Looking for Reviews?

All authors, especially those of us of the independent persuasion, understand the importance of reviews and building one’s platform. Readers are less likely to check out an unknown author whose work has zero reviews and ratings.

While just getting reviews are great, what if you could you could also be a part of an awesome community of authors, who all work to propel each other forward? It’s hard enough, stumbling through figuring out how to build your platform and promote your work.

Rave Reviews Book Club has been nothing but superb. It’s exactly that — a community of authors, all working together. I’ve connected with so many writers on Twitter, and not just as authors, but also making friends.

Definitely check it out! Tell ’em Allison Williford sent you. ūüôā

Blogger wanted!

I’m going to just put it out there:¬†I’m looking for a partner in crime. I mean…blogging buddy.

Most of my posts here on my personal blog bounce back and forth between writing and mental health. I’m hoping to separate the two — one for writing, one for mental health issues.

I’d like to keep my own personal blog for mental health, and team up with one or two other writers to start a blog geared¬†towards writing, grammar, book reviews, etc.

If you’re interested in teaming up, please leave me a comment or email me at allisonwilliford@icloud.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Dear Aspiring Authors

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle

To all aspiring authors out there:

You’ve got dreams, big dreams. Some days they seem so out of reach. But if there’s one thing I want you to not only promise me, but promise yourself:

Don’t give up on your dreams.

Stop calling yourself “aspiring” and just write. You are an author if you say you are.

That entire paragraph/scene/chapter you just deleted? It was good enough. Sure, maybe it needed a bit of tweaking, but it wasn’t as bad as you think. Stop being so hard on yourself; stop doubting your abilities.

I know it feels like you’ll never be good enough to write. Maybe you’ve been doubting yourself too much to finally write that novel that’s been brewing in the back of your mind for the last three years.¬†But believe me when I say we, as writers, all feel that way. We wonder if that novel we just finished should be in the trash bin instead, or maybe we should have written that one part differently. There will always be moments of doubt, but just remember: you are good enough.

You will always find ways to improve your craft, and you should always be looking for those ways to improve. Take a class, attend a workshop, join that critique group, find a writing buddy. We’re all in this together as writers.

So take that plunge and write that novel you’ve always wanted to write. Make time to write. Believe in yourself as a writer and know that you can do it. Besides, of all the people you know, how many can say they’ve written a novel?

Sincerely,
Your fellow author, Allison

Today’s post was inspired by this post on The Mighty!

Naming your characters

Hello_my_name_isSome writers are extremely picky when it comes to naming their babies…I mean…characters. They research name meanings and origins, and craft these exquisite, beautiful names.

I am not one of those writers.

To be honest, I’m kind of lazy when it comes to naming my characters. Don’t get me wrong, I do some research. But we’re talking a minuscule, micro amount of research like looking up what the most popular/common names were in the year I’ve chosen my character to be born. I usually Google the Top 50 names of that year, then pick one that I like the sound of. Then I look up common surnames for whatever area my story takes place in.¬†That’s it. That’s really all there is to naming my characters.

Scrivener has a nifty name generator feature, which I’ve been using more of since I got Scrivener not even a year ago. You can include or exclude whatever belonging to certain heritages or countries.

Scrivener, character, naming, characters, novel, book, ebook, author, writer, writing

I understand the process will be different if you’re writing genres such as Sci-fi and Fantasy. As far as when it comes to reading contemporary fiction, however, I’ve never really pondered why an author chose a certain name for their character. If it’s a name that’s obviously, overtly clever or meaningful to the character, I might give a small, “Oh. Ha. I get it” and move on. I’ve just yet to come across a character I remembered solely for their name. Characters are made memorable by being real, flawed people, not because they have a funny or clever name. The only, and I mean the only¬†character I have ever written just to have a stupid name is in Waiting for You. The girlfriend of Adam’s father is only named Suzuki so I could make a reference to the Suzuki method of learning music, which is the method I was taught when I was learning to play violin. But she’s only in one minor¬†scene.

Do you have a method for naming your characters? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Would you like to be featured?

Have a new book coming out that you’re trying to publicize? Want to talk about your work? I’m always on the lookout for fellow writers/authors to interview!

If you’d like to be featured on Ask the Author, send me an email at allisonwilliford@icloud.com or fill out the form on my Contact page. If you know somebody who’d like to be featured, send ’em my way!

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Where the madness happens and a note on hypomania.

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Yup. That’s right. This is where my madness I call “writing” happens. Also, I did some much overdue cleaning today. Dusting, vacuuming, tub-scrubbing, floor-scrubbing. I was also up at 11:30 last night cleaning my kitchen and making chicken salad, but that I guess that was just a bit of hypomania…anyway…

I do use an ergonomic-friendly laptop stand. I find that when I sit on the sofa with my laptop too often, my neck starts to get stiff from looking down at the screen. This helps keep my head up. This room has lots of natural light, which I love. I am a firm believer that getting plenty of sunshine is good for battling my illness.

A note on hypomania — after a visit with my psychiatrist, I am now going completely off my antidepressant, Wellbutrin, and doubling my dose of Saphris, an atypical antipsychotic. I’ve been heading towards full-blown mania, which would be majorly bad news if I went there. I’ve had to take another leave from work because of it, otherwise I would have gone ballistic on someone had they said the wrong thing to me. While some folks with bipolar disorder feel “good” in mania — overly excitable, happy, talkative — I get extremely agitated and very, very easily aggravated. I start sleeping less and have tons more energy. In the past, I’ve had grandiose delusions. This is the reality of my illness.

But thank goodness I have some of the best doctors. Thank goodness for ECT. Thank goodness for medication. My doctor is confident he can get me back to feeling well enough that I can go back to work, and I trust him completely.

Sometimes it can feel disheartening to have to take a medical leave from work for my bipolar disorder. It sort of makes me feel like my illness is winning. But I know it’s not. This isn’t a setback. I have an illness and it’s in no way my own fault. I like to listen to “Titanium” by Sia (although I have a cover by Madilyn Bailey on my computer) when I feel disheartened:

You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium

Hear it on Spotify!

Ask the Author! Featuring Brittney Sahin

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Welcome to the first in the series of Ask the Author! This month’s featured author is Brittney Sahin, indie author of romantic suspense. She hopes to have her first novel, Silenced Memories, released this year. You can check out her blog here!


  • What blurb would you like to see about yourself on a book cover?

I can write a novel–but this–no idea ūüôā

  • What’s your favorite genre to write? Favorite genre to read?

I like to write Romantic Suspense. I like to read suspense, romantic suspense, thrillers/mysteries, contemporary romance

  • Is there something that draws you to this genre?

I love to read about the development of a relationship between characters. I can read any genre as long as there is an element of romance involved. Although I read traditional romance too, I prefer another underlying story (suspense/thriller) weaved within the book.

  • What goals do you have as a writer?

To develop my skills as a writer, such as adding more literary elements to my work. I am also learning a lot about editing as I work on publishing my first book. Working on showing instead of telling (that is a big one).

  • Top three favorite books of all time: go!

Awe – that is like asking me to choose between mom and dad – hmmm … still thinking…

  • Print or ebook?

Ebook just because I tend to read a lot more this way!

  • When it comes to writing longer pieces, do you have a favorite method you use? Or do you like to hash it out and see where the story takes you?

I used to write and let the wind take me–now, I am plotting my books out from start to finish. Apparently this method works better for me–because I was never able to finish a novel with my old way of doing things!!

  • For writing: computer or longhand?

COMPUTER!

  • When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Wrote my first official story (almost an entire notebook) in third grade. I have been writing stories ever since. Always loved reading/writing.

  • If you could give one piece of advice¬†to aspiring writers, what would it be?

Don’t do it alone. Get help/feedback from others- and try not to let constructive criticism get to you.¬†

  • Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on currently?

My upcoming novel is a romantic suspense: Silenced Memories. The blurb from the book: 

Kate Adams has never found it difficult to keep a professional relationship with her clients . . . but then she’s never had a client like Michael Maddox. From the moment she arrived in Charlotte, Kate was tongue-tied by the devastatingly gorgeous former Special Forces Marine and intelligence and software genius turned multi-millionaire entrepreneur. Michael seems at first glance to be the perfect catch, except for one problem. He doesn’t do relationships. And Kate doesn’t do one-night stands.

But as the tension mounts between them, Kate discovers she has larger problems-an untrackable stalker . . . and a dangerous past. When Michael offers his protection, Kate is grateful, and yet afraid. For although Michael might save her life, he will surely break her heart.

  • Was there any specific inspiration behind the story?

I grew up in Charlotte, NC. I moved to the North when I was 16- but I recently moved back in October. I love this city & am so happy to be back- so I chose it as the main location for my current novel. 

  • When writing, do you have a target audience in mind?

I would say women over 18 (no age limit!). Although my book is both romance and suspense- the general assumption is that women are the target readers for romance.

  • What has been the most difficult part about this story so far? Easiest part?
Easiest: Writing the first draft

Hardest: Re-writing after getting my book back from the editor

  • Tell us about your protagonist.
Kate Adams is smart (Harvard MBA grad). She took over her stepmother’s event planning business at an early age & developed it into a multimillion dollar company by 27. She is headstrong, a bit stubborn–and always pulled together–until she returns to her place of birth (Charlotte) & meets the elusive Michael Maddox.

Michael Maddox is an ex-Marine (special forces). He retired from the Marines 5 years prior to meeting Kate. He became a successful and wealthy entrepreneur upon exit of the Marines, but he is heavily committed to helping veterans and launches a business initiative for veterans (which is how Michael and Kate meet- through planning an event for the business initiative).

  • What kind of research have you done for your story?

A lot of research on the military (with specific regards to the special forces division of the Marines). I try to make everything as authentic as possible. Whether I speak with the police, or do research with a designer (my female protag: an events planner) . . . I like to cover the details.

  • What are your hopes for your work?

I would like to have it published by the end of the summer. It is taking longer than I anticipated. I hope this is only the first of many more books to come.

  • Any last shoutouts or words of wisdom?

Follow your dreams because we only get one shot at life.


If you’d like to be featured, feel free to leave a comment!