Whitefish Waters + Freelancing Tips

2 trees and dock with lake and nice sky

This post is for all you freelancers (or freelance wannabes) out there!

This past weekend, I enjoyed the freelance lifestyle by actually taking a couple of days to be away from my computer to go camping with a few friends at Whitefish Lake, which is only about an hour by car from the city in which I live. I don’t go camping very often, but I sure like it when I do!

With all the excitement of getting my ebook out there, monitoring and responding to some of the reviews, being interviewed, setting up my new author site, and doing a ton of other things, I really, REALLY needed a break.

It was nice to hang out with friends, have a few drinks (I RARELY drink alcohol), shoot the sh** by the fire, read by the lake, commune with nature (including a ton of spiders, mosquitoes, and dragonflies), and listen to the water lapping against the shoreline. Talk about peaceful!

I walked down to the lake to test the temperature of the water, and had to grab my phone to take a video of the moon with the melodic waters in the background. The video’s not much to look at, but it’s relaxing!

 

FYI, the white “dot” in the video is the moon!

Most of you who live in warm climates cannot truly appreciate the beauty I felt this past weekend. I live in a climate where it is winter for the majority of the year. It’s really only nice in June, July, and August, and swimming outdoors usually only happens in those months. The local outdoor pools are only open in the latter two months, too. 🙁

Enjoying the freelance lifestyle is one of the perks of being a freelancer. 🙂

Learning from others is another. 😉

Let’s Learn From Sophie and Francesca, shall we?

Sophie Lizard, from Be a Freelance Blogger, has started a new thing on her blog: Bloggers of Interest, where she interviews freelancers and gets them to share their best freelancing tips.

In her latest interview, she speaks to Francesca Nicasio, from Be a Freelance Writer, who shares excellent – and I mean excellent – freelancing tips!

Francesca is someone with whom I connected early on in my blogging days. She allowed me to guest post for her on her Credible Copywriting site, with the article Investing In Yourself: Why Surfing the Web is Necessary. I’ll admit that this was my very first guest post, and I was a fairly newbie blogger at the time. But obviously she saw something in me (the fact that I’m a darn good writer, perhaps?) and gave me the opportunity to publish my article on her site.

A year later, she paid me $50 for writing Two Simple Things You Can Do to Kick-start your Writing Success, which reveals how I use affirmations to help me be a positive person. (I list most of the ones I use, too. Feel free to steal them! Ralph Quintero, founder of Happy Someone, has given us all permission to use them!) 🙂

But back to Ms. Lizard. . .

This is her third interview so far. Sophie has also spoken with writers Jeff Goins and Tom Ewer.

Here is her interview with Jeff.

Here is her interview with Tom.

And here is her interview with Francesca! Enjoy!

 

 

Did you find any of her tips useful? Which ones?

Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comment section! 

A Flame In the Wind of Death (#bookreview ) and a Q and A with Author Jen J. Danna

 

Jen Danna headshot

It’s official. The new book from Jen J. Danna is out, and it’s getting great reviews!

(I’m not surprised, I LOVED the first book!)

Jen agreed to answer a few more questions, too, for me, today on my blog!

To recap, Jen J. Danna (partnered with Ann Vanderlaan) is the author of the Abbott and Lowell Forensic Mysteries. As a mystery lover who somehow discovered Jen’s website one day, I simply had to contact her and request a copy! As it turns out, I’ve been on her street team, beta-reading her books ever since!

You might recall that I interviewed Jen J. Danna last year, when I gave her a review of Dead, Without a Stone to Tell It.

I also provided her with a review for her second book, a novella called No One Sees Me ‘Til I Fall.

Now, I’m pleased to share my review for her latest, A Flame in the Wind of Death, which received this review on Kirkus Reviews and the following review on Goodreads from me:

While I loved the plot and the solving of the case presented in “A Flame in the Wind of Death,” I found some of the writing to be a tad bit too technical for my personal taste. The research scientist side of the authors clearly shines through, and I ended up learning a few new things and adding several new words to my vocabulary. I cannot criticize the authors for this; instead, I have to complement them for expanding my repertoire! The one thing I didn’t really like is that there is a sub-plot that was not resolved. I understand that this is a tactic used my many series writers to get you to keep reading, and so I can’t fault the authors for successfully pulling this off. I’m intrigued and looking forward to the next book in this series already! I’m just the type of person who likes all loose ends to be tied up by the end of the book. The final scene in the book, however, is awesome. Without giving too much away, I will say that it ties together the progress the characters have made thus far, and is a beautiful tribute to the dead. Having read all three books so far (Dead, Without a Stone to Tell It and the novella, No One Sees Me ‘Til I Fall), I have to say that the authors are doing a bang-up job with this series. I’m hooked. I also like seeing the romance between the two main characters develop, and I’m not a romance fan AT ALL. But, given their tenuous backgrounds, it’s nice to learn about their pasts and their issues with their scars. Having had multiple surgeries in my life, I think this is a nice touch, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this sub-plot is developed further. I’d recommend that you catch up on your reading before book four in this series is released!

Some of you might be wondering how many books are going to be in this series. Today you will get answers to this question, and several others, too.

Another Q and A session with  Jen

Let’s give Jen a big Wording Well welcome, shall we?

Me: Welcome, Jen!

Jen: Hi, Lorraine! It’s good to see you again. Hmm. Your site looks different.

Me: (laughing) That’s because it is! I finally got my own hosted site. Jen: I like it. Me: Thanks. I took a survey of what my readers want, to help me plan my blog for 2014, and I was shocked and surprised to learn that they like my author interviews and book reviews.

Jen: YAY! Great news! I’m always up for another interview! No One Sees Me 'Til I Fall cover Me: I appreciate that, and I’m happy you took the time to join me today, to answer a few more questions. Let’s start by talking a bit about your novella, No One Sees Me ‘Til I Fall. Your daughter is featured on the cover, isn’t she?

Jen: Yes. I was lucky to have a daughter who is a professional photographer with a full studio at her disposal, as well as another daughter who is a good sport. We had quite the photo shoot, too. I kept telling her, “Look subservient. No, no, really subservient.” I think I drove her crazy! But we got it done.

We were also lucky to have professional editorial assistance and got the manuscript properly edited. I was immensely lucky that Ann is a computer wizard and took on all the persnickety formatting of the manuscript and didn’t kill me when I kept saying, “A little to the left, now to the right. Now back again…” (although it was likely deserved!).

Me: It looks good. Why did you write a novella instead of a novel?

Jen: We wanted to give our fans something to read while the second novel was being finished, and so we self-published a novella to keep our fans happy!

Me: How many more books can readers expect, and when?

Jen: Here is a rundown of all books, published and planned:

1) DEAD, WITHOUT A STONE TO TELL IT, June 2013

2) NO ONE SEES ME ‘TIL I FALL (e-novella), November 2013

3) A FLAME IN THE WIND OF DEATH, April 2014

4) TWO PARTS BLOODY MURDER, spring 2015

5) Work-in-progress, projected 2016

6) Planned novel, projected 2017

7) Planned novel, projected 2018 cover for book, Dead, Without a Stone to Tell It Me: Is it easier to plan for future books once you have one book written? I would think it is, as you can develop the characters more fully, etc. Most authors fare better with a series than with a single book. Has this been your experience, too? Also, do you agree with this statement?

Jen: I think it depends on the author. Series are certainly easier on the author – you don’t have to come up with fascinating characters every time because you’ve already created them. You’ve created the world they live in and the type of story you’re going to tell. Whether authors fare better would depend on the series they create.

Me: Do you have any other series’ planned?

Jen: No other series planned at this point. Not to say that there won’t be others in the future, but I’m too into this one and it still feels fresh to me. Since I’m only able to write one book a year because of my day job, I want to keep the regular releases going in this series so I’ll concentrate on it. At this point, we’re planned out to book 7, but don’t have a set number of books planned for the series.

Me: So there might be a book #8 (and maybe #9), too?

Jen: Yes. Ann and I are good long term planners.  For instance, the seed for book 7’s plot was sewn into book 1.

Me: Can you talk a bit about your writing process and series development? When you first started this series, did you know it was going to be a series, or did it just evolve into one?

Jen: We wrote it as a series and pitched it to agents as such. As I said, right from the start we set up Juka Petrović as an open door to a particular plot, so we knew we were in it for the long haul (although at the time, we didn’t know that payoff wouldn’t come until book 7). Another character is introduced in concept in book 3 and in person in book 4 to support that same storyline and book. But to an extent, some storylines evolve as we go. There’s a character that is mentioned in name only in chapter 1 of book 1 that may be a focal point in book 5 if we can figure out some potential jurisdictional issues.

Me: Did you plan to write x number of books when you first started writing, or did they just evolve?

Jen: We don’t have any set number of books in mind. As long as the series can stay fresh, we’d like to keep writing it. When we started, we knew we were setting up a series, but that’s about as specific as we were until we got going.

Me: Are you going to write another series?

Jen: I’m not going to say “no” to that, but I will say “not right now.” I’m having too much fun writing this one and the ideas are still coming fast and furious. And, truthfully, when you’re trying to generate momentum on a series, it’s best to keep the installments coming at a regular pace. As a reader myself, I know how much I love getting onto a series and picking up the newest book the moment it comes out. And as I still work full-time in the lab, I wouldn’t be able to manage more than one series at a time for proper pacing.

Me: Have you had much success with your “filler” novella? Do you think it’s crucial to the series? (I know it can be read as a stand-alone, having read it.)

Jen: I’ve been quite happy with the novella. It’s done exactly what we wanted it to do – filled the gap for our readers during the long 11 months between DEAD and FLAME, and introduced us to new readers who’d never heard of Matt and Leigh in a nice, risk-free way. And while it’s not crucial to the series, I do think it’s a nice addition and tackles a real and disturbing issue.

Me: How have your views about publishing changed as a result of publishing both ways (traditionally and self-published)?

Jen: I always knew I wanted to go with traditional publishing and that hasn’t changed at all.

Me: Before we wrap this up, is there anything else you would like to add? Maybe something about Pinterest, perhaps?

Jen: Yes! You can see a Pinterest board for A Flame in the Wind of Death here and one for the upcoming book, Two Parts Bloody Murder here.

I’d also like to add that A Flame in the Wind of Death, in Canada, is being carried by Chapters/Indigo. And it’s available online through North America via Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Chapters. Indigo.ca. Of course, all books are featured on my website, too, with links to places where they can be purchased.

headshot of Jen J. Danna

Me: I want to wish you a lot of continued success, Jen, and thank you for being here today to answer questions. If any of my readers have more questions, can they ask them in the comments?

Jen: Sure! I’ll reply to anyone who asks me something!

Me: Thanks again, Jen. And congratulations on your latest publication!

Jen: Thank you, Lorraine. See you in the comment section!

Readers: You can learn more about Jen’s books – and read sample chapters – on her website, and you can also connect with Jen J. Danna on Facebook , Twitter and Pinterest.

*I also want to remind you that you can still grab a copy of my free ebook, 20 Blog Post Must-Haves too! 😉

YOUR TURN:

Do you have any questions or comments for Jen (or me)?

If so, please voice them; don’t be shy!

And DO pick up a copy of Jen’s book, A Flame in the Wind of Death, from Amazon!

Interview with a Blind Man

picture of blind man, Max Ivey

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be blind?

Do you know anyone with limited sight?

What would you do if you lost your vision?

Blind Men Don’t Need Help . . . do they?

Stop and think about these questions for a minute. Being able to see is something most of us take for granted, isn’t it?

A Touching Video

I recently watched a video that brought tears to my eyes.

I’m going to describe it to you, but I’d prefer if you just watched it because I’m not actually describing it for you, but for Max, one of my blind readers, and the guy who inspired me to write this.

He’s also the guy who is featured in today’s inspirational story, Interview with a Blind Man. (I’d embed the video here if I could, but I can’t because it is not a YouTube video.)

It’s less than two minutes long, and I hope you watch it, to see if it touches you the same way it touched me. It’s also important to today’s post, because it’s about a blind man.

You can find the video RIGHT HERE.

What this video is about

This video shows a blind man sitting on the street in front of a building on a piece of cardboard with a tin can and a sign that reads, “I’m blind. Please help.”

A few people who pass by throw a few coins on the ground for him. A young woman wearing sunglasses passes him, stops, and turns around. She approaches the man, takes his sign, flips it over, and writes something on it, and leaves. He feels her shoes when she stops. Viewers can clearly see this.

After she walks away, everyone who passes this man starts throwing their coins – many coins – on the ground for him. The woman later returns and the guy asks her what she did. She said that she wrote the same thing on his sign, but in different words.

What she wrote was this: “It’s a beautiful day and I CAN’T see it.”

How This Video Affected Me

Once, I had to do an experiment for a course I took in aging. I had to blindfold myself and try to live as a blind person. It was a lot harder than I imagined it to be, even though I knew the layout of my apartment like the back of my hand and could navigate in the dark very well. The only thing that I found easy was going to the bathroom. Everything else was really hard, and I can still remember what a learning experience that was!

I was moved (not quite to tears, but nearly, as my eyes moistened and my heart swelled) when I was done watching the aforementioned video, for a couple of reasons. The first is obvious; I am a sighted person, and I’m grateful for this. The second is that it made me think of one of my new blogging friends, Maxwell Ivey, who will never be able to see what I see because he is blind, too.

I thought this video would be a great way to introduce you all to Max. A while back, I promised him I’d feature him on my blog one day. Today, I’m keeping that promise.

Max is an amazing person. In my eyes, anyways. And no, there was no pun intended there.

Let me tell you about the way I met him.

How I Met Max

I met Max when I guest posted on Ashley’s blog, Mad Lemmings, offering advice on how to help readers edit their blog posts. Max left me a comment and knocked my socks off when he told me that he is a blind blogger. Geez. I thought I had blogging troubles! Humph. Not compared to Max, I don’t!

I can SEE, and Max can’t.

This sure puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?

At first, I’ll admit I was a bit uncomfortable at having to reply to a blind person in the comment section. I was also a bit taken aback at his bluntness.

However, I was intrigued.

I’ve seen a couple of blind people in the city where I live, but I’ve never befriended or even spoken to any of them. Mostly, I’ve seen them use public transportation. Some had white canes and some had seeing-eye dogs that sported a sign that said “Working dog – please don’t touch!”

So when I encountered Max, I thought to myself, “Now here’s an opportunity I should not waste.”

And waste it, I didn’t.

My Communications with Max

I took the time to start emailing Max and get to know him. I was surprised at the many different things I learned, too. I wanted to tell Max’s story. I wanted the world to know about him.

I was thrilled when Max granted me permission to write about being blind. I was equally pleased when he agreed to an interview. It turns out that Max is a very nice guy.

Some of you may know Max already. He belongs to several groups and is active on various social media platforms. In fact, he hangs out online quite a bit, especially on his website, The Midway Marketplace, a place where he helps others buy, sell, and trade new and used quality amusement rides, games, food trailers, inflatables, etc. He and his family have been in the amusement park business for years.

And yes, he does all of this despite the fact that he has no sight!

This is flabbergasting to me. Honestly, it is. I couldn’t imagine running a business while being unable to see!

Now, I know that there are a lot of resources available to the blind, but I’ve always wondered about a few things – like how blind people know what to wear without mismatching their clothes, how they cook and shop for themselves, and what they do for fun, to name a few.

How do you go about asking a complete stranger these things?

Obviously, you can’t. But if you have a bit of guts and add a touch of ingenuity, it seems like you can do almost anything using technology these days. 😉

I broached the subject of having Max tell his story on my blog and was extremely happy when he said I could ask him anything I wanted!

Through emails, Max revealed a lot. I didn’t interview him per se, but I did ask a ton of questions, which he answered. I then asked him if I could write up my questions and answers in a mock interview, and he said yes. I also shared the post with him prior to publishing it for all the world to see.

I just hope I do him justice and tell his story to his satisfaction!

another picture of blind man, Max Ivey

My Interview with Max

ME: Have you always been blind? Read More

My Interview With the Author (+ a #BookReview) of I WILL NEVER FORGET

Today I’m pleased to have memoir author Elaine C. Pereira as my interview guest. I’ve read her book, I Will Never Forget, and it touched me so deeply that I ended up writing a letter to my son.  You may remember Elaine from her guest post two weeks ago. Today, she’s taken the time to answer my questions, and will be available if you have any questions of your own (just ask them in the comment section)!

My Review of I Will Never Forget

Here is my review of this moving story, which I posted to both Goodreads and Amazon:

I Will Never Forget is Elaine Pereira’s beautiful yet heart-wrenching tribute to her mother. Never before have I read a memoir, and I was impressed with the light manner in which this story was written. Infused with humour, the author makes the most out of a difficult situation, making her book enjoyable to read despite the heartbreaking tale she tells. Keep a box of tissues handy – you’ll need them! I teared up many times while reading the author’s touching words, and was bawling when I read the last word. The poem written by the author, found at the end of the book, warmed my heart. It was lovely!

Through the author, the reader gets to know her family, and is able to identify with them as memories are related and glimpses into the author’s personal struggles are revealed. The style in which this book is written provides pieces of the puzzle that many sufferers of dementia face, and the reader can both commiserate with and find compassion for Elaine, the author, a feisty, spunky woman who truly did all she could for her wonderful mother while she was alive. I’m sure her mom is looking down on her only daughter with pride. I would, if I were her!

I highly recommend this book. I Will Never Forget will touch you in ways you cannot imagine or fathom. You will definitely not regret reading it. Besides, shedding a few or more tears is always good for the soul.

 

The Interview

LR: Did you write I Will Never Forget, in part, to allay any residual feelings of guilt you may have had, or have? Read More

A NEW GIVEAWAY! Featuring: Author Jamie Lynn Miller + Her Tell-All Interview!

memory's prisoner

UPDATE: The giveaway is closed, but please read on to discover Jamie’s awesome works!

There are a few important things I’m featuring on the menu today. Two have to do with giveaways! Exciting, right? Another is that I had some technical issues with publishing this post, too. Oops! So please don’t forget to read a special guest post from Greg Narayan, and watch his video!

Another thing on today’s menu  is a super-hot, tell-all interview with male erotica novelist Jamie Lynn Miller!  

Plus, Jamie has a bonus for you! Warning: this post contains content not suitable for children. Double warning: it may also turn you on! Triple warning: gay sex is involved, so if you are homophobic, please leave my site right now. I’m serious. Just leave.

BUT, if you are open-minded, like a good read, and want to expand your horizons (or maybe just want to win a free copy of an awesome book!), then keep reading. You won’t regret it! Read More