Tag Archives: blogging

Are Authors Introverts?


What is an introvert? An introvert is someone who prefers a quiet atmosphere, who spends a lot of time alone, avoiding social interactions. Almost sounds like a recluse, doesn’t it? Well, those are two separate entities.

Authors spend quite a bit of time slumped over a computer, eagerly typing away on our current work-in-progress (WIP). The desperate need to meet a deadline, or the need to pound out everything our creative muse is giving us before they decidedly take a break, because, they do that sometimes. We tend to ignore the outside world, quite busy in our own little world(s). So, you can see why it is that we would be introverts.

Most of us require a certain space to write in. I know I do. I often need it to be quiet to think if I get stuck somewhere in a story. Sometimes, I have to change it up a bit to get my creative juices flowing. Often times, I will change up my writing locations; watch a certain TV series; read a book series in the genre I am currently writing in, all just to get me on the right track. Once the creativity gets going, it flows and I keep typing away, or I jot everything down as it comes to me.

I am a huge note taker when I cannot find the time to sit behind a computer. I have a shelf full of notebooks with a plethora of ideas, character profiles, scenes, plots, storylines, etc and so on. I carry a notebook with me everywhere, including having one on my nightstand. Most nights, I’m too tired to sit at the computer and write, but once I lay down I’m often hit with ideas on my current work-in-progress and would start to scribble them down into my notebook.

I’m often asked how I find the time to write? Being a single mom and having a special needs kiddo, as well as a job, it’s hard, but I find the time; I wait till she goes to bed, I write during my lunch breaks, I write while waiting in the school line, I write on my days off when she’s at school. I don’t need to explain my day-to-day, but finding the time to write can be done.

No, I’m not the kind of author that can type up 50,000 words in a month. I mean, that would be nice, but those are the kind of people who don’t have a job to head out to or kids to take care of, or if they did have kids, they have someone else to help them out. Me, I can type up around 500 – 1200 words in a day. One day, I typed up over 2500 words, but that was on my day off from work and I didn’t have any errands to run or chores to do. Those are rare days, too!

Every author is different. We all have our own styles or methods in doing what we do, to achieve getting our book written. There are those who can publish 10 or more titles a year, but that also goes along with what I just mentioned. Or, some of those titles aren’t full-length novels, to which I can see publishing that many short stories a year. I’ve published three titles this year; two were short stories and one was a novel, but I had been working on my novel for almost eight years.

I’ve grown accustomed to staying home on my days off my day job to work – as an author. My author business is a second job. There’s a lot that goes into it other than writing that next book. Marketing would be a big factor that goes into being a published author. Emails to answer or to send out, a webpage or blog to maintain, book orders to mail, events to prepare for. Those are just a few things I’ve mentioned. There is a whole lot that goes with being an author, especially if you’re an indie author. Even when I was traditionally published, I still had a lot of marketing to do on my end. It’s my work and I had to get the word out there on it or else I wouldn’t be making a cent. You can’t sell your books if no one knows it’s out there.

I tend to take breaks from social media. These days, you have to. I find myself getting lost on Pinterest. So many good recipes I need to try, or cute crafts my kiddo would enjoy, lol! If I need to focus on meeting my deadlines, it’s a must to take a break from the internet.

Introverts can be great listeners. Not all introverts are socially awkward or rude. Some introverts enjoy not being in the spotlight, or would rather refrain from speaking to a large crowd of people. Some introverts are more comfortable writing than speaking. Not everyone is great at public speaking or has a way with words when it comes to a conversation. Authors tend to use their way with words in their work and like an introvert, it may take many revisions to get out what it is we’re trying to say.

 

 

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Chaos My YA Fantasy Book is Now Available


Chaos Cover EBOOK

I’m happy to say that my young adult fantasy fiction novel, Chaos, the first in my Supernatural Realms Series is finally available.

I have worked on it for quite a long time that I am overly ecstatic to finally hold a copy in my hands!

You can get it on Amazon as an ebook or a paperback, or on my website: www.twistedcrowpress.com

Essential Oil Diffuser For Those with Sinusitis


diffuser

Due to allergies toward dust and mold, I suffer from chronic sinusitis. It can be annoying when working around important people all day in a state office; having to dash off to the restroom to blow my nose or use my prescription nose spray every half hour or so. I needed to find something else that would help clear this up. Allergy meds and nose spray wasn’t working that well.

After consulting with a few friends who work in the medical field, they had each recommended I try essential oils. I had never thought to even try them until I was in an IEP meeting at school and one of my daughter’s therapists had one in her office. She currently had been overcoming bronchitis and was using her essential oil diffuser. After twenty minutes of sitting there, I could tell that it was actually working for me.

My local store only had a few of the small diffusers, so I checked online to see what I could find. Amazon had some for the same price my local store had, except Amazon’s was much bigger and seemed to do a lot more.

I purchased one of them, as well as a few essential oils that was recommended to me. One of those essential oils is called Breathe Easy and it’s for those with nasal congestion. I also purchased the lavender as I love the smell.

After using my essential oil diffuser at home for a few days, I can tell a big difference. Only wished that I could take it to work with me, lol!

Homemade Avocado Hummus


avocados-in-bowl-(1)

A few years ago, I had worked a booth with the Anthropology Club at the farmers market at Bernice Gardens in Little Rock. Some farmer’s markets are quite a venue to visit; some are big, some are small, nevertheless, Bernice Gardens is quite the atmosphere mixed with farmers, artisans, artists, and a few food trucks.

While I was there I walked around visiting each booth, trying homemade pastries, freshly brewed coffee that was locally grown and roasted, homemade goat cheese, and homemade hummus. I purchased fresh produce from some of the farmers, some pastries, and some hummus. Now and then I have gone back, mostly for an Anthropology class, but to also support the local farmers and artisans. Plus, I had lived close enough, until now as I had moved further away.

The other day, my boss brought in a container of hummus that she had made herself. I asked her what all she put in there and it seemed an easy recipe that I didn’t know why I hadn’t made it myself before. She told me a variety of recipes she uses and I decided to try one for myself. However, if you don’t have a food processor like me, you can still make this using a mixer or a blender.

2 Avocadoes, peeled and seeded

1 can of cooked and drained chickpeas

1/4 tsp of cumin

1/4 tsp of paprika or pepper

1/4 tsp of curry (optional)

1 lemon, squeezed into the ingredients

2 tbsp of olive oil

1/4 tsp salt

If you are using a mixer, you may have to blend for a few mins until ingredients are well blended. Blender or food processor would work better.

Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing, Pros and Cons


There’s a big difference between choosing to publish traditionally than there is to self-publish. I have listed a few pros and cons that should help you choose.

Traditional:

Pros:

  • You have a chance of seeing your work in a lot of stores, especially the big name bookstores.
  • It isn’t as costly to publish, but it does come out of your sales.

 

Cons:

  • You have to market yourself. The publishing company is putting their faith in you when it comes to marketing your work. They’re making money off of this, too!
  • You have to sign a contract. If your work isn’t selling, your contract will be forfeit. Your publisher will drop you.
  • Publishers pay you 15-30% royalties.
  • Agents charge you at least 15-20%.
  • Not all publishers give you an advance. If they do, you don’t get paid till your books earn every penny the publisher gave you in your advance.
  • If you publish one book with a publisher in one genre, then write another book in a different genre, you may have to find a different publisher for that second book as your publisher may only publish a certain genre.
  • It takes a year, up to three years to get your work published.
  • If you queried an agent, it make take weeks or months for them to respond. Then it takes longer to read and edit your work. Then it takes even longer for them to find the right publisher for you and to get said publisher to accept your work.
  • You may have to change your story, plot, characters.
  • You don’t get the say in the formatting, cover design, pricing.
  • You may not get to publish your book the way you want such as paperback, hardback, audio, and ebook. Sometimes, you are only able to publish one or two of those styles.

 

Self-Publishing:

Pros:

  • You are your own boss. No contracts.
  • You set your own prices. You can also decide when to put everything on sale.
  • Sort of a pro and a con… If you want to see your books in a bookstore, you have to pay (a small fee) to use a certain service. If you want to see your books in the big name bookstores, you will have to write up a press release, requesting your work be placed on their shelves.
  • You can publish whatever genre you want, using whatever self-publishing service you want. Granted, there is a limit to publishing EVERYTHING.
  • It takes 3-12 days to have your work published, depending on the length of your manuscript, formatting, etc.
  • You get to choose your cover design – hire a professional, unless you are the professional.
  • You are paid 35-80% in royalties (Amazon will pay you 35% if your book is priced below $2.99, but will pay you 70% if it’s $2.99 or above.)
  • If you choose not to be an author anymore, you don’t have to wait on a contract to end, you can cancel your books at any time.
  • You can publish your book the way you like; ebook, paperback, audio, hardback. Plus, you can choose the size of the book.

Cons:

  • You market everything yourself, as if you weren’t already. You don’t make money if you don’t market your work.
  • Self-Publishing has a bit of a bad name to it, some people think that your work will be rubbish and not bother giving you a chance. You have to show them that they’re wrong.
  • You have to spend a little bit more out of pocket for services, such as editing, cover design, formatting, but you can budget yourself on this. Pro: I’ve learned to format my own work to save me money. It isn’t that hard. You can do your own cover design if you are very familiar with Photoshop and your cover designs look really good.

 

Hopefully I have answered some of your questions. If I missed something, message me. You can find me on Facebook. I am working on making some Youtube videos to share my writing/publishing journey with everyone.

If you haven’t already, check out my webpage: www.twistedcrowpress.com

Cheers,

JA

A Coffee that I Love, Plus it Gives to Charity


I am a huge coffee drinker. I have at least a travel-sized mug every morning to help me get through my work day. On occasion, I tend to walk across the street to a certain coffee chain and get myself a mocha frappe, if not a house blend coffee. I am also a fan of giving to charity, especially when it comes to children.

A few months ago, I was shopping with my dad when I spotted a new coffee that we had not seen before called, Laughing Man. I thought it had an interesting title and read the side panels around the box when I spotted actor Hugh Jackman’s picture on it. Always willing to try new things, I picked up a box of the medium roast called, Dukale’s Blend, and a box of the dark roast called, Columbia Huila, as well as one of each of the sampler boxes that they had.

When I got home, I googled Laughing Man coffee and their website came up and I was happy to see that proceeds made from my purchase goes toward a charity called, Laughing Man Foundation. It was like a bonus for me. Not to mention, the coffee tastes even better than the off-brand coffee that I had been buying.

So far, I’ve been favoring the darker roast, Columbia Huila. It has a hint of dark chocolate added to it. I mean, that’s another bonus for me … chocolate! There was only one problem. I have to drive thirty-five minutes to a store that carries this brand of coffee, as the small store just down the street doesn’t. Thing about living in a small town. The store doesn’t carry that much due to it’s small size. Good thing for Amazon, as I have been purchasing my coffee in bulk, if not, I have to wait until I can find the time to go for a drive to the store that carries it.

From Traditional to Indie Author


Some people think that indie authors make a lot of money from their books, or that they have a lot of money to self-publish.

Not entirely true.

Indie authors don’t get paid much for their books because some people would rather buy a $25.00 – $29.00 book written by a traditionally published author, plus the tax from the chain store that they purchased said book from. Indie books aren’t priced nearly as high and some of us aren’t found in large chain stores. However, it takes some leg work on our part to get our books on those shelves and at times, we aren’t always accepted.

Some people sneer when you say you’re an indie author as they think that anyone who self-publishes their work writes complete rubbish.

Not entirely true.

It is true that some of those who self-publish their work may skip the steps it takes to publish a good book, which can give the rest of us, who go through the checklist of things to do before publishing, a bad rep; editing being the first on the checklist.

There are many reasons why a lot of us authors are going the self-publishing route.

  1. Royalties – You don’t have to go through another person to get your royalty check. There were times when I didn’t receive a royalty check. And when I did, it wasn’t much to brag about. With self-publishing, you can receive a higher percentage of royalties than you would at a traditional publishing company. So, yes, the royalties are much better as an indie author. You’re not getting a smaller percentage.
  2. Marketing – I paid my publisher money to market my work for me and it was a waste of money. As an indie author, you do all the marketing yourself. True, it may cost a bit of money, but you can choose where to market and how much to spend. There are places that are free, and there are places that will charge you. I may be doing all the work marketing my work, but I know it’s getting done. Plus, I was doing most of the leg work when I was a traditionally published author anyway.
  3. Cover art/illustrations – A lot of times, authors don’t have a say as to what the cover looks like, or has a limited choice. As an indie author, you will have to find someone to do the book covers for you.
  4. Editing – At times, you would have to cut out a lot of things out of your work, or would be asked to redo a lot of things, or change up characters. As an indie author, you don’t have to do that if you don’t want to. However, it is highly suggested to find yourself a good editor to fix all of your grammar and punctuation.
  5. Pricing – As a traditional author, you don’t have the capabilities of setting and changing the price of your book as you would as an indie author. Plus, I can choose to publish as both, an ebook and a paperback. Whereas, I wasn’t allowed that opportunity as a traditional published author.

Basically, as an indie author, you are more in charge of what happens to your work and how much you get paid for it. But, not all of us publish complete rubbish. We’re the mom-and-pop to the big name brand chain. We need your business just as equally, if not more. We have a family to take care of, too, lol!

Bad editing and or book covers is what gives self-publishing it’s awful reputation. As the saying goes, ‘You have to spend money to make money’. As an author, traditional or indie, you’re spending money to make money. If you’re not spending money on services that molds and shapes your work into perfection, then you’re not making money.

If you visited my website, www.twistedcrowpress.com head over there and click subscribe to keep posted. All ebooks are $0.99 right now on Amazon, or FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

Chaos, the first book in my young adult series Supernatural Realms, comes out 27 March. I will be running promos for it for two weeks. Be sure to subscribe to my website, or follow my author page on Facebook.

Cheers,

JA

A Book is a Perfect Fit for an Easter Basket


Easter is April 1st this year. Dana’s First Fish is the prefect size for any Easter basket.
I only have a few copies left, so get yours today before they’re all gone.
Dana's First Fish

Love your authors? Leave them a review on Amazon and or Goodreads.

Amazon Kindle Fire for Kids


Kindle Fire

For Christmas my daughter (8 year old) and I each received a Kindle Fire. I needed one for myself for work and I thought I would get her one as well thinking that it was time for her to upgrade from her original Kindle. However, her older Kindle, which I had purchased back in 2012 still works, amazingly! I had written a post a while back on it, which you can read here. It is still going without any issues, scratches, or cracks.

Now, she has two.

Her newer Kindle is smaller in size, yet has some really neat features that her older Kindle does not have. There are two profiles you can switch to; a kid side and the regular side. The regular side you are able to set up a pin code to use to log into it. You can also have the parental controls set on this side as well, which is an awesome feature that I love! Thank you, Amazon!

The kid side is brightly colorful and very kid friendly. It has five features; home, books, videos, apps, characters, plus a camera and a search bar. The books feature is one of my favs, as well as my daughter’s. She can download whatever children’s ebook she wants to her kindle and read it anywhere we go. It’s just like using the Kindle Unlimited program, but with children’s books. You can download as many ebooks onto the Kindle, then once you’re done reading them, you can delete them off of the device.

My only recommendations is that if your child loves to read or play games, get the Kindle with more space, or buy an SD card (which is a new feature compared to her older Kindle that I love). Also, you can purchase a shock proof case with a handle, which is a nifty tool as my kiddo carries it easily wherever she goes.

Cold and Flu Season is Still Here


flu_0

The joys of surviving the cold and flu season. Will I get sick? Do I need the flu shot? When is the best time for the flu shot? What are the flu symptoms again? Wait, my co-worker sounds like they might have the flu!

This year, the flu bug has been around, if not some sort of nasty virus or two. Luckily, we’ve dodged the flu bug, three times this season. Unluckily, my daughter has caught two viruses.

A while back I had posted about  Alka Seltzer vs Nyquil. I have only had the flu once and wouldn’t want to wish it on anyone. Maybe is was also due to having strep throat on top of the flu. Yes, I tested positive for both nastiness.

Ever since then, I have been trying to maintain a health lifestyle by eating healthier, exercising more. Being a single mom, and an autism mom at that, I tend to stay quite busy. My healthy eating habits are a hit and miss; depends on how full my schedule is. But, I do tend to meet my daily step quota, if not I overachieve it.

At times, it gets hard to keep up with everything when keeping a very busy schedule. Some things I’ve learned when it’s this time of year is to up my Vitamin-C intake, especially if I have to be surrounded by people who seemed to have a cold, and you pray it isn’t the flu and drink plenty of water … not too much.

I take Airborne if I know the flu bug is in the office or if I start to feel a bit sluggish, as if I am coming down with something myself, I take Emergen-C. They both come in different flavors.

Alka Selzer Cold still helps out, much better than Nyquil, lol! And I’ve learned to stock up on all of this stuff, as a just in case scenario, especially this year as bad as the flu has been.

Stock up on the Lysol and hand sanitizer and Kleenex, too!