Rebecca Hamilton: Penning perfection

It may seem like completing a well-edited novel takes forever and a day.

Rebecca Hamilton, author of The Forever Girl, must have had the same feelings as she wrote and rewrote her novel until she felt it was perfect.

The Forever Girl, a paranormal romance, is about a young woman who opens the door of dark magic when she casts a spell that goes wrong, allowing for a centuries-old shape-shifter to storm into her love life.

Hamilton said in an interview that completing such a story took her four years.

Understanding that first impressions can quickly become the scarlet letter of a writer’s career, she worked patiently and methodically.

A mother of three children, one with autism and another with pervasive development disorder, it can seem Hamilton was used to life’s challenges.

Tackling the challenge of writing would just be one more thing, and she had writing calling for mercy.

Her hard work has earned her several positive reviews and a huge online following.

On Goodreads Hamilton’s novel is rated 4.4 with 224 ratings, while on Amazon the novel is rated 5 stars with 263 people rating it.

Her publisher, Immortal Ink Publishing, states she has sold 2600 copies as of February and March of 2012.

Connect with Hamilton through social media and one will notice her Twitter has over 40,000 followers and her Facebook has 700 likes.

When asked how she gained such a huge following, truthfully so I could share her secrets, she simply replied, I just try to be fun and follow people with similar interests and hope we connect.

Yet it seems so easy to connect with people and garner interest when one has a product that they have invested fully in.

People love the novel Hamilton took the time to perfect.

When it comes to design, Hamilton will not stand for less.

Visit Hamilton’s website to check out the stunning design.

Connect with Rebecca Hamilton:

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Designing the Interior of your novel

Whoever believes interior design is an art must be deathly in love with the craft.

I find it to be a science more along the lines of physics.

Even though I am not a novice, using Adobe Indesign to construct the interior of my novel was not as easy as I imagined.

After laying out the margins correctly:

.25 inch margins (that is what Createspace recommends) I find .50 inch margins to be cleaner.

.75 inches for the gutter

There were other points I had to consider such as:

How many blank pages would I have in the beginning of the novel?

There has to be a copyright, acknowledgements, and so on.

Not only that, but there also has to be enough  blank pages so that my first chapter would end up on an odd page.

If one is also looking at novels, they might have noticed that blank pages are starting to be styled as well.

How much space would I leave for my page numbers and where would I place them?

Out of a slight desire to be lazy, I modeled my interior design off of Stephanie Meyer’s New Moon. If she can do without a title and author in the header, so can I.  

How am I going to design the opening of each new chapter?

It is industry standard never to indent the first paragraph of each chapter.

It can, however, be stylized with the first few words in all caps or through the use of drop caps.

How am I going to show breaks in the chapter?

Page breaks are also never indented. Many do take liberty with the style of the page breaks.

I have seen them styled with four asterisks or a simple space of .25 in leading.

I had to ask myself what fonts do I desire to use for my chapter headings, page numbers, footers, and so on.

This was the hardest decision to make, forcing me to find a font that would speak to the mood of my novel.

Always erring on the side of simplicity, I just chose one of the fonts I used for the cover of my novel.

Finally, how am I to organize this information, so that I have one coherent style across my manuscript?

Organize everything in paragraph and character styles once you have got the look of the first chapter.

My biggest mistake was going through a discovery process as I went through each chapter.

I found out how I wanted to break my chapters in chapter one, but did not figure out the font for my chapter headings till chapter twelve.

This forced me to have to go back to the beginning and update my character and paragraph styles over and over again.

Such a process added hours onto my work. Mind you, I had chosen to use the Adobe book feature, thinking it would be easier to organize and manage the chapters.

Once everything is organized into character and paragraph styles, it is just click and point from there.

Curious about Adobe Indesign?

Adobe Indesign is used primarily for layouts and can be a great tool for interior design.

I sharpened my skills with the program utilizing

To sum up the entire article, here are some tips to constructing a clean manuscript:
  1.       .25 in outside margins at least (I like .50)
  2.       .75 in gutter (inside margins)
  3.       Size 12 pt or 14 pt for body copy
  4.       1.5 * (font size of body to determine the leading)
  5.       Test and plan all in chapter one: chapter fonts, page number fonts, header information, chapter openings, and page breaks
  6.       Master paragraph and character styles
  7.       Do not indent the first paragraph in a chapter
  8.       Do not indent chapter breaks
  9.       Use .25 in for paragraph indents
  10.       REVIEW, REVIEW, REVIEW for orphans and widows, awkward spacing, and mistakes
Intimidated by design?

Do not be. Anyone who is on a budget can construct the interior of their novel.

My suggestion is, never feel one has to be extravagant. Readers are reading for the story, not for the interior design.

I do have to admit, interesting and unique interior design can sometimes be the icing on the cake.

Check out one of my favorites, The Forever Girl by Rebecca Hamilton, an author who will soon be featured on my blog.

Her interior and exterior design is awesome.


Author Devan Sipher of The Wedding Beat: All or nothing

When Devan Sipher, author of The Wedding Beat, began writing his story, he knew it was all or nothing.

He wrote 12 to 15 hours a day, six days a week for a year and a half.

While writing, he made sure to make every page a page turner.

I read the book and I think Sipher succeeded.

In the short-but-sweet glimpse into his writing process, Sipher shares his number one tip to writing a novel that landed him attention from a big six publishing house.

Straight from the author’s mouth: Writing full steam ahead

Why did you choose to write this book?

For five years I was a single guy writing the Vows wedding column at The New York Times. It occurred to me that my life would seem somewhat amusing (if I wasn’t living it). Then the movie 27 Dresses came out, with a male romantic lead who seemed to write the column I wrote at the newspaper I worked for, and I figured if someone was going to steal my life, it should be me.

How long did it take you to write it?

I wrote the book in a year over a year and a half, six days a week 12 to 15 hours a day. You could say I was driven. I had never written a novel before (or anything as long), and I was so intimidated by the prospect I felt I needed to do it full steam ahead or I might be tempted to give up.

Any editing tips you used to help you get to the final draft?

On every page ask: What does the character want? How badly do they want it? Why do they want it now? What’s stopping them from getting it? On every page.

If you could share one tip you learned with self-publishers who share the dream of one day being published, what would it be?

Be ruthless with yourself about your writing, and try to find a writing group of kind and smart people – and preferably sane. But kind and smart are more important.

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The Wedding Beat: A 4/5 star romanctic comedy

Your incandescent smile short-circuited my brain. I can’t stop thinking about you, and I will be eternally grateful if you agree to have dinner with me.

                                                                – Gavin pg. 44 of my Nook

 Review: 4 Stars

The Wedding Beat is the kind of read where I found myself laughing out loud every minute or so at a quick and poignant joke buried in the literature.

For those who do not know, The Wedding Beat is a romantic comedy, about a  lonely wedding columnist’s quest for true love.

Gavin Green is a journalist for one of the nation’s leading newspapers, but writing stories about extravagant weddings is no fun when you’d rather be the one saying, “I do”.

Things seem to turn around when a beautiful travel writer walks into his life, opening his eyes to the possibility of making a connection deeper than pen and paper.

The sentences are so well written, the paragraphs so free of clichés’ and wordiness, allowing the chapters to read like the opening to headline news.

Yet I never expected anything less from a New York Times journalist.

The fact every chapter was structured so there was a beginning, a climax, and an end was the strawberry topping on my sundae.

Such structure evokes the same kind of feeling you get when your favorite television series ends for the week, and you find yourself waiting impatiently for the next week to roll around.

I would flip to the next chapter just to ease the feeling of lost in my chest.

Now I’m the kind of girl who’ll read anything as long as the plot is flawless and the style profound. However my tastes favor slow, character-driven novels where a lot of detail is not just given to characters, but the world in which they live.

What detail is in this book is there only to further the plot. So I have not noticed any long, drawn out descriptions of wedding halls, exotic cuisine, and blowing wind.

Such long descriptions can be used well to ease the reader into a new world, a technique I would have used in the beginning of the novel.

I found the first two chapters to be jarring, but by chapter four I was able to fasten my seatbelt and cruise through the rest of the book.

My favorite line

The way I look at it, Mike found me. He found me over and over. Even though I didn’t know that I was lost.

                                                – uttered by Amy pg. 63 of my Nook.

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Editing: Making every word spectacular

Superheroes Wear Faded DenimEditing is key to getting the type of novel that leaves your reader turning to the last page and going, “WHY!? WHY DID IT HAVE TO END?”

My debut novel, Superheroes Wear Faded Denim, has gone through three years of writing, four drafts, numerous critique groups, and endless writing workshops.

The novel ended 452 pages and has been cut to 398.

Each draft evolved.

What began as a story about an artsy college student who wars against her BFF for the heart of a wealthy bachelor has grown to be a story about a socially awkward college student’s sleeping habits saving mankind.

Of course my story would have never been more than just another girl meets boy if it had not been for my mother reading my very first draft, and uttering, “it’s boring.”

Even though I was a romance writer trying to appeal to a mother who lives off James Patterson novels, I took the advice.

Editing might be key, but without good advice, editing is misguided.

I found critique groups and creative writing classes to be very useful in shaping my final drafts.

When I showed my mother the third draft, I was getting a thumbs up.

Still the third draft was not the final.

I took the advice of writer Kathryn Bain, author of Breathless, and utilized NaturalReader.

Anyone who wants to self-edit their book needs to invest in a product that will speak their words.

Combing through my pages with that product one last time really saved my manuscript.




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Emily Guido: Writing 100,000 words in a week

Emily Guido is the successful self-published author of Charmeine, a paranormal romance about two individuals whose love defies the laws of good and evil.

The novel was released Jan. 2012 and tells the story of Tabbruis, a blood-hunter who refuses to accept love cannot overcome fate when he falls for the Queen of all Light-Bearers, Charmeine.

The idea to tell of such a passionate love between people who not only are so different, but come from such different worlds plagued Miss. Guido’s mind until she was fueled to complete 100,000 words in a week.

And yet her passion did not die there.

She was encouraged to write a second novel in the Light-Bearer Series, Ransom, which will be released May 2012, as written on her website

The word Ransom is given a whole new meaning in this novel, which continues the passionate adventure Tabbruis and Charmeine are taken upon when they fall in love.

Miss. Guido has come a long way from just imagining her characters in her head, and this journey she intends to share.

Check back to read about what Miss. Guido has to say on editing and success this Saturday, Apr. 11.

In the meantime, please connect with the author on her website:

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Brenda Jackson: James Patterson’s fraternal twin with darker skin

Harlequin Art Exhibit, NYC, 5/29/09 - 136 of 145
Harlequin Art Exhibit, NYC, 5/29/09 - 136 of 145 (Photo credit: rtbookreviews)

My mom once told me that Brenda Jackson was referred to as the African American female James Patterson because the best selling novelist spat out more novels than a laser printer.

Read her biography, and it’ll have you wondering if the woman ever leaves her computer.

As stated on her website, she has written more than 90 novels and novellas, and has 3 million books in print.

Most of her writing career was accomplished in the wee hours of the morning just before she headed off to her 9-to-5.

Just read this Florida Times Union article that says she completed 50 of her novels while working at State Farm Insurance.

Sort of makes me feel bad when I come home from my new job only to vegetate on the couch. Not to mention in my spare time I do a lot of theatre.

Although I want to get like Jackson, sleep is so important to me, I sort of live to sleep another day.

Yet if I were to follow the advice of all the authors who have presented in the Romance Writers of America and Sisters In Crime workshops, I would find a nice schedule to write, update blogs, twitter, and all the lovely business of writing.

This most likely means my blogging will have to become confined to Friday, Saturday, and Sundays.

Good news is I will soon feature advice from authors such as Emily Guido and Devan Sipher. I am in the process of recruiting more writers and bloggers who wish to share their love of writing and success with you.

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Brittany Geragotelis: Writing her own success

Below Geragotelis gives us a glimpse into what it took for her to write her own success. Uncertain why that is so awesome? Check out: Turning no’s into green yes’. Though it is just a snap shot, connect with her on social media. The links are provided below. If you are a self-published author looking to be published with a big six, you will be motivated to follow down her path.

Brittany Geragotelis is the successful author of: What the Spell?, being released in three e-installments  in October before finally being released in hardback January 1, 2013; Life’s a Witch will be released mid-next year just before the sequel being released January 1, 2014.

It will be an exciting New Year’s Day in 2013 and 2014 for everyone. Mark your calenders.

Straight from the author’s mouth: Writing her own success

When is the release date for your novel Life’s A Witch? We’re publishing the prequel/spin-off called What the Spell? in 3 e-installments starting in October, and then in hardback and the full e-book on January 1, 2013! Life’s a Witch will be published mid-next year, and then the sequel will be published January 1, 2014.

Why did you choose to write this book? How long did it take you to write it? When I was considering publishing something on Wattpad, I took a look at what kids seemed to be reading on the website. It turned out to be a lot of Paranormal Romance, so I thought about what I might want to write. I think a lot of people are intrigued by the Salem Witch Trials and I started thinking about what it would have been like if those accused really were witches. And what if the accusers were from the same coven? The story just formed from there!

As for a timeline, when I was writing Life’s a Witch, I had a day job (I was an editor at a magazine), and so I was writing for an hour every night (between 11PM and 1AM). So, with this limited time to write, it took me about 6 months. However, I only had 6 weeks to write the prequel, What the Spell?, which I just turned into my editor last week!

Any editing tips? Don’t edit as you go. If you start nit-picking while you’re writing, you’ll never get the book written. When you’re done give yourself some time away from the book. A week, two, sometimes I like to take a month off. It’ll let you be more clear-headed when it comes time to edit it. Then, have an editor look it over. Not only will they catch all the spelling and grammar errors you’ve made, but if you’re like me, they’ll find all of the inconsistencies we can get while writing.

If you could share one tip you learned with self-publishers who share the same dream, what would it be? Don’t ever let someone break your dream. I went through 10 years of rejection. I had some close calls, but a bunch of set-backs, to the point where I almost gave up on writing completely. Luckily I didn’t, because look what happened! Be willing to look at things differently. I used to think that getting published had to look a certain way–get an agent, get a publisher, become a famous author–but as soon as I opened my mind to the idea that there may be other ways of achieving success, things just started to happen. And lastly…say yes to opportunities that come your way. I was wary of putting my stuff for free on Wattpad, but ultimately I said yes to what they were offering. It’s because of this, I got 18 million reads of my book, which ultimately led to me getting my book deal.

Connect for more inspiration:

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Brittany Geragotelis: transforming your self-published book into a book deal

Mrs. Geragotelis has kindly shared some inspiration and great wisdom on how to use self publishing to your advantage. Don’t you love when those who are successful give back? The interview will be posted this Saturday, Apr. 7.  Check back then to get juiced up for your own success.

In the meantime, connect with Mrs. Geragotelis at


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Devan Sipher’s The Wedding Beat beats all romance novel cliches

The Wedding beat: A novel

Finally a male other than Nicolas Sparks claiming some market share in the romance genre.

Devan Sipher, A New York Times wedding columnist, released his novel The Wedding Beat yesterday.

Straying from the lonely damsels or wanton-women reads one can find on their drugstores’ local shelves, Sipher tells the story of a successful bachelor’s desire for wedding bells.

To think the media would have us believe there were no more straight men in America left who wanted to get married.

Well Sipher finds a way to stick it to the media while  maintaining a positive image in the media.

As Jen of Devourer of Books published on SheKnows, Sipher’s story follows Gavin Green, a columnist for The Paper.

“One New Year’s Eve, Gavin’s luck seems to change and he meets the woman of his dreams. Melinda is a dimpled, travel writer who seems to be just as into him as he is to her. Just as Gavin is about to get Melinda’s number, though, she is swept away by another man. Gavin would give anything to find her once again — hopefully before he finds himself writing about her wedding,” Jen wrote.

There seems to be a lot of promise with this novel.

Sipher used his own life experience when writing, trusting the wisdom, the best art is truth peppered with exaggeration.

The reviews are all great, people are tweeting like crazy, and it’s a nice reminder men need love too.

Plus the author is a nice guy, qualities that are pertinent for romance writers. When I asked him to answer a few questions for my blog, he said,  yes . . . after I get sleep.

What more do you need in a romance novel? Get out to Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, hop on Amazon, and buy your copy of The Wedding Beat today.

Love for Literature Reigns Supreme