Far, Far Away…

Don’t mistake that faraway look in my eyes as boredom.
No, I’m not ignoring you either, and I’m far from falling asleep.

Writer.
Writer.

What I’m doing is plotting. There are ideas all around us and sometimes you must stop and think about how one little item that caught your interest can work into a story. How one little phrase you overheard can be worked into a conversation. Or maybe it’s a news item you saw the night before, that’s been sitting in the back of your mind, wondering how it can create an alternative universe or whole new world and a completely different series.
I would say half of my writing time is spent daydreaming. But not daydreaming in a useless way. These daydreams are a productive thought gathering, plotting exercise. Let’s face it our minds are our biggest tools, probably the only tool we need, other than a writing devise. When we let allow our thought to wander where-ever they want, we can produce some great concepts.
If we don’t use this tool regularly, it will become dull and foggy. We need to sharpen our minds and use it to the fullest potential possible. This might mean thinking of things outside of the realm of your normal everyday expectations. If you don’t use those tools and you allow them to become dull and unproductive, you’re heading down the road to writer’s block, I’m sure of it.

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Fortunately, I have a very active imagination and I love to tell stories; never seeming to run out of ideas. Instead the opposite happens. Too many ideas bounce around in my head, often causing difficulty in concentrating on one story line at a time. Thankfully, I’ve never experienced writer’s block.
I keep my mind sharp and I keep thinking and imagining: creating scenarios out of nothing, forming conversations between characters and asking a lot of “what ifs. A good exercise is to have somebody just toss you a word. See what you can do with it; whether it’s a phrase, an object or an action— weave it into your story. Give your story on a new twist, make your characters do something unexpected. Remember if it holds your interest, it will also hold your readers.

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Find a way of recording those ideas, be a pen and paper or your phone or your computer. Jot them down when you get them and please, don’t tell yourself that you’ll remember. It seems the minute you do this, you’ve already set yourself up to forget them. Honestly, with so many thoughts going to our mind daily just with our everyday actions it’s sometimes impossible to remember what we need to get through the day.
Don’t discard an idea or thought path simple because it doesn’t fit your current work in progress. Jot it down and put it in a file for future work. Keeping a file of ideas is another way to fight writer’s block or adding a twist to your story that will keep it original and interesting.
So, what did you see or hear today that created a “what if idea”?

www.VictoriaLKWilliams.com

Do you share?

Do you share?
As an author, do you share with your readers? Do you let them into your world where they can find out about you? Do you have a platform where you let them know what’s going on with your writing life?

Writer.

If you are blogging– how much of yourself do you let your readers see of yourself? How often do you share: once or twice a week, daily, once a month? Do you freely share or are you just a matter-of-fact type of person only recording your writing progress, not letting your readers know about your personal side?
Whether you realize it or not, as a writer we share with our readers much more than we think. We can’t help it; as we write thousands of words on the pages, some of our personality has to seep through. Our core values refuse to be ignored, no matter how hard we try. Some of them will make their way into one of our characters, be it good or bad. It’s how you connect with your reader. Letting part of “you” onto the pages is what makes your book successful. It’s about finding something that the reader can connect with and imagine themselves in the same position.

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There are other ways we connect with our readers: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any of the other many social media outlets are avenues to let our readers get to know us.
Personally, I think it’s important to connect with my readers and let them know what’s going on my life. Make them feel connected to you as if you’re a friend about to sit down, share a soda and talk. I know when I read a blog post from another author, I can relate to what’s going on in their life. It does feel like I am chatting with an old friend.
The term author platform is used so much that it’s almost overused. To me, having a platform simply means I’m connecting with my readers. And how I do that has to be comfortable for me. I must be honest and sincere because I would never put out a fake persona. Sooner or later you’ll slip up and dissolution your reader.

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So how much do you share with your readers?

Not much? Well, maybe you should be.

Masked Character

Who are you and where did you come from?

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Has this ever happened to you, your writing along and all of a sudden you have a new character you never thought of, demanding to be part of the story?
She wasn’t in my story outline, and she certainly wasn’t in my character development sheets. But here she is, bold as can be, taking a huge chunk of my thought process.
She works. For some reason, she completes this section of the story I don’t know where she came from or how she popped onto my page. But in my mind, she’s fully developed, and she now has an interesting, intricate part of the story. At least the newest direction the story is suddenly going.
I used to laugh when I heard somebody say the characters wrote themselves or the story writes itself, thinking that it just doesn’t make sense. A figment of my imagination can’t take over and do the work for the writer. Yet now I know it’s true because it’s happened to me over and over again.

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My newest adventure is moving along splendidly when suddenly I’m developing a mermaid character. I’m not sure why, yet it’s all working out and seems right. As any writer knows; when something seems right, you go forward with it full force. Flush out the thought process and see what happens. At the end, if it doesn’t work, save it for another story. But don’t let the thought run away and utilize it. The character or plot twist came to you for a reason.
Sometimes I believe we can get bogged down with the formula of writing and it becomes easy to forget the fun parts the creative parts to letting your imagination run part.
There are some great programs out there to help you develop characters; from the color their hair to their favorite food to their least favorite color. You can create more details about your characters than you ever dreamed possible. However, if you become so intent on developing the character, you could risk losing some spontaneity which makes the story uniquely yours.
The first time this happened to me, I almost threw it out. Being rigid and new to writing, I didn’t want to veer from my outline. But instead of throwing it out I pushed aside for a couple of days to work on something else. Yet, this character remained in the back of my mind nagging at me wanting to come out and make her presence known. So, I let her, and I must say, she became one of my favorite characters in that particular book. I’ve even reintroduced her into a few other books here and there just because I feel she is such an interesting character. And to think I almost threw her away!

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Let the voices talk to you, let them tell you what they want to do and then, from there, be the writer.

Take that nagging thought and create something wonderful.

Play Time

In a world as fast-paced as ours, I wonder if anybody spends time in the old-fashioned entertainment that we grew up with. I’m talking about board games.
When my son was little we played them a lot, but as he grew older he turned to more electronic entertainment. Sadly, the board games were put away into the closet. Occasionally we might take them out, but for the most part they sat there and collect dust.
There’s some great board games out there that are specific to wordplay. If you’re having a party, they can add  much hilarity and eye-opening antics, will be sure to make your party a success. A couple that come to mind are Cards Against Humanity, What, and The Storymatic.

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As a writer I created a whole new reason to have those word games on the shelf in my office, not in the closet. It’s called ideas.
You’ve heard the term writers block? Maybe you’re not at the stage of suffering from writer’s block, but instead you need fresh ideas. My suggestion is to try one or more of these games. I’ve done this several times and had things turn around in my story, going down avenues I never would’ve dreamed possible.

Grab one of those board games and start using it for your writing; take those cards, shuffle, pull one out randomly and sees what it says
Here are a few examples: (from Storymatic) “A person answering a personal ad” paired with “discovery of a new species” Wow are there possibilities there! (from What) “A co-worker has gone on vacation. His wife calls the office and asks how his business trip is going.

There are other programs and books that will give you writing prompts that work well, too. I find this is a fun way to do to get ideas and dialog. Let’s face it, many of us have board games sitting in the closet, collecting dust. Why not give them the new purpose? Use them not only for entertainment, but also to stimulate the brain– get those ideas flowing. Anything help to get your words on the paper is often welcome.

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I have a bookshelf full of “how-to” books on writing, blogging and publishing, but stacked on top shelf where I can easily reach them are my word games. No longer is dust collecting on them. Instead they are getting used. Even if it’s to stimulate my mind or give me a good laugh. Often when your character does or says something totally unexpected, it not only moves the story forward, but will renew the interest of your reader.

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So, multipurpose those games and cards and start thinking differently. Don’t limit yourself to only adult games. There are times when you can get some of the sweetest, most innocent ideas from a child’s game which will give a whole new tone to your work in progress.

Let’s play and add some fun to our writing!

 

Winter Production

Let’s face it, it’s cold everywhere, even down here in the South!

Then what do you do—moan and groan? Do you cuddling up in blankets and wear thick socks to warm your feet? Or you do something about it?shutterstock_400520170
I’ll be honest, for the first day I was one of the moaners. I hate the cold and that’s why I moved to South Florida; to get away from it. Yet, how can I possibly complain about two or three days of wintry weather when you see what the rest of the country is going through? Throwing on a thicker sweater, I pick myself up by my bootstraps (make that my flip-flops) and decide to be productive.


Just because it was too cold to be outside, doesn’t mean that I couldn’t catch up on my reading. There were a couple of new authors I was dying to read, and this was the perfect opportunity. Even more importantly, this was a terrific opportunity to flush out some characters, write up outlines and continue working on my work in progress.

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So I sat down at my desk, a fake fire roaring on the TV, with my space heater blowing warm air on me and a cat (no make that two cats) hogging the heat. I look over my shoulder and there they are, enjoying the heat blowing directly on them. Wouldn’t you think with all that fur they’d be warm?


I’ve concluded; when it’s cold, your mind stays sharp. At least there is no dozing off, or daydreaming. I try to keep moving, even if it’s only mentally, to keep the juices flowing and keep warm. I’m happy to say I’ve accomplished some work. Trying a new program called StoryShop, I flushed out one or two awesome characters. I even got to know a few of my existing characters little better. A good outline for a whole new series is now ready to go. And I continued working on my newest Storm Voices book.


For all of you who put up with this weather on a day-to-day basis, month after month; my heart goes out to you. I can’t forget the years growing up in upstate New York. I know perfectly well what you’re going through. So, stay warm my friends; read a book, or even write one.

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Let this winter be for the creative minds to explore.

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www.VictoriaLKWilliams.com

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There are other Places…

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As a reader, and a writer, it’s easy go to Amazon and download a new book. And that’s a great thing. (Thank you Amazon!) What could be easier? It’s like giving a kid the keys to the toy store and telling them to have fun!

But as a writer, I want to reach as many readers as I can. And some do not use a Kindle device or download books from Amazon. That’s why I’m leaving the Kindle Select program and going “wide” with my books. I want everyone to be able to read my stories. You can still get my books on Amazon (Author Page), but…

Now you can also purchase my books through:
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Ibooks
Playster
Inktera
Scribd
Tolino
24 Symbols
OverDrive
Googleplay (soon)

The easiest way to purchase is to go directly to my website, click on your preferred site and go directly to the book you want.

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www.VictoriaLKWilliams.com

www.SunSandStoriesPublishing.com

 

Did you know there are also other sites you can go to have access to not only my books, but many other “indie” books. Here are my two favorites:

Books2Read

OneStopFiction

 

No matter how you purchase your books-
keep reading and supporting the Indie Authors!

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17692947 – beagle dog wearing glasses reading book

 

 

A New Year…

Yes, it’s the start of another new year. Plans and goals are written and will be adhered to for, at least, January. Of course, after that, life will get in the way and some (or many) of those goals will be left behind. But the ones that are left? Those are the ones that mean the most to you and often will have the greatest impact on the upcoming year.

Rather than list a bunch of goals that will probably not make it to June, I want to tell you about the 3 writing goals I made, which will make the biggest impact on my writing…

1. Publishing a New Series.

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On January 1st, I hit the publish button for the first book in my new series Storm Voices. I plan on releasing 3 books in the series this year. This series is different for me because I wrote it in the 1st person’s voice, (boy did that take getting used too!). It’s also not the normal cozy mystery I write. Nope, this series has a bit of paranormal flair to it and a romance angle. I hope you’ll look at it and let me know what you think.

2. Breaking the Chains

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This is the year I take my books “wide”. Now they will not only be on Amazon, but also on other sites. This will give more readers the chance to read my books. They can now be found on: Ibooks, Barnes & Nobel, Kobo, Inktera, Playster, Scribd, Tolino, 24 Symbols and OverDrive.

 You can also go to Books2Read.com and OneStopFiction.com to download my books and find many other great Indy books!

3. Growing the Business

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Last year I started Sun, Sand & Stories Publishing. This year I plan to grow it. And the biggest advantage to having my publishing company, is you can go directly to the website (www.VictoriaLKWilliams.com) and purchase books from your preferred store with a simple link. Now you don’t need to hunt through large inventories of books to find mine.

Another way I will expand the business is to offer all my books in print format be the end of the year.

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Like I said, there are many other goals to work on, but these 3 are my big ones, the ones to stay focused on. I wish you luck and perseverance with any goals you set for yourself.

 

This Year, Next Year…

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Like most people, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve can be a time of reflection and relaxation before the year-end. All the craziness of the holidays is pretty much in the past and it’s time to look forward to what the new year can bring. Whether you’ve decided to break a bad habit, lose weight, or chase a longed-for goal, the new year always seems to be the time to start.

 

Writer.
Remembering 2017

During this week between Christmas and New Year’s, I’ve been doing a lot of reflection on what happened over the last year. And I must admit, it’s been an exciting year!

 

Before I go any further, I’d like to thank all of those who follow my blogs, read my books, and supported me in my writing journey. The notes I get from readers asking when the next book will come out, or pointing out something that caught them at the heartstrings makes it all worthwhile. It makes me want to write the next book.

So, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

Over the past year I’ve continued the Citrus Beach Mystery series, and I admit I like where it’s going. There will be a new book coming out in February. I also started a new series in a slightly different category of cozy mysteries. Storm Voices, is a paranormal romantic cozy mystery. (Did you get all that?) I’ve also continued with the Sister Station series. I’m working outlines for new books and series I want to tackle in 2018.

 

The most exciting things that this happened for me personally? My husband has decided that my writing is something to be taken seriously and promised to give his full support. What more could you ask for!

 

Now, as I look forward to the new year, one of the biggest steps I’ll be taking is to leave the comfort zone of the Amazon Kindle Select program and put my books out to be distributed widely amongst other distributors. Now you can buy my books on Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Ibooks, Inktera, Playster, Scribed, Tolino, 24Symbols, and Overdrive.

 

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This is a big step, but I think it will benefit my goals. I’ve also incorporated my writing under the company name of Sun, Sand & Stories Publishing. My hobby has grown into a legitimate business, and in 2018, I will expand on it.

 

I plan on taking part in the NaNo projects and other challenges amongst other writers.

 

I’m pleased to be the creator of a new Facebook group called Writers of the South (I encourage any writers out there from the South join). I will also take some online courses in writing I downloaded – it’s exciting to continue learning new things about the writing craft.

 

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Okay, I must admit, looking at this list I’m feeling exhausted and overwhelmed and it’s not even January 1st. But baby steps; one page at a time, one paragraph, one sentence, one word at a time! That’s the only way my goals will be achieved.

 

I wish you and your family the best for the New Year’s, and hope that all your dreams and wishes will come true. Stay happy and safe in 2018!

 

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Get in the Spirit!

via For Readers – Books & Giveaways

 

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Preparing for winter? Don’t forget the books!

Get ready to curl up inside with a mug of tea and leave the winter stress behind as you travel to different cities or worlds. Have adventures. Laugh. Fall in love.

We have 30 Christmas book specials to help you on your way. Whether you fancy losing yourself in a paranormal, fantasy, romance, or contemporary story, the Christmas Book Fair won’t disappoint.

And we can’t forget the $10 Amazon card!

Join us and make this Christmas one for the storybooks.

 

https://theindieacademy.com.au/for-readers-books-giveaways/

 

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and find some time to curl up with a book-make it a holiday one!

.99 Cent Book Deals

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” .99 Cent Books – November 11-12, 2017
How about trying some new authors?
The books listed on this page are 99c on November 11-12 2017 (US time), and often at other times as well (please verify the price before you buy).
This site is run by Renée Pawlish, author of mysteries, YA action/adventure, and other stories. Sign up for Renée’s mailing list to receive more free books, and to receive news about contests, special offers, and more.
If you’re not in the US or UK, note that some authors have used Kindle Countdowns to discount their books, and that the lower price may not apply.
If you don’t have a subscription to Kindle Unlimited, you can get it here. With Kindle Unlimited, you can get over 1 million titles and thousands of audiobooks on any device for only $9.99 a month.”

http://www.reneepawlish.com/promo

The nights are longer, so why not curl up with a new book, a new author or even a new genre??

At .$99 per book, it’s a great time to stock up on books for the evenings ahead.

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I’m pleased that Murder at the Geo Cache is included in this line up. So hurry and get your books, the sale is on for the 11th and 12th of November.