My Mission For You:

Don't let #Doubt extinguish your #Sparks. Find the #Sparks you need to ignite your stories, dreams, and life.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Organization Tip: Bullet Journals #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop


I love journals, and when I found out about the concept of a bullet journal, I was thrilled because it combines journaling and lists, two things I use to stay organized.

There are bullet journals with actual dots scattered across the pages. The dots are like the lines on lined pages; you write between the dotted lines. But you don’t need an actual bullet journal, any journal will do.

NOTE: I'll also add that you DO NOT have to follow the bullet journal "guidelines" below. I actually don't use the symbols anymore. I just use bullet points to keep track of the writerly (and fun) things I do each day. You can make it your own!

There are several things you can do in your bullet journal:

-      Number the pages so you can create an index at the front of the journal. Whenever you add something new to your journal, you can put it in the index so you can find it easily.

-      Monthly Log – On a couple of pages, create a list of all the dates down the left margin with the first letter of day.

For example:

Then use the log to keep track of things on your schedule, such as appointments, birthdays, and big tasks.

-      Daily Log – Put the date at the top and beneath it, record the tasks you need to do that day or the things you did, events, and notes. Either create the daily log as you go or the night before. Don’t do it so far in advance, because things change.

-      Journaling – At the end of the day, you can write about your day on the next page following the daily log.

-      Symbols:
          - A bullet is for a task.
          - When you complete the task, change the bullet to an X.
          - If you have to have the task to another day, change the bullet to >
          - If you scheduled the task (such as a dinner date), change the bullet to <
          - And events like a birthday are represented by an O
          - For any notes you jot down that day, indicate it with a –
           - An asterisk shows priority to a task. *
          - Did you get a new story idea, use an exclamation point. !
          - If you need to look into something (research), draw an eye.
          - For tasks that are no longer relevant, simply cross it out.

     For more information visit:

     Bullet Journals for Readers:

     On Litsy, I’ve seen the most creative bullet journals made by readers that lists the books they want to read that month (these people can read a ton!). Many of them turn a spread of pages into an actual bookcase and hand-draw tiny books with the titles on their to-read list. It’s impressive! But others just make a good-old-fashioned list. Doing this helps them to keep track of any reading challenges they may be participating in, and there are many on Litsy.

     Bullet Journals for Writers:

     I don’t actually use my bullet journal to store my to-do lists. Instead, I put my to-do list on a scrap piece of paper on my desk. I have a new one for each day, and whenever I complete a task, I cross it off. At the end of the day, I create a new one for the next day, transferring over any tasks that weren’t completed, and throw out the retired to-do list.

     For my bullet journal on the other hand, I like to keep track of all the things I do (from my to-do list) for my writing career, from writing and editing to publishing and marketing. I love this because it’s a log I come back to it if I need to know when I completed a specific task. It’s also great proof that writing is my full-time career, if that should ever be questioned. lol And it’s nice to see all that I accomplish.

     What I Put in My Bullet Journal:

     - How many words I write.
     - How many pages I edit.
     - How many review requests I send out.
     - If I write/schedule blog posts.
     - If I record or upload new YouTube videos.
     - Updates I make on my blog or website.
     - When I order SWAG or items for book events.
     - When I schedule or send out a newsletter.
     - Blog Hops I participate in.
     - Anything I do for a blog tour or upcoming release.
     - Any promotions I set up.

     You get the idea. Everything is documented. Even non-writing things are documented, such as fun family stuff and errands I do. I’ve actually needed to look at my bullet journal to find out when I had a car repair done, so when I say this journal is something that you’ll come back to again and again, I mean it.

     Other Lists You Can Create:

     - Things you want to try in terms of book promo.
     - The steps you need to take to self-publish your next book.
     - A chapter by chapter outline for your current WIP.
     - Character profiles.
     - Story ideas.

     Oh, and you don’t need an actual bullet journal. Mine isn’t.  Use what you want and make it your own!

     QUESTION: Do you journal or make lists?


Catch the sparks you need to write, edit, publish, and market your book!


Open to all from June 4th 2018 – July 6th 2018

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Creativity Boost from Your Power Element + GIVEAWAY

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place for insecure writers of all kinds.


Catch the sparks you need to write, edit, publish, and market your book!

Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication offers an abundance of data in one handy book. From writing your novel to prepping for publication and beyond, you’ll find sparks on every page, including 100 bonus marketing tips. You’ll also discover how to write specific scenes and characters, adding depth to your work.

•        Spark One: Being a Writer
•        Spark Two: Story Essentials
•        Spark Three: A Book’s Stepping Stones
•        Spark Four: How To
•        Spark Five: Character ER
•        Spark Six: Editing
•        Spark Seven: Publishing
•        Spark Eight: Marketing
                                                            •        Spark Nine: Writing About
                                                            •        Spark Ten: Final Inspiration

With so much information, you’ll take notes, highlight, and flag pages to come back to again and again on your writing journey. Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iTunes / Kobo


Creativity Boost from Your Power Element:

For me, a power element is an element that you’re connected to on a deeper level that can boost your creativity and inspire you when you write (or any other time). This does not mean you are an element (that’s silly) or that you control an element (that’s not possible). This just means there’s an element that moves you in some way more than the others.

This may not be for everyone, and that’s okay.

The Elements:

How to Determine Your Power Element:

To determine what your power element is, go to a place where you can experience each element. Stand on a hill on a breezy day, sit by the ocean, watch a blazing fire, or walk in a forest. Just relax and feel. Which element brings you peace, strength, and inspiration?

Don’t judge past experiences of loving the beach as a reason to pick water as your power element. Immerse yourself in EACH element one at a time and compare each experience.

My Story:

I used to think earth would be my power element because of my deep love of trees and my enjoyment of gardening. Nope. My power element is fire. I feel comfortable and confident wearing shades of red, can meditate easily by looking into a candle flame, and I write so well while listening to the sounds of a campfire.

Coincidently, fire is an element I have the most experience with and fear the most, due to the brush fire that threatened my childhood home when I was a kid. That experience influenced Flaming Crimes.

Now, I listen to campfire sounds while writing and editing, I use candle flames to meditate, and wear red more often. Fire inspires me with my work, helps me to concentrate, and makes me feel confident.

But I still like to be around nature, stare at ocean waves, and dance to my own rhythm (air). I even listen to windchime music. It’s my second favorite meditative music to write and edit to. I chose one or the other depending on my mood.

Boost Your Creativity with Your Power Element by...

1. Listening to meditative music for that element as you pursue a form of art.

2. Writing in a place where you can be closer to that element. (By a fireplace, in a park, by a pond, on the…roof. lol)

3. Wearing the color associated with that element when you write or have to be authorly, perhaps for a public event. Earth – Green, Air – Yellow, Fire – Red, and Water – Blue.

4. Putting an image of your power element above your computer that you can gaze at while you daydream about your story's plot.

Whatever your power element is, experiment with music, colors, locations, and images associated with that element. See if it boosts your creativity or inspires you in some way. If it doesn’t, that’s all right. If it does, neat!

QUESTIONS: How weird do you think I am right now? Haha. Have you ever felt a connection to one element more than the others? 


Support for Fellow IWSGer!

C. Lee is going through a tough time. Let's show her some love! This is her new release. Some Very Messy Medieval Magic

Pete and his friend Weasel thought they’d closed the Time Lock. But a young page from medieval times, Peter of Bramwell, goes missing. His absence during a critical moment will forever alter history unless he’s found.

There’s only one solution - fledgling wizard Pete must take the page’s place. Accompanied by Weasel and Fanon, Pete’s alligator familiar, they travel to 1173 England.

But what if the page remains lost - will Pete know what to do when the critical moment arrives? Toss in a grumpy Fanon, the duke’s curious niece, a talking horse, and the Circle of Stones and Pete realizes he’s in over his young wizard head yet again... Amazon / Nook / Kobo / iTunes


Open to all from June 4th 2018 – July 6th 2018

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 21, 2018

Doctor Mom Blog Hop / I Love You, Mom!


Prompt: Share a favorite memory you have of your mom. Or just share a picture of your mom that you cherish. Or you can do both!

My mom and me. We were...and much alike.

My mom is the author of Doctor Mom. I grew up watching her write these children's stories, featuring Gregory Green and Sammy, when I was in Kindergarten. She'd sit at our dining room table with her typewriter, a stack of papers, pencils, colored pencils, and laminating paper. That was where she'd write, illustrate, and bind her stories. She dreamed of publishing these stories and sent out many snail mail queries without success. So she read her books to my siblings and me, as well as to elementary school students.

She worked as a library assistant at my elementary school. Sometimes, my class (and other classes) would go to the library for reading time, and my mom would read her stories. She would even bring Sammy...not the teddy bear, but the real Sammy, a Cabbage Patch Doll. She'd pick a student to enact the story with Sammy as she read. I remember wanting to be the lucky kid to have that job, but she chose someone else to do it instead. I was disappointed, but in all fairness, it was the unbiased thing to do.

The original Sammy. He inspired the teddy bear in my mom's stories.

Years later, my mom visited my fourth-grade class to read one of her stories and lead us in some fun activities. We were joined by our neighboring class. In that class was a boy who liked to bully me on the school bus, so I was full of fear that he'd make fun of my mom to me later. If he did, I was ready to fight.

During her time with our classes, she picked a student to, once again, enact the story with Sammy. Coincidently, she chose the same student (who happened to be in my class again) to play with Sammy as she did all those many years ago. (It was even a different school.) She even read Slow Poke.

Left: My mom's graduation picture. Right: My mom in Hawaii.
These are two of my favorite pictures of her.

Later, on the bus, I braced for what the bully would say. Sure enough, he sat down in the seat next to mine, and the first thing he said was: "That was your mom?"

I glared at him. "Yes," I snapped.

Then he surprised me with, "She's cool."

I was so proud of my mom at that moment. She had the power to make my bully nice. That's what a story and an author can do. It just so happens that the updated version of Pea Soup Disaster, the first adventure in this series, is about bullying.

As the years have gone by, I've wanted to help my mom to realize her dream of being a published author. I wasn't able to do it before, but I'm capable now, so we're self-publishing her picture books. Two to three a year. And next year we plan to add a chapter book to her credentials. After all my mom has done for me, she deserves this. And she deserves to see her stories in print.


Title: Doctor Mom
Author: Elaine Kaye
Genre: Picture Story Book
Ages: 5-8 years

BLURB: It’s Saturday, and Gregory Green can’t wait to have fun with his dad on the riding lawnmower, but something is wrong. Sammy, his teddy bear and best friend, won’t get out of bed. Gregory is worried when he sees Sammy’s left leg is torn. This is a case for Doctor Mom! Can they fix Sammy? And just how did Sammy get hurt in the first place?


"Doctor Mom is an adorable story that shows how Moms can fix anything—even a torn limb on a beloved teddy bear! Children will enjoy the lovable little bear who needs a stitch or two and his boy who plays dress-up as a doctor." – Wanda Luthman, award-winning author of Little Birdie Grows Up.

“A sweet and heartfelt tale kids can easily identify with, and all of that with a wonderful touch of magic.” – Tonja Drecker, reviewer at Bookworm for Kids



Elaine Kaye first created Gregory Green after her son, who loved her homemade pea soup, thus inspiring the story Pea Soup Disaster. Doctor Mom is the second book in A Gregory Green Adventure series and highlights something all moms and children can relate to; a beloved stuffed animal in need of a repair.

Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher's assistant in elementary schools in the Sunshine State. She currently lives in Florida, but she has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home.

She is a grandmother of three boys.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Organization Tip: Promo Goals #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop


Narrowing down goals from daunting to manageable isn’t just for writing or publishing. (See: Organization Tip: Writing Goals) Many of us have marketing goals that can benefit from this technique, too.

This year, I plan to promote one backlist title a month. 

1. I've drafted out which months will be devoted to which books.

2. I’ve mapped out exactly what I can do. 

For Each Book I Have:

- 3-4 YouTube videos a month (finished 1-2 months ahead of time)
- 1 image for Litsy a week (created ages ago)
- 1 tweet a week (pre-scheduled)
- 1 Facebook post a week (pre-scheduled)

FYI: Litsy is a fun app for book lovers that you can download for free. It's like a cross between Goodreads and Instagram. I love it, and the community there is the friendliest I've ever found.

3. When I can, I'll do a sale for my series and $10 - $20 ads to promote that sale.

I don’t have so much stuff on my list that I won’t have writing time. Most of the tasks could be done in a day or two. Some tasks need to be done beforehand, which only requires some planning.

And the thing about these goals is that I’m not trying to make a specific Amazon rank or sell a certain number of eBooks. Admittedly, those goals are tough. I don’t know what will result in sales or how many sales could come out of what I do. No one does. A goal to reach #1 or sell X amount of eBooks can devastate you if you don’t come close.

For me, depression is a real struggle, and that sort of disappointment could set me back big time, as it has in the past. I know better now not to set such a goal or even look at ranks when I do promo. Then how would I know if they work, you ask? I pay attention to other factors: comments, likes, shares, visibility, and the number of reviews, though I no longer read reviews. Rather, I glance. If I see a 4 or 5 star, I may skim the review, but I avoid anything that can set my depression roaring. Live and learn, right?

Anyway, as I was saying, these goals are about getting them done. That’s it. And those are the best goals because if you set out to do them, you’ll achieve them.

Each thing I do on my list for the month receives a nice, big, fat check. And that feels good.

Remember, don’t burden yourself with a big goal. Give yourself a break!

QUESTION: Do you make plans for promo?

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Bactine for Book Readings + Mom Blog Hop

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place for insecure writers of all kinds.
Sign up here: Insecure Writer’s Support Group

My guest article 6 Ways to Be a Writer While Recovering from Surgery is live on!


A book reading can be scary when you’ve never done one before, especially if you’re an introvert and hate doing anything in front of people. I know the idea of doing a reading makes my palms sweat, so I have come up with tips that anyone can do to work up the courage of having a real reading.

1. Video Reading

Record yourself doing a reading in the comfort of your own home. This can actually be a lot of fun.

NOTE: I never actually listen to my own recordings. Not even the ones I post. For me, it's not about seeing how I do, but helping me get used to doing it.

- Pick an excerpt from your book. This doesn’t have to be long. One to two pages will keep people’s attention from straying. 
- Set up the stage; find a neat spot where you can sit. This can be at your desk or in a chair positioned in the corner of the room. 
- Wear something comfortable but nice.
- Get your equipment (laptop, camera) and do a simple test. 
- When you’re ready, try a recording. The great thing is that if you mess up or don’t like the recording, you can try again. Once you have a recording you like, prepare it to get ready for others to view. 
- Upload it to YouTube, your Amazon page, your Goodreads page, your website, and your blog. Now people can listen to your reading from the comfort of their homes.

2. Family and Friends Reading

Once again, in the comfort of your home, invite your family and closest friends to a reading. These are the people who will support you no matter what. You can even make it fun with snacks (cheese, crackers, veggies) and refreshments. Sit in a chair in front of your family and give them a short reading. If you’re like me, you’ll still be nervous, but reading for your loved ones is easier than reading for strangers.

3. Local Coffee Shop or Library Reading

The previous techniques should help you to feel more confident about doing readings. Now you’ve graduated to public readings. Call around to local coffee shops or libraries you enjoy going to and see if you can schedule a live reading there. After you book time, invite all of your friends and make announcements on your blog/website. The great thing about doing a reading at one of these places is that the customers will likely listen to your reading and you can gain new readers.
TIP: Practice with several recorded readings before your public reading. But don't publish those practices! This is to just get you used to reading your story out loud, and recording yourself will give you a bit of nervousness that will simulate much of your nerves at the public reading. I did this to prep for my speech. It works!

How to ease your anxiety:

- Take a sip of water to wet your throat. Then take your place and introduce yourself and your book.

- Take a few, slow deep breaths before you begin the reading.

- Hold your book in your hands in front of you. If you can, rest your book and your hands on a stand or table to keep your hands from shaking.

- Put markers on the page you’re reading to remind you to look at your audience.

- Read slowly. If you read fast, your audience won’t be able to understand you and you may stumble on your words.

- Pause every now and then, after a paragraph, for instance, to calm your nerves and take a quick breath.

- When you reach the end of the excerpt, close your book, hold it in your hands (cover facing out), and tell your audience they can read more in [Title]. (You don’t need to open the floor to questions until you’re ready for that.)

- Thank them for listening and step away. If you’re doing a signing afterward, invite them to come over to purchase a book to be signed or get a signed postcard. 

QUESTIONS: Have you ever done a public reading? How did you prepare?

Blog Hop Celebrating Moms:

In honor of my mom's newest picture book coming out on Mother's Day, DOCTOR MOM, we're hosting a blog hop celebrating moms.

PROMPT: Share a favorite memory you have of your mom. Or just share a picture of your mom that you cherish. Or you can do both!

When: May 21st

Where: Your Blog

***Every post will include the blurb, links, and cover art for Doctor Mom as well as my mom's bio and author photo. I'll email all participants a week before the hop.***

Doctor Mom Blog Hop:

Monday, April 16, 2018

Organization Tip: Word Count Calendar #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop


This next tip is great for motivation as well as keeping record…a word count calendar.

A word count calendar is a calendar where you can write down the daily word count you reach inside that day’s box. Do this at the end of the day when you don’t plan to write anymore.

After you turn off the computer, if you end up writing in a notebook and type it up the next day, add those words to that day’s word count. After all, typing up your written words counts. When I do this, I tend to revise, so you’re putting in the same effort and thought.

I like to jazz this up with stickers. I’ve seen writers posting pictures on Instagram of their calendar full of stickers to represent how much they wrote. And I had wanted to do that because it looked like a lot of fun.

I use heart stickers or writing days and thumbs-up stickers for other accomplishments, like sending review requests and recording YouTube Videos.

What I like about combining these two methods is that you have the actual word counts visible and you can add a sticker as a reward. I use bigger stickers for those word counts that are 2,000 or more and smaller stickers for word counts that are under 2,000. Even 500 (and 100) words gets a sticker!

It’s neat to look back on the week and month and see your progress. Or even to see which days resulted in more or less words.

QUESTION: Do you keep track of how much you write?


I'm looking for bloggers to help me announce the release of Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication on June 5th. 

***The release day announcement will contain a blurb, buy links, cover photo, bio, author photo, and a giveaway, so you can add it to any post.***

You Choose: Any day from June 5th - 18th


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