Inspiration Station: Fear As Fuel [Guest Post]

It’s my pleasure to welcome Annette Rochelle Aben to my blog once again. This Inspiration Station is brought to you by her. Thanks, Annette!

Inspiration Station: Fear As Fuel | Guest Post | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

In the Kane Brown/Lauren Alaina song: What If, the duo goes back and forth siting the pros and cons of starting a relationship. Of course, it might work but what if it doesn’t. In the end, it sounds as though they are willing to throw caution to the wind and give it a go, despite their fears. Why? Because the pay-off is more attractive than giving into the fear.
They are using the fear as the fuel to create the argument FOR making their dreams come true.
As writers, we can talk ourselves in or out of everything from hitting the PUBLISH button to even beginning a project. The ten good reasons why we should not move forward, can become the justification to languish in a comfort zone of safety from disappointment. The more frequently we talk ourselves into playing it safe, the further away we drift from the possibility of making our dreams coming true.
I don’t mind having a life in which I never experience happiness from my creative energy is just fine with me.” Said NO ONE EVER!
Fear is merely a word. A word we define for ourselves. We decide if fear is our guide or our prison guard. It is up to us to use the fear of failure to help us explore the possibility of success. The power is ours to wield! Own your “what if’s” and watch the amazing results.

About Annette

Annette Rochelle Aben, Author | Guest Post | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.comLearning to read, opened up world of acceptance and creativity, Annette found irresistible. Learning to write, made that world come alive inside Annette. Publishing books, allowed Annette to share herself with the world.

To date, Annette has self-published 12 books in the categories of poetry, self-help, spirituality and inspiration. A Haiku Perspective 2018 became a #1 Amazon Kindle Best Seller within 3 days of release. Her television commercial copy writing, garnered her an Emmy nomination and a children’s coloring book she designed, won a national marketing award for her, then, employer, United Artist’s Entertainment.

Currently, Annette is the Copy Editor for the digital magazine, The Magic Happens.

Blog | The Magic Happens | Amazon

Be sure to let Annette know what you thought of her post in the comments! Check out her links and show her some love. If you liked the post, please share it around.

If you’d like to write a guest post for my blog, then read the Guest Post Guidelines.

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Why I’m Opening Up [Mental Health Monday]

Mental health is important. It’s everywhere and effects a lot of people. Some people you know about and others don’t open up about it for whatever reason or they hide it. We’ve been talking about mental health more in recent months and it’s something that should always be talked about. There’s no shame in mental health – just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take care of yourselves in that sense.

Yet, mental health is a tricky subject. There are still people out there who don’t “agree” with mental health or don’t think it “exists.” This is bizarre to me, but maybe that’s because I have mental health issues myself that it’s hard for me to put myself in someone’s else’s shoes and believe it’s “all in my head.”

Mental Health Monday is a new feature I’m adding to the blog in 2019 that will be posted once a month. I’ve started talking about my mental health more in 2018 – though I’ll admit it was just a handful of times on Twitter (I think). I wanted to talk about it more in 2019 and beyond. I also wanted to add more “personal” posts on this blog and mental health is a huge topic and it’s a huge part of who I am.

Mental Health Monday: Why I'm Opening Up | Anxiety | Generalized Anxiety Disorder | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Why I’m Opening Up

Like I said, I’ve never really talked about my mental health before. Despite wanting to do more personal posts and letting you guys get to know me more, I wanted to talk about my mental health on the blog – for the whole Internet and world to see – for one reason only.

I’m ready.

I have been diagnosed since I was 16 – so it’s been about nine years. If I remember correctly, I was diagnosed in January or February. Needless to say, it’s been a long time. Aside from a few close people who knew, I never talked about it. Even though I had been officially diagnosed by a professional, part of me still wasn’t sure what was “wrong” with me.

When I quit my job almost two years ago now, I’ve done quite a bit of soul searching and – this will sound weird but – I’ve done a lot of research on myself and my mental health. This has led me to become ready to be more open about my mental health and about who I am as a person.

This is who I am.

I don’t know what made me decide to do the research. I don’t know why I had waited so long. I don’t know why I had decided to do it after I quit my job. Maybe it was because I didn’t know what I was doing with my life. I didn’t know how to get from point A to point B. I made a huge decision. I took a big risk. Maybe it was because of that I decided to do some soul searching. Not to mention, a lot of things have happened in my life that was effected by my anxiety. I took the time to finally sit down and figure out what goes on in my mind.

I did the research, which consisted of reading articles from The Mighty as well as going on Pinterest. It was the biggest eye-opener I’ve ever had. Every article I read was me. Everything that was listed in those blog posts were things I think about every day. They were things I do, things I say. Little quirks I have are “normal” for someone like me. It was weird for me to realize that because even though I’ve been diagnosed and I know it’s a common thing, I always thought I was the only one.

It made me realize, this is who I am. This is normal for me. I’m normal, even if others don’t always see that.

I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

I’ll save the diagnosis story for another time, but I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. A lot of people think there’s just “anxiety” and that’s it, but there are various kinds of anxiety. Some get it worse than others, some are diagnosed with different types. I don’t have just anxiety, I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I’ll explain more about what GAD is in the next post.

Until then, I hope you enjoy this series. I’m looking forward to talking about it. I’m ready to open up.

I hope you enjoy this new series on the blog. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Hello, 2019!

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Here we are – 2019! Looking back at my Hello, 2018 post, I said that 2019 will be here “tomorrow.” I don’t think I’ve ever made a truer statement.

Hello 2019 | New Year | Goals | Creative Writing | Blogging | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Every single new year I always tell myself, “This will be the year.” The year of what, though? I’m not really sure. I have plenty of ideas and goals to keep my occupied and focused for the next 12 months. Whether something comes of those ideas, I have no idea.

If there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I’m a hard worker. I always have been and I definitely know I can be a bit of a control freak and while I collab a lot (I mean, I run an entire blog with my sister) I like doing a lot of things myself and on my own time. I enjoy being my own “boss,” if you will.

I quit my job in June 2017 and decided to pursue this whole writing and blogging thing. Since then, I’ve had my ups and downs. Ideas have come to fruition, others haven’t. Some deadlines were met, some are still collecting dust or were deleted all together.

When I don’t meet deadlines or complete a task, it could be for a number of reasons.

  • I took on too much and ran out of time
  • I took on too much and ran out of steam
  • Something came up in life – friends or family, good or bad – and I put them first

Improvements

One thing I’d like to improve about myself this 2019 is to stop being so hard on myself. If I run out of time, I stay up later or wake up earlier in an attempt to get hours back. If I don’t, I lie awake in bed all night thinking about it.

Same thing if I run out of steam. I need to accept that I’m human. I need breaks and rest and definitely need to schedule that into daily routine or stop working at a certain time for the day.

Family and friends will always come first, however there have been a few times where my work at suffered for no reason. I won’t explain in detail, but for two weeks straight I was helping a friend and it turned into the same problem each and every day. Sometimes people seem to think that because I’m home I have a lot of free time because I’m “my own boss” and I could always do my work “later.” But there will be times where it’s okay if I put my work first.

In other words, I need to stop feeling bad if I don’t get back to my friend right away or if I decide to put my work to the side for the time being.

So, What’s Up For The Blog?

With all that said, I’m changing some of the content on this blog. I’ve talked about this before, but I’ll say it again.

Instead of the blog being strictly writing and reading, I’ll be sprinkling in some personal posts here and there. This blog originally started off with writing posts and personal posts and I’d like to bring that back. There are only so many posts I can write about “dialogue.” Those posts won’t go away though! They’ll just be a little less with some other happenings going on. The schedule will, however, be the same daily posts.

  • Sunday – Short Story Story – A new flash story or poem from me.
  • Monday – Free for all – This will typically be home to any Guest Posts or Interviews along with a new feature that will appear once a month.
  • Tuesday – Free for all – Book reviews will appear on this day during July and August.
  • Wednesday – Free for all – Once a month will be a WIP Wednesday post.
  • Thursday – Free for all – I don’t think I ever really have anything special going on this day.
  • Friday – Time to Write – A creative writing prompt that everyone is welcome to participate in and share their stories in the comments.
  • Saturday – Book Reviews – A new book review will be posted.

In addition to new personal posts, I’ll be starting two new features. Both will appear once a month – Healthy Writer and Mental Health Monday. I’m looking forward to sharing those posts with you guys!

What Else?

On my Goodreads, I had pledged to read 52 books again. I think that will be a breeze for me with the way the past couple of years have worked out. I got a lot of gift cards to Barnes & Noble for Christmas, so I’m planning on buying myself one new book a week – because I totally need more books.

I do have quite a lot of writing goals, but I’ll be talking about that in a separate post tomorrow.

I have so many other things planned for 2019 as well – one should be made public in early March while the other will probably be closer to the end of the year. Plus there’s many more!

I’ve always been thinking of better ways to utilize my Patreon and make things more engaging for my Patrons. If you have anything in mind, let me know and please join my writing journey on there. A lot of cool new things will be coming in 2019 and my patrons will be the first to know about it.

Happy 2019!

I believe that’s it for now. I’ll be back tomorrow with an update on my writing goals for the year. Here’s hoping 2019 is filled with a lot of kindness and positive vibes all around. Thank you all for being here!

Do you have any plans for 2019? Are you looking forward to the new year? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Goodbye, 2018!

Well. This is it. 2018 is over.

I feel like this year went by so slow and yet, I can’t believe we’ll be writing 2019 as the date.

2018 certainly had its ups and downs, but it was a good year overall. I think I accomplished a lot and I’ve learned a lot. I still need to learn to relax, but maybe that can be a resolution for 2019 that I won’t keep.

Goodbye 2018 | New Year | Wrap Up | Goals | 2019 | Blogging | Creative Writing | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Usually, when I write these posts, I look back on the year and reflect on all the things I did and accomplished on the blog and writing-wise. I don’t “journal” much on here – though that may change in the new year – so I can’t get too deep into personal stuff or life in general, but I can say that 2018 was a big year for my blog and writing.

January

I talked a lot about characters and character development on the blog. I started up my newsletter again… which eventually fell to the wayside yet again. I am bringing it back in 2019 though – for real this time! I also started my Wattpad. I published The Scribe in January, which went pretty well. There’s definitely room for improvement but I like how it turned out.

February

I talked a lot about world building on the blog this month. I also officially launched my Patreon at the end of the month. I have lots of plans for my Patreon in the new year as well as publishing news. I’ll also be adding some new things outside of the blog and Pareon (but will go along with them). So, if you’ve been following my blog for a while and like what I do and enjoy my creative writing, please check out my Patreon and consider joining the journey.

March

The theme for the blog was blogging. Running a blog and promoting it and so on and so forth. I also went to Canada for the first time ever in my life. It feels like that was so long ago and yet, it feels like it was last month. I went to a gaming expo called EGLX and met some of my favorite YouTubers and streamers. It was so awesome to leave the country and have a weekend getaway with my sister as well.

April

This was a super busy month. I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo where I wrote the rest of my Short Story Sunday stories for 2018 and also worked on some mystery shorts. I also published Take Over on my Wattpad and went to Disney at the end of the month. It was a good one.

May

May was Mystery Month on the blog. So I talked about… well, the mystery genre. Duh.

June

I talked a lot about reading and book reviews as well as book blogging in general, which was a new topic for the blog. I had fun with it though and enjoyed the posts I wrote.

July

I posted two book reviews a week and also talked a lot about writing scenes in creative writing. This was another new topic for the blog. I also went on vacation at the end of the month with my family, which was great.

It was also a second Camp NaNoWriMo session. I honestly don’t remember what I worked on… I think I edited during the month working on Sunday Morning and George Florence & The Perfect Alibi.

Oh, and Ari started #TheMerryWriter on Twitter as well. At least, I think it was this month? I might have officially joined as her co-host either this month or August. I’m pretty sure July was the first month for it though.

(It’s funny – looking back at my planner I never kept up with keeping track of my writing like I said I’d do… so I only remember what I blogged about rather than what novels I worked on!)

August

I continued to post two book reviews a week on the blog and also talked a lot about dialogue in creative writing. Other than that, nothing too exciting happened on the blog.

On a side note, I had started live streaming on Twitch with my sister for Double Jump. So that was a big thing for us.

September

Not too much happened on the blog but we talked about the creative writing process.

October

This month’s blog topic was outlining your novel. This is something I talk about often on the blog. I personally love outlining but most others don’t.

November

This month was another NaNoWriMo session. I wrote all 52 shorts for Short Story Sunday in 2019. It was a good accomplishment.

December

This month has been a total crapshoot. I’ve been doing a lot of prep for the new year and have kind of talked about random stuff on the blog. It’s been good though.

Overall

2018 was a great year. I had fun, I learned a lot, had some great experience, and met a lot of new people. I have no complaints. Sure, there were some rough patches here and there, but I’m learning from them and moving on. It’s hard to not look back or dwell on the past, but I’m focused on a positive future ahead.

Posts to Remember

1. 9 Types of Characters in Fiction
2. 21 Questions To Ask When Writing a Scene
3. The Sticky-Note Method For Outlining A Novel

Here’s to 2019! Bring it on!

How did 2018 treat you? Are you looking forward to 2019? What are you doing this New Year’s Eve? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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December 2018 Wrap Up

2018 December Wrap Up | Reading | Creative writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Reading

December was a pretty good month for reading. Once Christmas was over, I was able to get some reading done that I wanted to do. I got through some extra books for the year and I also got back into an old series which basically had me speed reading and got me out of my reading slump.

Writing

Writing didn’t happen this month. I mean, I tried to get some things done. I planned and I wrote some things for my Patrons but for the most part, I didn’t have time to write and it always took the backseat to something else. I’ll be getting more into my writing once the new year comes, though. I have a plan!

Blogging

A lot of blogging happened this month. I’ve done a lot for my blog and social media in preparation for 2019. New things are coming and some old things are changing. It’s been a lot of reworking and I still have more to do. I’m pacing myself though and just taking it day by day. The blog will slowly come together and things are looking good! At least, I think they are anyway. We’ll see how it all comes together.

Overall

December was a crazy month. On and offline, there was so much to do and not enough time. However, I got done what I needed to do by the time it needed to be done. Christmas was enjoyable and the month was good overall.

Posts To Remember

1. I Need Your Input 2019
2. 2019 Guest Post Dates Are Open For 2019
3. 12 Days of Christmas Book Tag

How did December treat you? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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How To Master Story Archetypes [Guest Post]

It’s my pleasure to welcome Sacha Black to my blog! Today’s guest post is brought to you by this fabulous writer.

Guest Post: How To Master Story Archetypes by Sacha Black | Creative writing | blogging | RachelPoli.com

The word archetype gets thrown around like candy at Halloween. There’s a ton of villainous archetypes: dark lords, femme fatales, your standard psycho serial killer, and they all play a role. They’re clearly defined, easily distinguishable…

But can anyone actually name me a hero archetype?

I can almost hear the dust balls rolling through the desert… Hero archetypes are much, much harder to define. Sure, you could suggest a maverick cop in a crime series, but wait… that’s a trope, not an archetype. Or what about the chosen one in a fantasy novel? Again, that’s a trope.

Are you stuttering yet?

Let me help.

Hero archetypes don’t exist.

So what is an archetype?

Archetypes are masks worn by characters to serve a particular function at a particular time to move the plot forward.

If you were paying attention, you’d notice I didn’t say ‘worn by the hero’. That’s because an archetype is a plot device; a function of fiction. Archetypes are not specific characters embodying one particular role for all time.

Think of it as character cosplay. If you force a character to act as a mentor to the hero for the entire plot and only as a mentor, you’re squeezing your character into such a tiny box you flatten them, literally and figuratively. You want three-dimensional, rounded characters, not pancakes. Pancakes are only good for breakfast… and maybe for food fights.

But what does this mean for your characters? Well, it means characters, like humans, are transient. Sometimes your mentor will also be your motivator or your ally. Think about all the hats you wear for your BFF. I bet you’ve been a motivator, a shoulder to cry on, a parent when they needed a slap, and a conscience when they did something they shouldn’t.

Top Tip: if you want to add depth to your side characters, make them play an addition role for your hero.

Sacha Black, Author | Guest Post | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.comSo here’s a whistle-stop run down of the major functions your characters can play

  1. Friend Function

I’ve already mentioned this function and how we play different roles for our friends. That’s exactly what this role does. Think Ron Weasley from Harry Potter. The friend plays roles including but not limited to: motivating your hero, stopping her from making a mistake (conscience), to being the shoulder she cries on (companionship).

  1. The guide function

The primary purpose of the guide in a story is threefold:

  • Teach the hero, whether that’s new skills, new knowledge or otherwise
  • Protect the hero from the villain’s devilish party tricks
  • Bestow gifts on the hero, from magical death-wielding weapons to the anecdote that helps the hero have an epiphany.

There are a couple of other types of mentors such as the negative guide.  Who, instead of encouraging the hero down the right path to heroism, manipulates the hero and leads them into the descent of darkness. For example, Littlefinger (Lord Petyr Baelish) in A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, John Milton in The Devil’s Advocate, Alonzo in Training Day and Gordon Gekko in Wall Street.

  1. The obstacle function

The primary job of the obstacle archetype is to make sure the hero is worthy to move on to the next part of the story. You might think only villains can be obstacles. But not so. Even a friend of the heroes could be an obstacle. In fact, if the obstacle is a friend, it’s even more of a test of the hero’s will power – it’s much harder to go against a friend’s wishes to do ‘the right thing’

  1. Hermes function

Yes, for those of you who like mythology, this is a nod to the Greek emissary and messenger god. Hermes characters have vital information that they bring to the hero. Usually the message leads to a change or plot development, the most significant of which is usually the ‘call to action’ for the hero in the first act of your story. The messages are usually, good, bad or a prophecy style message.

  1. Sly fox function

Aside from a villain, the sly fox is one of my favorite archetypes because they’re so interesting to write. Their purpose is to feed doubt into the plot and, specifically, into the hero’s psyche. They come in two forms. A positive sly fox, like a lover in a romance story that feeds doubt into the heroine’s mind over his true feelings. Or a negative sly fox, who feeds doubt into the hero because, well, he’s an evil S.O.B. Think Scar from the Lion King or Dr. Elsa Schneider from Indiana Jones and Prince Hans from the Disney movie Frozen.

  1. The joker function

The joker is the character that brings mischief, play and fun to the story. Symbolically, it can represent the need for change within the story. They will usually sprinkle your plot with banter and slap the arrogant characters into shape. For example, Dobby the house elf from Harry Potter.

  1. Villain function

Last but by no means least, is, in my opinion, the most important archetype of them all. The villain. If your villain is weak, so is your story. Story is about change, whether it’s your hero’s character arc, or the world around your hero. Something will change. And those changes are created from the conflict in your story.

What’s the source of conflict?

That, dear reader, would be your villain. Give your villain as much love as your hero. Your story will thank you for it.

Sacha Black, Author | Guest Post | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

That was a super quick run through of the types of archetypes your hero might need during your story.

If you’d like more in depth information, there’s an entire chapter all about the function of archetypes in my new book: 10 Steps To Hero: How To Craft A Kickass Protagonist.

A bit more about the book:

From cardboard cut-out to superhero in 10 steps.

Are you fed up of one-dimensional heroes? Frustrated with creating clones? Does your protagonist fail to capture your reader’s heart?

In 10 Steps To Hero, you’ll discover: 

+ How to develop a killer character arc

+ A step-by-step guide to creating your hero from initial concept to final page

+ Why the web of story connectivity is essential to crafting a hero that will hook readers

+ The four major pitfalls to avoid as well as the tropes your story needs

Finally, there is a comprehensive writing guide to help you create your perfect protagonist. Whether you’re writing your first story or you’re a professional writer, this book will help supercharge your hero and give them that extra edge.

These lessons will help you master your charming knights, navigate your way to the perfect balance of flaws and traits, as well as strengthen your hero to give your story the conflict and punch it needs.

First, there were villains, now there are heroes. If you like dark humor, learning through examples, and want to create the best hero you can, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting heroes.

Read 10 Steps To Hero today and start creating kick-ass heroes.

About Sacha Black

Sacha Black, Author | Guest Post | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.comSacha Black has five obsessions; words, expensive shoes, conspiracy theories, self-improvement, and breaking the rules. She also has the mind of a perpetual sixteen-year-old, only with slightly less drama and slightly more bills.

Sacha writes books about people with magical powers and other books about the art of writing. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her wife and genius, giant of a son.

When she’s not writing, she can be found laughing inappropriately loud, blogging, sniffing musty old books, fangirling film and TV soundtracks, or thinking up new ways to break the rules.

Let Sacha know what you thought of her post in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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A New Way Of Planning

Getting sick of my 2019-prep blog posts? Too bad, I’m pulling content out of my rear while I prep for 2019.

A New Way of Planning | Blogging | Blog Posts | Creative writing | RachelPoli.com

I’ve actually decided to do something a little different for next year. I always try to stay a month ahead in my blogging – sometimes it works and other times too many things get in the way and I end up behind. So, I figured I might try to plan a little differently for 2019.

I’m still going to try my best to stay ahead of the game next year, but instead of just doing the planning a month in advance, I’m going to try to plan the whole year.

Sounds like a lot, I know.

But I think if I brainstorm enough content ideas and themes, I can come up with blog post ideas along the way and have the ability to write them a month in advance – or, at least the ones that can be written in advance.

My calendar planner goes from June to July, so I won’t be able to get my 2019-2020 planner (wow, that’s weird to write) until May or so, but that’s what notebooks are for, right? Or, at the very least, I can plan the first six months of the year.

I already know some content changes I’ll be making to the blog, which I’ve already talked a little about. You know, more personal than educational with writing, reading, and blogging. I’ll talk more about why I’m changing that in a blog post in January.

Still, I have a lot of ideas and new features that I need to plan out and organize. I think looking at the year as a whole and getting a basic idea of how I want each month to go will be ideal.

How are you planning for 2019? How do you prep your blog posts? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Blog Prep For 2019

2019 is right around the corner. I have no idea where 2018 went… I don’t even know where December is going. I can’t believe we’re just about halfway through the month. It’s crazy.

December has always been a month of reflection and prep for me. Looking back of all that I’ve accomplished this year and looking ahead to see how I can improve and keep going in the following year. There’s a lot I plan to do in 2019, so this month hasn’t been any different from past Decembers.

Blog Prep for 2019 | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

I’ve been brainstorming and getting things prepped for 2019 since September/October. I don’t know why, but I always get in the mood to look ahead to the new year around that time. Maybe that’s why things go so fast. I rush it without meaning to.

Anyway…

2019 will be big!

My blog posts and the type of content I publish will be slightly different next year. Nothing too drastic, but more “personal” and “real,” if you will. I’ll also be doing something a little different with the guest posts that I host on the blog as well.

I’m thinking of new marketing ideas for the blog along with other things (you know, like my book).

There will also be three new… things? Features? Whatever you want to call them. I’m still working on them and have no idea when they’ll start, but I’m hoping all of them will happen in 2019. One will be on the blog, one is for the blog but on something else, and the other is unrelated to the blog.

So, there are those three things along side regular blogging and writing. I’ve gotten a decent head start on things though, so hopefully soon!

With that said, there’s still a lot of prep work I need to do for the month of December. It’s not easy with the holidays, but I’m excited and hope you guys will enjoy the many things to come!

Are you doing any prepping for the new year for your own work? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Meet Aurora Jean Alexander, Author [Author Interview]

It’s my pleasure to welcome AJ Alexander to my blog!

Aurora Jean Alexander | Author | Writer | Creative writing | author interview | blogging | RachelPoli.com

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Aurora Jean Alexander. I grew up in a family involved into politics and was blessed with an excellent education in several countries, holding a Bachelor’s Degree in BA. I was very lucky. I’m living by myself with three cats, working a full time job and I am a new Paranormal Romance/Fantasy author. Currently I work on a series with 13 books. My first book is close to be published.

How long have you been writing for?

I doubt I can tell you one particular time or even time frame when I started writing. I felt that’s what I wanted to do. Since I lack a talent in painting and drawing I had to do something with my creativity and decided that’s the way to do it.

What motivates you to write? How did you begin writing?

I’m not sure there ever was “a start”. I learned to write at the age of four and I remember developing little stories since I’m a Kindergarten kid. In school, when others complained about essays, mine were easily 6 – 10 pages long, I enjoyed it so much.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

I still, after all these years write my first drafts by hand. When I type them into the computer it gives me the chance to go through the story and the plot again and catch flaws and mistakes within the story, even the characters.

Since I’m working a full time job there isn’t a particular daily routine. I write whenever I have the chance to. I usually have several books in different states of “completed”, which means, I either write by hand, type into the computer or edit existing manuscripts before they go to my editor.

Have you thought about self-publishing or traditional publishing? Are you leaning towards one over the other? If so, why?

I’m definitely going with self-publishing. The process of the traditional publishing is extremely long. The submitting, the rejections, the small exclusive circles of the ones deciding whether my work is “good enough” for them is grueling and even cruel and hurtful at times. I’d like to publish my books before my retirement.

Are you currently working on anything new?

I’m working on this particular series, which needs all my time and concentration. I love working on these books. Each character is very demanding and teaches me a lot. Right now I’m working on the seventh and eighth book in the series, which I’m drafting. Book six needs to be typed in. The first book is with my copyright lawyer, my editor is working on book 2 and book three to five are waiting in my editors inbox.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

I’m as well a musician as also a Martial Arts expert. I figure I would have gone with one of these talents to build a career.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

The writing is the “smallest” part, so to speak. Networking, promotion, marketing, connections, these are the parts that sell the books and need a lot of time and even money. The ones telling that self-publishing is for free are definitely wrong.

What is your favorite book, genre, or author?

One of my favorite books is one of the best books ever written: James Clavell’s Shogun. It is absolutely fascinating, bases on extensive research and has not only what a good book needs, but much more.

Other than that I’m a big fan of fantasy and paranormal romance. Not Science Fiction so much because the technical explanations in these books are straining my simple, non-technical brain cells. LOL

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Write your stories down. They will never see the light of the day as long as they only exist in your head. And never give up!

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Networking is one of the main things to do for new writers. Start early enough. Starting with networking a few weeks before your book is published won’t do.

Additionally keep in mind that you don’t only find ‘helpful connections’ when networking. You have the chance to find amazing writers, supportive and encouraging authors and friends! Keep them in your heart and share your success with them. Let them be part of your life and help them as much as they help you!

About AJ

I’m a new paranormal romance author working on a fantasy/paranormal romance series. I have written short stories and poetry in the past and now am intensely working on a 13-book-series of novellas and novels.

My rare free time I’m spending in extreme reading, excessive pool swimming and playing monster-monopoly. My strongest support system are my sister, most of my family, my friends and my three cats.

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Pre-order Soul Taker (The Council of Twelve 1) by A.J. Alexander

Soul Taker by AJ Alexander | Book blog | author interview | Preorder | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.comAfter long years in the line of duty as a ‘Soul Taker’, Kate is worn out.
When she gets a new job offer from the ‘Powers Above’, she accepts her new job as a Guardian gratefully without knowing that her teacher is one of the most powerful beings in existence, the Archangel Raphael.
Along with Raphael, she takes on her new task and the connection between them grows.
Raphael helps, protects and supports Kate, but suddenly, she becomes a target for the Demons of Hell.
Raphael realizes that Kate means more to him than he expected, which causes him to fight furiously against danger. If he fails, Kate’s future will contain eternal darkness, evil, and torture.
‘Soul Taker’, 1st book of ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series is available for pre-order right now and will be published December 15, 2018.