Category Archives: Creative Writing

Mock Ebook Covers Helps With Motivation


For the past few months, I have been working on a novel that had me stopping now and then. It’s a mystery/thriller – murder, the FBI, a love interest. The idea sounded great in my head yet, I had trouble getting it to come out and onto paper. I pushed my novel aside, and then pulled up another writing project onto my computer and worked on it. I was able to write in spurts. My brain kept trying to focus on that one novel though.

I enlisted the help of a few co-workers. A few of them listened to me as I rambled on about this story I was writing. A few others added their two cents, which was enough to help me push aside my writer’s block.

Later that night, I typed up what I came up with, then stared at the scene after I was done. I re-read the story, hoping something new would come up, but as I read it, it seemed as if part of it wouldn’t make sense in the real world, and my book took place in the real world.

Once again, I pushed it aside and pulled up the other writing project, until I couldn’t write any more on it either.

Pushing my other writing project aside, I decided to try something new.

I read how one author creates her own book covers for inspiration. Though she never uses these covers on her books, as she hires a professional, her self made covers do serve a purpose.

She chooses the model, picks a title for her book, and then puts it all together in a mock photoshop software you can find for free on the internet. She then prints it out and hangs it near her computer for her to see while she writes. Once I read this, I was able to understand her methods. Sometimes it takes visual cues to help get the creative juices flowing.

I tried her method and found that it worked. Honestly, why didn’t I try this before? It wasn’t long that the words started to flow. I could visualize the story playing out as if it were a movie. I even went as far as creating boards on Pinterest; picking out my characters and locations to draw out inspiration.

All these methods have helped me write a better story.

I even went as far as coming up with a second book, but that’s just me, always thinking ahead. Soon the outline was coming into place and I was able to determine an ending.

Now it was time to fill in the story.

Check back to see how far along my story has gotten.

 

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Drinking Coffee and Writing to Jimmy Buffett


breakfast and writing

Being an author with ADD is quite hard. I can’t focus on just one writing project. I talked to a few co-worker’s about a few of my writing projects that I was working on and they asked me how was it that I didn’t get them mixed up? I told them that it’s like my brain has many web browsers open and that I’m unable to shut all but one off.

It’s true, though, I do have anywhere from two to four writing projects going. For some, that’s bad, but for others, it’s just the way we are. In a way, I can finish two or more writing projects at the same time.

Last year, I set a goal for myself, publish 6 titles a year for 5 years. Last summer, I switched jobs and found myself having quite a lot of time, so it was easy to use up that time to write, to focus on every one of my writing projects that I had going. I would drop my daughter off at school and head home and write until it was time to pick her up. Before I knew it, I had written three novellas, two non-fiction books, and a short story.

I ended up publishing that short story and one of my novellas last year, as well as a novel that my editor had sent back to me earlier in the year. The other two novellas that I had finished, I had published earlier this year. As for those two non-fiction books, they are set to be published this summer.

Now, the thing about having so much time on my hands and having ADD is that I find myself wanting to play video games or watch Netflix. It wasn’t too hard to find myself losing my discipline. Though I would work on my writing projects, the word count wasn’t nearly as much as it used to be.

It was time to change it up. With my laptop and notebook in my bag, I stopped by my local coffee shop, ordered a breakfast sandwich and a coffee, and then plopped myself into one of their comfy chairs and started writing. It didn’t take me long to come up with over 1100 words. I know that isn’t enough to some, but it’s a start. I also didn’t stay but a few hours.

Since yesterday went so well, I found myself repeating the process; sitting at my local coffee shop with my laptop opened to one of my works-in-progress. Today’s music is much different as it was yesterday.  As I sat down, I plugged in my earbuds, hoping to find something on Youtube that I could write to. The coffee shop owner tells Alexa to shuffle Jimmy Buffett and Cheeseburger In Paradise immediately rings out through the speakers. I didn’t bother with my earbuds and Youtube as I found myself singing along to Jimmy Buffett, while my fingers clicked across the keyboard on my laptop.

Something about listening to Jimmy Buffett helps fuel the creative juices in so many ways for me. Maybe it’s that I wish I was on the beach somewhere instead of being landlocked. With Jimmy Buffett playing, I could picture myself sitting at one of my favorite places that I frequented when I lived near the beach years ago, writing as if I was living my dream; sitting on the beach, writing full-time.

Whatever helps, right?

What inspires you? What fuels your creativity?

Interested in checking out one of my books? Visit my webpage: www.twistedcrowpress.com

 

Another Year, Another Book Published


 

 

 

Claimed by the Alpha is a steamy paranormal werewolf romance. It’s available for purchase on Amazon, or check it out on Kindle Unlimited.

Rancher’s Daughter is an adult soft romance novella. It’s available for purchase on Amazon, or check it out on Kindle Unlimited.

 

It’s been a busy few months, to which I hadn’t realized it’s already April! This year has already started out great for me. I have published two more titles and will have two more books coming out this summer. Crossing my fingers that I will have two more coming out in the Fall.

The year before last, I had set some goals for myself; publish 6 titles a year, for 5 years. That includes short stories, novellas, and novels. Partially, it’s for tax purposes, but mostly, it was set as a challenge. Could I do it? Could I actually write that many books in a year? Well, it turns out, I can. or, rather, I’m getting there.

Last year started out a bit rough. However, I had switched jobs and am now happier where I am. Not only do I get paid more at my present job, but I have more time to spend with my daughter and more time to write.

Last year, I published a novel, a novella, and a short story. I had also written two more novellas, Claimed by the Alpha and Rancher’s Daughter. However, I wasn’t able to publish them until this year.

I also decided to work on lengthening The Mummy’s Curse, a short novella I had published last year. A few people told me that it was a really great story, very hot, but it was also a bit too short. I was told that it had promise had I made it longer. I listened. Not only did I lengthen it, but I am also working on making it a 3 book mini-series and plan to have the next two books in the mini-series published this Fall.

Things are looking up for me as an author, finally, and I couldn’t be more happier!

 

 

My Favorite Scene in Chaos


 

Authors often feel very passionate for their work. They have favorite characters or less favorite ones. They have favorite scenes or less favorites ones.

I do have a favorite scene in my novel, Chaos, that I would like to share with you all. It’s an important scene that takes place part of the way into Chapter 4:

 

 

As soon as her uncle got out of the car and walked toward the men, Noelle had a dream. Not just a normal daydream, but one where she felt as if she were a part of the dream. She was running through the woods, the smell of pine stronger than ever before. The ground below her felt awkward, as if she were barefoot, yet the feeling in her feet was somehow different. She glanced down; she was running on all fours.

What the … I have paws! She stopped running to ogle at herself. Paws, fur. She turned her head to examine herself further. A bushy tail? Hey, wait a second … Suddenly a different smell tickled her nose. Closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply. Oddly, she knew the smell. Opening her eyes and staring straight ahead, she watched two doe run past her. It was as if she recognized their scent and something deep inside told her she was hungry for them. She could feel the predator instinct trigger the desire to catch and kill her prey. Her mouth salivated as she let out a deep growl.

Her heart pumped faster with adrenaline as her legs moved faster with speed. She was giving it her all trying to catch up to the deer when she felt a sharp pain go through her. She surveyed her surroundings, and noticed three men in the distance … and heard repeat gunfire. Suddenly, she was not chasing the deer anymore; she was running for her life. Her heart raced in panic as she began to feel weak. Peering down, she saw blood pouring from a wound in her side. Fear set in as she realized someone shot her. The less she moved, the less she would bleed out, but she had to get away from them. Things went out of focus and then grew dim, as if the sun was setting or time was fast forwarding, turning day into night. Her lungs ached and it pained her to breathe. Her heart, which was pumping quickly moments before, had trouble keeping a steady rhythm. That could only mean one thing: she was dying.

I don’t want to die! If I die in this dream, will I die in real life? Is this really a dream? I don’t understand what’s going on. I can’t die. I won’t.

Feeling weaker with each step she took, she fought for the will to keep moving. When she felt another pain rip through her, she collapsed to the ground, blacking out, her last breath leaving her.

Noelle opened her eyes and breathed as if she was drowning. Gasping and coughing, she reached her hand up and grasped her chest. Her heart raced as if she had just run a marathon. She closed her eyes, trying to figure out what had just happened. She’d had similar dreams before, but never this vivid.

“That was wild. I’m not sure I want to do that again,” she whispered to herself.

Opening her eyes, she saw that she was all alone, and sitting inside her uncle’s patrol car. She had a strong feeling that was where she had been the entire time. Her heart slowed to a normal pace as she slowly took in the scene around her. She could see her uncle walking toward his deputy as if he had just left the car.

Did time stop? What the hell was that? So many questions ran through her mind.

She shook uncontrollably from the adrenaline pumping through her. She quickly assessed herself. No blood, no bullet holes. Thank God! I don’t know what that was, but I’m still alive! Clearly, a weird dream. She wiped a tear from her cheek and closed her eyes, drawing in deep breaths, trying to focus on what she had seen. She wanted to get out of the car and get some fresh air, but she remembered she made a promise not to leave the car. Noelle decided it was best to crack the window instead, and try her best to erase the images that flooded her mind.  

Hope you enjoyed!

Chaos is about two sisters who find themselves in a magical world of supernatural creatures and a book that just might send them on a path to find their destiny.

If you would like to read the rest of the story, it is available on Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble:

Amazon paperback: https://amzn.to/2ranhTv
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2J2uvzG

Please note that Chaos is listed as FREE under the Kindle Unlimited program.

Chaos Cover EBOOK

 

 

 

Indie Author Guide


Ever since I published my first book in 2012, I have been asked how I did it, along with many other questions that I feel I have enough to fill a book. Most of the questions are usually the same ones that I am asked repeatedly. I try my best to answer each one and at times I feel like I’m leaving something out.

I want budding authors to strive in this business, as being an author is a business. It’s how we earn an income. Some authors earn a lot more than others but I don’t want to keep aspiring authors from learning their craft to where they can’t make a living. I want to help them become successful.

I have decided to take these questions and answer them by writing a book. Not only do I answer their questions, in length, I added a plethora of other useful tips and tidbits that they should know to help them in building and marketing their brand. Though it’s a guide on how to become an indie author, I do write a little about what to expect in the traditional publishing side of becoming an author.

Indie Author Guide

Though I don’t have an exact date set for when it will be published, I do know it will be out sometime next Spring.

Quite the Note Taker


I’ve always been a well prepared note taker when it came to working on a story. I keep a notebook on my nightstand for that moment when I have a break through in my story, or a thought comes to mind on a writing project I’m working on. I would jot notes down in it while in line at the check out, or in between my college classes.

I have a HUGE stack of notebooks and folders full of every note that I had scribbled down or typed up while I was working on a story, song, poem, short story. I even have a collection of diaries that I had scribbled in right after I graduated boot camp (US Navy).

I love thumbing through those pages and discovering stuff I’ve forgotten about, or finding notes that I had been looking for when I needed them for a writing project.

Presently, I am working on putting together a compilation of these short stories and poems of mine that I have found. Most of the ones that I have put together, I had written while I was in college. It’s something that’s keeping me busy until the first book Young Adult Fantasy Fiction Series, Chaos – Supernatural Realms, comes out next month (27 March).

I’ve been keeping everyone updated on my Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferNAdams/

And will also list the information on my webpage:

https://www.twistedcrowpress.com/jennifer-n-adams

Please be sure to follow and subscribe.

Many Blessings,

JA

DP: Bryant, Arkansas


Today’s Daily Prompt is: We Built This City. What do you love most about the city / town / place that you live in? What do you like the least about it? If you were mayor, what would be the most important problem you’d tackle? How would you tackle it?

The city that I live in, Bryant, is a fast growing city. It covers nine square miles and has every fast food chain you can think of. It also has a Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Kirkland’s, two Starbucks, Lowe’s, and numerous other small and big businesses. I loved how people in our community was once generous, friendly, and hospitable. Now, you can look forward to sitting in a turn lane forever as no one is considerate to not block driveways to businesses. Or you’ll sit at a stop sign, forever waiting on someone to let you into the flow of traffic.

The problem with this city is that all the businesses are in one area, clustered, making traffic a nightmare to endure in the mornings and when school has let out for the day. Instead of clustering all businesses into one big area, why not spread them out? It makes it very difficult to get in and out of those businesses, as everyone is rushing to get some where and would not think twice to let you cut in front of them.

When I first left for the Navy in 2000, Bryant only had a Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, and a small grocery store, as well as three gas stations. The population was a little over 9,000. Bryant was better known as the ‘bedroom community’ due to it mostly being houses and not the huge booming town it is today. After I got out of the Navy, Pizza Hut was demolished and a gas station was put in it’s place. We still have Wendy’s and McDonald’s, but the grocery store went out of business due to Walmart moving in just down the street. The current population is over 16,000. Almost doubled from when I first left in 2000 for boot camp.

There’s construction going on presently, albeit they’re building another fast food restaurant…that we don’t need. There was a town meeting the other day for a millage tax, requesting money to build another middle school and elementary school, to upgrade the middle school’s cafeteria, to build more things that our ever growing town needs for its community, yet the millage tax didn’t pass. Guess the towns people don’t see the things we need here or they believe the new High School that was finished last summer was enough as far as educational buildings go.

This city literally has grown immensely within the last fifteen years, that someone like me would have a hard time recognizing it. When I had gotten out of the service, I moved to Colorado to attend college for aviation. I stayed there for almost 4 years, then moved to Oklahoma for a few years, then moved back here in late 2009. I had been gone for 9 years and was astonished as to how much my hometown had changed. The service roads weren’t even two way anymore. They had changed to one way service lanes…good thing my grandmother warned me about that or I may have made a huge error by going the wrong way.

With the current mayor we have, our city has built on a new Recreational Center with an indoor pool and more fast food buildings. What our city needs is less fast food and more buildings for the community. The new rec center was nice, though the indoor swimming pool is mostly for swim teams. I had taken my daughter swimming to the new indoor pool and there were five other parents, gathered in a five by ten area that was sectioned off for ‘free swimming’. Ten of us collided into one another in the tiny space, just to allow our kiddos some time to cool off from the hot summer heat.

The other swimming pool that we have here, is a tiny pool, yet it is overly crowded every summer. We do need a bigger pool that is open to the public and not used for swim teams. Yes, we have a splash pad, to which you have to pay for, but my daughter is terrified of it, due to her autism.

There aren’t enough things here for special needs children. Or I should say, there isn’t anything for special needs children at all, other than a couple of daycare centers. We could use more parks with playgrounds; we only have one playground. There is a park currently being built that is accessible for disabled children. It isn’t here in Bryant, but it’s a twenty minute drive, without traffic. It’s actually a first of its kind park, which is sad as we need more parks that are accessible for all walks of life, disabled or not. (Click here and here for details on that park)

I would love to see a park with outdoor exercise equipment. Gyms may have dropped their prices so that us poor people can go workout, but what about daycare services? There’s only one gym here with a small childcare service while mom works out, yet it’s pricey. Some parents may only have a few minutes to workout after work, yet that’s when they have their kiddos with them. So, why not have an ‘Adult Fitness Playground’ along with our kids playgrounds? Family’s would be more active, would they not? It’s free and open to the public, so there would be more people out there working out, getting healthy.

As a mayor, the community and environment should be the most important things to think about and not what goes in and out of our pockets.

DP: Ha Ha Ha


Today’s Daily Prompt is for us to share a joke, or a funny story.

I’ve shared this story before, but it’s still one of my many favorite memories of my grandpa, who has been gone from this world five years in September. It’s a story of a pair of red foxes that once lived in the small patch of woods, behind our house. My grandmother likes this story and has me tell it to close friends and family when they visit, or at family reunions.

Enjoy!

A Pair of Red Foxes

I was helping my grandmother clean one of the rooms one day and casually glance out the window at the clearing behind our house. I saw movement at the edge of the tree line. Suddenly whatever it was came out into the clearing, a red fox, and following behind it was its mate.

I was mesmerized, watching the pair of red foxes chase one another, playing. I told my grandmother, “Look, red foxes.”

She looks up to see what I was staring and smiling at. “They must have a den close by,” she says.

It was a few years ago when I first heard what I thought was a panther. I was in the backroom, rocking my daughter to sleep; she was about a month old. Laying her down in her crib I decided to check my email real quick before going to sleep myself, when I heard a loud screaming sound in the distance, behind our house. It got closer and closer and then it got quiet. Suddenly I heard it again, but even louder and it sounded like it was right in our backyard.

I had remembered what a panther scream sounded like as I heard one on our family’s homestead when I was a little girl, and I thought that was what I was hearing now. I quickly got up and woke my grandma, telling her there was a panther in our backyard.

“It isn’t a panther, go back to bed,” she said. Just then it screamed again.

“Call the police,” Grandpa hollered at me from his room.

“No, don’t call them, they’re only going to laugh at you and think you’re crazy,” Grandma said with a laugh.

“Well, what do I do then?” Panic flooded me, I was being serious and she was making a joke.

“Go back to bed. You can’t do anything, its outside.” It screamed again, but it sounded like it was a little further away this time.

“That isn’t a panther,” Grandma claimed.

“It sounds like it.” I peer through the window blinds of her bedroom, trying to catch a glimpse of this creature that has me petrified with fear.

“It’s that red fox calling for its mate.” She rolls back over, pulling the covers back up to her neck, a sign saying that this conversation was over.

I walked out of her room, pulling the door quietly behind me. “Did you hear that thing grandpa?” I asked, peeking into his room.

“Yeah, I did.”

“What do you make of it?”

“I don’t know.”

“I guess I’m going back to bed, night.”

“Night.”

I went back to the computer and quickly searched the internet for sounds a red fox makes and sounds a panther makes and I found both; they sound so much alike. I understood how I got confused. I’m sure anyone would make that same mistake.

I laughed at those little foxes, watching them as they play on the hillside behind our house. They made me think back to the first time I heard them. I will always remember that night and I think grandma will to. She always has me tell this story to others when they visit. I enjoy sharing the memories I’ve had with my grandpa. I think it helps to keep his memory alive.

Redrafting a Query Letter


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I’m often asked, “You’re so busy, when do you find time to write?”

Of course I reply with, “I find the time.”

I do have a full schedule, or a full plate, whichever way it’s put, I am quite the busy person. Single mom, work, college, plus a huge list of other things to add that I wish not to discuss publicly. I’ve often stated when I fit in my writing. It’s usually scribbling ideas down onto paper whenever I have a free minute, such as standing in the grocery store check out lines. Then late at night, or right before class, I’ll type them up. Usually, it helps to have a printed manuscript for me to scribble on, but I always have a notebook where I keep all my notes.

Currently, I’ve been adding the last pieces to my manuscript. A sentence or two here, cut and paste that over there… As I type this, I’m 200 words shy of making 60,000 words. Wow! Well, isn’t that enough? Apparently not! It is a young adult novel, so there is a minimum and a maximum amount of words required for a publisher to actually look into publishing an author’s book…so I’ve been told…by a couple of actual publisher’s.

I didn’t come up with that entire word count over night…I wish…It took me five, long years to come up with that amount. So, you can see, I may seem to have accomplished a lot, it just took me a long time to get here. I don’t spend all of my time on the computer, writing…though some of my relatives may think otherwise.

Honestly, after hearing other authors tell me how long it’s taken them to come up with their first manuscript for a full novel, I don’t feel so bad on how long it took for me to get this far.

I’m now at the point to where I should prepare a query letter. I have written and rewritten a query letter for this manuscript, though it just hasn’t caught an agent’s attention. It’s taken me five years to write a novel with 60K words, why should it take me so long or be so hard to write up a short professional letter? Well, it is a hard market for us authors. So hard in fact, that a query letter has to have the essentials, yet catch an agents eye for them to pick you and your manuscript. It has to be perfect.

I’ve had a few ‘maybes’, but they weren’t a definite ‘yes’. So, it was back to the drawing board, so to speak. I couldn’t understand what my query letter lacked. It had all the important details; genre, word count, title, synopsis, a little bit about me…yet, no yes’s. I had a hard time coming up with my query letter. I honestly didn’t know how to write one. I had to research and research this on the internet, through the writer’s digest magazine, even thumbed through several books on ‘how to get published’.

Until one day, I had stumbled upon a blog that proved most helpful in every way. Jane Friedman, a publishing consultant, with many years of experience, had written a ‘Complete Guide To Query Letters…’ After scrolling through this post, I finally had the understanding of how my query letter should read. It clicked. The part about her ‘Hook Instruction’ was proved most helpful to me. After having a few people read my query letter, it seems that’s what it lacked, a hook.

Now it’s time for me to go re-type my query letter, though with motivation and determination that I will have the perfect one written and sent out to all those agents I’ve picked to query.

Be sure to check our Jane Friedman’s post about, ‘The Complete Guide To Query Letters That Get Manuscript Requests’. Also scroll through her other posts, you’ll find them all very helpful.

Happy writing!

Book Reviews on Amazon Actually Help


It’s a hard life/job being a small time published author, especially when you first start out. You continue to market yourself time and time again, in hopes of getting your work out there. My first year as a published author went really well. I had quite a few book signing events, which led to being invited to other events where I was able to set up a table for more book signings. I’ve sold quite a few books by myself alone; through social media, emails, word of mouth, leaving postcards here and there. But that’s just small marketing. it takes a lot more effort, time, and money to really get noticed.

Recently, I’ve been doing some research on how to boost sales, broaden my marketing area, and strengthen my marketing skills. A very good friend of mine can tell you straight away, that I’m not very good with computers, yet I try and I am a quick learner.

Social media alone is the largest self-marketing tool that I know of, but word of mouth from readers can be a much bigger step in having your work noticed.

According to Brooke Warner in her Huffington Post blog post, “book reviews on Amazon are what carries it’s weight in getting more attention with Amazon.”

“After you hit 50 (ratings), you get more visibility on Amazon.”

In this line of work, I believe reviews from readers are extremely important. It helps me, the author, know that my work is being purchased, that my work is being seen by others. It also lets me know what people actually think of what I have written. It also lets me know that my work is getting out there.

It takes a lot of time and and a lot effort to put a book together and get it out on the market, yet it takes little effort to write up a review.

If you read a book and truly love it, be sure to let the author know. There’s many webpages out there where their work is being sold. Be kind and leave a quick review. I’m a big Goodreads user and love to rate author’s books. I also click which ones I’ve read, want to read, and have purchased. I then write up a short review on what I thought of each book I’ve read. And if I loved a particular book, I let them know.

I’ve even written reviews on books and posted them here on my blog, tagging their name and a link to where you can purchase that book or see other works by that author. This all helps us authors in many ways. It gets our name out there. Word of mouth goes a long way, it is a small part of marketing, and it does help the author. You never know when someone is actually reading that review; it helps make that decision for them to purchase that book.

According to a blog entry by Mike Briggs, on author Patricia Briggs’ writing, “…that pure, dumb luck plays a major role in this phase of the game.”

He’s right. Just by posting on my blog here, I’ve been able to bring attention to my work and what I do. I’ve had guess blog spots where I talked about what I do and how I got started and why. Other author’s, whom I have reviewed and shared their work here on my blog, have seen my posts and have thanked me.

Small steps can lead to big adventures, yet you have to take those small steps.

With all that said, if you have purchased my book and would like to leave a review, click here and it will take you to Amazon. Also, feel free to purchase a copy if you haven’t already. If you would like a personal signed copy made out to someone, click here. To rate my book on Goodreads, click here.

I will be finishing up my last round of edits on my last chapter of my young adult novel and will be sending it to my editor very, very soon. After the last draft is finalized, I will be sending it off to the publisher. As always, I’ll keep everyone posted.

Cheers!