Posts Tagged ‘Illegally Innocent’

I am currently accepting submissions for my fourth annual “Reader Issue” writing contest! Today through October 31, 2015, I want you to send me something you’ve written, and I—along with two other judges—will pick three winners. Each of the three winners will have his or her winning submission published in my January 2016 e-newsletter (the “Reader Issue”) and will receive a $25 Amazon.com gift card and a paperback copy of a book (the list of books to choose from will be at the end of this post). I look forward to reading your entry and will notify the winners by email on or before January 1, 2016. Check out the rules below:

1. I will accept submissions August 1 through October 31, 2015. If you submit something after that date, it is not a valid submission and will not be considered for the contest. I will accept poems, short stories, creative nonfiction pieces, and articles. Whichever category you choose, your submission must be no longer than 4,000 words.

2. Whether you are five years old or 105, you are welcome to submit a piece for this contest. There are no age limits. Each person may submit up to two pieces (each individual piece can be up to 4,000 words).

3. If you were one of the winners who appeared in the January 2015 newsletter, you must take a year off. However, if you were one of the winners the first two years of the contest (meaning that your winning piece appeared in the January 2013 or 2014 newsletter), you are eligible to enter the contest again this year.

4. When you submit your piece, please send it to angela@angelabaconbooks.com. In the subject of your email, put “Reader Issue.” In the body of the email, list your name; home (or mailing) address; email address; phone number; and the title and category of your work (article, poem, short story, or creative nonfiction) and then provide the work as an attachment. Before you email me your piece, consider the following:

A. Check the overall grammar and sentence structure of your submission.

B. Did you follow directions regarding how to submit your piece—including your name, address, etc. in the body of the email?

C. Is your submission 4,000 words or fewer?

D. Is your submission appropriate? If you would rate it worse than PG, there is a strong possibility that much of my e-newsletter audience (which covers a wide range of ages and belief systems) will be offended, and I most likely will not print it.

E. Is it well-written? Did you spend a significant amount of time on it, or did you just throw it together in a few minutes?

F. Entertainment value—I am looking for something that holds my interest and will make me want to keep reading after the first page; or in the case of a shorter piece, it will make me want to keep reading after the first few lines.

Here is the list of books you can choose from:

1. Illegally Innocent (my book)

2. The Fine Print of Self-Publishing by Mark Levine

3. Guerrilla Marketing for Writers by Jay Conrad Levinson, Rick Frishman, Michael Larsen, and David L. Hancock

4. Get Known Before the Book Deal by Christina Katz

5. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Have any questions? Ask them in the comments below or email me at angela@angelabaconbooks.com, and I will gladly answer them. If you’d like to subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter, please visit the homepage of www.angelabaconbooks.com to submit your email address and sign up.

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I’m really trying to get my next book out this year. Can you believe that this September will mark three years since I published Illegally Innocent? I never intended to take this long to release my next book, but the past couple of years have been extremely busy with really great things, like planning my wedding (and then participating in the actual wedding, of course); house shopping (Pretty sure Mike and I toured approximately 100 houses on our search. Not joking. Thankfully my dad is a Realtor and was patient with us.); and then spending large amounts of time fixing up our house when we finally bought it last summer.

Anyway, the past month or so I’ve been trying to devote a little more time to writing, but I’ve been kind of stuck on how to handle a legal situation in my plot. I debated throwing my questions out there on Facebook to see if I might have any friends with “lawyerly” knowledge who could help, but then I also have to decide just how much of my plot to give away. So, I started Googling things, and I found the website for the Gallagher Law Library in Washington. They accept questions by email and can help you find references for legal information pertaining to your situation. I just sent the email tonight, and the website said it would take a couple of days. Once I hear back from them, I will let you know if I felt like this experiment was worth it or not. If I’m still feeling as though I don’t have the information I need at that point, then I might have to put my questions on Facebook. If you’d like to try out this website, here it is: https://lib.law.washington.edu/questions.html.

I’m also gearing up for two author events next week–I’m speaking to a group of elementary-school students at a homeschool co-op on May 6, and I’m participating in the second annual Ransom District Library Author Fair on May 7. The author fair lasts from 6-8 p.m., and you will be able to chat with 25 Michigan authors (including me), buy books, and listen to the keynote speaker, author Wade Rouse, at 7:30. Stop by the library for this fun event! I’d love to see you.

I live in Michigan, and the latest health scare in the Midwest has been the Enterovirus D68. This virus seems to affect children in particular and has landed many kids in the hospital. In the words of the popular YouTube video from a couple of years ago, “Hide yo kids, hide yo wife” from this highly-publicized illness. I read an article tonight that made this frightening statement: “While there isn’t a specific vaccine or medication to treat the Enterovirus, Michigan does have access to a federal strategic national stockpile of vaccines and other medical supplies to deal with a potential outbreak.” See Fox 17’s article here: http://fox17online.com/2014/09/09/rare-respiratory-illness-might-be-in-michigan-state-health-department-investigating/. What on earth?! You’re just going to shoot random vaccines into people without even knowing if they will help? Thanks, health officials.

I know they mean well, but seriously, as scary as they’re making this virus sound, you can do a lot to prevent contracting it (along with preventing other illnesses). If you receive my monthly e-newsletter, you have read many of these things before around cold and flu season time, but here’s a reminder. Here are some things you can do to boost your immune system to either prevent getting the Enterovirus D68 or to lessen its symptoms if you’ve already contracted it:

1. Hand-washing…Even the traditional medical field will tell you it’s important to wash your hands, and it’s also important to ONLY TOUCH YOUR FACE IF YOUR HANDS ARE CLEAN.

2. Healthy diet…Anything with refined sugar in it will lower your immune system. Try to eat a lot of fruit, vegetables, and protein. Dairy products and grains will worsen any congestion you may be experiencing. Choose water over sugary drinks. Drink a lot of water, regardless of whether you’re healthy or already sick. It will help to flush out toxins and will loosen your congestion.

3. Cod liver oil and calcium…These supplements will boost your immune system to fight off viruses and will also lower a fever. They work particularly well in children. It may be a little painful for your wallet, but try to buy high-quality versions of cod liver oil and calcium so that you’re not getting a bunch of additives, food coloring, and preservatives along with the good stuff. I like Calcium Lactate from Standard Process and cod liver oil from Nordic Naturals (which comes in lemon flavor, by the way, so it actually tastes pretty good).

4. Elderberry tea…This tea does not have the best taste, but it is well-known as a virus-fighter. Make sure you drink plenty of water to wash out all of the toxins it will kill in your body.

5. ViruStat and BacteStat…These are homeopathics from Energique that fight what their names suggest–Virustat for viruses and Bactestat for bacteria. If you’re sick, take some. If you’re not sick, take some to prevent getting sick. These are currently my main go-to when I’m around sick people or if I’m starting to get a sore throat.

6. Acidophilus…Probiotics are becoming more and more popular, and they are a good thing to take year-round. The healthier your digestion is, the healthier you will be overall.

7. Thieves oil…Thieves oil is a combination of essential oils that fight germs. You rub a little on your wrists like perfume and let it work its magic. It does smell pretty strong, so only use a drop. You can also put it in a diffuser to purify the air in your house (PLEASE choose this over spraying Lysol–Lysol use can have some bad side effects). Legend has it that thieves wore this mix of essential oils while robbing dead bodies during the bubonic plague and consequently were able to avoid contracting it themselves–hence, the name “Thieves’ oil.”

8. Garlic…Garlic has been used for centuries to fight germs. Drop a bit of garlic in as many things as you can–soup, spaghetti sauce, etc.

9. Sleep…The proper amount of sleep will do wonders for many health ailments (Look at me, saying this as I write this blog entry at 3 a.m. Yes, I know it’s not smart for me to be up this late.).

10. Lemon juice…If you’re coughing, lemon juice works amazingly well as cough syrup, plus it’s cheaper AND it tastes better. You really can’t go wrong. On top of this, it gives you a vitamin C boost. My family and I like Minute Maid’s frozen lemon juice concentrate; it’s just lemon juice and water with no preservatives or anything extra. It runs around $2.00 a bottle here in Michigan, and one bottle will be good for several uses. Fill a glass with water and squirt some lemon juice into it (let the bottle thaw before trying to use it). Super easy.

Overall message: Don’t be scared of getting sick, but please take care of your health so that you can have a strong immune system and can hopefully AVOID getting sick! Let me know in the comments below what other natural cures you like to use.

**I am not a doctor. Please consult your healthcare provider if you want medical advice, and please also READ THE LABELS on these natural products to make sure they will not interfere with any medications you may currently be taking or with any health problems you may have. Please also follow any directions that may be on the labels. If you are nursing or pregnant, you DEFINITELY need to consult your doctor before you try many of the above-named products.**

On an unrelated note: You still have a few weeks to submit your short story, poem, article, or creative nonfiction piece to my writing contest! Five people will each win a $15 Amazon.com gift card and will be published in my January 2015 e-newsletter. Check out the rules for the contest here: https://thehealthybacon.wordpress.com/2014/08/15/the-third-annual-reader-issue-writing-contest-is-here/.

If you like the field of alternative health, you may be interested in checking out my book, Illegally Innocent. It’s available in both paperback and eBook. Learn more about it on my website, www.angelabaconbooks.com, or watch the book trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tu-LAL2fK-c.

Have you self-published a book? If so, through which company did you self-publish? I’d like to post some reviews of self-publishing companies on my blog to help everyone out there who is in the process of picking a company for his or her book. Let’s help other writers avoid the scammers and have an enjoyable self-publishing experience! Personally, I’ve only self-published through Mill City Press, so I’m curious what everyone has to say about other companies. Even if you also chose Mill City Press, go ahead and send me a review. Please send any reviews of self-publishing companies (positive or negative) to angela@angelabaconbooks.com. Please also send me the title of your book and your website (if you have a website), and I will post those things along with your review to help you advertise your book! Here’s an example of a review of Mill City Press that I wrote a few months ago if you’d like an idea to get you started: https://thehealthybacon.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/illegally-innocent-ebook-and-a-review-of-mill-city-press/. Please do not include foul language in your review. If I feel that the content of your review is inappropriate, I will not post it.

Writing Challenge Update #1: I completed my five hours of writing the first week of 2014 but have completely failed at the challenge this week. I have all kinds of excuses I could give, but I won’t post them, haha. This next week, which begins today (Wednesday), I am going to try to write ten hours to catch up. We’ll see how this goes. 🙂 If you’re doing your own writing challenge, how has it been going for you? If you haven’t started a writing challenge for this year, start one now!

I hope you all had a great Christmas and that your new year is off to a fantastic start! If you’re still deciding which New Year’s resolutions to pick for 2014, you should consider joining me in the following challenge: Write new material for five hours per week this year. It could be fiction or nonfiction, but it does not include the time that you spend editing your work. You are producing NEW MATERIAL during this time. You could break it up into one hour five days per week or do it all in one five-hour chunk or whatever works best for your schedule. In 2013, I spent a lot of time marketing Illegally Innocent and editing the eBook version of it, and although I did work on my next book project from time to time, I feel as though I don’t have much material to show for it. This year, in addition to the time I spend marketing and doing the other things that go along with self-publishing, I want to produce as much new work as possible. It’s so easy to get caught up in writing a page or two and then wanting to go back over it and edit it right away (that’s how it is for me at least–is anyone else this way, too?), but I’m learning more and more that not much actual writing is accomplished this way. Yes, editing is certainly important, but spending time writing is important, too. Get a LOT of your ideas onto paper and then go back and edit them. Once you have completed the first draft of your book, it will be much easier to edit because you’ll be more familiar with the overall layout of the book. You’ll have a better grasp of what’s important to include in the book and what’s not.

Maybe you don’t think you can fit in five hours per week, but what if you modify the challenge to something more manageable for your schedule, like one hour per week (if that’s more than you’re writing now)? Consider it, and let me know if you decide to take on this challenge.  🙂 I’ll share my progress on my writing goal from time to time, and I’d love it if you’d share your progress as well.

Author Steve K. Smy does “Book Promo Days” on his website each Thursday. I had thought about submitting Illegally Innocent for a while but hadn’t done it until this week. It appeared on his blog today! You can see the post here: http://imagineerebooks.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/book-promo-day-26th-september-2013/

Steve lets you submit information about your book for FREE. Whether your marketing budget is tight or not, you should take a few minutes to submit your book for Book Promo Day.

I am SOOOOOOOO excited to share that Illegally Innocent is now available to purchase as an eBook! It is just $2.99 and can be purchased in both the Amazon Kindle store and the Barnes and Noble Nook store. It’s coming soon to the iBookstore as well (Mill City Press has submitted it to the iBookstore, and now it is up to the iBookstore to actually post its availability)! Now that I have completed most of the tasks involved with my book at Mill City Press, I thought it would be good to post a review of Mill City Press to try to help out those of you who are in the middle of trying to pick a self-publishing company.

First of all, when picking any self-publishing company, you should not only look at the information on the self-publishing company’s website, but I’d also recommend doing a Google search to see what other people are saying about that company. Try to find blogs and discussion forums in which people post their opinions on that particular company. In the case of Mill City Press, before I’d ever signed a contract with them, I did come across some poor reviews of their company (not a lot, but a handful of them), and those definitely factored into whether or not I was going to choose Mill City. I’m so happy to be able to assure you that I did not have any of the bad experiences that I read about online! Here’s how the self-publishing process works with Mill City: There are several steps to the publishing process, and you receive one or more steps in your Mill City Press “Author Dashboard” at a time. Examples of steps are things like a questionnaire about what you want your cover to look like, a sample chapter of your print book to see if the format is how you want it to be, etc. In their self-publishing contract, Mill City outlines in detail the number of business days it will take them to get back with the author in between steps. They ALWAYS posted the next step in the amount of time they’d told me, or sometimes they posted the next step even quicker than what they’d originally told me. Whenever I emailed them to ask a question (which wasn’t often, because they cover their bases so well that there aren’t many questions to ask!), they always responded promptly and politely.

There was only ONE time that I hit a snag with Mill City Press (and I hesitate to even post this issue, because it was not a big deal to me…however, I want to provide a completely honest review), and that involved one of their publicists. I did not sign up for any of Mill City’s marketing packages, but something they included with my contract was one free phone call with a publicist. I signed the contract for Mill City Press in February 2012, and their publicist (who I’m just going to call John Doe, because I’m certainly not out to slander him) emailed me at the end of June 2012 to see if I would prefer to have that phone call or just exchange a few emails instead. I emailed him back the next day, expressing my preference for email rather than a phone call. Since I was not counting on Mill City Press to do my marketing and advertising anyway, I was already working on several marketing ideas (with some help from family and friends) that I could do with a limited budget. Several weeks passed, and I did NOT hear back from John Doe. I thought about trying to contact him again, but like I said earlier, I was busy putting my own marketing ideas into action; in addition, Mike and I got engaged in the middle of August 2012, and so I had wedding planning on top of book marketing. 🙂 About a week into September 2012, John Doe emailed me back and apologized that he had taken so long to get back to me–he said my June reply to his email had gotten filtered and did not end up in his email inbox until just that week. When I saw his email, I considered responding but was busy with a lot of other things at the time, and I ended up never responding to his email again. John Doe, if you’re reading this blog post, I want you to know that I was not angry, just busy.  🙂 Anyway, that was the ONLY time that anyone from Mill City Press took a ridiculously long time to respond back to me, and there was a good reason for it (the filter), so I certainly don’t count that against them.

Mill City Press’s contract (at the time I signed on with them) states that it takes about half a year to complete the self-publishing process–I think the official statement said 190 business days or something like that. So you may be wondering why my eBook is just now available, since I signed the contract in February 2012. I assure you that was NOT Mill City Press’s fault. I got really busy with book marketing, wedding planning, and other life things, and sometimes it took me a couple of months or more to get back to them on various steps of my book. The print version of Illegally Innocent was completed in 6-7 months, but it has taken me this long to complete the eBook.

The quality of the print version of Illegally Innocent is similar to that of a traditionally-published book. I attended a writer’s conference last fall and one of the editors I met with there confirmed my opinion when she told me that my book did NOT look self-published. On top of this, deliveries of my print books have been faster than expected, so that has been a pleasant surprise.

Will I choose Mill City Press for my second book? Yes and no. In order to publish with Mill City Press, I had to spend around $2500 for both print and eBook versions. When comparing what Mill City offers with what other self-publishing companies offer, that is a fair price, and I do not regret paying it. However, I realize that at this point in time, it might be slightly unrealistic to plan to spend that much on each and every book I hope to publish. Right now, I am planning to publish the sequel to Illegally Innocent through Mill City Press, but I have not signed a contract for that book with them yet, and it will probably be a while before I do. In the meantime, I am working on a different project that I plan to release through a different self-publishing company in just eBook format.

Let me know if you have any questions about Mill City Press–I’d be happy to answer them!

Thank you to Mill City Press for giving me a great self-publishing experience!