Friday, December 09, 2016

Giving InstaFreebie a Try by Kitty Bucholtz

My new writing desk complete with inspiring view!
Hello from sunny New Zealand!

Yes, if you haven't heard, my husband got his dream job and we moved to New Zealand last month! Woohooo!!! The earthquake thing is a little weird, but we have loved pretty much every aspect of our transition.

The people are fabulously friendly and laid back, and the weather is gorgeous. Having lived in Southern California for many of the last fifteen years, I'm excited to have weather! It actually reminds us of Michigan, where we grew up. Don't like the weather - give it an hour. LOL!

In addition to all the changes in my personal life, I'm trying something new in my marketing as well. My friend Jennifer very kindly invited me to participate in my first InstaFreebie promotion. I know several friends who rave about their InstaFreebie results (especially Tracy Reed), but I haven't gotten around to looking into it.

Then I got this invitation to join a group of folks who write humorous paranormal or urban fantasy. Our promotion will run starting tomorrow, December 10 through Friday the 16th. I'm posting the link here so you can see it, even though it's a day early.

If you don't know anything about InstaFreebie, let me tell you what I know. Readers click over to the book they're interested in downloading, choose the format (mobi, epub, pdf), and enter their email address. Authors have the option of forcing the reader to signup for their newsletter in order to get the book or allowing that to be optional. Then the reader gets an email with the book file. Easy!

I'm told that the best way to get the most value from your InstaFreebie giveway is to make the newsletter signup mandatory. The friend who invited me got about a thousand newsletter signups from her very first InstaFreebie giveaway a few months ago!

I don't know what will happen for me, but I'll let you know next month. Meanwhile, check out all the free books you can get this next week! They look super fun!

Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her novels, Little Miss LovesickA Very Merry Superhero Wedding, and Unexpected Superhero are currently available on Amazon. The free short story "Superhero in Disguise" and the new short story "Welcome to Loon Lake" are available wherever ebooks are sold. You can find out about her courses on self-publishing, marketing, and time management for writers at her website Writer Entrepreneur Guides.

Monday, December 05, 2016


I made it to December…YEAH!!! I have to be honest, there were a few times I didn’t think I was going to make it to the end of this challenge. I’ll do a summary next month because there’s a slim chance I might do a short story before the end of the month.

At the end of last month’s post, I had no clue what Title Twelve would be. Thank God for friends and accountability groups. I really wanted to do a box set, but I was only looking at it from one angle. However, when I was on my marketing call with Elena Dillion, she gave me an idea for a box set. Or as I call it “Title Eleven” or “November’s Release”. I can’t really call it Title Eleven because I think that honor went to a different title.

Anyway, thanks to that call, I was able to do something I wasn’t planning to do until next year. One of the reasons I was on a writing binge this year, was I wanted to offer box sets in the future. A good idea but I was only looking at it with series and not compatible stories.

In talking with Elena, she showed I could make a box set with two of my novelettes and a short story from the Summer. All three had a first love encounter in common. Thus the title FIRST ENCOUNTERS OF LOVE. [See Images]

This surprise title, also gave me a chance to experiment with 3-D Cover design…a new favorite of mine.

What about December’s Title or Title Twelve? Title Twelve is A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN.

Due to a major computer issue…mine died a few days before A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN was to be released.

I need to take a moment here. Forgive me if I sound a little preachy. God really is amazing. He knew what I was about to encounter…no pun intended. So when Elena suggested the box set, which took all of a few hours, if that, to put together, it was divine intervention. There’s no way I could have gotten A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN out by the end of the month, because on the day I should have been reviewing edits, I was buying a new computer. More like picking up my early Christmas present from my parents.

I got the box set up by using mother’s laptop, my iPad and iPhone. Yes, you really can do amazing things with Apple products. I concentrated on getting the box set up, but not without a few problems. Because of the computer challenge, I didn’t get an newsletter and blog post out until late. And I never got a Facebook ad out. Hey, I was grateful I got the box set up before the end of the month and was able to put up a November release or title.

So, now I’m prepping Title Twelve or December’s Title, which will release ironically on 12.12. I thought that was befitting. If it had occurred to me sooner, I would have released all the books like that. You know, 1.1.16, 2.2.16, 3.3.16, etc… Too late for what I could have done.

Now for a big SIGH!

I’d say I’m going to take a break, but that would be a lie. I have already started on the books on next years’ production schedule. Will it be twelve? I don’t know. This I know for sure, I’m not going to intentionally schedule a Title A Month. Smile.

There I managed to make it brief. YEAH!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Tracy Reed

Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys

Friday, December 02, 2016

The Latest on the California Dreamin' Writers Conference

At the last OCCRWA meeting, Jann Audiss and I updated everyone on the latest plans for the California Dreamin' Writers Conference.

Ready for your Headshot?

Even putting aside holiday distractions (who has time to bake cookies?) committee members are working away, ironing out details for the upcoming conference. As we announced, in November, Jann and I met with VJ Dunraven of Period Images and her two top designers, and we're happy to announce that they'll be providing custom head shot services on Saturday of the conference. They'll even bring along makeup and hair experts to give clients the best camera-ready look possible.

Calling all Readers

I also want to mention that reader signups have opened for California Readin', the Barbara Vey Event for Readers. Do you know an avid romance reader? Invite her to sign up for this event here. Tickets are $5, and each attendee will receive a bag of author sponsored swag and a $5 coupon to spend at the book signing that follows the event. Also, everyone is welcome to participate in the weekly Facebook parties at the California Readin' Facebook page for a chance to party with authors and score some giveaways.

Saturday Night Parties

Some of our special presenters will be holding special Saturday night events for the lucky winners of our opportunity drawing. Here's the lineup:

  • Deb Dixon will host "Through the Looking Glass", a frank Q&A with someone who's been on the front lines an in the trenches over the years
  • Sarah MacLean and Tessa Dare will host a tea, and chat about the Regency
  • Laura Drake will talk about "Bikers and Cowboys after Dark"
  • M.A. Taylor is back with "Cop Tales"

Workshop Lineup

All of this is on top of our lineup of workshops, running from Friday night through Sunday morning. Get a peek at our workshop lineup here.


If you have questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact Jann Audiss or me, or better yet, submit your questsion to and a committee member will get back to you.

There's still time to register before the price goes up on January 15th, so why not put this conference on your holiday wish list!

Wishing all of you a wonderful December and the happiest of holidays!

Alina K. Field

Thursday, December 01, 2016

President's Message

Hello Fellow Authors of OCC!

Our November meeting was a day well spent with Lisa Kessler who talked about “Infusing Action into Your Scenes Using all 5 Senses,” in the morning session and in the afternoon sessions “Mastering Hooks and Twists for Your Chapters.” This month we have Lynn Lorenz speaking on the timely message of “Goal Setting.” It is almost 2017 and definitely time to make our goals for the New Year as authors.

We also had our annual election for the executive board of OCCRWA. Members were able to vote on November 12th by paper vote as well as online through the OCCRWA.Org website. I want to thank all of those who volunteered as well as those who voted. Without volunteers, the chapter would have ended, and that would be a shame. Thank you also to the members who stepped up to volunteer for the non-executive positions. You are all much needed as well. Now here are the results of the election (information gathered by Maria Seager (Elections Coordinator):


33 members voted online.

20 members voted in person at the meeting.

This is a total of 53 members and well within any required quorum if there is one in the bylaws. The chapter has a total of 176 members. 34 members are associate members and not eligible to vote. This means that 142 members were eligible to vote. 53 voted which is 37% of the voting membership.

There were no write-in candidates for any of the positions. Tara Lain, Jaimie Friedl, and Jenny Hansen received 53 votes each. Kristy Phillips received 52 votes. Angela Shelley is the new secretary with 35 of the votes. Lex Valentine received 17 votes.

Due to an error in the online poll, Nancy Farrier was left off for the position of membership. However, this was corrected on the physical ballots, and she received 20 votes on those.

The new board for 2017 is as follows:

President Tara Lain

Secretary Angela Shelley

Treasurer Jaimee Friedel

VP of Communications Jenny Hansen

VP of Programming Kristy Phillips

Director of Membership Nancy Farrier


Please help me in congratulating our new board for OCC 2017!

Once again, my fellow authors thank you for all that you do and your commitment to OCC RWA where our motto is: “One hand reaching forward, one hand reaching back, in a continuing chain.”


Nichelle Scott-Williams

Aka Nikki Prince

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Creating the Bond of Friendship in Your Novel by Connie Vines

Nearly every book I’ve read has a protagonist. And all of those protagonists were surrounded by several, if not a great many, friends. Within my own stories, my protagonists have quite a few friends. Among those friends, there are usually one or two, maybe three, friends that the protagonist is especially close to. One of my all time favorite series, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, follows best friends Lissa and Rose, who act like sisters most of the time. While reading, it’s clear that the two have known each other for a long while, see each other as their closest allies, and see their lives as them against the world. It’s obvious that they’re very close. The question is how does Mead accomplish this? How does any author establish these types of close friendships between characters without blatantly telling the reader?

If you think of your own close friendships, or your best friends, you’ll probably recognize five or more of the following in your relationship with these particular friends –

Understand without speaking.

When you’ve known someone a really long time, or have spent so much time together, you get to know the person so well that you pick up on their habits and quirks and body language. When they bite their lip, you know it’s not that they’re confused, but that the water works are about to begin and it’s time to get them out of there.  You understand each other so well that no one needs to say anything.v You might not be able to read each others’ minds, but you understand each other well enough that neither of you needs to say anything. You just do.

Tease each other.

There’s artificial teasing, there’s bully teasing, there’s flirting teasing. But among friends, it’s the way we gently point out each others’ issues and faults without being cruel, it’s how we remind each other of good times, it’s how we connect and communicate. Between best friends, teasing is just another way we talk to each other. There’s no malice, jealousy, anger, or bitterness behind it. It’s often light, fun, laughable, and in good humor. It’s a way to make your friend laugh when they’re on the verge of tears. It’s the way we build each other up when our plans fall through. Teasing is always there, but it never, ever becomes a way of putting each other down.

Rely on each other.

Through good times and bad, friends can always be relied upon to be there and help each other. There are no excuses, there is no distance, there are no events that could prevent two best buds from helping each other out in times of emotional and physical need, and friends rely on each other for that. But friends also rely on each other for comfort, for support, for encouragement, and for all the things it seems the world wants to take away from us. 

Seek each other’s advice.

Perhaps more than our parents, teachers, advisors, and mentors, we seek advice from our friends first. This might be a perfectly faulty action, but because friends understand each other and rely on each other, it’s natural that we seek advice from those we know, and who know us, best. 

Feel comfortable around one another.

As with all of the above, friends are comfortable with each other enough to seek that advice, tease each other, and rely on one another. Even more than that, friends are comfortable with and around each other that they don’t care if they do something stupid, or say something idiotic. Because they’re comfortable with each other, these things happen and no one cares, because these silly things hardly define us. It’s the same with crying, or showing how truly angry we are, or how hopeless we feel. Friends know each other so well that they be vulnerable and sensitive, and the friend won’t misuse them.

Miss each other when gone.

Probably the greatest understatement of all these, but best friends will miss each other. They might be separated for only a day, maybe one has moved away. But miss each other they will, just the same. The effect this has on each other is anyone’s guess, as everyone reacts differently to separation. Some might become depressed, others might lash out, and some might just have that aching sense of loneliness in their gut that seems like it can’t ever be filled. There is most definitely a reaction, and missing each other is just the surface.

Have similar interests/hobbies/goals/pasts.

Whether they grew up together, or met at summer camp, or took the same art class, friends have similar interests. There’s something that initially drew them together, and in writing a book you can’t just put that aside. It will always be their foundation, and while the foundation can grow, there’s that one point, however small and insignificant in the present, that brought them together.

Grow together as individuals and as friends.

If any relationship is to last and get stronger, growth is a must. Trials, tragedy, celebration, joy; all these add to and change a person, their actions, and how they consider new situations, and this happens in a friendship as well. While going through similar occurrences, if friends cannot grow together, change. Make sure to show the friends, and their friendship, grow through the story.

Don’t judge.

It’s simple. Close friends, who understand, rely, advise, and help each other, just don’t judge. Regardless of what one does, or what the other thinks about a topic, they don’t judge. They accept that they’re individuals with different views and opinions on some things. 

Don’t try to change each other.

As I said, friends accept each other. They don’t try to change one another, or mould each other into what their ideal would be, because that would be the farthest thing from acceptance. Friends understand, they don’t judge, and they don’t try to change their friends’ personalities, opinions, views, likes or dislikes, or their hopes and dreams. They accept everything about each other, and celebrate their differences.

Confide everything.

Friends naturally want to talk with each other and discuss the things that happen in their lives, but best friends, as I’m sure you know, will talk about everything. They confide everything in each other without fear of being rejected or judged. 

Fights sometimes happen, but making amends occurs quickly.

No friendship is perfect, and because there are two people involved, disagreements are bound to occur. But when fights begin, whatever the topic, close friends will try to move past the argument and come to a conclusion, generally in the form of an agreement or better understanding of one another. They won’t linger on their differing opinions, and will try to make amends as soon as they can. This leads to stronger friendships, and is a way that the friendship can grow and develop.

Can’t imagine life without each other.

Perhaps more than anything else, best friends simply can’t imagine what life would be like if they weren’t together. It’s something they don’t want to think about, and is the last thing they’ll focus on when confronted with the real possibility of lifelong separation. They’ll come up with excuses, plans, arguments, anything that might be able to change the impending separation. They literally can’t picture their life being apart, because their personalities and dreams and emotional selves are so connected.

These are just a basic few things that can comprise a close friendship. Use some, use none, but make sure you really look at the characters you have and focus on showing that closeness where it’s supposed to exist. It offers greater development of both characters, adds to the realism of the plot, and helps with the overall story.

Good luck and good writing!


Friday, November 11, 2016

Am I crazy...or just a writer? by Jina Bacarr

I'm exhausted.

I finished a nearly 70,000 new Royals of Monterra novel, ROYAL BRIDE, edited it, formatted it, did the cover, and made three videos.

All in the past week.

(No, I didn't write the novel in a week...but I was editing up to the last second).

Which makes me wonder, why do we do it?

Are we crazy, insane, both?

Yes, we're writers.

It's how we work. Think. Create.

Even more wild, the morning after I uploaded the manuscript for Royal Bride, I woke up with the next story zipping through my brain like a live current of electricity.

I wrote it all down and put it away.


Because the brain like the body needs rest. I love the idea I have for the next novel, but beyond that initial spurt of inspiration, my brain is....well, fried.

So this month, I'm on vacay, holiday, on the road...whatever it takes to, as the saying goes, to let the wells fill up again.

Somtimes you just gotta...



Here's my new Royals of Monterra novel: ROYAL BRIDE

Royal Bride: "I'm not your ordinary Cinderella..." from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

She’s a Cinderella with a past she can’t forget.
He’s a charming prince with his own dark secret.
They fall in love, but what if the glass slipper doesn’t fit?

At thirty-six, Zoey St. John may not be your ordinary Cinderella, but when Prince Maximiliano Risconti di Montevecchio dances with her at a royal ball in Monterra, taking a chance on love is so much better than being alone.

She’s at a crossroads in her life and being the heroine in a good, old-fashioned fairy tale is just what she needs. With his dashing good looks and brooding dark eyes, the Alpha Royal makes her feel alive again after living alone for years with a tragic secret from her past.

Prince Max is a man born to duty and thrives on routine since that’s how everything has been done
since his royal title was granted centuries ago. He’s devoted to his family, he just doesn’t understand them until the pretty signorina makes him confront the truth about himself and question why he can’t stop thinking about her.

He’s drawn to her even if he won’t admit it and finds out he can’t let her go. The only problem is, the prince has no idea he needs a glass slipper to win her.

When an unexpected turn of events sends the prince’s royal household into chaos and threatens to destroy his family, Zoey takes on the prince and his old-fashioned methods to save them. She pursues her passion for helping others, even if it means the prince may break her heart in the process.

But when her painful past is revealed and turns this fairy tale upside down, can her love for the prince triumph and turn this story into a happily ever after?

PS  **************
The Grinch is early!



She wore gray.
He wore blue.
But their love defied the boundaries of war.
And time.
I'd love to hear from you. You can find me on social media:

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Road to Publication: Queries, Synopses, and More! with Chanel Cleeton

Class starts: November 14
Costs: $30 for non-members and $20 for OCC/RWA members

About the Class:
Once you’ve completed and polished your manuscript, the next step is to choose your path to publication. If you’re interested in traditionally publishing, you’ll need to evaluate whether you want to query an agent to represent you or if you’d rather submit directly to publishers open to unrepresented submissions. Either way, you’ll need to learn how to “pitch” your book, writing a compelling query that will catch an agent or publisher’s attention and land you a manuscript request. In addition to hooking them with your manuscript, you’ll want to create an author platform that demonstrates your commitment to pursuing a career as an author as well as your ability to market your book and your brand. This workshop will provide tips for writing a compelling query, tackling the dreaded synopsis, offer strategies for querying agents and submitting to publishers, discuss building a social media platform prior to publication, provide tips for transitioning to writing on deadline for a publisher, discuss dealing with a manuscript that doesn’t sell, and more!

About the Instructor:
Chanel Cleeton writes contemporary romances, women’s fiction, and thrillers. She is both traditionally and self-published and is the author of the International School series published by Harlequin HQN, the Capital Confessions series published by Penguin/Intermix, and the Wild Aces series published by Penguin/Berkley. A former literary agency intern, Chanel enjoys sharing her passion for publishing with other writers through teaching workshops, speaking at conferences, and writing articles for industry publications. An avid reader and hopeless romantic, she is happiest curled up with a book. Chanel loves to travel and spend time with her fighter pilot husband and three pups. She is represented by Kevan Lyon at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

This is a 4-week online course that uses email and Yahoo Groups. If you do not have a Yahoo ID you will be prompted to create one when you join the class, but the process is not difficult. The class is open to anyone wishing to participate. The cost is $30.00 per person or, if you are a member of OCCRWA, $20.00 per person.

For more information and to register go to      

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