Monday, December 19, 2016

Some Writerly Tips from Jenna Victoria

Hey, just because it's Christmastime, doesn't mean writers still don't have work to do!
Please welcome guest blogger Jenna Victoria as she shares some great writing tips for you.

♦ ♦ ♦

Alone Again (Unnaturally)
by Jenna Victoria

Writers are a bit, well, different.

We willingly (eagerly!) embrace those hundreds of solitary hours hunched over a computer keyboard or a lined writing pad while doing, um, writerly things. Even when it looks like we are staring into space, we are working. Trust me on this. Being a published author is the carrot at the end of the stick; the stick being the time periods we are tucked away, alone, in our writer's garret—if we are fortunate. Other writers furtively steal a quiet hour or two each day to sit at a corner of the kitchen counter with just enough space cleared for their laptop, rushing to get that fleeting thought or plot twist onto the page. We are happy there, lost in a creative bubble that cushions us from many types of unpleasantness. Like conversation. Like cleaning. Like changing out of our pajamas.

The thing is, though, when the day comes and our book launches on Amazon or is delivered by distributor to the shelves of the local book store - we will need to emerge from that cozy nook. And meet people. And be witty with the repartee. Oh, and be properly attired, like with shoes and stuff. Bunny slippers will not make a good impression, believe me.

Long before our first book signing or Facebook Live video or online radio interview - we need to prepare, to practice our public persona. You know, the one hidden underneath the hair we didn't bother brushing before collecting it into a hair clip as we powered up our computer for another writing session.

Here are some tips that have helped me:
  • 1.      Don't panic. The published side of this writing gig isn't a great monster waiting to devour your soul. Take a few deep breaths and relax. You've got this.
  • 2.      Join a local in-person writing group. Interact with your tribe. If there are no local groups, join online communities such as ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) or Faith, Hope and Love, an online chapter of Romance Writers of America. Submit your work to other members and get feedback.
  • 3.      Take an adult education writer's class. Not for the content alone - but to mix and mingle with others who understand it's scary to talk out loud about your manuscript. Get comfortable schmoozing, meeting and greeting other writers.
  • 4.      Regularly attend poetry readings, even if that's not your genre. Watching others bravely face an audience can be empowering. Besides, they, too, likely wear fuzzy bunny slippers when they are at home.
  • 5.      Attend a local college or community event with an open mic session. Take the plunge - stand in front of that microphone and be the boss.
  • 6.      Be proactive - reach out to others who are just as nervous as you. Help coach them through their readings and you'll be amazed how the confidence rubs off on you.
  • 7.      Volunteer to help out at a local bookstore or library during author events, or help plan writer events in your area. If you are able to join a local writer's group - volunteer to assist. The more you interact with publishing leaders, the more polished and professional you'll become. I once had the pleasure of driving a multi-NYT best selling romance author from the local train station to our meeting site. It was a lovely time of soaking up her knowledge but also seeing how easy and comfortable it was to interact.
  • 8.      Graduate to attending a national conference. Pitch your work to an editor or agent. Practice your pitch on friends and family. Practice saying, "Yes, I'd be happy to send you a partial or a full."

Before you know it, being in public won't be as intimidating. You'll be ready to don that sparkling evening gown and step onto an awards stage at RWA or ACFW, to accept an award for best first book.  (Even though you'll be wishing you were at home in your sweats and spooning chocolate ice cream out of the container). Trust me on this, too - every other writer there will be feeling the exact same way.

Title:  War of the Heart
Sub title: (A Snow Globe Christmas) 
Publisher: Forget Me Not Romances
Blurb:  When a vintage snow globe sends Boston dress designer Louise Martin & British B&B owner George Walker back in time to London, December 1940, they race against the clock to reconcile a feud between their families and solve a 75-year-old mystery. As Louise relies on God; and on George for guidance, friendship then love, will the future George envisions strangle her own dreams? Will their love survive generations of mistrust, the Blitz and being stranded in wartime 1940, possibly never to return to their former lives? 

Release Date: October 9, 2016
Format: E-book, paperback, audio book
Amazon Links:

Bio:  Ever since her grandfather co-created Twinkies, Snowballs & Hostess cupcakes for Intercontinental Baking Company, circa 1959, Jenna's yet to taste a cake she hasn't liked.
Jenna is the author of  “fiction that feeds your faith” – Happily-Ever-After romance & romantic suspense stories with a Christian world view. She also writes clean, wholesome romances. Her stories emulate those she enjoys reading…with a heroine who is in grave danger & a hero who is smart enough to get out of her way as she kicks butt & takes down names… and those that feature the sweetest of fairy-tale-ending love stories.

She writes romances that glorify God and His sacrificial love through His Son, Jesus Christ and show how He gives us hope & peace amidst unbearable situations. After her first breast cancer diagnosis in 2012, several reoccurrences and metastasis, Jenna continues to praise God and trust His oversight in her life; and continues to write more books.

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  1. Thanks, Jenna, for being my guest today. Your tips are great motivators. I hope our readers will find them helpful and encouraging. God Bless . . . and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

    1. Merry Christmas to you, Peggy -and all who read this guest post!