Book Giveaway

One of my faithful readers, novelist Heather Justesen, is having a wonderful week full of giveaways over at her blog this week.  Check it out here.Balls in Her Court smaller

Heather is the author of the newly-released, The Ball's In Her Court, and she's got another book coming out this summer.  Gotta love that.  Here's a brief summary that I snitched from her website (in the interest of promotion, I don't think she'll get too upset with me):

She's
got a great job, a loving group of family and friends and basketball
skills like you wouldn't believe, but Denise DeWalt's life is far from
perfect, and she's about to come face-to-face with a past she hoped to
leave behind forever.

Twenty-six-year-old Denise thinks she's come to terms with her childhood in the foster
care system, but when her old nightmares return, Denise realizes that
she must deal with her past once and for all if she ever wants to move
on to a brighter future with Rich, the only man who can see past her
former life. As Denise's search leads her closer and closer to the one
person she hoped she'd never have to face again, she begins to realize
that her future depends on just one person–herself.

This
emotional and inspirational love story proves that life is full of
unexpected twists and turns–especially when it comes to facing your
demons, fighting for love, and finding happiness for the future

Overcomers Book Blog Stop

I am interested in overcoming adversity.  Also overcoming sloth, gluttony, laziness, and pride.  I think those are four of the seven deadly sins, no?  (Does anybody actually remember what the seven deadly sins are?)  I struggle with overcoming all of these bad traits on a daily basis.  Or at least weekly.  Overcomerbooksm

So when Nikki Leigh offered me the chance to be a blog stop on the Overcomers book tour, I said, hell yeah.  I can get on board the Overcomers wagon, despite the vaguely sexual ring to the title,  and write a post about it that will totally inspire people.  To begin with, let's define overcome.  Here are some of the words that I found on my Mac thesaurus (which is way better than the Microsoft thesaurus  by the way.  Waaaaaay better.  Just sayin'.):

beat, conquer, trounce, thrash, rout, vanquish, overwhelm, overpower, get the better of, triumph over, prevail over, win over/against, outdo, outclass, worst, crush; informal drub, slaughter, clobber, hammer, lick, best, crucify, demolish, wipe the floor with, make mincemeat of, blow out of the water, take to the cleaners, shellac, skunk.

Um, those are awesome words, verbs all, and I welcome you to use steal them and use them whenever you want.  I especially like the verbs trounce, thrash and vanquish.  I have learned to vanquish fears about getting my novel published.  Nice sentence, the verb really pumps it up.  But we are not here to discuss verbs today, we are here to discuss this new book.  Here's the deal: when you order the book you get over 85 free gifts. 

Just in case you don't have a clue what the book might be about after reading the post (and I can't say I blame you), I've compiled some interviews and excerpts for you.  We begin with some information from the book's introduction, written by publisher Lynne Kippel:      Lynneklipple-150x150



At one point in my life it seemed like
everywhere I looked, I saw tragedy. My brother,
both of my parents, and a dear friend were all
battling cancer at the same time. Other friends
were losing jobs and fearful about the prospects
of finding new work. The evening news was full
of financial scandals, plant closings,
kidnappings, and war.



As I sat in the sun on my front porch in March
2009, I wished I had a book to send to my
brother to read during his chemotherapy
treatments – something to remind him that he was
not alone and to encourage him to fight for his
life. I wanted a book that could give him hope,
inspiration, and encouragement on every page.



Due to a series of miracles, the book you are
now reading is my wish come true. In a very
short time a team of wonderful people came
together to create this book with just one
purpose: to encourage you, the reader, to
overcome whatever obstacles are lying in your
path to happiness.



As you read the stories in this book, you will
find real life tales of remarkable courage,
strength, and perseverance.  You will be
inspired, entertained, and uplifted. Some of the
stories will make you laugh. Some of them will
make you cry. All of them will make you proud of
the power of the human spirit. 



You will find this a book of diversity. There
are many authors, from many walks of life.
However, they all share a common bond. They
triumphed over tragedy and gleaned wisdom in
this process. While this is not a religious
book, there are stories full of faith, of many
kinds and flavors. It is funny how in your
darkest times, faith often becomes your
brightest light.



All of the contributors to this book want to
encourage you to hold tight to your belief that
a better day will come. It is their sincere
desire to pass along what they’ve learned
through their own trials, to make your journey
easier.



I hope that you wear this book out by
highlighting meaningful passages and bending
down the corners of the pages you want to read
over and over again. There is true wisdom in
these pages that can help you feel strong,
brave, and hopeful.



May you be blessed by this book and inspired to
overcome!



Lynne Klippel
St. Peters, Missouri
September, 2009

And just to whet your appetite, here is another excerpt from the book.  This one is from  Charlon Bobo.  I'll be honest here, I chose the excerpt because first of all I like Charlon's name and second I like her photo.  I think Charlon and I could totally be buds:

One Woman’s Empowering Journey From Fragmented
Child To Conscious Entrepreneur


Charlon BoboCharlonbobo1-107x150


As strange as it even seems to me at times, the
lessons of my childhood journey are applicable
to every aspect of my life, including the
everyday operations of my soulful business. As a
conscious entrepreneur, I pull from this
experience often to guide me. I’d like to share
with you the five key lessons of my pilgrimage.


1.   


Protective mechanisms are in place whether or
not I realize or acknowledge them.

I don’t always understand why a project fails to
materialize or a serious prospect seems to
change her mind. I do know there exists an
over-arching structure and order that conspires
on my behalf to bring about my highest personal
and professional growth. Whatever that wisdom, I
can trust it absolutely.


 


2.   


My ”story” doesn’t define who I am.


I am a vibrant business owner who grows every
day, and occasionally stumbles and falls on my
bum! Because I constantly create myself anew,
nothing from my past can effectively define or
imprison me. I consciously choose to “bring my
best game” to every day and know that’s enough.

 


3.   


Innate wisdom effortlessly guides me to the most
opportune time to take action.


When in doubt, I do nothing until ultimate
clarity presents itself. Although daily action
is a crucial component in accomplishing my
goals, I can also watch nature and use Her
guidance to positively influence my actions.
Nature provides a silent, fallow season – winter
– to turn inward to rest and restore. Using this
model, I reap the most benefit from my efforts.
Smart living requires me to balance action with
equal inaction.

 


4.   


My history doesn’t determine my level of
success.


I can accomplish any lofty goal I imagine
regardless of any perceived limitations. The
past doesn’t dictate my future. I gift myself
the pleasure and freedom to envision a life of
my design. Family-of-origin, childhood
circumstances, real or perceived impediments,
lack of skills, none of these compare to the
capacity of the human spirit to realize dreams.


 


5.   


I choose victimhood or empowerment every day
with my words, thoughts, and actions.



We do not control the actions of others and yet
we may be drawn into their drama. Like cast
members of a play, energetically we agreed to
these roles to teach AND learn. No matter my
external circumstances, my responses can only
come from one of two places: damage or
abundance. I choose abundance.


 


May you be profoundly blessed by reading my
story and take from it any value that forever
nourishes your soul.


From Overcomers, Inc.; True Stories
of Hope, Courage and Inspiration. To get your
own copy and receive dozens of bonus gifts go to




http://www.overcomersbook.com/booklaunch

Wise words, and there are more in the book itself.  So check it out.

Looking Back, and More Important, Looking Forward

It is New Year's Eve, 2008, the cusp of a new year.

I'm a wildly optimistic person and every year I proclaim that the next year is going to be the best yet.  And, nearly everyone of them turns out to be best in some arena.  It may be very difficult for some people to come up with good things to say about 2008, given the upheavals we've experienced.  Once again turning on my Pollyanna persona, I believe these are necessary shifts we've had to go through–and that 2009 will be better.  I'm excited about our president-elect, for one thing.  And I'm excited about the opportunities for writing in 2009.

Although the publishing industry is in turmoil, it is going to be a good year for writers. Not only will many of us find more time to write because of fewer business obligations, but in general a depressed economy forces us to stay home more–and what better thing to do at home then write?  Along those lines, I have plans in the works to assist you in your writing endeavors next year.

But first, before we get to what's in store for 2009, I present my year in review, along with a list of favorite posts.

Good Things About 2008

1.  My ghostwriting career took off.  I've been privileged to write several books for wonderful clients. This allows me to enter a different world and become the person I'm writing the book for.  Gives me a small taste of what being an actor must feel like.  

2.  After teaching in the program for five years, I became co-director of the wonderful writing program, The Writer's Loft.  Anybody interested in improving their writing skills should take a look at the program.  It is based in Tennessee, but since its a distant-learning program you can live anywhere and take advantage of one-on-one focused mentoring.

3.  I started Bookstrumpet, which is floundering at the moment but had a glorious beginning with many wonderful reviews from various people.  I'm pondering this blog's future at the moment.  One possibility is to incorporate all the material into Wordstrumpet.  Ideas?

4.  Word Strumpet became available on Kindle and at this writing it is currently #12 on the bestseller list in Lifestyle and Culture.  Thanks to all my Kindle subscribers!

5.  I began a newsletter, The Creative Equation, and got some subscribers.  Thanks, guys!  For those of you who don't yet subscribe, you can do so on the front page of Wordstrumpet.  I send it out irregularly and don't harass you with tons of emails about stuff to buy.  But it is the best way to keep up with news about product releases and my plans.  (See below)

6.  I started running and found many commonalities between the practice of running and the practice of writing.  See below for some of my posts about it.

7. I made two wonderful new friends, Rachel, and Mayanna, both of whom I adore.  And I kept up with my old friends in Nashville, too numerous to list here, and LA, and my bestest friend, Suzanne.  I share a love of writing with all of them.  Rachel and Mayanna both started blogs this year and Suzanne really got going on hers.

What I Resolve to Do Better

1. Respond to comments more consistently.   I love, love, love it when you guys comment yet I don't always manage to comment back.  No excuses.  I'll do better.

2.  Be as helpful with your writing as possible.  I want to do more posts on craft and motivation, as these are what the respondents to my survey said they really appreciated.  I also want to do more posts featuring exercises you can use in your work immediately.

3.  Send the above-mentioned newsletter out more regularly.

4.  Fully embrace the possibilities of blogging and allow Wordstrumpet to be all that it can be. 

Favorite Posts of 2008 (Mine and Yours) 

1.  The series on words.  Part one is here, part two here, and part three here.  This seemed to be a crowd-pleaser, and I loved reading the comments about how you find strong verbs and other good words.  We writers are a word-loving bunch!

2.  The series on scene.  Series seemed to be big this year, and since scene is often a point of confusion for writers, this one went over well.  Part one is here, on flat scenes is here, part two on elements of a scene here, and part three on rising and falling action here.

3.  When One is Born a Writer.  This one got so many great responses I did When One is Born a Writer Redux.

4. My posts about running.  Read them here and here.  At the moment, I'm sidelined with a knee injury, but I can't wait to get back to it.

5. The Filtering Consciousness.  An arcane but important aspect of craft.

6.  A Day in the Life.  I'm trying to get better about not devoting quite so much time to writing.

7.  Birdsong.  I thought this was just a little throw-away, but people loved it.  I did too.

8.  The  Character Who Wasn't Dead. Sometimes we writers are kinda dense.

9.  A two-part series on erotic romance.  Part one, on writing it, is here.  And part two, on publishing it, here.

10.  Finally, I resisted this one, because it is multi-parts, and creating all these links is a lot of work.  Plus its almost time for me to get ready to go out.  But I did a whole series on The Writing Bogs that I've since turned into an Ebook called Set the Words Free.  So, here are the links:  part one, part two, part three and part four.  Phew!  I could swear there was another one, but I can't seem to find it.

Looking Ahead to 2009

For the record, my biggest non-blog-related goal is to get a contract for my novel.  Go, Emma Jean!  I know a lot of you are also looking for agents, writing query letters, submitting like crazy.  So let's all communicate and support each other through the process.

Besides the above-mentioned goals, I want to give you a heads-up on what I'm planning, project-wise. My biggest goal is to get my pet project off the ground–the Charlotte Rains Dixon Novel Writing Academy.  Is that not a fabulous and grandiose name?  I adore it.  And its going to be wonderful, a membership site full of lengthy and informative articles, forms, and exercises.  Plus regular teleclasses, videos and all kinds of goodies.  

Realistically, it is also going to take a few months to get off the ground.  So in the meantime I hope to offer a product or two.  Stay tuned–and thanks for hanging around as long as you have.

Happy New Year to all!

Ghostwriting

One of the main ways I make my living is through ghostwriting, and I love it.  I get to write about topics I’d never write about otherwise, meet fascinating people, and enter the minds of those fascinating people.  Sort of like writing fiction, only not.

What is Ghostwriting?

Ghostwriting is when I write the book for you but your name appears on the book.  As far as the world knows, you are the author of the book.  If I’m lucky, you might thank me in the acknowledgments .  But even that is not really necessary.  Some big-time ghostwriters even get a “with” credit, as in “by famous person with ghostwriter.”  But not usually.

Who Uses Ghostwriters?

A better question might be, who doesn’t use a ghostwriter?  Generally, ghostwriters are employed for non-fiction projects, though many a novel has been ghostwritten (you can read a post I wrote about that here.)   Many of the best-selling business and self-help books are ghostwritten, as are those by politicians and celebrities. 

Not only famous people hire ghostwriters.  People in all walks of life who are too busy to write a book or simply feel they don’t have a way with word hire ghostwriters.  Working with a ghostwriter can be an efficient way of getting your book to print.

Why Do I Need a Book?

You may not have dreams of bestseller status, but you do need a book.  Why? Here are some reasons:

  • A book lends your career immediate status and prestige.  No matter what profession you are in, having a book to show for yourself gives you credibility.
  • If you do any public speaking, or aspire to, you need a book because many speaking bureaus will not book you unless you have one. 
  • A book  offers a potential  additional income stream.   You may choose to sell it on the internet or as a  back-of-the-room product.  If you are providing useful content on your website or blog, people will want to buy a book to read more.  If you are giving inspiring lectures, people will want to read more.  Give them what they want–a book.
  • A book offers you a chance to spread your message in a different channel.  Make no mistake, even iin this digital age, a book is still considered the ultimate authority.

What is The Ghostwriting Process?

People come to me when they have an idea for a book, have been struggling to write one for awhile, or need to get a product out fast, for any of the above reasons.  Generally, the client will have a fair amount of material or notes on the project ready.  If this is not the case, there may be quite a bit of upfront interviewing time required. 

It is my job to take this material and shape it into a finished product that reflects the voice and style of the client.  No two of the books that I ghostwrite will sound like the same author if I’ve done my job correctly.  I assess the potential readers and what sort of style might be appropriate for them, also.

Every project differs, but basically I’ll send the client constant updates of the the manuscript for him or her to edit and make changes on.  I guarantee my work and I’m not happy until the client is happy. 

How Long Does it Take?

The time frame varies.  I’ve gotten books out in as short as a month, while some projects tend to take much longer.

How Much Does it Cost?

While I have a base fee, again, each project will vary in cost.  It depends on how much material you have ready.  Some books really only need a rewrite or edit, while others require a massive assembly of notes and research.  Still others may need a lot of upfront interviewing time to pull the story out of the client, and this, of course, will cost more.   Please, please, please don’t assume that a ghostwriter will work for royalties only.  We’re professionals, too, folks, and we like to eat also.  Royalties are more of an “if” than a “for certain” and if they do every manifest, it may not be for months or years in the future.  Unless you can find a ghostwriter who needs experience and a credit to show, forget about asking us to work for royalties.

I’m Sold, What’s My Next Step?

Contact me  and we’ll discuss specifics.  If you’re not quite ready to hire a ghostwriter, and want to do it yourself, I can help coach you to get your book onto the page, too.