Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Writing Tip Wednesday--Writing Advice from Sara Humphreys

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! We're on Week 16 of this series, and another terrific writer friend Sara Humphreys is here to share her advice!

Top 10 Tips for New Writers

1. Write a book you would want to read: We all began as readers, right? That’s where new writers are born, so write a book that the reader inside you wants to devour.

2. Don’t try to be the next fill-in-big-bestseller-here: Trying to be someone else is never a good idea. Write YOUR book.

3. Guard your writing time: There are a million reasons not to find time to write but not one of them will get your book finished.

4. Write every day: Whether it’s 100 words or 5,000 words…get something on the page every day. It doesn't have to be brilliant and most of the time it won’t be but that’s okay. You can edit later and like Nora Roberts says…you can’t edit a blank page.

5. Create a peaceful space: My writing space changes from time to time but usually it’s in my office. I know if I close that door, I can shut out the noise of the world and focus.

6. Don't strive for perfection: Should you try to be a better writer? Sure. Perfect? No way. No one is perfect and neither is anyone’s writing.

7. Double save everything: Back up in the cloud, Google drive, an external hard drive. Back up your projects everywhere. Nothing is worse than losing your work.

8. Stay away from Goodreads: It’s a site for readers—not authors. It will suck the creativity right out of you.

9. Turn off the Internet: When writing, shut off the internet on your computer. Social media is a time-suck. It can feel like you were abducted by aliens. You say, I’ll just go on for a few minutes. Before you know it, three hours have vanished.

10. Ignore all of the above: Something I learned a long time ago is that there is no single right way to write. You have to find what works best for you. Your process will be exactly that…yours. Don't compare yourself or the way you write to anyone else. Be an original…be you.

Sara Humphreys is a graduate of Marist College, with a B.A. Degree in English Literature & Theater. Her initial career path after college was as a professional actress. Some of her television credits include, A&E Biography, Guiding Light, Another World, As the World Turns and Rescue Me.
In 2013 Sara’s novel UNTAMED won two PRISM awards–Dark Paranormal and Best of the Best.
She loves writing hot heroes and heroines with moxie but above all, Sara adores a satisfying happily-ever-after. She lives in New York with her husband, their four amazing sons, and two adorable pups. When she’s not writing or hanging out with the men in her life, she can be found working out with Shaun T in her living room or chatting with readers on Facebook.

For a full list of Sara’s books and reading order, please visit her website.

To book Sara for a speaking engagement for your school or writers group, send an email to

Thanks for being here today, Sara! I can't wait to see you in New York!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Writing Tip Wednesday--Writing Advice from Sandy James

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! We've had some terrific advice from a lot of awesome authors, haven't we?

Up next is Sandy James, one of my many IRWA friends and one of the writers who introduced me to writing craft. Thanks so much for sharing your advice and insight, Sandy!

I often have my arm twisted to help judge contests for unpublished authors. I’m an easy target for contest coordinators who beg, mostly because I was a bit of a contest diva (cough * whore * cough) before I published. Until I was able to find honest and talented critique partners, I loved the feedback I would get on my contest entries. Some of the judges gave me hints that I found invaluable in helping my writing skills evolve.

The reason I bring this up now is that I’d like to share the most valuable advice I ever received—advice I now am compelled to pass on to entrants who make the same common mistake.

Don’t be afraid to cut words!

Newbie writers have a tendency to be a bit...wordy. They try to be descriptive, to show rather than tell, and it often causes an overabundance of adjectives and adverbs, many of which could be replaced by stronger verbs and nouns. As a result, I spend a lot of time typing out phrases like “less is more” and “I’d considering cutting this.”

Cutting this? Gasp! How can you expect me to cut my precious words!

I do expect it. I expect A LOT of it.

Some writers believe everything they write is sacred. Never should a word be removed. Never. That’s balderdash. I’ve probably cut as many words as I’ve written—maybe even more. But I don’t mourn those losses. To me, writing is like any other skill. It requires lots and lots of practice. Not all that practice will be worth remembering.

My first book was written in 2006. It was a rather epic 138K story that included time travel to the Old West, and I thought it was very clever. Then I edited it a few times, put it aside, and moved on to writing more books. My third book was the first I worked on with critique partners, and from them, I learned more than I ever thought possible. And my writing improved by leaps and bounds.

After I finally published, I pulled up the file for that first story. Reading it was agony. There wasn’t an adverb or adjective I didn’t use and use badly. (Get the irony there?) So I did something that make my hands shake and my knees knock. I deleted the entire file. Then I started from scratch and rewrote the book. Twist of Fate was published in 2011—sans 43K words! Then I rewrote the second for good measure. It’s Saving Grace, which is probably my most popular story.

Don’t be afraid to look at your story with a critical eye and cut things that simply don’t add to the story. Some suggestions for things that represent easy cuts:

That. One of the most overused words in the English language.

Adverbs. Why rely on “ly” words when it’s more illustrative to use stronger verbs. Instead of walking swiftly across the room, trying hurrying or scurrying or sweeping. Instead of standing quickly, why not leap to your feet? Choose stronger verbs and most adverbs become superfluous.

Adjectives. Isn’t it more effective to talk about a maiden rather than a young woman? Doesn’t it evoke a better picture to write about a warrior than a strong man? Find descriptive nouns instead of resorting to tired adjectives.

Dialogue tags. I prefer using action in between dialogue instead of dialogue tags such as “he said.” I helped a friend cut almost 5K from one of her stories simply by removing unneeded dialogue tags.

Just remember, every word you write contributes to learning the craft, but not every word is worthy of being read by others. Be brave and learn to cut when you need to!

Happy writing!

Sandy James lives in a quiet suburb of Indianapolis with her husband of thirty years. She is a high school teacher of both psychology and U.S. history, and also teaches psychology on the college level. Sandy and her husband own a small stable of harness racehorses and enjoy spending time at the two Indiana racetracks. She’s also an bestselling author and the winner of two HOLT Medallions (Murphy's Law and Rules of the Game). Look for her popular series--Damaged Heroes, the Alliance of the Amazons, and The Ladies Who Lunch. Visit Sandy at or find her as sandyjamesbooks on both Twitter and Facebook. Sandy is represented by Joanna MacKenzie of Browne & Miller Literary.

Thanks so much for visiting today, Sandy! Cutting words and choosing strong ones can really tighten the story and improve pacing!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Writing Tip Wednesday: Writing Advice from R.L. Syme

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! This week, R.L. Syme, one of my fabulous foodie friends, is here to share her fun twist on writing advice. Take it away, Becca!

Wryt Moar Betr

There’s a famous podcast called The Sporkful, where Dan Pashman (formerly of NPR) repeats the catch phrase, “It’s not for foodies, it’s for eaters,” in reference to the quirky weekly call-in show about food. If you think for a moment about the distinction between “foodies” and “eaters”, you get the heart of this podcast. Pashman doesn’t want to get caught up in the cool. He’s talking directly to people who consume food, and he wants to help them “Eat More Better”—another catch-phrase from The Sporkful.

Eat More Better.

Pashman cares about the quality of your eating experience, and his whole podcast is about how to eat foods so that you get the most enjoyment out of the experience. They have whole conversations about coffee ice cubes for iced coffee and whether or not to eat your cheeseburger upside down to maximize the cheese-to-tongue ratio. Most of his podcasts include strategic advice about foods we already consume because he desperately wants people to eat, more better. And, to eat more, better. Thus, the phrase, eat more better. It works on two levels.

Like Pashman, I care about the quality experience. Except because I am not an NPR food show writer, and I’m a romance novelist, I care about writers, and how writers produce a quality experience for readers. This is possibly the thing that I care about the most—probably because I have both produced and read books that were not as quality an experience as I could have both produced and read, and I’m sick of that experience. So you want my advice, new writers? Here it is.

Write More Better. Or, rather, WrytMoarBetr.

Why the weird spelling? Two reasons. One is about something Seth Godin calls “The Purple Cow”. In order to be memorable, it has to be different. And “it” can represent anything in that sentence. Commercials, books, ad campaigns, slogans…what have you. To be memorable, it has to be the purple cow in a world of brown cows. So there you have it. Wryt Moar Betr.

The second reason is because I think, as writers, we get caught up in what is the “right” way, or the “correct” way to do something. What is the perfect spelling for this word, or what is the perfect editing technique, or what is the perfect workshop or the perfect strategy. Grammar rules train us to look for the perfect. But in writing, especially in learning how to write, there is no such thing as perfect. What works for me may not work for you. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it, but it does mean you shouldn’t count on it. As a writer, you need to be intuitive about your own process. Know yourself, and then you’ll be able to figure out what works for you.

But, for a moment, back to The Sporkful.

Wryt Moar Better, like Eat More Better, is about quality. Dan Pashman cares about your chicken-wing-eating technique because he thinks that consuming a chicken wing will give you the best eating experience. But in order to find the absolute best way to eat a chicken wing (so that you get the most meat off the bones, so that you get the best skin-to-meat ratio on your tongue, etc.), you have to find a lot of ways to eat a chicken wing, and be willing to fail until you find the right way.

So this is my basic advice to new writers: be willing to fail. Because you will fail, and that is good. Failing is good. Just fail better each time you fail. On the way to your perfect cheeseburger-eating technique are a lot of subpar cheeseburger-eating experiences. Only when you find the right way will you know that you’ve arrived at the right way.

Keep failing until you find your success. And allow yourself to fail until you find success. Otherwise, you’re going to settle for eating your cheeseburger—or writing your novel—the same way everyone else eats their cheeseburger, just because that’s the way it’s always been done. Be willing to find what works the best for you. That might mean some manuscripts never see the light of day, because they’re your bad cheeseburger. But that’s okay. You don’t need to publish everything you write.

Be willing to wait for the better cheeseburger, or the better chicken wing, or the coffee ice cube. Don’t short the reading experience. Don’t settle for good enough. In this world of mediocre reading experiences, be committed to writing more better. And remember:

WrytMoarBetr. #wrytmoarbetr

Build a better cheeseburger so your readers can eat a better cheeseburger, and then eat it more better. I promise you, your readers will thank you.

R.L. Syme is a best-selling, award-winning author of both contemporary and historical romance. After careers in youth work, musical theater, and non-profits, she writes about hot Highlanders and extreme Chefs. A member of RWA (Romance Writers of America) and SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators), Becca lives in Montana with her cat who drinks wine and does not answer back when she talks to him.

Fan Group:

Thanks for visiting with me today, Becca! Writers, how are you going to WrytMoarBetr???

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Writing Tip Wednesday: Writing Advice from Cynthia D'Alba

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! The fun and fabulous Cynthia D’Alba is visiting this week and sharing her advice for writers. I couldn't agree with her more!

Why Do I Need Writing Organizations?

I love talking with aspiring writers. When I started writing, if only I’d know then what I know now! If you’re reading this, you might be writing romance, but you might be writing mystery, sci-fi, or any of many different genre fiction categories. You know what writing is like. You sit either in front of a computer with your fingers on the keys, or with a paper tablet and a pen in your hand, and you create. You tell a story. It’s you, all alone, writing and creating this tale to entertain others.

Creating a world with its characters and setting is hard work. It takes effort to transfer a fictional world from your brain, where it’s alive and colorful, into words to share with others so that they too see your world and watch your characters act out their parts.

I live in the town where I grew up. I have women that I have been friends with since the first grade. And I have eight other women that I have been friends with since seventh grade. And others since high school. They all work, have families, go to church but none of them are writers. As much as they support me in my writing, they simply don’t have a clue what goes into storytelling. The same is true of my family. None of them “get” it.

Now other writers? They “get” it. They understand the frustration, the depression when things aren’t going well, the elation when it is. Other writers can talk the business, sympathize about royalties and understand that writing a book doesn’t mean you’ll be rolling in the dough.

Writers pass along tips they’ve learned, or industry news and gossip that can help your career. You’ve written a great book and you’ve decided publisher XYZ is a perfect fit, only to hear that XYZ is floundering. Their authors are not being paid on time. Authors are jumping ship. You would never had heard about that from your non-writing friends.

So where do you find all these supportive and helpful fellow authors? For me, it was Romance Writers of America®, aka RWA®. My monthly meeting is like a lifeline for my sanity. I’m in a room with people who get “me” and my work.

If you’re trying to do this (i.e. writing) all alone, stop. Find a group of fellow authors. Go to See if there is a chapter near you. Go visit. You’ll find your people there.

No RWA chapter? Look for a genre fiction writers group. They are everywhere. Still can’t find one? Post a note to Twitter or Facebook. There are yahoo groups, Facebook groups, private online writers’ communities. Writer communities can really make a difference in your writing career. Use them. A writer’s life is hard enough. Take any advantage you can.

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Cynthia D'Alba started writing on a challenge from her husband in 2006 and discovered having imaginary sex with lots of hunky men was fun. She was born and raised in a small Arkansas town. After being gone for a number of years, she's thrilled to be making her home back in Arkansas living in a vine-covered cottage on the banks of an eight-thousand acre lake. When she's not reading or writing or plotting, she's doorman for her two dogs, cook, housekeeper and chief bottle washer for her husband and slave to a noisy, messy parrot. She loves to chat online with friends and fans.

You can find her most days at one of the following online homes:

Facebook: Facebook/cynthiadalba
Twitter: @cynthiadalba
Pinterest: Pinterest/CynthiaDAlba
Newsletter: Newsletter Sign-Up

Or drop her a line at

Thanks so much for visiting, Cynthia! I love having other writers to talk to and don't know what I'd do without my local RWA chapter.

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Writing Tip Wednesday: Writing Advice from Aleatha Romig

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! Can you believe we're on Week 12 of the Writing Advice series already? My guests have been offering some fantastic insights and suggestions, this week's author is no exception!

Aleatha Romig, another of my IRWA friends, is here today to share her thoughts. Thanks for being here, Aleatha!

Hello everyone, I'm Aleatha Romig, the author of the Consequences series and Insidious, the first of the Tales From the Dark Side. I began writing in 2010. So, to be honest, I consider myself pretty new at this, and whether a new or seasoned author, I'm always willing to learn. Fortunately, since I began writing, I've met with some success. As I think back on my personal journey, a few key elements come to mind that I feel are worth sharing.

One: I began writing because I wanted to write.

That may be a simple sentence, but the meaning is much more complex. I had no grand illusions of fame. I didn't write to write the next blockbuster. I wrote because I had a story, and I wanted to see how it would translate to paper (or e-readers). To be honest, I hoped that one day perhaps my mother and a few of her friends would read it. At first, I didn't even tell my immediate family that I was writing. I just wanted to write.

IF your intent is anything beyond "writing," I fear for your results.

The reason is very simple. In my endeavor, I couldn't/wouldn't fail; because I wrote to write, and as long as I continued to write, I was successful. I held no loftier goal of publication, self-publishing, hundreds of thousands of readers, or making money. My desire was to write my story. Because of that, I was in COMPLETE control over my future. My success didn't lie with anyone was up to me. That gave me the strength to continue.

I often receive emails from prospective writers asking me what they should do to write their story. My answer is simple: write. Don't worry about anything else until your story is written (There are plenty more things to do before you publish, but without a strong story, any advice on beta reading, editing, formatting, publishing or querying, or quality covers is useless.). First, you must write.

Two: I wrote the story I wanted to read.

My Consequences story has been labeled somewhat unconventional. I've been told many times that it fails to fall within the given parameters of a specific genre. Personally, I'm all right with that. You need to decide that for yourself.

As I wrote my story, I laughed, cried, and sometimes was totally amazed with the direction my characters chose to go.

Later, I learned that readers experienced the same emotions while reading that I had while writing. That discovery led me to believe that as a writer, I, and you, MUST love our story. In my opinion, that element is not optional. If an author doesn't love the world he or she created, I believe wholeheartedly that no one else will love it. Therefore, if you want to elicit readers’ emotions, you must first elicit your own.

Don't let anyone else define your story. Claim it. It is YOUR story.

And three: I believed in my story.

I know that this last statement has made the greatest difference in my success; however, without one and two, I would never have gotten to this point. I wrote to write. I wrote a story I loved and would love to read, and, lastly, I believed in it.

To that end, the first year of publication, my first book Consequences sold 536 copies. By all standards of publishing, it was NOT a success. I was turned down by agents and had publishing houses tell me that though I had a "unique" story, they'd only consider publishing it if I allowed them to change it. I didn't. I have since acquired an agent.

Since 2012, when I released the second book in the series, Truth, and left my vanity publisher to be completely self-published, INDIE, my series has hit USA Today twice and the New York Times. With all the books in my series, I've sold over a half of a million books, and it's still selling. I didn't give up. I kept going. I knew early on that if I didn't believe in Tony and Claire and the story I created, no one else would.

Will every book or series meet this success? No. However, NO book or series will ever meet success without the support, love, and wholehearted belief of the author.

If you have a story and you believe in it, write! Don't write what you're told you should write. Write your story.

Once that is complete, there are more hoops to jump through before you hit publish...but as I said before, beta reading, editing, formatting, and quality covers mean nothing without a strong story.

So, first and foremost, my advice is to write!

Aleatha Romig is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who lives in Indiana. She grew up in Mishawaka, graduated from Indiana University, and is currently living south of Indianapolis. Together with her high-school sweetheart and husband of twenty-eight years, they've raised three children. Before she became a full-time author, she worked days as a dental hygienist and spent her nights writing. Now, when she's not imagining mind-blowing twists and turns, she likes to spend her time with her family and friends. Her pastimes include reading and creating heroes/anti-heroes who haunt your dreams!

CONSEQUENCES, her first novel, was released August 2011, by Xlibris Publishing. Then in October of 2012, Ms. Romig re-released CONSEQUENCES as an indie author. TRUTH, the sequel, was released October 30, 2012, and CONVICTED, the third in the series, was released October 8, 2013. Unexpectedly, the fourth book of the Consequences series came to life with REVEALED: THE MISSING YEARS was released May 20, 2014. BEYOND THE CONSEQUENCES, book #5, will be released in 2015. Yes...MORE Tony and Claire.

Aleatha also wrote reading companions for the Consequences Series. BEHIND HIS EYES CONSEQUENCES (Book 1.5) and BEHIND HIS EYES TRUTH (Book 2.5) are currently available for those times and scenes when the readers asked, "What was he thinking?" These companions also contain never before released behind-the-scenes scenes.

INSIDIOUS, the first released book from TALES FROM THE DARK SIDE was released October 21, 2014. TALES FROM THE DARK SIDE will be a series of standalone, dark, erotic thrillers guaranteed to take you on a wild, hot, and dark ride. Each novel in the series will be independent of the next. DUPLICITY, book #2, will be released in 2015.

Aleatha is a "Published Author's Network" member of the Romance Writers of America and represented by Danielle Egan-Miller of Brown and Miller Literary Associates.

Twitter: @aleatharomig

Thanks so much for visiting today, Aleatha! Now, go write, Writers!!!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Author Spotlight--Nan Reinhardt

Welcome to Author Spotlights on Mondays! The wonderful Nan Reinhardt is visiting today and sharing an excerpt from her newest book in The Women of Willow Bay series, The Summer of Second Chances. Be sure to check out the first two books in the series as well!

It’s never too late to start over…

When Sophie Russo inherits two lakeside cottages in Willow Bay, Michigan, she thinks she can start over with a peaceful, quiet summer.

Boy, is she wrong.

First, there's Henry Dugan, the nerdy genius behind the GeekSpeak publishing empire, who has rented Sophie’s second cottage so he can write his novel. The instant attraction catches them both off guard. He’s fresh off a brutal divorce, and Sophie’s still grieving her beloved Papa Leo, so this is no time to start a relationship, but a casual summer fling might be an option.

Then Sophie’s long-lost mother barrels onto the scene and opens up a long-buried mystery involving Depression-era mobsters and a missing cache of gold coins worth millions that some present-day hoodlums would like to get their hands on.

Suddenly, Sophie’s quiet summer becomes a dangerous dance with her grandfather’s dark past. With Henry at her side--and in her bed--Sophie needs to find a way to make peace with the past and look toward the future… assuming she lives that long.

“There!” Sophie Russo brushed her hands on the butt of her jeans and gazed around the living room of the Sandpiper, her guest cottage on the shore of Lake Michigan. The place fairly sparkled—all ready for the new summer renter, her colleague and friend, Henry Dugan, right down to a lovely spot on the screened porch, where he would be able to set up his laptop and work in the breeze off the lake. She and Henry had been working together for years and he was setting aside his publishing empire to write a novel. If he couldn’t get some serious writing done here this summer, it wasn’t going to happen at all.

They’d never met in person, but Henry published the famous GeekSpeak books and as his freelance editor, Sophie had worked on nearly all his computer how-tos over the last ten years. She enjoyed his chatty, familiar voice, and wondered if his fiction had the same easy quality. She hoped he’d let her read the novel. He’d never mentioned using her as his fiction editor, but it made sense. She knew his writing style and they already had a good working relationship. He hadn’t even told her what genre the novel was, but she assumed it was guy-type fiction, political suspense, crime drama, or maybe a mystery….

The mantle clock chimed eleven as she hung fresh towels on the rack in the bathroom and then began making the bed. With the windows open slightly, the crisp May breeze had aired the coverlets nicely, and she smoothed Papa Leo’s favorite log cabin quilt over the clean sheets. She’d never thought about it before, but with the tall pines and spectacular lake views, this cottage was the ideal place for a writer.

A loud noise at the back door nearly sent her sprawling across the bed. Whatever was back there was way bigger than a skunk or raccoon. Apparently, she’d forgotten to lock the door when she left earlier. Great. A break-in and it was only May third! Of course, Beach Road was practically deserted. She’d been the first to open up this season. None of the other summer folks had even arrived yet.

Hands fisted at her sides, she peered into the hall, assessing whether she could get to something she could use to defend herself before the prowler stepped inside. What that would be eluded her completely. Maybe the oar hanging above the fireplace or a badminton racket from the closet in the second bedroom or the hairdryer here on the dresser? All good options except that heavy footsteps sounded in the utility porch and the kitchen suddenly flooded with light.

Would a thief switch on the brightest light in the place, knowing she was right next door? Maybe a dumb one who didn’t bring a flashlight…

Oh, screw it.

Sophie grabbed the hairdryer and brandishing it like a pistol, jumped into the hall with a loud shout. She recognized the intruder immediately. His graying hair was longish, soft, and slightly tousled. Small rectangular wire-rimmed glasses gave him a rather intellectual air. He’d grown a goatee since the last publicity photo, but it was unquestionably Henry Dugan gazing around the cottage before his eyes lit on her.

He had a canvas messenger bag slung over one shoulder, a large duffel in one hand, and a guitar and a brown paper bag that emanated the heavenly scent of onions and fries in the other. Obviously, he’d found Swenson’s, the only fast food place in Willow Bay open after ten p.m.

Her heart pounded and her mouth was dry with residual fear, or maybe it was simply dismay that he’d caught her with her wild hair streaming down her back, no makeup, and clad in pink polka dot pajamas. Shouting and waving a hairdryer at him probably didn’t help either. She couldn’t tell. Whatever, one of them needed to speak. In what was probably a futile attempt to regain her dignity, she set the hairdryer on the table, stopped a few feet away from him, and gave him a tentative smile. “Hello, Henry.”

Buy links:
Once More From the Top:
Sex and the Widow Miles:
The Summer of Second Chances:

Nan Reinhardt is a writer of romantic fiction for women in their prime. Yeah, women still fall in love and have sex, even after 45! Imagine! She is also a wife, a mom, a mother-in-law, and a grandmother. She’s been an antiques dealer, a bank teller, a stay-at-home mom, a secretary, and for the last 17 years, she’s earned her living as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader.

But writing is Nan’s first and most enduring passion. She can’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t writing—she wrote her first romance novel at the age of ten, a love story between the most sophisticated person she knew at the time, her older sister (who was in high school and had a driver’s license!) and a member of Herman’s Hermits. If you remember who they are, you are Nan’s audience! She’s still writing romance, but now from the viewpoint of a wiser, slightly rumpled, menopausal woman who believes that love never ages, women only grow more interesting, and everybody needs a little sexy romance.

Visit Nan’s website at, where you’ll find links to all her books as well as blogs about writing, being a Baby Boomer, and aging gracefully...mostly. Nan also blogs every Tuesday at Word Wranglers, sharing the spotlight with three other romance authors.

Twitter: @NanReinhardt

Talk to Nan at:

Thanks for sharing a peek with us, Nan!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Writing Tip Wednesday--Writing Advice from Anya Breton

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! This series continues with yet another great IRWA friend and an awesome specialized topic. Anya Breton is a self-confessed computer nerd who really knows her way around author websites. She has some really helpful advice for both new and multi-published authors. Thanks for being here, Anya! Take it away!!!

Author Sites–Untapped Marketing Gold

Your author site is a marketing tool and is a great way to feed your newsletter, remind fans of your backlist, and get new fans.

Are you using yours to its full advantage?

Here are some tips on how you can get more out of your space on the web.

Your author site should be reader centric, as in it should include what the reader wants, not what you want to share with the reader (so maybe keep your rants about the publishing business elsewhere).

But you’ll want to give your fans a reason to come back and/or sign up for the newsletter. That means constantly adding content to entice them. You’ll want to provide exclusive content & goodies only found there (either on the newsletter or website).

What should be on it?

Okay, maybe not sloths making eyes at you. How about these ideas?

• Your latest book/project
• Newsletter sign-up. Don’t have a newsletter? You might want to get one!
• Book information
o Your backlist (books that are older than your newest release)
o Series descriptions, if applicable
• Your bio/about you
• How to contact you
o This is super important because fans WILL email you or submit a form (if you’ve got your address listed or a form). Even no-names like me get emails from fans.
o If you’re a blogger, you may also get requests to host other authors.
• Links to where they can find you on social media
• Where you’ll be doing book signings & appearances
• Latest news and what’s up next
• Extras – even MORE, read on!

Extras - For the Future Fangirls

• Go in depth with book extras
o Character bios - if these pages are interactive (so someone can leave a comment) you can even solicit “dream cast” pictures - but be aware of copyright concerns. Buy stock photos where possible (,,,, etc).
o Exclusive excerpts - sections of the book you didn’t send to blog tour hosts, bloggers, etc. This is especially good for newsletters.
o Excerpts read aloud! - by you or maybe by a person who sounds like one of the characters. Think: mini audiobook. You can do this as a video and upload to YouTube or just capture audio and upload to
o Deleted scenes - KEEP those scenes you’re cutting from your manuscript and post them on the web! (edit them though)
o Soundtracks - music mentioned in the story or music you were listening to when writing. Make it listenable, so do a Spotify or YouTube list. Embed this on your website so the visitor can hear it right there.
o Alternate POVs - Do you ever write a scene from a different point of view to see what was going through that character’s head? SAVE it! Or…if you’ve got extra time (HAH!) write the alternate POV and post it.
o DIY/craft projects that relate - did your heroine make a crafty item in the book? Share the plans for it!
o Recipes - food or cocktails featured in the book. Or ones inspired by the book.
• Videos - book trailers, chats you’ve had with other authors, etc. YouTube is free to host videos and so easy to embed.
• Fun quizzes - think “Which Harry Potter character are you?” but make it your own.
• Wallpapers & images - cover photos, mobile wallpapers of your cover, or promotional items.
• Fan art - omg, if fans are submitting things to you, SHARE THAT!

I bet these suggestions triggered ideas of your own. Get creative!

Just remember that your author site is your platform. Choose content that reflects your brand and what message you mean to convey to visitors.

Thanks for reading and may you get loads of fangirls!

Anya Breton is a web monkey by day with an obsession for nail polish and rubber chickens. Her fears include Peeps and people who hate clowns. In addition to writing in her spare time, Anya reviews books on a secret alter ego. She lives with her significant other and a smattering of cats.

Anya has published fourteen books spanning genres from young adult to erotic romance. She’s most known for her steamier offerings, and has written for Siren Bookstrand, The Wild Rose Press, and Ellora’s Cave. Her recent release with Evernight Publishing, The Drowning Sorceress, is the third installment of her urban fantasy series The Only Sorceress.

You can find freebies and giveaways on her website as well as make-up-related posts and giveaways on a beauty blog she shares,

Thanks so much for visiting, Anya! Now, writers, go update those websites!!!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!