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A New Journey…

For those of you that have not heard, a few months ago I decided to go full time with my writing career. (YAY!) In addition to books and articles, I also began doing some freelance work, along with helping other authors to publish their work.

Last month I created a new site that will be primarily for the new business.

The new address is: www.amberleggettealdrich.com

Today is Day 1 for a 90 day writing challenge for a new book, from beginning the writing process through publication.

This is a project that I’m super excited about, because I’ll not only be creating a new book, but fulfilling a promise to Christian.

I want to take a minute to say thank you for all the support, kindness, and encouragement you have shown me over the years here. And I look forward to our continued friendship.

I hope you will check out the new blog, and join me in this new journey!

Here’s to success, and happy writing! – Amber

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Kindness in the world of wordsmiths… Through the years I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful folks in the Author community. Without their kind generosity, my own journey into the land of writing would not have happened. Generally speaking, in the world of business, competitors are seen as the enemy. But in the world […]

via 3 Questions for Authors — Amber Leggette-Aldrich

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After a lot of careful consideration, I decided to create a professional site for my author’s platform. That is where you will find stories, excerpts, news, tips for writers, and anything else to do with writing.

The name of the new site is Amber Leggette-Aldrich: Painting Pictures with Words. (Just click on the link to go there now.) I hope you’ll join me there!

I will continue to keep this site as my personal blog, for sharing things not related to writing.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! – Amber

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A friend recently shared a question they had been asked about what is considered “good writing”. As I’ve come to learn, it is related to the old saying, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”. There is no such thing as a book that every single person in the world is going to like. And the criteria for what constitutes a good book as just as varied as the people that read.

Yes, there are certain key points to remember when writing. Things such as spelling mistakes, poor grammar and vocabulary, can all ruin a good story. Editing and proofreading are necessary tools of the trade. But since people’s preferences in their reading choices are so varied, how does an author know how to write a “good book”?

The best answer I’ve come up with is this: an author usually writes for one of two reasons. They have a particular message they wish to share, or they have a creative imagination that likes to make up stories. Sometimes they combine both.

In either case, the author wants to connect in some way with their readers. I think perhaps the best way to do that is to simply write from the heart, as if writing for yourself. Write something that you would enjoy reading. At least that is what works for me.

Since there are so many curious minds out there seeking advice on writing, for this week’s #FridayForwards post, I decided to do things a little differently. Instead of listing books, I decided to share a few links to a few blogs of other authors. These authors share tips and advice about writing on occasion that are well worth looking into for those considering taking on the journey of becoming an author, as well as those already on that journey.

I hope you’ll take a moment and check out these blogs. And make sure to leave a comment. We all love to hear from our readers, and the feedback helps us to improve in our work.

Keep on writing, and have a great weekend! – Amber

Blogs:

Timothy Pike of “Dream, Play, Write” http://theimportanceofbeingedited.wordpress.com/

Lisette Brodey, author http://lisettebrodey.com/category/blog/

Melissa Foster, author http://www.melissafoster.com/resources-for-writers/

#FridayForwards #authors #writing #TBSU

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When asked in a casual conversation what I did for a living, I replied, “I am an author”. I had just published my first book, and I admit that I felt a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in hearing myself say the words. The reply however, was not what I expected. The words, “Oh, living the easy life. It must nice to just work when you feel like it, ” rang out in my ears like a jack-hammer. I thought to myself, “Are you serious”? I thought about a quote I once read: “It is only when you open your veins and bleed onto the page a little that you establish contact with your reader…” (from “Confessions of a Story Writer” by Paul Gallico, author of “The Poseidon Adventure” and  “Lou Gehrig: Pride of the Yankees”)

When an author writes, they are exposing a part of themselves to the world. One never knows what kind of reviews (if any at all) their work will receive. What if people hate it? Or even worse, what if no one ever reads it at all? There is an endless list of fears (both real and imagined) that can fill an authors head.

I will fear no evil

So what does an author do to overcome those fears and put the pen to the paper? Some do nothing, and those words stay locked up inside forever.  I chose to “do it afraid”. I felt like if I tried to keep those words inside, my head would explode. So I just started writing. To change Mr. Gallico’s words slightly, I opened my heart and let it bleed onto the pages.

Most of the authors I know work in that way. They write because they love it. They write the words that are in their hearts and minds. It is not an easy way to make a living. In fact, most authors work at other jobs to pay their bills, at least in the beginning. But it is a great reward to see the fruit of your labors in print, especially if others are sharing it by spreading the word about it.

Which brings me to this week’s #FridayForwards, and a message to all the authors out there: Keep writing, FEARLESSLY! And when you find something you enjoy, PLEASE SHARE IT!

The Wolf of Tebron by C.S. LakinThe Wolf of Tebron by C.S. Laskin. C.S. Lakin’s first novel in The Gates of Heaven series is about the journey of Joran in his quest to find his wife. Along the way, he is joined by a huge wolf, Ruyah, who soon becomes Joran’s companion, friend and teacher. It’s written in classic fairytale style, where magic, fantasy, and the forces of good and evil abound. Rich in vibrant language, adventure, personification, and more, this allegory offers the reader more than just a thrilling story. As Lakin says, “Joran’s journey inspires and encourages readers to focus on our deep purpose and meaning in life.”

 

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. LewisThe Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. A classic masterpiece of religious satire that entertains readers with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to “Our Father Below.” At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging account of temptation—and triumph over it—ever written.

 

 

1 book coverFaith, Hope & Miracles by Amber Leggette-Aldrich. A tragic snowmobile accident that resulted in the death of 8 year old Christian Aldrich is just the beginning. Miraculously revived over 40 minutes later, there was still little reason to believe that this child would survive, let alone fully recover. What Christian describes about his experience with death and heaven has had a profound impact on many. Faith, Hope & Miracles is a true story about a family’s 18 month journey through tragedy and blessings. It is a story of hope and encouragement. Anyone who has lost a loved one, suffered in agonizing pain, or felt desperate and alone will appreciate this straightforward account which describes in detail what Christian and his family went through, and the true miracles they witnessed.

Have a great weekend and God bless! – Amber

#FridayForwards #TBSU #Authors #Books

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Today I have a guest post, written by my friend, Seumas Gallacher.

I’ve asked Seumas to share a little about his journey to becoming a writer because he’s had a great influence on me. His good-natured generosity and sense of humor has made it quite easy to like him.

Seumas started a strategy in social networking a while back called, “The Blog Scratchers Union”…a you scratch my back (or blog in this case), and I’ll scratch yours sort of thing. It has become quite popular in helping authors spread the word about each other’s works. I shared his idea in an earlier post. So now when you see the hashtag #TBSU, you’ll know where it came from.

So without further ado…meet Seumas Gallacher…

…what do YOU wanna be when you grow up?…

As much as I protest at the utter surprise at realizing I’m living well past the three-score years mark, my brain rejects anything other than a youthful mind-set.

Sure, it seems I can’t sprint from the armchair to the sofa in search of the television remote control as swiftly as I once could… and birthdays appear to be arriving in a concertina-ed time scale. But I believe I’ve arrived at a place of cerebral satisfaction… I’ve become a writer… never, ever labeling myself as an ‘aspiring writer’… but a ‘writer’… if you’re gonna be something, then be it totally.

However, it wasn’t ever so imbedded as it is now.

In my earlier youth, the preferred occupations ranged from ‘a drummer in a beat group’, followed bylead singer in the same beat group’ (note ‘beat group’, not ‘band’… kinda dates me a bit, doesn’t it?)… then it was to be a ‘back-street betting bookmaker’, short-lived when I learned that would require capital to get started. Brief skirmishes with the notion of being a ‘professional soccer goalkeeper’ lapsed as the need to get real and earn a living thrust me into the tentacles of Big Bad Banking. In that guise the world saw Master Gallacher over a period of four decades, tramping round the global greed centres of London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, Manila, and now Abu Dhabi.

In retrospect, it dawns on me that all of that was merely to equip my grey cells with background material to indulge what I think has always been in my soul… writing… telling stories… entertaining people… enjoying the pleasure of word-smithing.

I didn’t complete my first crime thriller until about five years ago, and since then have become addicted to laptop-tapping constantly, in producing what has now become the Jack Calder series, with three titles on Amazon Kindle already, and a fourth Work-In-Progress…

Seumas 3 books covers

Available on Amazon at:

Savage Payback 

Vengeance Wears Black 

The Violin Man’s Legacy

Being the oldest self-confessed computer Jurassic on the planet, the advent of the social networks was beautifully timed. My incompetence has proved no barrier in a steep learning curve.

Marrying the eBook phenomenon with the proper business application of the various social networks has resulted in 75,000+ downloads/sales to date in eBook and hard copy … not bad for somebody who still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he (eventually) grows up. It still tickles and astonishes me that in this few short years I’ve become in some quarters, the darling of the self-publishing brigade. So much so, that many, many newbie and established author friends have exhorted me to tell how I did it. The result… the recent launch on Kindle of ‘Self-Publishing Steps To Successful Sales’…

Seumas book cover 1

 

Available on Amazon at ‘Self-Publishing Steps To Successful Sales’ 

…I welcome all and any contact regarding this wonderful world of quill-scraping and invite your interaction through:

Blog : http://www.seumasgallacher.com
Twitter : @seumasgallacher
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/seumasgallacher
Email : seumasgallacher@yahoo.com

 

Seumas Gallacher profile picSeumas Gallacher was born in Clydeside, Govan in Glasgow and spent his formative teens in the idyllic Scottish Hebridean island of Mull. His career as a banker took him from Scotland to London for ten years and thence on a further twenty-five year global odyssey through Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines in Asia. Along the way he metamorphed into a corporate troubleshooter and problem solver. He came to the United Arab Emirates for a month in 2004 and has remained in Abu Dhabi ever since.

A late discoverer of the joys of writing, his first two novels, The Violin Man’s Legacy and Vengeance Wears Black have sold more than 70,000 copies. The third in the Jack Calder series, Savage Payback was launched in late 2013.

Seumas has become a strong proponent of the use of the social networking channels to reach and engage with a global readership market in the new age of self-publishing and eBooks. Seumas is a sought-after speaker and lecturer on how to develop productive online relationships. He was voted Blogger of the Year 2013.

(* Don’t forget to drop Seumas a line, and help spread the word about #TBSU)

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I began writing many years ago, without having any college training or professional background. I just put down on paper what was in my heart and in my head. Several family members and close friends told me that my writing was very good and that I should consider becoming a writer. But that’s what family and friends always say. So I didn’t take it too seriously.

Then I joined a chat room and began joining in a few of the forums there. It was during a time of political debates and elections, and there was quite a bit of tension and heated arguments in many of the forums. So I began a discussion based on sharing humorous stories about my children and animals, as an attempt to cool things down.

Soon there were several hundred people joining in, leaving comments regarding my writing a book of these stories. Several of the comments were from professional writers, and they were encouraging me to become a writer. Me! A real writer?

I had no knowledge of the writing industry, but I asked questions. And to their credit, I found that these writers were more than willing to educate me. Through their kindness, I found some confidence and encouragement, and I began pondering the idea of becoming a writer.

Of course, the picture I painted in my mind was one of me, sitting at my computer, furiously typing out a best seller in a couple of days, while the phone was ringing with offers and pleas from several publishers. I pictured crowds surrounding me in public, asking for my autograph. And I pictured financial success. (Yes, I know that’s funny, but it’s MY picture, so don’t rain on my parade.)

I bought several books on writing, publishing, agents, and marketing guides. After I finished reading them, I think I was more confused than before I started. And I felt a sense of fear, realizing that I had no idea of what I was doing.

I lost contact with the writers I had met in the chat room when the site was suddenly closed for unknown reasons. And things were changing in my life circumstances that were beyond my control. So for a time, I didn’t give much more thought to writing for a living.

But I kept writing, and sharing stories with friends and family. And my biggest fan was always my mom.

Then a few years ago there was an incident which hospitalized my youngest son. There were many people wanting updates and to share loving prayers, but even texting was difficult. So one of the hospital volunteers arranged for me to get access to a computer and set up a webpage where I could post updates and people could leave messages for us. The site was similar to a blog, and I began posting once or twice a day.

The posts were similar to a journal style of writing, and I included my own thoughts and feelings about what was going on with my son. I was writing to share with our family and friends. But by the end of the first week, there were several hundred people that were following this journal, leaving messages of hope and prayers, and requesting that I continue the posts. There were hundreds of people that I didn’t know, I didn’t even know how they found the site. But it was being spread by word of mouth (or computer links) and it continued to grow.

I was a little overwhelmed when I realized that in a short time, there were almost 4,000 people following this journal. And many of them were thanking me for sharing our story, and repeatedly asking me to consider writing a book about our ordeal. My mom was among them.

Over the next year and a half, I wrote the book, “Faith, Hope & Miracles”. And while I was writing it, I was also learning everything I could about the publishing industry. Without knowing any writers or having any contacts in the industry, I knew that it was not going to be an easy endeavor.

When I finished writing the manuscript, I sent it to my mother and asked her to review it and give an honest critique, along with editing. I knew she had taken a few English and writing courses in college, so I felt confident that she would spot any grammar mistakes and such.

When she called after reading the manuscript, her voice was soft and shaky as she said, “Hon, you are a very gifted writer, and you did an excellent job”. At first I thought her emotions were very strong because of the subject of the book surrounding her own grandson. But it was more than that. She told me of how proud she was of me for completing this work, and that she believed in my ability as a writer.

Even when I confided in her that I had no idea of how to go about getting the book published, she said she had faith in me and that she knew it would happen. And she told me to never give up.

After careful consideration, I had decided to self-publish that book. To accomplish that required learning even more about the publishing and marketing industry than I ever really wanted to know, but I was determined to do it. It was a bit overwhelming and even frightening in some ways, but when the book was finally available for sale, I felt a great sense of satisfaction. And I finally realized that writing was what I wanted to do with my life.

I must say that going about it the way I did to become a writer was probably the hardest way. I highly recommend that anyone wanting to pursue a career in writing start by taking writing and publishing courses, and earning some credentials. It is hard enough for a first book to be a success when you know what you’re doing. But when you are learning as you go, and no one knows anything about you, it’s even harder.

I sent a signed copy to my parents and several other family members and friends. But I’m pretty sure that no one was more proud than my mother. It was a little over 6 months later when I finally was able to go visit, and she had my book proudly on display on her living room coffee table, next to her bible.

On that visit, I shared a few ideas I had for a Christian fiction series, and my mother liked the ideas. She said she looked forward to reading the books, and I knew she would always be my biggest fan.

My mother passed away the day after I came home from that trip, one year ago today.

In this past year, I’ve written a few articles and worked on a couple of different blogs. But when it came to working on the series I had started, I seemed to have developed writer’s block.

I managed to scratch out a few paragraphs now and then, but I just couldn’t find the time to really go after it.

It wasn’t until this morning that I finally realized that I have been feeling an underlying depression. I know it’s perfectly normal to grieve after losing someone you love. And in this past year, I have often missed my mother very much, and I’ve cried. But what I didn’t realize was that somewhere in my mind, my writing was, in a way, connected to her.

It’s funny how our brains work, making associations and connections that we don’t even realize are there.

But I also realized something else this morning. I remembered back to when my son was in the hospital and I began keeping that online journal. I knew as events unfolded in that hospital that there was a miracle that needed to be told. I could feel it in my heart that God wanted for me to share it with others, and I felt compelled to do so. I also felt a sense of pride with my mother’s encouragement to continue writing. But in this past year, I have not been doing what I was led to do. I was not honoring my mother, or God, with my procrastination and lack of commitment.

This day has been hard, and I know there will still be more hard days ahead. I also know that my mother would never have wanted grieving for her to stop me from doing something that is dear to my heart, and something that she was so proud of.

In realizing the connection I feel between my mother and my writing, I know now that I can turn that into a strength. It can be the inspiration to keep writing, even when I can’t think of what to write about. It can be the motivation I need to stay committed to my work, even when I’m too tired. And it can be the strength I need, to pour out my heart on paper, the words of my stories. And it can be a way for me to continue to say, “I love you Mom. Thanks for believing in me”.

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A Writer’s Exercise Program

By Amber Leggette-Aldrich

  1. Weight Lifting:  Repeatedly lifting a 12oz coffee mug from desk to lips and back. Do this exercise several times throughout the day and evening for firm biceps.
  2. Cardiovascular Workout:  Hitting the delete button by accident and having all your work erased an hour before your assignment is due. This really gets your heart pumping and blood circulating as you jump up and down while screaming “NO”.
  3. Stretches:  Reaching for the computer paper on the shelf behind you and then reaching to put it in the printer. Make sure paper and printer are on opposite sides of your work area for an equal stretch.
  4. Reflexes:  Trying to catch yourself before falling out of your chair from reaching for the paper or printer. This is especially important if your chair has wheels.
  5. More Reflexes:  Trying to catch the cat before he runs across your keyboard and knocks your coffee over.
  6. Toning Work:  Replacing the ink cartridges in your printer.
  7. Squats:  Getting up and down from your chair for frequent bathroom breaks. A sign you are doing well on your weight lifting (see #1).
  8. Frequent Massages:  Scratching your head while staring at a blank screen. This promotes good circulation and helps stir up new ideas, or daydreaming.
  9. Knee Rotations:  Swiveling side to side in your chair while talking on the phone, wishing you were still working on your writing. This can be combined with the Frequent Massages (#8). Then it is considered “multi-tasking”.
  10. Breathing Exercises:  Blowing all the cat hair off of the desk, or sighs of exasperation. Either one will work, so long as you inhale and exhale deeply.
  11. Walking/Jogging:  Daily trips to the mailbox looking for that big fat check from your publisher for your latest bestseller, or your fan mail. (I don’t get to do this one, as I don’t have a bestseller or fans yet.)
  12. Endurance:  Repeatedly getting up and doing this all over again each day because you are a writer. It’s who you are.
  13. Yoga Position:  Giving our self a frequent pat on the back to maintain positive reinforcement of why we do this. Other benefits include, getting to those hard to reach spots when they itch.

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Good morning! Well, our time here in Texas has been way too short, but it’s been great seeing my son and daughter-in-law. And of course, my grand kitties. 🙂 It’s been so hot, we haven’t been able to go out to do a whole lot, but we did go down to the Paluxy River at Big Rocks for a short venture. The river has gone dry there below the dam, so it looked very strange to me. I used to cross the river there at Big Rocks and climb up the cliffs down river after work. I’ve seen the water level high and low, but never completely dry before. But Christian still enjoyed climbing on the rocks for a while.

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Just below the dam

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Christian playing at Big Rocks

During our time here, we stopped by Rainbow Baptist Church, where my son Jason used to attend. His pastor, Don Caldwell, is now at another church, but the music director, Tim, still remembered Jason. We gave him a couple of copies of our book, Faith, Hope & Miracles and asked him to send a copy on to Pastor Caldwell. After the service, I took some pictures of the beautiful memorial garden the church put up for Jason.

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Even though there were some painful memories, it still brought comfort being there. I am thankful that Jason found Jesus, and had a wonderful and loving church family surrounding him. I was told that he touched many lives there, and in the community.

Christian also enjoyed playing video games and keeping cool in the air conditioning. Most of the time he had a little help.

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On our last evening here, I was finally able to get everyone together for a group picture before going out to dinner at Chili’s. We all ate too much, but enjoyed our time anyway.

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My family is a little goofy, but I love them!

After dinner, we stayed up most of the night talking and sharing funny stories and memories. I am not ready to leave yet, but we must be moving on to our next stop. I will miss Daniel & Tricia, but they are always close in my heart. I will post more updates when we reach Arizona.

Take care for now, and love one another. God bless! – Amber & Christian

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Hello Everyone!

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for their prayers and well wishes. Life has been difficult the past few months, but as always, Jesus has carried me through and given me strength to move on.

I have settled back in to my writing again, beginning a new series in Christian fiction. The idea was inspired by a story my son wrote for a Language Arts project last year. The outline has been completed and the story has begun, though the flow seems to be intermittent right now.

This brings me to an article I came across this morning that I would like to share with you. It sums up the struggles that many of us face when trying to find the time to write. As a single mother home schooling an active 10 year old boy, my writing time is often limited to late night and early mornings. This usually equates to little or no sleep. But with a truckload of determination (and coffee) combined with hope and strength from God, I continue to write.

So, this article is for all of you writers out there that may be facing some of the issues mentioned, to let you know that you are not alone in your struggles. Don’t give up on your writing, even if it might seem impossible. Take it one day at a time, one step at a time, even one sentence at a time. (I am reminded that patience is a virtue. For a writer, it is a life line!) Trust that you will get it finished, and enjoy and celebrate your accomplishments along the way!

http://plottersandpantsers.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/when-life-writing-collide-goal-setting-for-the-busy-writer/

God Bless, and have a Happy Writing Day! – Amber

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