Tag Archives: Guest Post

Guest Post: What difference does your writing make by Damyanti Biswas


About the Book:

It’s a dark, smog-choked New Delhi winter. Indian American single mother Anjali Morgan juggles her job as a psychiatrist with caring for her autistic teenage son. She is in a long-standing affair with ambitious Police Commissioner Jatin Bhatt – an irresistible attraction that could destroy both their lives.

Across the city there is a crime spree: slum women found stuffed in trash bags, faces and bodies disfigured by acid. And as events spiral out of control Anjali is horrifyingly at the center of it all…

In a sordid world of poverty, misogyny, and political corruption, Jatin must make some hard choices. But what he unearths is only the tip of the iceberg. Together with Anjali he must confront old wounds and uncover long held secrets before it is too late.

What difference does your writing make in this world?

In another life, I used to work in the fashion design industry. In the New Delhi alleyways where I worked on projects involving embroideries and stitching, I saw many children and women in poor conditions. I myself earned very little.

Over the years, as my life improved, my memories of those places did not fade. I continued to follow the news, and found that every day on this planet, there is an injustice, a darkness, a tragedy. Like a continuous assault, they kept pinged on the windows of my consciousness.

A few years ago, after a life-changing event, I realised that the assault had reached unbearable proportions.

I asked myself the question: what difference are you and your writing making in this world?

In response, I decided to do two things at the same time.

  • Document specific realities as I saw them
  • Find a way to change, redress an injustice.

In 2009, I’d been fortunate enough to meet Anouradha Bakshi, who runs Project WHY, a tiny organisation with a big heart: each year, this little non-profit helps about 1200 children, and  dozens of women, make a better life.

While visiting Project WHY, I visited alleyways similar to the ones I had seen during my work life, and decided to get involved. I helped with small donations, with work on social media, more visits, workshops with teachers.

In the meanwhile, my writing journey took off, and a novel took on a life of its own. Its world was quasi-real—I have been to many of the settings in the manuscript that ended up as You Beneath Your Skin. The slums of New Delhi. The Government hospitals. The police stations. The roads, of course. Posh homes. Shanties. The old monuments. The restaurants at 5-star hotels, and roadside eateries. In these locations I found dozens of stories, and also much inspiration to try and help wherever I could. I wrote them down and they began to interconnect.

There are characters in the novel based on the women and children I met. A few scenes, and definitely a lot of the setting came from Project WHY. While researching the novel, I began interacting with acid attack survivors at Stop Acid Attacks (Chhanv Foundation).

I heard so many stories. Stories of pain, of rage, of grief. Of deprivation. Of prevailing against the odds. Of small joys. Of friendships old and new.  Of change. Of remaining the same. All of these trickled into the novel, and over numerous drafts and years, You beneath Your Skin slowly took shape. In the meanwhile, I had developed not just a huge friendship with Anouradha Bakshi and what has now become my family at Project WHY, but also relationships with acid attack survivors.

Their stories are devastating—faces and bodies burned by friends, lovers, husbands, cousins—and yet, despite the attempt at obliterating their identities, these women have returned into society. They are undergoing painful surgeries and combating health issues caused by the attacks. The smiles on their faces tell a different story: a sisterhood of survivors, whose camaraderie and joie de vivre would touch one and all.

The tale of You Beneath Your Skin is fictional, and plotted as a crime thriller, but the issues dealt with are real. If the story resonates with audiences, it would be a way for me to be able to raise awareness on the issues I care about: the empowerment of women, and the right of all children to a safe childhood and an education.

Early reactions so far have been encouraging: there have been numerous discussions raised on misogyny, patriarchy, parenting, violence against women, and the education of children. Many ARC readers have also appreciated the book just as thriller—a whodunit that has kept them up at night, with characters who have remained with them long after they finished reading the story.

All my proceeds from You Beneath Your Skin go back to the women and children whose stories have informed the novel.

To join hands with me on empowering the very brave women and children who have been part of their novel’s journey, please pick up a copy, and if it moves you, leave a review, or donate a little to Project WHY and Stop Acid Attacks. You could also reach out to them via social media, or visit them if you ever visit India.

In a big bad world of injustices and darkness, I hope to create from this book a small, good thing.

About Damyanti

Damyanti lives in Singapore, and works with Delhi’s underprivileged children as part of Project Why, a charity that promotes education and social enhancement in underprivileged communities. Her short stories have been published in magazines in the US, UK, and Asia, and she helps edit the Forge Literary Magazine. You can find her on her blog and twitter.

 

 

 

Toolbox 24: Guest Posts

This post was written for the Author Toolbox Blog Hop where we share our new discoveries on the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, and blogging tips. Posted every third Wednesday of the month. For rules and sign-up click here.

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How it works

The most common guest post I’ve come across—and participated in—is the virtual book tour. The post theme is promotion and can be any one of these: Fabulous Five, Top Ten, Giveaways, Interview with Author or Character, Playlist for Writing, or a random blog post on any personal interest or how-to on writing.

But guest posts can be arranged between two like minded sites as well. Where one blogger will post as a guest on a host’s blog. If you’re approached and  don’t know the blogger well, I strongly suggest that you check them out before accepting. Be sure they are reputable and that the post will help reach more of your target audience.

If you’re the Host

To encourage more guests, add a form to your menu. List your expectations, and guidelines. The goal is to expand both readerships, so it’s important to only accept posts that will benefit your readers.

Help your guest if they ask for suggestions on what to post. Many times I’ll offer a list of ideas to get them started. I don’t expect them to choose only from the list. It’s just some ideas to get the gray cells firing.

Also suggest that the guest invite their followers to drop by and read their post—using links and subject matter to encourage a visit.

If you’re the Guest

Always look for red flags before agreeing to post. Visit their site. Do an internet search to discover who they are.

Once your satisfied and you’ve agreed to post, make sure you use your best content

Your niche is your attraction. Ask your host for some ideas on what to write about. If they don’t have any, take a look at other guest posts on their site and use them as a guide. Another choice is to parallel a post with something the host has written.

Respect that your host has a life so give them ample time to post your content. No last minute changes or additions. If it’s not ready a week before, that reflects badly on you. Disrespect burns bridges.

When closing, include a little something about who you are, what your blog is about, and the links to it and your social media. Keep it short. Think business card like the one below:

 

Elements of Emaginette:

A blog for New Writers

Twitter | WattPad | Amazon

 

 

 

Addition: Don’t forget to drop by and reply to the comments when your guest post goes live. This is where new relationships are built. 😉

If you’d like to reach beyond the bloggers you’re acquainted with, check out:

Links open to guest post applications.

And there is always the horse of a different color:

If you would like to get paid for your content—not that you’ll make much initially—you could try Upwork or another site for freelance writers, however, this would not be a guest post, but a hired job. They’d expect you to know about SEO, keywords and how it all works so your employer’s site shows up in an internet search.

Feel free to add more advice, I admit I only touched on the basics. 🙂

Murder at the Marina by Ellen Jacobson

Thanks for hosting me on your site today to celebrate the release of my cozy mystery, Murder at the Marina. This is the first book in the lighthearted and humorous Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery series, featuring a reluctant sailor turned amateur sleuth.

My own sailing adventures and misadventures inspired me to write this series. My husband and I bought our first sailboat in New Zealand in 2012. After a couple of years cruising in those beautiful waters, we returned to the States and bought a bigger boat which we moved onto in 2015. We’ve since cruised in Florida and the Bahamas, labored over endless boat projects, and worked to keep our cruising kitty (savings) topped up.

I wanted to reflect my experiences learning to sail, cruising and living aboard a boat, and being part of the boating community in my cozy mysteries. You could say that there’s a little bit of me in my main character, Mollie.

I thought I’d share one of the boating tidbits which I wrote about in Murder at the Marina—namely, pets on boats. Mollie encounters a Japanese bobtail cat, Mrs. Moto, at the marina who lives aboard a boat with her owners. Mrs. Moto loves to run around the place, jump on other people’s boats, and chase seagulls on the beach. Mollie falls in love with the cat and quickly discovers that Mrs. Moto has an uncanny ability to find clues which help solve the mystery.

While we’ve had a dog and cats when we lived on land, we don’t currently have (or plan on having) pets on board. So, I like to live vicariously through other people’s pets. At our current marina, we have friends with dogs who have to be carried up and down ladders while their boats are up on the hard. A few slips down from us, there’s a boat with a cat door which enables its resident tabby to go in and out as she pleases. It’s fun to watch these critters explore the marina and make friends with them.

If you’d like to learn more about Mollie and her sailing adventures, you can find details about Murder at the Marina below.

About the Book

Murder at the Marina—A Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery #1

by

Ellen Jacobson

Print ISBN 978-1-7321602-1-7
eBook ISBN 978-1-7321602-0-0

 

A dilapidated sailboat for your anniversary—not very romantic. A dead body on board—even worse.

Mollie McGhie is hoping for diamonds for her tenth wedding anniversary. Instead, her husband presents her with a dilapidated sailboat. Just one problem—she doesn’t know anything about boats, nor does she want to.

When Mollie discovers someone murdered on board, she hopes it will convince her husband that owning a boat is a bad idea. Unfortunately, he’s more determined than ever to fix the boat up and set out to sea.

Mollie finds herself drawn into the tight-knit community living at Palm Tree Marina in Coconut Cove, a small town on the Florida coast. She uncovers a crime ring dealing in stolen marine equipment, investigates an alien abduction, eats way too many chocolate bars, adopts a cat, and learns far more about sailing than she ever wanted to.

Can Mollie discover who the murderer is before her nosiness gets her killed?

Where to buy

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Kobo

Barnes & Nobel | Apple iBooks | Google Play

About Ellen

Ellen Jacobson writes mystery and scifi/fantasy stories. She is the author of the “Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery” series. She lives on a sailboat with her husband, exploring the world from the water. When she isn’t working on boat projects or seeking out deserted islands, she blogs about their adventures at The Cynical Sailor.

Ellen’s Links

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Blog | Twitter |

Guest Post: Editing for Children by Stephanie Faris

I’ve always known that writing for children was a lot harder than writing for adults. The author has to get it just right or their young minds wander and then they are done.

Today I have a children’s author willing to share the secrets of her editing process. pull up a chair and welcome Stephanie Farris.

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I feel like I’ve been edited in almost every genre imaginable. I started my career as an aspiring romance novelist and although I was never published, I had plenty of revision requests to teach me what romance editing was like. I also wrote for confessions magazines like True Story and went through multiple drafts, although those edits were mostly self-inflicted!

As a professional freelance writer, I deal with daily edits on the nonfiction pieces I write. In fact, I spent part of today editing an article on business marketing. At its very foundation, editing is editing is editing. However, children’s writing can be different from any other type of writing you’ll ever do, and the editing process is definitely different!

Editing for Voice

Voice is critical when writing for children. My chapter books have a completely different tone and sentence structure than my middle grade novels. Not only do my editors have to look for typos and grammatical errors, but they have to make sure I’m capturing the voice for the age group with every sentence I write. When we decided to age Piper up to seven from her Junie B. Jones-inspired age of FIVE, that meant a great deal of rewriting. But once we got the voice down for the first book, I could carry it forward to the books that followed.

Editing for Age Appropriateness

If you write for anyone under the age of sixteen or so, you always have to keep in mind that you’re writing for impressionable young people. This is especially true of picture books, chapter books, and middle grade fiction. Even with my middle grade books, I find some parents get upset if the characters have crushes or (God forbid!) kiss. Since the books are recommended for children between the ages of nine and thirteen or so, my editor keeps those things in mind, as well. Some of my edits have simply been to keep the books age appropriate.

Editing for Continuity

Piper Morgan is a series, and sometimes months pass between writing the next book. That means I need to go back and refresh my memory every time! Fortunately, if I miss something, my editor is always there to catch it, like a fairy godmother. But I suspect this type of editing isn’t limited to children’s writing. It’s something you take on if you decide to do a series.

Children’s fiction is challenging and fun, whether you’re plotting, writing, or revising your latest manuscript. I’ve been very lucky to have extremely talented editors who catch things I miss during the revision process. Without them, I can honestly say my books wouldn’t be nearly as good as they are!

 

 

Piper Morgan Makes a Splash

By Stephanie Faris

 
Rafflecopter Giveaway Link

 

 

About the Book:

Piper Morgan tries her hand at acting in the fourth book of the charming Piper Morgan series.

Piper’s mom is helping out at a local pool shop, and the owner wants to shoot a commercial for his store. Piper thinks it’s the PERFECT opportunity to get in front of the camera and experience a little bit of showbiz. But will Piper’s contribution to the TV commercial make a splash—or will it go belly-up?

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

About Stephanie:

 

Stephanie Faris is the author of the middle grade books 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, as well as the Piper Morgan chapter book series. An accomplished freelance writer, her work has appeared in Writer’s Digest, The Writer, Pacific Standard, Mental Floss, and The Week, among many others.

Contact Links:

 Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

 

 

 

Tsunami Crimes Blog Tour Stop

Everyone who knows me knows I love mysteries, but I also love a good thriller and even some horror once in a while. So when my dear friend, Chrys Fey, offered to share how much work went into building a thriller, I jumped at the chance.

Take it away, Chrys.

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As much planning as it takes. *wink* Okay, okay. I’ll give a better answer than that.

With my Disaster Crimes Series, it takes me a year to write the first draft. While I am writing the current story, I am thinking ahead to the next book. Since I know what’s happened so far, and what’s happening at the moment, I let my mind weave stories for the next book. What could happen? And why would it happen?

One of my favorite times is bedtime because I get to lie in bed and ponder the plot. I fantasize about my characters. No, not sexually. Get your mind out of the gutter! What I mean is that I put on movies in my head. I let my characters do whatever they want and say whatever they want. Okay, so that still sounds sexual. And occasionally, it might be an intimate scene, but really these imaginations are opportunities; events that can happen in the next book.

When I’m able to begin working on the book I’ve been thinking about, I map out the main ideas that have dominated my mind for so long. Then during the next week or so, I create a detailed chapter-by-chapter outline to link all of those moments together.

As I write, my planning doesn’t come to a complete end. Every now and then, I may write something that changes a later event. Or I may decide I don’t like something I have mapped out, so I’ll cut it from the outline.

Planning doesn’t actually end until the book is done. So, with a year of day-and-night-dreaming, and a year of writing, I’d say two years of planning go into my thrillers.

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About the book

tsunamicrimes_w11205_750Beth and Donovan have come a long way from Hurricane Sabrina and the San Francisco earthquake. Now they are approaching their wedding day and anxiously waiting to promise each other a lifetime of love. The journey down the aisle isn’t smooth, though, as they receive threats from the followers of the notorious criminal, Jackson Storm. They think they’ll be safe in Hawaii, but distance can’t stop these killers. Not even a tsunami can.

This monstrous wave is the most devastating disaster Beth has ever faced. It leaves her beaten, frightened. Is she a widow on her honeymoon? As she struggles to hold herself together and find Donovan, she’s kidnapped by Jackson’s men.

Fearing her dead, Donovan searches the rubble and shelters with no luck. The thought of her being swept out to sea is almost too much for him to bear, but the reality is much worse. She’s being used as bait to get him to fall into a deadly trap.

If they live through this disaster, they may never be the same again.

To Enter giveaway Click here

Where to buy

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA

NOOK / KOBO / The Wild Rose Press

P.S. Hurricane Crimes and Seismic Crimes are on sale for 99 Cents!

About Chrys

chrys-fey-croppedChrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series. She is a blogger, reader, auntie, vegetarian, and cat Lover. Get Lightning Crimes (Disaster Crimes 2.5) for FREE!

LINKS:

Facebook / Twitter / Blog / Website / Amazon / Goodreads