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Author | Blogger | Workshop Facilitator Visit my website at www.authordeelawrence.com to learn more about my romantic suspense novel, Gotta Let It Go, which is set in Baltimore. Connect with me online @ thewritepen (Twitter and Facebook). Thanks for visiting with me today!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

5 Tips to Consider on Your Writing Journey to Publication and Beyond (Part 1)

So, you want to WRITE! Here are 5 tips to consider on your writing journey to
1.     Determine what you want to write: fiction versus non-fiction.

2.     Learn the art of writing by taking a creative writing class, attending writing workshops, conferences, etc.

3.     Read. Read. Read. (Books within and outside of your genre).

4.     Write. Write. Write. (Develop a daily schedule you can stick to).

5.     Research. Research. Research. (Subject matter, people, places, marketing strategies, etc.).

Monday, February 12, 2018

Interview with Becky DeWitt, author of Stolen Property

Author’s Bio: As a Christian author, Becky's writings reveal trials and tribulations as well as edification to the soul. Her books express the Christian journey from the ordinary everyday perspective with titles and cover art that are uncommon.

In 2008 she published her first children's short story, Destiny's Closet, which developed into a book by 2009. Destiny's Closet teaches children the importance of developing a personal relationship with God.  The success and well-reception of "Destiny's Closet" inspired Becky to write two more books, "Destiny's Closet - Circle of Friends" and "Destiny's Closet - The Wonder School," for a series.

In 2017, Becky released her first novel, Stolen Property, which is an adventure into the supernatural from the Christian perspective, with awe inspiring and breathtaking experiences. It is available on Amazon.com.

Becky has contributed articles for several websites and magazines and a library of her writings are on the Authors Den website (www.authorsden.com/beckydewitt).

What’s the inspiration for writing your book?
BD: God and my Pastor.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
BD: No.

How long did it take to write your book?
BD: It took one year.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
BD: I just sat down to the computer and asked the Holy Spirit to let the words flow.

Do you listen to music when you write?
BD: If yes, is there a theme song for this book? Yes. I did listen to music for this particular book. There was no one specific song, but I listened to Elevation Worship.

What are the keys to success in marketing your book(s)?
BD: First, I have to identify the target audience and then expand locally, nationally, and even internationally. Second, is networking through word of mouth by speaking about your book at churches, book clubs and other various events. Third, utilization of the Internet through social media.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
BD: Always believe in the gift that you have been given to write. Try to write every day to develop and keep the focus. Remember it is your story and if you do not believe in what you are writing, no one else will.

How about sharing an excerpt from Stolen Property?
It was another Sunday morning and Pastor Esther Goldstein had been up and down all night praying and seeking God for the word to speak to His people. But there was something different today and she could not exactly discern what it was. She made a cup of tea and sat down at her kitchen table looking out at the ocean through her glass doors that led to the deck. As she watched the waves roll on to the shore, she looked at them and thought of the awesome power of God and all of His creation and particularly how the ocean just stopped at the shoreline.

Just then the sky began to change and it was the breaking of day. It was really the best time of day, especially for her. She loved the early mornings. Pastor Esther had always felt that it was the best time to get a prayer through with no distractions. She took the scripture about seeking the Lord early literally.

As she sat there stirring her tea, she wondered ‘Lord what is it?’ She knew that there was something going on and she would continue to seek the Lord until she got an answer. Still stirring her tea, she thought to herself ‘I should have put another spoonful of sugar.’

Soon it would be time to get dressed and she did not even have a topic. Well, that is how it went with her sometimes.

What’s next for you?
BD: I have just published Faith Is Calling You, which is a Christian inspirational book. Currently, I am working on the sequel to Stolen Property and another book.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)? 
It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Review of the play, Skeleton Crew (Baltimore Center Stage)

Last Sunday, I braved the rain and cold weather to see the play "Skeleton Crew" by Dominique Morisseau which was directed by Nicole A. Watson. This play was part of the Women's Voices Theater Festival.

This play is a depiction of folks working the line in a stamping plant in Detroit, Michigan, circa 2008. Meet Shanita, pregnant and without a man; Dez who's trying to save enough money to open his own business; Faye, who is simply trying to get in her 30 years before retiring; and Reggie their boss who is caught between executing management's plan to let them go or trying to save their jobs. This was definitely a tumultuous time in the auto industry where everyone's job at any given day could be yanked away.

All of these actors gave the audience an excellent performance. You could feel their joys when they talked about choosing a name for their baby (Shanita), or when they smoked a cigarette against company policies (Faye), or anxiety when a weapon was found in their backpack during a "Stop and Search" by management (Dez), or conflicted when they had to enforce company's rules (Reggie). Despite the uncertainty of losing their jobs and despite their flaws they stuck together as a family till the very end for an outcome befitting them all.

I thoroughly enjoyed this play. The actors engaged the audience and made you feel like you were right there working in the stamping plant. This play runs now through March 3, 2018 and it's a must see!

Cast members:
  • Brittany Bellizeare - Shanita
  • Stephanie Berry - Faye
  • Sekou Laidlaw - Reggie
  • Gabriel Lawrence - Dez
Check out the trailer and the actual set below:

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Do the Opposite and Win as a Writer! (Part 3)

Welcome to Part 3 of my review of Dawn Field’s “How to Fail as a Writer” blog and why you should do the opposite to WIN as a writer.

1. Do not ever read for other writers. Critiquing will just cloud your mind and take your focus off your own work.
This is so not true. I have been running a writers’ critique group for almost 10 years and we enjoy reading each other’s work. I find that constructive criticism only makes my writing better through their feedback. And nothing beats having your work polished to the best that it can be.

2. If an editor critiques your writing, stick to your guns that it’s his fault he didn’t understand “what you really meant.”
Sometimes a third party (an editor) pointing out what’s wrong with your storyline can be a very hard pill to swallow. But the good thing is that they are objective and will make your work so much better once you get over the fact that as writer’s we don’t always know it all.

3. If a reader gives you feedback that something in the plot seems to be missing, ignore her. Better yet, prove it’s “all there” by pointing to page 224, where three words in the middle of a paragraph at the end of the chapter “explain it all.”
Readers can be very astute so as a writer you have to ensure that the plotline overs all the bases and explains the character’s motivation, etc. So instead of dismissing the reader’s feedback, writers should see how best they can address the reader’s concerns.

4. Never back up the electronic copy of your work. It’s good for your creative juices to be in constant fear of losing your book beyond the event horizon of the cyber black hole.
This is laughable. Without a doubt PLEASE do save your work.

5. Forget the idea of practicing any kind of writing other than your book. It’s just a distraction.
It’s not a distraction when you can flex your creative muscles while engaging in other types of writing other than your book. As for me, I enjoy blogging and writing book reviews. So, go ahead and flex those muscles.

6. Do not stoop so low as to take the advice of writers who have walked the path before you. You need to find your own path in your own way.
I know we all have to find our own path but why reinvent the wheel when embarking on the writing journey. If there are writers who have experienced the ups and downs of the writing industry, I think it would behoove writers not to take a few lessons from them.

7. Never show your writing to anyone.
That’s the worst thing a writer can do. You have to show and share your writing to get feedback to ensure you are on the right track in keeping readers engage. As I have said before, I run a writers’ critique group and I really enjoy sharing my work with the members and welcome their feedback too.