Thursday, November 27, 2014

Announcement time!

Hey everyone, it’s Deanna Leah again! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

Rani and I have an exciting announcement for you guys! We have two book signings coming up this holiday season!

December 5th we will be at Title Wave Books in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is really exciting because that was where I found my first job organizing books, answering phones and working the cash register. It will be fun to go back there and see my Title Wave family again.

Our second book signing will be at Under Charlie’s Covers in Bernalillo New Mexico on December 13th!

I hope as many of you as possible will show up and please share with your friends! To keep updated about this signing keep up with us on Facebook through our pages, Deanna Leah and Rani Divine.

Now I want to talk a little about how to make YOUR book signing a success. 

These book signings coming up will be my first and so I am drawing from what Rani and I have discussed and some videos and blog posts that I have read from other authors, especially this YouTube video: by author Stephanie Newell.
So here are five things you should always do when planning your book signing:

        1. Make sure you have enough books!

This should be obvious, but how do you know how many books you should bring? For a small bookstore, or if you aren’t super well known yet, I would recommend maybe 20-25 books for each signing you do. If you don’t have enough, which hopefully won’t be the case, you can use step 2

        2. Have an email list, business cards and links to your online sites readily available

You don’t just want the people to come and buy your book, you want to keep them as your audience! You want them to be able to get back to you about your book, to find out about new works you have created and to be able to buy more copies for their friends and family! Having bookmarks, fliers or business cards with your Facebook page or website on it and asking them if they would like to supply you with your email address will help you, and them, in the long run.

        3. Make your chosen location and your signing table match with the emotional theme of your book(s)

This is all about appealing to your audience and to the professional look of your table. Keep a consistent color theme throughout, allow your books to be the most prominent feature and accent everything with information about you and future works.

        4. Have a special pen to sign with

You don’t want your signed book to look just like every other signed book. Choose a signature pen type and stroke that is uniquely you so that when people see your signature they know that it’s you.

        5. SMILE!

You are more likely to draw in unsuspecting customers if you are friendly, available to talk to and answer questions and have the customer’s interests in mind. It is important that you be approachable (for more on this topic see Ranis post on Confidence vs. Pride at

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and be sure to keep us in mind!
~ Deanna

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Tomorrow. Is. Thanksgiving.

How did we already get this far into the year?

More than that, how did we get this far into NaNoWriMo?!

Insanity, I say.

Hopefully, you've all been working dutifully on your novels. I believe in you! By now, you should be very close to the end, as strange as that may seem.

But now that you've come this far, now that the end is in sight, I'm sure you're wondering...

What comes next? 

Obviously, the best thing for you to do is finish your story before considering things like this. But I'm fairly certain that most of you have already thought this far into it. Mostly because if you haven't, I'm really not sure how you've made it this far through NaNoWriMo (and I'd like to know, if you're one of those).

Because I'm a nice person, I'm going to tell you exactly what you need to do once you've finished your NaNoWriMo novel.

Walk away. 

Yes, you read that right.

Just walk away.

Don't start editing, don't stress about it, don't think too much into it.

Just step back, bathe in the light that is the completion of your novel, and take a nice long nap. Maybe a two week nap. Whatever you need.

My next suggestion would be to start working on something else. A different story, a different project, something different. Maybe even start a sequel.

Wait at least a month before you go back and look at your NaNoWriMo novel again. Wait long enough that you're fully aware that it's not the best thing that anyone has ever written, and that you're ready to start cutting and rewriting.

Starting too soon will only cause more heartache.

And nobody needs more heartache. Especially not during the holidays. 

[love and too many pies]


Monday, November 24, 2014


Happy three-days-before Thanksgiving everyone! 

Today I'm going over my fourth and final item that I believe you should invest in for NaNoWriMo (or really, for writing in general).

Fountain Pens... And Ink

Hopefully, by now you've figured out some ways to subvert your procrastination and get yourself to a point where you can write constantly--but that doesn't mean you've reached the point where you have constant ideas.

None of us do, don't worry.

Fountain pens are one of my forms of inspiration. Realistically, you could use any kind of pen you want, but fountain pens are particularly fun and far less messy than dip pens (i.e. quill pens, etc.).

Inspiration is something that every writer is striving for. Even when we have it, we're striving to hold onto it. We never want to let it go. But occasionally (okay, frequently) life gets in the way and we just can't do it.

That's where the pens come in.

There's something about writing by hand, something about the way your body reacts when you're actually touching a page, that is entirely conducive to inspiration.

So when you're stuck, and I know you will be at some point, grab a pen and paper.

You just might like what you find.

[love and 60,000 words...yeah, I went over 50]


Friday, November 21, 2014


I don’t know about you, but with all the final papers and exams piling up there are a lot of deadlines that I am needing to meet in the very near future. This blog post couldn’t have been timed any better.  

Firstly I want to clarify something, both for you and for me: Deadlines are NOT a bad thing! 

What are some good things about deadlines?

        1. They make you more productive

You simply type faster when you have something that you have to get done by a certain time.

        2. Dividing up your work 

When you have a date by which something must be completed it’s easier to say what you have to get done on what day. Without a deadline you just go about willy nilly.

        3. They make you work every day

As a writer actually writing every day is key to your craft! Practice makes perfect, and the more you string words together and the more stories you create the better you will become at what you do. This applies to everything, from essay writing, to time management, to cooking. Whatever you do, a deadline that keeps you on the ball every day will make you better at what you do.

Now that we can see the benefits of deadlines, how exactly do you tackle them?

        1. Just sit down and do it

I know YouTube is calling your name and someone is texting you and there are just so many other things to do, but the very first thing you must do to meet a deadline is do the work. The only way that will happen is if you sit down and do it!

        2. Find an encouraging friend

We all have those days where we just don’t want to do anything and they seem to become even more abundant when there are actually things that have to be done. The key to those moments is to find someone who will make you do step one, but will also tell you what a good job you are doing. Sometimes just hearing someone tell you that they are proud of you and that you can indeed do what you have set out to do is all you need to get to that finish line.

        3. Know how to determine when you actually need a break

Yeah, sometimes you’ve done enough for one day, even when it isn’t “technically” enough. Sometimes the “to do” list isn’t going to get completed all in one long stretch. When you get totally burned out just take a short break. A ten minute nap, or a thirty minute TV show, or a fifteen minute walk can do wonders to clear your mind and get you back up to working order again. Schedule in that break time!

        4. Write down exactly what you need to do and when you intend to do it

Having a cohesive list gets your mind in the mood to work and helps you to pace yourself.
        5. “Work smart, not hard.”

This is my English teacher’s favorite saying. It means that you should do what is most important first and then allow the less important stuff to fall off the back burner. Sometimes that means you need to miss a class to finish an assignment and other times that means the assignment doesn’t get done. It’s important to realize that there are only so many hours in a day and some deadlines just aren’t going to be made. So long as you make the important ones that is all that matters.

Now, I have a deadline for you (and it’s quite important ;))!

You have until the end of today to go read Rani Divine’s post on my blog about Point of View:



Wednesday, November 19, 2014


This one is for all you out-of-college writers, even the ones who've been writing even from before they started college.

It's also for all of you who've finished a book but have been unable to find a publisher.

And for you who think you don't need editing, even though you're only on the second draft.

Your writing isn't perfect. It never will be. 

Every writer needs an editor. Even you who are in college. Even you who graduated college with an English degree and have been writing ever since.

This NaNoWriMo book you're working on will need to be edited.

Yeah, it'll need to be edited by you, probably more than once, but it also needs to be edited by someone else. You will need to hire someone to read your work, to tell you what sucks and what's brilliant, and to show you the little grammar mistakes you didn't even know you were making.


Because English changes.
Because grammar deteriorates (even if you try to stop it doing so).
Because novels are never finished.
And because nobody's perfect.

Even if you think you're the best writer to ever be born (perhaps especially if you're that writer), you need to hire an editor.

I have one.

I even have friends who proofread my work for me and let me know when the little things aren't working.

You'll need those too.

You need to have a network around you, even if most of it is family and friends, who will read your work and tell you when you suck and when you're amazing.

But you also need that editor who's going to lay down the harsh truths--because if they don't say it, you'll never hear it.

And trust me, you need to hear it.

There's my harsh truth of NaNoWriMo.

If this made you at all interested in seeking an editor, check out RAD Writing

[love and tissue boxes]


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Oh. Ee. Dee.

Hey writers!

Today we're back to Rani's endorsements, with one that may cost you money (unless you're a student).

Oxford English Dictionary

I'm not talking about the books though. I'm talking about the online subscription. 

I'm positive that you're wondering why in the world I would endorse something like this, and so I'm going to give you four good reasons:

  • OED is the most comprehensive English dictionary on the planet
  • Your subscription includes advanced access to etymologies and archaic words
  • You'll have the ability to cross-reference your words to make sure you're using the right one (hint: you're not, almost a quarter of the time)
  • Your friends will be impressed that you even know what it is, much less subscribe

Yeah, it's expensive. Yeah, you could just use google.

But google isn't going to tell you whether or not you're using the right words. You'll be bogged with literally thousands of opinions on every single subject out there.

When you have the OED, that doesn't even become a factor.

Bonus for you students, a subscription is usually free through your school while you're enrolled.

[love and 56,000 words]


Thursday, November 13, 2014


If you guys couldn’t tell (or if you haven’t read my debut novella, The Home of Our Hearts, yet) I’m a romance writer. I write in a lot of different genres (see Rani’s post on genres at, but it always comes back to the sweet, passionate, and touchy feely subject of l’amore. 

This post will be all about it!

I’m going to give five very different date ideas based on the genre in which your little writerly chick is the happiest. If you do this she will be inspired, and people who inspire us are loved forever.


To identify the typical mystery girl all you must do is look at the size of her purse. I can almost guarantee you that it is bulky and never lacking in contents. The mystery chick must have room to carry around a list of suspects, many notebooks to jot down the mysterious happenings around town and a magnifying glass to look for clues. 

No-Writing Date: The mystery girl would love an adventure somewhere that she has yet to visit or has some mystery all its own. Maybe a visit to a really interesting historical location that might just have hidden rooms?

Productive Date: You could ride the bus (or go to some other crowded place – see my post on places to people watch!) and write character profiles together!


Oh the romantic. This girl comes in many different forms, but will always melt when you call her gorgeous and never tires of gazing into your amazing eyes. Something a little more intimate and individual is required to get her heart fluttering, but it really isn’t too hard.

No-Writing Date: What about a trip to sit together under a tree in a secluded park, or mountain trail somewhere? You could plan a picnic together – with lots of chocolate fondue – and snuggle up to whisper sweet nothings while the sun is setting. If you want to make this date really cool make a mix tape of all of the songs that make you think of her and you two could dance under the slowly arriving stars.

Productive Date: Have a day when you appear at her front door with some cute small gift and then just snuggle together while she types away.


Fantasy writers love worlds with strange creatures and usually like wearing things that are interesting and unique. Usually they also have a thing for music sung in some literary language like Quenya – which we all know is the more beautiful elven language.

No-Writing Date: A trip to the woods or a meadow full of flowers would be perfect! Keep it light, fun and adventurous!

Productive Date: Draw Mythical creatures or make up a language together! It’s not wasting time! It’s fodder for a future story!

Science Fiction

Oh the nerds! Us science fiction lovers will readily admit that we are total nerds and would leave you to date an alien in a heartbeat, but might keep you as a pet if you remain weird enough. Haha!

No-Writing Date: This is easy! Figure out your girl’s fictional fetish (Star Trek, Stargate, Star Wars, basically Star something or other) and take her to a Comic-Con where the two of you dress up as her two favorite characters! She will be sold! For a cheaper option make a day of watching all her favorite episodes (or movies). Or even better: an all-out nerf war in the living room.

Productive Date: Productive? Since when were alien loving nerds productive? ;)


Maybe she wears goth clothes or you only ever see her reading Edgar Allen Poe on the bus. Whether it’s her black lace gloves, or the soulless voids that are her eyes you have a lot of fun options when it comes to the horror chick. And actually you probably shouldn’t call her a chick, she might just have a skull in her purse, with a hatchet embedded in it.

No Writing Date: Plan an intricate life or death situation for her! (Not literally of course). Horror authors like to get scared and they enjoy people with a morbid sense of humor like their own. If you are capable of truly scaring her (and then being there to confound that fear) she could not help but fall for you. You could go for the typical scary movie idea, but why not something truly terrifying sprung upon her when she least expects it?

Productive Date: Sit down around the coffee table and discuss the best possible ways to kill someone as well as the ghoul that will complete the task.

I hope this post gave you some ideas of your own and that whatever your girl’s genre is I’ve given you some ideas for a special writerly date just for her!



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It's My Jam

Yes folks, it's once again time for another endorsement of what you'll need to have if you're going to make it through NaNoWriMo.

This time it's very simple, and something you might already have.

Speakers and Headphones

But more than just speakers, you'll need something that provides good sound quality (preferably at a low price, amIright?), has little distortion, and does not have blinking lights or crazy functions that we'll never use while writing.


Because anything that can become a distraction will become a distraction during NaNoWriMo.

If you haven't found that out yet, you soon will.

What I'm here to endorse are two specific products that I've been using for quite some time now. They both provide good sound quality for the things that I listen to (mostly instrumental music) and came at a relatively low dollar mark.

Panasonic over-the-ear headphones


Jam Classic Bluetooth Speaker

I do suggest that you get both (or things similar), and here's why:

  • Both are portable
  • Sometimes you don't want headphones, sometimes you don't want speakers
  • Earbuds can be distracting, because they frequently fall out and/or create sound distortions
  • There are no fancy functions that might grow into crazy distractions

Take it from a writer who knows, and get something that will last you through the years.

[love and 52,000 words]

{Rani D.}

Monday, November 10, 2014


Sometimes we just want a break from normal novel writing to do something a little more fun... like the synopsis we'll put on the back of the books.

But that's not always as easy as it sounds.

Like dedications, forewords, and acknowledgements, synopses can be incredibly difficult to write.

Fortunately for you, I've developed a simple system for writing the shortest synopsis you'll ever need. And I'll even show you how to expand it into something you can slap onto the back of the book, or read out loud when you're in public so your friends and family will know exactly what your book's about.

Here's what you'll need to start, a simple formula where all you have to do is fill in the blanks:

When [character] causes [inciting incident], [character] must [goal] in order to prevent [villain] from achieving [disaster]. 

But that might be a bit too simple for you, so I'll tell you a little bit more. Essentially, you'll want to include at least 4/5 of the following: 

  • Hero - The name of your main protagonist
  • Situation - The main plot of the novel, the inciting incident
  • Goal - What your protagonist is trying to achieve
  • Villain - Your main antagonist
  • Disaster - What your protagonist is trying to prevent

To help you understand the formula, here's the short description of Coetir: The People of the Woods

"When she crosses the boundary that incites a war between druids and humans, Ellya must find a way to bring the two peoples together before the war destroys the world as she knows it."
Now I hope you see what I'm getting at. 

Along with basic names, your synopsis needs to include the thing that incites the action in your story (i.e. "when she crosses the boundary), the situation ("that incites a war between druids and humans"), the main goal ("must find a way to bring the two peoples together"), as well as the disaster your protagonist is trying to avoid ("before the war destroys the world as she knows it").

The only one of the five that I would say does not necessarily need to be included is the villain, because there isn't always one that needs to be mentioned right away (as in the case of Coetir, where the villain sometimes depends on the point of view you take while reading the story).

Hopefully this was a helpful break from your story writing, and you'll have a better idea of how to summarize your novel's main point after you've finished writing it! 

[love and 48,000 words]