The week has been long. I went back to work as a special education teacher. This time I am in elementary school. I must say, coffee has been my friend(I don’t even drink coffee).
I have missed those I am following this week and those following me. A special thank you to my followers. I look forward to growing with all of you. Whatever your craft, keep your heads up and keep moving forward. Darkness will try to stop you, but knock it over the head and put one foot in front of the other. No matter how slow you may go, just keep moving.
I am very excited about Dawn of the Dragon, book two in The Dawn series. To date, I have hired Fiona Jayde as my cover designer, and Bryan Cohen as my description writer.
I am working with a coach and looking forward to completing the book. If anyone is interested in joining my street team (reviewer team) let me know in the comments section. As a team member, you will receive a free copy of the book. Upon completion of reading, you would just place a review on Amazon.
Welcome to Publishing Advice Mondays. Again, publishing advice is meant to give you a place to find summarized information about all things publishing (including what publishers are looking for). Today, we are going to go over story structure beginning with plot points.
The first plot point should show up around the 25% mark of your book. By this point, your character should be locked into his or her conflict.
Some Common Plot Points:
Trapped-For example the main character and companions are trying to escape a pack of wild dogs, and they step on leaves and fall into a hole. Now they are trapped and forced to face the wild dogs inside the hole as the dogs have jumped into it.
Obligation- The character feels that he or she must make a specific decision or go to a specific place in order to stop the antagonist.
Ultimatum- The character is forced to make a decision or go to a specific place because the antagonist has placed them in a difficult position. For example, the main character’s daughter is kidnapped. The character is asked to pay one million dollars or her daughter will be killed.
Persued-Someone/antagonist is chasing the main character.
It has been a very long week. As some of you may know, I am a Special Education teacher by day. I work with students who have learning disabilities, autism, and emotional behavior disorders. This week has been the week to prepare for next week when school begins on Monday! I have missed you, and I am very excited about featuring the mythological creature, dragons.
So where did dragons come from? Most of us know the Chinese New Year begins with the Year of the Dragon. Dragons appear in folklore from many cultures around the world. Dragons are depicted as winged creatures with scales that breathe fire with origins from Europe, Africa, Eastern, Western and Southern Asia.
More specifically, animals that once lived are represented in dragons. According to Smithsonian.com, a Chinese historian from the 4th Century B.C. mislabeled dinosaur bones as dragons. The Nile Crocodile inspired European legends by swimming across the Mediterranean to Italy or Greece. Goannas, native to Australia are large lizards with razor-sharp claws and teeth. These animals were key in Aboriginal folklore. Outside of folklore and cultures scientist believe dragons were made up by the human mind because of their fear of predators.
In more modern times dragons are more revered and loved than feared. Most authors write in dragon characters that are beneficial to humans in addition to being feared. They are seen as a protagonist that can help bring stability and peace alongside their human companion.
One of my favorite quotes is by J.RR. Tolkien. “It simply isn’t an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons.” I love dragons and wish they were real, so as an author, I choose to bring them to life in The Dawn Series.
Thank you for reading. Check out my post from Creative Tuesday and let me know what you think about excerpts from Dawn of the Dragon. Your suggestions are taken seriously. You are also welcome to follow me on Wattpad where I update the series.
Welcome to Creative Tuesday! I am very excited to share an excerpt from the second book in The Dawn Series (Dawn of the Dragon). I have two reasons for sharing. First, this comes directly from my creative mind. Secondly, I want feedback. Like it, but also tell me what you think (good or bad). Here we go!
Xavgon’s roar was as Armageddon as he landed on Sugar Bowl Drive. With a one-hundred-foot wingspan, his shadow blotted out the sun. Wind from his mouth forced cars, trucks, and semis on their sides. The chief of police called on the National Guard. They roped themselves around large pillars. Palera rubbed her hands across his large forehead to calm him.
Give them peace. They don’t understand. This world is not like ours. How did
you get here? I do not understand.”
understand, Mother. You have always believed in the unbelievable and felt out
of place. You are my mother, and I will kill them if they touch you.”
“No. Let me speak to
them. Put me down.”
down his massive wing. She stood tall, looking upon men and women in uniform as
strength engulfed her. It was as if she had never been depressed, anxious,
stressed, or overtaken by grief.
“If I don’t speak to them, they may
fire upon you.”
not. Their weapons will have no effect. They will try to take you, for you have
broken their law. Because of laws, they will not let you go. Prison is where
you will end up. There, you will wither away as shrubs on a bush. I had one
jump to this world to save you. Now we must find Gros Cave. The cave is the door
to Zaylen, home. Without us there,
Ager will rise again.”
“That is my
fault. I should have allowed you to kill him, but I didn’t.” “It is because of
the good in you. Good, however, can only go so far. Ager, just as these humans,
will and have taken you for granted.”
“Just let me talk to them.”
“Okay. My breath will echo your voice so all may hear.”
“Ready? My name is Kalera, I was born in this city right down the street
at what was once Charity Hospital. I love this city. I love my family and
friends. I have had some confusion about how I left this world and how I
returned. But this great beast will do anything to protect me. You can’t hurt
it. Your weapons will not harm it. All you will manage to do is to destroy
yourselves. The choice is yours. Stand down!
blue dragon is standing in my neighbor’s front yard! Live, I hope you are
getting this. THERE IS A BLUE
DRAGON IN THE F’ing YARD!” Screams the guy next door.
Helicopters maneuvering up and down back and forth hovering above my home. The Army National Guards have now been joined by Marines, FBI, and the NSA evacuating homes and have surrounded at least a three-mile radius.
“You may not want to raise your voice toward me,” Kalera suggests to the chief.
them off.” She orders.
have orders. And those orders are to take you and this thing into custody.” He
yells through the chaos.
Maintaining the scene proved problematic for them as people were running through the streets with their cellphone cameras. The military warned the media circus, but it was too late. By now, America, and the entire world were fixed on Rocheblave Street in New Orleans.
Staring into the eyes of my dragon, I knew we had to make a move, and get Xavgon out of here. It would be easy for us to fly away, but what about Zaron? I could not just abandon him. Deep in my thoughts, Xavgon speaks.
you trust me? He asks.
“Of course,” Kalera responds.
As he filled me in on his plan, the ground begins to rumble, and this time it wasn’t Xavgon. The military ordered a tank to be brought in. It was clear there would be no peaceful resolution. They were willing to destroy a neighborhood and possibly kill innocents in order to contain him.
it. Do it now.” Kalera commands.
takes a deep breath, holding it for ten seconds as the police chief warns.
have until the count of five to surrender or we will be forced to destroy you
and your dragon.”
begins to count as Xavgon opens his ferocious mouth speaking an incantation.
Whistling sounds erupt as dark cloud rolls in blocking out the sun. Then stillness. Everyone and everything in the vicinity were locked in place. Xavgon looks to me for approval.
do we have?” She asks.
cannot say, but we must get out of here.” He replies.
the knob, I find him staring out of the window.
WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?” He yells.
I was just relieved that he was not frozen like the others, but his tone worries Xavgon.
wishes for you to lower your voice when speaking to me.” Kalera whispers.
I won’t shout, but I am sure it won’t stop the gigantic monster
hearing me. Kalera, dragons have always been myths. Now they are real. Where
does it come from? You brought it here.”
don’t know if I brought him here.”
“What you refer to is my son.”
Your son? You sound psycho. I watched you for three years!
body remained in the bed of the hospital and your bedroom.”
matters not. He is real and here at this very moment. That is all the proof you
need. Now, did you call Musfall?”
had missed Musfall, one of my most trusted friends. By now everyone will have
seen Xavgon. He could not go flying around the country. I had to do something,
and Musfall was my only hope.
government will use it and destroy you.” Zoran says.
won’t have any luck. There is only one way he can die, and it is
you don’t know it. How long before he gets here? We don’t have much time.”
meeting with him, I would like to see Romulus.” Kalera replies.
misses you dearly; I am sure as much as I miss you.” Zoran whispers.
walks over and gently takes my hand into his.
don’t care about my doppelganger Jessup or this world you seek. I only care
about you. I love you.” Zoran assures.
Before the police and military arrived, I had a little time to tell Zoran about Jessup and how I had fallen in love with him. I felt it was only right, but Zoran could hardly bear it, as he tried to understand the strangeness of the situation.
is approaching, Mother.” Xavgon informs.
is here.” She states.
is it?” Asks Kalera.
he is a friend.” She confirms.
embraced as long-lost cousins.
girl, out there is everyone. FBI, NSA, police, military—
name it. I must say, I like the position they are in.” He laughs.
take it you saw what happened.”
lovely, it’s on everything—Facebook, Insta, Snapchat. You can’t
this big guy.” He says.
the reason I called on him is to hide my dragon. Musfall was known as a magic
man, but he is a practicing Voodoo Priest. At times I struggle to believe for Voodoo
clashes with my Christian faith, but Musfall convinces me of his world of great
know the world as a traveler, I need to know, have you heard of the Gros Cave?”
have, but for all I know, it may be buried or sunken. You see, it’s
of great power to those who believe, and it will take great power to find the
entrance. Why do you seek it?” He asks.
cave will lead us back to Zaylen. Xavgon’s home. My home.” Kalera explains.
girl, this is your home. It matters not. If you need to find it, I will help
you.” He cries.
knew you were the man to call.” She responds.
start here in the French Quarter. If we are lucky, we will find a
that leads to the next.” He explains.
to the window Musfall glares at Xavgon.
are we going to do about your dragon? He just can’t go flying around the world.”
turn him into a pendulum. You can wear it around your neck
an amulet, only it will swing. When you need him, say cazuel, and your dragon
will take his true form.” He suggests.
what do you think?” Kalera asks.
is crazy, but if it can be done . . . Whatever.”
me go out and speak to him.” Kalera replies.
Before walking out of the back door, Xavgon was already communing with me telepathically. I know you do not agree, but they will tear this world apart to get to you. My friend there can cast a great spell to make you smaller. You know it’s the right thing to do.
More importantly, we both know this spell will wear off soon. We must do something else. Something more permanent.
and I stood there for a moment thinking and it was decided.
He will use his Dred power to wipe their memories and my world’s social media technology. Leaving no trace of him. But it will wear off, and when it does, they will resume their search and the world will once again know of his existence.
it! But don’t wipe Musfall and Zoran.”
Xavgon closed his eyes and begins with a whisper.
incantation wore off and the officers and military had no idea why they were
standing behind a blockade. Confused, and unable to see Kalera’s house, they
begin to shuffle away.
walking back inside, I find Musfall smoking his herbs and stirring
into a soup I would have to drink.
I took the cup, staring at it for a moment. Here goes nothing and I gulped chocolate tasting liquid down.
my consumption, Xavgon begins to morph, and within minutes, he is metal.
Amazingly, he could still communicate with me.
my bedroom and opening one of my draws, I removed a long chain that belonged to
my mother. I pushed the chain through the hole and placed him around my neck.
Musfall and Zoran walk in.
hear him.” Kalera says.
you can. Remember, cazuel is all you say to bring him back, but there is
something else. If you want to limit his size when he returns, you say cazuel
minor, and he will be but a child. Say cazuel maleck, he will be but as a teen,
and cazuel tod, and he will be but as a toddler. And when you want him to be
him, just cazuel.”
We took some time to collaborate as I packed. First, we would head to Zoran’s and Musfall’s place. Then, to the St. Louis Cathedral to hopefully find the first clue.
It took about thirty minutes to reach Zoran’s.
Upon entering I ran to my dog. We rolled all over the floor as Zoran packed. Not wanting to leave him behind again, Musfall
came up with the idea of taking Romulus along as a companion dog.
It made sense. After all, I did adopt him after my mother died.
Having Xavgon, Zoran, Musfall, and Rome gave me hope again. Hope that we would find Gros. Time was on the move and I had no idea how much had passed in Zaylen. For all I knew, Ager could be on the move. He could have reformed his council, or worse, he could be sitting on the glass throne.
I hope you had a wonderful, restful weekend! Ready or not, it is Monday! I can tell you I was not ready for today, but I went into work and now on to what I love doing most of all, writing to you!
There are many elephants in the room when it comes to the realm of publishing. Reviews are, in my opinion, elephants in the room. They are needed and can aid in sales.
Many of us do not have a lot of friends or family we can go to for reviews (On Amazon, you are not allowed to have friends and family write reviews unless they are under the editorial review section). So the question is, how do I get reviews?
Identify Your Audience:
Researching book bloggers who offer reviews in your genre is the way to start(at least four months before your release date).
Once you locate genre-specific blogs, you want to make sure they are current. Looking at the dates or monitoring the traffic of the site will give you that information.
I cannot stress enough the importance of reading submissions policies for review bloggers/sites. By doing so, you are showing them you respect their time and appreciate them doing you a solid. You will also find out if they are open to submissions by reading their policy.
Are you serious? I have to write a pitch? Yes! Please do not just simply email or send a link to your book to a reviewer. Remember, they are busy people just as we are. When writing your pitch, make sure you individualize it. Do not send bulk pitches. You want them to feel unique, and that the individual is finding the next big thing.
In your pitch, you want to provide the title of your book, your cover, publisher, release date, and genre in the first paragraph. Also, let them know you enjoyed their review of a book they reviewed (individualization). In the second paragraph, you want to provide your book’s description. Finally, you want to be direct and ask for a review.
Before sending out the actual book, make sure it’s review ready. Make sure it is formatted correctly and free of errors!
Give at least two weeks before following up with a friendly reminder of your submission. Maybe give them a call if you believe your book really warrants the review. Do not constantly email and call. You do not want to become known as an aggressive author. If they do not reply, you have your answer.
Welcome Dawnies to a new day and a new month. I always think about new beginnings when a new month happens upon me. Well, it matters not what I truly think, a new month will always come as long as I am breathing so I must choose. I must choose how I feel.
The last day of the month (yesterday) was full of mental anguish. My depression was on high alert. All I wanted to do was remain in the bed. I was distressed, groggy, troubled, and sluggish. What was I to do? I had to get out of bed because it was the last day of summer break.
The kids needed me. There were errands to run and people to meet. But how could I? “Nothing begets nothingness.” My husband always states. If I had laid in the vast portal of nothingness, well you know what the outcome would have been.
Swinging my heavy legs out of the bed, I twirled until my two feet hit the floor. Before I knew it, my husband had grabbed me to help get me going. I was hoping to feel better by the time I dressed but that hope faded.
Three hours into the school visits and shopping, I realized something. I have more control than I think. I am me. I can choose. Allow the blackness to consume me or take the time I had left to feel better. Even if it was just a little better. I had to try.
First, I began to think of some of my favorite quotes by me. Then, I tried to only see the positive during the rest of my time out. My children and husband were alive. We have a roof over our heads, clothes, and shoes on our feet. We have food and other necessities.
I could get through the day, and I will, was my motto during the rest of my time. I took my time. I read scripture. I laughed with my kids. I effectively communicate with my husband. We had a family lunch and dinner. Though I was still depressed, I decided to choose me!
No matter the amount of medication we take or therapy we attend, we must choose ourselves daily. Will it be easy? Hell no! But never give up on you! Our brains are powerful, it processes what we feed it. Feed it hope, love, creativity, and joy. Always look on the bright side even when the dawn brings no light.
Fight for your peace. Tell yourself, “I am fighting to be me.”
Welcome to another great Monday! This journey as an indie author at times can be overwhelming. There is so much information out there and so many people telling us to click here and there. Having a place to go to get simple advice is what I am all about. So, welcome to Publishing Advice Monday.
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend webinars that guided authors through the process of writing book descriptions.
Book covers are very important, but descriptions catch the reader’s attention as well. Your description can make or break the opportunity for a book sale. Readers may scan your blurb or read it completely. Either way, you want to hook them in.
High Converting Book Description:
Hook– Remember, a hook is designed to catch a person’s attention. You want to reel them in. Your hook should only be about three sentences. See the example below.
An author with a magical secret. A fantastical world of danger. If she can’t publish an incredible spell, an entire kingdom will perish.
Magical, danger, and perish are definitely words that would stand out to the reader. This hook is dramatic and that is okay. You want your hook to be dramatic!
2. Emotionally Driven Synopsis– A synopsis is a brief summary. When you are trying to sell your book, it is not just any summary, but emotionally driven. The way you do that is to establish the character, inciting incident, and cliffhanger. See the example below.
Rosalyn, “Rosie” Schubert thought she was normal (establishing the character) But after she scribbles a few words on the bathroom stall and burns the school down, she’s not so sure. (inciting incident).When she’s surprisingly not expelled but sent to a prestigious and creepy magical academy, Rosie fears her future could be written in blood.
As she attempts to navigate a new world of incantations and powerful creatures, Rosie meets a fellow scribe who takes her breath away. It’s too bad he is a vampire and a recent suspect to a campus murder.
But when Rosie discovers evidence that could turn the school upside down, will she keep quiet or write her own ticket to hell (cliffhanger).
3. Selling Paragraph- Tells the reader what your book is at its essence. See the example below.
Spellwriting School (title) is the first book in a series (let the reader know this is a book in a series) of compelling teen and young adult fantasy novels.(genre)If you like magic academies, sexy vampires, and strong-willed heroines, then you’ll love B.D. Cohen’s classy series (closer. reminding the reader to think about what he or she already likes)
4. Call to Action- This book is in a reader/potential customer’s hands. What do you want him or her to do? You want them to buy your book, so tell them to do so. See the example below.
Buy Spellwriting School to dive into a new magical world today (action)!
All the above examples are by Bryan Cohen.
I appreciate any likes/comments on this post. Thank you for reading! Join me tomorrow for creative Tuesday.
I have had an exciting week mapping out a daily shareable. After speaking to a friend, a decision has been made. Fridays will be devoted to mythological creatures. Talk about buzz. I have been buzzing all day. Today, my friends are mythological creatures feature Friday! We will begin with one of my favorites, the Centaur.
In Greek mythology, Centaurs were considered to be half man and half horse. To think of centaurs was to think of Dionysus, the God of wine. They followed after this God, and thus was known for being rowdy and at times savage.
Different research relates to different myths. According to Greek Gods and Goddesses, Centaurs are the offspring of King Ixion who mated with a nymph who shared the likeness of Hera. Left on Mount Pelion, they were nursed by the immortal daughters of Chiron.
Mark Cartwright of The Ancient History Encyclopedia informs that centaurs lived in the forest of Thessaly beyond the laws of man. Actually, in Thessaly, men hunted bulls on horseback. Centaur originally meant bull killer. They may have been seen as one with their horse thus the myth was born.
“PERHAPS THE MOST FAMOUS CENTAUR WAS CHIRON, KNOWN FOR HIS GREAT WISDOM.” Mark Cartwright.
There are a couple of known centaurs. Chiron was the first. Chiron had the reputation of being the most civilized centaur. He was an advisor to Peleus. Myths also place him at the King’s wedding. They were so impressed with him that they entrusted their son, Achilles to Chiron for his adolescent education.
Pholos, was a centaur who lived in a cave in Mount Pelion. According to Mystic Games, Pholos was a friend to Hercules. It is said that Pholos offered Hercules wine. The smell of wine caused other centaurs to gather outside of the cave. A fight broke out and Hercules killed most of them. After, Pholos was looking over one of Hercules’ poisoned arrows when it fell on Pholos’ foot and killed him. What a dismal end for this guy.
Nessos was a centaur with an unknown homeland. All we know is that he fled from it. He was a ferryman where he met Deianeira. He carried her across the river on his back. He was so smitten with her beauty that he was enraged with passion. Unfortunately, he tried to violate her. Hercules who had married her by this time heard her cries and slewed Nessos with one of his arrows. Another tragic end.
More recently, Harry Potter fans (I am a fan myself), remember Harry meeting the centaur Firenze. Firenze lived in the Forbidden Forest. When Harry happens upon Voldemort eating a unicorn, Firenze steps in and saves him from the Dark Lord.
Part two of the Dawn Series will feature a centaur, only in my story, they are known as Kales. His name is Kooloan, and I am very excited to write these creatures into the storyline.
I hope you have enjoyed mythological feature creatures Friday. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @authorahwashington.
Make time for yourself because you matter! How often do I take meaningful time for me? Fruitful Thursdays are all about checking in with oneself.
The hustle and bustle of the week can be overwhelming. You are working (sometimes more than one job) to support yourself and your family. You are trying to attend appointments, complete homework, run errands, and the list goes on and on. My favorite question (Does it ever end?) haunts me all week. The answer is no, but it can end, and you begin if only for a moment.
If only for a moment, enjoy the fruits of your labors with only YOU. Take a stroll, go shopping, climb a tree, go to the spa, walk on the beach/lake, write in your journal, etc. Who knows you better than you? DO SOMETHING THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY! For that moment in time allow everything else to hold.
Today, I took a walk around my subdivision. That was my ME time. My mental well being thanks me for it. Yours will to.