Writing for Young Adults- Fantasy for the Rest of Us

When you think about young people (teens, tweens, middle-graders) you can’t help but think of the word “trends.”  What’s the latest in clothes, games, gear, gadgets, actors and singers, and even books.  Many authors try to ride the wave of trends, and now with instant publishing for ebook readers, it’s becoming more and more possible to fit a book into a trendy theme, topic or genre.

For a while, it may be vampires, then it might be zombies, and then it might be dystopia.  Who really knows what is coming up next?  What’s an author to do?  I think writing to the market is precarious at best, even though there are many writers who have already succeeded in doing so.

The question that I have to ask myself is this:  Ultimately, am I writing to make money, or writing for my readers?  At the risk of sounding flippant, I think the answer is “Yes.”  But seriously, even though I make my living as a writer, as others do selling real estate, managing an office, etc., I still feel that my primary duty is to my readers, regardless of their age.

For that reason, when I write YA Fantasy, I try not to write in such a narrow way that only a handful of people can enjoy.  My hope is that people who read all other kinds of fiction will enjoy my version of YA Epic Fantasy.  But I run the risk of incurring the ire of the elite, the proud and the few purists of certain genres.  Make no mistake, I have never intended to upset those readers who hold my writing up to the standards of J.R.R. Tolkien, etc., but I want to just tell a story that will resonate with people who’ve never even heard of Lord of the Rings, and possibly introduce them to a wonderful genre which they might not have otherwise read.

Based on the feedback I’ve gotten for Once We Were Kings, I think it’s working.  If you’re not too uptight about epic fantasy being exactly proper Tolkien-like writing, then there’s a good chance you might enjoy my book.  Many readers have told me that they never read Fantasy, but did enjoy Once We Were Kings.  And still others who read fantasy, have told me they enjoyed it and would recommend it as an introduction to the genre for readers young and old.

I hope you’ll give it a try, and I welcome your thoughts.  Please connect with me through my social links below:

Guest post by Ian Alexander, bestselling author of “Once We Were Kings.” Winner of the 2011 International Book Awards, Joshua Graham writing as Ian Alexander, wrote this book at the request of his then 6-year old son who is a fan of The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, and Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind.  The request yielded not only the first book ONCE WE WERE KINGS, but a series, the sequels of which will soon be released.

ONCE WE WERE KINGS is a Young Adult Fantasy novel, but has been enjoyed by thousands of readers world-wide from young adult to senior.  It has been a #1 bestseller on two Religious Science Fiction & Fantasy lists on Amazon and is available in Kindle Edition and Hardcover Edition as well.  
Visit the official Ian Alexander Website at:
On Facebook:

Read More

Who owns the copyright when you’re ghost-writing?

Writers and Authors reader Diane Lacelle recently asked the question "If a writer was hired to write a book for an author, who has the rights to the copyrights and everything else? The writer or the author?"

This is a very complex question to answer but the simple reply is "it depends". 

Usually it's the “author” a writer is ghosting for that holds the copyright to the work, but it’s best to actually spell that out in the contract. There may also be exceptions which need to be clearly stated.

I'm not an expert about derivative rights, copyright and all those legal bits that become part of a writers life at some point but my advice is to always study the contract very carefully before signing and if possible get a patent, copyright and trademark attorney to read over the contract too.

If in doubt, don't sign.

N.B. Copyright is not enforceable in the courts until it has been registered in the Copyright Office. This of course assuming that the Copyright Office first determines that the particular writing is subject to being copyrighted.

Have you dealt with copyright issues as a ghost-writer? Got some advice to share from your own experience?

Image source: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Examine_copyright_icon.svg
Read More

QR Codes for writers

Have you heard of QR Codes yet? Here's a quick introduction:

What are QR Codes?

QR Codes look like this:
This one takes you to my site www.JoLinsdell.com

QR is short for Quick Response (they can be read quickly by a mobile phone). They are used to take a piece of information from a transitory media and put it in to your mobile phone. The reason why they are more useful than a standard barcode is that they can store and digitally present a much larger amount of data, including url links, text and even geo coordinates. A key feature of QR Codes is that many modern mobile phones can scan them. The full Wikipedia description is here.

How do you generate a QR Code?

You can easily generate a QR code using a site like Kaywa.com or Mobile-barcodes.com. Many other sites also have QR code generator tools including Google (but it has limited functions).
How can writers use QR Codes?
You could use QR codes in a number of ways:
  • You might auto generate one next to every book/product on your web site containing all the product details and the purchasing link. 
  • You could add one to your business card containing your contact details so its easy for someone to add you to their contacts on their mobile phone.
  • Add them to any print advertising, flyers, posters, invites, etc... containing information like; product details, contact details, your author bio, your book blurb, offer details, event details, competition details, a coupon, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn profile links or a link to your YouTube video.
  • You can encode a SMS message ready for your followers to send to a friend e.g. message encouraging the recipient to buy your latest novel.

I personally used one on my website for the home-schooler kit I created to be used with my book 'Italian for Tourists'

QR codes are a simple yet powerful way to expand your marketing potential. 

Are you using QR Codes? Can you think of any other ways they could be useful for writers?
Read More

I've written a book, now what?

Congratulations you've written a book and have either found a publisher or gone the self publishing route. Now you need to market it. But you're a writer and have no idea of where to start. You're not alone. A lot of writers don't realise that they will have a second job once they become a published author. Marketing can take more time and effort that actually writing the book! It is however part of the package and essential if you want to build a reputation and sell copies. Don't panic though it doesn't have to be difficult or expensive.

Here's a simple guide to get you started.

Step 1.
Have a website. This is the most important marketing item and your 'home' online. Having your own domain name will look more professional. 

Info to include on your website:

  • an author bio
  • an author photo
  • your book details (ISBN, book blurb, cover art, reviews, purchasing links etc...)
  • contact details (a contact button is enough but people should be able to at least send you an email).
Step 2.
Have a blog. This can be an alternative to step one or an additional marketing tool (but should include all the above mentioned info some where on site)

Try to post regularly in order to build an audience. A few ideas for content:
  • latest book reviews
  • info about events you're taking part in
  • your life as a writer
  • background about your books/characters/settings etc...
  • excerpts from your books
  • advice to other writers drawing on your own experience
  • video book trailers
Step 3.
Use social media. Set up a Facebook page and a Twitter account making sure to personalise your profiles for best results. Feed your blog to post updates automatically to your profiles to save you time. Use these profiles to network and to reach out to your target market but also to build a reputation. You are the brand.

Step 4.
Organise a virtual tour. Now you've started to build an online presence it's time to draw in an audience. During your tour direct people to your website and social media profiles so you can continue to connect with them in the future. It also gives them a way to find out more about you and your projects, hopefully turning them into fans.
Be sure to thank all your hosts and to answer all questions/comments left on posts.

This is a very brief guide just to get you started but should help give you an idea of the sorts of things you need to be doing in order to market your books.

When marketing remember that you are the answer. Who and why should people be interested in you and your books? What are you offering them? Keep this in mind and it should help you stay focussed on your marketing goals.

Have you got some marketing tips to share?
Read More

Writing a book series

A screenwriter named Jason Connolley read my first horror novel, Fiend: The Manifestation, the other day. He liked it, spread the word about it, and reviewed it on Amazon.com and a few other sites. He then got back to me and asked, "So, when can I take a look at the sequel?"

The question hit me like a brick to the face. The sequel? Well, I have already started on a sequel. More than started, I have finished a sequel. It still has to be edited and polished, but it is there. But, I had never thought, just months after the release of the first, that I would be getting questioned about the sequel. This was an eye opening experience for me because it gave me a real taste of how the literary community works and the speed at which it operates. Writers don't have the time to sit back and enjoy the release of their most recent work. As soon as it is out, the gears have to shift into one of two other modes: either marketing the work that was just completed, or starting on that new project that just popped into your head. I have done quite a bit of online marketing for Fiend: The Manifestation, and more is planned now that the paper copies are set to be released on Amazon, B&N.com, and in brick and mortar stores. But, the time has now come for me to focus on the sequel.

Fiend: The Gathering Darkness, picks up just minutes after where The Manifestation ended. After reading through the rough draft, Jason Connolley said that he likes it more than the first because, "It moves just as fast as the first one but packs more horror and twists." I agree with him. While the first novel is set in a demonic world filled with monsters and other nightmares, The Gathering Darkness takes place in our world but with the horrors from the first crossing over to exist in our reality. It makes for a believable nightmare that begs the reader to question what they believe in. The next step in the process, get the sequel edited and get it on the shelves. After that, market and start on the next step.

The funny thing is, right after Connolley finished reading the sequel he said, "Man, that one was great. Now, how about the third?"

Guest post by Phil Bolos
Read More

Writing from the heart

I guess the old adage of write what you know really rings true when writing about your fine self. Although of course, there are the exceptional cases when you end up writing about what you know but to suit what other people want to hear, or more precisely, how they want to hear it.
Whenever I wrote as a youngster I always felt under a lot of pressure to write in a style that suited other people, but I felt that this not only made it difficult to put my ideas into words, but even to come up with the ideas in the first place.
When I first started working on my latest book, a memoir coving a 6 month cycling trip around Europe on a recumbent trike, I toyed with several styles. Initially, I wanted to write an amusing ditty entitled “Encounters of a third wheel” which would be a series of very short stories and anecdotes about things that happened to me on my way round. As much as I loved the idea of a piece into which readers could dip, I found that the disconnection of all the elements actually detracted from the overall value of the work and what I had gone through.
I then set about looking at a “dear diary” approach (ironically, my original opening paragraph for my final draft parodied this) but once again I found that compartmentalizing my experiences ended up in a jerky incoherent piece.
I wanted something that flowed like a torrent. When I tell people about my trip, it tends to gush out in waves and I wanted this to be the feeling of my writing too. And to that end I found that a continuous internal dialogue really hit the spot. I may as well have used a Dictaphone, as my primary goal was to be able to read it as if I was having a conversation with someone.
To this end, I put all my notes and a diaries that I had kept at the time, to the side and started with an entirely blank canvas (I did not even refer to an atlas) and recalled every detail from memory (of course I cross checked some of the spelling of places names etc). This had the effect of giving me a very brutal and realistic recollection of all the sights, sounds, feelings and emotions of each section of my trip.
In fact, I was so keen to keep the prose continuous that I very seriously considered having only 1 chapter in my book – the trip. Of course I swiftly realised that this would be untenable and opted for the next best option of using countries to define the chapters. This also led to the quirky nature of having chapter numbers subdivided as I revisited various countries during my trip (for instance there is a 15a, 15b and 15c as I returned to one country no less than 3 times during my voyage). To be honest, I wasn’t too bothered if this was logical or not – my whole trip defied logic, and this, I felt, added to the slight absurdity of it.
There is of course the language – another bone of contention that often stymies creativity. When I talk, I make up words to describe exactly what I want to say as unusually or directly as necessary. I felt that because this book was an extension of myself and my travels, to use idiosyncratic language was the only plausible course of action. If I refrained from it, then it was not me talking. Too often are books critiqued for failing to embrace the language of the subject - college girls who talk like uptight baronesses or well spoken professors who slip into colloquialisms inadvertently. Of course I am not perfect… If I was you would all know of me by now! But it is something that I felt strongly about and resisted much ‘editorial/proof readership’ pressure to reign in my language. I swear and make up words in real life, so why not in my book about me?
On the flipside of this is the use of specific cultural references, to which I have been made acutely aware recently when I was working on my opening paragraphs (with the help of various forums online). It simply did not occur to me that American and British had such different words for day to day items, or that not everyone watched the exact programs I watched as a kid.
I know that I should go through my work and remove such references (or figures of speech and thought) but I feel that it is part of me, and if people think I am a smeg-head for leaving them in… well, it happens! However, knowing this now, I would endeavour in my next book to keep the humour neutral or universal.
I think that humour is always the hardest aspect in a book – serious books with sudden flashes of humour/jokes/quips just end up leaving a weird feeling… Although I consider my work ‘serious’, I never tried to write it in a serious fashion, and in fact aim to ridicule myself and anyone/thing around me at every opportunity. For me laughter is a gift and if I can give it… the more the merrier.
Guest post by Alex Chklar 
Read More


Inspiration for a good story can come from anywhere.

Watching children play.
An argument with a spouse or friend.

All it takes is observant eyes and an open mind for the ordinary, mundane things in life to inspire what you write.

Finding inspiration to carry on with living an ordinary, mundane life can be a bit harder to find.  For me, though, I don’t have to look much further than my own home to find the perfect inspiration to keep moving forward, no matter how ordinary, mundane, and even unfair my life can be.

My inspiration comes from my mother, Irma McFall.

My mom is a wonderful woman.  Sure, a lot of girls say that about their mothers.  Maybe I am a little biased, but I think she is the most amazing woman ever to live.

I wouldn’t have admitted that 20 years ago.  As a teen, the last thing I wanted anyone to know about me was my admiration for my mother.  I would have been mortified for anyone to know that I wanted to grow up to be just like her.  But it was always there, in the back of my mind.

Whether I showed it or not.

Lynn and Irma
When I was six, I came close to losing her.  Mom was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in her left hip.  She was 34 years old and had six daughters, ranging in age from 16 down to 3.  Imagine the fear that must have flowed through her when the doctors said her cancer was often fatal and they held out little hope for her recovery.  The doctors wanted to operate.  But they told her there was a good chance that she would not survive the surgery.  If she survived, she would lose her leg.  If she kept her leg, she would not be able to walk again.  How easy it would have been to give up.  The doctors didn’t hold out much hope, so why should Mom have any hope?

Mainly because her hope did not come from doctors.  Mom has always had a strong faith in God.  She looked at her daughters and then looked to her God.  Death was not an option.  Confinement was not an option.  She was young and had too many things that she wanted to do with her life, too many things she wanted to see her daughters do.  Mom didn’t heard what the doctors said, but she didn’t put much stock in it.  Her five foot, one inch body was filled with a determination to live, to thrive, to beat the disease that wanted to bring her down.

And she did it.  Last week, I sat beside her at the kickoff rally for our local American Cancer Society Relay for Life.  Thirty years cancer free.  That is so inspiring to me.  No matter what life throws at me—and trust me, it has thrown me more than a few curveballs—I know that I can overcome it.  Nothing I have faced compares to what Mom has.  She has come out of it, smiling and just as determined to enjoy life as she was 30 years ago.

My newest novel Miracle Play deals with a 10-year-old boy who is battling leukemia.  I tried to capture just a little of Mom’s strength and determination in that little boy.  Not sure that I did a good job, though.  I am not sure words could ever fully capture Mom the way I’d like to.

To honor her, I am donating a portion of the proceeds from Miracle Play to the American Cancer Society.  Mom has celebrated 30 birthdays since her diagnosis.  I want to help others to reach that same goal.
I love you, Mom.  I pray for at least 30 more years to show you how much.

Guest post by Lynn McMonigal

Read More

How to drive traffic from Facebook to your website

Probably the most overlooked way to drive traffic from Facebook to your website is to link to your website or blog in the "About" box on your Facebook page.

In the "About" box on the top left-hand side of your Facebook page you can add a short, one or two line description. Space is limited and a lot of people make the mistake of either not including a link or adding it after their description (so that it’s buried, and visible only to fans who click “more”). 

With the new Timeline cover you have plenty of space to show what your page/business is about. You can also add a description to the "info" section of your page.
For best results keep the information in this valuable area simple, short and to-the-point. A quick call-to-action will suffice, like “Visit us at LINK” or “Get more great tips at LINK.” 
Visit the W&A Facebook page and don't forget to click 'LIKE' :)
Read More

How to get a vanity URL for your Amazon Author Central Page

Amazon allows authors to personalize the web address that points to their Author Central page on Amazon by creating a vanity URL.
On your Author Central page you can feature your bio, videos, latest tweets and blog posts. You can also list your upcoming events. It's especially important for authors with multiple titles for sale on Amazon, because it shows a summary of all of your books.
My vanity URL looks like this:


An Author Page URL is an easy to share link to your page on Amazon.com. Once you create your Author Page URL, you can use it in your marketing efforts – post to your Facebook page and/or blogs, tweet to your followers, add it to your email signature.

You are limited to one Author Page URL. It's possible that another author has already reserved the URL. If you get a message that says the URL is already taken you will need to try another variation.

Creating your Author Page URL

  1. Go to https://authorcentral.amazon.com and log in to your Amazon Author Central account. If you don't already have an Author Central account, you can create one at this same page.
  2. On the Author Central Profile tab, click add link next to "Author Page URL."
  3. A URL will be suggested, however you may enter text that meets the following guidelines:
    • At least 1 character, no more than 30 characters
    • May use letters, numbers, dashes, periods and underscores
    • No spaces
    • No special characters other than dashes, periods and underscores
    • Profanity is not allowed
  4. If the URL you input is available, click Save.
Most authors will probably use their author name in the URL, but give it some consideration first, because you can't change it once it's assigned. 

Your Author Page URL will go live after approximately 30 minutes. 

Once you've created your vanity URL share it here in the comments section.
Read More

Writing Tips From A Pro

By Reed Farrel Coleman, Author of Hurt Machine

For the past five years, I’ve taught a summer class in writing—How To Write Genre Fiction or How To Write A Novel—at Hofstra University on Long Island. It’s a three credit class open to regular students, graduate students, and continuing education students as well. Furthermore, it’s an accelerated class in that I must teach a full term’s worth of material in two consecutive weeks—four hours a day, ten days in a row. In order to accomplish this I had to learn how to reduce lessons down to their most impactful, economical forms. Then, two years ago, Larry Light, the current Executive Vice President of Mystery Writers of America—a position I once held—came to me and asked me to lead an effort to develop an idea called MWA University. This was to be a program where Mystery Writers of America would offer six hours of college level writing instruction on a single day as a member benefit. Six hours sounds like a lot of time, but in reality it is very little to teach the basics of fiction writing. Again, I was forced to concentrate my lesson plans even further. Here are just some of the bits of writing advice I give to my students that I have developed along the way.

Narrative: New writers are often flummoxed by this concept. Here's an exercise: Download the late Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle" or "Taxi" or "W-O-L-D". In these songs, all about five minutes in length, Chapin perfectly exemplifies a complete narrative. There is a beginning, middle, and end with deep characterization, and emotional story arcs. If he can tell stories this complete in five minutes, imagine what you can do in three hundred pages.

First or Third Person: First person allows for an intimacy between the narrator(usually the protagonist) of the story and the reader that is unachievable through third person. However, first person can be very limiting because all the information to the reader must be delivered through the narrator/protagonist's experiences. The reader can never know what is going on in another character's life when that character is not with the protagonist. It also means the protagonist must be constantly "on screen". Third person allows for broader experience in that the reader can have a greater sense of the complete picture. It may even allow the reader to know what is going on in the lives and minds of several characters even within a single scene. The price a writer pays for writing in third is lack of intimacy and potential confusion.

To Outline or Not To Outline: Fiction writing is an odd combination of comfort and discomfort. I, for one, never outline because it robs the spontaneity of the writing experience. I feel once I've done an outline, I've already written the book and I have no desire to write it twice with no surprises. On the other hand, many successful authors do rigorous outlining. They feel they cannot enjoy the writing process if they haven't gotten the heavy lifting of plot out of the way. Just as with routine, experiment. Find out what works best for you and stick with it.

Rule of Three: A difficult issue for new writers to make sense of is how to handle critiques and criticism. One the one hand, you can't change a manuscript to suit every individual bit of criticism you receive. On the other, as I mentioned earlier, you can't remain stubbornly wedded to your manuscript as if it was biblical scripture. When seeking feedback or when you begin the search for an agent or publisher, follow the rule of three. If three people mention one specific weakness in your manuscript -- The protagonist wasn't likeable. The plot was confusing. Your antagonist was one dimensional. -- you might want to pay attention.

© 2011 Reed Farrel Coleman, author of Hurt Machine

Reed Farrel Coleman, author of Hurt Machine, is the former executive vice president of Mystery Writers of America. He has published twelve novels -- two under his pen name Tony Spinsosa -- in three series, and one stand-alone with award-winning Irish author Ken Bruen. His books have been translated into seven languages.

Reed is a three-time winner of the Shamus Award for Best Detective Novel of the Year. He has also received the Macavity, Barry, and Anthony Awards, and has been twice nominated for the Edgar® Award. He was the editor of the anthology Hard Boiled Brooklyn, and his short fiction and essays have appeared in Wall Street Noir, The Darker Mask, These Guns For Hire, Brooklyn Noir 3, Damn Near Dead, and other publications.

Reed is an adjunct professor at Hofstra University, teaching writing classes in mystery fiction and the novel. He lives with his family on Long Island.

For more information please visit http://www.reedcoleman.com/, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

Read More

How to Write Creative Blog Posts That Capture Traffic

Blogs are the new way to write creative and interesting things that you feel are worth writing about or when you feel like sharing your perspective or perception about the world, society; politics or whatever is that you feel like sharing. Many people tend to start the blog for their businesses as a front to let the people know what product or service they are providing and how and why the company they are running as sole proprietor exists in the market. One must know that a blog is the reflection of who you are; so it will give the readers an insight into your personality. Blogs are your domain.

Why write a blog in first place?
Many people question the blogs and why they should spend time to write one. Well blogs as stated earlier are a reflection of who you are and serve as a means to represent you. This can be reinforced by the fact that when you apply for job interviews and if the Human resource department googles your name and if you are a writer of a blog then you would be visible to them in your true self. The reason that this is beneficial is that a person can fake a CV with bullets and recommendations but it is not easy to fake a blog which shows your perception and perspective about the world.

Blogs that have gained immense appreciation or following are those that have been truthful and unbiased in their views about the things that are mutual to all of us. The famous American blogger Perez Hilton is considered to be rash, dirty and really cruel when he writes his blogs but is always taken seriously about any opinion he has about an event or celebrity; the readers pay attention to what he says. To have clarity in your blogs is not easy but also not impossible. People that have great blog posts are usually writing with their hearts and not making things up to impress their readers. Blog readers that are consistently looking for great blogs to read usually know which blog is faked and which happens to be the one written with honesty and without societal prejudice. Honest blogging will get the attention of the readers and will bring them back again and again. This will ensure more traffic.

Use Simple tricks
To write a creative and innovative blog is not that hard as by using simple tips and tricks one can create a good blog. A blogger can use interactive and interesting names for titles of their blogs. Also they should start with strong first paragraph on which the rest of the blog can rest or stand upon. Also sometimes using pictures and videos that you yourself took or made can be integrated to help readers relate to the blog more efficiently.
They are your realm to command and you can write whatever you want either by telling your name or writing anonymously. But the key to writing blogs or the essence of it is to make it worthwhile for the readers.

Crystal J. Briscoe is from Self Test Engine. Looking for Cisco CCNA Training help? Let’s take advantage of Self Test Engine self paced training and pass your IT exams on first try.
Read More

Inventive Ways to Promote Your Writing

Writers are lucky. Because of the Internet, written content is at an all-time premium. Writing is everywhere online – and probably needed the few places it doesn't appear. However, with writing so prevalent it can be a difficult task for someone to get their writing to stand out. Here are some tips on tools you can use to promote your craft.

Get Social

Social media is huge and will only continue to get bigger. Even more beneficial than the size, however, is the fact that social media marketing is free. Face it: the people who are most likely to read your writing are your friends and family. Chances are that your social media network is already chocked full of friends and family so you might as well mix a little business with pleasure. Tweet and post Facebook updates about your work; discussing your writing reminds people that you are a writer. If you are posting work on your profile or have some on another website, then link to it. Funnel the loyal traffic you already have. You should build your profile so that when someone looks at it they know you're a writer and can easily access your work.

Blog It Out

Blogs can also be great free exposure. An aspiring writer can create their own blog, choosing from tons of free and supported layouts/themes, or can approach blog owners about guest posting. If you create your own blog then it can be a tall order to keep the content updated. If a blog doesn’t keep fresh content then the posted items begin to sour; that's why many blog owners welcome guest posts that help them continue to provide fresh content.

If you are looking to write guest posts, then approach bloggers and websites that have a similar interest. Perhaps you discuss comic books and book art a lot on your Twitter feed. If so, then an illustration blog may be the perfect site to approach. It can also be beneficial to let other bloggers post on your site because they will surely funnel some of their traffic your way. Whether you post on your own website or someone else's remember to give credit where it is due. Link all of your profiles, networks and posts together so that someone can easily read more about you and your work.

Be Buzz Worthy

It may seem weird to make posters or business cards for your blog or Twitter feed, but traffic is traffic and if you pique someone's curiosity enough then they may just visit your site. If the work there is up to snuff then you can easily gain some loyal followers. Creating contests can also be a great way to generate buzz. Offer up something relevant to your blog—a book, a day with you, an album—to whomever comes up with the best caption for your photo or designs the best logo for you. These can be fun experiences but you can also benefit from them. Remember that buzz fades quickly, so maintaining the excitement requires a consistent effort.

About the author: Holly Watson is a student working towards her doctorate in literature. She has an obsession with literature and social media. 

Read More

Lets play tag!

As you know, Amazon has tags for their books; it helps people who want to search for books on a particular topic. The better your book is tagged, the higher up it is on their list. That means more visibility and hopefully more sales by people searching for something but without a specific title in mind. 

Add your amazon link and a word to tag in the comments section of this post.

If everyone who leaves a comment tags the other books listed we can all help each other move up the ranks.
Read More

Interview with Kasey Crawford Kellem

Tell us a bit about yourself
Presently, I am a high school counselor and have been in education for 22 years. Prior to counseling I was a special education teacher at both the elementary and middle school levels. I have a bachelors, masters and educational specialist degree, all in various areas of education.  I am a wife, step mother of two, ,aunt to 10 children, a  daughter and have three sisters.   I enjoy golfing, skiing and working out.  My mission in life is to motivate and inspire children to overcome obstacles and challenges: To be resilient!

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?
After I realized I couldn’t pursue my doctorate degree due to contractual roadblocks, I still wanted to help kids become resilient. I knew kids needed to BELIEVE in their possibilities,  RELAX often, LAUGH at playful experiences, DREAM about inspiring futures, and LOVE those they encounter in order to be resilient. I had wooden decorations around my house reminding me to Believe, Love, Laugh, relax and Dream.  I felt that children should have cute decorative reminders to do the same.  I came up with the book idea about five years ago and had my niece help me brainstorm during that summer. I let the book idea go when school began that fall and forgot about them for about 5 years. I revisited them last year and within 8 months I had created Mind Over Matter Books and had the five books pretty much completed and Believe in print!

Why did you decide to write for children? 
I have been intrigued by resiliency since I began teaching and felt the skills needed to be taught to children early in life. I feel that all people face adversity or challenges in life and the earlier and child learns to be resilient, the better off they will be when faced with life’s challenges.  The book idea seemed like a natural way to get the message to them. Creating the book in a decorative form, allows the books to be a constant reminder to children daily! 

Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?
No. I think the language and concepts are simple and because I have worked with kids from ages 18months to 18 years, I feel very comfortable communicating to young children.

What is your favorite part of writing for young people?
Believing I can inspire and motivate them because they are impressionable at young ages. Also, the ability to use whimsical illustrations and simple wording to get the message out to children makes the project fun and exciting! Watching the children light up when the see the illustrations really makes it special, too!

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?
Believe is a whimsical picture book which gives children ways to believe in various components of their lives including believing they can win, believing in heaven, believing in good luck, believing in high hopes and Believing the storm will pass. The book also offers a parent page giving them advice on how to help children believe in themselves. The size and shape are unique and allow the book to stand on  its own as a decoration for a shelf or nightstand, thus constantly reminding children to “Believe!”

What inspired you to write it?
My mother always encouraged me to write. She saw the creativity in me and also saw that I was driven. She is also  the one who taught me resiliency. Last year I was feeling a little concerned about my position in education as there are many changes occurring in my state. I wanted a back up career in case anything were to ever happen to my job. I just revisited the books I had brainstormed 5 years earlier and went forward without second guessing my mission!

Where can readers purchase a copy?
Halo International-Believe:
MOM Website

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
MOM Website
MOM Blog:
Facebook Page:
YouTube (Children’s Authors Show Interview):

What is up next for you?
After I get all five of the Mind Over Matter Books printed and out on the market successfully, I would like to continue the trend with additional MOM books: Mind over Maturing for tweeners and teens, Mind Over Medicine for anyone exposed to illness or ill family members, Mind Over Motherhood for moms, Mind Over Marriage and Mind over Menapause.

Do you have anything else to add?
My goal is to have these books in every preschool, school, church and child’s house so kids everywhere are constantly reminded of the five resiliency skills.

Read More