Friday, January 20, 2017

Zero Calorie Writing

So if you’ve read any of my books, you may have noticed that my characters all drink Hazelnut coffee and eat danish, donuts, cinnamon rolls, etc. - almost every day. Oh and they never gain a pound!

So here’s the thing - I love anything from a bakery, but I’ve been really trying to cut back on my sweets for a while now. I’ve gained a few pounds, okay more than a few, and I’ve been trying to not give in to my desire for sweets. So what do I do instead of taking a trip to the closest bakery?

I imagine which bakery treat I would eat today. I think about the bakery I would go to, what I might select and where I would eat it. What would it taste like, how would it feel in my mouth? Then I pop all these thoughts into my story.

I can enjoy the smell, the taste, and the site without gaining even one pound.

Better than Weight Watchers? Almost!

About Meriam Wilhelm:

The one thing I know, after all my years as an elementary school principal, is that there is magic everywhere and in everyone. When I retired after 35 years in education, I longed to share all that I had learned and created several parenting books on topics from bullying to homework strategies. While I miss those enchanting moments with children and their parents, I always wanted to let my imagination run wild as I sought out my own magic and wrote about it. In short, I was lured into the world of fiction writing where I soon created my first series, The Witches of New Moon Beach. The first book, MORNING  MAGIC is currently FREE at

Inspiration isn't hard to find as I have lived in Redondo Beach, California all my life and New Moon Beach might have more than a passing resemblance to my hometown. Every day I walk on the path that runs along the beach, sometimes with my sisters, but most often with my thoughts as I plot out my next book. I am long married and mom to three great grown kids. When I'm not writing or walking on the beach, you'll find me sewing, reading or traveling and taking pictures.

Feel free to check out my website: or contact me by email: 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Easy Goal Setting for Everyone by Kitty Bucholtz

Welcome to 2017! 

It's January, and you know what that means: time to plan your goals for the year. Right?

Don’t Be Discouraged!
Depending on how well last year's goal setting went, this might be easier said than done. Maybe you've tried a lot of ways to plan and they haven't turned out very well. The biggest thing to remember is to find a method that works for you.

I've been teaching a time management and goal setting class for the last eight or nine years (not this January, as I’m busy living and writing books in New Zealand!), and there are a couple of things I’ve found that seem to work for most people.

Write It Down
The first thing you need is a list. Write down every single goal you have for your life this year – personal, financial, spiritual, career or writing-related – anything at all, write it down. This is your Goals Master List.

It may take you a day or a week to get everything written down, but once you think you've got it all, go through and circle the five most important goals. These will be your Primary Goals for the year.

Now go through and underline the next five most important goals. These will be your Secondary Goals for the year.

Move Some Goals to Next Year
Look at the rest of the items on your Goals Master List. Does it seem like there is more than you can do this year? Let me give you a hint: the answer is almost always yes. If there is anything that you are willing to put off until next year, get another piece of paper and move these onto your 2018 Goals Master List.

Now you have your primary goals, your secondary goals, and your extra goals. The idea is that you will work on your five primary goals first, and when they are accomplished you will work on your secondary goals. Then, if you get all of your primary and secondary goals accomplished this year, you'll work on your extra goals.

Rearrange Some Goals
If, when looking at your lists, you feel like this won't work for you, then you probably need to move some of your goals around. That doesn't mean adding more than five to the primary or secondary lists, but simply exchanging one goal for another more important one.

Congratulations! You have your 2017 goals list!

Fewer Goals, Better Chance You’ll Achieve Them
Another way to do this, which arguably might be more achievable, is to look at your goals master list and choose no more than 7 to 10 goals for the whole year. That's it. You can work at each of them a little at a time or work at one all the way through, it's up to you. If you want, you can choose two or three extras that you will begin working on only when you finish the most important 7 to 10 goals.

Go back to your original goals master list and try the second method. Now look at both final lists. Which one speaks to you more? Which one excites you more? That's the one you should type up and print out.

Or if you're feeling artistic, rewrite it with colored pencils and pens and stickers and make it beautiful.

A Daily Reminder to Keep You on Track
Post it on your wall, someplace where you'll see it often, and make sure to look at it every day.

If you haven't started your goal setting for this year, or if you feel overwhelmed by the thought of it, or the thought of failing to achieve your goals, give this a try.

Then post a comment below or write me an email and let me know how it went. I know you can do this!

I’m super excited about 2017. It's going to be a great year!

[Follow my post next week on Planning Your 2017 Calendar on Writer Entrepreneur Guides!]

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, as well as 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, January 16, 2017

Feb. Online Class: Visual Content Marketing for the Confused and Terrified Writer

It has been my privilege and pleasure to find and schedule online classes for OCCRWA, and next month's class on Visual Content Marketing, taught by our own Elena Dillon, sounds fabulous! Here's the scoop from Elena:

Visual Content Marketing for the Confused and Terrified Writer
Instructor: Elena Dillon 

What is visual content and why do you need it for your marketing strategy? And how does this apply to your author business? The answer is fairly simple.

Visual content is anything that uses pictures, graphics, video, etc. When you see a GIF of cats falling off tables? That’s visual content. A pretty graphic with a quote from a book? Visual Content. Those fabulous cooking videos where they make a cinnamon roll apple pie in twenty seconds? Visual content.

It’s what will get your content seen. As a matter of fact, statistically your readers are 44% more likely to engage with visual content. Hmmm. 44%? Hard to ignore. We all want to work smarter not harder, right? In this class, you will learn:

  • How to decide what kind of visuals will work for you and your business 
  • How to create all kinds of visuals
  • How to make one piece of content work in many different ways 
  • Drive traffic where you want it to go (your website, lead page, Amazon or other retailer page) 
  • Save time and effort in your marketing efforts 

This class for you if you’ve never created any kind of graphics on your own. It’s for authors who need to learn how to create visual content for their author business and are unsure about using new technology. We will go over:

  • Strategies for smarter marketing 
  • Tools that make visual content easier to create and more manageable 
  • How to plan out your content and marketing so it takes up less precious writing time. 
And believe it or not? I’ll make it fun. I’ll teach you how to create a graphic while you’re standing in line for coffee. =)

Join me for the fun in the February 2017 OCCRWA Visual Content Marketing for the Confused and Terrified Writer class! 

About the instructor:

Who Am I?

I’m Elena Dillon, an author of the award winning Young Adult “Breathe” series. When I’m not writing, I love to help my author friends with technology and social media. I’ve taught Social Media for the Confused and Terrified, Pinterest for the Confused and Terrified, Visual Content for Authors and spoken at numerous conferences, chapters and groups about social media and indie publishing.

Most of the time, I’m a wife to my husband of twenty-six years, mom to my two grown kids and servant to my high-maintenance English bulldog, Brutus, while I wait, not so patiently, for grandbabies.

We've had to cancel the January class Overcoming Perfectionism and Procrastination with MM Pollard, but I'm hoping to reschedule it for later this year or 2018. MM is a fabulous teacher.

Here's the rest of the 2017 schedule of classes:

April 10 - May 5: The Feminine Journey with Mary O'Gara

May 15 - 26: Self-Editing (two week class)  with Linda Carroll-Bradd

June 12 - July 7: Horse Sense with Shannon Donnelley

August 14 - Sept. 8:  Monster Revisions with Suzanne Johnson

Oct. 16 - Nov. 10: Time Management Secrets for Authors with Stacy Juba

Linda McLaughlin

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Indie Doesn't Mean Independent

Just before Christmas, a new author asked me how she might get more exposure. I'm sure she was waiting for some social media insights or advertising suggestions. Instead, I introduced her to Marianne Donley, one of my first writing friends.

Thirty-two years ago I published my first novel with Harlequin and joined RWA. The women I met there saw me through three genre changes, five publishers, four agents and the final leap into indie publishing. In those early days I learned that being part of a creative community was not simply important, it was essential to the health of my creative career.

With do-it-yourself publishing all authors -  newbies or seasoned writers - are often overwhelmed. We juggle writing, design, formatting and marketing, but if human interaction isn't a part of the equation our hard work will lack inspiration, depth and heart. In an age where we boast of the number of followers we should be counting our friends.

When I ushered in the 2017, I took a time out. I looked backward and forward and was amazed to find out how truly un-indie I am.  Old RWA friends like Marianne, Sandra Paul, Mindy Neff, Angie Ray, Barbara Benedict are still my best writing buddies. No less important are those in my new virtual community - authors like Rick Bard, Brian Drake, Sheldon Siegel, Christine Whitmarsh, Chris Taylor, and Jennifer Chase. I have a superb team that inspires me and helps me create my books: cover designer, Hadleigh O. Charles, marketing expert, Robin Blakely of Creative Center of America, editor, Jenny Jensen of and formatter Stef McCaid. There are readers and pen pals, Tweeples and Facebook friends, family and neighbors who join in the mix. I am so grateful for them all.

As your year unfolds, remember this: being a successful indie author means being a successful human being. In the coming days reach out, give back, pay attention, get to know the people behind the avatars and the books. Your work will be better for it and so will your heart.

May 2017 be filled with fabulous friends and colleagues, good acquaintances, and admiring readers.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

My blue parasol, old hoop skirt and Civil War letters by Jina Bacarr

I have to ask a favor this month . . .

This is going to be a short post. If any of you heard my Christmas promotion video with Joan Reeves (who is the most organized promoter, a fabulous author, and nicest lady), you'll remember I had a bad cold.

And it put me behind with my writing.

So . . . as I insanely go down the rabbit hole this month to finish my Kindle Worlds novella, Royal Kiss, I'm going to post just a picture from my reading of LOVE ME FOREVER at Lady Jane's OC Salon at the Ripped Bodice Bookstore last Sunday.

Then as soon as possible, I'll come back to this post and give you the full scoop on my reading!

Thank you, and yes, my cold is better.


Sunday, January 08, 2017

The 2017 Book Buyers Best Contest for Published Authors

The Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America is proud to announce that the Book Buyer’s Best Contest for 2017 is now open.

We are looking for entrants as well as preliminary round judges. If you wish to judge please contact the contest coordinators at:

This award will showcase the shining excellence of published authors in novella and novel length romance fiction and mainstream fiction with a central romance. The entry deadline is April 15, 2017.

The categories are:

  • Contemporary Series Romance
  • Contemporary Single Title Romance (Over 70,000 Words)
  • Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance
  • Historical & Regency (Both Series and Single Title)
  • Romantic Suspense & Mystery with romantic elements (Over 70,000 Words)
  • Paranormal/Time Travel/Fantasy/Futuristic Romance (Both Series and Single Title)
  • Young Adult
  • Inspirational
  • Erotic Romance
  • Novella (Specify Category) (Over 15,000 to 40,000)

GLBT entries: Authors are to place their entries in the appropriate category


The preliminary round will be judged by booksellers, librarians and romance readers. First, second and third place will be awarded in each category. Highest score in each category will advance to the final round to be judged by the Top Pick Judge (TBA).

For a complete list of the rules and the official entry form, please visit:

If you need to contact the contest coordinators, Nikki Prince and/or Sabrina Sol please email:

Friday, January 06, 2017

This New Year

by Linda O. Johnston

Happy New Year everyone! 
This new year is going awfully fast already. I looked at my calendar and realized it was almost the 6th of the month--my day to post here at A Slice of Orange. Where did the first days of this year go?

This year has started out fairly busy. For one thing, I won't be able to attend the first and second OCC meetings of 2017, even though I'd love to. But the reasons are good ones: I'm going to be attending the Santa Clarita Library's Celebration of Authors on January 14, and I'll be attending a relative's wedding on February 11.

As I said, good reasons--but I'll miss OCC and its wonderful members!

This year promises to be a busy one for me. As always, I'm working on books under deadline. Just sent off one manuscript for a Harlequin Romantic Suspense, and starting my fourth mystery in my Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries. My next published novel will be the third Barkery book, Bad to the Bone, which will be a May release, and in June my next Harlequin Nocturne in my Alpha Force series, about a covert military unit of shapeshifters, will come out: Protector Wolf.

I hope you all have a wonderful year filled with everything you want. And I hope to see you in March!