Wednesday, July 29, 2015

6 Top Plot Tips

Image result for detective images
Six Top Plot Tips (Say that five times fast!)
I took copious notes doing the James Patterson's Masterclass (I totally recommend the class btw. He's such a great raconteur and there's lots I can't cover here!)

But I wanted to share some of the things I learned in Lesson #4 - PLOT. Keep in mind Patterson writes thrillers, so not all of these will apply to every book - but it'll still be helpful.

1) Write every chapter as if it's the first one. We all rewrite first chapters endlessly. Because we know how important they are to hook a reader.

But Patterson says you should treat every chapter as if it's the first. Treat it with that much care and attention. And if a chapter doesn't move the plot forward, lose it!

And then spend the rest of the day having to fix your chapter numbering. Hate that!! So good tip: don't number your chapters on the first draft. I just write 'Chapter' at the head of every new chapter, then when I'm finished the whole book, I search 'chapter' and input the numbers afterwards. I just waste a lot less of my life like this cuz I'm often removing chapters or changing them around.

2) Picture your reader. As you write, imagine telling your story to just one person (particularly a woman since they buy 70% of all books - even his). Keep that person in mind and write so that there's never a chance for them to get up and walk away. They'll always want to know what happens next.

3) Create conflict. That seems pretty straightforward, but it's worth thinking about. Conflict must involve not only the main character, but a worthy adversary or puzzle the hero must solve.

In some books, the protagonist might be battling him or herself as well (or instead of someone else). Inner conflict is a great device for drama. I don't think there's a single great fictional character - from Heathcliff to Hamlet - who doesn't have inner conflict.

So really get to know your character - what bothers them about themselves, their situation, their past, their life. Because they'll constantly be battling that - as well as whatever else you throw at them.
Image result for villain images
Mwa-ha-ha-ha!

4) Create worthy opponents. Stock villains just won't do anymore! Bad guys have to be unique, fascinating and even more clever than your main character. If we believe the opponent is less intelligent than the hero, there are fewer stakes.

The development of your villain will also depend on when you introduce him or her. If you only reveal him at the very end of the story, like a classic whodunnit mystery, you won't have to pay as much attention to developing a unique bad guy.  You probably don't even want people to suspect him! So you may be developing a character who seems very 'good.'

However, if you identify the villain early on and follow him or her throughout the story (think the albino in The DaVinci Code), then that character must be even more multi-dimensional and interesting. Because you know all along who the bad guy is, that 'surprise' isn't there at the end of the story. To make up for that, the villain has to have more depth as a character.

Image result for albino from da vinci code

Not that the albino from Code was the best villain ever (in fact, he was one of a few villains in the book). But he came to mind so he was damn memorable.

5) Build in surprises. You might not be able to surprise your reader in every scene, but if the story is lagging, you have to add in twists and surprises. Patterson recommends writing down several different things that could happen - even outlandish things. He finds that often the most unusual idea - the one that surprises even him - works the best.

6) Condense your story. This was actually rule #1 of plotting for Patterson. But I've put it here because it contains a basic - but complex - element of storytelling.

Try to simplify your story in a few short sentences, to find the essence of the plot. He gives The Great Gatsby as an example. 'Gatsby has everything in the world except love. Gatsby finds love. Gatsby loses love. Consequently, he loses everything. '

That's pretty succinct for one of the most famous novels of all time. But Patterson is nothing if not a master of keeping things jumping. ;)

Here's something to keep in mind though: the crux of good plot is not just storytelling but - causality. Had to look it up to see how it applied to fiction ...

Causality - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causality
Causality (also referred to as causation) is the relation between an event (the cause) and a second event (the effect), where the first event is understood to be responsible for the second.

To clarify, he quotes the great E.M. Forster:

A plot is a narrative of events, the emphasis falling on causality. The king died and then the queen died is a story. But the king died and the queen died of grief is a plot. 

The sequence of events is preserved, but the sense of causality - the queen dying of a broken heart after the king's death - overshadows everything.

So the basics of plot according to the bestselling author on the planet?

Write each chapter as if it's your first. Picture the reader and don't let them want to leave. Create conflict and worthy opponents. Build in surprises. And before anything else, make sure you can condense your story and identify the causality in the plot.

Yeah, that's all. Nuthin' to it. ;)

I want to give a quick shout to a writer who just had her first book published this month.

Heather Gordon-Young is probably my fifteenth cousin. We've never even met. Back in the early 90s her brother's death (a suicide) really rocked through our family.

When I heard Heather had written a book about the experience, I had no idea how she would handle it. But I read Fireflies - and I was blown away.

It's a very difficult story. But Heather is an extremely spiritual person - even religious - and she's spent her life trying to understand what happened to her brother and how to deal with it. She's also an incredible writer and is already having success with the book!  Check it out.

I want to hear more from her: about her book launch party, her experience with her publisher, promotion, etc. But wanted to mention!

Yeah, I'm jealous. But I'm proud too. ;)

Friday, July 24, 2015

2 Bestsellers Disagree on Outlines








Image result for two men boxing
Mr. Patterson and Mr. King Duking It Out
I had a planning session with my father-in-law yesterday (he's a retired time management consultant). I'm not a very organized person by nature, so self-publishing is gonna be a real challenge for me. I'm down to the basics: like creating a proper To Do list every morning.

It reminded me of one of the lessons in James Patterson's Masterclass. Because writing a To Do list at the beginning of your day is kind of like doing an outline before you start a book.

I've always been interested in why some writers outline their books and others don't. You think that one or the other method is 'right.' But that's not true.  Because two of the biggest writers on the planet disagree about outlines.

Patterson thinks it's the most important part of the process. He spends between 2 weeks and 2 months outlining every one of his books. Character arcs, plot twists, conflicts, et al.

Image result for archaeologist imagesStephen King, on the other hand, detests outlining his books. He considers stories to be like 'fossils' that already exist out there and writers are the archaeologists who dig them out.

I'm on the fence. I didn't outline my first novel, but I had to do one for my second, because the manuscript wasn't finished and the publisher wanted a complete chapter breakdown. So I can work either way.

I do agree with Mr. King on one thing though: I believe stories are 'out there' waiting to be told, too.
But I don't necessarily see a book as an archaeological dig. When an idea first occurs to me, it seems more like a 'forest.'


Image result for rain forest images

Yes, a forest. A huge one, like the Amazon rainforest, stretching to the horizon on all sides.  I have a bird's eye view of the forest - as if I'm seeing it from above. And that's the way I see the book too. I just have a 'general' sense of it.

This usually includes the major characters or storylines, an important scene or two, maybe even an ending - though that's no guarantee I'll end up there.

But what I really have is the 'feeling' of the book. How does it make me feel - and how do I hope it will make readers feel when it's done. Is it dark, light, tense, funny, sad, romantic? Just an overall sense of the story.

But a huge forest - like a whole book - is intimidating. Even scary. I guess that's why this forest imagery works for me. Because in order to write the story, I have to come down out of the sky and get to ground level. Then I have to take a deep breath and walk into that forest. Er, story.


Image result for rain forest photos

It's almost as if I'm a botanist taking notes. Each tree is a character or plot twist. Each stone or flower a detail or scene. It takes time and patience. It's often difficult and frustrating. But sentence by sentence, character by character, twist by twist, I keeping writing until I end up with something that resembles the original inspiration I had. The story I saw from 'above.'

But it's a long process and I'd really like to speed it up. So I think I'm going to listen to Patterson's advice and try outlining my next project - just to see if it helps.

One way or another it's good to know that when it comes to outlining your book, there really is no 'right' or 'wrong' way. Because Mr. King has a pretty decent career too.

Monday, July 20, 2015

#1 Writing Tip from a Master


I've been doing a lot of research lately - schoolin' myself on self-publishing and just writing in general. I decided to take the James Patterson Masterclass  on writing bestselling fiction.

It's $90, which isn't a huge expenditure considering how much you can shell out for writing coaching - but it's still enough that I put it off.

But the ad just kept popping up in my email - taunting me, luring me, calling out to me. Yes, you can do it, Sheri ... You can do it ... You can write a bestseller ... but you need this class to make it happen. Do it ... do it ... doooooo it ....


Finally, the spirits have been listening to my money spells (I'm writing a book about witches, so yes, I've been learning about spells), and I got some Yd recently (disposable income). The first thing I did was sign up for Patterson's Masterclass.

I don't know where you stand on JP's books. But there's no question that after writing about 700 consecutive #1 NYT bestsellers, this fella knows how to hook a reader. Or twenty million, as the case may be. He's the bestselling author in the world right now.

So I'm going to share what I've been learning in the class here in the blog. I'm not sure how that goes in terms of copyright. There weren't any warnings from the FBI or anything. If you've got the Yd to actually buy the class yourself, I'd totally recommend it.

Because he's a really cool guy. Inspiring, confident, no BS. There's no question he's a superb storyteller - not just in print, but to watch and listen to. And the class is well produced and so easy to use. A pleasure to use, actually. Easy to download and navigate, lovely to look at, simple to follow. There are about 22 lessons altogether. I've done the first eight or so.

I'm just going to share the tips that meant the most to me from each lesson. I'm pretty sure Mr. Patterson doesn't need the Yd, so I'm hoping I don't see any cease and desist orders from his schmancy lawyers. Like I said, if you can afford it - take the class!

He starts the whole thing by introducing himself as Stephen King. Bah ha ha ha ha! He does that to let you know that the class is going to be irreverent. Which I liked. He's actually very entertaining - especially for writers who salivate over every morsel of info and encouragement about writing they can find.

LESSON #1: PASSION AND HABIT

Patterson says you're lucky if you find something in life that you love. It's a miracle if you can actually get paid for it. Obviously, he knows what he's talking about because he gets paid very much.

His first warning is this: if you don't like the act of writing, don't write. Give it up. You won't finish the book. You'll just get discouraged and quit. You absolutely HAVE to be passionate about writing.

(Check.)

I actually tweeted this quote from him - "Don't write a book because you want to. Write it because you have to."

And if I could figure out how to attach the Twitter widget for Blogger, you might already know that. In the technology-challenged meantime, I'm @SLMcInnis (I'm going for the more serious initials thing, instead of my first name. 'Sheri' just seems a bit lightweight for a supernatural thriller. Thanks Mom!) Anyway, I'd love you to follow me and I'll do the same for you.

But here's his absolute number one rule of writing. This is the #1 tip from the #1 biggest author on the planet.

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!

This tip is so important it got its own subheading - all caps. Believe in yourself. No matter how much rejection or how many obstacles you face. His first book - The Thomas Berryman Number - was rejected by 31 publishers. But when it finally did go to print in 1976, it won the Edgar Award for best first novel by an American.

So Patterson is adamant about not letting rejection get you down.

Believing in yourself is soooo important. I know that. I spent years - thousands and thousands of days - worrying that I'd never get published. And even though it didn't end in the bestseller I'd hoped for - I still jumped that hurdle. I got published. Twice. Even though I never thought it could happen.

Feeling insecure, worried, afraid - or experiencing rejection time and again - is no indication that you're never going to get published. You just can't give up. If you have the passion to write, you have to be able to ENDURE REJECTION. That little hint got a separate all caps heading too.

So try not to worry so much. Focus, focus. Focus on what you want. Not what you're afraid of.

More from the master next time ...

And oh yeah - mandatory blog 'call to action:' PLEASE FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER. @SLMcInnis. And tell me how to put a GD Twitter widget on my blog! Or write sherimcinnis@gmail.com. Or comment!

And don't forget the #1 Lesson. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. All caps.

Friday, July 17, 2015

'5 Ways To Make Peace With Failure'

Brooklyn Sidewalk 2010
I decided this week to self-publish my next book. It's a tough decision, but I think it's the one I was meant to make. All my life I've had this dream of the big New York book deal - like many of us do. And I had that experience twice.

But both times, I was left with such mixed emotions, it's time to rethink this lifelong dream of mine.  This lunch-with-your-editor-in-Manhattan 'Big Publisher' thing (fun but done).

In a way, that makes me feel as if I'm 'giving up.' As if I've failed.
So I've been trying to learn to make peace with the past. And to embrace the opportunity that writers have now to self-publish their own work. Even five or ten years ago, this wasn't possible. It's an incredible opportunity for everyone who wants to write.  Maybe it's time for us to stop relying on the big guys to do everything for us. Because it doesn't always work.

Even if you do succeed and get a book deal, the average book only sells 250 copies a year. (Self-publishers are actually doing much better than that!)

I know this kind of news stops people in their tracks. They're terrified of failing or making a fool of themselves or this - omg - getting a bad review on Amazon. Are you kidding me?

I'm here to tell you: I FAILED. A couple of times now. I've had bad reviews. I've had good reviews. It hurts, yes. Not just the reviews, but the whole process. I remember when I saw my Amazon.com ranking for Devil May Care for the first time. Wow ... It was #800,069. (I think it's quite a bit lower than that now. Higher?)

I'd never even seen a ranking that low (high?) before. I actually called my husband at work, threatened suicide, and he had to come home and carry me kicking and screaming to the bed where I could thrash around without hurting anyone or breaking anything.

God, it was depressing. Especially because everyone had been so hopeful about the book. It had such great buzz. Great reviews. They printed of a big ol' whack of em because the big booksellers loved it.

The last time I heard, maybe a year later, it sold 5000 copies. Which is actually pretty good. But not enough to get me into the stratosphere. The problem was, I was so depressed about this 'failure' that I got writer's block on my second book.

I kept changing my mind about what I wanted to work on. I'd write sample chapters, submit them to my (very busy editor), then a week later, I'd change my mind, recall that book, and send in new chapters. I was going insane. And everyone knew it. So they lost confidence in me.

It was humiliating. Heartbreaking. Oh so depressing. I think I was in a depression for years. I even gave up writing my own fiction.

But then I had this dream. The one that's inspired my new book. I didn't want to be fueled by this dream. I didn't want to write another book. Especially one about Witches! There are so many of them. But ... I couldn't help myself. These crazy bitches have stolen my soul and I'm now putting myself out there again. This time, by self-publishing.

I may fail at that too.

There's a lot to learn. I'm not technically inclined. I don't have thousands of bucks to throw at other people to do it all for me. But you know what? I trusted everyone to do it all for me before, and that didn't work anyway. So I might as well try myself.

But making peace with failure has taken me years. Don't let your fear of failure - or maybe a stumbling block you've encountered - take you so long to recover. Life is too short. I found a great article in Fortune about 5 Ways To Make Peace With Failure by Susan Tardanico. Here's the synopsis:

1. It's not personal. Separate yourself as a person from what happened. Failure is not who you are. You just haven't found success yet.

2. Take stock, learn, adapt. Don't be angry, frustrated or too emotional. Look at what happened analytically and see what you can learn from the experience.

3. Stop dwelling. Obsessing over a failure is only going to trap you into what Tardancio calls a 'doom loop' that will prevent you from moving on.

4. Release the need for approval from others. Don't worry too much about what other people think of you. It's not your 'truth.' You can't get everyone to approve of you, anyway. And their opinions can always change.

5. Try a new point of view. Don't look at failure as meaning you're weak or stupid or destined to fail forever. Look at it as being one step closer to success.

Maybe you've heard that Edison failed 10,000 times before inventing the light bulb. Or that Lincoln had a decades of failure before becoming president. Dan Brown anyone? The DaVinci Code was his fourth book! Nobody had heard of him before that.

So don't let your fear of failure prevent you from writing - or anything else. It doesn't hurt that much!

If you want to read more of Tardanico's great article in Forbes here it is.


Monday, July 13, 2015

XXX For Research

Jodi and me on Georgica Beach in East Hampton

I talked last time about how important research is to help flesh out your book. I've had the most amazing experiences researching my books. I don't think I've taken a single 'vacation' in twenty years that wasn't somehow related to researching one of my stories. (A couple Vegas weekends nothwithstanding.)

A great case in point was when I was brought in to help Jodi Della Femina write her first novel. I wasn't an official 'ghostwriter' - Jodi insisted my name be on the book - but that was basically my job.

Jodi wanted the book to be about a wedding in the Hamptons and what happens when a 'local' girl marries into a wealthy summer family. Because Jodi was also a cookbook author, she wanted it to have a 'foodie' vibe to it. So we had the main character - based loosely on Jodi - start her own catering business in the Hamptons.

Jodi is a very creative person with lots of thoughtful memories of the summers she spent in the Hamptons. But she was in New York and I was in Toronto, so for the most part, we spoke on the phone, hammering the story out that way. Then I'd do the writing and let her read how it was going.

Other times, she'd just email me a snippet of something she remembered or was thinking about, and I'd keep it organized so that we could incorporate it into the book later.

Now I knew what an incredible position I was in. To ghostwrite a story about the Hamptons? Not everyone gets a chance to visit this exclusive place. But I wanted the story to feel like a trip to the Hamptons. So research was a very important part of the book.

However, you can really bog down a book with too much research. And - more importantly - if you stop writing to look something up, you can lose your train of thought and the whole flow of the story. To help with this, I remembered some very helpful advice I'd read in On Writing by Stephen King.

King said too much research can overwhelm a book. And new writers who had a tendency to do a lot of research beforehand wanted to include it all. Which is a mistake. He treated research in a much more utilitarian way. If he was writing a story and needed a research detail for something, he'd just leave a blank and keep writing. He filled in the information later.

Near Gin Lane in Southampton. There's no filter on this one. The light really is 'gauzy' and magical.
I used this device so many times for By Invitation Only. As the book was coming together, I realized there was specific information I needed to make the story come alive. Everything from descriptions of places to the history of the area. So rather than interrupting my writing, I would just insert "XXX" in the manuscript where a detail needed to be.

When I had the first draft of the book done, I 'searched' out all the XXX's and made a list of all the info I needed. Some of this I could do online and with books. But for most of it, I actually had to go to the Hamptons to get the 'feel' of the place.

I took two research trips: one for a couple of days to get the proposal ready (we had a book deal in three days btw!).  Then I took a second longer trip after the first draft was finished. I carried my big list of XXX's wherever I went and just crossed them off one at a time, writing notes or voicing them into a recorder.

Some of these 'blanks' were for descriptions of a place: like the fridge at Round Swamp Farm. Round Swamp is a local produce and foodie shop and the big walk-in fridge is one of Jodi's favourite places in the world. She wanted to mention it in the book, so I went there and stood in the fridge with my notebook and just took it all in. It really is a special place, so full of local fruit, vegetables and herbs, it smells like the garden of Eden. A comparison I couldn't resist making in the book. ;)

I'd also left XXX's for a description of the holding cell at the East Hampton Village Police - because one of the characters ends up there. When I went on my tour of the station, I took copious notes about everything from the color of the walls to what the stainless steel loo looked like.

There were hundreds of examples like this, from boutiques to beaches.  It was such a fun book to research & write! But I didn't let myself get too bogged down by details before I started the story.

So don't fret if you don't have every single piece of information you need for the book you're dreaming about right now. Start working on the story, leave blanks where you might need a historical date or the exact description of whatever - and then work that information in later. Or at least when you've finished writing for the day. It's far better than interrupting the flow of the story when you're writing it.

That can just turn into a long surf session where you get nothing done! (As we all know!)

By the way, if you're looking for a great summer read, that book, By Invitation Only fits the bill. We were recommended by many pub's, but In Style especially flagged the book as the perfect beach read.

I think it's even better if you're not on a beach - because reading it will make you feel as if you are! Like I said, not everyone gets to go to the Hamptons. Unlike Jodi, who grew up in a wealthy family and spent every summer there, I was raised by a single mom in a mining town. Vacations for us were car trips to see aunts and uncles. I know there are lots of people out there just like me, so I wanted the book to feel like a Hamptons vacation whenever you picked it up. And it does!

By the way, I heard from men who borrowed the book from their wives and really enjoyed it, too. It's a light fun read - but there's lots to learn, too. Plus there's a great love story in there as four investment bankers rent a beach house together. And one of them falls for our caterer :) ...

It's available at Amazon.com - at a slightly reduced price - so check it out. By Invitation Only.

Hope you enjoy it! And if you do, I'd love it if you left a nice review! :) Thanks so much!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Don't Just Write What You Know

At Stonehenge researching The Hunter's Moon
An important rule of writing has always been to 'write what you know.' It was attributed to Hemingway, but it's probably just a misquote of something he said that was much more lofty:

From all things that you know and all those you cannot know, you make something through your invention that is not a representation, but a whole new thing truer than anything true and alive.

See? That quote is not quite as easy to pass down as 'write what you know.' ;)

Bret Anthony Johnson is an award-winning author and fiction instructor at Harvard. He wrote the most amazing article for The Atlantic.com about how 'writing what you know' is actually the last thing you should be doing as a novelist.

What can improve your writing are the details of what you saw, know or experienced. If you're a war vet, you know what the sand feels like in your hands. You know what the smell of smoke is like 24/7. And you can probably describe some gory action scenes.

But real events and real experiences are just the 'scaffolding' that helps hold up your story. Real life isn't necessarily more compelling than a fictional world. In fact, it can actually seem smug or self-serving. And that's a turnoff for readers.

What you're trying to do is create something that transcends ordinary life. Something better than reality. As Hemingway said, 'a whole new thing truer than anything true and alive.'

Johnson says you should also be writing about what you feel. We've all felt loss, love, fear, desire, jealousy. Those are the emotions we all 'know.' We must try to access these feelings in our stories because those are the things that will give our work life.

New York writer and editor, Jason Gots of BigThink.com agrees. He uses 'Method Acting' as an example. Robert DeNiro had never been a homicidal maniac before Taxi Driver. But as a Method actor, he could call on experiences in his own life that made him feel angry enough that he could relate to that character.

So, in a way, we should all be 'method writers' - using details and memories from our own lives to inform our writing, without being a slave to reality. Which just limits us.

Having said all of that, no matter what, you should know enough about the foundations of your story that you're comfortable and convincing. In her book, First Draft in 30 Days, Karen Weisner says you should comb used bookstores and libraries for information about your topic and interview all the experts you can, cops, lawyers, teachers, whatever.

I interviewed Sgt. David Griffiths of the East Hampton Village Police for scenes in By Invitation Only - and I toured the police station to boot. Most people are more than happy to help authors research their books. And for a simple mention in the acknowledgements, not only will you find the information invaluable - the experience is fun and fascinating, too. That picture from Stonehenge at the top of the post is a case in point because the great stone circle figures heavily in my latest book.

So don't worry about what you know when you write. Instead:

1) Use the details of your own experiences to add realism to descriptions.
2) Access the memory of your own feelings to bring dimension to your characters.
3) Learn everything you can about the people, places and things you're writing about.

But don't let your own life limit you in your work. Let yourself transcend your reality. I love this advice from Irish author William Trevor - considered to be one of the great masters of the short story:

Don't just write to express yourself, but to escape yourself. In the end, it will free you up as a writer.

btw - I'm about to join Twitter, Facebook et al - finally. I've had accounts, but I've rarely used them. I'm embarrassed it's taken me so long. I'm not a snob! I'm actually just shy! So if I chicken out and haven't posted any social media links in the next week (or two!) email me and give me hell! sherimcinnis@gmail.com. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

First Timer? Good News!


Virtual Workshop Instructor!
Okay, the July 11th workshop is a no-go. I'm SO disappointed! I was so excited about it! But a Saturday workshop is hard to organize in the summer and we had some dropouts. Hmmm. Workshop? Cottage? I get ya.  But everything will be up and running in the fall, so we'll be ready to go then. This is vital information for all new authors, so I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, I'm going to be sharing tips and info about the business here on the blog. You won't get my charming inflection of course ... ;) but you will get TONS of info about how to make your first book a success. Which is so important. Because if it flops ... well, a few years down the road you'll be doing workshops. ;)

#1 SPOT

The first thing I want to say is this: I know everyone makes it seem as if first-time writers have the odds stacked against them. I even quoted an author in my last post who said don't complain about your contract. Just sign it because as a newbie, you don't have much clout.

This is true - in some ways. But mostly because new author contracts are pretty standard. The difference between my contracts from Simon & Schuster and St. Martin's Press were negligible.

Here's the truth - and something not many people talk about: as a first time writer, you're actually in the best spot of your career.

Because everyone in the business - editors, agents, publishers, reviewers, even readers! - are all looking for that next big breakout writer. Whether you're the newest self-help guru, business writer, novelist or blogger breaking into the biz, everyone is looking for YOU. They really are.

I can say that because I was a first-timer once and I know what it's like to feel that excitement and support.

So as long as you can get those words on the page in the first place, everyone is going to be excited about giving you a chance. Because you're new. You're fresh. You're untested. And you could turn out to be huge!

That's what everybody's banking on: that your first book is going to be the 'debut' of the year. So don't ever let yourself get discouraged over being a first-timer. You truly are in the best spot of your career right now.

At least until you hit the bestseller lists. ;)

Which is why it's so important to make the most of the opportunity that's ahead of you. And that's what I want to help you with. Whether it's here or in the workshop in the fall.

And please, if you have any questions about publishing or the business, leave a comment or get in touch with me personally. I'd be happy to hear from you: sherimcinnis@gmail.com.

For now, enjoy this beautiful weekend! Late Happy Canada Day! And Happy Fourth! :)