Humans resist change… why? Are we preprogramed to want the familiar? As cavepeople, we took comfort and refuge in the familiar. If everything stayed the same, we stayed alive. But in modern times why are we still resisting change? Whether it’s changing our hairstyle or leaving a dead-end job, most of us put up with the out-of-date style and the hated job because we fear change. Or maybe we’re too lazy to make that change. I mean, really, change means we have to make an effort to do something different.
I don’t like change. Familiar is easy and requires less effort. Pull the hair up in a ponytail or wrap it in a headband, it’s easier than trying to decide what style I want. But recently I made a change…I changed genres. This wasn’t a quick change. I’ve been taking classes for several years and planning this story and series for just about as long. Switching from romantic suspense to cozy mystery doesn’t seem like that big a difference, but when you go from contemporary to Victorian era, and make your main character a teenager, well, that is a rather BIG change.
Something different means research, a lot of research, preparation, planning, and extra effort—at least that’s what I discovered when I decided to switch genres. For the past year I’ve been studying the cozy mystery genre. I discovered some great YouTube videos, one of my favorite authors to follow is Jane Kalmes, the Fiction Technician https://youtu.be/GNR0g60m0EI. I also researched the Victorian Era, everything from how to build a forge to a lady’s dress, to inventions and killers of the era. YouTube is a great place to start but when I needed information on steamer ships, I had to pull out the big guns and go to my friend, HCRW President, Cyn Haden who is a naval historian. I only needed one tiny piece of information to make my story believable, but I needed to check my facts before I could go any further.
How resistant to change are you? Are you adventurous or do you like the status quo? What do you do to combat boredom and shake things up?
I’m a proud affiliate of Sarra Cannon’s HB90 course!
Many of you know how much I love Sarra Cannon’s YouTube videos. I met Sarra at a Heart of Carolina Writers’ Conference. I had heard of her from my fellow HCRW members who remembered when she lived in North Carolina and was a member. Sadly she had left the area before I became a member or at least before I began knowing my fellow members. The group talked of Sarra’s Heart Breathings channel on YouTube as well as her books, her Publish and Thrive course and her HB90 Bootcamp.
Sarra has an uplifting spirit which is a balm to many a weary and overwhelmed writer. I listen to her YouTube videos over and over because they give me courage and guidance. She sooths my worries with her insight and candor. Sarra doesn’t mind sharing her own mistakes or weaknesses, she allows us to see the real her.
Her HB90 course is a combination of things she’s learned from trial and error, as well as things she has learned from other authors, planners and other business people. She has taken everything and condensed it into an easy to learn program designed to help writers and other entrepreneurs succeed by planning.
Before you say “I’m not a planner,” you should know, I’m not either. Sarra’s HB90 course changed how I think about planning. Being able to plan in bite-sized pieces just what you can actually accomplish within 90 days had done so much to keep me from getting overwhelmed, even with battling the extra crazy year that has been Covid 19 2020.
Sarra has expanded the course from 3 days to a full 7-day course to give people more time to get through each assignment and to give more support along the way! Sarra has a Facebook group for her HB90 students and one for her alumni. Another great thing about taking Sarra’s course is being able to audit the class whenever it’s offered for a refresher. I know I need to go back and relearn a few things, as I said, I’m not a planner.
If you sign up for the HB90 course using my affiliate link I’ll get a commission and I’ll receive a free Q1 Planner designed by Sarra.
There is also a bonus for the person with the most enrollments. I’m saving up to have my books put on audio.
Course Information: Enrollment is open now, so feel free to share!
Course Dates: Sunday, December 13th-19th with one live call on the 13th via Facebook. There is no closing call for the current course.
Enrollment will close Midnight EST on December 12th.
Thank y’all for sharing my affiliate HB90 link. I believe in Sarra’s program but if you can’t afford to take her course at this time, check out her Heart Breathing channel on YouTube. She is an awesome source for writers and indie authors.
And if you just want to feel good, check out Sarra Cannon on YouTube and see what she’s been up to during quarantine. She has been reading her books and sharing her life, trying to make things a little better for us during this pandemic. It is her love and generosity that has made me so passionate.
Lush Money by Angelina Lopez, Narrated by Scarlette Hayes
I didn’t expect to like this book much less love it, but I do. I have never been a fan of billionaire romances but after listening to an interview with Angelina Lopez on Reese Ryan’s YouTube channel “The Story Behind the Story” and attending a presentation at the Romance Writers of America’s virtual conference, Writing Alpha Heroines I had to check it out.
Too often strong women are portrayed as masculine or as evil bitches, but Angelina Lopez created a heroine who is strong, independent and still feminine. Roxanne Medina, a billionaire CEO is not what she seems when Prince Mateo Ferdinand Juan Carlos de Esperanza y Santos is first ordered to her office. The handsome winegrower is stunned by the bargain the woman is offering, a marriage with three-nights a month in her bed, a pregnancy followed by a divorce. After which she will pay off debts and help him save his small kingdom, a Spanish principality on the verge of bankruptcy due to his parents’ outrageous behavior. Although he is attracted to the beautiful, sensuous woman, he is angry that he is being treated as little more than a stud.
Roxanne doesn’t have time for a relationship, but she yearns for a child, one she can give everything she never had as a child. Marrying her prince is part of her fairytale. When Prince Mateo begins making demands of his own the two discover they have more in common than they realized, and their bargain turns into something neither of them expected.
Angelina Lopez did a fabulous job of showing readers a woman who is both strong and fragile, powerful and vulnerable, a woman who has built an enterprise but has no one she trusts that she doesn’t pay. Prince Mateo is her perfect counterpart, he just needs to face losing everything to find out what really matters. This was such a feel-good book with a lot of heat and plenty of twists and turns to keep you holding onto the oh shit strap.
I can only give it 5 stars but I think it deserves at least 7!
Welcome to my virtual café Michael Gatti. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to drop by my virtual cafe. I’m so glad to have you here even if it’s not in person.
Michael: Hey Sherri great to be here thank you for having me!
Sherri: You are much more than a writer. I thought I was busy, but you have me beat. You have your own publishing company and your own YouTube channel. What other business projects do you have going on?
Michael: Well it all kind of falls under the same branch. But aside from helping folks self-publish and social media I’m writing my books and making a video game through the software called RPG maker MV.
Sherri: Let’s break it down tell me about your publishing company, you help people get through the Schlog of self-publishing. So, what do you offer? Why would I want to come to you versus doing it all myself? And believe me, I’ve done it all myself. UGH!Michael: I’ve been doing this for years now and my assistance comes from learning from my mistakes. Self publishing isn’t easy and it’s expensive. What I provide is a very low price for editing your manuscript, I am connected to a network of artists that are willing to discount their services for book covers for you, and I will help promote the best I can and advise. I will also help with formatting because that is actually a part of publishing people don’t realize is a very important thing.
Sherri: I’ve started following you on YouTube. Tell our audience about your YouTube Channel and your Patreon page. What do you offer writers? Who would be your perfect client?
Michael: On YouTube I offer brief 3-7 minute videos usually covering a variety of self publishing topics (sometimes I just promote things hahaha) And on Patreon for $1 I offer a monthly newsletter with great tips and tricks and for $5 I offer unlimited editing with no additional charges. So my customer base for that would be someone who either writes a lot of books a year they would save a lot on editing because it’s just $5 a month and people who have written but never published and don’t know how to get started.
Sherri: You do professional editing. How did you get started editing? What certifications and credentials do you have? Do you do line editing or are you a content editor, or do you help with developing the plot?
Michael: I started offering editing services last fall and experience is the main credential I have. I have been writing books forever at this point. I also went to school to be an elementary school teacher so that has also given me the knowledge of our language required for such an endeavor. My editing services are purely grammatical. I will offer my opinion on story and plot but that’s not my area.
Sherri: You lead or are a member of several groups online, would you tell us about them and what they do?
Michael: Yeah, you know when I started giving Twitter a try and my follower base built I found myself involved in the #writingcommunity what that # is for, it’s a group of us promoting and lifting each other up. There’s also the shameless promo chat I am in and that I met you from, which is similar to the # but we have gotten to know each other and have become friends and the chat we guarantee promotion of each other.
Sherri: But even with all of this, you are an author too, tell us about your book Earth’s Best Friends.
Michael: Earth’s Best Friends is a culmination of a lot of different ideas I’ve had in my entire life going back to childhood. I am heavily inspired by the MCU, a connected universe, so within my book you follow multiple heroes and villains and as you read you see this greater event unfold. I have Part One available now and Part Two should be available by Christmas. And I’m not stopping at two.
Sherri: Have you always enjoyed writing?
Michael: Oh yes. It may sound corny, but I was born for writing.
Sherri: How did you get started writing?
Michael: As long as I can remember I was always making up special stories for my friends, toys, sister, I have been a writer even before I knew how to write on paper.
Sherri: Who has most influenced your writing? Your business?
Michael: Writing I am inspired by a variety of Saturday morning cartoons, Disney movies, and of course Marvel. If I were to pick writers I love I’d say Stan Lee, Lewis Carrol, Friz Freleng, Bob McKimson, Kurt Vonnegut, and Chuck Palahniuk.
Sherri: What do you hope a client or fellow writer learns from their experience with you?
Michael: The bottom line is I hope I improve their chances for success and hope they know not to make the mistakes I’ve made in the past.
Sherri: Thank you for stopping by my Creekside Café, if you are ever on the Carolina Coast, stop by, I’ll show you the spot where I dream of having my café.
Michael: Sounds good, thank you again for having me!
Sherri: If you enjoyed this interview follow you can follow Michael on social media his links are below or check out his book, Earth’s Best Friends.
For years I have suffered a debilitating disease of UNABLE to Plot. I’ve taken classes and courses, bought books and listened to other authors, but when it comes down to plotting and outlining, I freeze up. This year for NaNoWriMo, after listening to several YouTube videos and webinars, I decided to give it another try.
In the past when I thought of outlining my story I’d break
out in hives. I might get as far a A.2.b.3. before completely freaking out because nothing was
adding up or equaling out. It was inevitable. I couldn’t stand that it wasn’t the
way I’d always been taught it had to be. English teachers y’all have destroyed
my mojo. It is impossible to get the exact same number of bullet points per
letter for each topic, plot point, story beat. I CAN’T do it! It makes me nuts.
I know, some of you know I’m already nuts but this just adds to it.
I’d start to feel like I didn’t know what to do and wanted
I did it! I outlined my story for NaNoWriMo!
Oh-my-gosh, really? But I’m a pantser.
What am I doing plotting? Why am I even trying? What is this madness? It’s called NaNoWriMo, shhh.
Because I’m doing NaNo (National Novel Writing Month
Challenge) and I know in order to write faster, fifty thousand words in one
month, am I crazy, yes, I need to pull out all the tricks. I’ve worked on
character sheets, sticky note ideas and reminders, and I just finished
outlining my story.
Am I really outlining and planning my story? Huh, that’s not
how I write, is it?
Well, in truth, as a pantser, I usually just sit down at the
computer and write. The ideas just come to me as I’m writing, well sometimes,
and other times, I have to put in a place holder like “Something needs to
happen here,” or “make the character do X or Y.”
I’ve wrote scenes with complete details and felt I had them
just right and then the next scene might be “why would he do this?” While
outlining my story I’ve used a few of my “placeholder” tricks. It’s not a real
outline. It’s a barebones rough draft with a list of a few things I want included
in the story. I also have a few questions and challenges. My outline looks
nothing like what my English teacher told me an outline should be, but I think
it gives me an idea of where I want to go in the story without fencing me in.
One of the biggest differences between pansters and plotters
is y’all know where you want to go with the story and all the steps for how to
get there. Pantsers might know where we’re hoping to end up, but we have no
idea how we’re going to get there, and we may change our minds halfway through
the story. For us, writing the story is the journey, if we know too much it
ruins the fun.
With writing a series I’ve come to know my characters, the
storyline and how I want the overall series to end but I still come up with new
characters and new ideas that I want to incorporate into it. Some of the ideas
make it into the story, or I save for future books, others get edited out or
don’t even get written. I think of writing like a puzzle, I know one of my main
characters really well but one of them is still a mystery. I have a few facts
but I’m still getting to know him or her. I know my antagonists and my antihero
but am I going to allow him a point of view? While some of you may know your
character’s birth sign, color of underwear and if they like jazz, rock or
country. I’m lucky to remember their hair and eye color and if they have any
NaNo is about writing a rough draft and writing it quickly.
While I’ll write my outline and try to follow it as closely as I can, I also
know that as a panster I have to allow myself the freedom to spread my wings
and fly. Just as long as I fly in the right direction, it’s all good.
So those of you who are pantsers and want to try writing an
outline, why not just write what you want to happen in each chapter. A one- or
two-line synopsis of what happens or a question you need to answer. It doesn’t
have to be difficult. Use what works for you. Good luck and I’ll see you later.
If you’re NaNoing, I’m Pamlico Writer, I could use a buddy to help me through and I’d be happy to do the same for you.
sherrilhollister.com/Suspense She Writes Bookstore Dismiss