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December 2017
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A Slice of Orange


You Have My Permission

December 15, 2017 by in category Writing tagged as , , , , ,

Anyone who knows me knows that I love an adventure. Being asked to speak aboard a ship was definitely on my bucket list, so I jumped at the chance when I was asked to be an onboard lecturer. I prepared five talks that I thought were rather compelling: Peek Behind the Covers, a Look at Publishing, The Caribbean Influence on Popular Literature and Movies, The Five People You Should Meet in the Caribbean, How to Travel like an Author and Everyone has a Story: What’s Yours?.

Since I had sailed on this ship as a passenger, I knew the people coming to listen to me were well traveled, curious, intelligent and fun. On my speaking days, they gathered to hear me in the big theatre to watch my PowerPoint presentations and see me slide hither and yon on the dance floor when the sea got rough. At the end of each of my presentations, I asked if there were questions. There weren’t – at least not questions for public consumption. Instead, many in the audience came to speak to me privately. They wanted to talk about their own writing ambitions. There was a surgeon who wanted to write a children’s book, a woman in her nineties whose own children were asking that she write a memoir. There was a man who had written a business book a decade ago but he had always wanted to write a novel. And there was a composer who, as he listened to me, thought to combine lyrics and a story to create a unique novel.

After listening to every person who spoke to me after my lecture, or caught me on deck, or sat with me in the dining room it finally dawned on me what they were after. They wanted my permission to follow their dreams.

@Rebecca_Forster: You have my permission . . .follow your dreams.

Strangely, when it comes to fiction or memoir, many of us believe that our words are not as valuable as the next persons. We convince ourselves that writing with honesty and passion will somehow diminish us in the eyes of the world – or at least those we care about. We offer our writing up with caveats like ‘it is silly’, ‘you probably won’t like it’, and ‘promise not to laugh’.

I heard these things in the voices of the people on that ship, but when we were done talking I heard something else. I heard confidence. I heard the excitement. I heard their brains turning as they planned their books. By taking that first step – admitting they harbored dreams of authorship to someone who was already there – they had given themselves permission to write. When we all parted, I knew exactly where they were going. They were going home to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboards. They had taken more than a cruise, they had taken a journey and I have no doubt that by the end of that journey they will have written their book.

Give yourself permission to do whatever it is you dream of doing. If your dream is to write a book, do it with honesty and passion – and don’t forget to share it with the rest of us.


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H.O. Charles Featured Author

December 14, 2017 by in category Featured Author of the Month tagged as , ,

H. O. Charles Featured | A Slice of Orange


Author: H. O. Charles

H.O. Charles was born in Northern England, but now resides in a beige house in Suffolk.
Charles has spent many years at various academic institutions, and really ought to get on with writing a PhD, but frequently becomes distracted by writing fantasy fiction instead.
Hobbies include being in the sea, being by the sea and eating things that come out of the sea.


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The First…by @denisemcolby

December 12, 2017 by in category The Writing Journey tagged as , , ,

The First | Denise M. Colby | A Slice of Orange

The First…

Several words come to mind when I hear those words…

  • The First Noel.
  • The First Time in Forever.  Yes it’s a Frozen song.
  • And a few others I couldn’t quite remember the entire title.


We all know that Firsts are important. 


Babies have a first laugh, a first word, their first step, and so on.  Every stage of life has a first to it.  The first day of preschool.  The first day of high school.  The first day of college.

There’s always a first for everything.

The dictionary defines first as; coming before all others in time or order; earliest; 1st; never previously done or occurring.

It’s no wonder that as writers, we all have and celebrate our firsts too:

  • The first time we enter a contest
  • Submit our work for a critique
  • The first time we sign a contract
  • The first time we are published
@denisemcolby explains ... The Firsts

Even within our fictional manuscripts we have firsts:


  • When our hero and heroine first lay eyes on each other
  • Their first kiss (which is their last first kiss)
  • The first time they realize they love the other person.


And part of the fun of writing is to get it right (a whole subjective term, I know, but that’s for a different post).

So, in our first book, getting the first Chapter correct is necessary.  Writing the first paragraph in a way to grab readers is crucial.  And delivering well, the first line of the book, is essential.

  • Vital.
  • Imperative.

I think you get the idea.

Ther First Line Fridays | Denise M. Colby | A Slice of Orange

First Lines in books.


Now that I understand this in my writing journey, I’ve been tracking the first line in the books I read and study (thank you Leslie for the idea).  And let me say, it’s amazing how different these lines are.  Some start with dialogue, some start with action, and some start with an inner thought from the main character.

And they all start us on a mini adventure we are willing to sit and explore for hours.

Recently, my critique partner introduced me to her blog posts First Line Fridays, which are hosted by a blog called hoarding books.

The First | Denise M. Colby | A Slice of Orange

Authors and readers write their own post on their blog, then post a comment at  with a link to their posts.  The post includes the first line from whatever book is near them or they are reading. I’ve seen this as a Facebook challenge before, but not as a blog post.  It’s a great way to share books and authors with other readers, so I decided to join in the fray and post my first, First Line Fridays post this past Friday.

See how I did that?  It’s my first!  And I’m super excited about it.

If you’re so inclined to read it, you can check it out here.

And if you want to learn more about the hoarding books blog, you can go to


Happy Reading,


P.S. I googled ‘The First’ quotes and found a website that organizes quotes by topic.  There are a lot of quotes with the word first in them.  Go to  if your inclined to take a look.

Denise Colby |The Writing JourneyAlthough new to the writing fiction world, Denise Colby has over 20+ years experience in marketing, creating different forms of content and copy for promotional materials. Taking the lessons learned from creating her own author brand Denise M. Colby, Denise enjoys sharing her combined knowledge with other authors.

If you are interested in a marketing evaluation and would like help in developing a strategy for your author brand you can find out more here

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Royal Noel: This ain’t your mama’s Little Red Riding Hood by Jina Bacarr

December 11, 2017 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing

Royal Noel: a fairy tale romance with a twist from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

What if Little Riding Hood had other plans than going to Grandma’s house . . . like a castle with a handsome duke?

It’s Christmas and what could be more fun than a new Twisted Tiara story in my Princesses with a Past series for the Kindle Worlds Royals of Monterra.

ROYAL NOEL is a sweet romance fairy tale with a heroine with a past . . . she’s an international jewel thief called The Princess.

Had so much fun writing this with Gennie and her duke . . . and there’s a royal baby, too!

This is Book 4 in my Twisted Tiaras series featuring the Risconti Family in Sariah Wilson‘s Royals of Monterra KW series.

Royal Noel on Kindle and now Kindle Unlimited!


My princesses with a past in my Twister Tiaras series for the Royals of Monterra Kindle Worlds stories and how I got started writing them.

This month I have an “off script” interview I did re: how I started with The Royals of Monterra.

Jina’s Chat: How I started writing for the Royals of Monterra from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

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