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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Are you ready to finally solve the mystery?

One of the biggest mysteries for writers is about to be solved in a four week blog series starting Halloween Day!  Why Halloween?  Because I am going to demystify the scariest words to writers....


I am so excited to put together this special event that I hope will help both new and established authors finally take the fear out of these obscure terms in order to create a manuscript screaming to be read!

Please feel free to tell your friends and fellow authors, critique partners and writing groups to join me on October 31st for the first installment.

The mystery will finally be solved, and I can assure you...
someone won't be getting out alive...


©bystacydawn
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☮ I'd love to have you visit me on social media and at my website! Links on the side πŸ’Ÿ


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Mission accepted!


Next year marks a milestone birthday for me, so I have decided to take the reins and give myself a mission...a weight loss goal equal to my age 😲.  As I just celebrated my birthday late last month, that gives me a full year to complete.

In reality, it is very manageable, I just have to find some discipline and a bit more willpower where sweets are concerned 😍.  But I have been making small changes over the last couple months, which is why I am encouraged that I can do this!

Oh, and pop back for Writing Wednesday because I will have a fun hint to the blog series I will be starting at the end of the month to help a LOT of writers.


©bystacydawn
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☮ I'd love to have you visit me on social media and at my website! Links on the side πŸ’Ÿ


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Wednesday Writing Tip: Is your story Timeless...or Dated?


Today's tip is to be careful of references that can date your manuscript.

Using brand names, the hottest musical artist, movie stars or movies, can come back to haunt your sales.

Just because a rock star has the biggest hit of the year doesn't mean they are going to have any more.  And five years from now it is, unfortunately, possible no one will remember their name.

That goes for social media sites, too.  In this day and age, the internet changes constantly.  Do you remember Myspace?  It was all the rage 12 or so years ago, everyone was on it and talking about it, and it was everywhere etc.  But you don’t hear about it anymore, right?  

Sure, Facebook seems strong now, but who is to say something won’t happen in the next five years to take it off the internet for the next best thing that comes along?

The issue with using specific brands, businesses, and people is not only concerns with copyright and other legalities, but more importantly, when a reader picks up your backlist ten years from now, using specific-to-the-moment references like Facebook or a one hit wonder artist whose name no one can remember, really dates your story, putting it back in time when it isn't meant to be a vintage or historical.

Readers picking up your back list in the future are not going to be the same people of today, so it is important whenever possible, and when not pertinent to your story, to keep non-important details neutral, generic, so your story can stay as contemporary as possible for any reader to pick up at any time in the future.

The less specific, year orientated details, the longer the story will last in the mind of the reader and new readers years from now.  You want them to recommend your book today, but also those readers of the future to continue to recommend your back list to their friends and coworkers so your sales can keep moving forward and not stall out on you because your story is too out of date.

Going generic when the specific details are not important won't hurt your story and will only help it to stay timeless.


©bystacydawn
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☮ I'd love to have you visit me on social media and at my website! Links on the side πŸ’Ÿ


Sunday, October 07, 2018

I'm trying to be...


This has been one of those weeks when life throws you a couple road blocks...like boulders tumbling down the mountain so you have to veer off the road to go around them.  

That doesn't always lead to tranquil days...BUT, I've been proud of myself because I chose to take a more positive outlook while dealing with the issues, and I really think I managed and came out better overall.  And today, I do feel more like Gertie above.

Gertie is my theme for Inktober over on my Instagram.  This is my first year participating, and though I'm keeping it simple because of my work schedule, I'm taking my own fun approach and thoroughly enjoying myself.  Feel free to pop over and see what Gertie gets up to this month! 



©bystacydawn
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☮ I'd love to have you visit me on social media and at my website! Links on the side πŸ’Ÿ


Wednesday, October 03, 2018

There or Their?

I saw a picture like this on social media the other week and thought it was hilarious and such an easy way to help remember. Perfect share for Writing Wednesday.


I don't remember exactly where I saw it, so if you know or are the one who started this, just let me know and I will be more than HAPPY to give credit for this awesome and fun interpretation!


©bystacydawn
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☮ I'd love to have you visit me on social media and at my website! Links on the side πŸ’Ÿ




Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Coming Soon...



I am very lucky to be doing just that!  I truly love working with authors and helping them bring their stories and their dreams to life.  

Many manuscripts have crossed my desk in the last twelve years, and the biggest thing I still see authors struggling with are the concepts of Telling versus Showing and Deeper Point of View...

I swear I just sensed a mass of writers inhale and cringe all at the same time LOL.  

Well, fear no more!  

I am currently working on a blog series that will break down these issues, show how to look for "buzz" words/phrases/paragraphs, and how to fix them.  I have helped a lot of authors understand these concepts and take their stories to the next level, and it is my dream to help a LOT more...maybe even my mission.

My goal is to have the first post up for this series by the end of October.  So if you or someone you know is confused with the concepts of Telling versus Showing and Deeper POV, please let them know and feel free to spread the word to keep on eye on this blog for explanations, understanding, and hopefully a little fun while we're at it. 😁



©bystacydawn
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☮ I'd love to have you visit me on social media and at my website! Links on the side πŸ’Ÿ


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Trust your crazy ideas


Maybe they will work or maybe they won't, but you will never know until you try.  Passion itself is a great superpower, so if you have passion for something don't let doubts and fears get in the way.  There is no failure, only lessons learned to help you keep moving forward!!


©bystacydawn
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☮ I'd love to have you visit me on social media and at my website! Links on the side πŸ’Ÿ



Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Keep your goals close


I recently made this goal poster and stuck it right to the side of my computer (a couple weeks ago now I guess, as you can see I have changed the look of my blog again 😁)

Goals themselves are very important--you need something to work toward, a way to measure your progress, and hopefully inspire forward momentum.

But over the last few months, I have been trying to figure out why I always seem to circle in the not-quite-productive-as-I-could-be patterns over and over again, and it occurred to me that, though it is good to have goals and better to write them down, when too much gets in the way--family, work, health, life in general--it is easy to lose track.  Not necessarily forget, but sort of shuffle the ideas and even notebooks to the side, piled under the bills and report cards, newspapers, and grocery lists.  Know what I mean?

And that brought me to the realization that goals need to be VISIBLE, somewhere they can be seen EVERY day.

So, one of the big "ah ha" moments came when I remembered seeing this type of sheet on an Instagram feed sometime last year. (If you know where it originated or are the originator, just let me know and I will happily shout out credits and links!)  I liked the sticky-note idea so as each goal is accomplished, new ones can be added, to keep progressing and growing.  And this time, I set it front and centre.

I am at my computer more often than not six out of seven days a week as I edit at night after the day job.  Having the goal poster right in front reminds me of what I am working toward, reminds me not to overwork one area (usually editing) but instead stop and give my own goals twenty to thirty minutes a night, too.  It is not about spending gobs of hours on your goals, but simply doing something toward them every day--writing for twenty minutes while the chicken is in the oven for dinner, or for the last twenty-minutes before I shut my computer off for the night.  Getting up halfway through editing to take a walk in the lovely evening rather than "powering through" and not leaving the seat for three hours straight--my knees are NOT happy when I do that!  The goal sheet is a great reminder to put on a timer so I don't get lost in the work or in my own head, which are two of my worst habits where self-care is concerned.

And don't think you have to have something like the picture above, that's just the need of the artist part of me.  Even a simple sticky note with your goal(s) in big letters and tacked to your computer will benefit you, remind you physically of what you are working toward, and get you there sooner rather than later.

Practice makes progress, right?

Give it a try, and feel free to let me know how it works for youπŸ˜‰


©bystacydawn
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πŸ™‹Check out my links at the side to visit me on social media and at my website! πŸ’Ÿ



Sunday, September 16, 2018

Black and White



I prefer to live my life in colour, but sometimes it is simply black and white...do or don't, yes or no, black letters on a white manuscript page after page after page. 

Even so, there is ALWAYS positives, even in the monotonous...like feeling accomplished when an edit is complete and I can send an excited author her manuscript back to work on, to fine tune, to really bring her characters to life and her story to completion.

I wish it was a lazy Peace Love Lattes Sunday...and maybe that isn't today, but it will be, just like the picture above will someday get colour, too.  Life is lived one day at a time, sometimes they are black and white, and sometimes they shine with colour, but either way, each one is special, each one is a gift, and each one is yours to make with it anything you can imagine!


©bystacydawn
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πŸ™‹Check out my links at the side to visit me on social media and at my website! πŸ’Ÿ



Sunday, September 09, 2018

And you ARE amazing!





©bystacydawn
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πŸ™‹Check out my links at the side to visit me on social media and at my website! πŸ’Ÿ



Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Common Mistakes in Creating Characters

Here are a few things you don’t want your characters to be:

1) Stereotypical.

Too predictable or clichΓ©d. Think of a strong, manly cowboy drawling all his words, scuffing his boots through the dirt with a bow-legged walk, and calling every woman he meets darlin’. Don’t fall into the trap of making your characters sound like a bad movie. It’s okay to use bits and pieces of known characteristics, but make sure your characters are unique with something different to personalize them and help them stand out.

2) Flat.

No one likes a blah/boring character. Actions and dialogue make characters who they are, so make sure you’re including strong verbs, movement, quirks, and specific descriptions relating to characteristics in order to bring them to life.

3) Too stupid to live.

A common phrase used to describe characters constantly falling into trouble and making inevitably wrong—and usually silly/ridiculous, out of character—choices. These characters are those with no validation for their actions such as dropping in a hole out of nowhere and needs to be saved, a long, lost, never heard of before past love or enemy showing up out of the blue mid-story, or characters engaging in a constant reign of miscommunication that could have easily been solved by one face to face conversation in the very first chapter. Wanting to have creative or wacky events in your manuscript can be fun and unique, simply make sure your characters have purpose and follow a thought process or action sequence that is rooted to some form of validation woven throughout.

4) Too perfect.

It is more often the flaws that endear a character to the reader than the heroics. People are not perfect. EVERYONE has flaws and THAT’S OKAY. It makes us human. These flaws can help create unique aspects to the conflicts in a manuscript, and as noted, flaws are what makes your characters relatable to your readers. And this relatability is what draws a reader to your characters, to your voice, to your books, over and over and over again.


©bystacydawn
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πŸ™‹Check out my links at the side to visit me on social media and at my website! πŸ’Ÿ




Sunday, September 02, 2018

The Changeover

Does anyone else find that the year is broken down into three basic sections....Christmas Season, End of School, and Beginning of School?

And with each one, there seems to be a changeover--sort of "spring cleaning" for the new time period to come.  This time it was the living room, kitchen, and especially my art desk that needed a major makeover...



Ugh, I still cringe at the before picture, only because it sort of denotes how crazy messy life got, too.  I think that is why I like to do the reorganizing as we flow into a changeover.  Gets my head back in place, a feel of control so to speak (delusional, I know, but we have to take what we can get, right? 😁).

At least the clean art desk helped me actually complete three pieces.  Two I will be posting soon to my Instagram account (and maybe here eventually), but the third one I am keeping under wraps as it is the first piece of an exciting special project I am doing.

For now, I will leave you with a Sunday Funday sum up of summer...

Yeah, that pretty much says it all 😊


©bystacydawn
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πŸ™‹Check out my links at the side to visit me on social media and at my website! πŸ’Ÿ


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Catch up time

After family camping and getting ready for school, plus being in the process of putting together some great Writing Wednesday posts for next month, how about we sing a sweet goodbye to summer this week with a little karaoke fun...

Contempory Romance
Short Story
Rating: Sensual

Karaoke Cowgirl



How far would you go to attract the man of your dreams?

Ally Standish re-invents herself every Saturday night to sing for her cowboy. But when they come face to face in the light of a normal day—and he discovers the real Ally—will he let her sing him more love songs or will the music die for good.










REVIEWS:

"Stacy Dawn’s Karaoke Cowgirl brings to you a tale of accepting yourself for who you are. I really enjoyed this short story, it was well written, the characters likeable and the plot interesting. For me it had an underling message of be who you are and not what you think others want you to be."
~Reviewed by Sandie, WRDF Review

4 Books from Long and Short Reviews! 
"Karaoke Cowgirl is a great story. Classic, really, and add in the karaoke bar for a definite new twist. Stacy Dawn does a great job of not only telling the story, developing the characters, and tossing some butterfly churning sentiments but she also makes you feel for her lead character, Ally. Extremely enjoyable and truly heartfelt. I loved this story and cannot wait to see what else Ms. Dawn can come up with."
 ~Reviewed by Agapanthus, Long and Short of It


EXCERPT:

Ally pulled Nick closer, hiding her face against his neck for fear she’d blubber all over him. Classy? Not by half!

Further proof jumped out before her eyes as one of her fake nails dislodged and tangled in the thick waves at the nape of his neck. “Oh no!”

He pulled back slightly at her quick intake of breath. She held his neck tighter, moving the small distance with him so her nail wouldn’t snap right off.

“Alexandra? What’s wrong?”

Her full name on his lips paused her panic for a moment. No one ever called her that anymore. She’d only given Nick the name because she thought it matched her fancy false persona much better than plain old Ally—not to mention, she loved the way he said her name with a breathy reverence.

“N-nothing,” she finally stuttered, shaking off his magic spell. Using another finger to slide the broken nail back in place, she made a fist to hold it there.


All my titles are available in multiple locations:

The Wild Rose Press
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

©bystacydawn 2018


©bystacydawn
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

πŸ™‹Check out my links at the side to visit me on social media and at my website! πŸ’Ÿ




Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Happy Place

Writing Wednesdays is interrupted this week for some fun in the sun family time.




©bystacydawn
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πŸ™‹Check out my links at the side to visit me on social media and at my website! πŸ’Ÿ




Sunday, August 19, 2018

Family Time

 I always look forward to August and our annual family camping trip!





©bystacydawn
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πŸ™‹Check out my links at the side to visit me on social media and at my website! πŸ’Ÿ




Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Writing Wednesday Quick Tip--Start Right

It's important to start writing, but it is more important after you have that first draft down to ensure you are starting the manuscript in the right spot.

Too much backstory or making nice descriptions but without specific purpose for the story line can make readers give up by the third or fourth page.

You want to grab them right from the beginning, page one...even line one if possible.  Waiting to get to the good stuff can be detrimental to your manuscript.  Put that good stuff right up front--draw your readers into your characters and story ASAP.  Description and bits (and I do mean itty bitty bits) of backstory can be dotted through, but don't let them take over and make the reader wait...or worse, close the book before they even get started. πŸ˜‰


©bystacydawn
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πŸ™‹Check out my links at the side to visit me on social media and at my website! πŸ’Ÿ




Sunday, August 12, 2018

Sunday Inspiration


Even a few minutes every day working toward your dreams creates progress. 


©bystacydawn
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πŸ™‹Check out my links at the side to visit me on social media and at my website! πŸ’Ÿ




Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Relatives versus Reality

My family and friends read my story and loved it, so why does it keep being rejected by publishers?

You have to love family and friends, especially the truly supportive ones. Always make sure you appreciate them!

But, there are two main reasons why it isn’t such a good idea to have them critique your writing.

First, most loved ones only want to encourage you and don’t want to hurt your feelings by saying anything negative. This doesn’t mean they are lying to you or didn’t like the story, simply that they will usually tell you what you want or need to hear, or only the parts they liked—even if you ask them to be hard, they won’t, for your sake. Admirable and loving, most definitely…but not helpful.

Second, and most important, most family and friends don’t know the technical aspects of Goal-Motivation-Conflict, POV, pace, validation/details, or characterization, or the mechanical aspects such as Telling versus Showing, misplaced modifiers, disjointed body parts, and sentence structure. So, they may enjoy your story not knowing the facets that could make it better--and more important, publishable.

Not that you shouldn’t let family and friends read your work if you so choose, simply that you also need an impartial third party to evaluate and see what's really going on in your manuscript.

Critique partners are INVALUABLE for this. Getting with a group or even just one or two other writers to help motivate, and especially assist in finding the areas that aren’t working in your manuscript, is essential for the up and coming writer--well, in truth, any writer whether new or established.

Now, I will say that I equate finding a critique partner to that of dating. It may take feeling out a few to find the one or two that you can work with and feel comfortable sharing. Everyone has different personalities and different work ethics, and it is important you find those you are compatible with, so don't be discouraged if one or even a few don't work out initially, BECAUSE, let me tell you, when you find the right ones you click with, the added bonus is often building great and long lasting friendships.

If finding a critique partner isn’t up your alley or too time consuming for you, then having your manuscript assessed by a freelance editor is another option. There will obviously be fees associated with this choice, but the knowledge you will gain and the guidance in the areas that need to be improved upon can more than make up for the cost.

So, let your family support you, but don't put the pressure on them to evaluate your manuscript. Find a critique partner, writing group, or freelance editor to guide you down that path to publication.

For those who already have critique partners, how did you find them? Feel free to share to help others get connected.


©bystacydawn
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πŸ™‹Check out my links at the side to visit me on social media and at my website! πŸ’Ÿ




Sunday, August 05, 2018

My Week



'nough said 😁

©bystacydawn
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πŸ™‹Check out my links at the side to visit me on social media and at my website! πŸ’Ÿ




Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Contemporary Romance
Novella
Rating: Spicy


ONE STARLIT NIGHT



When Elizabeth O'Leary meets up with the cowboy she's been avoiding for over two years, she doesn't know whether to trust her heart or her head. One tells her Grey Wulfsen just might be The One, the other tells her it doesn’t matter because he'll never forgive her when he finds out what she took away with her on that one starlit night.



REVIEWS:

From Mistress Bella Reviews:

"I just felt so involved with this story. I felt like I was watching a movie, the details, descriptions and facts were so vivid and real. And ladies…and some men…who doesn’t love a cowboy?"

5 Ribbons from Romance Junkies!!

"Stacy Dawn really pulls at the reader's heartstrings with One Starlit Night. Elizabeth and Grey seem to be perfect for each other but fear, misunderstanding and misconceptions could potentially destroy any hope they have for a future together. Ms. Dawn does a brilliant job of bringing her characters to life so that they feel like long lost friends."



Excerpt:

“Grey!” The name tore from her lips involuntarily, and Elizabeth clasped a hand over her mouth to silence the terrified screams clogging her throat.

Painfully still moments coursed by before she saw the gloved hands brace themselves in the dirt and a dusty blond head raise.

Still crouched on the ground over her folder, she was in perfect alignment for eyes the color of buffed steel to lock onto hers.

Oh, God.

This was exactly what she had wished for—and prayed to avoid. The ever logical side of her argued that the recognition tilting the corner of those sculptured lips up was just her imagination. The bold woman she’d locked up deep inside over the past two years said otherwise.

He knows, he remembers.

Forcing herself to break the eye contact, Elizabeth shook her head and clasped onto logic like a rock wall. Being pragmatic had never let her down before, and even, in a roundabout way, it had worked out that one weak moment, too. Hadn’t she gotten what she wanted? At least for the most part.


All my titles are available in multiple locations:

The Wild Rose Press
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Barnes & Noble
Kobo


©bystacydawn
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πŸ™‹Check out my links at the side to visit me on social media and at my website! πŸ’Ÿ




Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Monster or Mentor?

- E D I T O R -


...the one word that can cause chills to run down the spine of a writer.

The thought of the “all powerful editor” holding your precious manuscript in their hands to shred to pieces or, hopefully, see a creative, unique diamond, has led to many sleepless nights for those awaiting their fate in the publishing industry.

Does this sound like you?

Well, I’ll let you in on a secret that might give you just a little more sleep tonight. We are not “all powerful” (I still can’t fly or make the dirty dishes disappear with a snap of my fingers), and it is definitely not our goal to shred your dreams. We are not faceless monsters, or even remotely inhuman for that matter—in fact, we are all too human, only proven if you could see how we struggle with having to tell an author their manuscript is not ready for publication, that they aren’t quite as far along in their dream as they hoped.

- E D I T O R -


Instead of picturing the top floor of a brutishly tall office building, clean, crisp skirts and suits behind goliath desks, outboxes piled high with manuscripts riddled with big red slashes, picture your favourite teacher from school, or the coach who made a difference in the way you played and enjoyed your favourite sport.

At least, that is the way I hope my authors look at me. Not as some be all and end all of their manuscript, but as a coach who stands beside them, works with them, shows them where they can improve and encourages them to make their story the very best it can be. And, like with any sport, practice furthers your development and effort brings accomplishment.

~ M E N T O R ~


Whether you are submitting to a publisher or using an independent editor, think of them as a mentor, someone waiting for you to submit, ready to assist you, excited to help you achieve your dreams.

Changing the way you think about editors can help get you a bit more sleep at night, because there is honestly no monster on the other end of the SEND button. In truth, if not for writers, there would be no need for editors. YOU are that important to us.

Now, that’s not to say you should be disrespectful or too casual in your correspondence to editors. As with a teacher or coach, respect and listening skills go a long way with how they will treat you.  At the same time, most editors should also earn your respect by their actions and guidance whether through an encouraging rejection letter or during the editing process. 

So, don't be afraid of the word "editor" because, personally, I love when authors ask questions, whether simple or complex, because it shows me they WANT to learn and better their craft.  And that is what I'm here for--to coach, encourage, and inspire you.

From this Mentor:
Embrace the unknown and conquer the fear by asking questions and finding the answers, because answers can light up a whole new path you never even knew was there.



©bystacydawn
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πŸ™‹Check out my links at the side to visit me on social media and at my website! πŸ’Ÿ




Sunday, July 22, 2018

Summer Fun

Thought I'd share a fun little summer piece I recently finished for an artsydoodle challenge on Instagram


Sometime the funnest thing to do during the summer is put your feet in the water...and do nothing at all 😁



©bystacydawn
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πŸ™‹Check out my links at the side to visit me on social media and at my website! πŸ’Ÿ




Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Friendly reminder this week....

Sometimes we get so caught up in all the new story ideas in our heads, or focusing too much on the end result (by researching publishers, the market, or following (stalking) everything other writers are doing), worrying that we aren't good enough by comparing ourselves, our abilities, and our time to others, and just all around... 

THINKING TOO MUCH! 

And we end up getting no writing done at all...which topples us into that dark well of depression because we want to write, really we do, but let's face it, sometimes it can be so overwhelming, discouraging, and just plain hard.

It's almost like a whirlwind pulling you down rather than elevating you higher.

Sound familiar?

Yep, been there myself, and more so recently.  

So, this is just a friendly reminder to breathe (in and out, deep and slow), let all that crap above go, and simplify.  Get back to the one thing that REALLY counts...


I did exactly this on Monday...took a few deep breaths, sat still for a few minutes, and let it all go.  Simplified my thinking all around.  Then I opened my dusty manuscript file and started.

Before I knew it, that feeling was back, the one I haven't had in too many months of Sundays.  You know it--a little giddiness mixed with excitement and a whole lot of contentment.  The writing rush 😍.

That is what I wish for you this week, especially if you are struggling.  So, just breathe...just simplify...just...write πŸ–ŠπŸ˜‰


©bystacydawn
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πŸ™‹Don't forget to check out my links at the side to visit me on social media and at my website! πŸ’Ÿ


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Introducing...




I thought it about time I “officially” introduce my original characters I’ve posted on a few occasions here (more on Instagram).

P.J. (Peace Joy) Love is a bit of a throwback hippie and, like most of us, just trying to stay positive in this crazy world. Hartly is her lovable rescue mutt, pretty laid back, and a cuddle hound. They began as part of an art challenge and blossomed from there. Sure, maybe you could say there’s a little bit of me in her...but I like to hope there’s a bit more Peace Joy Love in me ☮️πŸ˜„πŸ’–.

So, what’s in store for the happy hippie and her pup? Watch for a fun collaboration she will be involved in with some amazing ladies, and then I’m thinking a little three part “vacation” series might be fun, too.  I'll post some here on Sunday Fundays so stay tuned!


©bystacydawn
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πŸ™‹Don't forget to check out my links at the side to visit me on social media and at my website! πŸ’Ÿ


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Do you have the right time?

Are you sure?  Because quite a number of manuscripts that cross my desk don't.
  • Characters are noted as preparing for a birthday party in two weeks, but a month passes before the actual event happens.  
  • A court date is set for Monday, but the characters meet to discuss it the next Thursday.
  • The characters meet on Thanksgiving, kiss under the mistletoe on Christmas Eve, then sleep together a week before Christmas.  
Sure makes readers scratch their head and think, Huh?

One of the best things you can do for yourself and your manuscript is to print out a blank calendar page--weekly or monthly, even yearly depending on the time frame of your story--and keep it beside your keyboard as you write.  Jot down a quick reference note on the day the story opens and every time a day goes by or a time lapse such as "a few weeks later" are mentioned. Underlining, highlighting, or making main events bold also helps. (If you are anything like me, you'll have a cupful of colored pens beside your monitor, too 😍) 

Having a calendar to make notes on not only gives you a visual of the timeline and pacing of your story, but you will quickly find the holes that can happen, the gaps needing to be filled or validated to make the story flow appropriately.   As you revise, keep track again, maybe in a different color, to ensure new details, added scenes or pages, stay on target or show you where you need to revise again to ensure the timeline makes sense to your readers.

And if your story is to happen in a certain time frame, even better.  Jot down the start day and the end day, which now gives you a direct timeline to play with.  Fill in the main events, scratch them out, mark the days up again, and keep playing around with it until you find the natural flow of events necessary for an accurate time frame.

But what if I write by the seat of my pants, you ask?  Pansters unite--because having a calendar doesn't mean you have to know every detail right away, that's why you keep the page beside your computer, so as the creative juices flow and you twist and turn your plot and characters, you can make quick notes on the calendar page, too.  Then, when you look at it after the first draft, you have the perfect visual reference guide to assist you in making those decisions needed for revisions, those fine-tuning details that really bring your story to life...and on time.

A search on Google for free calendar pages will produce loads to choose from, or simply draw up a blank template of your own.

Whether you are a planner or a panster, it's a good idea to have blank calendar pages in your writer's toolkit to pull out before beginning each new manuscript.


©bystacydawn


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πŸ™‹Don't forget to check out my links on the side to pop on over and visit me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!




Sunday, July 08, 2018

Be a Light



Sometimes the kindness of a simple smile can be a lighthouse to someone else, guiding them through their storm.

Aspire to be a light for someone this week, and see how brighter your own day becomes!

©bystacydawn

Friday, July 06, 2018

Friday Special Edition: Love, Meg Epilogue



Thank you so much for following Meg's adventures!  And special thank you for all the lovely notes messaged to me about the uniqueness of the postcard series--they have been both inspiring and very much appreciated!

If you are just coming to the series, you can find it from the beginning HERE and following every Friday thereafter.

I am working in the background on more Friday Special Edition features for the future!

©bystacydawn 2018

Friday, June 29, 2018

Friday Special Edition: Love, Meg Episode 12



Watch for the final episode next week!  And catch the beginning of the series HERE and following every Friday thereafter.

©bystacydawn 2018

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Luck Be a Cowboy

If you or someone you know can't seem to get their head out of the negatives and into the positive, then here is a story that may show them the benefits of thinking outside the box and walking on the sunny side of the street...


Contemporary Romance
 Novella 
Rating: Sensual


Luck be a Cowboy 

Travel consultant Sarah Monroe's sudden streak of bad luck continues when, after taking a baseball bat to her cheating fiancΓ©'s truck, she discovers she's trashed the wrong one.

Worse, the real owner, sexy cowboy Harper Reed, witnesses her act of vengeful vandalism. The last thing she needs is her passport cancelled due to a criminal record—or to risk trusting another handsome man.

While Sarah worries if their shaky negotiation will hold up under her bad luck, Harper tries to find a way to prove that luck is not only in the eye of the beholder...but in the heart of a cowboy.


REVIEWS:

5 Hearts from the Romance Studio!!

"Ms. Stacy Dawn definitely lived up to her reputation with this book. I enjoy her style so much that I read all her books possible. Her characters were dynamic, yet comical. Her situations are so funny that it's impossible not to laugh. There were also some poignant moments in the book. I found myself immersed in the characters and felt as if I was there in person. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to laugh and maybe shed a tear while reading a fabulous book."
~Brenda Talley, The Romance Studio

4 1/2 Books from the Long and Short Reviews!!

"This was such a great read! The pacing was perfect, and there were no loose ends or unanswered backstory issues. My attention was immediately grabbed by the very first line of the book. Sarah Monroe is a wonderfully feisty heroine who isn’t about to let anyone walk all over her. Harper Reed has just the right mix of patience and passion to be able to handle the spirited little filly. I especially loved how the hero helped the heroine see the positives that came as a result of the perceived negatives. And haven’t we all secretly wanted a little sweet revenge against a lying, cheating scumbag? Take some time, grab a chair and some coffee and enjoy every word of this fantastic story. You won’t be sorry."
~Reviewed by Daffodil, Long and Short Reviews


EXCERPT:

"Whoa there, Slugger."

The soft body thunked into his arms, back to his chest as rose-scented curls fanned his face. For a moment, Harper relived the moment in the back bedroom, her hair grazing his cheek, her soft skin tingling beneath his hands. The moment was seared into his body, charging it to life the moment he touched her. Unfortunately, her squirming to untwist a spiked heel from the platform broke into the pleasant memory.

He shifted her to one arm in order to reach down and unhook the errant heel. "You could have broken your neck," he said in a gentle reprimand as he assisted her to stand. "I told you I'd be back to help."

Her gaze darted over his shoulder and out the open door. "Yeah, well, I think I've had just about enough help from men lately." She poked a finger in his chest. "God is a man, isn't he? Well, doesn't that just explain everything."

"O-okay." He wasn't about to delve into a cryptic retort like that and instead sized up the slight pinch of her brows and the haze fading her blue eyes to gray. "You sure you're all right?"

"Yep, great. No problem." She averted her gaze and turned with one spiked heel rising to the fake cake's platform. "Now, help me up. This is gonna be one show you're not likely to forget."

And how, he thought as he slipped his hands to the round, firm ass. All in the name of assistance of course, but man...

Haul it in there, Reed.

Easier said than done as he shifted his own hips to relieve the growing strain in his jeans.

"Okay, I'm in. What do you think?"

Sarah popped around, sultry arms raised in a very 1940s pin-up pose. Harper's lips twitched.
"Perfect."

Her smile grew, eyes dancing like diamonds in the spotlight. His body instantly reacted with a tight chest and even tighter pants.

Harper cleared his throat and sidestepped behind the opened lid, hinged as the top of the cake. He knew his reaction wasn't anything more than being in the company of a gorgeous woman. But if that were true, then why did his gut feel like a big old rock had been dropped to the bottom.


  All my titles are available in multiple places:

The Wild Rose Press
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

©bystacydawn 2018

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Dream Big!


I, for one, know exactly how hard it is to juggle a busy family and two jobs, let alone try to find time to work toward your own goals and dreams that fill your head like an Idea Library where you need one of those cool wheeled ladders to reach some of the places you've stored them for years. 

It's hard...boy, is it hard! 

But, it is not impossible.  Maybe things aren't happening as fast as you want or on a timeline that you think they should, but that doesn't mean those dreams will never come off your inner library shelves.  Progress is progress no matter how fast or how slow.  The important thing is that you never stop trying, and you NEVER stop dreaming.

So, DREAM BIG because there is nothing stopping you! πŸ˜‰

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Don't Look!



Seriously, PLEASE don't LOOK anymore.

Everyone has at least one pet peeve word, and every editor usually has a few. For me, one of my biggest is the word LOOK (and its variations).

It's not that the word can't or doesn't need to be used on occasion; the issue is that it doesn't reveal anything at all--no descriptive, no emotion, no tension, no experience.  All Telling, no Showing.

For example, what exactly is happening in this sentence:

David looked at Emma.

Why is David looking at Emma?  How is he looking at her?  Is he happy to see her? Is he wary of her presence?  Is he scared of her or sad they have to meet this way?

Or this sentence:

She looked out the window.

What is she looking at?  How is she looking?  Why is she looking?  Is she excited at what she sees?  Does she actually see anything at all or is she just taking a moment to gather her thoughts?  Is she wary or tense or scared?  Mad, glad, sad?

If that many different scenarios can be thought of for one sentence, then you as an author are not painting your scene for the reader. 

Here are some examples of stronger variations:

David narrowed his gaze as he studied Emma's tight posture. 
or
David released his held breath as he turned to find Emma's glorious smile aimed right at him.

She frowned and stared out the window to the storm raging as fiercely as her emotions.
or
She cast her gaze out the window to soak up a moment of peace from the early morning sunshine sparkling across the lake.  

Word choices--verb choices--are extremely important to ensure a reader not only pictures your scene in vivid detail in their own mind, but to make them experience the moment with the characters.

Strong word choice can change a scene dramatically, so don't choose simple words like "look" that Tell the mere basics.  Instead, choose your words wisely to Show and engage your reader in the depth of your character in that particular moment.


@bystacydawn 2018

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Practice Makes Progress

I have been slowly working in the background practicing and experimenting for a project I've had in mind for a while now.  With a busy family and working two jobs, it will still take time to put it all together, but that's okay, because I am working daily toward that goal even if just five minutes a day...and as with most of my ideas, the end result will of course be with writers in mind.πŸ˜‰  

For now, I thought I would share some of the fun practice pieces.  I'm thinking I might even create them into a final form some day.  




These are from my Scribbles That Matter journal that I fill with doodles and random ideas to play around with lettering and coloring.  It has thicker paper, which works great for various mediums from colored pencils to watercolors.  

Everyone needs a miscellaneous journal or notebook they can do anything in from random notes to doodling or sketching, poetry or writing, but most importantly, to mess up, make mistakes, scratch out, circle furiously what works, and make funny things out of what doesn't.  A place no one else has to see if you don't want them to and where ANYTHING goes.  Because it's the practice and progress that really count.

You learn far more from the mistakes than the finished pieces.πŸ˜‰


Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Disco Angel

Vintage -1970's
Romance
Short Story
Rating: Sweet

Disco Angel

Bobby Hues has his eye on the Disco Angel jiving around Electric Nights Roller Disco. But what would Miss Spring Break 1976 and the foxiest chick he'd ever laid eyes on want with a lowly grease monkey like himself?

Summer Benton's heart started racing the minute she rolled her broken down ride into Bobby's garage. When he gets a gig working at her favorite hang out, she thinks she has it made—but the quiet hunk still isn't talking. A little push on her part starts the wheels rolling—in the wrong direction. Now she has to figure out how to lose the wrong guy, and convince the right one she digs him enough to be his Disco Angel, forever.




REVIEWS:

Do you miss the seventies? Step back in time with Stacy Dawn and relive the days of disco, mirrored balls, Afros, and cheese weasels. Ms. Dawn captures the feeling of the times with a cute story of two individuals who have a hard time getting together. Take a few minutes, get back to disco fever with Summer and Bobby, and find out how a soft-spoken man can finally tell the girl of his dreams how he feels.
~Reviewed by Judy Thomas, The Long and The Short of It


All my titles are available in multiple locations:

The Wild Rose Press
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

©bystacydawn 2018

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Slow and Steady, People

Do you find these days everything seems to be sped up?  Like the world is running on fast forward ➧➧?

Everyone wants things NOW...videos are sped up to get everything you need to know into 30 seconds...same day shipping...etc., etc.

The problem is that it makes YOU speed up.  Things that should be taken slow, thoughtful, and carefully, I find I am forcing through, making it work, or worse, ruining it and having to start again because I didn't just take a simple breath of pause first.  Anyone else have this problem?

More and more these days I think of the classic story of The Tortoise and The Hare, which has always stuck with me since I was a little girl--I think because my sister was the extrovert, taller, prettier, active, a real go-getter, whereas I was an introvert, short, stocky, and uncoordinated (and still am😊).  Don't get me wrong, I am not making depressing comparisons by any means--I got over that long ago when I discovered the talents I had that she didn't, and I eventually came to understand that each person is very special and amazingly unique in their own way, so if you take nothing else from this blog post PLEASE think on that and your own special talents that make you YOU--maybe it is art or writing, you clean a house to sparkling, bake a mean chocolate chip cookie, can make any crying kid laugh or any dog sit and beg for a petting from you, or simply smile at strangers on the street because you honestly believe everyone needs one.  You ARE special. Period.  

Sorry, got a bit off topic there, but that's because I also think more people need to hear that these days, too.😍

So, where was I?  Oh yes, fast forward and The Tortoise and the Hare

The moral of Aesop's famous story is one that often comes to mind when this world gets sped up elf-voice fast.  I find myself repeating it over and over in my head some days as a mantra to help me pull back, pause for a moment, and breath before continuing at a more comfortable pace for me.


If this world has you on the expressway when you would rather be on a leisurely country road, then just think of the tortoise, happy to take his time, smiling at his neighbors, and appreciating his surroundings and his own abilities.  He progresses at a pace that works just fine for him...that actually gets him ahead of the game. 

Winners are not always the ones who compete and get to the end the fastest, but the ones who keep working to complete their goals...no matter how long it takes or how slow they go.  I hope you keep that in mind this coming week.

Are you competing or completing?

Don't hesitate to leave a comment here or on my Instagram post @bystacydawn as I'd love to hear of your own unique, special talent(s), if you took it a little slower this week, and if you noticed a difference. πŸ˜‰

©bystacydawn 2018


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Time for a trim?

Shaping is crucial to a story, and trimming extra words or cutting lines, paragraphs, or scenes that slow down the pace can make your manuscript that much tighter, brighter, and engaging.

No, I admit, it’s not easy at all. Sort of like having long hair and deciding to cut it short. Not an easy decision, and it usually sits with you for a while as you debate back and forth with yourself if you REALLY want to do that. Similar to scenes that you really like--maybe with clever dialogue or some funny incident. It is a debate back and forth, almost a fight with yourself because you know it would be better for the book, BUT you feel it is such a good piece of writing, too, that you don't want to get rid of it. Yet, if those paragraphs/scenes stall the pace, you are doing more of an injustice to your story and especially to your reader by giving them a chance to stall, pause, a reason to close the book and go wash their sink-full of dishes.

You want your readers to HAVE to keep turning the pages and let those dishes sit for another hour while they finish your book.

Think of it kind of like a trip to the hairdresser--maybe you did decide to cut your long hair or simply have it styled, and more often than not you come out feeling better about yourself, confident, beautiful.  No, it’s not an easy decision to cut parts of your story you think clever and witty, but like getting a fresh haircut, your confidence in your story will raise tenfold when you chop off the unnecessary lose ends and see how much you gain in forward momentum.

And remember, always save those witty, funny, dramatic scenes or pieces of dialogue you loved in a miscellaneous file. Just because they didn’t fit this manuscript, doesn’t mean they can’t wholeheartedly benefit another in the future.πŸ˜‰

© bystacydawn 2018

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Mommy Time-out

Ever wish you had a special place you could just hide away from everything and everyone...just for a little while? Sort of a self-imposed mommy time-out?

Of course, we love our children and family deeply and would do anything for them, but sometimes, we could use a bit of solitude in order to regroup and give our brains and bodies a rest from care-giving, just a little while. 

This is how I picture mine...😁😍


What would yours look like?

©bystacydawn 2018