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Writing Magazine Articles: Writing is writing, right?

April 12, 2019 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby, Writing tagged as , ,

Magazine articles may not be a full novel but I have found the process in writing smaller articles to stretch me in ways I didn’t expect.

The Need to Write Something

As a writer, it’s one thing to write down your thoughts, ideas and inspirations. It’s another to hand it over to someone who is going to take it and print it. Doesn’t matter if it’s a full-length novel or smaller articles.

I’ve always loved writing, and had many experiences in the corporate world creating pieces for our customers to use with their customers. But these were always product related and the specifics were crafted by a team of people.

To have something that I wrote from the beginning to completion on my own, is a completely different experience.

You never know where opportunities are going to come from. Because I need to find a way to generate an income if I want to write full-time, I thought to look into other areas. Last spring I happened upon a booth for a regional magazine and inquired about writing articles for them. She gave me the contact for the editor, I reached out and submitted some writing samples. She offered me a choice of some articles and in the July/August 2018 issue, my first two magazine articles were printed. Little did I realize they would be cover stories! 

Magazine cover articles written by Denise M. Colby for Westcoast Magazine July 2018

They even used a few of the pictures I submitted, which made it all very exciting!

Denise M. Colby receiving her white roses for writing magazine articles at the Orange County Council of Romance Writers of America September 2018

And then I received a precious rose!

See, in our Orange County Chapter of RWA, roses are awarded for publishing. Different color roses represent different types of works. Novels are Red, and so on. For articles they are white. I have been watching for YEARS, waiting for the day I would receive a rose, so it was so meaningful to receive roses for these two articles plus one more for the next issue.

Three white roses for three magazine articles - Denise M. Colby

Each time a new issue publishes, I’ve been asked to write for the next issue (picking from a list already decided upon by the editor). It’s been great writing experience writing different types of topics. I feel my writing is growing stronger. I’m gaining experience in working with an editor, meeting deadlines, submitting and the concept of letting go (which we all know is difficult to do).

Three of the articles are part of their digital library on their website.

July/August 2018 – Adventure Awaits on Route 66 and Homeward Bound

Celebrating Milestone Events written by Denise M. Colby for WestCoast Magazine September 2018
Celebrating Milestone Events by Denise M. Colby, September/October 2018 issue.

Jan/Feb 2019 – Safety Tips for Your Family – Kids and Tech

Other articles include:

September/October 2018 – Celebrating Milestone Events

March/April 2019 – Finding New Ways, to Thrive Follow Your Passion Now which is the Current issue online.

And printing in the May/June 2019 issue: Women Learn to Brag…you can’t be modest in business.

So today I’m celebrating a few publishing milestones. It’s been a blessing to write these articles and gain this experience. It’s fun to look back and see how far I’ve come. I’d love for you to join in the celebrating with me.

Thanks for reading,


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Rebranding…The Production Schedule

March 5, 2019 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , , ,
Author typing on an old typewriter | Tracy Read | A Slice of Orange

This is where the rubber meets the road.  The Production Schedule can be a scary thing. It’s where you set your money plan for the up coming year. It’s one thing to say you’re going to do something insane like write a title a month.  It’s another thing to actually do it. Oh man, I just had a flash back to 2016.

There’s a scripture that says to write the vision and make it plain, for in due time it will come to pass. It might feel like it’s slow, but it will happen. I did a little paraphrasing [Habbkkuk 2:2-3], but it’s true.

When we write things down, we give them life.  When you put those words on an 11” x 17” piece of paper and post it on your office wall where you see it every day, it becomes your silent assistant, constantly reminding you of the tasks at hand.

I have been using a production schedule for a few years.  The last two years, I sort of ignored it, which meant, I had subconsciously decided not to make that much money. Insert gasp and call me a bad writer. I know why I ignored the schedule on 2017, I was exhausted from 2016. But last year, I haven’t got a clue what happened nor a justifiable reason. I started the year with these grand plans of writing four books, possibly doing a couple of short stories and creating another boxset.

Last year saw me publish one fiction book and one non-fiction book. I did however, write another book which I held until after I attended RAM. I figured I’d use what I learned to release it. That was before I realized I needed to clean up a few things before I could release anything.

So here I am sixty-four days into a new year and I’ve yet to release a book. According to my production schedule, I should have released all of my new covers. There’s been a little hitch in my plan. This rebrand has taken a little longer than I thought. Rebranding is sort of like redecorating. You start out thinking a fresh coat of paint is all you need and then you realize the sofa looks horrible, even though you matched the paint against before you attacked the walls. So now it needs to be recovered. Now the carpet and drapes don’t work. Before you know it, you’re knocking down walls, ditching the carpet for hardwood floors, changing the light fixtures and buying a new sofa.

So when I changed the covers, I had to update the blurbs. When I started loading the covers to the website, they didn’t fit. The wall had to come down . . . a new website . . . a new logo . . . new color scheme. This December I will celebrate five years as a published author and so far, instead of doing special celebrations, I’m in the middle of a major remodel. Oh yeah, and I have a few books I need to write so I can make some money.

In January, Skye Warren published an explosive mini course on RWA which was a game changer for me. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. It was scary, but it was also very enlightening. It forced me to look at my writing career differently as if RAM hadn’t already got my juices flowing. I did the assignments and started a new production schedule. I saw things a little differently. I didn’t realize, I had as many titles sitting around waiting to be shared.

I had decided I was going to put four titles out this year, but it was looking a little bleak while rebranding. But I when I looked at my catalog, I discovered four boxsets. I could easily call it a done deal, but I look at these titles as four unexpected new revenue streams. I attacked my Production Schedule and now it wasn’t as scary. Instead I saw the potential to make money. I haven’t released anything yet, because I’ve been busy redecorating, but the new titles are on my website as coming soon. If I stay focused, before the end of the month, I’ll start releasing titles and sharing the new covers to all the selling platforms. The new website and newsletter design will be live as well.

So here’s a peak at my production schedule.


Release New Covers

  • The Good Girl Duet
  • Miss Match
  • The Fix Up
  • The Night I Fell In Love
  • First Encounters Of Love Box Set
  • A Southern Gentleman Vol One

New Website

New Newsletter Design


  • A Southern Gentleman Vol 2


  • Secret Love Box Set


  • Loving Her Box Set


  • First Love Box Set 


  • The Good Girl Part Trois 


  • Miss Match Part Two

I’m going on vacation . . . this isn’t a title.


  • Unexpected Love Part Two


  • Real Love Box Set


  • Special Anniversary Title

I know it looks a little insane and almost as nutty as my book a month project. Keep in mind, most of these things are written or down. This is more less a proposed release schedule. Once I complete the website, all I have to do is load the files to Vellum for the box sets. I’m cleaning up A Southern Gentleman Vol 2. The other three books on my schedule are in my head and waiting to be written. There’s something I want to try with those . . . I’ll let you know if my plan works.

I almost forgot, here’s another set of covers. If you’re counting, you’re correct, I have only shared six. I’m holding the seventh, A Southern Gentleman because it’s part of the launch for A Southern Gentleman Vol 2.

Have a great month and write a lot.

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Dear Extra Squeeze Team: Can I Publish with Amazon and Submit That Same Book to a Traditional Publisher?

January 31, 2018 by in category The Extra Squeeze by The Extra Squeeze Team tagged as , , ,
Dear Extra Squeeze Team | A Slice of Orange

Dear Extra Squeeze Team: I asked a published writer if one could publish with Amazon and submit that same book to a traditional publisher.

She said, “Yes, and if your book is accepted for publication, you then take it off Amazon.”

I’ve wondered if this is true. Can an Indie writer do this?

[tweetshare tweet=”Dear Extra Squeeze Team: Can I Publish with Amazon and Submit That Same Book to a Traditional Publisher?” username=”A_SliceofOrange”]

Rebecca Forster | Extra Squeeze

Rebecca Forster 

USA Today Bestselling author of 35 books, including the Witness series and the new Finn O’Brien series.

Love the question. Here’s the answer. An indie author can do anything she darn well pleases.


Now ask the really important question: should she do it?

When I first started writing, I was rather impatient. Against the ‘rules’ I submitted to editors and agents simultaneously. My thinking was this: if an editor replied an agent would love to take me on because the hard work was done and if an agent replied first they would be happy to follow up with an editor who already had the manuscript. It all worked out fine. I sold my first book without an agent, got picked up by an agent because I had a deal, and life went on without a backlash or wrist slap. The strategy was mutually agreeable because the same book was being pitched and would benefit everyone on the food chain. Fast forward. Traditional publishers are now trolling the Internet for books that are doing well, they are signing hybrid deals and they are more open to creative publishing than ever before. However, if you break it down it looks like this.

1) A hybrid deal is not made for the same book but for unique material for each platform (i.e. one series for the traditional publisher and another for indie publication).


2) When a publisher picks up a successful digital book, the rights then are sold to the publisher and the author is no longer both an indie and traditional author. The indie books catch a traditional publisher’s eye earn their way into those deals by having great reviews and sales.


Therefore, if you have published your book on Amazon and submitted it to a traditional house you have put yourself in a risky position. The first thing an editor will do is look to see how many reviews you have and what the sales rank of the book is. If you have few reviews – and worse, bad reviews – and a sales rank in the high six figures your query will go into the round file.

My advice would be to determine your goals. Do you want to gain author cred by being published traditionally, or do you want creative freedom and a good chance of making decent money off your writing? Decide that before you actually do anything.

So, can you simultaneously publish and pitch? Sure you can. Would I do it? Nope. Traditional publishers have too much information at their fingertips. If you publish that book and the results are lackluster there is no incentive to pick you up.

I say set goals, create content appropriate for each opportunity and follow a focused plan to get the notice you want.

Robin Blakely | The Extra Squeeze Team | A Slice of Orange

Robin Blakely

PR/Business Development coach for writers and artists; CEO, Creative Center of America; member, Forbes Coaches Council.

The published author has correctly answered your question, but only from a literal standpoint.

The issue is more complicated than it appears. The published author answered a simple question simply… without fully explaining the deeper details that need to be understood. You probably wondered if it could possibly be true because it seems too easy. Your intuition is correct that there is more to it, and it is good that you are questioning the information to find out more.

From my perspective, the real rabbit hole in this scenario is about the transparent status of the book BEFORE you offer to sell it to the publisher, not the issue of what to do with the work AFTER a publisher has agreed to purchase it. The publisher, the buyer of your created content, needs to be fully aware of your product’s real status in the marketplace when considering your work. It’s kind of like the notion that you have the right to know if the shiny car you are buying is new, used, or something in-between, like never driven, but hail-damaged.  If your work is or has been for sale on Amazon, that is information that the traditional publisher has the right to know when the work is being considered by that publishing house.

There is no harm, no foul in asking what is required here or what is possible. Publishing is a mysterious business sometimes and it is hard to know what the rules are. In any business world the best practice is to shine a bright light on whatever seems unclear.  I think that the question you really may be asking—or should be asking—is this: “If I decide to submit my book to a traditional publisher, do I have to tell the publisher that the book is already available online under my own name, or under a pen name, or under a different title?”  The answer is “Yes.”

Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange

Jenny Jensen

Developmental editor who has worked for twenty plus years with new and established authors of both fiction and non-fiction, traditional and indie.


There is one fixed rule about today’s publishing industry: the rules are always changing. You can count on that. Not that many years ago an author who submitted their work to two different publishers at the same time had committed an unredeemable faux pas. Simultaneous submission, or double submission, was enough to get an author blackballed. This query sounds a bit like making a simultaneous submission, but the rules have changed, the playing field is radically different.


Publishers no longer hold all the power. Anyone can offer their work on Amazon, Nook, Smashwords. If your book has a compelling premise, is well written, well edited, well formatted, well designed, and well marketed, then you have a product that could catch the eye of a traditional publisher. It’s happened before.


Amanda Hocking, Louise Voss, J. Carson Black are examples. The strength of their writing propelled their independently published books to No. 1 sellers, which caught the attention of traditional publishers who then offered these writers deals to publish future work. In the case of Louise Voss her successful indie book Catch Your Death was also reprinted and redistributed traditionally. That’s the only example I know of where a traditional publisher re-released an indie success. You can look at it as Voss’s indie serving as an audition that won her a traditional book contract.


If an author publishes their own work and then submits that same work to a Random House type imprint I don’t see where that is against the rules that are ever changing. I would suggest that they be up front about the indie offer. And it would be smart to hold off seeking a traditional publisher until the indie book has garnered a sales record and favorable reviews. A measure of success with an indie book not only showcases the writer’s talents but also their marketability.

H. O. Charles | A Slice of Orange

H.O. Charles

Cover designer and author of the fantasy series, The Fireblade Array

Yes, you can submit your book to a publisher even if it is already on sale on Amazon. It is up to you how you negotiate the terms of the deal they offer (if they offer one). Some writers keep their existing back catalogue self-published, but only give the publisher the rights to sell later books. I understand that is what fantasy author Daniel Dalglish did with Orbit. There is another thing to consider, however, and that is your book may appear less attractive to a publisher if it has already been published, but either doesn’t sell well/is not well-received, or is already too widely distributed and they feel they cannot make money from it. If you’re someone like E.L. James, however, that’s not as much of a problem!



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Do you have a writing or publishing question?

Send them to the Extra Squeeze Team!


Ever wonder what industry professionals think about the issues that can really impact our careers? Each month The Extra Squeeze features a fresh topic related to books and publishing.

Amazon mover and shaker Rebecca Forster and her handpicked team of book professionals offer frank responses from the POV of each of their specialties — Writing, Editing, PR/Biz Development, and Cover Design.

We're Taking Questions | A Slice of Orange

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Happy Writing Anniversary and Happy Holidays by @readtracyread

December 5, 2017 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , ,

Happy Writing Anniversary | Tracy Reed | A Slice of Orange

Happy Writing Anniversary and Happy Holidays


I’m going to keep this short and sweet because, I know you are probably swamped with holiday preparations and those end of year releases. Congratulations to everyone and their releases this year and the many that will be born next year. The gift of writing is an amazing blessing and one we should never take for granted, but honored to share.

Last year, I took on a huge project, 12 Titles in 12 Months. The reality was, it was thirteen titles. I often forget about one of the books, because it’s not available to the public, because I use it for my lingerie business.

To this day, I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking taking on such a huge project. Trust me it wasn’t for vanity. However, there was a book I really wanted to include in the challenge but it just didn’t happen…DESPERATE DESIRE. Cori, I refer to my books by the heroine’s name. It’s like men with their cars. I think it makes them seem more real.

So, Cori’s story is the third installment in the Generational Curse series.  It was my intention to share her story this month, on the anniversary of her sister Kyla’s story, Generational Curse, but life happened.  I heard someone say, if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plan.

Once I got over the disappointment of my plan not coming to fruition, I pushed the release date back a month.  The push back was very necessary, because I needed to make a few changes. I write books that have a faith message and/or Christians struggling with their walk.  Cori and her husband are Christians, however he’s having an affair and she’s contemplating doing like wise.  As if that wasn’t tragic enough, I gave her a few vices, erotica, weed and expensive whiskey.  So when I looked at the original cover, it didn’t work.

I got the original cover image for this book a few years ago.  No, that’s not a typo.  I originally bought the image when I was shopping for images for book one…Generational Curse.  I wanted a consistent look with the series and the original was nice.  I ran it through a series of changes in Photoshop and it was done.  Then something happened, I was working on the website for my other business and found myself with an image I could no longer use.  I didn’t want to just cast the image to the side, but thought it would make a nice cover.  I did a little tweaking and when I finished, I knew that was the image for Desperate Desire.

Although this book is part of a series, it has the personality of a stand alone.  The original cover was similar to it’s predecessor, however, the new one really spoke of the heroine’s personality and her journey to discovering love.  Next month I’ll do the cover reveal and share more of Cori’s story.

So as I prepare to celebrate the holidays, I’m also celebrating the third anniversary of my first book, GENERATIONAL CURSE and preparing to release my nineteenth title.  Wow…now ain’t that something.

Happy Holidays

Tracy Reed

Tracy Reed

A California native, novelist Tracy Reed pushes the boundaries of her Christian foundation with her sometimes racy and often fiery tales.

After years of living in the Big Apple, this self proclaimed New Yorker draws from the city’s imagination, intrigue, and inspiration to cultivate characters and plot lines who breathe life to the words on every page.

Tracy’s passion for beautiful fashion and beautiful men direct her vivid creative power towards not only novels, but short stories, poetry, and podcasts. With something for every attention span.

Tracy Reed’s ability to capture an audience is unmatched. Her body of work has been described as a host of stimulating adventures and invigorating expression.








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Software Programs for Writers by Connie Vines

December 13, 2015 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , ,
I was reading my friend, Beverly Bateman’s, blog topic titled Writers Software Programs (Blogging with Beverly on Blog.spot) when I realized this  topic was of interest to me and most likely other novelists too.
I also began to wonder exactly how many programs I used when writing, plotting my novels, balancing the reading levels for my YA stories, etc.   I feel the content would be of interest to writer, readers, and those who man be looking for a program help them make it through the rigors of an AP, university level, or an extension class.

My go-to program is Power Structure purchased via Write-Brain.com.  Since I work in segments: Chapter 1 – 3, etc. rather than scene-by-scene or chapter-by-chapter, this program is adaptable to my thought process.  I am able to work in three Acts, Chapters, Scenes, or any structure model of preference.

Conflict, Subplot, plot point. You can also change almost any term used in Power Structure to suit your personal preference.  Long ago attended a class held at OCC using a writer’s workbook written by Chris Vogler, a Hollywood screen writer, who uses Joseph Campbell’s “A Hero’s Journey” as a plotting bible.  Since I have followed Joseph Campbell’s works and find the “A Hero’s Journey” the best way for me to write a story.

Beverly also mentioned Dramatica Pro.  Pricey, yes.  I believe for characterization, especially for detailed historical novels, or when writing a continuing series, this program was a good investment.

This program also allows you to work on levels for character development. If you so wish, you may print a StoryGuide at each stage of development.  This program also has a number of templates to choose from, e.g., screenplay, novel, short story.  Each comes with an appropriate number of archetypal characters already created, ensuring that each character has a clear dramatic function in the story.

A Plot Progression Window allows me to examine where to place a pivotal point.  There is also a Spin-the-Model Brainstorming option.  This helps when, heaven forbid, I have writer’s block–and much, much less painful than pounding my forehead on mt desk until my muse comes up with a plan.

On my iPad I have several program: My Writing (which I seldom open), A Novel Idea (where I have grains of thoughts/names of future novels) this takes the place of scribbles from my lip liner on discarded pieces of paper I’d find in the depths of my tote bag. I Do Notepad I Do Notepad Pro that I will use but it have a devil of a time retrieving what I have saved.

The Journal app is good for free-flowing thought/plotting etc.  and also for using as a writer’s journal.  You can create labels, change the font and even add a background picture.  This is where I many place the notes from my character interviews. 

Of course, every writer has his or her personal method of developing a story. 
If you have software programs that you cannot live without, please post a comment.  I’d love to hear the details!
Happy Writing,
Connie Vines

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