Friday, August 28, 2009

Surprised my Hubby

Yesterday we had to go to the store. First we went to Kmart because it was next to the grocery store. We both did our own shopping and he showed me an outfit he was about to get. Cowboys everything lol. After he paid and left, I rushed to the men's department and found the exact same thing in my size (well as close as I could get). After I put my things in the back of the van, I found him in the grocery store and helped him get the rest of our food.
On the way home, I told him not to look in my bags because I got something sexy and wanted to surprise him. Of course, you could imagine what he was thinking so I just smiled so he would continue to believe that lol. When we got home, we put things away, then I said I needed to use the bathroom. He began to prepare the grill so he could cook some hamburgers.
When he walked into the kitchen, I came out wearing the outfit I bought and holding his outfit in front of me so he couldn't see what I was wearing. I asked him to put his clothes on and then pulled them aside so he could see what I had on. The look on his face was priceless.
It was really hard keeping this secret from him without blirting it out on the way home. He was talking about how his shirt was too small and that after we washed it a couple times it would be mine. I even made a mistake by asking if the shorts he got were the ones that had the same pattern as his pants (he bought shorts too) but he didn't catch it lol. He loved his surprise though and was really happy that I did it!
Amber Rigby Grosjean

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Many Hats

In order for a writer to succeed in the business, he or she has to wear a lot of different hats. One for writing in general (the actual act of writing), one for editing, one for research, one for marketing, and one to hide it all in (there's more on top of these lol). These aren't really hats that you can see though. And many writers wear their hats together at the same time lol. Unlike some jobs where you can quit at the end of the day and go home, writers are writers 24/7. We can't quit at the end of the day and go home, we're still writers lol. Even in our sleep, many writers continue to work pondering or dreaming which can lead to a new book or get us out of the strut we're in at the time.
As many hats there are, I have even more than some writers may have. And some may have even more than me lol. I write in many different genres so with each genre, add another hat. Some people ask me if I get confused when I bounce back and forth between my different stories. The answer is no, I don't. This is why. When I write a story, I litterally put myself in the characters' shoes. I will read the last paragraph or page and then continue on writing as if I hadn't stopped before. Since nothing is planned, I am new to the story as it progresses unless I am wearing the editor hat in which I've already been through the story so now I'm just improving it.
Because every writer works differently, I suggest you don't copy me but instead find your perfectly fitted hat(s). Some writers prefer to write one book at a time, then edit, then write more. Some prefer editing while writing one book at a time. And then there are some like me whether they edit at the same time or afterwards like I do. All hats come in different sizes. Some for children, some for young adult, some for adult, and some that can be worn in multiple sizes. And as your writing grows, more things get stuffed into the hats where they are stored (your brain actually lol). So there's another hat for the writer--the learning hat. This is the only hat that will grow with you as you write. Practice is the best way to learn and grow as a writer. Reading too which is another hat lol. I can go on about these different hats we all wear as writers lol.
If you are just starting out, please learn all the basics about writing, and all the hats you should have. Reading books on writing can help, talking to other writers will too. And what works for one writer may not work for another. So as you write, keep learning and stick with what works for you. If you don't find the perfect fitting hat on the first try, keep trying! You will eventually get it as long as you never give up. Remember, dreams really really do come true!!!!!
Amber Rigby Grosjean

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Spawn of the Curse is now e-book!

My third book, Spawn of the Curse is now an e-book! It can be easily downloaded and enjoyed in a matter of seconds on your own computer or i-pod. Just go to Amazon where it is available for $5.00. It was just released a few days ago!
Remember, this is the sequel to Cursed Blood which is also available in paperback (and hardcover through publisher only). If you would like to read an excerpt before buying the book, you can check that out at my website. Each book has its own page on my site so take your time reviewing the books.
I am in the process of working on more books at this time and I'm in the process of waiting for a publisher on one of those books. I'm hoping I've found the right publisher but if not, the search will continue. I will let you know when I know. Also, don't forget, you're welcome to sign up for my newsletter. The next issue is due to be released to emails on September 1, 2009.
So, have a great week and see you again soon.
Amber Rigby Grosjean
And for those writers looking for more information.......

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Writing Job

A few days ago, I was approached by a photographer from Italy. He wanted to know if I would write a book for him using his pictures. He originally had a deal with another author who had to back out due to scheduling issues and told him to go ahead and find another author. So he approached me. He sent me the story that the first author had started and I began to read it. After seeing the set up for the story I asked the photographer how many of his photos he was planning on using in the story because he was wanting to show case them along-side the erotic story. I also looked at the pictures he was planning to use and they were a story in itself, full coverage during sex scenes.

He told me he wanted to use as many of the 1700+ pictures he could. That completly threw me off. The pictures weren't bad but to put that many with a story wouldn't be a good balance. He also told me he had connections with some movie people and they were already discussing a movie deal once the book was out, which was premature, if you ask me.

I decided to turn this person down because it didn't feel right. I didn't want to put my name on something like that. He understood and said he would move to his next writer. It makes you wonder if it would've been a scam or something. If this ever happens to you, think it over hard before making any decisions. Do your research, check to see if this person has a website and then research some more. Cover all your basis.

Amber Rigby Grosjean

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Writing Frustrations

There's a lot of things around us that can cause us to become frustrated. A traffic light that doesn't seem to want to change when you're late for work. A traffic jam in the middle of a hot day and you're A/C doesn't work. And more....

What people don't understand, there's frustrations during the writing process as well. You can't think of the write words at a crucial time in the story. You lost a file that's important. You were rejected a hundreth time from a publisher. The list can go on. Believe me, every writer goes through the same process of writing a book, whether it becomes a best seller or not. Even King has been frustrated a time or two. The best thing to do is just try to work through it and calm down.

Writing can take its toll on the human body. As you begin to write, take care of your body to avoid the side affects of writing your book. When getting a membership at a local club is out of the question to get in shape, there's things you can do around the house that will help. You can even jog around the block. Cleaning house can help get your mind off things. For the guys, working on your car or something else you find enjoyable can work. Being fit, mentally and physical can help the stress level coming in from writing.

Besides excercising and doing activities you enjoy, there's way to keep the stress down. Taking your time and having fun with it is another. If you truly enjoy writing, the experience will be more enjoyable during the good scenes that just roll from the mind. It takes a lot of practice to get to that point. You will still get frustrated at times. And when that happens, just walk away for a few minutes. Go wash the dishes, take a long soaking bath or shower, take a ride to the market, call a good friend you haven't spoken to in a while and talk about things other than writing. Free your mind....

Now go back to your work, read the last page, and just begin typing. Don't think about the area where you had problems with, just write. Chances are, you were thinking too much about it. Let you mind take control. Our brain may be fighting you, ignore it lol. There are two sides in our brain, the logical side, and the side where our imagination is. They are always battling each other. Don't listen to the logical side when writing fiction. Yeah, people don't fly unless their in an airplane, you know that and your brain may be fighting you on it. Just write and ignore that logical side of your brain that's telling you that.

Make sure you breathe and drink a lot of fluids too. Slow deep breaths always help. Remember to stay calm and work through the frustrations. You can do it. Just keep writing and don't let anything stop you because dreams really do come true! I'm living proof of that. If I can do it, so can you. Just believe in yourself and don't give up. Its a bumpy ride but its worth it in the end, seriously it really is!

Amber Rigby Grosjean

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

4th Set: 4th Installment: Marketing Tips

Marketing your books can be very rewarding. When you're out there, sharing your books with the rest of the world, sometimes you do meet someone who actually read your book. And when that person comes up to you and tells you something about that book that you didn't even know was in it, you become really suprised. This really happened to me with my first book, Cursed Blood. She was telling me about the relationship between Jack and Donna and then said that at first she thought there was going to be something between J and Donna (Jack's father). I was totally surprised to hear that but it was nice hearing her interprentation.
Whether the people are right or wrong, how they react to each story is from their personal lives, the way they interact with others. It really is a beautiful thing to meet someone who took something from your story and took it to heart. Embrace these moments, talk to these people. Enjoy their presence as they are yours. Offer to sign their book too. Something like that will be more cherished to them than anything else and will be remembered when your next book comes out.
When writing more than one book, just remember you do improve your skills so keep it up and never let it down. This should be done like breathing--never ending. The pay may not be great but the rewards are worth more than money! Don't forget--never pass at a chance to share your book(s) with someone else. Giving away free copies can also help, just don't go overboard with that lol. And choose wisely when giving away free copies too. If someone praises you, they will tell others about your book, making more sales. One free book could lead to 5 purchases so you never know. And one of those people could end up writing a review!
Besides the physical world, there is the Internet so make it your friend. Join writing groups, chat rooms, and other social places where you can freely talk to others about your books. Add your website URL to everything; signiture in your email and blog, add it to your profile in all your sites you belong to, and more. If you can find a place to put, do it. Even visit other websites and remark what you think about them (positive remark) and add your URL to that as well. Go to the websites that have the same books as you write though, that way you will get visiters following those links.
Remember to have fun. This may be a job but its also your life. Enjoy the process, love the process, and flow with the process!
Amber Rigby Grosjean

Monday, August 10, 2009

4th Set: 3rd Installment: Marketing Tips

For those who have a small budget, marketing can feel almost impossible at times. I know the feeling. But there's hope! If you have a printer and have access to a printer, there's things you can do on your own! Here's some things, plus you can use your imagination and find more ways! If you do, please share with us here!!!

  • Make your own business cards. Using your own computer and printer saves times and money plus now you can use both sides of the cards! You can the cover of your book or even your own picture. You can make any design you want. Granted, the quality isn't going to be perfect like the ones are in those stores you order from but you're saving money and that's important with these times!

  • Clothing can be made or at least the design on them lol. Again, using your computer and printer with an iron and those iron-on transfers, you can put the cover of your book on countless of things including bags!

  • Make your book a magnet. You can get shiny or flat appearance magnets and they are safe to be around your computer. Load it like paper, one sheet at a time and print your picture straight onto the magent sheet as you would paper! Cut it out and add it to your fridge. They make great gifts for people who have the book and for book signings!

  • Same goes for stickers. And the great thing about stickers is the ideas can go further. Add a special touch for your book by adding a sticker that goes inside it that says "This Book Belongs To" with a line to add the name.

Just as I did here--------------->
I used one of the characters from the cover to add to it for an extra look! You can do that too right on your computer!

There are many ways to do it yourself and this is a short list. Bookmarks can be added to it as well! And the list can keep going. You are only limited by what your computer can do and your knowledge to make it work. Good luck and keep your mind open!

Amber Rigby Grosjean

Sunday, August 9, 2009

4th Set: 2nd Installment: Marketing Tips

It doesn't matter who a writer publishes with, marketing is something a writer must always do in order to increase his/her own sales. It doesn't matter what genres this writer works in or what audience intended to read these books; marketing should never be avoided. You should never count on someone else to do this job. It is part of being a writer just as writing the book is, and editing the book is. Learn as much as you can before you even publish your first book so you're prepared for the new battle and can beat each task.

  • Never pass up a chance to spread the word about your book.
  • Use every tool at your disposal including family and friends. Even make new friends along the way.
  • Learn as you go. Be creative! Read books on marketing.
  • Visit other websites and learn how their sites work and create your own website that stands out.
  • Have business cards and be eagar to pass them out at a moment's notice.
  • Keep extra copies of books on hand in case someone wants to purchase a copy from you and be sure to sign it for them while they watch (ask them for the spelling of their name, even if its a common name). Sarah, Sara; common name with more than one way to spell it! And always keep your books clean and bent-free!
  • Always be friendly and professional when around others. People remember cruel people even more and that isn't a good thing. Sometimes using comedy can help! They may remember the joke, therefore remembering you in one way or another!
  • Get family from other cities to pass out flyers or business cards in their areas (be sure to give them copies of your book too).
  • People who buy your books are how you are paid so always respect them and be sure to thank them!
  • Booksignings are a good way to get noticed! Even book readings help!
  • Getting your book inside actual stores are good too! It gets the book where people can actually flip through the pages before they buy it, helping you in the long run!

I don't want to give you too much so this is enough for now. Two more installments of this topic coming up! And then who knows what I will talk about! You have to keep coming back if you want to read more lol! Thank you!!!

Amber Rigby Grosjean

Saturday, August 8, 2009

4th Set: 1st Installment: Marketing Tips

To me, maketing is the most difficult in the writing business. Sure you can hire someone, but not everyone has the finances to do that. Most of us starting out, have small budgets so how do we get more bang for the buck? By doing it ourselves.

I had to learn the hard way but you don't have to. Before you get your first book published, begin learning how to market that book now. First things first, who's your target? In any form of advertising, you need a target, marketing your book is no exception.

  1. Your audience is your target. Where do these people hang out? What are their ages, their likes and dislikes? What kinds of things are they into?
  2. When marketing, use this information to guide you so you get your information in the right hands at the right places in the right time. For instance...Is your book in a religious nature? Churches would be a great place to target your readers. With all the religions there are, you can narrow it down even more or go with all of them but narrowing it down even more will be more beneficial. There's Catholics, Christian, Budism, and more. What does your book fit more?
  3. Include fun ways to introduce your book to the crowd. One writer made coloring pages for her young readers of children books. She had her own characters made into those coloring pages for the book signings. It was a good way to interact and it did get the children and parents involved.
  4. Be creative and use your friends. Make clothing items, have tablets with the book cover, bookmarks, stickers, magnets, mugs, and more. The more people see your name and cover, the more they will remember it.

Ok, this is enough for now. More tomorrow!

Amber Rigby Grosjean

Friday, August 7, 2009

3rd Set: 4th Installment: Pub./Agent Tips

Whether you're trying to find a publisher or an agent, you always need to remember you're a professional. Once you become a published author, you will be a professional writer so get into practice now.

  • Don't use fancy type (font) or paper. Don't use perfume and don't send gifts. They hate that and will reject you on the spot.
  • Always double space lines. Publishers and agents read all day long, their eyes do get sore after a while, keeping it double spaced helps keep their eyes from going bad.
  • Make sure your first paragraph is enough to make them read more. There must be something that catches their eye.
  • Publishers and agents are looking for reasons to reject writers. It is your job to prevent that from happening. Give them reasons to keep you, not reject you.
  • Wait 3 to 6 weeks before assuming anything if you don't hear back by that time. If you don't hear back by 6 weeks, send them an email saying if they have any questions or need more information, you can have it back to them asap. Do not ask about your manuscript. Give them your title and name with a professional letter but nothing more. Don't bug them. Remember, they read all day and will be swamped with other manuscripts. It is possible that they haven't gotten to yours yet so don't give them anymore reasons to say no thank you to you.
  • If they read your work and ask you to make changes, minor or major, you must ask yourself how important it is to make those changes. How do you feel about making them? If you become someone who is hard to work with (someone who doesn't make any changes), word gets around quick and other publishers will refuse you but on the other hand, sometimes it is good to stick your guns. Your story is yours. Anything that will benefit your story is worth doing. Just remember, publishers are about making sales. If they feel your story is worth making some changes, consider them at least. Good things come to those who compromise!

Ok, absorb this information. Good luck in your search and I truly hope you find that publisher or agent that does you some good! In the next installments, I will be talking about marketing so don't miss that! And be sure to visit my websites! Thank you!!!

Amber Rigby Grosjean

Thursday, August 6, 2009

3rd Set: 3rd Installment: Pub./Agent Tips

With all the writers coming into this profession, it seems publishers are becoming smaller and harder to get into with our writing. Some are taking the self-publishing route while others are fighting to become published. Does this make us any less published than those who are signed with a publisher? Some say yes while others say no.

Look at the music industry. There are more and more artists coming out and making their own music, putting it on CD themselves and distributing it themselves. Does that make them any less performers? No it doesn't. In this day in age, its beginning to become more acceptable to be self-published. Just remember this--if you decide to take this route, there's more work to be done on your end if you want your book to succeed. You have to edit the book or hire an editor (this may not be cheap). You have to design the cover or hire someone to do this (again, won't be cheap). Then you have to do all the marketing on top of this unless again you hire someone else to do this. Of course, in any form of publishing, you should always market your books!

There is no shame in having your book self-published. If your book is good, it isn't going to matter how its published. Its all in the marketing, how well you're salesperson because once your book is published, that's what you are. Just remember to be a professional at all times!

Now if you decide to publish with a traditional publisher as many writers before have done in the past and will continue long after you're gone, than just remember this: its not personal. Tell yourself after each rejection and you will be okay. I'm serious, if you keep working hard, keep learning from your mistakes, keep editing to make your story perfect, and keep writing; you will get published either traditionally or yourself.

Either way, you're not going to become rich over night. This is one profession you do it because you enjoy it. Write your book, publish it, then sell it. More about marketing later....

Amber Rigby Grosjean

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

3rd Set: 2nd Installment: Pub./Agent Tips

Agents: Some writers say we need them, some writers say we don't. Whether we need an agent is up to the writer himself or herself. Personally, I don't have one but would love to have someone to represent me. This is why.

First, an agent knows the business inside and out. He or she knows who's looking for what types of books. Second, an agent is educated to know what works for those stories and can help polish your story if it isn't perfect. If the agent doesn't know personally, he or she can direct the author to the right people for editing needs and may even have people like that on staff. Third, the agent can do more than assisting the writing in finding the right publisher. He or she can also find the best deal and handle the process once you sign the contract. The relationship doesn't end there. There's over seas deals, movie deals, and more.

An agent makes 10-15% of your funds from the book so he or she doesn't make anything unless you do. Some may say there's an annual fee for copies, phone calls, other office supplies but run away from these agents. This kind of deal gives the agent another motive to work for you--money. The agents who only charge commision strive to get you published! That's all the motive they need. Yes, sometimes a ligitamate agent will come along and ask for extra fees (non-upfront fees) that may cover some expenses like postage and phone calls, etc. But they will not ask for anything on a yearly basis or be up-front so if they are, please run as fast as you can.

As a writer, you will have relationship with the agent. This is professional. There will be phone calls made between the two of you. Your approval will be needed at times for different things. And as long as you are in this relationship, whenever you make money on your book so will your agent. Contracts are drawn up and will specify yours and theirs responsibilities. Checks from publishers and others will go to them and then the agent will draw a new check payable to you, taking out their comission of course.

Other reasons for choosing an agent..... Some publishers may only go through agents. Publishers will state this on their website under guidlines or through other means such as Writer's Market and other books (or search engines online). That's why its important to read those. Agents have guidelines as well so be sure to read them! Agents may also be able to get you (the writer) a bigger deal than you can on your own. Like I said, they know the business inside and out.

Good luck in your search for an agent. If you choose not to have an agent, the door is still open to many wonderful publishers. The hunt is on. Remember, dreams really do come true; all you have to do is believe!

Amber Rigby Grosjean

Monday, August 3, 2009

3rd Set: 1st Installment: Publishers/Agents Tips

The two are together because the same rules apply pretty much to both areas.

The first thing a writer should do when looking for a publisher is to make sure the publisher is right for the story you're trying to publish. That means research. There's plenty of places to find publishers and agents. You can find a link to preditors and editors on my writing site under references--

  • Check out the website for each publisher/agent you're interested in.
  • Read their guidelines thoroughly and make sure its a fit.
  • What other stories do they publish? Do they want your genre? Is your story a cross-genre which is a story in more than one genres? Do they accept stories like that?
  • Never send them a full manuscript unless they ask for it. Send a query first. Be professional and give them your experience. What qualifies you to write this book? Add a full synopsis and 3 chapters (don't have to be the first three). This will be spelled out in the guidelines so follow what they request.
  • Some publishers may check out your website, but not all. This is rare but it does happen. Be sure to include your URL in your signiture just in case. Make sure your website is professional looking. And include excerpts from your books (even the ones not published--not full story, just a chapter or two--not first chapters though).
  • Just like your story, be sure your query letter is free from mistakes. Double check everything in it and the synopsis. Sometimes, this is the only thing they will look at and make a decision based on this so make it good, the best you can. Sell yourself and your story. Make them want more.

Ok, this is enough for now. More tips later. Remember, my writing website has more tips so be sure to check it out! Thank you and good luck!

Amber Rigby Grosjean

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Second Set: 4th Installment: Editing Tips

First of all, my newsletter has been sent out to emails. If you didn't get one sent to your email, it will be added to my website in a few days. This is totally free so check it out sometime. Now with my usual blog.....

As you wear the editing cap, remember you're not perfect. Errors will be made, that's almost a garuantee. Even the top authors have to edit, there's no escaping it. The most important rule--take your time. Its not a race, it will get done when the story is finished. Seriously.

  • Double check spelling (do not count on the program you use, many words have multiple spellings plus you may have meant to say ball when you actually said call. Little things like that sneak passed people all the time. That's why it's important to take your time!
  • Double check all ending marks to make you used the correct one (. ! ? " "). And those that require 2 like quotation marks, make sure there are 2 of them.
  • Make sure you use the right names through out the story. When I wrote Cursed Blood, Donna's father was named Dwainne and the a few pages later, the same man was given a different name, it snuck passed me--pay attention. Readers will be.
  • Don't use too much information--let the reader use his/her imagination on some things so they will want to turn that page. But don't leave important details out. Check these things. It's easier to remove things than it is to add them.
  • You are your worst critique! You will always find something else to fix. If you're just adding to the story instead of tightning it, its time to take a long break from it and let someone read it over for their opinion. Try using someone who would be a potential reader. Don't forget Beta Readers on this too (I mentioned them in the last post). You will be harder on yourself more than anyone else is.
  • Learn to have tough skin. There will always be someone who doesn't like something. Don't try to please everyone. If you like it, there will be someone else who will too. Don't try to mold your book to the likings of one person. Always listen to your gut in the end. If their idea works, use it. If not, tell them thank you but you would like to keep it as is (what ever the suggestion). Be honest and always say thank you.
  • The more you write, the better you will become so write. Same goes for editing. Keep a thesaurus and learn new words so you're not repeating yourself.
  • Again, watch for repetition--how many "walk" do you use, in any form like walked, walking, walks. That's repitition in any form. Substitute "walk" for any words. If you can leave it out without taking away from the story, do that. If you can combine 2 sentences to avoid using that second or third word, do it. If you can replace it with another word that describes how he walked, do it. He inched toward the bed means he walked slowly without using walk at all. Inch is a good example for something like that. I never even thought of using that word until Stolen Identity was published lol. All because of the editor! I used "moved" to much and that was a way to describe how someone "moved".
  • Never settle for "good enough". You're better than that. Strive to be the best you can be, in anything you do, writing or editing (or anything else in life).

Ok, that's it for editing. For more, please check out my website at


Amber Rigby Grosjean