Friday, January 30, 2015

Give it up.

You may have noticed recently that my blog got a facelift.

You may also have noticed that it happened shortly after my webpage ( got a facelift.

What you may not have noticed is that I also updated all the text on my webpage.

And really, it only has slight bearing in what I'm about to say.

If you've read the new About Me section, then you'll know that I recently had to shelf one of my stories. Yes, that's right, it's gone in the vault and I've agreed that I'm never going to look at it ever again.

But how are we supposed to know when a story reaches that point? 

Trouble is, I don't think there is a way to know for sure.

This particular story is one that I've been working on, off and on, for close to a decade (wow, that's weird to say when you're only 23). It's never gotten beyond eighteen chapters, never moved beyond the preliminary "I'm not quite to the editing phase yet" stage, and I've never liked it enough to let anyone read it.

The problem was that this story was my baby. It was my first, the one that I'd tried so hard with from the very beginning.

But I think the very fact that it was my baby was the problem.

I couldn't get beyond the early stages with it, because when I started it I didn't know how to get beyond that. And sometimes with things like this, when we try to pick them up again they somehow convince us to regress into what we used to be.

We can't let that happen.

And that's how I knew that this particular story needed to be shelved.

It wasn't going anywhere.
It took up more time than it should have.
It wanted me to come back in time with it, to the life of a teenager trying her hardest to write cohesively.
It wanted me to be something I no longer am.

If your story has reached that point, I urge you to do what I've done -- to put it on the shelf and say goodbye forever. Who knows, maybe someday you will be strong enough to go back and work on it again, but that is not this day.

Today is a day to write, to grow, and to keep living life in the present.

That's as much for me as it is for you.



p.s. don't forget about my contest! Click Here to see rules and how to enter!Winner gets a signed copy of my new book and two surprise gifts from me!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015



I don't even know what else to say, I'm so ecstatic!

So, to celebrate, I've decided to run a little contest.

Here's what I want you to do: 

Answer this one little question.

That's all.

Just answer a question.

Well, and get it right.

But if you've been paying attention to my posts, you'll know the answer without even thinking.

Tell me...

How many times have I posted excerpts on my blog? (including both books and short story blurbs)

That's all you have to do. Comment here or on Facebook anytime now until Saturday (1/31/15) at midnight (MST) to have your name entered to WIN.

But I suppose you'll want to know what you could win. 

One (1) winner will receive a free signed edition of Coetir: People of the Woods as well as two (count em, two!) surprise gifts from yours truly!

Winner will be chosen on Sunday, February 1st... But you'll all be watching the Superbowl *wink* so I'll announce the winner right here on Writing, Editing, and All Things Rani on Monday, February 2nd!

Let the games begin!

And don't forget, if you have the book and you've already finished reading it (I know there are some of you out there!), write us a review and email it in! I'll display my favorite review right here in just a few weeks!

[love and prizes]


Monday, January 26, 2015

One. More. Day.

Can you believe it? Only a matter of hours before the official release of People of the Woods! I can't begin to explain how excited I am, or to express how thankful I am for the support of each and every one of you!

Just to keep you posted on everything that's going on...

Coetir: People of the Woods will be available ONLY through RAD Writing until further notice. We're trying to get the book up on Amazon as soon as possible, but the price will be exactly the same as what you'll find on RAD's Square Store.

The book is, as many of you know, currently available for preorder! All of you who have already placed orders, your books will be in the mail as soon as possible!

We're still working on setting up some signings and reading in the New Mexico area, so bear with me as I work with RAD to get everything situated.

If you're NOT in the New Mexico area and you want me to come to your city, drop me a comment or send me a message on my Facebook page! I'll do my best to get out to your state as soon as I possibly can!

If you want the book signed but you don't think you'll be able to come to any of the signings (or I won't be able to come to your state), don't worry -- RAD is offering my book on their store, pre-signed. They also have an option for me to personalize it for you, for only a couple extra dollars! 

Again, thank you all SO much for all your support!! I couldn't do any of this without you!

I can't wait to share my story with you!!!

[much love]

{Rani D}

Friday, January 23, 2015

Cutting, Part Two

Wednesday I talked about cutting scenes from your novel... And today I'm going to talk about something even more difficult:

Cutting Characters

This is, without a doubt, the most difficult thing to do as a writer. Not only is it tricky and time-consuming to go through and remove a character from existence in an entire novel, but it can also be a painstaking process that leaves us far more drained than writing them ever could have done. 

But here, again, are three ways to know when a character needs to be cut, and three things to help you handle the cutting. Beginning, of course, with knowing when to cut:

  1. They're a minor character who's taking up too much limelight

  2. They're a minor or semi-minor character who simply takes too much time and attention, even if all that means is that they talk too much and it's too much trouble to shut them up

  3. They confuse the main object of the story, or add too much unneeded flavor to their scenes

Those are pretty easy to spot, aren't they? Sometimes, of course, we'll have to ask someone else's opinion (which is another reason why I believe that every book we write needs to be read by at least one person while we're writing it--so we can ask them for help along the way). 

Now, my three things to remember when cutting characters: 

1. If they're taking up too much limelight, it probably means that they want a book of their own

That means you'll be able to spend more time with them later, because you'll be able to dedicate a whole book to them--even if it is in a different setting, time, or world altogether. 

2. If they're taking up too much of your attention, remember that you'll be helping your audience to understand your main characters more fully

Devoting too much time to minor characters only detracts from the beauty of our stars, the ones who should have the most light and life in our work. 

3. If they're adding too much flavor, remember that vanilla is a flavor too

Maybe without them your story seems more vanilla, maybe it's not as you'd imagined it would be the first time around, but that's okay. A little vanilla never hurts anyone, and too much cayenne definitely can. 

I hope this helps you writers out there, and I hope you'll be joining me at this Tuesday (January 27) for the release of my new book! Don't forget, you can already pre-order now at Rad's Online Store

[love and excitement]


Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Today's one of those days... One of those days when I simply do not feel like sitting down and doing what needs to be done.

Why, you ask?

Because what needs to be done is the cutting of a scene I happen to greatly enjoy.

As I've said before, all writers are inherently editors as well. That means sometimes we have to make the tough decisions, for the good of our work. Like I always say, it's best to keep a copy of the original for your own purposes, but the book we share with people is the one they're going to know.

I think that's what makes cutting specific scenes so difficult.

Sometimes, as in the case of today, it's a beautiful scene that I deeply cherish... but it's not one that really moves the story forward.

That's why it needs to be cut.

And I truly wish that I could share this scene with all of you, because I believe you would greatly enjoy reading it. But again, it's not moving the story forward.

If you're not moving the story forward, you're either keeping it stagnant or moving it backward: two things that we all need to avoid in our writing. (and also how I tell when a scene needs to be cut)

To help you writers out there deal with cutting scenes (and to help myself, as I'm about to do it), here are five things to remember when you're editing, five things to help keep you in the right state of mind, five ways to deal with cutting that scene, so you'll be able to get back to work.

        1. To the story, cutting this scene is the equivalent of cutting the baggage and dead weight out of your life 

You know that terrible time you had in high school that just seems to weigh you down every time you think about it? That's what this scene is to your story. Even if the baggage in the story seems light in comparison to your incidents growing up, thinking about it in these terms helps us to remember that the dead weight needs to be cut off--both in our own lives, and in our work.

        2. If you don't cut it now, your editor will ask you to cut it

And it's only harder if you have to hear it from someone else. At least you'll be nice to yourself about it, won't you?

        3a. If it's a beautiful piece, remember the possibility that you'll be able to share it later on, as an excerpt that had to be cut from the book

It's something that a lot of writers do, really. If the book does really well when it's published, or your fans want a little more while you're working on the next in the series, you might be able to share these beautiful gems with your adoring audience (because, as we all know, audiences are adoring)

        3b. If it's a boring or exhaustingly traumatic scene, remember that you'll be sparing your reader the pain you went through to write it

I'm sure you recall how difficult it was to write this traumatic scene--or how exhausting it was to get all these boring words down onto paper. So remember, if it was difficult for you to write, it's probably going to be difficult for your reader to read.

        4. The scene will always be there for you, as a memory, so even your characters will never forget

This one mostly applies to those beautiful scenes, the ones that you don't want to forget. Because really, if you don't want to forget them, you probably won't. At least, until the point that you've written so many books that you simply cannot remember all of the beautiful scenes you've had to cut. But we'll try not to think about that time just yet.

        5. We, your fellow authors, are rooting for you, and we've been in your shoes many times before

All of us know what it's like to cut scenes. We do it time and time again. It may never get easier to do, but I find it helpful to know that there are always others I can go to and talk about the scenes I've had to cut--someone who has been there as well, time and time again.



Monday, January 19, 2015

A letter to the extroverts

Dear Extroverts,

Perhaps we only let you think you're in the lead.

Perhaps we know what you're doing, and we're doing the same -- just by a different route.

Perhaps we're all fighting for the same things, and it doesn't matter whether we achieve it through standing tall in the spotlight or sitting quietly in the shadows.

Perhaps those shadows contain our chance to shine.

Perhaps we don't require an audience, because we're softer at heart.

Perhaps it's not that we don't like to be around people, but that our connection to them is so intense that it overwhelms us.

Perhaps we love ourselves the way we are, and we wouldn't wish to change even if you offered to teach us how.

Perhaps there is no right way, no better personality type, no one group who stands above the other.

Perhaps there is nothing wrong with being the opposite of you.

And perhaps we're ready to stand on that, to show you all the ways we're just as strong as you, all the ways we're just as successful and powerful in this world.

Perhaps it's time to show you that we too can rule the world -- we'd only choose to do so from a different scene than you.

I hereby dub 2015 the Year of the Introvert, a time when we'll strive to show you, the extroverts, how good different can be.

A time when perhaps you'll see how comforting peace and quiet can be.

A time when maybe, just maybe, we'll let ourselves believe that we too can rule the world.


The Introverts 


Friday, January 16, 2015

Ten Days!

Only ten more days until the Coetir: People of the Woods release! To that end, I thought you might like another quick glance at the synopsis...

Beyond the boundary on the edge of town live the druids, the Coetir, a species so deadly that they threatened to destroy our very existence.

We have a law: don't cross the line that keeps humanity separated from the druids, on penalty of death.

I've never been good at following the rules.

My name is Ellya, and I'm the first person to cross the boundary since its creation.

What follows will change more than any of us could've possibly imagined.

If you'd like to know more about the book, check out these sneak peeks: 

Stay tuned for more information about the release and some events we'll be running. RAD Writing is still trying to get everything organized, but I promise I'm trying to get to as many locations as I possibly can for signings and readings, and to meet all of you!



Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Today, I'm heading back home.

Never quite sure how I feel about that. But on the bright side, I did manage to get almost everything on my list completed--I even posted every blog, even if some of them were a little off schedule.

In fact, that was one of the deals I made with my friends when I bought tickets to fly out this time. I could come stay for a few days, if we all made sure I actually got my work done.

See, RAD Writing is publishing my book--so they have the brunt of the work--but it doesn't mean that I have nothing to do. I've signed on to help Mavguard Magazine launch their first issue, and we're deep into the reading period. I also work as an editor for RAD Writing, where I have a few projects that I couldn't put down for as long as I was going to be away.

So work needed to be done.

But play also needed to be had--because without play, is it even really a vacation?

I'd like to think that this vacation was the best that it could be, and all because I allowed myself to have fun only after my work was done.

It's something I'd suggest to each and every one of you (though I'd also suggest setting up your vacation time when you can actually take time off from work).

Anyway, before I shut down my system and get on a plane back to New Mexico, I have a few pointers for you who still have to work while you're out playing...

  • Keep the work simple
  • Play, but don't get out of hand
  • Work first, play later
  • Early bird gets the worm
  • Night owls have more fun

Yeah, those last two clash--you'll have to figure out what to do with that one yourself.




Monday, January 12, 2015

The Birth of a Sequel

Sequels don't always just come to you. They don't. Of course, sometimes they do, but that's neither here nor there.

I'm here today to tell you how I know when a sequel is coming.

Sequels are tricky things. Sometimes they come to life at the same time as book one, and you start out knowing that you're writing a trilogy. Other times you get to the end of book one, and you simply know that you cannot give up on these characters. That's the type of situation we're talking about today: the time when you set out to write a standalone, and find yourself immersed in a series.

        1. The characters aren't finished, even though the story is

Maybe this means that the love story hasn't been fully discovered, or someone new has entered the picture and doesn't want to disappear just yet--whatever the case, your characters will tell you. If they're unwilling for your story to end, they'll do one of two things. They'll try to keep your first book going, well beyond what the book wants to hold, or they'll show you the sequel burning a hole in your head.

Either way, you'll have your answer.

        2. The story isn't finished, even though you thought it was

This one is a little more annoying and hard to peg, simply because it will depend on what length novel you intended to write. I tend to write longer stories, so sometimes it's hard to tell when they're getting too long. But when you reach the point that the story is longer than you wanted it to be, that it's getting more annoying than interesting, it probably means you need to write a sequel instead of continuing on in a single novel.

        3. You just can't find the ending

Yeah, yeah, it's similar to the last one, but it's still valid.

Sometimes the ending just isn't in sight, but you have a perfectly decent midpoint that would make a good ending for... something. Well, call it a book. That's all you have to do, really. End it in a cliffhanger if you have to, so you can set the proper goals for getting your sequel written.

Whatever the case, if there's a sequel in you, I hope you'll know it and you'll take the plunge. Thus far in my writing career I've only written one standalone, and I have to admit, writing a series is far more fun.

[love and winky faces]

{Rani D}

Friday, January 9, 2015

Writer = Editor

I'm a writer.

You already knew that.

I'm also an editor.

You probably knew that one too.

But did you know that most writers edit more than they write?

Strangely enough, it's true. The logistics of it make sense, but only when you really take the time to think about it.

Writers write. You hear that all the time. It's what we do most of the time, because it's what we love most to do. But a writer who only writes is a writer who will never be published, a writer who will never be read, and a writer who will never, ever, be taken seriously.

The truth is, we have to edit. We don't really have a choice in the matter. If we want to write, and we want to be known as writers, as people who write actual stories of actual importance, we have to edit. If we don't do it, no one will ever read our work.


Because if you don't edit your work (trust me on this) your work probably sucks.

There's always the one-in-a-million that doesn't completely suck, but that one-in-a-million is a literal ONE. And it won't completely suck, but parts of it will suck.

Trust me. I'm a writer, I'm an editor. I know.

BUT, there's more.

It's not just you who has to do the editing.

Why? Because you don't be able to catch all of your own mistakes. You never can. You know what your work is supposed to say, so your brain automatically reads it that way. An editor will be able to fix it for you, when your wording only makes sense in your own head.

That'll happen too. Trust me. 

And now, I have to get back to writing. So I can edit. So I can write some more (and edit some more).



Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Live Life

I'm on vacation.

Yes, again.

And yes, actually, I'm in the same place I was last time.

Today my friends are taking me to Disneyland -- in fact, that's where I am right now. Don't worry, I won't take too much time to write to you today. They've graciously allowed me the time to sit down and keep up my writings for all of you.

Aren't friends the best?

To get back on point, today I only have one thing to say:

Even as a writer, as someone who's releasing a book in a matter of weeks, someone who has more work to do now than she's had to do in a very long time, it's important to get out and enjoy life. Yes, I'm still working while I'm in California. I'm still getting every little ounce of work done that I needed to have done by the end of this week. But I'm also taking the time to do things like this, spending a day at Disney.

I hope that you'll all do the same. I know I've talked about it before, but it was never when I was at Disneyland, so I thought I'd be just a little repetitive for the time being. *wink*

Happy first-full-week of January everyone, from one of the happiest places on earth...

[love and roller coasters]


Sunday, January 4, 2015

People of the Woods

By now I hope you've all heard the good news...

Coetir: People of the Woods has an official release date! The book will be available on January 27, sold primarily at and!

I hope you'll all keep an eye out for more exciting news on this front. I promise, this time we'll be packing the weeks after the release with as many signings and readings as we possibly can. If you're in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, or Texas, and you'd like me to come do a signing in your town, leave me a comment here or send me a message to my facebook page at

Everyone over at RAD Writing is thrilled to get this release going, and we can't wait to meet each and every one of you as we get going!

I'll keep posting here with contests, signing information, and more throughout the month, so keep your eyes peeled!

[love and far too much excitement]

{Rani Divine}

Friday, January 2, 2015

Reaching Your Online Audience

Hello readers!

This is the last week that Rani and I will be switching blogs and also the beginning of a brand new year! I hope all of you look back over your past year and see beauty in the trials and the triumphs – I know that I have. 2014 has been my most beautiful year yet and I know that 2015 will be even better!

I don’t know about you, but going into the New Year had me thinking about what I learned last year and how I can implement it this year.

Fall 2014 I took a Social Media Marketing Class taught by Professor John Benavidez at UNM and it gave me a lot of great tools for how to run my social media accounts. (Also in case you were curious John Benavidez was a great Professor that really cared about his students and held a wealth of information if you would only ask him. I would definitely recommend him to any Business Majors out there!)

If you are promoting a book, running a business, hosting a blog, or even just curious how to get more followers on twitter this post is specifically for you.

What can you do to draw in your audience, get interaction and spread your cause?

        1. Know your Genre.

I know this sounds a lot like the post Rani just did on my blog, but I am not talking about book genres. I am talking about knowing your rhetorical situation of the platform that you are using. This means that you need to know who uses the type of account that you are targeting and what content they enjoy and what the rules are for what makes sense on that sort of network.

Take Facebook vs. Twitter for example.

Facebook tends to have a more story sort of setting with a very wide audience. On Facebook, hashtags and short and sweet little posts don’t have as big of a place as they do on twitter. Facebookers prefer posts of medium length and a page that tells an overall story. Twitter is more moment based, young and random. Pictures work for both, but are not has necessary as they are on Instagram.

Make sense?

If you know what works in a certain type of social network then you are ready for step two.

        2. Know your Audience.

Not only who you are trying to reach, but who you could reach beyond them and through them. Let’s say your Instagram account is mainly about cats. You can draw in cat lovers, and pulling them in, draw in animal lovers as a whole. When you know what your audience wants and you deliver it to them they will interact with you, bring more people and it will be a win – win situation.

        3. Understand What Makes Quality Content.

Quality content cannot just be thrown into the wind and usually it doesn’t just come to you on the spur of the moment. Quality content needs to be planned and planned in advance while taking into account what is going to be happening around it online.

You need your content to be what your audience wants. It needs to be relevant within this constant stream of information that is thrown at the world. Stand out by being a worthwhile read. This doesn’t mean that every little thing has to be meticulously planned down to the detail, but depending on how dedicated you are to your social media networks you really need to take this into account.

As a final word I would like to recommend to anyone out there that wants to get serious about their social media campaign or simply has a hard time keeping track of it all.

Hootsuite helps you organize all of your social media accounts, schedule posts to multiple accounts at once and cooperate with other people on your team. Also you can do everything you need to do online from one easy dashboard. No more logging in and out of multiple accounts all day, you can answer comments, check messages/notifications and see what your followers are up to all in one place.

If one of your goals in 2015 is to better your social media Hootsuite is where you should start. I used it during school and it still helps me out even today! If you need any help running it or want further information on any of the tips above please contact me on Facebook – (oh! And secret tip #4: don’t be afraid to shamelessly point your readers in one platform to another one of your platforms!)

I hope I can keep in touch with all of you this New Year! I loved spending the last ten weeks with you and I hope you will visit my blog while you wait for another possible swap by Rani and myself.

Much love,