Geez Louise, I Haven’t Posted About My Writing Journey In Months But I Swear I’ve Been A Busy Bee!

The other day I heard some good news. My boss’s daughter wants to be a writer. How cool is that? I love hearing about people who want to share their words with the world. It takes bravery and vulnerability, two traits I admire. I would love the chance to talk about writing with her one day. If anything can bring me out of my shy bubble, it’s talking about writing and/or tv shows and movies.

The good news motivated me to write this post, sharing what I’ve been up to. My editor, Monica Shaughnessy, was awesome in making Twisted Obsession the best it could be. I’m finished my rewrite. Now, I’m just waiting on that perfect book cover.

My writing buddies Melissa, Zach, and I are brainstorming ideas for a tv spec pilot. I can’t wait until we work on the script and try to sell to networks. It’ll be fun. My only dilemma–if I pursue writing screenplays, would I actually consider moving to California?

I’m back in school, taking an online 20 week course–Marketing 101 for Freelance Writers. I’m been busy with my homework. Just like I had to create my author platform before I published my first book, I have to create a professional social media prescene before I can land professional gigs.

Melissa and I decided to give ourselves another short story challenge. We’re going to produce one story every month for the rest of the year. I’m happy we went back to that because it keeps me motivated. In fact, I have two projects due by August 31st:

  • I plan on submitting my short story to the DIY MFA Anthology.  It has to be at least 2,000 words with an origin theme. Using the prompt generator, my story has to use a wallflower, ballot box, museum hallway, get left at the altar.
  • I plan on submitting another short story to the Ink Slingers Anthology. The story can be 1,000 to 10,000 words and it has to be spooky, creepy, horror, funny, or Halloween themed. Creepy stories are right up my alley.

I’ve also been dabbling with two novels. One in the revision stage, and the other is only starting out as the first draft.

As you can see, I’ve been a busy bee these past few months, which is exactly why I haven’t been blogging as much. Blah to there only being 24 hours in a day. Blah, blah, blah…

For all the writers out there, what projects are you working on?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

I’m Excited for My First Official Freelance Assignment!!!

I’ve been taking Carol Tice’s Marketing 101 class for freelance writers, and it’s been paying off. She’s been teaching us confidence. I’m not afraid or too timid to put myself out there anymore. I ordered new business cards and created a new freelance writer’s website. I also have a new twitter handle: @hosby_freelance.

I’m in business, folks :) 

This week has been rough for me, losing a step-uncle. He was one of my favorites because he was always smiling and in a joking mood. He had a way of making you feel like you could get through anything. 

I wrote a Facebook post: “Take chances. Smile everyday. Laugh til your stomach hurts. Love people, not material things.” This is my new motto of life. Life is way too short not to be living it.

I didn’t know this post would prepare me for a future gig, but it totally did. Today was Pee Wee’s funeral, such a sad day. So many broken hearts. Pastor Tyrone Lockett approached me to ask about my mom–they’re cousins. We reminisced about the past, then I mentioned I’m a writer. He told me it was great hearing about family following their dreams and succeeding. Before we ended the conversation, we swapped business cards and he asked me to write a poem about life. He wants to read it in church during one of his Sunday sermons. 

That’s such an honor. I can’t wait to get started on my first assignment. I may even have to sit in church that day to listen to cousin Tyrone speak my words.

What does life mean to you?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Interview With Sharlene Almond, Author of Initiated to Kill

I’d like to welcome my special guest Sharlene Almond, author of Initiated to Kill. Please enjoy her insightful interview.

  


1.  Do you have any advice for other writers trying to get published?


Get persisting. You will get a lot of rejections unfortunately, but it does with what we do. If you love to write, you never know what might happen.

A good query letter is also key. You need to be able to hook the publisher pretty quickly. A query letter shouldn’t be long winded, but get straight to the point.


In the end, it’s easy to fit into the popular genre, it’s harder to actually write what you enjoy writing if it’s not so popular. However, like many books now, in which once a upon a time they weren’t popular, you never know when your one could be the next best thing.

 

2.  Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?


I hope Initiated to Kill can challenge what you thought you knew. To go deep into the psyche of a serial killer, and perhaps understand the inner workings.


To learn about the European countries and beyond. And of course, perhaps to learn more about body language of others, and yourself…

 

3.  What are your thoughts on the fact that both trade and self-published authors have to promote their own work?


An author is always going to have the inside knowledge of educating people on their work. It can be frustrating at times to have to do a lot of the work, and very time-consuming; especially when trying to write and study at the same time.


With promotional blogs like yours though, it does make it easier to get the word out. And I’m sure for reviewers and interviewers, having that personal contact with the author is quite invaluable.


At times, I do wish my publisher would do a bit more, as they do have more contacts than I do. And can arrange things like blog tours etc. I personally think if publishers would work alongside authors a bit more, publicity would be all the better, and it is the best of both worlds.

 

 4.  What genre do you write for? Your favorite aspect? Your least  favorite aspect?


My main genre is thrillers; however, sub-genres are historical, psychological and international. I love messing with readers’ heads a bit. Examining the psychology of the characters is fun because so much is unveiled – their flaws, their strengths. Comparing the historical killers to the 21st century killers. And writing about the places that the stories are located in.


I can’t say I have a least favourite aspect. Everything connects in with each other. Some reviewers have commented that how I write can be confusing at times, as the plot keeps on going back in time. However, I do pride myself on being different. My technique of writing allows the sub-plots to go in-depth and behind the background of the characters.


I like to look at my writing as layers. Layer upon layer, little by little more is revealed, so by the end of the novel, what has happened makes sense. That is what is fun, to learn about the characters, myself included. The more I write, the more I learn about every character.


There are so many facets to my books, which is the only way I really like. Although for some they may struggle, I would hope that at least it would be memorable.


5.  What are your current/next projects?


I have written four books. Right now I am contacting publishers about my second novel, and about to edit my third novel.


My second novel is based on the first female serial killer, Elizabeth Bathory, while the 21st century aspect is based on young girls disappearing in Romania, and Annabella Cordova is now part of a vigilante organisation to bring down the most ruthless killers.

My second novel isn’t symbolic like the first; however, they all interconnect.


My third novel is based on the 70 Jewish zealots that committed suicide in 72 Ad; while the 21st century aspect is based on bodies found in the desert, organs removed, and Egyptian symbols carved on the flesh.


Finally, the fourth novel is based on the bubonic plague. How it started, and how it spread – or the theory of how and why it began. And then coming to the modern-day aspect, Annabella is sent to Greece to dig into the many deaths occurring in Greece and beyond. The victims displaying the same symptoms of the bubonic plague.

 

6.  Do you prefer to work alone or with critique partners/beta-readers?


It’s always good to get a second opinion. So, when I have finished writing, it can be helpful to have someone read over it, and tell me what they did and didn’t like about it.

Of course, in the end, I do go by what I like. Not everyone is going to like my novel, they’re not quite like the mainstream thrillers that are out there. But that is what I hope will help them to stand out amongst the rest.

 

7.  How do you find time to write?


I treat writing both as a hobby and an occupation. Whether it’s first thing in the morning, or later on in the day, writing a chapter or two on a regular basis slowly brings about a complete manuscript. And when you enjoy what you are doing, it is easy to fit it in.


8.  Did you always want to become an author?


Ever since I can remember, I enjoyed writing. I would start something, but then not know exactly how to finish it. Finally one day, I put my mind to it – it would write a full length novel. Now I have four.


9.  Is there any writing rituals you complete before creating your manuscripts/drafts?


Writing a brief character synopsis and plot synopsis, as well as doing a chapter outline in spreadsheet format, all help me to formulate what I want to write.

 

10.  Do you write the beginning/opening first or do you tend to write out of order (with whatever scenes interest you the most)?


I always write in order. Going by my chapter outline, each chapter always builds from the  last, so they interconnect with one another. If I didn’t write the previous chapter, then many chapters simply wouldn’t make sense. Especially for my novels, it is vital all chapters are in order, each chapter being a layer on the last.

 

 11.  Have you ever hated something you wrote?


No, although some things may need improving on. Everything I have written has a certain amount of ‘me’ in my writing.

 

12.  Which is the easiest for you–novel, novella, or short story? Why?


Definitely a novel. Too much is going on in my head to put it into a short story. I like my writing because of everything that is included in it. If I didn’t have all those aspects, I don’t think I would enjoy it as much.

 13.  While you were writing, did you ever feel like you were one of your characters?


Yes, I quite like putting myself in Annabella’s shoes. I feel that if I almost step into my character’s shoes, they become more alive, more realistic. It’s quite fun writing about things that would be quite adventurous to be able to do. Writing about things that possibly may never happen, bringing those events to live.

 

 14.  How did you come up with the title?


It was quite simple really. Two men initiated into anorganisation to kill. Hence, Initiated to Kill.


15.  What inspired you to write your latest book? What is the book about?


My latest book is about the Bubonic Plague. I think it was actually because of the news report on these different diseases that have been dormant for years, only to suddenly reappear.

The bubonic plague conspiracy is based on some thinking that the plague was actually man-made. So the premise on my book, is just that. The plague was man-made to bring about a major revolution; to change everything as the world knew it.

And like all my books, the present day events coincide with the past. So, again the plague once again springs to life; killing thousands in its path.

 

16.  Any blogs, websites, social media you’d like to share?

 

Links to my social media:

 

Blog: 


https://sharlenefreelancewriter.wordpress.com/

 

About.me: Blog: 


https://sharlenefreelancewriter.wordpress.com/

 

Amazon: 


http://www.amazon.com/Initiated-Kill-Sharlene-Almond-ebook/dp/B00RF0SGDQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421873962&sr=8-1&keywords=initiated+to+kill+by+sharlene+almond


Amazon Author page: 


http://www.amazon.com/Sharlene-Almond/e/B00K3ZK2ZA/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

Twitter: 


https://twitter.com/SharleneAlmond

 

Facebook: 


https://www.facebook.com/sharlenealmond.co.nz?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

 

Pinterest


https://www.pinterest.com/sharlenealmond/

 

Goodreads:


https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6626652.Sharlene_Almond

 

LinkedIn


https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=272284909&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic

 

Google Plus:


https://plus.google.com/+SharleneAlmondauthor/about/p/pub


Thanks again, Sharlene, for stopping by. Good luck with your publishing journey.


Keep smiling,


Yawatta Hosby

 

Social Experiment #3: No More Plain Jane

  

So…this social experiment isn’t a challenge for a specific event. It’s more of an overall theme that I need to change, regarding my life.

In the past, I’ve purposefully dressed as a plain jane. My goal was to fade in the background–not to be seen and not to be heard. My reason: I didn’t want to attract jerks. I’m talking the crazy guys who act like just because they said hi or looked in your direction, you owe them your undivided attention. I hate aggression and/or passive aggressiveness just because some guy has his sight on you. Gross….

Maybe those types of guys seek me out because I’m a loner or they sense my shy nature. Either way, they realize right away I don’t play that game. Keep it moving hee hee.

I told my coworker Ashley this, and she had the best advice I ever heard. She put everything into perspective, and I really appreciated her advice.

She said that I shouldn’t dress myself down to avoid the jerks. I should always look on point because the nice guy I’m looking for may not notice me if I’m trying to fade in the background.

Beautiful advice.

So…my social experiment is to always present myself in the best light. Lately, I’ve been saying hi to strangers (even with a smile–a shy one, of course) and asking a question to get a brief conversation going.

I feel like I’m in the 2015 version of Clueless. I love makeovers, exactly why I bought this cool purple lipstick. It’s time to be bold and experiment. Wish me luck!

I have more social experiments to go. If you have any suggestions, let me know.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Beneath the Silence by Charlene Carr

***I was gifted a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review***

Secrets have consequences. If given the power, they will lead you into a life you never dreamed of or wanted.

Brooke Lake is a girl caught in a town and a life she yearns to escape. Full of anger, fear, and questions without answers, she runs from her problems only to lose herself in a world that’s too much for her.

Molly Shirley is a woman without a past and no foreseeable future. Her body is her best commodity, so she does whatever she has to do to survive.

Broken by lies, Brooke and Molly must explore the parts of themselves they would rather keep secret. Only by confronting the past can they develop the strength to create a life of their own making–a life where love and forgiveness never come too late.

I loved this contemporary drama covering Brooke’s childhood to becoming a woman and Molly’s journey from teen to woman. The story kept switching between Brooke and Molly’s point of view. Right away I figured out who Molly was, but that didn’t ruin the story for me. In fact, the author did such a wonderful job with characterization that I really cared for everyone in the story. When they laughed, I laughed. When they cried, I shed tears. 

I loved this book because it was full of drama–Brooke’s family dynamic was downright depressing. With a family like hers, who needs enemies. Good thing she had her neighbor and best friend, Gabe. Molly was a poor, naive teen who turned to stripping and prostitution in order to survive. Some of her roommates (coworkers) were decent. Both ladies needed self-reflection and I prayed that they could find themselves. It’s never too late.

My favorite lines: 1) He looked like the brother she remembered, not the strange person he’d turned into. 2) Riv. Her protector. Her hero…until he wasn’t. 3) Are cliches okay if they’re real? 4) The older Brooke got, the easier the lies came.

The author was brilliant with dialogue and creating tension. All the scenes were full of emotion. I definitely thought of this story as an indie movie, a tear jerker. It seemed like every time Molly tried to get ahead, bad luck would find her. She wanted to get her GED, but her past haunted her. She had a supportive boyfriend until he became an insensitive jerk. She faced inner-conflict every day–strip vs. real world.

I loved the twist at the end. I hadn’t seen that as the cause for Brooke’s mom, dad, and brother’s unhappiness. The entire situation broke my heart. If only…

My favorite scenes involved Grams telling Brooke about her parent’s tragic past, Brooke meeting her niece for the first time, and Brooke and Gabe getting closure. I can’t lie. This book made me cry. I loved how journal entries became a part of the narration. These characters were beyond broken, and the author didn’t shy away from that. It made for a very emotional, inspirational journey.

I’m definitely a fan of the author’s writing style. Usually I get bored with long books, but I didn’t want Molly or Brooke’s story to end. I rooted for them to become strong women. Did they get happy endings? You’ll have to read to find out.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Ivy’s Envy by Latashia Figueroa

***I received a free copy from the group Paranormal and Horror Lovers on Goodreads in exchange for an honest review***

Latashia Figueroa’s riveting Want & Decay Trilogy follows the entangled lives of three people tormented by lust, jealousy, madness and murder. In this first book, Ivy’s Envy, Ivy James has had a history of violence with the men she falls for. Her grandmother and parents know what Ivy is capable of when things don’t go her way. 

Now Ivy has become obsessed with Thomas Miles, a man who works at her office. She is certain that Thomas loves her too. But there are people who stand in the way of Ivy and Thomas finally being together, like his wife, Deana. Determined to have the love that is their destiny, Ivy will go down a very dark and twisted road to make Thomas hers, and hers alone. But Ivy is not the only one who has dark secrets, and everyone involved will soon learn that pursuing love and passion to the extreme can lead to terrifying consequences.

I enjoyed this suspenseful book full of obsession and betrayal. The book was a very fast read. I loved the foreshadowing of something terrible happening. Plus, it was a cool perspective, or point of view, of the crazy Ivy analyzing her actions and the consequences, especially the ending!

My favorite lines: 1) When he lifts the cloth there is blood, my blood… 2) I let it go. I had to…for my sake. 3) I close my eyes tight trying to force a memory, and all I can remember is Thomas. 4) The last few months of my life rush to mind bringing with it a bottomless pit of regret.

Did I already mention that Ivy was crazy? Because she was. Crazy and violent. There’s a mystery regarding Charlie, her first office romance with a married man. This backstory was so intriguing that I wish the story would have started there.

I feared for Thomas and his wife. Literally any small contact she had with Thomas led to Ivy believing they were soulmates. Her actions reminded me of a Lifetime Movie. When he sent her flowers and kissed her on the cheek, I stopped feeling sorry for him. My favorite scenes in the book were the office environment, so I wished there could have been more of that instead of her interactions with her grandma. It proved that her grandma was suspicious of Ivy, but I got that after their first encounter.

The author did an awesome job on setting and images/metaphors. For instance, “my saliva thickens like a bloody paste.” She described everything in the scene so that, as a reader, I could feel, see, and hear everything going on. Some scenes made me jump out of my seat from fright! Ivy was the master of torture and mind games.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

My Social Experiment #2: Spreading the Love of Books

Yawatta Hosby read this first :)

These words will make sense after I explain myself. Yes, I love being a tease haha.

  

Let me start from the beginning. I read Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas after the friendly guy at Books-A-Million recommended it. The book was all right. Yes, only all right.

I let my writing buddy, Melissa, borrow Odd Thomas. She enjoyed it. When we met at Daily Grind, she gave the book back to me. Whoa daddy…I was hoping she’d keep it, but I always have a plan B.

Great minds think alike. Our buddy, Aaron, was in Daily Grind too. She handed him Odd Thomas. Caught off guard (haha), he asked, “Am I borrowing this?”

I told him he can keep it, return it back to me, or leave it at the table. No hard feelings. Then we proceeded to tease about the plot, genre, and characterization, making him scared that he may not like it (mind games are fun–the evil side of being an INTJ haha).

Since Aaron decided to keep the book and promised to read it, I think I’ve done my part in spreading word of mouth about books. I made sure to write: Yawatta Hosby read this first :) on the first page, so if this particular book gets passed from person to person, I’ll be known.

Aaron is a cool 23 year old. First of all, he’s another ‘N’ who can talk about random stuff for hours and hours. Second, he’s the only non-writing person I know that sincerely likes to hear of my and Melissa’s writing activities. 

In fact, he gave me a cool story idea. I can’t wait to start working on it–and it’d only be right to let him read it when I’m finished.

Two social experiments down, only a few more to go…

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

My Social Experiment #1: Magic

  

I love sociology and psychology. As a result, I’m constantly researching to understand myself better. INTJs want to know “the whole” of everything–including ourselves. Research doesn’t just involve encyclopedias and scientific journals. It also includes people you interact with every day.

For example, I asked my Facebook friends to help me with my social experiment (I give myself a new one at least twice a week). They didn’t hesitate to help, which I really appreciated.

My question: What was your impression when you first met me?

Thirty-something friends answered honestly. For the most part, the men thought I had been:

  • MY FAVE ANSWER–quiet, but thinking and analyzing everything at same time
  • Intelligent, quiet, friendly
  • Very sweet person, quiet but never thought shy
  • Nice, outspoken, funny, very intelligent…decent

And the women thought I had been:

  • MY FAVE ANSWER–quiet, chill, observant, nice
  • Quiet, shy, intelligent
  • Shy but friendly
  • Quiet, reserved, observant

So sweet! I love compliments! This data helped me last night. Even though I’m shy, I still appear friendly instead of standoffish. This was good to know. I thought I gave off negative first expressions since I’m horrible with small talk, a requirement when meeting strangers or acquaintances. Hearing that I give off positive vibes helped me gain confidence.

You see, for my social experiment, I had to leave my comfort zone. I had to be social! No fading in the background like I’m used to hee hee. Last night was my first time at Your Hobby Place.

My writing buddy’s husband taught me how to play Magic after giving me a tour of the store. I’m all for card games that require bluffing, strategic thinking, and luck/skill at the same time. 

I was nervous at first because of learning something new. I have a weird phobia of not wanting to disappoint whoever’s teaching me. But once I got over that fear, I had a blast. The guys in the room were very friendly and informative. They totally helped me play my hand. Thanks, I couldn’t have won without them!  A guy joked that I had to get used to dealing with math nerds, and I was like “I’ll fit right in.” :)

All in all, I’m happy that I didn’t chicken out of going to Your Hobby Place alone. Trust me, my shyness was creating imaginary obstacles so I’d have to cancel. Dang on anxiety–welcome to a shy person’s world.

I’m giving myself five more social experiments. Anyone have any ideas of what I should do next?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Wish Me Luck! Today Was My First Day of Online Class–Marketing 101 For Freelance Writers!

Anyone who follows my blog knows that I’m always looking for classes to help improve my craft of writing. There’s different varieties–writing fiction, personal essays, creative nonfiction, articles, poetry, screenplays, technical documents, and the list goes on and on.

I’m interested in freelance writing. I want to be able to present myself to editors of magazines and newspapers to pitch ideas. I want to get paid well and I want respect in this industry. It doesn’t matter if I use my name or have to use a pen name (I’d totally find a loophole and use my middle name hee hee).

Following successful freelancer blogs, I came across Carol Tice’s website. She’s very experienced in this writing field and is willing to give out accurate advice. It was a no brainier to sign up for her free 20 week online course Marketing 101 For Freelance Writers. This course will help me: take action, find good paying clients, and grow writing income. Sounds like a plan!

I’m excited. My inner-nerd made me finish my homework already hee hee. I’m back in class. Yea!!!

Wish me luck!

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

The Ultimate Question: Why Did I Become A Writer In the First Place?

Most writers, especially if they become authors, ask this question often. Sharing work brings vulnerability and a fear of rejection. Years ago, I decided to stop writing as a hobby, to think of it as a business. Good thing I have a thick skin… It’s time to dig deep and answer this ultimate question honestly.

Here goes:

Why did I become a writer in the first place?

  1. I love the idea of being an artist, of having a creative soul.
  2. To share my stories with readers who will appreciate and be entertained by them.
  3. To make money on the side–my lifelong dream is to become a full time writer.
  4. I’m an introvert so being a writer suits my personality. Plus, it’s fun meeting like-minded local writers.
  5. Creating imaginary worlds and making up characters is fun. Hard work but fun!
  6. I’m truly a rebel. People keep telling me that I need to find a suitable career, so I want to prove the naysayers wrong. I will be a successful author–self-published or not! I will be a successful screenplay writer and freelancer!

For all the writers out there, why did you choose this field in the first place?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby