I don’t know about you, but I get a little excited when a new writing guide comes along. Today I get to spill the news that The Conflict Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Obstacles, Adversaries, and Inner Struggles (Vol. 1) has hit the shelves.

This guide is about that killer ingredient our stories need: Conflict. It shows you exactly how to use conflict to raise tension, create a fresh story premise, and pull readers in. The guide also dives into over 100 conflict scenarios and how each can be endlessly adapted to challenge a character inside and out. Problems, Moral Dilemmas, Ticking Clocks, Obstacles, No-Win Scenarios…this book is plot brainstorming in overdrive!

I’m part of Angela & Becca’s Street Team for this release, and we have an important question to ask you:

Can You Survive Danger as Well as Your Favorite Protagonist?

Sure, it’s easy for you to use conflict to torture your characters and make them struggle, but what if it’s you in the hot seat instead? Will you make good decisions, or bad ones?

It’s time to find out by taking the Conflict Challenge! I dare you to become the protagonist in a special story Angela & Becca have created. And heads up, if you survive, you win some pretty cool stuff!

GIVEAWAY ALERT

While you’re at Writers Helping Writers taking the Conflict Challenge, make sure to enter The Conflict Thesaurus celebratory giveaway, too. But hurry – it’s only on for a few days.

So, take the challenge…if you dare. And don’t forget to come back and let me know how you did against Camp Deadwood!

POPpins Pinterest Virtual Assistant

I never thought I wanted (or needed) a virtual assistant, for Pinterest or anything else. Then I got started with Rebekah of POPpins LLC and realized just how much I hadn’t been doing because I didn’t have time for it or know how to do it well.

This is what you see now when you go to my Pinterest account. Doesn’t it look great?! The cover shows books I’ve featured on my blog as well as some of my own books and one of the Bible verse coloring sheets I sell on my site.

Rebekah’s job involves “Helping authors, artists, teacherpreneurs, homeschoolers, special needs & disability advocates, ministries, and artisans increase their visibility via the Pinterest platform.” Though I had a Pinterest account already, I’d never done much with it, prioritizing Facebook as my main social media platform. Rebekah gave it new life! She started by turning it into a business account for me, then got me a Tailwind account (Tailwind is a social media scheduling app that’s tailored for Pinterest) and linked it to my Pinterest. Next, she optimized the presentation of my Pinterest wall by creating dozens of distinct pins and matching board covers for me (all beautiful and professional-looking) from various custom-made, trend-mindful templates to promote my books and website. Then, she followed about 50 other authors from my account and joined group boards and Tailwind Tribes that matched my branding on my behalf. She scheduled up to 15 pins per day for me and submitted certain ones to the exchange system on Tailwind Tribes (where she pinned for other authors on my behalf, and they pinned on mine). Every month she sends me a classy-looking analytics report with simple-to-read statistics like how many new covers she designed that month, how many pins she pinned and repinned, how many impressions my pins received, etc. There’s a line graph showing the number of clicks to my website each day, and also pictures of the most popular organic pins. Even more importantly (to me), Rebekah has been available by email whenever I’ve had questions and has explained everything I’ve wanted to know about clearly and simply.

Here’s an example of one of the pins Rebekah created, featuring the books in my fantasy series. (As I preview this post, the picture’s dimensions look odd, but the actual pin looks the way it should. You can see the original one on Pinterest at the link below.

You can take a look at my actual Pinterest account here. Everything you see there that looks so lovely is thanks to Rebekah of POPpins LLC!

I don’t often blog about professionals in the industry, but I felt it was worth making an exception this time. If you don’t use Pinterest to its full effect as an author, or if you didn’t even realize it could be an effective way to promote your books or drive traffic to your blog/website, or if you simply don’t have time to deal with it on top of everything else, you would probably benefit from the services of a Pinterest Virtual Assistant too. Take a look at the links below to see more about what Rebekah offers on her website, including a special group deal for authors who don’t need her full package.

[email protected]

https://poppinspva.com

https://www.pinterest.com/POPpinsPVA/_saved/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebekahmcclainpva/

https://www.facebook.com/rebekah.mcclain.pva

Questions? Feel free to ask them here. Have you used a virtual assistant before? What did he/she do for you, and has it been worth it? Let us know in the comments!

I want to recommend a helpful resource for authors! Read to the bottom for my review of K.M. Weiland’s new book. First, here’s the cover and her Amazon description:

 

Theme Is What Your Story Is Really About

Theme—the mysterious cousin of plot and character. Too often viewed as abstract rather than actionable, theme is frequently misunderstood and left to chance. Some writers even insist theme should not be purposefully implemented. This is unfortunate, because in many ways theme is story. Theme is the heart, the meaning, the point. Nothing that important should be overlooked.

Powerful themes are never incidental. They emerge from the conjunction of strong plots and resonant character arcs. This means you can learn to plan and implement theme. In doing so, you will deepen your ability to write not only stories that entertain, but also stories that stay with readers long after the end.

Writing Your Story’s Theme will teach you:

Conscious mastery of theme will elevate every story you write and allow you to craft fiction of depth and meaning.

Take Control of Your Story Via a Powerful Implementation of Theme

My Review:

This is a useful resource for any author wanting to strengthen their novel’s theme. I’ve never read anything so in-depth on the subject! But don’t try to read this book when you’re tired or at less than peak mental alertness – it’s so deep and rich that takes a lot of brainpower to fully absorb the details. There are so many useful concepts here that I found myself highlighting dozens of separate passages, which I’ll have to look back over when I’m plotting out my next book. Thank you, K.M. Weiland, for another excellent writing resource!

Click here to buy Writing Your Story’s Theme from Amazon.

The Art of Short Story and Novella Writing 
Savvy Writer’s Book #2 
By Kim Knight 
Genre: Self-Help, Writing, Nonfiction 
Compared to novel writing, short stories and novellas need special and different skills that every writer should master. Readers love shorter stories! From Kim Knight, the award-winning and number #1 best-selling author of 365 Days of Writing Prompts for Romance writers, The Art of Short Story and Novella Writing writer’s reference is perfect for both seasoned and aspiring writers of all genres. The Art of Short Story and Novella Writing will help you perfect, sharpen, and increase your skills and abilities when writing engaging shorter stories, novellas, or novelettes for both stand-alone and series stories. With detailed and practical steps, the sole aim of this guide is to help writers confidently write within a high demand and well-paid market. With easy-to-engage-with chapters, discover the practical art of short story and novella writing. The Art of Short Story and Novella Writing includes practical exercises to help you master the skills to write your next series of stories: 
•Story-telling styles for short stories: how and why it should differentiate from novel writing. 
•Character development with limited word count. 
•Strengthening themes and plots with limited word count. 
•Where and how to start a shorter story to capture reader’s attention. 
•Creating compelling stories with peaks and satisfying endings for readers, with a small word count. 
•Learn about the market, paid writing contests, and where to submit shorter stories. 
Each chapter has a dedicated writing space for every practical exercise, and for plotting your ideas and characters. Writing compelling shorter stories with meaning, and well developed characters is not easy! But, with The Art of Short Story and Novella Writing, you will ramp up your skills set and become a master of the technique. Note: the paperback will allow writers to make notes, carry out the exercises, and throw away the hundreds of notepads us writers have sitting around. 
Available in e-book ( $2.99) and paperback ($5.99) , audio version on its way! 
Goodreads * Amazon
Kim was born in 1983 and from London in the UK. She’s a mother to a beautiful little boy, and a proud award-winning author (awarded Best Romance 2017 for A Stranger in France), and #1 Best-Selling Author (365 Days of Writing Prompts for Romance Writers). She’s also a contribution writer at Aspiring Authors Magazine LLC. Kim started her journey as a traditionally published author and later dived into self-publishing also.
As a reader she’s head over heels in love with romance, historical fiction, crime fiction, African- American, suspense and thriller genre books. As a writer, Kim enjoys creating stories with a diverse and multi-cultural line up, within the romance, romantic suspense and general thriller and crime genres. When she’s not reading, or writing stories of her own her other passions include practising her French, astrology, fashion, make-up artistry, drawing, spending time at her sewing machine dressmaking, watching make -up and beauty tutorials on YouTube, letter writing and being a mum.
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads
Follow the blitz HERE for special content and a giveaway! 
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Hi everyone! Today I have something fun to share…a special chance to win some help with your writing bills. Awesome, right?

Some of you may know Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi of Writers Helping Writers. Well, today they are releasing a new book, and I’m part of their street team. I’m handing the blog over to them today so they can tell you a bit about their Writer’s Showcase event, new book, and a great freebie to check out. Read on!


Certain details can reveal a lot about a character, such as their goals, desires, and backstory wounds. But did you know there’s another detail that can tie your character’s arc to the plot, provide intense, multi-layered conflict, AND shorten the “get to know the character” curve for readers?

It’s true. Your character’s occupation is a GOLD MINE of storytelling potential.

Think about it: how much time do you spend on the job? Does it fulfill you or frustrate you? Can you separate work from home? Is it causing you challenges, creating obstacles, or helping you live your truth?

Just like us, most characters will have a job, and the work they do will impact their life. The ups and downs can serve us well in the story.

Maybe you haven’t thought much about jobs in the past and how they act as a window into your character’s personality, interests, and skills. It’s okay, you aren’t alone. The good news is that The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers is going to do all the heavy lifting for you. (Here’s one of the job profiles we cover in this book: FIREFIGHTER.)

My Review of The Occupation Thesaurus:

I found this to be a really useful resource. I anticipate using it for every book I write from now on, to make sure I pick the right occupation for each character and describe the details of their job well. I definitely recommend the Occupation Thesaurus – it would be a great addition to any author’s toolbelt. It might even be useful for someone researching a new possible career for themselves!

GIVEAWAY ALERT: THE WRITER’S SHOWCASE

To celebrate the release of a new book, Writers Helping Writers has a giveaway happening July 20th & July 23rd. You can win some great prizes, including gift certificates that can be spent on writing services within our Writer’s Showcase. Stop by to enter!

Resource Alert: A List of Additional Jobs Profiles For Your Characters

Some of the amazing writers in our community have put together additional career profiles for you, based on jobs they have done in the past.

What a great way to get accurate information so you can better describe the roles and responsibilities that go with a specific job, right?

To access this list, GO HERE

Happy writing to all!

365 Days of Writing Prompts for Romance Writers 
Savvy Writers Book 1 
by Kim Knight 
Genre: Writing, Self Help 
With 365 Days Of Writing Prompts for Romance Writers, there’s no need for additional notepads or places to store your ideas. For each day of the year there’s a dedicated space for plotting your ideas, with a writing prompt to create an outline for a romance short story, novella, novel or even flash fiction. All you need to do is adapt the characters or setting to your sub-genre of romance. For each day of the year you’ll find a creative, engaging, fun and challenging writing prompt, with situations or people to craft your next story. There is also a personal blogging challenge with writing prompts, for romance writers to engage with their readers, grow their following, find new readers and allow their audience to get to know them via their own personal blog or author site. With 356 Days Of Writing Prompts For Romance Writers you’ll never be stuck for a romance story idea, or blog topic again! Each month has a focus and fully adaptable to your sub-genre, dip in and out of each day, week, month as you wish. 
January- New Directions Love
February- Unexpected New Love
March- Fresh Starts and New Beginnings
April- Love in Unexpected Places
May- Historical, Regency and Multicultural
June- Contemporary Romance
July- Paranormal, Horror and Dark Romance
August- Christmas and Holiday Love
September- Mixed Bag of Goodies!
October- December Romance Writers’ Blog Writing Challenge Prompts
Award-Winning Romantic Suspense and Thriller Author Kim Knight, also shares her secrets on writing realistic, page-turning romance. Also her experience with writing prompts, which has allowed her to co-author two novels, and seventeen short-stories to date. So, romance writers around the world, grab your pen and your copy and get ready to write every day of the year and never run out of creativity. Note the paperback version will allow you to plot your ideas all in one space in the book, and let go of your hundreds of different idea notepads. 
Goodreads * Amazon
Kim is born in 1983 and from London in the UK. She’s a mother to a beautiful little boy, and a proud award winning author (awarded Best Romance 2017 title for A Stranger In France). Kim started her journey as a traditionally published author and later dived into self-publishing also.
As a reader she’s head over heels in love with romance, historical fiction, crime fiction, African- American, suspense and thriller genre books. As a writer, Kim enjoys creating stories with a diverse and multi-cultural line up, within the romance, romantic suspense and general thriller and crime genres. When she’s not reading, or writing stories of her own her other passions include practising her French, astrology, fashion, make-up artistry, drawing, spending time at her sewing machine dressmaking, watching make -up and beauty tutorials on YouTube, letter writing and being a mum. 
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway! 
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No, this is not a post promoting piracy. I’m an author! I would never condone stealing from authors by downloading illegal copies of their books! What I am talking about is how to access a Kindle book (mobi file) that you receive by email directly from an author or in a free giveaway.

There are a few different ways to do this. You may want to skip to the section that applies to you.

You Have a Kindle

If you have an actual Kindle device, in my opinion, the easiest way is simply to email the book to your Kindle. Every Kindle has its own email address. The trouble is, to avoid spam, Kindles automatically block all incoming emails, unless they are from an “approved” sender. Here’s how to find your Kindle’s email address and tell it to accept email from you.  

1. Go to www.amazon.com and sign in if you aren’t already signed in.
2. Click on “account & lists” near the top right. (This is what I see on my laptop, but if you’re on another device, it might just say, “Hello, (your name)”. Click on that. Everything else in the steps below should be pretty much the same.)


3. From the dropdown menu, select “your content and devices”.


4. From the horizontal menu near the top, click “preferences”.



5. Click “personal document settings”.


6. Look under “send to Kindle email settings” to see your Kindle’s email address (it will end with @kindle.com).


Scroll down a little to where it says “approved personal document email list”, then click on “add a new approved email address”.


7. Type in your normal email address and click “add address”. (That will let your Kindle know it’s ok to accept emails from that address – otherwise, Kindles block all incoming email, to avoid spam.)
8. Go back to your email inbox and forward the email you received with a mobi (Kindle ebook) attachment to your Kindle’s email address. Or if you downloaded a mobi file to your computer, create a new email, attach the file, and send it to your Kindle’s email address.


You Don’t Have a Kindle, but You Have the Kindle App on Your Computer, Tablet, or Phone

If you’re checking your email on a computer that has the Kindle app installed, simply download the mobi file in the attachment. Then, go to your downloads folder or wherever you saved it and double-click the file. It should automatically open up in the Kindle app, and you’ll be able to start reading immediately.

If you have the Kindle app on another device, follow the 8 steps above to send the book to your Kindle’s email address. 

Note: Those 8 steps work for most devices, but not all. Here’s what Amazon has to say about it:

In that case, you’ll probably see a screen like the one below, that skips the section above “Personal Document Settings” where the Kindle’s address would normally be:

In that case, I suggest you install the Kindle app on your computer (see the instructions below) or ask the author if he/she could possibly send you a PDF instead.

You Don’t Have a Kindle or the Kindle App Installed on Any Device

It’s easy (and free!) to install the Kindle app. Just go to this link

Then click on whichever of the black buttons applies to your device. Follow the instructions to download and install it. Once you’ve done that, come back here and follow the instructions in the section above (“You Don’t Have a Kindle, but …”)


If there’s one universal truth about writers, it’s that we like to share. When we hear great writing advice, we share. If we read a book we like, we share. And, when we come across a resource that has really helped us, yes that’s right…we share!
 
So today I’m sharing some news: authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have released a second edition of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression! You may have heard of this book, or even own a copy, but it’s quite possible that you didn’t realize it had a second edition. Up until a month ago, I didn’t either! It was all kept a secret by the authors who were determined to “show, not tell” their next new book through a mystery reveal. I

This second edition is more than a new cover. It’s been been enhanced and expanded to include 55 new entries and double the teaching material. Now we can go even deeper when showing our characters’ emotions!

Anyway, if you want to look into it further, you can read some of the reviews on Goodreads or find more information here. Also, one more thing I want to share…a MEGA-OPPORTUNITY to win something amazing!

GIVEAWAY ALERT:

To celebrate the new book & its dedicated readers, Angela and Becca have an unbelievable giveaway on right now: one person will win a free writing retreat, conference, workshop, or professional membership to a writing organization, winner’s choice (up to $500 US, with some other conditions which are listed on the WHW site). What conference would you attend if the fee was already paid for…or would you choose a retreat? Something else? Decisions, decisions! This giveaway ends on February 26th, so hurry over and enter!

I have a secret to spill! 
For the last month, I’ve been part of a Street Team for Angela and Becca at Writers Helping Writers, who are launching their new writing book on February 19th. Because they are known for showing, not telling, they decided it would be fun to keep the thesaurus book’s topic a secret until the book cover reveal…WHICH IS TODAY! 
It’s been hard keeping quiet about this, so I am thrilled I can finally announce that The Emotion Thesaurus Second Edition is coming! Many of you writers know (and possibly use) the original Emotion Thesaurus. It released in 2012 and became a must-have resource for many because it contained lists of body language, thoughts, and visceral sensations for 75 emotions, making the difficult task of showing character emotion on the page much easier. Many people have asked Angela and Becca to add more emotions over the years that they decided to create a second edition. It contains 55 NEW entries, bringing the total to 130 emotions. This book is almost DOUBLE IN SIZE and there’s a lot more new content, so I recommend checking it out. And you can. Right now.

Preorder Alert!

This book is available for preorder, so you can find all the details about this new book’s contents by visiting  AmazonKobo, Apple iBooks, and Indiebound or swinging by Writers Helping Writers. You can view the full list of emotions included in this new book, too.

One last thing…Angela & Becca have a special gift for writers HERE. If you like free education, stop by and check it out. (It’s only available for a limited time!)

 

I recently purchased a program called KDROI. Once installed, it makes it easy for you to submit a Kindle book to as many as 16 sites that promote ebooks, with just a few clicks and a few words to type. (Of course there are no guarantees that every site will agree to feature the book; it just submits the book to them quickly and easily.) Once I purchased it, I decided to use it to help out other authors, as well as to submit my own books.

I’m not trying to make lots of money off of this service (though I certainly won’t complain if I can make back the purchase price! 🙂 ). Mainly, I’m just trying to bless some fellow authors as so many people have blessed and helped me along my publishing journey. So, I’ve chosen not to charge as much as some of my author friends suggested. I want this service to be accessible to those on even the lowest budgets. Hence, the prices that I hope you’ll consider very reasonable: $1.99 or $2.99, depending on the details (more information below).

For those who are curious, the following screenshots show how the program actually works, using my book The Collar and the Cavvarach as an example.

To begin with, I go to the book’s page on Amazon, then I activate the program. This is the first screen I see (it fills in most of the details automatically, so I just have to check that they’re correct then fill in a couple of blanks):

The next screen looks like this (below). The book description, author bio, and cover image are all filled in automatically from the info on Amazon. (I discovered while helping someone else that if you don’t have a bio on your Amazon US author page, or if your book isn’t actually connected to your author page, the program will get stuck at this point. So if you’d like to use my book submission services, please make sure all of that is in order first.)
Since I’m doing a 99 cent promo, not all the possible sites are available to me. (Some of them only feature free books.) The ones checked in blue below are the ones I can submit to. That’s why I decided to make this service cheaper for those who are submitting 99 cent books: it will cost $1.99 instead of $2.99 for a free book. (Permafree books will also cost $1.99, since there’s a similar number of sites that will feature those.)
After that, the program takes me to a screen where I enter the dates of my 99-cent promotion. You can pick a date range of 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 days. The first day has to be at least a week away. (If you’re using my book submission services, please pick a starting date at least 8 days from now, just in case I can’t get to it right away. I live in a different time zone than most of you and might not be awake when you want to submit your book!)

After that, it’s a simple matter to click “Submit Promotion” and wait a few seconds while the form is sent out. For the last step, the program shows a log report of how many sites the book information was successfully sent to, and how many sites “failed”. (Failure can be due to a number of issues; I list some of them in my form at the bottom.) There’s a pretty high success rate, though, as you see in this record of 4 different books I submitted for other authors. (The Collar and the Cavvarach isn’t listed here because I didn’t finish submitting it. I actually had already scheduled a promo for a couple weeks from now and had sent requests to many of the same sites manually before I bought KDROI. So I just used it as an example in the first part of the program’s form.)

When I click on the blue links, it tells me which sites experienced the “failure”. After I submitted Heartsick for a free promo and saw that it didn’t work with two sites, I tried the form again, selecting only those two this time. I thought it was worth trying to see if it would go through to them the second time, but as you can see, it didn’t. Oh, well. 30 out of 32* isn’t bad! (The other books in the list were all 99 cent promos, so there were only 18 possible sites they could be sent to.)

Update: I’ve heard back from a couple authors whose books I’ve submitted, and they’ve said that some of the sites where the submission “failed” actually confirmed receiving their book information. So, apparently book submissions that have supposedly failed actually do go through, at least some of the time.

*Since I first created this post, KDROI changed the list of book promo sites they can submit to, since some have terminated their service, and others are no longer free. So there are no longer 32 sites on the list, though the KDROI’s creators have said they are actively looking at new promo site options to include.
 

If I submit your book through this service, I’ll send you a confirmation email to let you know when I’ve done it. In addition, you will receive confirmation emails from a number of the sites, some of which contain links you’ll need to click on to finalize your book submission.

Anyway, that’s how KDROI works. Fairly quick and simple for me to use, which is why I can afford to offer book submission services at such a low rate! Any questions? Feel free to mention them in the comments below this post, or email me at AnnieDouglassLima (at) gmail (dot) com.

Final Clarification: 
For $2.99, tell me the next set of dates in which your book will temporarily be free, and I will submit it to all 16 book promotion sites on the list. The sites may or may not all decide to feature the book, but it will be submitted to them.

Or, for $1.99, tell me the next set of dates in which your book will temporarily be 99 cents (if it’s permanently 99 cents, that’s fine too; just pick some dates when you want it featured) and I will submit it to the 9 sites that accept 99 cent books. They may or may not all decide to feature the book, but it will be submitted to them.

Or, for $1.99, tell me the next set of dates in which you would like your permafree book to be featured, and I will submit it to the 10 sites that accept permafree books. They may or may not all decide to feature the book, but it will be submitted to them.

Another option: instead of paying the fees mentioned above through PayPal, you could buy one of my books instead. 🙂 Most of the ebooks are $2.99 or less; feel free to pick any one of them at any price (as long as it’s not free at the time) and either download it for yourself or “gift” it to a friend. (I emailed Amazon to make sure this doesn’t violate their terms of service, and they assured me it’s fine.) If you choose this option, simply send me a screenshot that shows what you bought, or forward me the confirmation email from Amazon, and ignore the PayPal link on my form.

Sorry, but I won’t submit erotica or books promoting religions other than Christianity. Don’t take it personally if that’s what you write. We can still be friends! 🙂 But I can’t in good conscience help to promote those books.

So. Are you interested? You could spend nearly $50 and buy the program yourself (you should definitely do that if it’s worth it to you), or you could fill out the form at this link and let me submit your book to those sites for you for about the cost of a cup of coffee.