Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Should I Have a Blog?

By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine

Southern Writers Magazine is a big believer in having a blog. The official magazine blog, Suite T, has over 3.5 million views which is due to the hard work of our Communications Director Annette Cole Mastron. Many authors have posted here and our hope is they will continue to visit here and more will join. The blog archives are a treasure trove of writing information.

Annette has a total understanding of social media and knows the benefits of a blog, podcast or video blog. Annette explains the media you use is not as important as the message you send. As an author the blog is the best way to introduce your writing style to your readers.

On Suite T we introduce many authors writing style to many readers. Many authors that have posted on Suite T also have their own blogs. With their blog and Suite T combined they can introduce their own writing style and their personal websites and books.

For the most part social media is more of a short-term medium. It is important to not only be aware of that but know its value and how to benefit from it as well. Over time it has developed into something that isn’t an end to itself but a conduit for a more long-term medium like your blog, then your goal is your website. Social media introduces you to the reader and takes the flow of traffic back to your blog and website.

This feeds into the scientific marketing facts of search engine rankings and social algorithms. What that means to us is our books and online visibility is greater. This in turn should mean a higher number of views on your website. In the end your connection with your readers is enhanced. With that comes more book sales.    

Our purpose at Southern Writers Magazine is to promote authors and we have promoted close to 4,000 authors. We have done so through our magazine articles which are supported by Suite T blog post. Our readers can get to know and further connect with our authors by following us on Suite T then going to your website. We don't want readers to stay on social media - we want to drive them to the author's website. A blog is the best way to strengthen the connection between an author and their readers. They have a deeper interest in you and your books. The answer is you should have a blog and you should feel free to take full advantage of ours.

You are more than welcome to appear as a guest author and you can connect to our SWM's, Suite T by emailing Annette Cole Mastron at annette@southernwritersmag.com. I think you will like what we can do for you and help promote your brand and books.


Monday, October 14, 2019

The Five Rs In Writing

By Deborah Sprinkle

Since I became an author, people often question me on how to get started. Some have manuscripts sitting in their desks, but have no idea how to get them published. Others have ideas for books, but haven’t put them on the page. I answer as best I can from my own experience, knowing that each author’s journey is unique.

But it got me thinking about what advice I can give to aspiring authors as someone new to the business. Here’s what I have to offer.

READ. Read voraciously. Read books in your genre, and also read authors you enjoy. If you feel inclined, make notes about what it is you like about the books you read. Or what you don’t like.

RESEARCH. Do lots of research. About everything. Topography, weather, people, housing. Study the language, food, dress, and history. Get specific. Details matter. For instance, a soft drink in the South is called a coke no matter what brand it is, but in Indiana or Michigan it’s called a pop. In St. Louis, the same drink is a soda. That’s a simple example, but a detail that makes a difference when you’re writing about a region.

RELATIONSHIPS. What in the world am I talking about here? I mean getting to know other writers, mainly. Look for writers’ groups in your area and join them. If you can’t find any local ones, look for some that have online groups. I’m a member of a Word Weavers online group. We meet once a month and critique each other’s work. I also belong to a local writers’ group.

Besides writers’ groups, look for writers’ conferences in your area. Here, you will get to know not only other authors, but agents, editors, and publishers as well. You will have a chance to showcase your work and learn your craft.

And last but not least, is what’s called platform in the writing world. Get on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Start building relationships. That means interacting with the people who friend you and whom you friend. Not just emojis, but conversations. You can decide how personal you want to get, but you should give some of yourself to them so they feel they know you as a person. When it comes time for your book to be published, they will celebrate with you because you celebrated with them in their life events.

WRITE. Put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard on a regular basis. Everyone has a different biorhythm. Some are morning people and some are not. But if you let your writing sit for too long, you spend an inordinate amount of time trying to catch your brain up to where you left off before you can move on. You lose the writing rhythm.

REST and RECREATION. Finally, don’t forget to rest. If you’re like me, my brain is still working on plot points and character qualities when I’m supposed to be resting. Find something that takes your mind off everything. For me, it’s solitaire or a really good mystery/suspense movie. Or a nap. Whatever it is, find time to rest.

Remember to live a life off the page. Make time for family, friends, and recreation. Besides, that’s where you may get the idea for your next story.
Deborah Sprinkle is a retired chemistry teacher among other things. So it should come as no surprise that the protagonist in her debut novel, Deadly Guardian, is one as well. Mrs. Sprinkle is also co-author of a non-fiction book entitled Exploring the Faith of America’s Presidents.  She has won awards for Deadly Guardian, her short stories, articles, and her latest work in progress. Mrs. Sprinkle lives in Memphis with her husband where she continues to be an ordinary woman serving an extraordinary God. You can connect with her at Facebook.com/deborah.sprinkle.5, Twitter@debbiejsprinkle, and on Instagram. She is also a Goodreads author and a BookBub author.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Everyone has a Book in Them

By April Craft

Have you ever had thoughts racing through your mind so often that you wake up in the middle of the night and feel wide awake? I know I do. Get your favorite pen, write down some things you know you'll forget when you fall back asleep. Even better just walk over to your laptop or desktop as the light reflecting from the screen helps you type how you're feeling. 

You start to feel the release of worries, pain, consideration as your typing speed is up with great visions in ink as if it was your own personal vision board in words. How intense! See we all have been through life experiences from challenges we never thought we would overcome to the amazing accolades we are sometimes ashamed to boast about.

We have those few people that we vent to about relationships, religion, work environment and even our health status. People still not knowing how much is still bottled up within us. Men hold in their feelings and come off as insensitive roller-coasters because the world has told them sensitivity is not manly. Women have learned to be so strong that they lose the nurturing characteristics God gave them to make the world a little softer.

We lose sight on things as we grow from in this world not knowing that everything, we go through has a purpose and reason for each season. It's hard being this or that to make him or her happy.
That's why we must understand how every name created and body defined has a book within them that's why we were designed; to relate and help others.  

It's not easy or always right but we all have the inner ability to write because everyone has a book in them.
April Craft is from Memphis, TN, born and raised. She has been raised to put God first and everything else will follow. She is a part of many organizations that helps people confidence. She also helps the community with health and wellness tips and encouragement. She has been wanting her own business since a young girl seeing her single mother work hard for others, just to provide a comfortable living for her and her oldest brother Keith Craft. She pursed her education in Business Administration at Southwest Community College (2009), continuing at the University of Memphis in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing Management (2012), and now she has earned her Master's in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business (2016). April has been focused on her education so now she can pursue her dream as a full-time entrepreneur/writer/philanthropist with prayer and support from family and friends. Her favorite saying is “Without God I am nothing, but with Him anything is possible”.Social Media Links: Facebook Instagram and Amazon Link

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Hygge Writing Could Be For You

By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine

Happy Fall, y’all! Yes, it’s hard to think cozy and all things fall when it’s 100 degrees in my neck of the woods. Cooler temperatures are promised for this week, fingers crossed. Pumpkin spice everything has arrived, so you know it’s fall. 

The word, “hygge” keeps popping up in various articles I’ve recently seen. I dove into finding out more about it. Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is a Danish word art of creating intimacy. Dictionary.com defines “Hygge is a Danish cultural concept and value of warm, happy coziness and togetherness, which people make time for in everyday life. Outside of Denmark, hygge is commonly referred to as "the good feeling you get from a well-curated, cozy, and aesthetically pleasing environment." 

It’s a live in the moment vibe you can create for yourself. Unlike other catch words, hygge doesn’t require any cash investment. It’s about using what you have and creating a cozy space for yourself, friends and family. You don’t need to buy a “hygge writing desk” and there are no “hygge foods” to consume. Are you in, now?

Even HGTV is focusing on hygge.  “HGTV Urban Oasis 2019 embraces the elements of a hygge lifestyle with simple, modern design that emphasizes the joy of the everyday.” 
For me, I always rearrange my reading/writing area by adding a comfy cozy throw and pillow. #hyggeMySpace

My deep dive into hygge found some interesting articles. There is a Pinterest board on “journal writing and hygge.” There are numerous articles to peruse on This boardOne article from montanahappy.com provided 100 journal hygge writing prompts to get your creative juices flowing; Here are 10 of their “Hygge Journal Writing Prompts
1) What advice would you give your younger self, knowing what you know now?
2) If your employer gave you a month-long paid sabbatical, what would you do and where would you go? 
What elements are the most important in designing your dream house?  
4) When was the last time you felt in awe of something? 
5) What’s your favorite restaurant or coffee house, and what about it makes it so unique?  
6) If you could start your dream career, knowing you wouldn’t fail – what would that career look like?  
7) What’s your top destination on your bucket list and describe what it is you would like to see and experience there?  
8) What simple things make you happy?  How are you going to make room in your life for experiencing more of them?  
9) How do you express your creativity?  
10) When have you felt “in the flow” of life, where whatever you were working on was effortless?  What do you think prompted it? “

Are you ready to try to give your writing/reading space the hygge vibe and try some hygge writing exercises?  #hyggeMySpace

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Pantser Writing Works for Me

By Annette Miller

I write paranormal romance, sub-genre superhero romance. There are not only superheroes, but also fairies, gargoyles, magic, and one cyborg. I like to have different heroes and heroines. Fairy tales were a huge part of my childhood and I was in trouble at school for daydreaming. I'm also a sucker for a happy ending.

When I write, I have to listen to music. A lot of my inspiration comes from music. I have all types of genres on my mp3 player. I go from new age and smooth jazz, to hard rock and boy bands. It was a hard rock song that gave me the internal conflict for the hero in my upcoming fourth book.

I usually try to write in my office, but my husband is a disabled Air Force veteran. so now, I listen to music and sit on the couch so I can see if he needs something. I can also ask his help if I'm having a plot or character problem.

I connect with other authors online and in my local writing groups. I'm also a member of the Romance Writers of America and kept my membership with my New Jersey chapter. I attend their conference every October to make new friends and to support others in my genre. I enjoy connecting with other writers. Writing is a solitary job and we all need the support of our peers. Besides, brainstorming sessions are fun.

My characters are taken from different things. Most were taken from a game we used to play. I find as I continue to write more books, the secondary characters are inspired by actors and, believe it or not, wrestling superstars. Three characters in my upcoming fourth book were inspired by my three favorite professional wrestling superstars.

I write for The Wild Rose Press. I've been one of their authors since November 2013. They contracted my Angel Haven series on the second book. I had a bit of a hard time between books three and four, but I'm happy to say book four should be out soon. The Wild Rose Press is a small press, but they great to work for. They're willing to work with new authors and their entire staff is great at what they do.

I'm still learning marketing, but I'm getting better at it. I can be found on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram, Bookbub, and I have an Amazon author page. It's a learning process, but I'm getting there. Being on SWM is a wonderful opportunity.

I usually have the plot worked out in my head before I start writing. I'm what is known as a pantser. I've tried plotting on numerous occasions and that procedure doesn't seem to work for me. I'm better when I just start writing. However, even though the main plot will stay the same, everything else will change. This is why I gave up plotting. I can go with the flow of the story. I can fix any holes or problems when I go back and edit.

The books I currently have available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Novel, Inc, and Books A Million are Night Angel, Bedeviled Angel, and An Angel's Heart. I also have a novella out that is only available as an ebook from those same retailers. WWW.Cupid is my novella and it place fourth in the short paranormal category in the International Digital Awards in 2017. The third book in my series, An Angel's Heart, finaled in the American Fiction Awards in 2018.
Originally from Baltimore, MD, Annette Miller married an Air Force man a year out of high school, getting the chance to see Germany and most of the United States. Always a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and horror novels, she didn't discover romance until her oldest son was two. Then, she couldn't get enough. Her husband retired from the military and after reading so much paranormal and seeing all the hero movies, she decided romance and superheroes went together. That's when her Angel Haven series was born and the rest, as they say, is history. Annette has been a member of the Romance Writers of America and the New Jersey Romance Writers since 2001. She is currently the president of Writing in the Bluff, a romance writing group in Memphis, TN. She is also a member of Malice in Memphis, a mystery writers group. Her third book, An Angel's Heart, finaled in the American Fiction Awards in July, 2018. Her novella, www.cupid, placed fourth in the International Digital Awards in October, 2017. Her Social Media links ar https://www.annettemillerauthor.com/    wildrosepress.com

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Do You Cut Your Content?

By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief, Southern Writers Magazine   

Over the years I have talked with authors who tell me the best thing they do is write down four or five ideas they want to communicate to their reader. They like to clarify what key points they want to bring home in the books they write.

Laughing they said, “We use to wind up with four or five ideas being more than five pages. But through the years we have honed this skill.”

One of the authors said, “I like to write a sentence about each idea and allow myself three minutes to write it.”

But all agreed they have pared it to a draft of a sentence per idea.

Then they take the sentence and edit by cutting out the fluff in each sentence.

For example, by the time they are through instead of their being twenty-five words they narrowed it to five or six. Especially if they find a phrase in the sentence. They all agreed the phrase most of the time can be cut to one word.

These authors are very serious about communicating their ideas to their readers. But they start by communicating their ideas to themselves and by pealing back layer after layer, they eventually find the perfect ideas to communicate. They have learned by cutting the fluff and focusing on nouns and verbs their writing is steps above an average writer.

What about you? What have you developed that helps you get your ideas succinctly written in your books causing your readers to come back again and again to buy your books?

Monday, October 7, 2019

Who Reads our Books?

By Adriana Girolami

The aim of most authors is to create a best seller, a dream that seems unattainable to many, and a goal apparently reachable only by a few writers. That is considering the throngs of people that are invested in the literary field.

There are many components that are necessary in order to achieve that coveted goal. First and foremost a captivating well written story, combined with a good deal of luck and proper timing. Of course advertising and the maximum exposure possible is the lifeline of marketing, reason why so much energy is geared in that direction.

The question is why so many people choose to be authors, which is a very difficult and challenging road littered with disappointments, painful rejections, and the scarcity of rewards?

I believe the intense need to go forward is spurred on by passion and the overpowering need of channeling our creativity through the beauty of the written word.

However there are many ways to calibrate the measure of success, as we strive in that elusive road toward achieving the pinnacle of a best seller.

How many people out there are actually reading your books? Are they in the thousands, millions...? Or just a few hundreds who truly love what you have written.

Sometime a wonderful story is like a beautiful flower that blooms in the forest, but is lost in the lush greenery. Only a few birds have the privilege to see it and enjoy its loveliness and aromatic scent. However as the plant grows and new flowers bloom it will become more visible and perhaps someday it may be transplanted in a beautiful garden. No longer isolated from view and now admired by many people.

Since the advent of the Internet we can reach people in the furthest corners of the Earth. From different cultures and places we may never visit in our lifetime. And yet through our writing we can connect with them and become friends.

I often wondered if a lovely Geisha from beautiful Japan is reading one of my books, since I was fortunate to have it published and translated in Japanese. Presently my "Knights Templar Trilogy" is being translated and will be published in Mayalayam in India, which is one of their many languages spoken in the beautiful state of Kerala.

Recently I received a special and wonderful gift from one of my European readers, the image of a beautiful doll, which she has created in honor of the heroine of my Trilogy, "Polyxena of Nemours".
I believe that we should appreciate and be grateful to all our readers, regardless of the number, and be proud that each one of them has used their precious time to read our stories.

My experience in writing has validates my beloved mother's valuable teachings, when she said that the world is filled with friends waiting to be met...

Hopefully all the flowers in our literary garden will continue to grow and multiply, so we will be able to share their variety and beauty with readers and new found friends throughout the world...
Adriana Girolami was born in Rome, Italy and credits the ancient beauty of her native country for her love of history. She is a talented writer of historical fiction and a gifted visual artist. She immigrated with her family to the United States and later attended The Art Students League in New York City. She is a professional portrait artist who loves to write and express her creativity not only with a brush, but also with the power of the written words. She is the author of the beloved historical romance series, The Templar Trilogy:  Mysterious Templar, The Crimson Amulet, and Templar’s Redemption. As the illustrator of her book jackets, she paints intricate, visually rich characters that match the complex personalities she creates with her equally well-drawn words. Her novels have also been translated and published in Japan. Her trilogy presently is  being translated in an Indian language and will be published there. She is currently working on her latest novel, The Zamindar's Bride, which will be published soon. Adriana loves to travel with her husband and has been privileged to visit many beautiful places in the world. Since her work is sedentary, she exercises faithfully, loves to jog, plays racquetball and has a black belt in Kenpo Karate. She always looks forward to a special tomorrow and writing her next exciting novel. Her social media links are: www.adrianagirolami.com https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B01AX0QTNI?ref_=dbs_m_mng_rwt_0000_ft   https://www.facebook.com/adriana.girolami.3  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAdrianaGirolami/

Friday, October 4, 2019

Conquering the Mountain of Discouragement

By Tina Yeager

A fellow writer recently asked about my mountain climbing. Another Tina Yeager conquered Mount Everest.

With a flap of my sagging triceps, I laughed. “See? Not the mountain climber.”

My hiking achievements consist of driving to tourist stops within fifteen-minutes’ walk to the altitude sign. Sensitivity to slight chills would exclude me from Himalayan camping.

I later realized how untrue my words had been. Not just for me, but all writers.

Authors face a Himalayan task. We begin at a heart-freezing base camp, far from our comfort zones. Impossible odds loom. Our legs buckle on this quest to share soul-treasures. Each step exposes us to brutal elements of rejection and failure.

The emotional nature of writing leaves us raw. In our vulnerability, discouragement can defeat us. Yet we can equip ourselves to overcome the impossible and pursue our dreams.

With proper tools, even a wimpy writer like me can conquer this epic mountain and fulfill her powerful identity. For creative survival, I must include self-care, climbing gear, and a team.

To thrive as mountain-conquering writers, we must outfit our minds, bodies, and souls. The brain and body require rest, so let’s not hurry our demise by insisting we’ll “sleep when we’re dead.” Creativity also feeds upon proper hydration, omega-rich foods, and refreshment from reading other’s word-craft. We bless our art with daydreams and play, taking breaks to sharpen our tools when needed.
My headlamp and ropes have often saved me from tumbling off this mountain. I need the light of purpose to shine into the dark spaces of my journey. Mindfulness of my “why” encourages me to persevere through murky, oppressive moments. The view serves as a powerful anchor on this treacherous climb. Those in the valley need the hope of my words. And those in base camp need me to rise high enough for my motivation to provide leverage for their dreams.

I’ve also relied upon Sherpa-authors who’ve set ropes to pull me upward or keep me from slipping. Healthy community with encouraging fellow writers has proven vital. We cheer one another on when hope would otherwise crumble. When one of us succeeds, we all gain footing toward higher ground.
In the shadow of this ominous peak, our bones plead to give up. We could hole up in a cave on the side of this cliff and refuse to complete the climb. If our lives were the only ones depending upon the journey, perseverance wouldn’t be worth the trouble. But there are others beside us and further down the slope who need our voices, our continued pull on the ropes, and our willingness to keep climbing. Their journey depends upon our next steps. For love of these partners and upcoming authors, we can move onward in spite of the temptation to quit.

We writers are true mountain climbers. If we take up our tools to overcome discouragement, our hard-won story journeys will inspire generations to fulfill their dreams.
An award-winning author, inspirational speaker, and life coach, Tina Yeager also hosts the Flourish-Meant podcast and publishes Inkspirations Online, a weekly devotional for writers. She has won thirty writing awards, including 2013 FCWC Writer of the Year, and mentors four chapters of Word Weavers International. Her fiction and nonfiction strives to clarify how we might relate better to others, to ourselves, and to God. Licensed as a counselor since 2005, she has over twenty years of experience teaching adults, teens, and children in academic, clinical, and faith-based settings. Tina enjoys working with diverse populations and has practiced in community mental health settings and private practice since 2000. She specializes in ADHD, stress management, abuse recovery, and esteem-building, and currently runs an online life coaching practice, Divine Encouragement, LLC. Yeager is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and holds a BA in creative writing and an MA in counseling. Yeager is a member of the Serious Writer team, which hosts nationwide conferences and boot camps. Her Psyched Characters and Kindle your Creative Spark courses are available online at the Serious Writer Academy. Come visit her for a virtual cup of java online. For life coaching tips or to book her as an event speaker, check out tinayeager.com. Beautiful Warrior: Finding Victory over the Lies Formed Against You helps women identify and fulfill their potential as they discover Christ-centered significance. Available for order now, Beautiful Warrior is offered by New Hope Publishers (https://www.newhopepublishers.com/shop/beautiful-warrior/). Tina adores embracing new friends, so feel free to offer hugs to her avatars at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/tina.yeager.9, Twitter https://twitter.com/tyeagerwrites, Instagram tina.yeager.9, Goodreads, and Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/tyeagerwrites.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Business of Writing: Which Writing Organizations Should I Join?

By Edie Melson, Writer-at-Large for Southern Writers Magazine

I remember what it was like when I was just starting out as a writer. There was so much to learn. Part of that learning process is deciding where to invest our time and money—and that includes figuring out which organizations to join.

Which Organizations Should I join and Why

I’ll start with the why.
1. Every writer needs the support of other writers. Sometimes we get that one on one—with a mentor. But more often, we find that within a group.

2. Membership in a professional organization shows serious intent. It proves to publishers and agents that we’re willing to invest in a writing career.

There are two major options for organizations:
1. Find a local group. Good places to look are on social media, and through local libraries and bookstores. They will often have a listing of any local writing groups. It’s not always possible to find a local group, but that’s where I recommend you start.

2. Find an online group. There are many excellent national groups that have an online presence. I’m a member of several. Here are some I can recommend:

·         ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers): is for Christian fiction writers. It offers lots of benefits to members, including free online classes from publishing professionals, a national conference, and an email loop where you can ask writing related questions.
·         Word Weavers International: This is a great critique group option. They have local groups, as well as online groups. This group was developed over years of experience in what works to help new and even more advanced writers.
·         SCBWI (Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators): This is specifically for those who write for children and young adults.
·         ASJA (American Society of Journalists & Authors): This is specifically for the non-fiction writers.
·         RWA (RomanceWriters of America): This is a national group for romance writers in general.
·         NWU (NationalWritersUnion): I’m not a member of the national freelance writers group, but it’s a reputable group and I hear good things about it.
·         NWA (NationalWriters Association): Again, I’m not a member, but this is another reputable group that I hear good things from.
·         Advanced Writers & Speakers Association (AWSA): This is a group of professional writers & speakers. They have requirements to join, but I’ve found this group to be a huge value for me as a professional
·         Christian Authors Network (CAN): Again, this is a professional group, but another one that has been a great asset for me in my publishing career.

These groups are just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of other groups—Learn How to Write a Novel, Serious Writer, Realm Makers, etc. I really don’t have room to list them all, and I know I’m leaving some great ones out. But this is where writers begin to take ownership of their careers—doing the research for professional organizations to join.