Guest Blog Post – Learning to Write Novellas by Tyora Moody

Thank you, Patricia for hosting me on your blog today. I want to thank your readers for stopping by today to learn about the Reed Family Series.

A few years ago, I decided to take a break before writing the second book in the Serena Manchester series. I felt burnt out from pumping out 75,000 – 80,000 words for the novels in both the Victory Gospel Series and Serena Manchester for my then publisher, Urban Christian. I have an existing schedule where I like to write a book for my independently published book series, Eugeena Patterson Mysteries every two years. So, I took a break from writing.

Relentless Heart by Tyora Moody

Relentless Heart by Tyora Moody

During my break, I’d noticed many authors were writing novellas which seemed to have grown popular with readers. After a few months of brainstorming I pulled together ideas about a family with five siblings. These five siblings were tested in their daily work in law enforcement as well as their personal relationships. As with many of my novels, I wanted to explore how each sibling embraces their faith as they fight to put away or expose criminals?

I really wasn’t sure at first how well-developed I could create these characters with a novella. The recommended word count for a novella is 17,500 to 40,000 words.  My Eugeena Patterson cozy mystery series come a little under 50,000 words, so I knew for me to write a well-developed story I needed to come close to 40,000 words.

On average the Reed Family novellas are 35,000 words with my most recent book, Relentless Heart coming in a little over 37,000 words. Here is synopsis below:

Assistant District Attorney Asia Reed is relentless about not losing a case. But she’s fighting a losing battle in the faith department. Now approaching forty, never married and with no children, a growing sense of unease has made her weary about her career and life.

When a former boyfriend and prominent defense attorney is gunned down in his office, Asia is jolted into action, determined to find out who’s responsible. Only hours before his death, Adam Locklear insists they meet about information she needs to know. Did Locklear’s death have anything to do with what he wanted share?

Detective Isaac Coleman seems to think so. Asia is determined to find out!

The key advice I can give with writing a novella is to keep the plots tight. I have one main plot and because I’m writing romantic suspense, the budding romance or relationship issue tends to be the one sub-plot.  With novels, I tended to have two or more sub-plots, which can get a bit complicated with wrapping up as you draw closer to the conclusion of a story. I have liked the fact with the novellas I can wrap up the main plot and sub-plot fairly easily without trying to remember the many details that comes with multiple sub-plots.

My goal when I write the first chapters are to bring out the personality and current issues facing the characters, hopefully in a way that is immediately relatable. These novellas do not have to be read in order, but I have to say writing a series helps with the character development for the next book for me.

For example, since I have introduced Asia Reed in both Broken Heart and Trouble Heart, I really felt like I could relate and share the oldest sister’s story. Also didn’t hurt that I’m the oldest sister in my family, so I knew some of the expectations that came with that sibling order. All of the sisters have a strong desire for justice, but with Asia being an ADA and the oldest, she was the more ambitious of all the sisters. I knew she would push a bit harder, because older siblings tend to be overachievers.

So far I have received pretty favorable reviews and readers are enjoying getting to know the family. Currently there are three sisters featured in three novellas, Broken Heart, Troubled Heart, and Relentless Heart. In 2018, I hope to continue the series with the two brothers. I hope you get a chance to read the sisters’ stories and please leave a review to let me know what you think.

 

Broken Heart: A Novella (Book 1)
http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Heart-Reed-Family-Book-ebook/dp/B01B9YP3M0/

Troubled Heart: A Novella (Book 2)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N58JRX4

Relentless Heart: A Novella (Book 3)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074S6JF3B/

About the Author

Tyora Moody is the author of Soul-Searching Suspense books which include the Reed Family Novellas, Eugeena Patterson Mysteries, Serena Manchester Series, and the Victory Gospel Series. She is also the author of the nonfiction book, The Literary Entrepreneur’s Toolkit, and the compilation editor for the Stepping Into Victory Compilations under her company, Tymm Publishing LLC.

As a literary-focused entrepreneur, she has assisted countless authors with developing an online presence via her design and marketing company, Tywebbin Creations LLC. Popular services include virtual event planning, book covers and book trailers.

To contact Tyora about book club discussions or for book marketing workshops, visit her online at TyoraMoody.com.

You can find her on social media at  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

 

 

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7 Things to Consider when Launching Your Book

Launching a book is one of those activities authors both love and dread. There is the tedium of the planning that can be daunting, yet the excitement of a finished product’s debut can override any of the drudgery. One thing for sure, a successful book launch is a part of your book’s marketing plan. Here are a few things to consider when launching your book:

  1. Create a “media” event, where you can invite local media and other influencers (bloggers) who will potentially report about your book and its content.
  2. If your book has a local connection, make sure you invite people who will be interested in that connection. Create a theme around that connection.
  3. Involve local vendors and make sure to create tags for their contributions and note them in any written materials related to your launch event.
  4. Hire a professional photographer to memorialize the event for you and to do post-event publicity.
  5. Send high-resolution photos to your local media and a summary of the event. Make certain people in the photos are correctly identified. Post-event publicity is a great way to market your book.
  6. Give your guests license to post updates and photos on social media. Create a simple yet effective hashtag so that you can locate them later.
  7. Livestream video periodically from your event to share with people who couldn’t attend. Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat can be useful for periodic updates during your launch.

Launches can be intimate or large in scale, depending on your budget. You can defray costs by partnering with other authors. Most important, you have an opportunity to be as creative as you desire.

Was anything left out? Please share your suggestions and recommendations in the comments.

Writing Sensation September 2017 – Victoria Kennedy

Today is the first day official day of Fall!

OMG! The end of the year is approaching quickly. I want to thank everybody for their kind support and comments on my blog site. Today, I would like to introduce you to Victoria Kennedy, another talented author. Brown Girls Books just released Victoria’s new book, and I am happy to have her as my guest author. Following is some information about Victoria and her new book “Sometimes Love.”

VICTORIA KENNEDY

Victoria Kennedy is the author of the collection, Where Love Goes, which includes the short story, The Uninvited Guest, adapted into an eponymous stage production. She is also a contributing author in The Dating Game anthology. Victoria holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts and resides in Baltimore, Maryland.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Zoë Browne is on top of the world. She is her own boss, has a business partner who doubles as her best friend, and enjoys the security of a loving, supportive family. All that’s missing is her Prince Charming–someone to save her from her happy but loveless life, just like in the pages of her beloved romance novels. When a knock on the door brings her face to face with her would-be hero, Humphrey Pearson, an arrogant but attractive curator with a chip on his shoulder, Zoë soon learns that love isn’t always meant to save the day; sometimes love is meant to change your life.

Order Online at Amazon.com

September is a Great Month for Completing Your Author Pages & Profiles

You’ve written a book or contributed a chapter yet your online author pages and profiles are unclaimed on sites that sell books or showcase books and authors. September is a great month to complete those profiles with a bio, links, and a photograph. Here are a few sites with author pages and profiles.

Amazon Central

Barnes and Noble & NOOK

Goodreads

The importance of claiming your profile is like claiming real estate. With the exception of AALBC, the profiles and pages are free. Readers – faithful and potential – like seeing an author and reading about them. A really good photo and well-written bio (not too long) can make you attractive to people seeking to buy your book(s).

Here’s another important benefit: Your name will show links to those profiles in Google searches. Increase your ability to be found by completing these profiles.

One last thing. Update your Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Instagram bios and photos too. If you have other suggestions, please post them in the comments below.

5 Unique Ways to Write Your Story

Who does not like a good memoir and autobiography? In the pages of those books inspiration, healing, hope, and sympathy can be found. Some books by or about notables can be extremely difficult to read in that the story is difficult, while other books can be enjoyable reads. The point is someone shared their story. They took the time to search their souls and pour it all out on a page.

Maybe you have a compelling story to share, but you just don’t have the time or know where to begin. Instead of writing a memoir or autobiography, why not explore other ways to write your story?

  1. Combine personal reflections and memories with recipes. Culinary memoirs are growing in popularity and have been around for years. Need an example? Read Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine or Sweetie Pie’s Cookbook.
  2. Choose one event in your life, write your perspective of it, and ask others who were there to share theirs. Collaborating on a memoir-type story can be a challenge but it also can be a great way to collect family and friend stories that were pivotal to your personal growth.
  3. Write a book of firsts. What was it like to drive a car for the first time? What happened when you had a child for the first time? How was that first date? Where did you travel alone for the first time? We all have lived a lifetime of firsts that we rarely discuss or remember but would make for a great memoir-type book.
  4. Pick one person who impacted your life and write remembrances of them. The chapters do not have to be in chronological order. You can just write what you loved or did not love about someone, experiences with that person, and unpack memories of that person.
  5. Write a book with chapters that discuss all of your favorite things. Tell us about your love for apple pie or ice skating. We all have at least 20 favorite things, which can be at least 20 good chapters. Tell us why you love that thing and when it all began.

You’ve been given 5 unique ways to write your story, but truth is, there are as many unique ways as there are people. Pray and meditate for your way, and tell your story.

Writing Sensation September 2017 – Raye Mitchell, Esq.

CREATIVE WRITING FOR JUSTICE – MAYBE IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY

Welcome back, everybody! Today, I am thrilled to be presenting a special guest author, Raye Mitchell, Esq. Raye, who is also my first cousin on my mother’s side, is excited to share the story of her literary journey and other adventures.

PB: How did you get here? How did you get to be a writer?

I have considered myself a storyteller and writer all my life in one form or another. In spite of this, a different question is when did I decide to go public with this passion and persistent drive to be a writer of non-fiction and fiction works and why?

Several years ago my inside voice that craved to be a writer succeeded in overtaking my outside voice that consistently focused on perfecting my skills as an entrepreneur, businesswoman, and attorney. Upon reflection, it is now clear that I had been fully engaged as a creative writer all the time by merging my professional commitment to advocating, justice, and fairness by writing about my experiences with the civil justice system and persuading juries to return justice for my clients in situations of injustice.

PB: Why did you want to expand your journey as a writer?

A lot of us believe, like I did, that while we have a writer hidden within our spirit that is yearning to have that creative urge unleashed, we had to wait for some moment to announce its birth. I was wrong. My job and my career have always been focused on creative storytelling in other forums like business and law. Then, one day, I discovered that I had a duty to unite my passion and that absolute desire to just get something out of your head and into the real world by focusing on creative writing as a means to help people find justice, have their voices heard, and their stories told.

In my case, the signs and call to take action on those secret dreams are ever present in our lives. Sometimes, they are subtle; sometimes they ride in like a fifty-foot tsunami. I think my “ah-hah” moment came over the course of several years of seemingly unrelated defining moments. Some I remember; some are more a murky blur at this time. I remembered one day in March 2014; I was hit with an invisible fifty-foot tsunami to just engage in creative writing out loud. It was a defining moment.

PB: Can you describe that defining moment when you decided to be a full-time writer?

Yes. The moment is as fresh in my mind as if it had happened today. It happened around 2010. Inspired by my humble encounter with an apparently homeless woman, Margie, I began assembling a collection of words of self-respect and success from notable female role models, past and present, and produced an anthology based on quotes to inspire and inform. The story of Margie first appeared in my first major book entitled, The Evolution of Brilliance: Voices Celebrating the Importance of Women” (ISBN: 0-97-86658-2-1).

The story of Margie began outside a high profile restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia. Margie approached me outside of this very expensive restaurant. For some reason, Margie, who appeared to be homeless, singled me out of a group of at least twenty people. Looking me directly in the eye, she said, “Can you help me?” She was carrying a cup meant to collect loose change. Assuming myself to be polite and assuming she only sought money, I turned to leave and simply said, “Sorry. I cannot help tonight.” I turned to leave. Margie stepped in closer, and the men in my group started to make a protective move, but we all stopped. Margie then said, “Can I ask you something?”

“Yes,” I replied. Without hesitation, she added, “How can you say you cannot help me when you do not know what help I need?”

I stopped, and for the first time that night, I looked into Margie’s eyes and made a personal connection, realizing that she may have just been trying to advance her life utilizing the only tools she had at her disposal. I said, “You know, you are right. What help do you need?” All Margie wanted was prayer and the chance to be counted as a person in this world as she strived to rebuild her life. Even though I was a stranger and she knew nothing about me, I was humbled that she entrusted me with her simple request for help. Margie’s story and my decision to be a published writer thus came to life in 2011.

PB: What are you most passionate about in your writing?

The story of Margie and the Evolution of Brilliance is where I launched into the reality that I can advocate for justice through creative writing, writing both non-fiction and fiction, and still be a creative writer. Free of the internal judgments and harsh criticisms we launch upon ourselves, as a writer who dares to put her thoughts on paper or the Internet for the world to see, we are exposing our secret selves and opening our safe spaces to public scrutiny and comment. I decided over several years ago that I could own and release the inter-storyteller locked inside of me that had been present since I was a young girl by being a published writer. I call it creative justice writing.

PB: What do you mean by creative justice writing?

Creative justice writing is about writing to inspire and celebrate personal courage change outcomes by telling the stories of those people that do not always have a voice. In my stories, I strive to educate, entertain and advocate for young woman and girls to be the champion of their success. I currently write practical nonfiction works but will release my first fiction work in 2018.

PB:   What have you been working on this year?

I am excited that I have two new books coming out this year and working on a third. Soon, I am expecting to review the final print file for my book “When They Go Low. ‘We Go High. How Women of Color Master the Art of Persuasion to Win Big Battles.”

Coincidently timed with the release of “What Happened” by Hillary Rodham Clinton, my book goes in a different direction. Applying the lessons learned from leaders like Michelle Obama, and addressing the needs of millions of women of color, influencers, and persuaders, this book is about cracking the code on how Black women master persuasion, influence, negotiations, and life in general.

In this book, I share some of the secrets of what it takes to maintain integrity when locked in tough negotiations, critical battles, and the wide range of power struggles that we encounter every day, to advance ourselves.

PB: What is your second book about?

My second book is a non-fiction work supporting our young Black women and girls. It is entitled ‘Invisible Radically Changing the Game for Young Black Women and Girls.’

Make no mistake, our young Black women and girls are under siege. They are incredibly brilliant, impressive and engaging young women, but are required to meet and beat the challenges of not just ‘disappearing’ and being rendered ‘irrelevant.’ In addition to growing strong as young people, and as young women, they have to rise above negative stereotypes, negative media messages and a real world sense that no one sees them as being vital next-generation global leaders.

However, in the words of Tracee Ellis Ross, when accepting the honor of her first Golden Globe award for her role in ABC’s, “Black-ish,” she said:

“This is for all of the women, women of color, and colorful people whose stories, ideas, and thoughts are not always considered worthy and valid and important.  But, I want you to know that I see you. We see you.”

Invisible No More is not a call to action, but it presents a plan of action so that our young Black women and girls will be seen. It is inspirational in scope and practical in implementation of innovative solutions that will support young Black women and girls and those agencies that support them to rise-up and lead change.

Raye Mitchell, Esq., is the Chief Learning Officer and Dean of Executive Leadership Development at the Winning Edge Institute. A graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business (MBA), Ms. Mitchell is an experienced mediator, arbitrator, and an expert in negotiations, conflict resolution, and bridge-building. The Winning Edge Institute provides negotiation training, consulting, advising, and coaching in negotiations, mediation, and interventions on workplace conflict matters, business diplomacy, and deal-making. With a focus on accelerating women and women of color as global influencers and global leaders in negotiations and dispute resolution, Raye Mitchell can be reached for speaking events and keynotes on matters about young Black women and girls.

Email: raye@rayemitchell.com
Web: www.thewinningedgeinstitute.com
www.drrayemitchell.com
Twitter: @drrayemitchell

 

Encourage Yourself, Writers and Creatives

The writing life or any life that is creative is often different than the lives of friends, family, and our networks. Being creative is not often understood or regarded as a legitimate way of existing. At best, it is regarded as a hobby or over-glamorized. Some people in our circles will not view what we do, and the sacrifices required, as anything more than a pipedream. And that is why it is important keep one’s self encouraged through the process and journey.

Here are 5 ways to remain encouraged:

  1. Recognize that you should not expect everyone to embrace your choice to write or be a creative.
  2. Recognize that the only choices that count are yours. If what you’re doing is not reckless or harmful to a soul, especially you, then remind yourself that you take accountability for your choice to create and you will continue to commit to that choice.
  3. Recognize that there are fans and there are supporters. Show appreciation to both, but express gratitude to those who support you just because…
  4. Recognize that not everyone will affirm you or your work. The most important thing is that you affirm your own work and you.
  5. Recognize that you can show people better than you can tell them. Don’t talk about what you’re doing, show people what you’ve done.

There are some very practical things you can do to encourage yourself. Seek out bible passages that focus on unusual callings and unusual victories (David, Daniel, Joseph, Mary…). Read the memoirs of great innovators. Most importantly, do not give up.

How do you encourage yourself? Tell us in the comments, please.