally be a published author and while the thought of thousands of readers opening your book for the first time and starting the journey builds an indescribable sense of satisfaction in you, in the back of your mind there is doubt.

Because the truth is, not everyone is going to like your novel. Not everyone’s going to like my novel. It’s just how it is.

And while it’s nice to think you may have finally written the universal book, that’s a dream if I ever did see one. I mean, even Harry Potter with all its fandom has critics, reviewers who just weren’t satisfied with the final product. Perhaps, this is hard to believe because the series is so popular it seems to be adored universally and, maybe, it’s even your favorite series. But HP is not without some hate.

No book is.

If you’re like me, at this point in your thought process, you may be thinking “Oh, my green grapes! What if I publish my book and it’s a flop? What if everyone hates it? What if it gets the complete opposite reaction of HP?”

Yeah…

With the release of my novel roughly four to five months away (official release date coming soon), I’m plagued by these thoughts. I try to comfort myself by going through my publishing checklist which isn’t an actual list but more of an outline.

I remind myself of all the tasks I’ve completed on my publishing journey. I’ve had it edited twice, gone through the beta reading process, and ran through my manuscript several times myself. At this point, what more can I really do?

I decide to run through my beta feedback. Despite it being full of positives, I still wonder if they could be the outliers. What if they’re the only group of people who enjoy the novel I’ve been pouring myself into for years?

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All My Characters: The Pieces of Me

All My Characters: The Pieces of Me

This week I did a video on my YouTube Channel discussing why the main character of my novel “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone” is a red head. Obviously, this is an odd question to pose and I’m not sure if anyone will understand my purpose behind it but it’s a question I’ve asked myself several times.

Like many authors, aspects of who I am slip into my stories and characters. Some are more intentional, others are complete accidents.

To sum up the video, I realized Sarah was a red head because for me, as a child, being a red head was a sign of the “other.” It was a sign you were an alternative and not a favored one. Additionally, two of my favorite characters from literature are red heads. That is Annie from the musical ‘Annie” and Anne from “Anne of Green Gables.”

Besides their red hair, these characters had several other traits in common. They were witty, talkative, curious, and, sometimes, completely odd. They had a flair for the dramatic and in the end, it’s their own quirks that save the day and make them admirable heroines. Neither Anne nor Annie conformed to what they were supposed to be. Honestly, I’m not sure if they could. It just wasn’t in them.

After doing this bit of self-reflection (writing is amazing, right?), I have a good idea of why Sarah is a curly red head. But as curious as I am, I couldn’t leave it there. I started to wonder where else I had left the pieces of me in my characters and where a therapist would be best to look to get a good idea of my noggin?

Hmmm…

The best answer, of course, is my high school journals. There’s so much hormonal feeling combined with dysfunctional childhood crap in those pages, I think they’d even be too much for Bravo. Considering the dramatic “reality” shows they host, that’s saying something.

Anyway, as I flipped through my journals and old notes, reading bits of stories I wrote (hey, that rhymed!) I noticed a trend. In almost every story I wrote as a kid, the villain was always a woman, often she was the main character’s mother. Though she wasn’t always the evilest of villains, there was a trend, a very disturbing one actually. Because as funny as it is, I have mommy issues.

Ugh, it even reads weird as I’m typing it.

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Dear NanoWriMo: Thanks But No Thanks

Dear NanoWriMo: Thanks But No Thanks

If you’re an aspiring author or in any way involved in the literary community, you’ll know it’s National Novel Writing month. Every year, during the month of November, writers all buckle down in hopes of completing a 50,000-word manuscript in four weeks. Of course, this is no easy task but most things worth having, aren’t easy, right?

Years ago, I participated in NanoWriMo, though I was much younger and didn’t take it as seriously. More recently, I participated in the Chance Challenge which had writers set a goal of 50, 000-words in one month. Despite, me having participated in these challenges years apart, one thing remained true: Writing challenges are just not for me.

I almost hate myself for saying it. NanoWriMo does so many good things for the literary and writing community. Not only does it give a spotlight on new and rising authors, it also gives some writers that kick in the butt they need to finally put pen to paper. Well, more likely finger to keyboard, still the sentiment is the same.

There’s also the amazing comradery it creates! Writers are always stereotyped as being lone introverts who spend hours typing away and tucked in a small shabby room. Yet, not only have so many authors proven this untrue (some of us are extroverts, believe it or not) but social media has opened the door for writers to communicate all over the world. And, now, every November, aspiring authors across the globe cheer one another on as they pound away in the hopes of turning their manuscript into a reality.

Basically, it’s amazing and I wish I could feel that comradery every November and not miss out but the truth is I suck at writing challenges. Not necessarily because I don’t complete them.

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When You’re Over It: This Writer Speaks

When You’re Over It: This Writer Speaks

Okay, this post is going to be pretty short. There will be no editing or prep. I’m just going to write because my brain is mush and I can’t even think about forming proper sentences. I really don’t even want to be staring at the screen right now. My eyelids are fighting to stay open but I’m going to make this happen.

If you follow this blog, you’ll know I haven’t posted in about three weeks. Honestly, I am so sorry about that. I really try to be consistent on all my social media channels bu lately I’ve been done. And that’s what I want to write about. It would be wonderful to think that writing your novel is the easiest part. Sadly, that’s a lie we writers like to tell ourselves. Perhaps, so we get better sleep? Maybe we think lying to ourselves will ward off writer’s block? (P.S. It doesn’t.)

The last two months I’ve been the victim of an endless to-do list. Like, it never stops! There is so much to do and despite my own preparations, I doubt anyone could be 100% ready for this. The post-writing process of a novel includes self-editing, finding an editor, finding a cover artist, beta readers, reviewers, ARC readers, distribution channels, and probably several other things I’m forgetting. Like I said, my brain is mush.

Not to mention, book conventions! They’re fun but they’re also a great place to network with authors and meet potential readers. I mean, to be honest, who wouldn’t have a blast during a weekend dedicated to everything books and writing?

Now, while you’re doing all this stuff for your book, you still have to have a life. Or, at least, some semblance of a life. Oh,, and you have to work, too. Where do you fit all those things in, you ask?

When you figure it out, let me know because I’m going a little crazy over. The freelance work has been rolling in which is good. On the other hand, I crossed my book budget (Did I mention you should have one of those?) and am now expecting to go way over what I would like to. Ugh. Life is cruel and cold I tell you. My budget would still be in tact, for the most part, if I hadn’t have had to hire another editor. My first one was great but I realized I needed one more polish before formatting and uploading it.

Speaking of uploading…

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Baltimore Bookfest: Finding Your Tribe

Baltimore Bookfest: Finding Your Tribe

Have you ever gone somewhere and felt like you belonged? Like you were with people who got you and you got them? Well, that’s exactly how I felt at this year’s Baltimore Bookfest. This reader nerd (I say it with pride) festival was three days of any book lover’s dream. Not only were there tons of books for sale (which I brought a very nice amount of) but there were so many panels on both writing and reading.

Needless to say, I was in a sort of reader bliss. But what really trumped it all was the feeling of community. Perhaps I’m gushing over nothing. I mean, there are tons of ways to connect with readers and fellow writers both online and offline. Yet, how often do you get to bond with this many literary lovers for a whole weekend? I mean there were hundreds of bookworms gathered at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor this past weekend and though we have some disagreements (met a few fans of “Twilight” which I am not), we still share that common love of a cozy book.

Two organizations present at the Baltimore Bookfest were the Science Fiction&Fantasy Writers of America and Maryland Romance Writers. I spent most of the three days going between these two groups to attend various panels. The panelists were (of course) members of their respective organizations but they were also experienced authors, some self-published, others traditionally published, all offering great insight into the world of professional writing.

Two of my favorite panels were “Cracking the New York Times Best Seller List” and “How to Self-Publish Your Novel.” What was so enjoyable about these panels was the sheer honesty. The authors were very candid in their own statements and in their responses to questions. Nothing was sugar coated and, let me tell you, if you thought the panel on the New York Times was going to be some setp-by-step, boy are you wrong. Instead of getting some crappy how-to guide, we attendees got a nice dose of the truth aka there’s no key to cracking the New York Times list. The list itself isn’t even based on who has the highest sales. You can imagine my face when I heard that. Jaw dropping doesn’t even begin to do it justice.

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“Saving Jace”: A Review

“Saving Jace”: A Review

Title: Saving Jace
Series: A Fada Novel Book 4
Author: Rebecca Rivard
Genre: paranormal romance (sexy/steam)
(can be standalone)
Release Date: September 25, 2017

THE DARKTIME ISN’T OVER…

Jace Jones, a Baltimore earth fada lieutenant, lost nearly his entire family in the clan war known as the Darktime. Scarred by the deaths, he pours his soul into rebuilding the clan. The only person who has a claim on his heart is his niece. Then an attack by a night fae assassin leaves him dying on a human’s doorstep…

Tough, edgy Evie Morningstar is doing her best to raise a teenage brother on a waitress’s pay. She has no time for men—until the sexy jaguar shifter is stabbed just steps from her house. Evie hides Jace from the night fae, saving his life—only to find that both she and her brother have been drawn into the fada’s dangerous world.

(This post is a part of a blog tour. Keep reading for a chance to win a giveaway!)

Excerpt:
Someone was watching her.
Evie gripped her keys and glanced around.
The watcher was standing in the shadows across the alley. His eyes gave him away: a faint, luminous green.
Her heart kicked into a gallop. “Jace?” she called. “Is that you?”
Please let it be him.
He stepped out of the shadows. She blew out a breath. It was Jace.
He crossed the alley in a few long, loose strides. An atavistic tremor went down her spine. This was the real Jace—and he was nothing like the injured, feverish victim of last week. No, this man was dark. Powerful. Raw-boned. A panther in a T-shirt and jeans.
She squared her shoulders and lifted her chin, because damn it, she’d saved the man’s life. She refused to let him spook her.
He stopped a few feet away. “Hello, Evie.”
He was bigger than she remembered, but then, last week he’d been hunched over nursing his injuries. Now she realized he was a good half foot taller than her with the lean, hard build of a soldier. Another shiver went down her spine—but this one had nothing to do with fear.

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Living As An Aspiring Author: Writer Self-Care

Living As An Aspiring Author: Writer Self-Care

The countdown has begun. I officially have twenty-two weeks and a day until my novel “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone” releases. To sum it up, that’s five months and fifteen days. Needless to say, I am feeling the pressure and I am completely exhausted. All I really want to do is crawl into my bed and sleep through all the madness that is to come. Sadly, I do not have that luxury nor is my sleeping skill at that level (I’m still training).

Still, this got me thinking. Being a writer is a stressful job. Whether you write full-time, part-time or whenever you can manage to find the time, this is not a road for the faint of heart. However, like anyone, we writers sometimes need to take a break. We need to refuel our creative chi and show ourselves a little bit of that TLC. If you don’t, you’re likely to have a complete shutdown, hit writer’s block, have a general freak out or maybe all three.

With this in mind, I’ve come up with a short list detailing some of the ways I relax when the writer’s life just becomes too much.

First, sometimes you’re going to have to take a break from your writing. I know that sounds like terrible advice. You want to finish your novel. You want to publish it, so, the world can see your genius and you can finally kick your feet up and let the royalties pour in, right?

Well, not to be a downer but the publishing process is so much more than writing. Honestly, writing is just the first step among many. So, even though you think taking a short break from your work-in-progress is going to set you back by a lot, it won’t. After the writing, there’s the querying (if you’re taking the traditional route), the editing, the betas, the marketing, and etc. Therefore, it’s not as big a loss as you think.

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Living As An Aspiring Author: Time Management Is Key

Living As An Aspiring Author: Time Management Is Key

Time management is probably a skill listed on every college graduates resume in the last three decades. It’s something we all have to do but we’re all not necessarily good at. For writers (aspiring, traditionally published, self-published, etc), being mediocre at managing your time isn’t really an option. I think this skill is even more crucial when you’re self-publishing but I’m going to try to speak generally here.

Currently, I’m planning for my novel “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone” to come out in the next five to six months. This deadline essentially means that I’m in crunch time! And what I’ve realized since entering crunch time is that I’m already so far behind where I need to be. I seriously had no clue how many steps behind I was and now I’m racing to catch up.

My social media interaction isn’t where it needs to be, so, I’ve been really pushing it. I’ve outlined optimal posting times for my different accounts and have started planning specific content that needs to be posted. Additionally, I plan on hosting a blog tour and Facebook release party as part of my publication process. Oh, how lovely it would be if these things could magically plan themselves but sadly I still haven’t received my Hogwarts letter, so, I’m stuck handling things the muggle way.

Now, like any aspiring author I have to eat! So, that means I need to work. A few weeks ago, I did a video on my YouTube channel about the different ways aspiring authors can earn money. Since returning from visiting friends across the pond, I’ve been putting these resources to work. Sometimes I’ve applied to eight or more jobs on the freelance website I use, several on Wyzant and I’m hoping to get another request on Rover soon, too.

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Essentials for Author Websites

Essentials for Author Websites

Essentials for Newbie Author Sites:

The saying  is “Don’t judge a book by its cover” yet we do. In that same sentiment, it would be great if readers didn’t judge authors by their websites (or lack thereof) but they do. Not to sound all preachy but an author’s site is the impression they give to the world. Like all social media, an author’s site is representative of the author. Unlike other social media, a website is more stagnant. It’s like the home base to all your branding. But why am I harping on about author’s websites?

Recently, after a lot of trial and error, as well as a lot of hair pulling, I’ve got my author website up and running properly. I’d like to say I feel happy at this moment but, honestly, I feel relief more than anything else.

While getting my site together I did a little research into what makes a “good author site.” I also looked at the sites of several successful authors I know and even reached out to one author because her site was so beautiful. Long story short, I’ve got some second-hand information, firsthand information and some lessons I’ve learned from my own mistakes.

After all that here are a few things I think all authors (aspiring, newbie or otherwise) should include on their website.

1. Books Page

The Books Page or tab on an author’s site lists all the books (stand alone or series) they’ve written and usually offers a short description with the cover. This page is essential because it lists everything you’ve ever written, including your old work that you aren’t currently promoting. If a reader falls in love with your fifth book and they check out your site, they’ll know you have other work available and may decide to purchase those books, as well.

Also, I think this page is a necessity even for aspiring authors. Why? Because you can list your works-in-progress here. Basically, it’s another form of promotion. If you’re marketing yourself like a boss on twitter and someone decides to check out your site, they’ll see all your WIPs (works in progress) and the name recognition will continue from there.

2. About Me

 Has anything ever been harder to write? The About Me section is equivalent to the “Tell me about yourself” question in a job interview. Initially, your mind goes totally blank and you probably stumble or stutter for a moment. Well, I did, at least.

Here are a few tips about this section. First, don’t put too much personal information in your response. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying you’re from (insert city name) but going into which neighborhood you live in or giving away too many landmarks can be dangerous. I mean, no one likes stalkers, right?

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