Article, publishing, Rachel Rueben, writer's life

Advice To Self-Published Authors

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Image via Pixabay

In 2009, I decided to become an author, unfortunately, I had no idea what kind of journey I was signing up for.  As I threw my hat into the race, publishers were closing left and right due to the Great Recession.  Also, Amazon had just started challenging the U.S. publishing industry by creating the Kindle e-reader and their Kindle Direct Publishing company.  Now in 2018, the publishing industry has changed so much, today, many authors are choosing to go indie and major publishers are being even more selective about what they acquire.  So what would I say to an author just starting out today?  Well, I gathered some of the best advice I could and decided to publish it all here.  Hopefully, you too will pass it on to the next generation of newbie authors who don’t have a clue about how the publishing thing works.

 

  1. Educate yourself on the business and keep up with industry news. ~Rachel Rueben

 

  1. My advice to authors is to EDIT EVERYTHING WELL! If you aren’t confident of your own skills, hire someone. Yes, it gets expensive, but it’s worth it. We all make mistakes, miss things, or simply don’t know the correct way to say something. Research your would-be editor well. I’ve seen professionally edited, big company published, best selling authors, with grammatical errors. Apparently, neither they, nor their editors, knew the correct grammar. Find someone who will do a good job at a fair price. If you can’t afford an editor, then read your manuscript until your eyes bleed and your brain melts.” ~Dellani Oakes

 

  1. Avoid vanity presses they accept your manuscript but they charge you for the privilege of getting published.  It’s fine if you have money to throw at the endeavor but you are better off self publishing on Amazon.” ~Karen Vaughan

 

  1. Best advice? Decide how much control you want in the decisions about your new work. A finished story can be like the writer’s baby, so that writer has to decide how they feel about letting it go to another for the “growing up” process. Whether to self-publish with a POD, an ebook indie publisher, or try for the traditional publishing houses, it can be a matter of time and persistence. However, the bigger the publisher, the less control a writer might have on the decisions of cover, marketing, or even the edits. So, a new writer will have to choose whether they want to take the time to submit queries, submissions, and find agents so that they can possibly get more notice (and hopefully money) for their work, but have to let the fine details go to someone else and start working on the next. Or, if they have the tenacity to market themselves, they can have complete control of their baby and self-publish. An indie ebook press can offer a range between these two. Some have their own artists and editors, some let the author have the final say. But, once you have your “baby” fresh from your brain and “on paper” (as most books are files rather than typed manuscripts anymore), you need to decide which path of hard work, long hours, and promotion you want to do. It’s a lot of tedious work either way. As a self-publisher, I like having a say in what my books look like, but I sure would appreciate someone else doing the editing and marketing sometimes. Having a strong network of fellow authors is always good to have as well, no matter how you decide to publish..” ~Ruth Davis Hays

 

  1. Business is business, dead weight is just that, dead weight. If they are not contributing revenue they will drain your resources, cut them loose.” ~ Mike Thrasher – Chief Sales and Marketing Officer – Apex Capital From Amanda Thrasher

 

  1. On verbal agreements: “Some states do not honor verbal agreements. Others do. If one of the parties in your contract is from one of those states, then you could be agreeing to something you think you’ve mentioned casually over the phone.This one fact alone is why I do not conduct telephone negotiations with anyone on any project for any reason.

    People who want to negotiate with me must do so by letter or, these days, by email. I print those emails and keep them as work product for any agreement that we come up with, or don’t come up with, as the case may be.”  ~ Kristine Kathyrn Rusch

 

  1. You can definitely build an author platform and generate good sales from free marketing – but you will pay with your time.” ~ Joanna Penn

 

  1. About mistakes he sees authors make on social media:  “Shouting, ‘buy my book’, ad nauseam, on Twitter. No one is listening.” ~Mark Dawson

 

  1. Whatever you may have heard, self-publishing is not a shortcut to anything. Except maybe insanity. Self-publishing, like every other kind of publishing, is hard work. You don’t wake up one morning good at it. You have to work for that. ~ Zoe Winters

 

Here are a just a few books worth reading if you want to learn more about self-publishing:

  • (APE) Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur by Guy Kawasaki
  • Write. Publish. Repeat: The No Luck Required Guide to Self- Publishing Success by Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant and David Wright
  • Closing the Deal on Your Own terms by Kristine Kathyrn Rusch
  • Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook, Second Edition, by Helen Sedwick
  • How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn (This is book 2, in a series.)
  • Let’s Get Visible by David Gaughran

Also, if you want more information and resources you can check out: Important Resources for Indie Authors Parts One & Two, right here on the Cereal Authors blog.

 

Happy 2018, if you have any advice that you would like to impart to the next generation, please share it in the comments section.

 

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Musings, Rachel Rueben, Ramblings, Uncategorized

Exercising Your Sarcasm

Exercising Your Sarcasm

Sarcasm has been no doubt been in use since the dawn of humanity, with most languages have their own forms of sarcasm.  Sarcasm is a form of humor, an ironic statement that can be considered either funny or rude depending on the delivery of the comment as well as the situation.  Humor can be a powerful tool in the arsenal of a communicator because if used at the wrong time, you can make a terrible impression.  This can be awful for the artist whose job it is, is to reach people with their work.  Imagine not being able to reach someone on a personal level because that’s what it equates to when you can’t joke around with someone.  There’s this barrier between the speaker and the listener and no matter what, it’s not easy to communicate with someone who can’t understand language on a basic level.

People who aren’t able to use or understand sarcasm are often seen as not culturally fluent. That’s because sarcasm is considered a vital part of language which is a source of human bonding.  So if a person can’t effectively use language, they therefore, can’t bond as well.  As writers, it is our job to connect and we can’t do that if our statements aren’t clear.  So does that mean writers should stop using sarcasm?  That’s a complicated question.

Images of Sarcastic People

Believe it or not, not everyone enjoys sarcastic language.  In fact, a survey was done on U.S. Southern college kids and only 35% of respondents said they like sarcasm, not only that, they found it often unnecessary.  This is probably because sarcasm can be viewed as passive aggressive and used only by the timid, while others see it as threatening or subversive.

So what does this mean for those of us who love sarcasm, does this mean we’re doomed to censorship?  Well no, remember sarcasm is a way to connect with people on a deeper level, and not everyone you meet is going to connect with you or even want to.  That’s their right.  However on the flip side, you honestly weren’t put on this earth to connect with ever single creature.  It’s impossible.

Cereal Authors Sarcasm Fact

The Consequences Of Not Understanding Sarcasm

Over the past few years, scientists have conducted studies which suggest those who have trouble understanding sarcasm may have a certain form of dementia called, frontotemporal dementia.  It’s believed that the brain is dysfunctional or damaged when it can’t detect insincere statements or humor.

In a Canadian study, children as young as six years old are reported to be able to detect sarcasm in conversation.  Needless to say, if a loved one is not understanding obvious sarcasm, you might want to take them to the doctor.

Making The World A Better & Healthier Place

It’s been proven that the brain works much harder to decipher lies and sarcasm.  So instead of seeing yourself as a smartass, see yourself more like a physical trainer, making people workout their brains.  Who better than a writer to take up that challenge?  So today, I am challenging you to take your sarcasm, your humor, and your spirit and go out into the world to make it friendlier and funnier place.  Humanity is depending on you!  No, really!  😉

 

Sarcasm Post 2
Pic by Johanna B. via Flickr

 

 

Article, Book Marketing, Rachel Rueben, Social media

Instagram For Authors Part 2

Instagram for Authors Part 2
Image via Pixabay

In my last post. I talked about Instagram and how authors can use it to build a social media following as well as what type of content to post.  Today, I’m going into the specifics on how to use Instagram to promote a book.  I’m also going to give a few ideas on when to post as well as how to maximize your time spent there so that you don’t spend all day posting pretty pictures.  So without further ado…

A Free Feature Authors Can Use For Book Promotion:

Instagram recently released a new feature (copying SnapChat) called, Instagram Stories where you can post a series of pictures, or videos for 24 hours.  Why would somebody want to do that?  It’s to create a sense of urgency and trigger the impulse mechanism within a human brain which can be ideal for things like:

  • A presale
  • A limited sale
  • A book giveaway
  • Or even a contest

The images or videos appear as a slideshow and you can post throughout the day. The only drawback is, there’s no ability to interact with your followers because there are no comments or likes for these kinds of posts.  If you’re interested, here’s a post from Instagram’s own blog which goes into further detail.

Instagram Carousel

Last year, Instagram launched a feature of slide shows posts called Carousel where users can load up to 10 photos or videos to one single post just like the Stories feature but without the time limit.  Like the Stories feature, users can spread their posts out over a period of a day or several weeks building up to a big sale or your even the release of your next book.  It’s all up to you.

Here are more ways authors can use Instagram’s Carousel feature:

  • Post a set of teasers from your work
  • Reveal a book cover
  • Announce a book release
  • Have a book sale
  • Hold a giveaway
  • Host contests
  • Post a series of book trailers

A refreshing example of an author using the carousel feature wisely is author Krystal Sutherland, who used it to display her book covers in various languages.  Also, blogger Ana Hoffman, took the feature and used her pics to introduce herself, as well as her work to her followers.  These two ladies knocked it out of the park.

Instagram Polling Stickers

One big complaint that many users had about Instagram was it’s very basic features.  I mean, there really wasn’t much you could do to engage your followers outside of responding to comments. So in response, Instagram recently introduced polling again, copying SnapChat’s Polly service.

Ways authors can use polling:  

  • Ask about questions about pricing for example: Is $5.99 too much for an ebook?
  • Opinions on book covers.
  • Thoughts on book titles.
  • Ask about various characters for example: Do you think Character A deserves his own book? Should Character B get the ax?

This feature can be very helpful to authors wanting to mine data from their followers.  And the good thing is, people love to give their opinions so it’s not considered intrusive.

Scheduling Apps Are A Complicated Business On Instagram

Sadly, Instagram doesn’t allow third party apps to post to their site.  But, there are several companies that have gotten around that by offering reminder services, where you create a post on an app and after you schedule it, it sends you a reminder to your phone.  When you receive this reminder, you can post it through your phone.  It’s a roundabout way to get past the obstacles that Instagram has created for users.  If you’re wondering why do they do this?  It’s to keep people posting through their (Instagram’s) mobile app and not via a desktop or third party app.  However, there are a few rogue services that break those rules but I won’t mention them here, because if you’re caught, your account can be suspended.  Remember, Amazon is still suing multiple companies as well as several individuals that repeatedly broke the rules on their website.

I have to admit, I do make it a point to preschedule things just so my account doesn’t lie dormant for months at a time while I write my next book. However, I only use the services approved by Instagram, I’ll list those later on.

Before I do that, I’ll discuss why authors should consider pre-scheduling apps.  During a book launch, you might be asked to do interviews or even write a guest post on a popular blog.  Most hosts would appreciate it, if they don’t require an author to promote the project on their own social media sites.  Now I know that sounds like common sense but you’ll be surprised at how few authors actually do this.  It’s not because of ego or the fear of marketing but usually because during a book launch, authors are busy or just plain nervous.  Nonetheless, this can be seen as rude or unprofessional by those trying to help promote us and our work.

What can scheduling/ reminder apps help authors promote or remember?

  • Book signing dates
  • Radio or television interviews
  • Online or offline book tours
  • Holiday posts: Wish your followers a Happy New Year or World Book Day. Yes, that’s a real holiday.
  • Post while on vacation or even while sick.

Many authors use these scheduling apps for pretty much all their social media accounts, though I don’t recommend relying solely on these apps to post, I do believe they can be aides in helping keep authors organized.

The more popular scheduling/ reminder apps are: 

There you have, it more tips and ideas for authors who want to use Instagram for their book marketing.  If you have anymore tips, please let me know in the comments section.

 

Rachel Rueben, Social media

Instagram For Authors

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Instagram, is one of the fastest growing social media sites in the world with over 800 million monthly users.  With a user base that is between the ages of 18 and 29, it’s globally the most popular social media site beating Facebook and Twitter for online engagement.  I’ll admit when I think of Instagram, I image teen girls posting those duck face selfies or foodies, posting pictures of every crumb that touches their plate.  So I really didn’t believe that Instagram had anything to offer me, or any author for that matter.  I mean, I’m a writer and writers write, they don’t do pictures let alone, video.  However over the past several years, I’ve been seeing the trends in social media go from long form text to short visual posts.

Don’t believe me?  This past year, Facebook began letting their users choose to frame their text posts within bright eye-catching backgrounds.  This is mainly because their algorithms favor images and video over text which has left a lot of people complaining about reach.  So this was Facebook’s answer to the problem…

Rachels Happy Halloween on FB

Corny, right?  It’s no secret that visual media works better than plain text, it’s one of the reasons why Facebook purchased Instagram back in 2012.  It’s also the reason why the most popular and fastest growing social media sites are the ones with richer content like pictures and video.

So using my brand new Instagram account, I went to work and started studying how authors and readers use the site successfully.

Okay, So What Do Authors Post About?

At a place like Instagram, a long form post is not very practical. The content you share on Facebook or Twitter is most likely not going to work here.  You need to tell a story with your posts which shouldn’t be too hard for an author.  Below, I’ve listed several examples of how authors are using Instagram to share their work and reach readers.

Ideas For Instagram Posts:  

  • Share quotes (usually short)
  • Include teasers from a WIP (work in progress)
  • Ask questions to followers. Here’s writer @macxlopes asking followers if they would even want to read his book if it were published.

Time to embrace my fear… #walkingwithwords

A post shared by Mãcx £õpes (@macxlopes) on

  • Share behind the scenes peeks. For example, author Barbara Freethy posted a pic of her cat starring intently while she worked.
  • Post pics of book swag like this one from author K.S. Thomas.
  • Reveal new book covers via pic or video.
  • Upload book trailers.
  • Do a live video. Many authors and celebs use live videos to do live Q&As but you can also use live video to make announcements about publication dates.

Here’s a tip: If you have a text post you’d like to share on Instagram be sure it’s written on visually appealing pictures or backgrounds. There are many sites that offer free graphic design software like; Canva, Stencil and Crello.  These sites will provide backgrounds, and even resize your work according to the requirements of various social media sites.

Book Related Hashtags

After figuring out what to post, the second step on my journey was to find all the book and publishing related conversations.  To my surprise, it wasn’t hard to find readers and book reviewers.

  • #Books 24,140,100 people used this hashtag in their posts
  • #Bookstagram: 14,223,284 posts
  • #Bookworm: 8,347,983
  • #Reading: 14,298,588
  • #Writing: 7,730,884
  • #Author 3,612,412
  • #Ebook: 892,842
  • #Shelfi: 836,264
  • #Readers: 565,197
  • #ReadersOfInstagram: 394,919
  • *Bonus: #Bookstagrammer: 1,251,555 to help you find reviewers on Instagram.

Tip: There are several sites that track the most popular hashtags being used on Instagram like TagBlender, RiteTag and Hashtagify.me.

A List of Popular #Bookstagrammers:

I recommend just looking at these accounts to observe and learn about how Instagram functions.  Find an author in your genre and look in the comments section.  Engage and follow them, these people are your target audience.

More Word & Book Related Accounts:

There you have it, tips authors can actually use for their Instagram accounts.  Stay tuned for next time, because I’ll be sharing how to use Instagram for book promotion as well as sharing useful apps.

 

Excerpts, Fiction, Rachel Rueben

A Meeting Of The Minds

Lilly From Miss Mary Mack
Image from Pixabay

Not knowing what to do, he went downstairs to ask and was met by the little girl he met outside in the chicken coop.  “Hi Oscar!  Why ain’t you in school with the other boys?”  Lilly asked.  Shrugging his shoulders, he answered, “I’m going tomorrow.”

“Good,” she said, “We don’t need anymore stupid boys in this place.”

“What about you?  Why aren’t you in school?” Oscar asked curiously.

“I don’t need it, I’m already smart.”  She declared.

Not believing her, he said, “Nuh uh, everybody has to go to school, Miss Mary said so.”

“She’s not the boss of me!”

“Oooh,” Oscar exclaimed, “You a devil child!”

“A what?” Lilly asked, rather dismayed.

“My momma used to say when a girl wasn’t right, she was a devil child.”

“That’s silly!  If I’m a devil, then you’re a devil too!”

Resisting the label, Oscar declared, “Nope!  I’m saved by the Lord, and am one of his sheep.”

“You look more like a goat to me!”

“Baaah!” Oscar bleeted, having finished his closing argument.

Not quite sure what to make of him, Lilly began walking away and said, “Just another stupid boy.”

Article, books, Cereal Authors, Rachel Rueben

Humor & Sarcasm In Writing: Examples of Laughter Throughout History

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I was asked by Dellani Oakes and Karen Vaughan to participate in a blog series about sarcasm and humor so I decided to find out what was considered funny in literature.  This quest took me way back in time before Terry Pratchett and Mark Twain even before Shakespeare.  I actually found one-liners from ancient Rome, and even further back to the Eyptians.  Below I listed some of what you could call an evolution of humor throughout the ages.  Most of these come from literature, while others are of unknown origins.  One thing to keep in mind is that what people may have found funny in ancient times may have us scratching our heads today.  Nonetheless one thing unites all cultures, people loved to laugh no matter the time or place.  I  really enjoyed researching this subject and hope you enjoy it as well.  So without further ado..

Ancient Egypt:

“I do not see a stoneworker on an important errand or a goldsmith in a place to which he has been sent, but I have seen a coppersmith at his work at the door of his furnace. His fingers were like the claws of the crocodile, and he stank more than fish excrement.”       –Satire of the Trades

Ancient Greece: Aristophanes’ Rant About Modern Poets:

“A disgrace to their art. If ever they are granted a chorus, what does their offering at the shrine of Tragedy amount to? One cock of the hind leg and they’ve pissed themselves dry. You never hear of them again.” –The Frogs

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Image via Pixabay

 

Ancient Rome:

A man is taking care of his departed wife’s burial. Someone asks him: “Who is it that rests in peace here?” The man answers: “Me, now that I’m rid of her!”  –Source Unknown

China:

After his wife had beaten him badly, a man crawled under his family bed. “Come out this instant!” his wife screamed.
“I am man enough to do as I please!” he said. “And I’ll come out when I’m good and ready.”  –Ming Dynasty Tales

 

Shakespeare:

CHIRON:  Thou hast undone our mother.
AARON:  Villain, I have done thy mother.

Titus Andronicus: Act 4, Scene 2

Ben Franklin:

In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria.  –There is debate if Ben actually said this but it’s funny, so I included it.

Mark Twain:

To create man was a fine and original idea; but to add the sheep was a tautology (redundant).  –St. Louis Post-Dispatch (30 May 1902); also in Mark Twain : A Life

Dorothy Parker:

You can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think.  You Might As Well Live: The Life & Times Of Dorothy Parker

 

Dorothy Parker Quote

 

Douglas Adams:

“In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”  –The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe

Bill Bryson:

“I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to.”  –The Lost Continent

Terry Pratchett:

“Just erotic. Nothing kinky. It’s the difference between using a feather and using a chicken.”  —Eric

Terry Pratchett Quote

So what are your favorite one-liners from history, tell us in the comments section.

Bio: Rachel Rueben is author of YA, supernatural as well as romance books.  Her work can be found her on the Cereal Authors blog as well as Wattpad.  She is also a blogger at Writing By The Seat Of My Pants where she discusses self-publishing and rarely refers to herself in the third person.  😉

Article, History, Rachel Rueben, Writing Process

The Research Process That Went Into Miss Mary Mack

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Image via Pixabay

At the beginning of most writing projects there is a bit of excitement as well as fear when it comes to approaching certain topics.  Many authors love stirring the pot but at the same time we need to be sure that we’re making sense.  No matter how desperately we want to be articulate or intellectual, if we’re not making sense we’ve failed as artists.  For example, in one of my scenes in Miss Mary Mack, I had several scenes where the children were in school and back in the 1930’s, school was a much different place than it is today.

I wanted to begin the chapter with the children saying the Pledge of Allegiance however, there was problem with that, the Pledge of Allegiance wasn’t officially accepted by the U.S. Congress until 1942 and even then it was revised in 1959.  So I had to find the right version for my book to recite.  That was my first hurdle, the next would be another scene where several kids were chosen to raise the flag but as you guessed there was a problem.  You see the flag we know today was different back then because there were only 48 states.  Alaska and Hawaii were still only territories.  So my scenes had to be rewritten to reflect that.

Regrouping & Redeploying

To say I was annoyed by all this would be an understatement but I was determined to learn how schools functioned back then.  I found interviews and historical sites that filled in the gaps and learned everything you possibly could about school.  I learned about burn barrels which were used for waste disposal in country schools and even what types of lunch children brought to school (mainly leftovers from dinner or breakfast).  This type of information enabled me to make this world more tangible and relatable.

Including Myths & Folklore

As I mentioned last month, Miss Mary was a compilation of people but she was mainly inspired by the character Rosa Carmichael, a matron of a Civil War orphanage.  Rosa was an infamous character who was accused of abusing children in her care however, there is no proof that she ever existed.  The story goes that she was tried and acquitted of abuse only to be ran out of town after being accused a second time.  There are no court documents mentioning such an event and no grave was ever found belonging to Rosa.  Yet this doesn’t stop the tale from being told by locals as well as tour guides.  I took pieces of the story and wove them into my own, for example, folklore says, that in the cellar of the orphanage, there were chains where children were beaten and tortured.  However, the folklore forgets to mention that the orphanage was commandeered during the Civil War and it was most likely POWs that were shackled in that cellar.  So in my story, I make the cellar a place where unruly children are disciplined.

Why Fuss Over Minor Details?

It’s true that most people won’t notice the finer points if you don’t tell them so would it have mattered if I had the children in my story saying the Pledge of Allegiance in 1930?  Probably not, but it would’ve been embarrassing if someone did notice.  Yes all books have mistakes or inaccuracies but that doesn’t let us off the hook.  It’s our responsibility as authors to make sure our work is as great as it can possibly be.  Things don’t have to be perfect, but they do have to be professional.  If you can go the extra mile, why not?  Who knows, maybe your readers will go the extra mile for you and tell everyone about your book.  🙂

Bio: Rachel Rueben is author of YA, supernatural as well as romance books.  Her work can be found her on the Cereal Authors blog as well as Wattpad.  She is also a blogger at Writing By The Seat Of My Pants where she discusses self-publishing and rarely refers to herself in the third person.

Amanda Thrasher, books, Cereal Authors, Dellani Oakes, JD Holiday, Karen Vaughan, Rachel Rueben, Ruth Davis Hays, Stephanie Osborn

It’s Our 5th Anniversary & We’re Celebrating!

 

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I can’t believe it’s been five years!  You know they say for a 5th anniversary you’re supposed to buy wood but the only thing I can think of that a writer would want that’s wooden is maybe a pencil?  Okay, how about a paperweight?  Hey, you know paper is technically made from trees, imagine it, I can be the Oprah of loose leaf paper…

Oprah Meme

Call me crazy but I don’t see anyone getting excited over paper products.  As you see, tradition isn’t very helpful when it comes to a fifth anniversary.  However instead of going on about how lame these gift traditions are, I’d rather explain why we decided to do this blog in the first place…

Once upon a time, a group of authors got together and decided form a collective blog where we shared book excerpts, writing tips, or just plain ranted.  Today, with over 1,100 posts, we’ve surprised even ourselves by the amount of work we’ve done and I can only speak for myself but I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished here.  If it weren’t for this blog, I wouldn’t have started, let alone finished my romance novel, Fedelta.

This blog keeps me accountable, it forced me to take my career seriously.  It also keeps me surrounded by other authors who are also pursuing their dream and that’s infectious.

As I look back on the last five years, I noticed that many of the authors that started out with us are no longer around.  Some had health problems or money issues, while one of us actually died!  It’s been quite the journey nonetheless and the fact that we’re still here, and still writing, tells you about our determination.  This isn’t our hobby, we’re serious!

Anyway, enough of my babbling, I wanted to showcase the works of our authors here and hope you take the time to pick up one of our books.  Just click on the graphics, and it will take you to that author’s Amazon page.

Dellani Oakes Author of Sci-Fi & Romance:

Dellani s Sci Fi 1

Dellani s Romace Collage

J.D. Holiday: Author of Children’s Books & Short Stories:

JD Holiday Collage 1

Karen Vaughan: Author of Cozy Mysteries:

Karen Vaughans Collage

Amanda M. Thrasher: Author of YA & Children’s Books:

Amanda Thrasher s Collage 1

Amanda s YA Novels Collage

Ruth Davis Hays Author of Fantasy Novels:

Ruth Davis Hays Book Cover Collage 1

Rachel Rueben: Author of Romance & YA

Rachel Rueben Collage 1

Stephanie Osborn: Author of Sci-Fi & Mystery Novels:

Stephanie Osborn s Book Collage 1

Stephanie Osborn Mystery Collage

I guess the moral to this story is, to always surround yourself with people who are doing the thing you want to do.  Despite what the naysayers tell you, you can succeed at a career in publishing.  It just takes time and dedication.  A few years ago, there was a TED Talk concerning the subject of grit and how success is usually determined not by intelligence or talent, but by grit.  Grit is often defined as determination and/or resolve.  After seeing that video, this blog immediately came to mind, because I can say without a doubt, that the Cereal Authors are some of the grittiest authors you will ever meet and I mean that with all the love in the world.  ❤

Anyways, happy anniversary guys, it’s been a privilege to know you all and to be part of this blog.  And here’s to the next chapter of our journey…

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Most of the images in this post are courtesy of Pixabay

 

 

 

Rachel Rueben

Celebrate with Us! More about Rachel Rueben

Rachel Rueben is a moving force behind Cereal Authors. She’s also instrumental in the success of our radio broadcasts each month. She’s the level head and calm voice who answers the phone, deals with glitches and keeps me from freaking out. She’s an invaluable member of the Cereal Authors and Red River Radio teams.

Rachel Rueben

Rachel’s Bio:

Rachel Rueben is a romance and YA author as well as a blogger. Her books include: Fedelta, Eternal Bond and Hag all available on Wattpad. Her self-publishing blog: Writing By The Seat Of My Pants focuses on things like marketing, social media and the publishing industry at large. She also assists several podcasts on the Red River Radio Network, where books, authors and writing are always the topic of interest.

Rachel’s Interview:

How long does it take you to write a book?

The quickest I ever wrote a book was around 6 months, while the longest, was 7 years.

What makes you laugh or cry?

My career.

What does your favorite book say to you? What do you feel it might say to someone else? (could be either your own work or that of someone else)

My favorite book of all time is Women Pray: Voices Through The Ages, From Many Faiths, Cultures and Traditions by Monica Furlong. It was a book of quotes about life, love and loss from women throughout the centuries and I adore it. I’ve always loved studying history and religion so this book brought both worlds together.

I hope to others the book might convey that women’s history didn’t start with Susan B. Anthony and the Suffrage Movement.

Have you ever, over the years, lost yourself in a certain piece (novel) to such a degree your family, friends, and even YOU, didn’t recognize yourself, and if so was it worth it?

Yes, just recently I was discussing a controversial event and found myself actually starting to talk like one of my characters from Fedelta. Meaning, I was using language that was rather “strong” for someone like me. I swear it was almost like a possession, where my characters were manifesting themselves through me. Honestly, as strange as it is, I believe it’s worth it, always.

What are your publishing goals? Meaning: Would you like to become a bestseller or just make a comfortable living at it?

I would personally just like to make a living at this, in essence, I want a career, not just a one hit wonder. It’s not that I haven’t been open to the possibility of being a bestseller, it’s just not my goal.

Describe your Muse and the working relationship you share.

Well my relationship with the Muse is a complicated one, for one, I don’t believe inspiration just falls out of the sky. However with Miss Mary, things are different, it’s one of those cases where things are falling into place and I really believe something weird is going on with this creative project. I feel like this book will be written when it wants to be written which is terribly frustrating, so much so, that I started another novel.

How has the digital age affected your craft?

The digital age has made things like education and networking effortless, this is both a gift and a curse. You have gurus now who now give contradictory advice which confuses a lot of people. For example, just a few years ago, it was advised that authors not write in the first person but many of the bestsellers of that time where written in first. These types of things can often cripple an author or mislead them to believe there is a right or a wrong way to write their book.

If you had to start your writing career over would you do anything differently?

Heck yeah, I would’ve went indie sooner rather than just scoffing at the idea of self-publishing. Years ago, was a publishing snob because I was taught that if you wanted to be considered a legitimate author, you had to follow the rules. That meant getting an agent and going through the system. Agents and editors were all preaching this stuff well up until they started buying up the rights to bestselling indie books.

Do you believe the cliché that artists need to starve for their art?

Absolutely not, I don’t believe in starvation but I do believe in paying your dues. But not getting paid or getting your share of respect, is just wrong and backwards.

Do you feel any of your works convey the message of the legacy you want to leave behind, if so, which one(s)?

I think Hag and Miss Mary are the two books that convey a message of courage and independence. I hope my books speak of strength in regards to the human spirit.

Character Quotes, Dellani Oakes, Karen Vaughan, Rachel Rueben, Ruth Davis Hays, Sassy Sarcasm

Sassy Sarcasm with Dellani, Karen, Rachel and Ruth

We’re doing something a bit different today. Instead of just one author, you’ve got FOUR! There’s a reason for this, so please bear with us but a moment and read on.

Sassy Sarcastic
Sassy Sarcasm

Sarcasmˈ/särˌkazəm/ Noun: The use of irony to mock or convey contempt. Synonyms: derision, mockery, ridicule, scorn, sneering, scoffing….

And the list goes on. It’s important to define this word, because not everyone knows what sarcasm is, but we all use it to one degree or another. I’m convinced my family would be unable to communicate without it. In fact, my youngest son was, without doubt, the most sarcastic five year old in his kindergarten class.

Sarcasm is a tool that, when used properly, can add interesting dimension to an author’s dialogue. Imagine your favorite characters on a TV show or in a movie, chances are, they’ve got a snarky side. These characters, and their lines, are memorable because they really spice up the chitchat. This witty repartee is fun to listen to, read and to write. I’ll be honest, I don’t think my characters could communicate without sarcasm, either.

I’ve been told I’m sarcastic. I shall neither confirm nor deny this allegation. Instead, I’d love to share some of my work with you and you can judge for yourself. Over the next few weeks, a few of my (supposedly) sarcastic friends are going to talk about using sarcasm in our work and in life. Rather than giving them a big introduction, I’ll let their work speak for them. If you’d like to find out more about these ladies, click the Guilty Parties link above.

Sit back, sip your favorite beverage, (I find that sarcasm is best with lemonade, but you be the judge) and be prepared for some dry humor, wise cracks and a tad bit of sarcasm. Just a little…not too much….

© 2017 Dellani Oakesdellani photo dark red

Undiscovered – Dellani Oakes

Someone wants movie producer Kent Griswald dead. Unfortunately, the first attempt is foiled by the fact that it’s not Kent on the beach, but his younger brother. In broad daylight, in front of dozens of witnesses, someone takes a pot shot at Connor. Detectives Weinstein and Scott are dispatched to investigate.

Detective Vanessa Weinstein came on the scene ten minutes after the shooting. Aggressive and competitive, she was an up and comer. She knew how to play the game and used her femininity to her advantage. Dressed in a black power suit and a very white shirt, she stood out clearly on the beach. Somehow, in some mysterious way that Walter Scott couldn’t explain, the woman didn’t sweat. Her black hair was sleek, unmoving in the wind off the ocean. Her skin was perfectly dry, not even a bead of sweat on her full lips.

Undiscovered by Dellani Oakes - 200

“The rest of Daytona’s in hell in this late season heat wave and you stand there looking like the Sugar Plum Fairy,” Scott complained, wiping his face with a handkerchief.

“Don’t sweat in my crime scene,” she said in a bored tone. “What’s going on upstairs?”

“Got two perps, one actual shooter, one decoy. Second guy left his weapon. Your guy left a shell casing. Looks like both had the same kind of gun. No serial numbers on mine.”

“Why would they make it easy? You didn’t find my gun, huh?”

“Nope. But the shell’s a 5.56mm, so we’re figuring they both had identical weapons. MSSR.”

She nodded, taking a sip of hot coffee from an insulated mug. Scott slurped water from a rapidly warming bottle and wiped his brow on his fist.

“Jeez, can we at least get outta the sun? I’m gonna fry.”

“You should try getting a tan, Walt.”

“I’m Scottish and Scandinavian, Ness, I don’t tan. You could put me out here all day, I’d burn red as a beet.”

“They’re purple.” She moved into the shade of a cabana bar where they’d set up their command center.

“Whatever.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

KAREN TIMMYS 2013

Dead Men Don’t Swing – Karen Vaughan

My characters wield sarcasm like well-sharpened sword. Laura Hamilton Fitz uses sarcasm to deal with sticky situations when faced with bad-asses trying to kill her and annoying people she has no patience for. Many people will tell you she has an attitude but as a busy mom, CSI and corpse magnet extraordinaire. (see I used sarcasm there) Laura doesn’t have time for BS.

Stella is Laura’s nemesis (next to her mother of course) and knows how to push the girl’s buttons. I am surprised that Stella herself hasn’t made it to Laura’s hit list…. Anyway, in one scene from Dead Men Don’t Swing Laura puts Stella in her place after the pest gives her a hard time about doing a eulogy for a dead, and might I add, not well liked tenant.

Dead Men Don't SwingI went down the hall to the laundry room. I couldn’t even fathom doing a load before checking the traps and washing out all the machines before using one. I was just putting my loads in when Stella flounced in. I gave her a look that said, “Don’t start lady.” She’s either dense or doesn’t care and got on my case about the eulogy.

Ya know Stella, you’re usually an astute woman but right now you are down to two brain cells and they are limping. I am only going to say this once, so listen closely! You can shove your eulogy! I don’t know the guy. The other tenants aren’t being forthcoming with details except for stuff I refuse to put in a tribute to the dead man. I also don’t have the time for this crap and it’s not my job.”

© 2017 Karen Vaughan

Ruth Davis Hays

Ruth Davis Hays – Translations from Jorthus Series

Tools of the trade Sarcasm can be a fun and useful tool. It can be brought up in different ways. It can be presented in the narrative to express a character’s particular view of the world:

High school locker rooms. Every kid’s favorite place. The arena to expose our physical flaws to our worst critics like exposing our jugular to a vampire. (Watchdogs, a young adult novella in progress)

Or it can be a personality trait displayed in speech:

The Illusion by Ruth Davis HaysA snow storm in the desert? Nothing out of the ordinary here!” Keinigan tried to pry a laugh from his dour companions.

Yet, his question was taken in earnest by the good dravan scholar, who proceeded to educate him on climate aberrations and how a reoccurring anomaly marked over a span of documented time can be construed as an ordinary pattern.

Keinigan groaned and pulled his cloak down over his head to block the freezing winter winds. The amount of snowfall was indeed strange for this area, but he made a mental note not to attempt humor around Master Calbraum anymore. (The Illusion, a Jorthus novel in progress)

My favorite, from time to time, is to use it to quickly convey a relationship between characters:

Before Dharromar could open his mouth, Keinigan’s fist smashed into his jaw. When the stars cleared from his brain, he was blinking up at his attacker. “I get the feeling you’re not happy to see me,” the changeling groaned from the dirt.

Actually, I’ve been waiting to do that for a long time.”

Feel better?”

Little bit. You?”

Wonderful. Your concern for me is truly touching. Now if you really want to be a help, you could come down here and suck my bolls.”

Maybe later. I’m too busy celebrating.” Keinigan shuffled around the tent randomly as he listened to the voices of Lylith and the magda councilors filtering through the fabric. “Didn’t you hear? The changeling has returned to save us! Hoorah! The darquone are already retreating just hearing you’re back. I feel folching fantastic!” (The Illusion)

When the bite of sarcasm is set in contrast to more sincere narrative or dialogue, it stands out to the reader and punctuates either the writer’s opinion of the character or the situation. I find it incredibly irresistible at times, but must remind myself to read it not as intended but as written, in order to find out if the words are successful. If the sarcasm does not come across, either I am not doing my job or I need to rethink my use of the tool.

© 2017 Ruth Davis Hays

Rachel Rueben

Fedelta – Rachel Rueben

Disheartened, Cassie began to make a quiet retreat when she turned around and saw a homeless man who put his hand over her mouth and dragged her towards an abandoned building behind the brownstones. Biting his hand, and elbowing him in the face, she managed to free herself from his grasp. Turning around, she kicked him right in the yam bag when the homeless guy yelled in agony, “Damn’ it Cass!”

Doing a double take, she looked closer at him only to realize it was Amato. “Jesus, John, what the hell you doing walkin’ up on me like that?”

Tryin’ to get you out of trouble!” he said through gritted teeth. Doubled over, Amato took deep breaths trying not to vomit in the alley.

Blushing, Cassie tried not to laugh. She was tempted to apologize but that wasn’t happening. Besides, it was nice to know she could still handle herself even in her messed up condition. A few minutes passed before she asked, “Ya gonna be alright?”

Fedelta 2He looked up at her bewildered, “No wonder we broke up.”

Shrugging her shoulders, she answered right back, “Not every man can handle a strong woman.”

Not every man wants a ball buster.”

Straightening up, Amato signaled for her to follow him as he limped away. Not feeling all that great herself, was starting to feel a sharp pain in her head. She had forgotten to take her meds and was now paying the price for it. As the two of them hobbled away from danger, the sounds of the city permeated the air playing a soundtrack to this ridiculous love story. Sirens, barking dogs and Amato’s bitching rang loudly in Cassie ears as she wondered how the hell they were ever gonna make it through this?

© 2017 Rachel Rueben

Join us the 15th of every month when one (or more) of us will share snippets of our stories — focusing on sarcasm, of course! We will comb through our work and find the best bits for you. You have our promise on that! Would we lie to you? ~Dellani