The Alpha’s Dream is on GoodReads!

I feel like I’ve just graduated into the big leagues. LOL.

For those of you who absolutely don’t know, GoodReads.com is a site connected to Amazon for readers. It’s sole purpose is about connecting authors, and readers to each other through books. Literally, every genre and subgenre is represented in an inviting way.

In addition to seeing the descriptions of The Alpha’s Dream, it is a great way for you connect with me. Ask me a question about my process or the book. Check out my bookshelves as I slowly fill them with things I’ve read or plan to read. You can even recommend books to me and keep me accountable to my 2017 reading goals. (I’m already 20 books behind, technically.)

I’ve finally added The Alpha’s Dream to  Goodreads. It feels both strange and wonderful. The network itself is not complicated. It’s social media for book lovers. However,  it is so fun to think about this huge network of readers who will stumble upon my book because of it’s presence on Goodreads.

If it is not clear, I love the process of publishing and seeing my work pop up in these often common book places. It brings a huge smile to my face. Book love is real. So, make your way to Goodreads and add me to your bookshelves.  Follow my author page for even more updates!

Joy.

 

 

 

#AprilAccomplished

Aprils is out of here. You know after deciding, to reset on some of my goals, this has been my most successful month yet.

It was a hard decision to drop the migrated book goals that I had, but it was necessary. As I drew closer to the release of The Alpha’s Dream and the coming birth of my third little one, I had to be honest about my time. A very tough thing to face is knowing that I still want to get those things accomplished, but don’t have a specific timeline for them.

I will have to figure out something, because I’ve already started mapping out my  next release. More updates on that later.

So, here is a goal gut check for the month of April. I’ll tell you exactly how I did.

April Goal List:

-Format The Alpha’s Dream

-Decide on Amazon Exclusivity

-Pick New Release Date for Second Draft

-Execute Phase #2 of Marketing

I completely dismissed all of my migrated goals.

Like I said, it’s been a pretty successful month. I got to everything on this list even though some of the things accomplished were in a more abbreviated fashion.  To break down the list, everything got done. I formatted the Alpha’s Dream after getting it to the Editor. It didn’t make it back in time, so there was a little mix-up with the pre-orders. Alas, all is well. I decided on a release date for my second release, but I’m not going to disclose that yet. When I decide whether release number two will be an  short or a full length release, I will give you all the details.

The hardest thing on the list was deciding on Amazon Exclusivity. For this release, I have decided on the exclusivity.  I struggled with that decision as I would like to make my releases as available as possible. It makes more sense to expand to other platforms and once the three month exclusivity clause of Amazon is up, that is exactly what I plan to do. At this moment, it simply felt like a better choice to exclusively publish on Amazon.  As I grow my book list, we will see what happens next.

The final thing on the list, e xecuting marketing phase two is an ongoing process. Yes, I have begun to work out the kinks of my marketing plan, but it isn’t something that simply ends at a certain point. I’m constantly evaluating what I am doing and working to expand my reach. One of the things I’ve done of late is to set up my author Pinterest account. You can see it here. For visuals of the heroine and hero muses I use to model my characters after and writing resources I find crucial to my process, follow my boards.

I’m proud of the work I have been able to accomplish. My goals are super important if I will end the year the way I plan too. I know your goals are important too. Leave me a comment about some of the ways you’ve managed to stay on track. And, tune in next week for what my May goal list brings!

Joy

#TeamJoy: I’m building a street team and I want you to join it.

One launch down, numerous to go.

As I wrap my head around being a published author a few things come to mind. I can’t do this alone. I need your help. I need your ears, your eyes, and a little bit of your free time. I’ve decided that now that I have an idea of what my launches will look like, I should build a street team. Here you’ll find all the specifics, and decide if being a part of the team is for you. Loved The Alpha’s Dream? Great! Here’s how you can help me bring you more.

Street Team Requirements:

-Like Jocelyn F. Young Facebook page

-local distribution of flyers to coffee shops or other reader friendly locales

-minimal promotion assistance, I.e. tweets, retweets, ig, and Facebook promo

-launch week reviews of projects

 

Obviously, I don’t expect you to do any of this without incentive. I realize you are giving up your precious time. So, here are the things I will be giving to those who join the team!

-free finished e-book copies of future works

-exclusive team swag

-exclusive street team only giveaway

I already have the first giveaway planned. I’m really excited about growing with all of you and sharing in my success. So, join my street team and we will take Shifter Romances to a new level.

Joy

#HeroineInterviews

E: Sorry I’m late. I lost track of time.

(Euphoria Atkins enters the restaurant wearing a pretty black silk blouse and  pencil skirt that hugs her ample hips. She smiles easily and takes a seat directly across from me.)

E: I had a meeting that ran long. I hope I didn’t keep you waiting too long.

You’re absolutely fine. Should we order or dive right in?”

E:Oh you haven’t ordered. Oh God. please get some food. I called in my order because I thought you would have by now. In the meantime, fire away.

Firing now. So tell me about your friendship with charlotte Jackson. How did that began?
It began in college. Charlotte is a take charge kind of woman and substantially more extroverted than I am. So it took some pushing and pulling, but we’re really close.

Because you are opposites?

E:Absolutely.  We see the world from different places, and so we compliment each other. She’s the sister I never had, and I’m very grateful.

What did she say about your relationship with Nathaniel Blanchard? did she try to discourage you from being with a werewolf?

E: I won’t be commenting on Nathaniel.

(Her smile has grown exponentially. As the waiter places her food down in front of her and takes my order. I notice a moment of quiet joy sweeping over her smooth brown cheeks.)

Why not? He refused to talk to us about you too. Is there something the two of you are hiding. Maybe wedding bells or something along those lines.

E: Nathaniel and I agreed that we wouldn’t disclose details about our relationship until after the book was released. Even then, we don’t plan to share everything.

So what can you share with our readers about yours and Nathaniel’s story? Anything.

E: I can share that it is worth the discovery. I think your readers will enjoy watching  our story unfold, and gain a lot from it.

Okay, so you’re not going to tell us anything.

E: No. (She says with a throaty laugh.)

Well, I guess we will have to wait until April 23rd for the official release.

E: You won’t be disappointed. I promise.

We’ll take your word for it. So on to other subjects. It is rumored that you left a high paying Graphic Design job to start your business Euphoric Designs. What was the catalyst for your venturing out on your own?

(Euphoria holds her fork balanced on mid-way between her plate and her mouth. She’s thinking. Her brows are smooth, but her eyes are deep with concentration.

E: A number of things drove that decision. Ultimately, I believe I just wanted to own  more of my time and my creations. I was exhausted from working long hours on projects that didn’t matter to me or didn’t make me grow. I wasn’t motivated to do that for the rest of my life. So, I decided that if I were going to  work my life away I would do it for myself.

Dreams seem to play a big part in yours and Nathaniel’s story. What advice would you give other women who have a dream that they can’t get out of their heads?

E: I would tell them to stop trying to forget it. If it wasn’t part of my purpose to be a Graphic Designer and someday own my company, then it would have been an easy thought to dismiss. Since it wasn’t, I knew I had to pay attention to this. I had to  attempt to build it or it would eat me alive.

Eat you alive. That is a powerful choice of words.

E:It’s an honest choice of words. I love what I do. I was suffocating doing it for someone else. I realize it isn’t that way for everyone, but it was that way for me. I had to do something about it. I had to make a change.

How does building your company factor into your romantic life?

(Euphoria exhales as if I’ve just knocked the wind from her lungs, but her eyes glitter with amusement.)

E. It is challenging because entrepreneurship requires such long hours sometimes, but when you have the right partner your dream becomes important to them too. They understand, and you make the time whenever possible to ensure the relationship survives.

Is Nathaniel Blanchard the right partner?

E: No comment.

Darn. I thought I would get you with that.

E: Yeah, I saw what you did there. ( Euphoira wags her finger and smiles gleefully at me. I smile back amused that she’s caught me in my own trap.)

Since obviously you aren’t going to spill the beans for us, I’m going to ask you one final question on the record. Maybe when we’re off the record you will let me in on some of you and Nathaniel’s closely guarded secrets.

(Euphoria’s laughter is a wind chime of happiness.)

E: Off the record, maybe.

Give me three words to describe The Alpha’s Dream to our audience.

E: Hmm. Wow. Okay. You know the story has so many layers to it that I’m not sure where to begin. I think I would have to go with authentic, transformative, for us at least, and sexy. We  spin a pretty sexy story.

It’s funny  you should say that. Sexy and layered were two words Nathaniel used to describe The Alpha’s Dream too. I guess great minds really do think alike.

E:Yes, they do.

Thank you for you joining us Euphoria.

E. Thank you for having me.

Joy.

 

 

 

 

#shiftersmateforlife

My husband is one of the reasons I write romances. He is the absolute love of my life.

When I first met my husband we were both poets enjoying a vibrant and inviting spoken word scene in the city we live in. I was a naïve, very green, little woman. He was a self-assured, smart, and inviting man. I enjoyed his gregarious nature, and his ability to work seamlessly within whatever crowd there was to be navigated. He could shift into whomever the moment called for and it would still be his authentic self. It still amazes me. It would take years for our very casual friendship to turn into anything more.

We were and still are, polar opposites of each other. His wild, extroverted, Gemini heart is  downright terrifying to my sedated, introverted, Virgo spirit. Yet, we exist. We thrive together because he makes my soul happy. We push toward lives that neither of us could have predicted out of an unrelenting need to hold on to what we have in each other.

He is quiet strength and a complex, brilliant mind. He is a loving father, the kind who stands back patiently until needed/wanted. He is full of stories. Some of them are quite extravagant, but mostly true, versions of lives he’s lived. Most days, I feel like a bystander watching his brilliance unfold.

That isn’t to say we are without failures, and utter disappointments.  We’ve been married for ten years plus. For all the days that I felt awestruck by his human complexity, there are numerous days that I have felt foolishly in love. There is plenty of heartbreak between those years, but we continue. We always find our way back to each other.

“Having him here reminds me of who I am.”

Isn’t that what romance is? Sweeping, inspiring ways to tumble into another flawed person, and layered methods of navigating their flaws? For me it is. For me, my marriage to my husband is one of the best ways to explore romance on a realistic level. When I think of us, there is always a wrinkle in our relationship.  Yet, when he isn’t here with me I am lovesick. It doesn’t matter if it is errands, work, or any circumstances. Having him with me reminds me of who I am.

As I think of my characters, I think of he and I. I think of how we’ve learned each other over the years. I think of the layers we pull back to show ourselves to each other. I think of the ways we’ve healed each other and the new scars we’ve created. I think of how even at the worst of our lives together, we’ve always managed to come out together. I think of the gratitude we feel for each other.

I work to transfer those things into my characters. I want them to know the struggle of having the one you love. It doesn’t mean constant chaos or even perpetual bliss. It means uncovering, delving into who they are so that they are prepared for love in its various forms. I want them to know that finding “the one” doesn’t mean there won’t still be work to do. Every love, needs room to grow. Every partner needs the willingness to make room. There is always more to learn and outlive about the person you love.

Shifter romances lend themselves easily to this premise. The shifter is often keeping a bit of a secret, something of himself from his lover. It isn’t meant to be deceptive in my writing. It is a tool, a type of self preservation. Being a shifter comes with numerous intricacies and a woman who is looking to share her life with one most be adaptable. She must know when to give and when to take. She must be brave and as strong, and fearless of her lover. their place in the pack is critical to it’s survival. So, I work hard so that these qualities are shown. Let them be resilient. Let them fight for what they love, brave the wild of their own fears. when it is all said in done, let them do it for love.

I don’t know if this is a great method for writing just as I don’t know what will happen with my marriage to my husband. I know that right now, all that we are goes into my work. I have his support. I have characters I love. Both of these things are shaping my life into one that I love. My heart spills open  with joy because of it. Shifters mate for life. It is no different for me.

When you read my work, I hope you are able to see a little of you and your lover in its pages too. I hope your happily ever after is just as vibrant and real as these. I hope it lasts your lifetime.

Comment below on some of the things the shifter in your love moves you to feel.

Joy.

 

 

 

5 Useful Resources for Writers

I’m not what most would consider (including myself) a natural writer. However, what I am is a natural researcher. So, when I decided that I would push forward in writing full time, I  knew I had my work cut out for me.

The first thing I had to do was find comprehensible resources that would help me hone my skills. I knew the words, but I needed form and direction. I wanted to be less of an amateur, but had no idea where to start.

I started at Google, and followed it’s lead to a ton of books and websites I would later use. Through the chaos of all of it, and countless research hours I’ve learned there is no limit to information. The limit is in its usefulness. Below are the top five resources I use as I continue to work on my favorite hobby/career. Maybe you will find them useful too.

  1. Pinterest

I love Pinterest. It feeds my inner craft and completely enables my flailing belief that I can make candied apples just like the ones in the pictures. In case you never meet me, Pinterest is the single handed reason I believe I could one day have a career in Event Plannning. I know that isn’t helpful in writing.

If you aren’t sure how Pinterest works, here’s a briefing. It is a free website where you can create an account and then “pin” or save things you find interesting. These pins are images that link back to the host website of your interest. Pinterest allows you to create collections with your pins by creating “boards” that you name however you like to catalogue. Once you pin or save something to a collection, you don’t have to search for it again. It will be there every time  you login.

What is helpful is the character creation templates, the variant eye color s, face shape, and figure pins as well as the numerous how to pins. Pinterest is a one stop hub for writing resources. Whether character development guides, removing passive voice from your writing, or learning to how “show don’t tell” in your writing Pinterest has you covered.

Use the search engine for a specific resource  ( i.e. how to write a novella, or “improving my villain”). After a few searches and pins, Pinterest will then suggest pins that might be of use to you. Before long you will have multiple resources to pull from at will and all in one place.

2. Better Novel Project

Better Novel Project is a website that analyzes bestselling Y.A. books such as Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Twilight. It uses the similarities to coach in creating the perfect Y.A. novel with all the bells and whistles of the standouts.

Obviously, I am not a Y.A. author -yet. What I am is an author who loves a good tool. The creator of Better Novel Project, Christine Frazier, is not only incredible at research and analysis. She includes illustrations in most of her post. A  fun perk when hours online make your eyes cross. Check out her Master Outline post. It is beautiful. Seriously. Beautiful.

 

3.Take Off Your Pants! by Libbie Hawker

I’m a pantser. As in a person who would normally write by the seat of her pants without guided templates or outlines. This means I won’t outline a project before starting to write. However, as I began to take my work more seriously, the power of a great outline is that it helps to map out each scene and lessens the likelihood of writers block chipping away from precious writing time.

Libbie Hawker takes a different approach than the Master Outline of Better Novel Project. Both are formulaic, but Libbie Hawker’s approach deals almost exclusively with the Main Character. Every scene is guided by the main characters decisions. In BNP’s Master Outline, the main character’s decisions are of course important. However, each scene is carefully mapped to optimize interaction with all the characters of your novel as needed.

Both can help in discovering your character’s arc, motivations, and pushing toward a strong finish. I don’t have a recommendation of one over the other. Thus, they both made my list.

Review them both and then decide which is best for your work. Either way, having multiple options in outline does several things. Namely, it helps to create or find an outline that flows naturally with your writing style. Don’t be afraid to tweak the outlines for your needs.

4. She’s Novel

She’s Novel is another website I’ve found to create supremely helpful. Kristen Keiffer is a creative writing coach. She offers a free writing course for those who sign up with their email address.

For starters, the websites post are categorized for you. So, if you are only having problems with editing, click on the archives button at the top, and then choose the editing button on the archives page. There are buttons for every aspect of writing, from characters to plotting and so on. There is even a button for publishing and marketing. It is a one stop shop for all writers whether amateurs or professional. All you need to bring is your ambition and your ideas and she will help you bring out the form.

Kristen Kieffer offers ebooks in her store as well as other merchandise. Take an evening and let her inspire your work.

5. E.A. Deverall

E.A. Deverall has no personal information on her site besides that she is a lady writer. In turn, what he offers is a plethora of writing worksheets to incorporate in your creative process. She keeps a string of downloadable content as well as a free novel outline for you to practice.

The site isn’t like the others I’ve mentioned here in that it is as much for readers as writers. The tools offered are often void of instructions, but allows you the room to develop in accordance to your own methods. She even recommends books for writers, and apps that will suit you whether you are using windows or a mac. Have gander, print some worksheets, and expand your process.

 

As always, these websites and resources aren’t user error free. Writing a book takes a lot of work and these are only guides. So, don’t expect them to create a masterpiece for you. A good tool assist in your vision, and that is all I am suggesting these resources will do. What I hope is that you find some valuable information within the websites that will aid you. They’ve worked for me and my process, but they are not for everyone’s cup of tea. Drop me a line to let me know what you think and any resource that I might be missing!

 

 

 

Resolutions-The Umbrella Solution

I’ve been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions for as long as I can remember. There is something refreshing about reflection on past choices and ambition for something better culminating in a new outlook. the New Year, New Me was built for people with my wavering optimism. Much to my chagrin, it often leads me with the same results when the enthusiasm wears off.

In the past, I’ve been guilty of keeping some resolutions and breaking others. The ugly details generally include weight loss and bad habits I  should have abandoned. As I’ve gotten older and a touch wiser I’ve come to realize that resolutions like any tool are only as effective as the user’s ability. If I was going to keep a resolution – really stick to it – then I had to edit the way I was approaching these opportunistic rebirths.

It took some time to come up with my resolution  this year. Since my goals are specific to certain sections of my life, my resolution must be an umbrella. It must cover everything that I hope to accomplish and still leave room for more. So, I don’t say I’m going to lose ten pounds by June. Instead, I say I will have revamped my approach to healthy living in 2017. The process is the exact opposite of my goal setting method, but more on that here.

Having spent most of my life winging resolutions because of course. I’ve noticed having a more definable way of picking them has been the remedy for my inconsistent success. Of course it would be, success is measured in consistency and consistency is contagious. It is not a far leap from successful resolution to reached goals. All you have to do is the work, and trust the process. Here are the five ways I determine my New Year’s resolution. Use them how you will or not at all, just be sure to leave me a comment on your resolution thoughts!

Rule 1: No Small Potatoes.

Like I said before, I had to stop thinking of my resolutions like goals. Instead of making them unnecessarily specific, I had to broaden their reach. The trick is in the language.

e.g. lose ten pounds vs. revamp healthy living approach

In the first portion of the example, the language emphasis is on the number of pounds. In my process, that makes it a goal. In the second portion , the emphasis  is on healthy living. For some, these translate into the same thing. For me, one is about weight and the other is about quality of life. Quality of life is greater than weight.

Rule 2: Broad is not Vague

It is critical that in broadening your resolution it doesn’t become so thin that the goals it covers are barely encompassed. Your resolution should remind you of what your goals for the year are and flexibly address them.

i.e. I will be more mysterious on social media vs. I will be more protective of my private life on social media.

Saying you would be more mysterious does include privacy. However, mystery could be anything. I could be a thinly veiled comment toward an enemy or an elaborate lie that hides true intentions. Privacy carries very specific connotations. Yet, it covers a large area. Privacy could relate just as much to photo sharing as it does to beliefs and ideals. Privacy is a better choice in language for a resolution than mystery, because it addresses your concerns and has a clear interpretation attached to it.

Rule 3: Connectivity is key

Your resolution cannot be an umbrella if the goals you have don’t fit under it. Your goals can cover many factions of your life, but the umbrella method requires a thin thread or theme that connects all of them. Think of it like this. If you tried to use your umbrella to cover your car and yourself at the same time it will undoubtedly leave you wet.  So, your goals should have something in common that can be summed up and covered by your resolution.

i.e. My 2012 resolution was no regrets. Sampling of my 2012 goals were to explore different writing styles in business, say yes to more social invitations in my personal life, and to exorcise the shame I carried from past poor choices.

The theme for 2012 was to make my decisions knowing there would be risk and to not regret the outcome. It didn’t matter whether the outcome was good or bad. My umbrella was no regrets and my goals were all examples of situations I would normally formulate regret. Bind your goals to your resolution and it gives you a greater opportunity for success.

Rule 4: Mantras not Minutes

The break down of this is more for practical use. Your resolution should be no longer than three to five words. Crazy, right?!? Crazy good. Unlike your  goals, your resolution is supposed to carry over for the whole year. Thus, it should stick with you. Having a sentence that is three to five words long to cover your year makes it easy to remember. Your resolution is your mantra to be repeated to yourself over and over. It is not however meeting minutes rambling on with every detail you suspect is important.

i.e. (In 2017) I am determined and fearless. vs. I am determined and fearless to overcome any challenges that come my way as I embark on the opportunities that 2017 have to offer.

Need I explain more? The first option is short, can be clearly interpreted, and covers a theme of facing challenges – without explicitly saying so. Your resolution is for you. You don’t have to explain it to yourself. Make your resolution simple, memorable, and it will remain with you all year.

Rule 5: Think of it in terms of a year.

In my post, 5 rules for choosing a goal, I push for goals to have deadlines. Deadlines offer a direction and timing is important when working on specific goals. However, resolutions are not meant to have finality in the same sense. Goals need a finish, but resolutions are generally changes you hope to carry with you through life. Thinking of them in short-term timeframes isn’t as beneficial as thinking of them in over longer terms. Goals are a sprint, resolutions are a marathon.

i.e. Year of no regrets/ Year of being determined and fearless.

2012 was my year of no regrets and I still remind myself to make the choices I am drawn to even when I can’t predict the outcome. Earlier this year, I read Shonda Rhimes’, Year of Yes. In it, she talks about continuing passed her year mark. I’ve found thinking in terms of the year made me more likely to continue the process even after the “deadline” had passed. It’s a sneaky little trick, but it works and we’re all looking for something that works.

So there it is more or less. My Umbrella method for choosing a New Year Resolution. Results will vary according to your resolution and will, but otherwise you should be fine. A toast to meeting you on the other side of all we will accomplish in 2017 and to the methods that get us there.

Joy.