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AVA, a Priya Novel

Here, in Washington, some love stories are hastily told. Rushed through to fulfill an obligation and then left behind – forgotten – in the ruins of what once was, or might have been. Other stories are simmered and savored, then brought to a boil, time and again, to extract the richness of each tasty detail, and shared with anyone who cares to partake. That’s just life in a political town. But this story, this tangle of events and outcomes, of love and mystery, is more than the Priyas had believed possible. This love story begins on a hot August day, a month when the city moves at a lazy, longed-for pace. A month during which nothing ever happens. Ava’s story opens twenty years after she and seven other girls gathered at her house to swear allegiance to their newly-formed Priya Club. As chi...

Authors, You Need A Blog!

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I regularly share links to articles and posts about the world of self-publishing. Half of these tweets are drawn from the websites of established publications and news organizations. While certainly informative, their articles can have a corporate feel, often lacking the raw perspectives and deep truths I find in the blog posts of my fellow self-published writers. It takes real time to search out new author blogs, to read through five or six posts, and then decide which one to share on social media. For me, getting to know my community, soaking in their school-of-life posts, is worth the investment. I always learn new things. I always come across the unexpected. And so, on Sunday, I sat down at my computer, ready to begin the hunt. I pulled out fi...

Blog Content: Using “Outtakes” From Your Novel

  Currently, I’m editing two of my manuscripts. Or, I should say, “pre-editing” these works-in-progress to prepare them for the hand-off to my dear editor. At this stage in my writing process, when I have 80,000+ words written per manuscript, I end up sending entire chapters to the cutting room floor. Watching them fall, knowing how much time, energy, and thought I’ve put into each and every line on those pages, makes it painful to think those scenes will never find their way into the hands of my (future) readers. Is this normal? Do you experience this angst, too? When constructing a novel, my writing style is to first map out the plot and then develop a series of (almost) standalone mini-stories that I organize as chapters. If you’ve read my work, you know this to be true. When I cut...

Who actually wrote that book?

A guest post by Peter Rowlands. Not all writers are gifted when it comes to detail. That’s why book editors exist. My understanding is that conventional publishers employ them (partly, anyway) to put the shine on what might have started out as a rough diamond. With the best will in the world, it’s one reason why some self-published books miss their mark. Lack of an editor sometimes turns out to equal lack of finesse. But what about those of us self-published authors who do have an eye for detail? How are we supposed to feel if we ever get to see early drafts of some conventionally-published best-sellers? What should we think about the elementary spelling mistakes, the missed or duplicated words, the suspect grammar? What if even the writing itself is not that convincing? What h...

Writing the Epic: Take a Tip from the Racetrack

A guest post by Glen Craney. One of the pitfalls to guard against when writing the sweeping historical novel is losing the reader amid a legion of characters. The author becomes so immersed in the research and details that it becomes virtually impossible to understand what it will be like to read the story for the first time. Character rosters at the start of a novel can be helpful, but why require the reader to constantly turn back to refresh memory? I like to think of the epic as a long, endurance-challenging horse race. The author is the literary equivalent of a track announcer who calls the race for the crowds in the grandstands. Veteran announcers at Churchill Downs and Hollywood Park know that a critical part of their job is creating and maintaining suspense. They do this by periodic...

Self Publishing – The road to success isn’t paved

A guest post by Jess D. Harpley. Seeing that I have yet to achieve success, I’m not sure I should write this post… but I will anyway. Self publishing is easy. You write the thing, you log in to Amazon, you upload the thing, you press the publish button. Successful self publishing is a nightmare of frustration and heartache. Here’s why: 1. If you didn’t already have a massive Twitter following, you need to grow one. Much easier said than done, and sure, you can buy the “follower” services, but they just hack people’s accounts and force them to follow your page. As soon as the person realizes, they’re going to unfollow you and change their password. You first need to start following people in your genre, hopefully they’ll do you the good ...

PHASE SHIFT by Elise Abram

A guest post by Marla Sherman. EMSA Publishing is thrilled to announce the re-release of Elise Abram’s Phase Shift. In Phase Shift, archaeology professor Molly McBride is given an artifact that is the key to another planet, a doppelganger Earth called Gaia. Life on Gaia seems idyllic at first, but Molly soon learns the Gaians harbour a dark secret. Phase shifting technology, used to travel from their world to ours, has the potential to destroy Gaia, which will have serious repercussions for Earth. Phase Shift is Molly’s journey of discovery as she tries to find a way to save both planets from destruction. Originally published in 2012, Phase Shift’s message remains germane today, as it questions our decision to choose economy over ecology. In her book, Abram questions the justification of s...

Writing a First Novel: Don’t Give Up

A guest post by Miranda Atchley. I would say one of the hardest things about being an author is dealing with insecurity. When I was writing my first novel, I only told a very few people that were really close to me that I was actually writing a book with plans to publish it. Most of these people had known me all my life and knew it was my dream to become an author. I didn’t tell anyone else because I wasn’t sure when I would get my story published and I wanted to wait until it was a done deal so I could tell others for sure when they’d be able to read it. So, even though I really wanted to tell people, I waited until the day the FedEx guy brought my books to me. But that entire time I was worried. I couldn’t help but think I wasn’t good enough and no one would...

Amazon’s Data Mining of Novels

I find data-mining as interesting as the next person. On any given day, you’ll find me clicking into the results of surveys about consumer habits, in any number of categories. I do this for reasons that are as unnecessary as they are ambiguous. Being from Washington, DC, and having cut my political teeth at an early age, I know how much wiggle room – and wishful thinking – is spun into the cloth of marketing data and rankings. So much of it is subjective: how the questions are asked, who is contacted, the size of the group, etc. Increasingly, companies are finding new ways to harvest and apply information extracted through data mining their customers. Amazon, for example, uses the amount of ebook pages read by a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, and the pace of that reading, in order to determi...

The Lilac Princess–A Story of Forgiveness

A guest post by Wanda Luthman. In my children’s book, The Lilac Princess, a princess is faced with the dilemma of whether or not she will choose to forgive the dragon that was going to kill her. What would you do? What have you done with the dragons in your life? Forgiveness is not easy. Forgiveness takes a lot of courage. I want to encourage you today to choose bravery by choosing to forgive and begin enjoying happiness and better relationships and emotional freedom. You’ll be glad you did! We’ve all had something happen to us in our lives that hurt us. Hurt that may have even come to define us. We may not open up as quickly as we used to or not trust like we used to or even have developed emotional walls to keep people out entirely. These coping skills may serve us well until one day we ...

2 Reasons Why Self-Editing is Hard and 5 Ways You Can Make It Easier

A guest post by Marla Sherman. Having an edited, ready-for-publication manuscript is paramount when searching for a publisher or an agent. Some vanity publishers—like EMSA Publishing—will provide editing in exchange for a percentage of the royalties. Others will provide you with a list of approved editors and ask you to pay from your own pocket for their services. Similarly, when self-publishing, the onus is on you to self-edit and/or hire an editor to get your manuscript up to standards. In today’s economy, hiring an editor isn’t financially feasible for most of us. Authors are forced to become jacks-of-all-trades as a result, writing, publishing, advertising and editing on their own. Out of that array, editing is perhaps the most difficult to master, especially when it’s on your own manu...

Steph Post’s New Author Survival Guide

A guest post by Steph Post. Today marks the one year anniversary of the release of A Tree Born Crooked. The past year has been a roller coaster of a ride, with fortunately more highs and lows, and the learning curve has been steep. In honor of my first book’s first birthday, I’m offering a gift of sorts: Steph Post’s New Author Survival Guide! (Also known as a list of things that have kept me off the ledge during this crazy, hectic, exciting, tumultuous and altogether amazing experience). If you’re a recent or soon-to-be debut author, I’m here to give you my humble observations and tips. These are also things that I hope to remember and apply for the rest of my writing career… So, here we go: Steph’s Survival Guide! -Make friends and allies with fe...