I was contacted by Invoice2Go about helping with an infographic about running a freelance writing business. They got lots of input from a lot of people and created this infographic. You can read more comments (including some from me) on their blog post HERE.
Happy New Year, everyone!
In December 2014, my dream came true and I released my first romantic comedy with a publisher (The Writer's Coffee Shop). The story was called "Wrong Place, Right Time." A simple theme of a woman interrupting the wrong wedding. Oops! My contract with that publisher is now up and I received the rights to the book back as of Jan. 1.
This story is short and sweet and I'm in no way done with it. The publisher has removed it from amazon and all the other locations since I now have the rights. But I plan to re-release it in 2017. When that happens, it will have a new cover. Do you like it?? I loved the old cover, but I wanted something more cartoony this time so hopefully it would scream "romantic comedy!" Details on release dates for the new old book are yet to come. I need to do some deciphering on releases this year.
In other release news, I now have a release date for "The Leftover." Are you ready? September 12, 2017! I'm excited to put this book out with BQB Publishing. They have an amazing new distributor so the book has the potential to have a wide reach. The cover design is coming along and being finalized. The last option they presented to me was pretty cool and I can't wait to see it in final form!
This week, my writing goal is to write a second short story that runs alongside "Backwards Christmas." It will be called "Another Backwards Christmas" (I think) so wish my luck on that!
More details on it all coming soon!
Thank you so much to everyone who entered to win three of my paperback books. I sincerely enjoyed reading every word of the emails. Hearing you answer the questions my family answered made my day. What fun it was to find out more about you and what makes your lives special. So thank you to each and everyone of you. I wish I could send ALL of you some books!
That being said, I had to pick a winner... Before my daughter left for school I had her pick a number between 1 and 100. She said 44. Smart girl because my favorite number is 4. :) I knew I had well over 200 emails. So I shut my eyes and scrolled up and down a bit. Then randomly chose a place to stop. From that point, I counted down 44 and landed on... Judy Fritz. You've won! I sent her an email so she should know whenever she gets a chance to check in. I'll send the books out to her tomorrow.
Thanks again for participating and I'll try to do another giveaway for you soon!
.NEED A GIFT IDEA???
It's last minute and you still have people on your list. What do you do?!
As an author, I often talk to people about books. One of the comments I hear is "Oo, I want to read that, but I just don't have time to read!" I get it! I really do! It takes me a month or longer to read a book. When do I read with two daughters and a job? Well, it's not in long segments. My youngest watches about 10 minutes of videos before naptime and bed. I sit and snuggle her with one arm and use my other to read. That's it! Sometimes I get a little in while I dry my hair. It's not ideal, but it's what I have for now.
But think about the rest of the day. Do you spend long chunks or even short amounts of time in the car? I do! We live ten minutes from the school and about 20 or more from other places. We drive often. And my book addiction doesn't leave me when I'm driving so... what's a girl to do?!
Audio books!!! I used to get them on tape, then CD, now you can get them and put them on your phone. Some people can connect that to your car or just listen with ear buds. I usually don't unless it's a long trip, but I love that it's an option and when I have one, I find that I don't want to "put it down" to drive, so I listen away!
The good news is that I actually have TWO books in audio format. Accept this Dandelion and Mamarazzi. Both books are on audible through amazon. Here's the great think about audible. When you sign up, you get a free book! And you can cancel the program before you have to pay if you cancel within 30 days. So sign up yourself or give someone the gift of audio books for a year or whatever. When you grab your free book, get Accept this Dandelion or Mamarazzi! Cancel if you want to after that or enjoy grabbing other books and listening to them in the car, doing chores around the house, or anytime in between. Life's short! It's hard to get all those books in, I understand! I'm in the same boat. We do what we can!
Find Accept this Dandelion in audio HERE
Find Mamarazzi in audio HERE
Merry Christmas again and drive and travel carefully if you're hitting the road or skies. We'll chat next year, okay? :)
Merry Christmas to you all! One of the most fun traditions is to send out a Christmas letter to family members and friends. As a writer, I enjoy coming up with creative ways to tell everyone what's going on in our lives. I invite you to enjoy the Christmas letter I sent out this year. We took turns interviewing one another and it made for some interesting answers. You can read our family Christmas letter below.
But on to more important items. My Christmas gift to you!! Well, one of you, at least. :) I'd like to giveaway a book pack, would that be okay? The winner receives three titles: Someone Always Loved You, Wrong Place Right Time, and Accept this Dandelion.
It's simple to enter. Just comment below and answer one of our interview questions from below. I'll choose a winner on Monday the 19th after lunchtime so you have the weekend to enter. You can check my blog to see if you've won. I'll email you directly if you do, so if you don't hear from me that means you didn't. But you can check my blog to see who did!
Thanks for your support and good luck! I wish I could give books to ALL of you! Now on to the interview.
A Williams Christmas Interview
Brooke Interviews Kaelyn (age 7)
What is something that makes your family special?
We hang out together.
What do you think will be the most useful thing you’ve learned when you are an adult?
I’m learning to be as nice as my mommy.
What would you want to be famous for?
Doing gymnastics or chiming at church.
What would you do if you could be invisible?
Go into Sadie’s room and wake her up.
What five words describe you?
Nice, lovely, kind, cute, cuddly.
If you could make one rule that everyone in the world had to follow, what would it be?
Make sure everyone was nice and not stealing from me.
What’s your favorite subject in school?
Math and PE.
What do you want for Christmas?
I want my two front teeth. J (She recently pulled both out herself!)
What do you like to do in the summer?
Go to Adventureland!!!!!
Kaelyn Interviews Brooke
Are you happy you have two kids or would you rather just have one?
(Twenty minutes of laughing) I’d never return either of the most precious gifts I ever received.
Do you like being a writer?
I absolutely love it!!!
Are you going to write another book or what?
“The Leftover” comes out in September.
Where do you want to go on vacation?
How much do you love your two little girls?
Bunches and bunches!
Do you like making supper?
No, but you keep getting hungry.
What ARE we having for supper?
Brooke Interviews Sadie (age 3)
What do you like about preschool?
What do you sleep with at night?
What do you like to do when Kaelyn is at school?
Take a shower! Then the children’s museum!
What makes you sad?
When Kaelyn hits me and when mommy cleans my ears.
What’s your favorite thing to do?
Drink milk and sleeve action!
What do you want to be when you grow up?
What’s your favorite color?
Green and orange and red and blue and black and yellow and….one more color…
What do you like about your family?
Extras from Sadie…
You’re a girl and Kaelyn is a girl and I’m a girl and daddy’s a boy!!!!! (runs away squealing)
Kaelyn Interviews Sean
What’s your favorite game to play with Kaelyn and Sadie?
What’s your favorite part of work?
What’s your favorite part about coming home?
Getting to see everybody.
What’s your favorite part of Christmas?
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service.
What’s your favorite part of vegetarians?
More meat for me.
Your ideal vacation?
What do you hope for in 2017?
To see 2018.
We hope you've enjoyed our fun little letter. Merry Christmas to you and your family and have a great New Year too!!
Christmas time is upon us and every family has different traditions. When my brother-in-law joined our family, he told us about a tradition his family held. Someone would hide a pickle ornament on the Christmas tree and then everyone would search for that ornament. The person wo found it would get a special prize/gift. Anyone who knows my dad will understand he jumped at the opportunity to put his own twist on this tradition. In order to welcome my brother-in-law to the family, he decided to showcase this tradition. But he didn't use an ornament. He used a REAL pickle. Dill, in case you wondered. It got quite a look from the person who found it. And now, every year since then, a real pickle makes its way onto our tree. Whoever finds it usually does not want the prize because it's just as strange as the real pickle. The pickle (now that we know it's REAL) is easy enough to find. We just sniff it out!!
Last year, "Backwards Christmas" premiered showcasing the fictional town of South Pole, Alaska. This small town was going down the tubes when the mayor came up with a way to bolster tourism....by doing Christmas BACKWARDS. What does that mean? You name it! They hang their Christmas trees upside down from the ceiling (the way it used to be done back in the day). They paint mistletoe on sidewalks. They take presents TO Santa Clause. And the carolers force homeowners to sing to THEM when they visit. The traditions saved the town and they sure were fun for me to create!
Amidst this quaint, charming little town, there is no loss for hurt. Chris Furst lost his parents on Christmas and he has been bitter against the holiday ever since. His former girlfriend, Noelle Freeman, however, is filled with the spirit. It's obvious they still have feelings for one another, but the difference in their beliefs about the holiday are too big of a canyon to breach.
Join a lively cast of characters for this Christmas-filled adventure in the heart of South Pole, Alaska. Find out about their intriguing traditions (that I wish were real because I'd be dying to visit the town myself!) Grab a kindle copy of the book for yourself, or send it to a friend as a gift on amazon! Check out the details on Backwards Christmas HERE.
You can also join my publisher Pelican Book Group (that recently took Prism Book Group on as an imprint) for a Christmas celebration on Facebook December 15th. Just click HERE to join that party!
Merry Christmas and please don't be shy, share your strange holiday traditions with me. Who knows, they may end up in a book someday... :)
I know Christmas can be a hectic, stressful time of year. So today, I want to tell you a few stories to make you smile and take your mind off of your everyday life. Sound good? Here we go!
What Sadie Wants for Christmas
My three-year-old, Sadie, is quite vocal about what she wants for Christmas this year. Her desire stems from lovely TV commercials. Every time she sees commercials from this particular industry, she points and squeals. "I want that! I want one of those!" Thank you commercials. You are very helpful. However, the commercials to which I'm referring happen to be related to jewelry stores. What does Sadie want? A diamond ring. Not a small spec either. We're talking a full on carat, maybe more. She's partial to chocolate diamonds, by the way, but she seems to be okay settling for regular diamonds as well.
Before Sadie gets what she wants, I think she is going to have to stop taking her beaded jewelry off and laying it about any floor she stands on. I'm talking the library, the fast food restaurants, preschool and everywhere in between. There are going to have to be rules about her diamond ring. :)
The last time we saw a jewelry commercial I told her she would get her diamond. All she had to do was wait 20+ years, meet a nice boy, and allow love to blossom. It is only a matter of time before he gets her just what she wants. The sad part is that all of that will happen way too soon for mama!
In the meantime, I hope she is happy with the tea party set she's actually getting. She can't wear it, but she might try...
Kaelyn and the Crock Pot
My oldest daughter is 7 and she's always had a fear of smoke detectors. Not smoke, necessarily, just the device that detects them. Perhaps this is telling of my cooking skills...
Her fear got so bad for a while that we had to remove the detector from her room just to sleep at night. That was a few years back and while she is better about detectors in general, they still do not have a loving relationship.
I'm not a gourmet chef in any sense of the world, but I do manage to put food on the table in edible form each night. I enjoy crock pot cooking the most because all I have to do is throw stuff in the pot and wait. Dinner served! Our big crock pot has a timer on it and it beeps when the cooking cycle is complete and it switches over to "keep warm."
The last time I cooked in the crock pot, we were home when the cycle changed from cook to keep warm. The beeping isn't loud or obnoxious like a fire alarm, but apparently, it's similar enough. After two or three quiet beeps, Kaelyn panicked, screamed "fire!" and bolted out the front door of the house.
I wondered how long it would be until she came back. Luckily, it was chilly outside so she wasn't away too long. I now have to time our crock pot to beep when we are not home. And attempt to not start fires when I cook in other ways. Kids are so demanding! :)
Thank you for indulging me in these stories today. I hope they made you smile. Who knows, maybe they'll end up in a book someday. Feel free to comment and hit me with your favorite smiley emoticon so I know I reached my goal today...stories for a smile! :)
Who needs stores when you can start your holiday shopping with a simple email? I have a stash of a number of my books and I'd love to pass them on to you for gifts. I'll sign them and mail them out to you (no extra cost for shipping in the US!)
So, here's the deal you get...$10 for one paperback book. If you buy more than one, add $5 for each additional book. And NO shipping charges! Below are the titles I have in stock. Get complete descriptions in the "Books" portion of my website!
To grab the deal, email me at email@example.com and let me know what you want! We can work out check or paypal or whatever is convenient for you.
Merry Christmas in advance!
Wrong Place, Right Time
Kate interrupts the wrong wedding and finds herself caught between two men…
Danica takes pictures of the stars…until she becomes one!
Someone Always Loved You
Jay hits a pedestrian his first day on the job as an ambulance driver in this family drama.
Accept this Dandelion
Nothing goes right for Renee on this reality TV dating show!
Dandelions on the Road
Season two of the local reality TV dating show features a woman and plenty of dandelions!
After the Final Dandelion
You’ve never attended a wedding like this!!
Shower in the Rain
A mom trying to do it all takes her shower in the rain so her daughter can play.
Baby Sheep Gets a Haircut
Baby sheep gets his first haircut…but can’t find his mommy!
Accept this Dandelion is part of this huge humor book giveaway, so I wanted to make sure you knew about it! You can enter now through November 7th! Fingers crossed you win!!!
Welcome, Jan Elder. Could you please tell our readers about your writer’s journey?
I started writing Love, Lies, and Fireflies seven long years ago in the fall of 2009. I had just turned the ripe old age of fifty and feelin’ blue. I’ve been a writer since I was a little girl, always penning poems, letters, and short stories, and a couple of years previously I’d kicked around an idea for a novel. I even had a whopping four pages written!
I heard about the National Novel Writing Month (http://nanowrimo.org), an annual internet-based creative writing project that takes place every November. NaNoWriMo challenges its participants to write 50,000 words with the goal of stimulating those creative juices and keeping writers motivated throughout the process. A group of fledgling writers were meeting at a café fifteen miles from my house, and I decided to give it a try. I only made it to 30,000 words, (okay, okay, it was actually 29,000 something, but thirty thousand sounds so much more impressive) but I was hooked.
And thus began my humble writing career. Did I have any idea what I was doing? Not much, but I could learn. That’s been seven years ago now, and since then I’ve published a couple of other books. But Love, Lies, and Fireflies is very special to me because it’s the first one I started.
Can you give us a short synopsis of Love, Lies, and Fireflies?
Sure! Here’s the back cover copy:
Didi O’Brien is engaged—at least she was an hour ago. Now she’s not so sure. Her fiancé, the suave Kevin Cabot, has just revealed that he’s been unfaithful, and he’s not the least bit sorry. Reeling from the betrayal, with her plans for a happily-ever-after life in doubt, she prays for direction. The answer comes as a complete surprise. God has someone better in mind.
Middle school teacher, Jake Montgomery, is struggling with some issues of his own. Sadly, a year previously his fiancée had been killed in a car crash. Battling anger and despair, in a mountain-top experience, Jake wrestles with the Almighty, and is ready to live again. In his youth, he’d felt an unmistakable call to the ministry but, like the prophet Jonah, since then, he’s been running hard in the wrong direction.
Through a crisis of faith, and glimpses of mercy, Didi and Jake find each other. But can they find the strength to resolve the many obstacles that conspire to keep them apart?
Sounds interesting. Could we have a short excerpt of the novel?
Alrighty. The following is one of my favorite passages:
With sleepy, half-closed eyes, Jake yawned and opened his arms in invitation. Without hesitation, Didi slid into his embrace. “You’re welcome,” he murmured into her ear. He stroked her hair as she nestled into his shoulder. His arms around her were warm and comfy.
Knowing Jake needed his rest, Didi stretched up and planted a light kiss on his cheek. When she tried to let him go, Jake tenderly drew her closer.
“Not this time, Didi.” Pulling back slightly, his gaze full of longing reached out to her. Gentle fingers wound themselves in her hair as he whispered, “Close your eyes.”
His husky voice sent shivers of anticipation down Didi’s spine. Heart pounding, she drew in a deep breath and lowered her eyelashes. Slowly, so slowly, he drew her closer and kissed her with soft, chocolate-scented lips. With her eyes still closed, she melted into him, and he kissed her again—this time not quite so softly.
They stood in the hallway, arms draped around each other, until a drowsy Jake bent back against the door and groaned. “Now I really do have to go before I collapse on your floor, but I’d love to see you again. What are you doing Friday night?” His eyes held a trace of fire as he brushed a strand of hair from her face.
The touch of his fingers on her cheek warmed her heart and gave her shivers. He was a good kisser—no, a great kisser. Beating back apprehension, she made a quick decision. This man was a gentleman, unlike Kevin. “Instead of going out, why don’t you come here? I’ll make dinner if you bring popcorn and a movie. Does that work for you?”
“A nice, quiet evening sounds wonderful, but don’t fuss over dinner. I’m easy to please. Around seven?”
“Perfect.” He leaned in for a swift final kiss, and Didi was charmed that he seemed to have a hard time letting her go.
She picked up his lunch bag from where he’d let it drop to the floor, handed it to him, and stepped back. “Night, Jake.”
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Find a good writers group that is both encouraging and honest. Your mother can tell you you're already a wonderful writer. You want your writers group to challenge you and help you stretch and grow. Conferences are also a great way to learn an amazing amount about the craft in a short period of time. I would highly recommend the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. Also, think about joining a group such as American Christian Fiction Writers. They have been a tremendous inspiration to me in many ways and I give back by hosting an ACFW writers group in Williamsport, Maryland.
In closing where can we find out more about you and your new book?
Thank you so much, Brooke, for featuring me on your blog! It’s truly been a pleasure talking with you today.
I recently had the opportunity to speak to a writer's group and at a writer's conference on the topic "How to Start a Freelance Writing Career." And while I won't ramble on for an hour like I did in those workshops, I thought those of you who want to be freelance writers might find a few of the tips I offered interesting and/or helpful. Here are just a few top tips on starting a freelance writing career.
Tip#1: Start with Job Boards
Job boards don't pay very much at first, but they give you a good place to practice. Job boards (like The Content Authority, Zerys, Textbroker and others) can connect you with potential future clients and allow you to start building your writing experience.
Tip#2: Save Save Save
If you are just starting out in the freelance writing world, you may not have many writing samples. Save everything you write so you can use the work as samples for future clients. People thinking about hiring you almost always want you to prove that you can write. Sending something you've written in the past is proof!
Tip#3: Practice Typing
The faster (and more accurately) you can type, the more earning potential you have. If you can write one 500 word blog in an hour at $10, you've made $10 in that hour. If you can write 5 similar blogs in an hour, you've made $50. Practice your typing skills and your earning potential rises.
Tip#4: Make Goals
Freelance writing isn't a career that happens overnight. Make small goals for yourself and build your career as you go. Decide on a certain amount of time to dedicate to writing every day or choose a money goal. Give yourself an hour a day, or strive to make $30 a day. Make a specific goal and stick with it to challenge yourself.
Tip#5: Get Good at Research
Almost everything you write will require at least a little research. The research needs to be done in a fast, effective manner so you can get the writing assignment done as quickly as possible and start on another. Glance through a few articles with similar topics in order to grab the inspiration you need for your original piece.
Tip#6: Line Up Technology
As your career begins to take off, utilizing certain aspects of technology can be really helpful. I use the Expensify app on my phone, for example. I can list any expenses that go into the business so I can easily deduct them for tax purposes later. You might also consider Invoice2Go, a service that helps you create invoices for your clients so you never forget to get the payment you deserve. These little things can add up and help you succeed.
Working as a freelance writer is marvelous, if you like to write, which I do! :) Keep in mind that, like with many careers, it's a marathon, not a sprint. When I first started, many clients paid me 1/2 a cent per word. That's a whole $1.50 for a 300 word blog. But as you start to gain client trust and become more in demand, the money amounts raise and so do the level of orders you have rolling in. If writing is something you really want to do, don't give up. Do it because you love it and the rest will fall into place with time and dedication.
Brooke Williams is a romantic comedy and children's book author. This mother of two writes during naptimes and enjoys keeping a blog about the writing process, among other things.