Monday, June 26, 2017

I'm a YouTuber! / Monthly Mishmash

YouTube - I never thought I'd say this but...I'm a YouTuber! 

I even have a YouTube Channel!

I need 100 subscribers to create a custom URL. 

Would you please subscribe?

Right now, I'm sharing videos about marketing.

Thursday I'll be sharing my 3rd video about Amazon.

DEPRESSION - I am happy to report that since April, I feel as though I am back to my old self. I know that depression will always be part of my life and that it can pop up at any moment, but I am strong. Actually, I am stronger. I believe that each time I beat my depression, I get stronger. This last bout lasted 7 months and was the worse case I've ever had, but I learned from that experience and now I have weapons for the future.

WRITING - Yes, but am I writing? That's the big question, isn't it?

And I am! Well, not for what I should be writing...the final book of the Disaster Crimes Series, but I've been revising an old WIP. Half of it needs to be rewritten to reflect the changes I did in the book that comes before it. This is a huge step. I haven't written since November!

READING - I've been reading a lot of books, (this was part of my depression recovery) mainly African American, Wiccan, and feminism literature. I've felt like I've grown as a human being, so I wanted to share my favorite reads so far this year that have 4-5 star reviews from me.

My Favorite Reads (so far) 2017:

- Your One Word: The Powerful Secret to Creating a Business and Life that Matters by Evan Carmichael

- Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery.

- The Goddess is in the Details: Wisdom for the Everyday Witch by Deborah Blake

- The Color Purple by Alice Walker

- Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

- Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

- Moranifesto by Caitlin Maron

- Book of Shadows by Phyllis Curott

- To be a Slave by Julius Lester

- Chapter After Chapter: Discover the Dedication and Focus You Need to Write the Book of Your Dreams by Heather Sellers (and also her book Page After Page)

QUESTIONS: Will you subscribe to my YouTube channel? I'm thinking of doing a giveaway when I reach 100. One random subscriber may get something nice. :)

What good books have you read so far this year?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Diverse Characters - K + L + M


There’s been a lot of talk about adding diverse characters to fictional books. Most of the time, this is about including people of color if you’re a Caucasian writer, but all writers can add diverse characters to their books. And why stop at race? In this series, I’m going to list all sorts of diverse characters.

Note: I'm not knowledgeable about all types of people, so I'm skipping my usual tips in favor of letting others share their knowledge. See below 

**I won't be able to list them all, so here's a list of ethnic groups...with a list of even more lists at the bottom of the page. lol

Here are the diverse characters for K:



South Koreans

Apink, South Korean Girl Group

North Koreans

Kurdish Individuals

Kymophobics (people with the fear of waves)

Here are the diverse characters for L:


Lebanese Individuals


Leprechauns (fantasy)

Little People (Individuals with Dwarfism)


Lygophopics (people with the fear of darkness)

Here are the diverse characters for M:





Mexican Americans


Source: Mehgan Heaney-Grier

Military Members
U.S. Air Force
Israel Defense Forces

Middle Easterners (Individuals from the Middle East)


Monacan Indians (Monaco)



Individuals with Multiple Personality Disorder

Mute Individuals 


SHARE: If you can come up with more diverse characters that start with K, L, or M, let me know and I will add them to my list.

QUESTION: Do you have tips or Do's/Dont's for one of the characters I mentioned above? Share your advice for writing about those characters in your comment.

Have you written about a character from my list?

*All images are free to use.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Empowering Women - Candis Cayne

Every month I am highlighting an empowering woman. This month it is:

Candis Cayne

© Glenn Francis,

I was introduced to Candis Cayne when I watched I Am Cait, and Candis shone as a gorgeous, funny, and wise woman. She is a transgender woman.

“I’m not trying to be a spokeswoman for the transgender community. I just want to be looked at as a living, breathing, happy human being.”

She is a dancer and actress. In 2001, she won the Miss Continental Pageant for Female Impersonators. She was also the first transgender woman to play a recurring trans character on a prime-time TV show (Dirty Sexy Money).

In 2015, she was awarded with the Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award for being a vocal activist for the LGBT community and working with GLAAD and HRC. She teamed up with the global LGBT Social Network MOOVZ as their new Global Creative Director.

Last year, she played on the TV show Heartbeat as a transgender woman with breast cancer. It was a moving episode titled “Permanent Glitter.” The doctors “fight to save her life and her identity.” At the end, the hospital staff and guests do a flash mob dance in her honor. While watching it, I got teary eyed.

“…through the character of Ava, we learn that it’s not a breast, or a scar, or our appearance that defines us, but out inner strength and courage.” -NBC

This is the only video I could find of the flash mob dance. The song is “Stand By You” by Rachel Platten.


NOTE: PLEASE refrain from posting negative comments about transgender people. Thank you!


Book Club: The IWSG Book Club will be reading for June/July....

This book will demonstrate characterization, which was voted #1 by our members for what they want to learn how to do better.

- Whether you read a book is up to you. Whether you join the book discussion is up to you. Though we do hope for both. ;) And You can join any book discussion, even if you don’t read the book.

Our book club is not a strict one. 

Join us and participate when you can.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Beating Insecurities! / IWSG

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place for insecure writers of all kinds.

Optional June Question: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

Yes, I have. SEVERAL times.

Last year, I had said it a lot--when I was getting rejections, when sales weren't happening, reviews weren't coming in, when nothing was working despite my efforts, when my depression reared it's ugly head. I would even go so far as to say to my mom, "Never publish!" 

The very second after I'd yell, "I quit," I'd be back at, trying my hardest. I can't quit writing, because it's my passion. My dream. I may succumb to the pressure and throw a tantrum, but there's not a quitter bone in this body!


Insecurity #1: One of my biggest insecurities is recording videos of myself. I get nervous, even if I'm by myself.

Last month, I decided to squash this insecurity. 

I recorded myself doing a reading of Tsunami Crimes. I did it in one take because I didn't want to have to do it again and again. But when I finished, I was excited! I immediately created a YouTube channel, published the video, and added it to Goodreads and LinkedIn (which I had just joined at the time). 

Now, I plan to do a lot more!

Here's my reading. In the beginning, I make a pretty funny mistake. (I also mess up a few words. Oopsy.)

Side Note: To me, I'm a completely different person in this video. I felt like an actor, which is, I guess, what you have to become, even if you're an author. :P


Insecurity #2: Being Chrys Fey in Public.

On Saturday, I had my first book signing at: Space Coast Book Lovers

I used this event to conquer more insecurities. I did a recorded interview for Hangin with Web Show. I was so nervous in the beginning, but the host was so nice and funny that it was surprisingly easy. I'll share the video when they put it up. :)

I also signed up for an Author Mingle/Panel. I had to talk about my first published book, Hurricane Crimes, and answer questions. My heart would pound just before it was my turn, but when I had to speak, I did good.

I was really proud of myself afterward.

The Signing: 

Me at my table.

On the right is MJ!

All the authors at the SCBL event. I'm in the back right corner.

Personal Assistants.
My mom is behind the lady in red. She's wearing a black shirt.

*Photos by Christopher John

I went to all of the authors' tables, exchanged business cards with them (including IWSG cards) and asked for their autographs.

What Works:
- Newsletter Giveaway with Newsletter Sign-up Sheets.
- Postcards with book blurb and cover art.
- Hand-painted shells...Florida. People loved it.

Plans for Future:
- Banners
- Book Stands

Yvonne Mason

Maggie Adams

*Photos by Christopher John

Blogger Scherry Jenkins asked for a picture!

She posted about the event and our meeting here.

My Mom!!

MJ Fifield!!!!!! 

Optional July 5th Question: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Prepping for My First Book Event and Signing / Monthly Mishmash

Book Club: The IWSG Book Club will be reading for June/July....

This book will demonstrate characterization, which was voted #1 by our members for what they want to learn how to do better. Even if you've read this book before, reread it with fresh eyes, paying attention to characterization.

Whether you read a book is up to you. 

Whether you join the book discussion is up to you. 

Though we do hope for both. ;) 

And you can join any book discussion, even if you don’t read the book.

Our book club is not a strict one. 

Join us and participate when you can.


Upcoming Book Event: I will be going to my first book event on Friday, June 2nd, which will involve workshops, mingles, and more. On Saturday, June 3rd, I'll be part of a massive book signing. 

One of our very own, M.J. Fifield, will be there, too! She actually told me about this event last year. Thank you, M.J.!

Book Signing - FREE to EVERYONE
Saturday, June 3rd, 2017
10:00 am - 1:00 pm EST
Manatee Ballroom

2017 Event Location:
International Palms Resort
1300 North Atlantic Avenue
Cocoa Beach, FL 32931

If you are in the area, or can travel, come visit me at the signing on June 3rd (Saturday). My table will have a palm tree on it! :D


Here's how I prepared for this event:

- Figured out what decor I wanted on my table.

- Figured out what SWAG and promo items I want to hand out.

- Bought a tablecloth, just in case I need one, and small table-top easels to hold copies of my books.

- Hand-painted sea shells for SWAG.

- Ordered more bookmarks from Vistaprint.

- Ordered two addition packs of postcards for swag with the covers and blurbs for Hurricane Crimes and Tsunami Crimes.

- Ordered a 10-inch Hurricane Crimes cover printed on a glossy tabletop easel with a stand. (Since Hurricane Crimes is in ebook format only.)

- Bought a balloon pump for a blow-up decoration I got for my table. I'm so excited about this!!!!

- Bought a small, dry-erase white board to write down my book prices.

- Bought a rolling cart to carry my books.

- Bought a money lock box. (I don't have an iPhone for a credit card square, so I'll only be accepting cash.)

- Bought a clipboard for newsletter sign-up sheets and a 1/2-inch white binder for short reviews people can read at my table.

- Bought new black pants to wear to the signing.

- Ordered 12 copies each of Seismic Crimes and Tsunami Crimes.

- And updated EVERYTHING on my website.

Now I've had to do a lot more planning than that, though:

- What will I have as a giveaway (a basket on my table) to get people to sign up for my newsletter?

- What can I give special to people who buy a copy of my books?

- Figure out where I'll crash for one night. (With family.)

- Set up an ebook sale (for all of my books) to immediately follow the event.

- Get change for big bills. (My books will be $10 ea.)

- Have money for meals.and books!

And then there's what else I'll have to pack:

- My leather planner with a new pack of paper for note taking.

- Protein bars and water (The signing goes through lunch.)

- Breath mints...cuz, you know...just in case.

- Pillow for my chair. (My bad back demands one.)

- Lint roller (For my new black pants.)

- Duct table..cuz, you never know.

- Blanket and pillow for my sleepover.

- Necessities like toothbrush/paste, makeup, etc.

I still feel like I'm forgetting something....

The good thing is, I'll have an assistant to help me. My mom. <3 She wants to experience this so she knows what it'll be like for when she has a table. :)

I'll be stepping out of my shell, so...WISH ME LUCK!

P.S. I'll share how it went in my IWSG Day post on June 7th. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Joplin Deadliest Tornado Outbreak / Guest Post by Tamara Hart Heiner

In May 2011, more than a hundred people died in the deadliest tornado outbreak this century.

In fact, it was the deadliest tornado outbreak in the modern era. In this day of forecasts and tornado sirens and weather alarms, most people can get to safety before a tornado hits. 
Last night, May 18, 2017, my city was once again under a tornado warning. I was reminded of that night six years ago when we were under a tornado warning the same time as Joplin. Joplin was the perfect recipe for disaster, and when the mile-wide tornado struck, the city wasn't ready.
The night of that tornado, my little city forty minutes away was also under a tornado warning. I spent the night in the bathtub downstairs with my little babies, completely unaware that less than an hour away a city was being decimated. When I learned of the disaster, I wondered what on earth I could do to help. My husband was deployed, I had three children under the age of six, and I'm a small-framed 100-pound woman.
It came to me one morning as I drove to a book signing that took me through Joplin. I was listening to the radio, and the deejay said, “We have your help and your support now, but remember us in six months. We will still need you. Remember us in five years. In ten years.” I realized how true that was. Joplin’s recovery would take a decade, but in the face of the next national disaster, no one would give Joplin a second thought.
And I knew what I could do. I could write a book. I could memorialize what happened, permanently etch the survivors' words into history, and donate all the proceeds to Joplin.
And that's exactly what I did.

I’m not a meteorologist; I’m not even a journalist. I’m a fiction writer. So the first thing I did was contact the National Weather Service and ask them if they could direct me. They did. They put me in contact with Steve Runnels from the Springfield, MO weather center. He kindly sent me official documents and reports of the incident, accountability reports they had to make explain the disaster, to show what they did to prevent it and what could be done in the future. He also patiently answered all my questions as I stumbled through the weather jargon and attempted to translate the legalese to layman terms. Next I contacted various professors and meteorologists to have them read over my interpretation of the data and make sure I got it right (the hardest part was that they sometimes contradicted each other on what they thought was correct). It was painstaking and I frequently broke out in a cold sweat when I worried about getting something wrong. But with their help, we got it together. The first third of the book is a technical explanation of what happened, but written so that the average person can read it and understand.
The last third of the book is a treatise on emergency preparedness, and again I had many kind professors to thank for conducting interviews with me and helping come up with a concise plan any citizen can follow.
The meat of the book, however, is where the heart is. Rather than just have a piecemeal of several different people talking about what happened to them during the ten minutes the tornado ravaged its way through Joplin, I wanted to give an intimate picture into the lives of a few people. I need a snapshot of their day from beginning to end, and then the reconstruction afterward. I conducted dozens of interviews and found women were much more willing to talk than guys. Not only that, but they could usually remember the kinds of details that give an experience flavor. Being a fiction writer, I wrote in the narrative nonfiction style so that the interviews read like a story rather than a documentary.
Thus the book became about the women who held their families and neighbors together during and after the tornado. I wanted to show more than just the sensational, dramatic event. I wanted to show how such an event affects the entire community. I also wanted the book to be inspirational, to focus more on the tender, nurturing, hopeful side of humanity rather than the dark, pillaging side that often emerges in a crisis. The book was picked up by Dancing Lemur Press, a press that often publishes inspirational nonfiction.
This book holds a special place in my heart. It was by far the hardest book I’ve ever written, and I doubt I will ever tackle a project like it again. 100% of the royalties go straight back into helping Joplin rebuild, and when Joplin doesn't need it anymore, I'll pick another city that does.I hope that if you read it, you will feel some of that thriving, irrepressible human spirit, that fire that refuses to give up. The book is available here  through all major online retailers and is also available on audio!
Don't forget. Whether it's Joplin or Baton Rouge or somewhere else, help where you can. When you can't, thank the Lord that you have what you do and pray for those that don't.


Tamara Hart Heiner is a mom, wife, baker, editor, and author. She currently lives in Arkansas with her husband, four children, a cat, a rabbit, a dog, and a fish. She would love to add a macaw and a sugar glider to the family. She’s the author of several young adult suspense series (Perilous, Goddess of Fate, Kellam High) the Cassandra Jones saga, and a nonfiction book about the Joplin Tornado, Tornado Warning. 

Connect with Tamara online! 

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