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The Watchers Wins!!

GUESS WHAT, Y’ALL!!?? The Watchers just took home the 2nd place 🏆book award for

☆꧁༒Young Adult Fiction༒꧂☆ at the 2020 North Texas Book Festival! Woohoo!!!

What an honor to have both THE OUTCASTS and now THE WATCHERS as winners at this phenomenal book festival. If you get a moment, please stop by their website by clicking HERE!

I would like to shine a little bit of light onto the North Texas Book Festival: Did you know Denton was voted as a top 10 of the 2016 Bookish Destinations of Texas by Lone Star Literary Life? The North Texas Book Festival, Inc. is a 501(c)3 corporation that was organized in 2000 by a group of individuals, led by children's author Lynn Sheffield Simmons, to help school and public libraries and literacy programs in the North Texas area. Since its beginning, more than $70,000 in grants has been awarded to deserving programs.

In 2007, the first annual North Texas Book Festival Book Awards were presented. This award recognizes excellence in books published by their authors or by small, independent publishing companies.

Do you want to help by donating or as a sponsor?

You can mail your check to:

North Texas Book Festival

624 W University Dr #274

Denton TX 76201

They take cash donations all year long. Just email them at, or click on the photo to donate via Credit Card, Debit Card or PayPal:

Let's switch gears and talk about writing ... FINALLY. I am part of an online book club on Discord, where they have thousands of members who discuss hundreds of authors and books and series every single day. This book club features multiple books a month, and then the community reads them to discuss.

With 2020 being such a suck hole, this is a great way to meet new friends without having to step outside your door. Find me online: discordbookclub, and join today the movement today. It's free, folks.

I mention this club because I like to chat and interact with like-minded individuals, let's face it, if you're reading this right now, you're probably interested in books, and fantasy, and young adult fiction, or something else along those lines. So I asked young writers on Discord about what they struggle with in their own writing.

Overwhelmingly, a lot of feedback I got from everyone was: How do I finish a book? You can start one, but completing it is altogether different, am I right? Tips and strategies on taking an idea and seeing it through to completion.

Boy, they sure got to the heart of the matter. This. Is. Not. Easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it.

Here are my ten steps on how to finish a novel:

  1. Tell yourself that no matter how long it takes, you will finish it. It may be the worst writing on the planet, but you'll have a completed manuscript, and that's all that matters. You can't mold something out of nothing. This takes the pressure off, and it also gives you a little more time to think and be creative. It does not have to be perfect on the first try. Let's keep saying this mantra to ourselves: It does not have to be perfect on the first try.

  2. On the opposite end of that spectrum, don't give yourself too much freedom to relax. Join a critique group, or find another writer to exchange chapters with, so you can at least hold yourself accountable. This is a business. You would not take time off needlessly at a job, would you? If you answered yes to that last question, you're not taking it seriously enough ... And no wonder you may not be able to finish a novel. Here is a great online website you can join for free to get critiques and feedback from other authors and writers of all walks of life:

  3. Get out of your own head. Stop thinking and just write. If you get stuck, move on. Leave it alone. Trudge through to the next chapter and get that one started instead. You can always come back to it and rework a scene. It's not the end of the world.

  4. Believe in yourself. Believe in yourself. Believe in yourself. This one might be the hardest to get through to you. Writing a book is daunting! I get it. I was exactly where you are right now. It took me five years to complete my first manuscript. Why? Because I thought it was worthless. That no one would like my idea. I can't tell you the number of times I said to myself: Why would anyone read this? Do you have these same thoughts? These thoughts will ruin you before you even start. No one has your voice. This story is your own because you make it your own. If it's crappy at the start, make it AMAZING at the end. We're writers, we don't have one take to get this right. We have many!

  5. Write drunk. I'm not kidding. Okay, maybe this rule won't apply to everyone, but it sure did help me get through my first book. (side-note: I no longer do this). My point is to loosen up and enjoy it. If you don't feel it, your readers won't either. Trust me on this.

  6. Don't put the cart before the horse. Never look too far into the future. Finish the book first before you worry about publishing, marketing, and book covers, editing, etc...

  7. Find someone you can complain to (other writers work best). Run to them as often as necessary. Curse. Yell. Plead. Stomp around like you're throwing a tantrum. Gaze at the sky for as long as you need. This is okay. We all need to get it out of our systems. Decompress.

  8. Don't be afraid to put your book down. Sometimes you just need a break. Especially if you're new to writing. It can be extremely difficult to get feelings across on paper: Dialogue, character depth, chapter summaries, plots ... POV's. It's tough! But please, please, please don't put it down for long and forget about it. Would you forget about feeding a baby? Please don't answer yes to that. NO. You would change a baby, clean them, love them. Nurture them. This is your job as a new parent, to raise them right.

  9. Brainstorm. In other words, brainstorming is a situation where a group of people meet to generate new ideas and solutions around a specific domain of interest by removing inhibitions. People are able to think more freely and they suggest as many spontaneous new ideas as possible. All the ideas are noted down without criticism and after the brainstorming session the ideas are evaluated. If you can't find anyone to brainstorm with, take a moment to imagine something incredible your main character can overcome or tackle. What's something your readers won't see coming? Throw this in. Spontaneity works.

  10. And last but not least, ask for help. I am a part of this amazing Facebook group called: 20Booksto50K. This group is a safe place to discuss writing, books, and how to ethically make money as authors. You can join at any stage of the publishing/writing experience. Inspiration is key. Seeing someone else's success is important. Cheering others on is important. Learning is imperative.

I hope this has helped you in some small way to finish your book. Staying dedicated to yourself is paramount. If you have any questions, or just want to chat, please join my newsletter or email me HERE.

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