Ashes to Ashes – Five Questions

It’s that time! Ashes to Ashes, Volume Two in The Immortal Grimm Brothers’ Guide to Sociopathic Princesses is now available for e-book pre-order through Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble! Order now for the December 15 release date! The paperback should be available by December 20! Now, let’s answer the five most asked questions about the sequel to Snow Kissed!

How is Ashes to Ashes different from Snow Kissed?

So many ways! You’ll see a lot of similarity in the first couple of chapters. This is only to get you back into the groove, then Ashes shoots off in an entirely different direction with a surprising heroine! The battles are bigger, the twists are sharper, and there might be more than one villain in the story!

Is the family dynamic the same?

Yes and no. Calla was a lucky girl who found adoptive parents who were very supportive. She forged some tight family bonds with her siblings and many others. While the bonds are also tight in book two, there are some sad differences between Sierra and Cecily’s story and Calla’s that are made clear from the very beginning.

What big twists can we expect?

I don’t want to spoil it! I can say this, there is A LOT going on behind the scenes and Ashes will touch on that a few times. Where Snow Kissed introduced the ideas and set up the world, Ashes takes you deeper into that world and builds on the mystery of “the big bad.” Something major is coming in this series, and Ashes tees it up.

Who is your favorite character in Ashes?

I think my favorite will be a fan favorite. No question, I loved writing Jack Thomas. He’s about as lovable a character as I am capable of writing I believe. And *spoiler alert* shh… he’s also a primary character in Volume Three!

When we think Cinderella, her glass slipper comes to mind. Why fire and no shoe in this volume?

The burning question (lol)… Honestly, I tried. I did, but I couldn’t come up with a creepy, yet non-gross way of utilizing the shoe the same way I used the apple in Snow Kissed. In Snow Kissed, the apple is almost synonymous with Snow. It’s her calling card. When the apples rot, you know she’s somewhere doing something unsavory.

In Cinderella, the shoe grossness was carried out by her stepsisters in a pitiful attempt to fool the prince. Cinderella (unlucky for her) just so happened to fit perfectly into that bloody shoe. To me, it didn’t signify Cinderella’s power as a character. Her name, however, is a calling card in itself. Cinderella, or Cindersoot in some versions, was a nickname given to her because she was always sooty from cleaning the fireplace. It felt more like her. Besides, lighting things on fire was much more fun than bloody feet! So, that’s why there’s no shoe and lots of fire!

Don’t forget to pre-order your copy today for download December 15! And stay tuned for Volume Three announcements coming this spring!

Final Front Cover


New Collaboration!

Hello Squad! It’s been a while since I updated my blog. I have no excuse except to say I’ve been slammed with book releases, playing catch-up, and co-writing a book with a friend of mine. I have so much to update, but I won’t throw it all on you at once. If you’d like to get all the juicy details, you can sign up for my monthly newsletter, The Mindful Dramatist, on my website at! The November newsletter will release on November 15, and will have a link for a FREE e-book just in time for the holidays so sign up soon!

Since most of my blog followers are Wattpad fans (If you found me through another avenue and have no idea what Wattpad is, you fan find it here: , I decided to focus on my co-written book called The Extraordinary Extraterrestrial Love Lives of Doppelgangers in this blog post. The book was written with my friend, Crystal Crawford, a fellow author I met on Wattpad. It will release directly to our Wattpad account @ConsiderateMalice on Thursday, November, 22. Yep, on Thanksgiving Day! So, while you wait for the turkey to roast, you can read the prologue and chapter one off our alien romance—which is not nearly as weird as it sounds. Okay, it probably is, but that’s okay! It’s fun and lighthearted, filled with awkwardness, a little brooding, lots of humor, and—most importantly—a sweet love story or two.

While you’re on Wattpad, give Crystal a follow @CCrawfordWriting, then follow our joint account @ConsiderateMalice (our lovely name is explained on in our biography.) Now for the fun part, the cover release and blurb! Read on for an interview with my co-author!



What happens when two normal girls find themselves in the middle of an intergalactic conspiracy? Romance, of course… what else?

Grace and Alexia are two strangers who live in the same city and who, unbeknownst to them, share the same face. They also happen to be the targets of alien spies, who aren’t sure which girl overheard sensitive information. When two extraterrestrial hot guys from warring planets come to find out what the girls know and whether their planets are at risk, things go a little bit crazy on Earth. Grace and Alexia must come together to save themselves… and their planet… and the men they love… in this fast-paced, romantic suspense comedy co-written by MJ Padgett and Crystal Crawford.

Love triangles, tension, comedy, angst, suspense, mystery… this book has ALL the feels. Oh, and did we mention it has aliens?
Join Grace and Alexia for the adventure of their lives… if they can survive it!

Interview with Crystal Crawford of CCrawford Writing!

1. Have you always wanted to be a writer? When/what made you pursue writing as a career?

I cannot remember a time that I wasn’t writing something. I wrote my first “book” in kindergarten — a story about my dog that my teacher bound with a little fabric cover. I used to climb up in trees and spend hours writing stories and poems. But I never really thought of writing as a possible career, until perhaps college, when I decided to study it. It’s just been always something I’ve done, and the times I’ve gone months or even years without writing, I feel… frustrated. Like something is missing. I’m happier when I’m writing.

2. What are your favorite books/series? Why?

I love books that surprise me but also make me feel. Harry Potter is one of my favorites. Inkheart (and its sequel)… Ender Games (though I think I liked the Bean spin-offs even better), Wheel of Time series… oh, and Name of the Wind. Patrick Rothfuss writes almost like poetry.

I love fantasy, but also romance… preferably a mix of both. The Hunger Games left me with a book-hangover for days when I finished the series. I like that, even though it’s unsettling. I loved Jane Eyre and I developed a love for Shakespeare (it’s an acquired taste) and I haven’t read much Dickens but I love David Copperfield. As a kid I read more adventure/drama, especially animal-related books like Julie of the Wolves and Island of the Blue Dolphins. I love animals, always have. It was my other career.

3. If you had to choose one author to read for the rest of your life, who would it be?

Oh wow. That’s hard. Is the Bible an answer? Lol.

Other than that, I’m going to say MJ Padgett, because I learn a ton from reading and co-writing with her.

4. What do you like most about writing fantasy?

The discovery of it. Exploring an entire world, the freedom to make something completely new. In fantasy, whatever you can imagine, you can do… as long as you can figure out how to make it work. I love the challenge of that, puzzling it all out and that magical feeling when it all clicks together.

5. You mentioned once that the idea for your Legends of Arameth series came to you about ten years ago. What made you finally decide to write about Lex and his world?

A couple years ago, I did NaNoWriMo, and started a totally new fantasy story. It didn’t go well. Something just wasn’t clicking. And then suddenly I realized that the world I’d set up could totally be the same world I’d created for the other one, with just a few small changes. I combined the worlds, put all the characters in the same place — which I’d never planned on doing, at first — and suddenly it all made sense. This fantasy world I’d created ten years before but didn’t know what to do with had a purpose. And The Lex Chronicles was born.

6. What is the best piece of advice anyone had ever given you?

Just write. It doesn’t have to be perfect — it can even be bad, because you can always fix it later! — but it does have to be written. I was the worst at talking myself out of a story… it’s dumb, it’s not original enough, where are you even going with this, no one will want to read this. The advice to just write, let it be terrible if it needs to but write… that changed everything for me.

7. What advice do you have for new writers who want to publish their own work? Any advice for young authors who are just getting started?

This builds on the last one. It turns out, the more you write the better you get. So the secret to being a good writer is pretty simple, really — write. A lot. Write and read and write and read, as much as you can. Let it be an obsession, that’s okay, writers are weird anyway and you can use that excuse. Get feedback. Be okay receiving criticism, because we all get tunnel-vision and sometimes readers’ feedback is the key to unlocking exactly how to make your story better. Take what’s useful, reject the rest… but be humble. If everyone is saying the same thing, they may be right. Keep an open mind.

For young writers: Don’t think your current level of writing is all you’ve got. Whether you think you’re great (most young writers do) or terrible, the truth is you haven’t reached your max yet. You can always do better, and there’s no magic solution. Read good writing, pay attention to what those authors do and how, study the craft however you can and then practice it. Again and again and again. This has been said before, and it’s something that’s helped me a lot: most writers give up. If you refuse to give up, you’re already in the minority. If it’s really what you want to do, don’t let anyone — especially yourself — convince you it’s impossible. Treat it like a calling, like a job, whatever works for you… but commit to writing regularly, daily if you can, and then write. A lot. Til your eyes blur or your brain implodes. Writing is not for the faint of heart but there’s also nothing quite like finishing a novel that makes people cry. If it’s your dream, make it happen. It’s on you. No one else can write your story.

The Chimney Sweep – Five Questions

The Chimney Sweep is coming in November! Here’s what you need to know, and why you should absolutely read this novella!


Q:  What is The Chimney Sweep about?

A:  George Elf is sick and tired of stuffing gifts down chimneys. He wants a life of adventure, but he’s stuck repeating the same routine every year. One night, he makes a bit too much noise and wakes a human—a detective who’s pretty sure he’s a drug addict breaking into her home. After a night of misunderstandings and adventure, George finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. He must choose between three options handed down to him by the Big Elf himself, Santa Claus. He only has a week to figure out what he wants before he disappears forever.

Q:  What genre is the novella?

A:  It’s difficult to categorize, but if I had to… romance? There’s a love story at the core, but it’s also a bit of a coming-of-age story for George as he learns about humans and where he fits in the grand scheme of life. It’s a comedic approach to something sweet and sentimental, with a touch of heart-achy sadness. There’s also a ton of fourth-wall breaking to be had, so get ready to talk to yourself regularly.

Q:  What rating is The Chimney Sweep?

A:  Probably a solid PG-13. It does deal with death and heartache, but there are no “adult” situations that are found in most romance novels/novellas. A few kisses, but nothing more. It’s a fun read that would probably be okay for 15 and up.

Q:  Why should I read The Chimney Sweep?

A:  Do you like to laugh? Yes? That’s why. On a serious note, it captures the sentimentality of Christmas, injects it with a bit of humor, love, and sarcasm, then presents it to you in a neatly-wrapped package with a bright red bow.

Q:  Can we expect a sequel, or another story related to The Chimney Sweep?

A:  Maybe! I haven’t ruled it out, but it would definitely be released closer to the holiday. Keep your eyes peeled November 2019!

(Psst… check below for an excerpt from the book!)

Front Cover

Excerpt from The Chimney Sweep!

She held the shotgun up, aiming at my chest. Oh, you thought I was short, didn’t you? That’s another misconception about elves. No pointy ears, normal height, normal weight, and we don’t always wear red and green. Okay, so maybe we wear red and green a lot, but the rest of that stuff is all made up.

“Who are you?” she demanded. Well, that’s a loaded question, no pun intended.

“G-G-George,” I stuttered. I’d never met a normal person before, definitely not one who aimed to take my head off, so I was nervous. Who am I kidding? I was wishing I hadn’t had that last mug of hot cocoa, because her domineering presence in the room made me want to pee my pants.

“Well, G-G-George, what are you doing in my house?”

My lips parted, but words failed to escape. I felt so pulled to her after the sarcasm fell from her lips, I almost forgot she was willing to kill me. She was a woman after my own heart.

And here’s where things started to get a bit dicey. I know it was already bad. She was holding a gun on me, but things could always get worse. We elves have a script for this kind of thing. We’re supposed to convince them they’re dreaming and get them back to bed, then make a mad dash for the sleigh and get the heck out of Dodge. But when I looked into those emerald eyes again, I knew she wouldn’t buy it. So, I went off-script, which is bad. Very bad. You see, whenever an adult human learns of the existence of elves, an elf dies a terrible, painful death.

I’m kidding. Had you going though, didn’t I? But seriously, she could have shot me and fed me to her dog, and not a soul would know because, you know, I’m a mythical creature. But I did it anyway. I mean, if I’m going to die it may as well be at the hands of a beautiful creature. Where was I? Oh yeah, shotgun.

“Uh, I’m not sure you’ll believe me if I tell you the truth.” I’ll admit, it wasn’t the best way to gain her trust, but it was all I had.

“I’m a detective. I doubt there’s anything you could say that would shock me,” she replied, never letting the gun drop.

I didn’t blame her, honestly. Who wouldn’t be terrified if someone dropped down your chimney one night carrying a bag big enough to stuff a body in? On top of that, I don’t look like most humans. I mean, I am human, we’ve already discussed that, but I am what my mother calls “devilishly handsome.” My hair is black, and my eyes are so deep a shade of brown, they appear black in dim lighting. My sharp features only add to the illusion that I am the devil himself. I swear I’m a nice guy, but to her, I looked like the devil come to take her to Hell.

“I… I’m an elf. I’m here to… uh, deliver presents?” It was meant to be a statement, but at that point, even I was questioning who I was and what I was doing.

Her green eyes took me in, top to bottom, several times. A wicked smile spread across her face before she erupted into a fit of laughter. She lowered the gun long enough to calm herself, but I suspected that she could easily prepare herself and shoot me in the gut before I could take a single step in her direction. She was beautiful indeed, but she carried an air of authority and dominance, and I dare not challenge it, especially in her own home.

“What are you on, idiot?” She maintained her relaxed frame, but her grip on the gun remained true.

“What am I on? I don’t understand? Um… on, what am I… oh! The floor! I’m on the floor!” I took a chance and lowered my arms to my sides, careful not to appear as if I were reaching for something. I learned that when I watched a western movie at the Elf Library.

“No, I meant, what are you taking?” she asked again, frustration lacing her tone.

“Oh, I see. No, no, I’m not a burglar. I’m an elf. I leave things. I do not take them,” I replied, quite satisfied with my answer and assuming she would be also. I wasn’t there to steal her things, so that should make her happy, I reasoned. She sighed and closed her eyes, took a breath and spoke again.

“Drugs, idiot. What drugs have you been taking?” she asked. “Methamphetamines? That has to be it. You’re hopping around like a meth addict.”

“Uh… elves don’t use meth. We tried it once, but it slows us down. We couldn’t meet our daily toy-making quota.” I replied, then she rolled her eyes and picked up her cell phone from the counter beside her, checking the time.

“It’s late, so the shelters are already closed. I’m sorry, I’ll have to take you to the precinct until I can get you to a shelter or something tomorrow.”

“You don’t understand. I’m not a criminal on drugs. I’m an elf and I’m…” I realized telling her would never convince her of the truth. I had to show her. “Okay listen, just go look on the roof where I parked the sleigh, and I swear you’ll believe me,” I begged.

“You want me to leave you alone in my house while I go outside to look for reindeer on the roof?” she asked, skeptical as all adult humans are.

“Precisely,” I said. Now she was getting the idea!

She stood staring at me for a long time before she raised the shotgun and waved it toward the door. “You first elf man.”

Psych Ward – Five Questions (Plus One For Fun)

Psych Ward is coming October 1!

Here’s what you need to know.

Q:  Why is Psych Ward different from other thrillers?

A:  Have you ever read a thriller and thought the characters were a little too put together? Especially the civilians thrown into the drama? Think of Psych Ward as a peek into how normal, non-violent, civilians might behave if suddenly tossed into the deep end with a dozen assassins and spies, bad guys around every corner, non-stop action, and nagging love stories that just won’t die. I think a lot of people will relate to Chase because he’s a normal guy who got royally screwed over by his girlfriend. He’s mad, and he wants answers. He’s dramatic, confused, and can’t quite move on until he’s satisfied his sweet tooth. Psych Ward has a little of everything: mystery, romance, action, loads of sarcasm, humor, and a lot of running (like, a LOT).

Q:  Is Psych Ward a fast or slow-paced read?

A:  There are a few slower parts to build the history and to transition between action sequences, but for the most part it’s go, go, go! They are in a fight for their lives, after all.

Q:  What can we expect from other books in the series?

A:  The second and third books are prequels to Psych Ward. Those volumes will bring the reader up to speed and offer a solid foundation for why the incidents in Psych Ward occur. You’ll learn a lot more about a few characters from book one, but the feel will be the same—a mix of trained assassins and a few bumbling civilians. The rest of the series picks up after the events in Psych Ward and dives deeper into—well, why would I tell you when you can just read and find out?

Q:  What rating would you give Psych Ward and the entire Assassin’s Memoir Series?

A:  R-rated, definitely. There are scenes with violence and mayhem, loads of adult language and situations, graphic depictions of murder, etc. I wouldn’t read this one to my child as a bedtime story for sure!

Q:  Why did you choose to write a thriller? You usually write YA or comedic romance.

A:  I wanted to try something different, but it turns out I’m a little too sarcastic for the thriller genre. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t turn off the sarcasm and focus on murdering people. That said, I thought “what the heck?” and added MORE sarcasm and sass, pushed the characters to their absolute limits, and threw in a touch of comedic relief. Voila! I wrote a thriller that portrays real people. Let’s face it. We’d all like to think we could Jason Bourne our way out of a hot mess, but, it’s just not that easy.

Q:  Why did you use a pen name for this series:

A:  Because I love my Young Adult readers, and I would hate to give them nightmares. I wanted to differentiate this series from my usual work. To do that, I chose to work under a different name, so it didn’t appear in the searches for my YA work.

Final Front Cover with Penname

photo credit to Zachary Jayden, Popwrapped

Cover model Daniel Rengering, RengerINC.


Snow Kissed – Five Questions

Snow Kissed
Five Questions

Snow Kissed is coming soon! Below are five of the most commonly asked questions surrounding my new series!

Q: What exactly is Snow Kissed?

A: Who doesn’t love a good retelling of a classic story? Snow Kissed is my imagination running wild with inspiration from the Grimm Brothers’ version of Snow White. But it’s more than a retelling. It’s taking the tale you know and turning it topsy turvy. Who knew Snow White was so mean?

Q: What is the series, The Immortal Grimm Brothers’ Guide to Sociopathic Princesses, about?

A: First, unlike The Secret Author Series, the books in TIGBGSP series must be read in order. Each book tackles a different fairy tale, all derived from the Grimm Brothers’ versions (though many originated long before the brothers were born). The series of six books has an underlying evil that is exposed in book six, but if you read carefully you might figure out what the root of all evil is before the final installment! Why the long series name? Why not? Ha, I struggled with a series name for a while, but this one made people laugh, so I went with it.

Q: What is the target age range?

A: As with The Yellow Note, there is no cussing and no overly adult situations. There are instances of kissing, but nothing more. There is, however, a decent amount of violence. You can’t defeat an evil queen without, you know, killing her. If you let your child read The Hunger Games or The Divergent Series, then this would be just fine. I would approximate the age range to be 12-18, but many adults have enjoyed reading it as well.

Q: When will the second book, Ashes to Ashes, come out?

A: Ashes to Ashes has been written and is in the first round of beta reads! I would love to say it will be out this year, but it’s more likely it will release early 2019. I have another book release soon and plans to release a Christmas-themed comedic novella by November, so those will keep me busy.

Q: How can I get an advanced reading of Ashes to Ashes?

A: You can request to be a beta reader, that’s how! Contact me for details.

Kindle Cover

The Yellow Note – Five Questions

The Yellow Note
Five Questions

With the release of the second edition of The Yellow Note, I have been getting a lot of questions. I thought I would share those here, since it’s easier to upload to all social media accounts! The most common questions are below:

Q: What did you change about the original edition?

A: None of the plot has changed. The only changes I made were correcting mistakes that slipped through the original editing processes, a few structural changes to make paragraphs flow better, and removing a few curse words that slipped through (oops). I also made formatting changes and updated the cover.

Q: What age range is the target audience?

A: I’ve had readers of all ages tell me they loved the book and have reread it many times, but the target age is 12 to 15. The topics are universal, and the story is wholesome and upbeat. There are no adult situations (one innocent kiss or two), no cussing, and no violence (except for a mugging incident.)

Q: The Yellow Note is the first book in The Secret Author Series. Do they have to be read in order, or are the installments stand-alone books?

A: Currently, The Yellow Note is the only installment for sale. The Postcard, The Letter, The Text Message, and The Telegram are available on Wattpad while they undergo editing. Each book is stand-alone, but there is minimal overlap. For example, Conor Hudson’s cousins, Hope and Mark Garrison, appear in The Postcard. Another example, an incident that occurs in The Text Message is briefly mentioned in The Telegram. Neither occasion take away from the reading experience or confuse the reader.

Q: Are the characters in The Yellow Note based on real people?

A: Yes and no. There are definite influences from people I knew/know, but the events in the book are mostly fictitious except for a few (Bianca licking chocolate off her phone–that totally happened, and you know who you are…)

Q: When will The Spin-Off Anthology be available?

A: Soon! There will be five short spin-offs and ALL the bonus chapters readers requested included in this anthology. I’m still writing one of the spin-offs, so that’s what’s holding it up. I will announce the release date soon, but I do plan to have it available by the end of the year!

The Yellow Note Front Cover

PSYCH WARD Cover Reveal Day!

Guess what today is? It’s cover reveal day for Psych Ward, my first thriller/mystery/action novel with a touch of romance written under the penname E. J. Fleming. Read on for the full blurb and cover with Daniel Rengering, dubbed Gainesville, Florida’s HOTCOP (can’t say I disagree…) Photo credit to Zachary Jayden, Popwrapped.

Final Front Cover with Penname

Chase Yarden never thought he’d see her again, but there she was sipping coffee in a tiny café in Venice. She looked different, but he would know her anywhere–the woman who ruined his life.

The four Yarden boys loved the four Ward girls nearly all their lives, a fact the small town of Douglas, Texas wouldn’t soon forget. On a night of celebration, one of the Ward girls is shot dead in the street. Only days later, the entire Ward family vanishes, leaving nothing behind but four broken men.

Long after the girls are gone, the boys are left to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives–a difficult task when left with more questions than answers. Determined to find those answers, Chase sets out to track down his ex-fiancé with the help of her sister’s journal. The secrets he reads between the faded leather cover torment him, until finding her becomes his sole purpose in life.

Five long years pass with nothing more than a few measly leads, until one day the woman appears out of nowhere with a warning Chase isn’t keen on hearing. Chase is thrust into a world he’d only seen in movies. Assassins, spies, murder and mayhem–the stuff of his worst nightmares become a reality he cannot escape.

Once desperate to find answers no matter the cost, Chase soon realizes the price may be higher than he was willing to pay. With enemies around every corner, Chase and his brothers find themselves in the middle of an international war that began long before they were born.

Can the Yarden boys trust the Ward girls with their lives, or will they pay the ultimate sacrifice?

Wattpad Famous?

Ahh…it feels nice to be behind a keyboard again after dodging a monster storm,  throwing a three-year-old’s birthday party, and prepping for some big personal events (all good things, don’t worry).  But now that I’m back, I’m having some difficulty getting back into the swing of things, especially writing my blog.  I beat my head trying to come up with a topic and finally settled on one that has been fairly popular for me on Wattpad.

How do I get reads, comments, and votes on Wattpad?  How did I earn over 6,400 followers in under a year?  How am I pseudo-popular on Wattpad?

There isn’t one answer that will tell you what you want to know, but I will discuss a few things that I have done that I think significantly contributed to my success on the writing app.

Your Story Should Be Polished (or readable, in the very least) First and foremost, you’re manuscript should be as close to perfect as you can get it on your first run.  I like to post my updates with minimal editing because I like the input my readers give me, and I often incorporate their ideas during my first round of serious edits.  Readers will usually excuse an error or two in an update as long as the rest of the writing is quality and captures their attention.  However, I’ve been writing for over a decade, so my first rounds are usually a little more polished than some.  Note I didn’t say perfect; Heaven only knows if I wrote a perfect manuscript in the first go I’d be J. K. Rowling rich by now!

It bears mentioning, if you post an update that is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, plot holes (that you don’t intend to fill within a chapter or two), fragmented sentences or run-ons, and generally sloppy writing, then your readers will disappear.

Apply to be Featured  Follow Wattpad’s rules for submitting your story to fill their Featured Section!  It’s free, and fairly easy to submit your work.  I did this with The Yellow Note and went from a few hundred reads over six months, to three million in the four months after it was accepted as a feature!  It wasn’t a perfect story, but with the increased readership I was able to find issues that I would not have picked up on my own.

Having a featured story increases readership which increases votes and comments.  The more people like what you write, the more followers you earn, which brings me to my next point.

Be Kind to Your Following  If you treat your followers like tuna fish, they will unfollow you in a heartbeat.  These readers like your work enough to follow you, and with any luck, they will become loyal supporters.  I have earned several friends this way, including four I rely on regularly for advice on cover work, plots, character building, etc.  (and maybe a few who I like to talk to for the giggles of it, you know who you are!)

If your followers are also writers, read their work.  Vote, comment, and help them where you can.  This is one area I admit I lack commitment, primarily because I am usually busy chasing a child, keeping up with my house, writing or editing, and other things that life says I must do.  But I fit it in where I can, and it makes my friends happy.

Respond to Comments  This can get tricky once your work takes off, and it’s one of the reasons I removed The Yellow Note from Wattpad.  I loved the comments, but I found myself receiving over 300 a day, which was far more than I was prepared to handle.

Responding to comments should be fun, and it should connect you to your audience.  It’s the best way to earn followers.  But what happens when the trolls come out to play?  Ignore them.  I learned that lesson the hard way after trading one too many blows with someone whose only desire was to get a rise out of me.  I’m a red head, it’s not difficult.  It ruined my day and stuck with me, making me feel lousy about my writing and connection to my “fans.”  When I decided to ignore those comments (or better yet, delete them), I was able to focus on the hundreds of positive ones that brightened my day.

Connect to Your Audience  I’m a 37 year old female from the east coast of the US, yet I’ve found myself having the most interesting conversations on Wattpad with people who are very different from me.  I’ve had mature conversations with twelve-year-olds, and I’ve fangirled with forty-year-olds.  I’ve discussed politics and religion with people who grew up on the other side of the world.

How do you connect with people who are so drastically different and whose interests are as varied as they are?  Read what they write, read their comments and start a conversation, view their profiles, and the most fun…CONTESTS!

I’ve had a few, and they don’t have to be big to be fun.  A cover design contest or a scavenger hunt draw people into your world, and who doesn’t like to learn something new?  The prizes for winners can be as simple as allowing the winner to choose a character name or cover design, even an actor or actress to “play” the part of the main character.  It’s fun, and people remember you.

And last but not least…

Network Like Crazy  Read a story you enjoyed?  Mention it in an author’s note between chapter updates (be sure to include the profile name).  It spreads the love and helps undiscovered writers gain a following.  In return, you earn a friend and a loyal reader.

If you find something exceptional, leave the author a personal message on their wall  or in the private message space.  I know it makes me feel great when someone tells me how my work has influenced them!


I love the Wattpad community, and I’m  so happy to be a part of it.  If you follow my suggestions, I can almost guarantee you’ll increase your votes, reads, comments and followers over time.  It takes dedication, but anything worth doing does.

You wrote a fantastic story and poured your heart into it, why not pour your heart into making sure it succeeds?


Banging Your Head Against the Wall

Writer’s block.  Two of the nastiest words in the English language when they get together to throw a party in your mind.  If you’re like me, your writer’s block manifests itself as empty stares, wandering thoughts involving grocery lists, and that dog meme you saw on twitter yesterday.  So, what do you do when you have writer’s block?

I have asked that question a thousand times, and I’ve gotten a thousand answers.  I’ve been asked quite a bit as well, and I finally have the best answer.  You do everything and nothing.  Whaaaaat?

Yep, do nothing.  It’s OKAY to take a break from your work and do something else, even for a few days.  Note, I did NOT say don’t write – that would be foolish.  Write something, just don’t force yourself to write the next chapter of that manuscript, because I promise you won’t like the outcome.  You’ll rip your hair out when the editing process begins, and you will ask yourself what on earth you were thinking.  Alien unicorns in historical non-fiction?!

Write a short story, a poem, a random list of things you want to do before you die.  You’ll find writing anything at all helps clear the blockage, and before you know it you’ll be digging out from the rubble of the hundreds of ideas that fall on you when the wall comes tumbling down!

Or, do everything.  Can’t figure out what your MC should do in the impossible predicament you’ve put her in?  Write an alternate point-of-view!  Write from the villain’s perspective, write from the love interest’s perspective, write from the fly on the wall’s perspective!  Not only does it free up space in your mind to be creative without the pressure of knowing this chapter will be in your final manuscript, but it also helps you understand your minor character’s better.

That makes no sense, you say.  I already know my characters, I wrote them after all, you say.  Trust me, you don’t.  You think you do, but until you shake off the persona of your MC, you can’t really see your supporting characters clearly.

But that’s a waste of time!  Is it any more a waste of time than staring at your computer waiting for inspiration?  Probably not.  And look at it this way, if you plan on redeeming your villain in some way, it helps to know what he/she is thinking and feeling.  It will come through in your work and when the time comes for the redemption arc, your readers will swallow the pill a little easier.  You’ll always have that one person who wouldn’t forgive a bear for pooping in the woods, but you’re not really writing for that person anyway.

Have a strong MC but a wimpy lover?  Give him or her a stronger presence (thereby making a stronger love) by climbing in the character’s brain.  Your readers will feel that love more strongly if you feel it!  I don’t feel quite right if I haven’t made myself cry writing the sappy scenes.

Don’t like alternate POVs?  Write the ending to your book.  You surely have some idea how you want your work to wrap up, so write it!  Don’t worry, no one will know if you changed it entirely by the time you get to the actual ending, but it gives you a goal.  How do you fill the space between where you are and your final destination?  You’ll be surprised what having the final written chapter can do to help you fill in the blank space.

What do you do if these tips don’t help you?  Watch TV, listen to music, read a book by an author outside of your genre, read a book by an author in your genre, read a dictionary (seriously, that little trick has helped me twice – no kidding), take a walk, call a friend on the actual phone (yes, they will probably think you’re insane), play with your pet, leave your writing space for a while and look at the world, run ideas by a trusted beta reader or friend, do one of the things on your to -do list.

Do whatever works for you, because honestly that’s the way the world works.  Everyone is different, and not every tip will work for you.  And sometimes what works now won’t work later.  It’s frustrating, I know .  We ALL know, because we’ve all been there at least once – twice on Tuesdays!

Don’t let it stop you from putting the words down.  Someone wants to hear what you have to say; wouldn’t it be a pity if you never say it?  Just keep trying techniques, and one day you’ll be doing this…


When Do You Become a Writer?

We’ve all done it.  You’re scrolling through Facebook and you come across a “quiz” that tells you who you are (because algorithms know everything), and you click on it only to find you have apparently been living your life all wrong!

Sigh…I did just that today, and now I’m downright irate.  I should have known better, but I couldn’t stop myself from clicking on that “Should You be a Writer?” quiz that kept popping up in my feed.  I took the quiz.  Guess what?  I shouldn’t be a writer.

Why?  Evidently it’s a lot of work.  Evidently you need 427 years of schooling to put words on paper that inspire others.  Evidently I am not creative enough, because I also happen to like watching more than one television show.

It was discouraging for about thirteen seconds.  Then I remembered that silly quiz didn’t know me.  It didn’t know that I thrive from writing, or that I would do just about anything to put my thoughts on paper.  Of course, those 427 years of schooling may have helped me get started, at the very least it may have helped me remember where the commas are supposed to go, but not having it certainly won’t STOP me from doing what I love.

Folks, I have an MBA that I paid good money for – really good money, and I haven’t used that sucker once since I graduated.  Quite frankly, if I entered the business world right now, that $90K degree would probably be worthless.  The truth is, education is important, but it isn’t everything.

Experience, now THAT you cannot put a price tag on.  Empathy, sympathy, love, hope, generosity, sadness, anger – the entire human spectrum of emotion – and the things you do and see and say in your life – THAT is what makes you a writer.  Anyone can make a sentence and write it on paper, but it’s those of us who put our soul on paper that inspire others and create masterpieces.

Some may say the true gauge of success as a writer is publication, some say making the NYT Bestseller list, some say fame and fortune (sorry, not many people become JK Rowling), but I say the second you leave a little piece of yourself on the page you have become a writer.

Writing is an art form, and like any other form of art it takes practice and perseverance.  Mozart worked for ten years before he produced his first popular work.  Kobe Bryant put in thousands of hours of training before he became a star, arguably one of the best basketball players in the world.  Picasso painted a bunch of crap before he sold is first painting.  Einstein thought most of his work was junk, then he completed his Theory of Relativity – dude, he figured out gravity!  But, he didn’t do it overnight.

My point?  If you want to be a writer, then be a writer.  Put in the work and never let anyone, not even the all-powerful Facebook quiz, tell you what you should or shouldn’t do.  That said, if you will excuse me I have some writing to do.

All the love!  MJ