Censorship Beyond School Libraries

Facebook pulled my advertisement! I’m in shock and disbelief. All I was trying to do inform people that my book is out in the world. Apparently, images of weapons are not allowed in Facebook ads.

Have you never seen a gun before?

I mean, come on! It’s advertising a novel. A book to stimulate your brain. A book that is mild compared to what’s out there…in novels and in real life. And don’t even get me started on movie trailers that broadcast on network TV!

So, if I want to advertise through Facebook (which many authors say is quite effective) I need to change my novel cover.

Is it worth giving in?

I know Facebook is a private company, but I still feel violated.

Old Attempted Ad:


My own personal modification I may try…if I EVER decide to give Facebook my money. Facebook probably has a clause somewhere in tiny, tiny print that if I try this ad, they’ll ban me from their site permanently.


I can still post images of guns on my author page and my personal page, I just can’t use their paid services. It’s their decision, but it’s still frustrating.

Can you hear me sigh? See me shake my head?

Thanks for listening to my rant. On to bigger and better things in 2017!


Is Your Book Done Yet? (Part 3)

Maybe the question should be, “Is this blog series done yet? Ha Ha! No. Not yet. There’s so much information I want to share. Check out PART 1 or PART 2 of this series if you’re just joining now.

The question I’ve been asking all week, “How long did it take you to write your most recent book(s)?” My official answer to that question is this:

I wrote Love, Lies, & Clones in 8 or 9 months, but I was also working on two other novels in that time that will come out in 2017 (“Blood & Holy Water” and “Superhero Wives”). I get tired of one project and need something else to take my mind off of it, so I can come back with a fresh eye.

But how long should it take me? What if I want to keep my “fans” happy? 

I’ve been overhearing that the best way to have people notice your novels is to write another…and another. Keep giving them new material to read. In this article HERE, it says many authors publish four books a year. Wow…but ouch!

I ask, what QUALITY were those books? I’m sure many authors are completely capable of producing four fantastic, well-written novels per year, but I am not. And that’s okay.

I say it’s a balancing act. Keep getting fresh material out in the world, however long it takes you, so that you don’t sacrifice quality. A fan will be happier waiting for a well written novel than reading the next hacked-together installment quickly. But that’s just my opinion–one I need to keep telling myself as I (slowly) plug away finishing my works-in-progress.

Now, if you’re looking to have writing be the method in which you earn your living, then four novels a year is probably a necessity. I imagine, the more you write, the easier they get.

Okay, here’s the fun part. Some authors speak out on how long it took to write their novel(s).


Note: You can CLICK any book cover below to learn more. You may find your next novel to read!

QUESTION: How long did it take you to write your most recent book(s)?



 Kyla Stone: I’ve had the idea bouncing around in my head for over a decade. From outlining/plotting, through the rough draft, revisions, final, editing, etc. took six months.



amnesiaRunaway Marissa Marchan: With this novel, My Runaway Bride, it took me a little over three months. But it actually took longer to edit the book than it did to write it. Even after I got it back from the editor, I still went through a round of self-edits until I finally satisfied. All in all, it took me eight months before I entered it to Kindle Scout.


 Laura Greenwood: My most recent published is What Lies Beneath the Mask, which I started in late January and published on the 1st December. It took me about 2 1/2 months to write the first draft, around my day job and other commitments. However, the last novel I wrote, Siren’s Storm, took just under a month (I had a slow start to NaNo!) So that’s pretty much the benchmark now!




 Ruth White: The time actually spent writing was about six months. Planning it in my head and researching took a few years.

home whit 

L. Virally: It took me several years, and I don’t even know the exact count. I had to stop and start many times due to some difficult life events.



Ideal Girl

 Unhappyhttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01G2NVJJY/ Paris 

Jenny O’Brien: Englishwoman in Paris, which was released three weeks ago took four months from the germ of the idea to publication. 

What are your thoughts on multi-part blog series, like this one, and spotlighting Q&A with indie authors?


Other Spectacular Novels to Check Out!

Winter Christmas Merely Players Blackwelder Whyte Love From Mars flowers

Is Your Book Done Yet? (Part 2)

If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me that question… well, I’d have made more money that I’ve done self-publishing so far (Ha. Ha. But that’s a topic for another blog post). But, seriously, how long does it really take to write a book? Check out PART 1 or PART 3 of the three part series.

Comments from Part 1 of this blog post series asked about writing vs. editing time. As a new writer, I had no idea how long it took to polish a novel once it was written. What was really eye-opening to me is how quickly I can put words down on a page and call it a novel. The real magic happens with rewriting and edits. One of my favorite authors, Michael Crichton has said, “Books are not written–they’re rewritten.”

Here’s the real timeline breakdown of Love, Lies & Clones.

  • February/March–Wrote “Draft Zero” which was a 50,000 word ROUGH, ROUGH draft of the novel.
  • April–Camp NaNoWriMo Project–First round of edits/revisions to try to have it grow from 50K to 80K.
  • May/June–Two rounds of beta readers and edits.
  • July–Put this novel away. Wrote Blood & Holy Water for Camp NaNoWriMo.
  • August/September–Another round of beta readers.
  • October–Editor/Prep for Kindle Scout
  • November–Kindle Scout Campaign. I read through the novel one more time, and still caught issues! (And I attempted to win NaNoWriMo with another novel.)
  • December–Published! Horary!

How about other self-published authors? 

Today’s Spotlight: Mystery / Thriller / Crime Authors

Note: You can CLICK any book cover below to learn more. You may find your next novel to read!

QUESTION: How long did it take you to write your most recent book(s)?

The Olympus KillerThe Church MurdersDeath of a BrideLuke Christodoulou: I give myself a year for each book. I finish earlier than that though, giving plenty of time for the book to go to my editor and for my proofreaders to provide feedback.

A Jar of Thursday

The Secret Notebook of Sherlock Holmes A House of MirrorsLiz Hedgecock: I write the first draft quite quickly, but I’m pretty thorough in the edit. I wrote the draft of A House Of Mirrors in 6 weeks, then put it away for 6 months, and took a month to edit it.

The SplitWarriors

Carey Lewis: It takes me about a month, and that includes research and two rounds of edits on the manuscript. Then I’ll put it away for a couple of weeks and give it another couple of edits with fresh eyes.

The Adoption

Greg Merritt: About 8 months.

How much of your time is devoted to writing opposed to editing/rewriting?

Please post in the comments.

Is Your Book Done Yet? (Part 1)

Over the past nine months, everyone kept asking me, “So… is your book done yet?” Ugh! Really? How long is it supposed to take to write a novel? I thought I was moving along quite quickly.

How long should it take to write a novel?

I did what I always do when I want factual information. I googled it. (Ha. Ha.) Do you know what I found? Famous novels took a variety of time. From 2.5 days (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) to 16 years (Lord of the Rings Trilogy). Click here for a nice infographic on famous authors / books.

But those are super FAMOUS people. What about everyone else? Those authors without huge publishing contracts. Those who perhaps balance a day job as well as writing.

Well, I met a whole crew of awesome authors during my Kindle Scout campaign. I thought I would throw that question their way.

I’m going to spotlight some of their answers in a three part blog series this week. (Read PART 2 or PART 3) I hope you enjoy the feedback and meeting some new writers–people who have been super supportive of me and my writing adventures.

Today: Speculative Fiction Authors (Fantasy / Science Fiction / Horror)

Note: You can CLICK any book cover below to learn more.

QUESTION: How long did it take you to write your most recent book(s)?



M. Black: Simulation is my most recently finished book. I just finished Quantum State, but it hasn’t been edited and reedited, and beta-read yet. It took about 3 months as most of my books take.


Beyond the Forest

Kay Ling: I spent at least two years rewriting and polishing Beyond the Forest, a novel I wrote and then abandoned in the 1980s due to my time-consuming career. So, I suppose I could say it took me three decades to write it!



Bill Hiatt: Full-length novels typically take three to six months, depending on their length and complexity, as well as upon how many other demands on my time there are while I’m writing.



Steve Vernon: Too long. Way too freaking long.



J.P. Cawood: I wrote my first two books in a year and a half. Six months of that were full-time and the rest was while juggling a job.




Aaron Frale: It takes about six months to a year depending on my life outside of writing.


Have you written a novel? How long did it take you?

Please post in the comments.


(Other stellar novels to check out in these genres)

 Graveyard Raven Newcomer Tres  Generation    Awakening Christmas. Snpw    Daly Past. Darkness

When You NEVER, EVER Want to Write Again

I have to admit that I’ve been in a writing funk on and off for about a month. I’ve been getting some negative critiques of my unpublished novel, and I always take negative feedback way too hard.

This week, a close writing friend asked me a question that got me thinking. Maybe I wasn’t the only one in the world who struggled with keeping up the motivation.

His question was: How do I motivate myself when I don’t feel like writing?

Considering I was currently struggling with this, I really reflected on this question. One of my favorite writing quotes sprang to mind first.

I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.” – William Faulkner

This quote is what kept me writing every day, whether I have something to say, or not. I don’t wait for inspiration to hit, I just write. Period. Just putting the pen to paper creates inspiration. (Or rather, staring at a blank computer screen.)

But, being in my funk, I’m completely distracted. Instead of writing, I search google for some useless fact, check social media, or read other’s blog posts. Urgh. An hour passes and I’ve written nothing. Why? Because I don’t really want to write.

“Take a break,” some tell me.

I can’t. I really can’t. Last time I took a little “break,” ten years passed!

That’s when I realized, this fear of quitting keeps me going. I love the highs I get from writing. The positive words of readers, the self-satisfaction of solving a plot problem, and the rush when a new story idea hits me.

As of today, I’m out of my funk. Why? Because a few people asked when the sequel to my Clone novel is coming out and it lit a fire inside me. Sequel? Wow. Now, I’m motivated.

But during my month struggle, here are the little things I did to keep writing.

  • Work on something relating to writing. Even if it’s cover design, blog posts, editing something really old.
  • Read someone’s work. Commit to giving them positive encouragement—as they need it probably as much, or more, than you or me.
  • Make a calendar of mini-goals and check them off as they are accomplished. I did this with that novel I haven’t published yet (the one with the negative critiques.) I committed to rewriting/fixing one scene per day. Yeah, it’ll take like 100 days to get through it, but I am making progress. Without a goal, I may never have touched it again. Now, I’m four chapters in (out of 27) and the momentum is picking up. I’m seeing progress and am excited for the new & improved version of the story.
  • Seek out a “fan,” even if it’s our mother, and discuss a piece of our writing with them. Hopefully, we get a little “pep” talk that keeps us moving forward.
  • Do something fun, unrelated to writing. For me, it’s been seeing movies. I’ve watched more movies in the past month than I’ve seen all year. Rogue One, Fantastic Beasts, and Dr. Strange. Since I write speculative fiction, all three have inspired me in little ways. Just make sure to come back to writing.
  • Find a writing friend, a critique partner who’s struggling too. Commit to encouraging each other. There’s nothing better than sharing our struggles with someone that’s struggled (or struggling) too.
  • Pull out old, “good” critiques or feedback. Reread these.
  • Reward ourselves with something. We’ve stuck with it, despite the slump, we definitely deserve that iced mocha latte with extra whipped topping.

So, I leave you with the quote my writing friend sent back to me about Abraham Lincoln and Perseverance.

“He failed in business in ’31. He was defeated for state legislator in ’32. He tried another business in ’33. It failed. His fiancé died in ’35. He had a nervous breakdown in ’36. In ’43 he ran for congress and was defeated. He tried again in ’48 and was defeated again. He tried running for the Senate in ’55. He lost. The next year he ran for Vice President and lost. In ’59 he ran for the Senate again and was defeated. In 1860, the man who signed his name A. Lincoln, was elected the 16th President of the United States.”

“The difference between history’s boldest accomplishments and its most staggering failures is often, simply, the diligent will to persevere.”

So keep with it. Never quit.

How do you stay motivated when don’t feel like writing?

Author Interview- Joynell Schultz

First: Please head over to WORDSMITH WEEKLY and follow the blog. Elizabeth is doing fabulous things for the author community — having a place for publishing flash fiction and showcasing authors amongst other things.

Second: I was delighted to be asked if I’d be interested in doing an author interview. It’s my 1 minute of fame 🙂 It’s got everything you EVER wanted to know about me and everything I thought I’d NEVER have posted on the internet. 🙂 Thank you Elizabeth for giving me this opportunity!

Wordsmith Weekly

I had the pleasure this week of talking with author Joynell Schultz. Her first book, Love, Lies & Clones has been published and is available this Friday, December 16th on Amazon. I have been following her writing journey for some time now through social media and was delighted when she agreed to take the time and answer some questions about life, writing, and her new book.

Wordsmith Weekly: Joynell, Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. We talk a lot on the blog about motivation and inspiration. Can you tell us what inspires you?

Joynell Schultz: The world we live in inspires me. I’m a scientist, by nature, so I love taking what our science can do and pushing it a little further. I struggle with slowing down enough to appreciate the miracles in everyday things. It can be as simple as looking at a tree—a…

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The Evolution of a Novel Cover

Disclosure: I am a pharmacist, not an artist. I never expected to create a cover for LOVE, LIES & CLONES (or any novel) myself. Now, I can’t imagine passing up on all that fun! Honestly, creating the cover was one of the most enjoyable parts of publishing my novel.

I was looking back on my attempts at a novel cover and thought I’d share what I’ve learned since the first draft.

Since starting this novel in February, I’ve been through a TON of draft novel covers, before accepting my final version. I was set on making my own — mostly because I couldn’t even describe to a cover designer what to put on the cover.  My official cover isn’t perfect, but I’m happy with it.

I had read and listened to a lot of tips on making a cover. Here’s what stuck:

  1. Stick to your genre. Make sure your cover reflects what type of book you wrote. Look at other books into he genre and try to do something similar.
  2. Use contrasting colors – It attracts the reader. Teal and Orange, Yellow and Purple, etc. A color wheel can help with this.
  3. The fonts/writing should stand out on their own. No drop shadow and background adjustment needed.
  4. Use contrasting fonts. Serif vs non-serif, handwriting vs typed, etc.  (But not too many fonts to make it look busy)
  5. GET FEEDBACK! Besides asking my family, I made numerous Facebook, blog, Good reads, and twitter posts polling people to see what little tweak made the cover better.



This was my first attempt at ever making a cover.  Ugh. Fail. I really had no idea what I was doing. I remember thinking here, “I wonder if there is an app that will write words on photos.” That’s how “green” I was. This one was from February/March of this year when I began writing the novel.


Clone CoverHere is my second attempt.  I took my daughter and dog out to be a model.  It turned out okay, but didn’t show the mystery/suspense.  I had no idea how to use any type of image manipulation software then. Now, I could have probably photo-shopped in a man with a motorcycle or a car or something up the road.


Love, Lies, & Clones Cover


I abandoned this one because I think the writing was hard to read. The tilted letters looked amateurish… along with the use of too many fonts. Now, I look at it and it’s not bad. I probably could have saved it. I did poll this on my blog at one point.





Here, I still didn’t really understand what genre my novel fell in. I was trying for some DNA to show more sci-fi/medical. The background’s too dark and doesn’t really say anything about the novel.


LLC Cover - Final



My tagline phase. Looks like a headband.  Also, I still had color. The font is boring and I learned somewhere, that if you need to put a shading or shadow behind the font, you should keep trying.





Here I was trying to add in the setting – with the Madison, WI skyline.  I went black and white because it had seemed too busy — turns out I liked black and white. The gun barrel was just too much, but here’s where I realized I loved her blue eye. I’m starting to learn photo manipulation here.




And here is the final one. Black and White with words shadowing the face to show the genre.  (Mystery/Thriller with some romance/sci-fi). I tried to line the “L” of “Love” up with her eye as a leading line. I went with semi-contrasting colors (red/blue) and I had to learn to change the color of her shirt. The gun’s off-center so you’re not staring down the barrel — emphasizing her eye instead.



Here’s a fun graphic of the changes:


Oh, and a bonus tip. It’s nice when all the covers from the same author look similar. That’s why I went red and blue on this novel. Here are the three novels I’m working on. Notice the similarities.


So, I know I could have a cover that’s 100 times better using a professional designer (or even purchasing a premade one), but there’s some pride in knowing you did everything yourself when publishing a book.

I have the novel on pre-order through Amazon for $0.99 if you’re interested. The price will go up when it’s released on Friday. Love, Lies & Clones on Amazon Otherwise, my offer always stands. Email me and I’ll send you a PDF of the novel for free.

Have you made your own cover? How did it turn out?