Becoming a first-time published author is “the best feeling there is in the world”

Fantasy author Kat Frost

If the name Kat Frost sounds familiar, it’s because this young fantasy author, known around here for her tenacity, has been making headlines on this blog for quite some time.

And guess what? She’s now published her first book, Mastermind—through my “Total Published Author” program—and couldn’t be more thrilled about it.

Although this 2017 release is the first of many (she’s already hard at work on another), there’s just something about seeing your work in print for the first time.

At what point did Kat feel the biggest sense of accomplishment?

“That moment when I held the physical book in my hands,” she reflects. “My cover choice. My title invention. My name on the front. The words inside all ones I’d labored over and spent uncounted hours birthing into the world and shaping into the best novel I had the ability to make it. Actually holding it, flipping through and reading the words I’d read a thousand times—my words—is the best feeling there is in the world.”

Mastermind is the story of Alex, a twelve-year-old girl who wakes up in a strange place after being knocked unconscious in a horseback-riding accident. There she encounters a mysterious Phoenix, who tells her about three worlds that are in dire need of her help, and soon embarks on the adventure of a lifetime, waging battle against a slew of fierce enemies while slowly fading into a ghost—in a race against time to save these worlds and get back home.

It’s an intriguing premise. And as you read the novel, it’s clear that Kat’s passion for writing—her enthusiasm for the craft—adds an extra layer of excitement to this epic adventure.

Of course, there’s also the excitement of publishing for the first time, a feeling that won’t be wearing off anytime soon.

“I still can’t get over it,” she says. “It’s still every bit as surreal and wondrous and impossible as ever, every time I hold it.”

Mastermind is available on Amazon in print and Kindle formats. Find out more about Kat Frost on her blog and on her ChapterBuzz page.

And stay tuned for the next installment when Kat explains her process for writing novels!

As always: please like, comment, & share!

For award-winning writer Dacia Arnold, there’s no place like home

Author Dacia Arnold

Dacia Arnold describes herself as “an annoyingly chipper morning person.”

That’s why, in the pre-dawn darkness, you’ll find this award-winning novelist cozied up in her living-room writing nook—right in front of a large window—putting pen to paper.

The window is slightly ajar, and the sound of a rushing creek drifts in. With the first rays of light across the Colorado sky, cottonwood and aspen trees come into view. It is against this backdrop, steaming coffee mug in hand, that Dacia invents her worlds.

Other times, she just zones out.

Sometimes, I do not even write. Sometimes I hold my coffee with two hands, lean carefully back in my soft but unstable chair and I muse. I let my mind step out of the window and float amongst the leaves of the trees, fall to the water and chase the rapids between rocks. I think of other places and who I would find there. I put them in situations and create their reactions. I allow myself to feel emotions that belong to others and make note of their progression.

Despite being Busy with a Capital B, Dacia’s love of writing—and the hope that one day it will become her full-time profession—compelled her to participate in our 10,000-word writing challenge during the month of March.

She buckled down, worked hard, and got it done.


“I have an insatiable need to be home with my children. I work and miss them so much, it drives me to write more so that one day I might be able to stay home.” —Dacia Arnold


And that hard work paid off. For her novel-in-progress, Apparent Power, Dacia was the recipient of our “Most Buzz” Award.

Meaning she’s got a lot of fans.

And for good reason: Apparent Power is a fast-paced, epic, post-apocalyptic thriller, and is currently at #2 (2!) on the ChapterBuzz charts.

Not that she lets any of her success go to her head. There’s simply no time.

Between her day job, spending time with her family, and blogging regularly, it’s amazing she’s making any progress on her novel at all.

Coffee plays an integral role, though. “It brings me from the fog of sleep into the world that I have created on the screen,” she says. “Sometimes the two intertwine in my dreams, other times I require the liquid motivation to bring me back to the place where it started.”

Whatever you’re doing, Dacia, keep doing it, because it’s working. Congratulations!

Support Dacia’s writing journey

How best to support Dacia in spreading the word about Apparent Power?

Head on over to her ChapterBuzz page, and share it using the social sharing icons!

Or settle in for a good read, and start “buzzing” her chapters as you read them. This will get her book poppin’, and hopefully propel her to the #1 spot on the charts!

An award-winning writer tells all: “These paragraphs have made me fall in love with writing the book”

Author Liberty Henwick

Congratulations to Liberty Henwick! This talented crime novelist won the “Fan Favorite” award for her story-in-progress, P.S., during March’s 10,000-word writing challenge on ChapterBuzz.

Here she is to tell us how she does it!


Want feedback on your story? That’s what ChapterBuzz is for! Your readers can tell you what they think, allowing you to craft the perfect novel.


P.S. is the story of magazine journalist Jennifer Pendergast, who inadvertently uncovers a crime ring in Johannesburg that leads her into a dangerous poaching arena. As she follows the trail, she realizes that everything she loves will be at stake—and fights hard not to become a victim herself.

Here’s how P.S. starts out:

Jennifer Pendergast had twenty-two pairs of heels—one pair of shoes for each working day of the month plus two extra. And twenty-two different lipstick shades—which she picked not according to their colour but only if they had interesting names. It was her Granny who had taught her to believe she was undressed if she left the house without at least her lipstick on. Besides, she wished to draw attention to her mouth and away from her hair which was red and unruly with curls. In order to tame them she cropped them below her ears, however, she also hated her freckles, and ignored her dark green eyes, but actually she was beautiful, she just didn’t know it.

She carefully applied the shade “Tainted Love,” which was a dusty rose pink and wriggled her toes in the nude strappy wedges she’d picked for today before grabbing her handbag and A4 leather work folder. She was late already for work. Lucille was coming in to clean today and Jenni had spent some time writing out a note of tasks for her. Why was it she always missed the spider webs? Jenni shivered, probably enough of them in there to stop a Boeing by now.

The first paragraph really pulls you in. Did you plan the entire story from the start? Do you know exactly where it’s going as you write?

Because these paragraphs sprang seemingly unbidden from my imagination, it has amazed me how the story has taken on a life of its own from the few seeds that were planted right from the start. This has made me acknowledge how much a writer is not only a creator of ideas, but also a conduit for ideas that come from beyond ourselves. The stories I write are seldom fully known to me before they are written. The final product is often a mysterious and delightful surprise.

I’ll take that as a no—it sounds like you wing it a little—but does that make it hard to focus, or stay motivated?

Through building on those words I am also aware how much work is involved in crafting and honing in order to create something so much greater than a mere beginning. In essence, these paragraphs have made me fall in love with writing the book, and have formed the bedrock of the motivation that is required to keep pushing forwards to claim the goal and prize of completing the book.

What do you like most about this intro?

Really, they take that “pride of place” because they are the first paragraphs of the first novel I’ve written. These chapters have been a gift to me and I can’t adequately express how grateful I am for that.

I like how you immediately introduce us to Jenni—quirks, insecurities, and all. You also throw in some of her vulnerabilities, which makes us like her from the very start. Were these aspects planned or more accidental?

Accidental, in that they arrived in spite of me. Her family, dog, and social conscience are her vulnerabilities and these are featured straight away. Also, links to the antagonist are subtly presented right in the beginning, though these are not clear at this early stage.

It sounds like even you might not know how the story will end!

I have a plan of how the story will develop and end but I won’t be surprised if that changes along the way. I have to finish the book though because more than anything, I have to see how Jenni triumphs. When she does, then so will I, in having completed my first novel!

***

Well, we’re all confident that it will end just as intriguingly as it began. Thanks and congratulations, Liberty, on a job well done!

Read Liberty’s novel-in-progress, and start your own while you’re at it. The feedback you receive (and give to others) is incredibly valuable!

Want to publish a book? I’ll guide you step-by-step

Quick: You’re self-publishing a book. What’s the very first thing you do?

If you’re stumped, you’re not alone. And a Google search will only make matters worse—all the top results are different companies offering pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle that don’t even seem to fit together.

It can be overwhelming! I was certainly overwhelmed when I started in this industry.

But it doesn’t have to be difficult, either.

Over the years, I’ve fine-tuned a very simple but powerful 7-step system that makes self-publishing a book a lot easier.

As you can imagine, becoming a first-time published author is a powerful life experience. Running your hand over that beautiful, textured cover—with your name on it—and flipping through the crisp pages—filled with words you wrote—is a feeling of accomplishment that you’ll never forget for as long as you live.

And guess what? If you’re anywhere near finishing your first draft, this is all within reach.

That’s why I created my latest online course, “From Laptop to Bookstore: How to Publish a Beautiful Book to Amazon—in 7 Simple Steps!”

My advice: don’t try to blindly stumble through the self-publishing process, because mistakes can be costly, both in terms of money and time. I’ll tell you where to start, what to do next, and how to finish it all within about 90 days.

I’ve even created a Quick Start Guide—to help you move forward quickly on your publishing dreams—that you can download for free right here.

Even if you’re not quite ready to publish now, you’ll get a lot out of this, because you’ll have access to the course for a full year.

Check out my free publishing guide!

Fantasy author Kat Frost: This scene makes me “feel like smiling and crying all at once”

Fantasy author Kat Frost

Sajia Tiet’fa would give anything to die. She is an Eternal, cursed to come back to life each time she dies. Eternals are forced to fight battles not their own, and die over and over again until their minds snap; no one survives a hundred deaths.

Sajia is given a last chance to prove herself. Soon, she is leaping from death to death, closer each time to that fateful one hundred, caught up in a whirlwind centered around one man she can’t seem to get away from—even if she wanted to. Sajia embarks on an epic mission to change the course of the future, but the price might be too high. Just how much is she willing to sacrifice?

That’s the thrilling premise of Kat Frost’s latest fantasy novel, Born to Die. After making over 40,000 words’ worth of progress (yes, that’s forty thousand) during March’s ChapterBuzz 10K Word Count Challenge, it won’t be long before Kat is ready to add another published book to her repertoire.

Read on to find out why Kat’s favorite scene in her story so far is this one:


Kiernan stood up and faced me, holding out a hand.

I was an Eternal, a warrior. This wasn’t a warrior thing to do. No. I was Sajia Tiet’fa. What do you want, Sajia?

I took his hand as the violins introduced a new song, and he guided me onto the dance floor.

“Just follow my lead.” He smiled down at me, and the reason we were here faded from my mind. Left, right, back, twirl, catch his hand. The rhythm sang in my blood. He was right—this was easy. My feet floated over the floor, and I caught myself thinking: I could stay like this forever. The music soared and I spun and spun.

“Don’t fly away,” Kiernan chuckled, catching my hand and pulling me back into his arms. I laughed with delight. I’d never felt so happy ever before. “Saj…” His eyes were startled, and he hesitated slightly in the dance. “When you laugh…your smile…” I’d never seen him lost for words. “You’re beautiful,” he whispered, tightening his hand on mine.

I looked up into his face, breathless; stunned. I started to say something—but didn’t know what—forgetting to dance. This moment was magic, and the world froze for it. “I—” I began, but was interrupted by the big bell chiming over Varmouth. Midnight. The spell shattered.

We separated, loss tugging at my heart. We had a crown to steal and a world to save, but I wanted to keep dancing forever.

In Kat’s own words:

I love this scene because it’s both so happy and sad at the same time. She’s discovering love, happiness, who she truly is deep down and not what they’ve made her to be, and beginning to find a reason to live. But at the same time, she’s died 97 times and she knows that it’s only a matter of time before she loses it all. This scene gets me every time, and I feel like smiling and crying all at once.

We’re looking forward to seeing this book in print! For now, be sure to read it as it evolves in real time on Kat’s ChapterBuzz page.

Author Interview: Fiona Una, master fantasy writer

Author Fiona Una brought it in March when she participated in the ChapterBuzz 10K Word Count Challenge with her current novel-in-progress, Nightingale: Section 1 of the Grimoire.

Tasked with writing 10,000 words that month, she decided that producing over 13,000 would be much better, and ended up carving out quite a chunk of her novel. So far she’s shared the first chapter publicly, but we’re looking forward to reading the rest very soon.

I was curious about her project, so I asked her a few questions.

Fiona, can you tell us briefly what Nightingale is about?

Rogue is just an honest thief. Seryna is the Prince’s daughter carrying a heavy burden. Together they agree to help each other out in an encounter that should have let them part ways. But fate disagreed, and suddenly Seryna and Rogue find themselves on an unplanned adventure that will, in time, lead them to the purpose they had both desperately sought.

From what you’ve written so far, what’s your favorite passage?

I love this passage because instead of Rogue deciding to help Seryna because of destiny and fate or whatever, it alarms her more that the girl is in a tavern drinking. You can almost sense that Rogue feels responsible for Seryna, which is why she didn’t really argue about helping her. Then later on in the tunnel, she reminds me of a mother who has been asked to pick their child up from school early because of misbehavior.


“When you say ‘conscripted,’ I’m guessing it isn’t the type where I can just disappear for a few days and then go home.”

“You can either assist Seryna with her goal, or you can be conscripted into a lifetime of service under my leadership.”

“And why do you care about Seryna?”

“She will unite a cause that we desperately need, but she will fail without you.”

“I tried to tell her that going to the Mountain was dangerous–”

“Getting to the Mountain will be a trial on its own,” Vallonya said, “So you’d best hurry up and meet her before she gets any further.”

“So where is she?”

“Where you last left her. She’s quite taken with the tavern actually.”

“Please tell me that doesn’t mean what I think it does.”

Vallonya smirked, “Good luck.”

And that was how Rogue found herself stuck in a tunnel again, cursing and swearing for the entire two-hour journey, whilst marvelling about her ability to get back into the jeweller’s passage.

Lirionport was a small town on the coast, much further down the Vexvoid Mountains, and was originally built by fishermen who recognized the value of fishing on the Lirion Expanse. It reeked of seaweed and fish, but it was generally a friendly town, mostly populated by humans, but occasionally you would see the odd elf or even on rare occasions, dwarf, trying to start a life by picking up work when they could find it.

Be sure to check out Nightingale, Fiona’s story-in-progress!

#1 on ChapterBuzz this week: “Jungle” by Steve Boseley

Author Steve Boseley

People are going wild for Jungle, a novel by Steve Boseley, over at ChapterBuzz!

It’s a story about two children who purchase an ancient book—itself called Jungle—that allows them to sample life in the rainforest without leaving their bedroom.

What a creative premise, I thought as I started reading, and soon I was wrapped up in a riveting tale that’s not just compelling, but also well written. Steve Boseley masterfully sets the stage for what promises to be a grand adventure, keeping the reader constantly in suspense as the kids’ book slowly reveals its magical power.

I’m hooked.

Have a good read and help Steve keep his #1 spot! At ChapterBuzz, the simple act of reading is what makes a book popular.

Congrats, Steve!