#Writingcommunity Spotlight: Rahf AlRashidi (Writing Community Newsletter)

Writing Community Newsletter Logo

This was an interview conducted by Undiscovered Publishing blogger Thomas Neil with author and organiser of the upcoming writing community newsletter, Rahf AlRashidi.

Thomas: So first off, tell me about yourself?
AlRashidi: Well, it’s my pleasure to introduce myself to you! I’m Rahf AlRashidi. I’m a medical student and a published author from Kuwait. I love writing and I have been writing ever since I was a child. I also have a lot of interest and hobbies as well.

Thomas: If you are a writer tell me a little about what you write? And where people can find your work?
AlRashidi: I’m a multi-genre author but I mainly write autobiography and poetry. You can find my first book ‘The Clouds Beyond Us’ on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and also Waterstones.

Thomas: How active are you on social media? And feel free to share links?
AlRashidi: Very active but only on Twitter @tcbu2018

Thomas: Tell me about some writers you really like and/or admire?
AlRashidi: Paulo Coelho.

Thomas: What advice would you like to give writers who are struggling with their first novels?
AlRashidi: DO IT! Writing a good book is not easy at all, but it is worth it. It will sometimes feel like a mess, but this beautiful mess will turn into an awe-inspiring book one day.

Writing, like all art forms, is subjective. Not everyone is going to think your baby is cute. Therefore, you have to know that writing will take so much effort and maybe you will feel like giving up, but you should know that this is the time to keep going because this book will be the reason you believe in yourself, and the reason you will dream big.

Thomas: What made you think to do a #writingcommunity newsletter?
AlRashidi: I had this idea ever since I joined the Writing Community on Twitter but surprisingly, me and Hill tweeted this idea of starting a newsletter at the same time on Twitter. It was kind of weird at first but then we managed to work on this together which was really awesome.

Thomas: What things do you plan to include in the newsletter?
AlRashidi: Everything the Writing Community will enjoy from advice, new publications, to book of the month.

Thomas: How do people sign up to receive the newsletter?
AlRashidi: They can either email me at rssalrashidi@gmail.com or subscribe at steamblogger.com.  

Thomas: When is the first newsletter scheduled to go out, and after that, how often can subscribers expect a newsletter?
AlRashidi: On the 1st of May! It’s a monthly newsletter, so every month. Stay tuned!

Thomas: Is it just you working on it and if not feel free to tell us about some of the others making it happen?
AlRashidi: It’s a whole team. We also have other authors working with us.

Thomas: Lastly, what do you like about the #writingcommunity on Twitter? And has that influenced your desire to make this newsletter?
AlRashidi: I love how supportive and creative the community is. I never met so many talented people in one place, and I just wanted to make something that this lovely community would be able to enjoy or look forward to. I want to make sure no one is neglected, and that every writer/author/blogger and book in this community matters!

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How to Finish that First Draft

So if you are like me it can feel like the hardest thing about writing is ironically, actually writing. So we put this list together of helpful tips for finishing that first draft. This list is by no means exhaustive, and if you have any tips feel free to comment on this post.

 

  • Make a plan. And Stick to It. Okay so this one is fairly simple and yet it’s often overlooked, and while I do agree that planning can be a way to avoid writing, I feel that in the long run having a clear plan for your WIP can be the difference between a finished manuscript and an untouched save file on your computer.
  • Don’t do it Alone. If nanowrimo has taught me anything and it has only taught me one thing, it’s better to write if you have someone to hold you accountable, talk with you and give you feedback. So if you want to get that pesky first draft finished I’d suggest you get a buddy.
  • Edit later. It sounds counter-intuitive because you want to produce the best possible work so you feel you should edit. But it’s a drafting process for a reason, so just write for now and then edit for that second draft. You’ll thank me later.
  • Listen to Feedback. If you want to be successful then you need to be willing to listen to contradictory and/or negative feedback. If you close yourself off to it then you’ll stop developing and your WIP will either remain a first draft forever or will go through all the steps to publishing but still not be great.
  • Deadlines are your friend. Okay I know, obviously and yet you hate it. We all have lives and if you’re like me then you work full time and writing is your passion but not your full time job, so it’s even more vitally important that you make a deadline and stick to it if you want to finish that first draft. It doesn’t need to be every day but you do need to be consistent. Think of it like this, every lake started with a drop of water, and your future masterpiece, starts with that one word.

 

 

#WritingCommunity Spotlight: Ashley Ener

Ashley Ener Author Photo

This was an interview conducted by Undiscovered Publishing blogger Thomas Neil with aspiring author Ashley Ener.

Thomas: Tell me about yourself? What made you want to become a writer?
Ener: I suppose like most, if not all writers, I love reading just about everything. Audrey Hepburn is my favorite actress and I have plans to base a character off of her one day. I have some of the most supportive and loving parents. They have always encouraged me to pursue writing, for which I am very grateful. I plan to teach Creative Writing and English at the collegiate level. Though fiction and poetry is what I mostly write, I would love to write a true crime book one day.

I don’t remember there ever being a time I didn’t want to be a writer. One of my earliest memories is with my Uncle Frank – I think I was four – taking me to make copies of my ‘book’ I wrote while at his house in Virginia. It was just scribbles but to me it was perfect. I think about that memory often, Uncle Frank was one of the first people to encourage me with my writing – even if it was illegible. Writing gives me a peace and joy I have not found anywhere else outside of my relationship with God.

Thomas: What attracted you to the particular genre you are involved in? And do you stick with is consistently or do you change it up?
Ener: I try to write what I want to read. With that being said, I tend to change up what genre I am in depending on what I am reading at the time. However, I always go back to my favorite characters because I want to finish their story. Overall, I have noticed I am more drawn to writing Young Adult fiction.

Thomas: What is your writing process like? And how important is research to you when writing a book?
Ener: I find that my process depends on what my inspiration is for that particular piece. Often, it is writing down what I am thinking before I lose it, then coming back to polish one thing at a time later. Research is something I put a lot of importance into because I want to put as much effort into developing stories and characters as I am able.

Thomas: Have you ever experienced ‘Writer’s Block’? And do you have any tips you would like to share to overcome it?
Ener: I definitely have! Unfortunately, I let it overwhelm me for a few years but in the last year, I started writing again. When I have experienced it recently, I have had a lot of success with a few things to overcome it. Sometimes, I will step away from a certain piece, then after working on something else I come back and it is like looking at it from a fresh perspective. Reading a book and trying to relax also helps get me away from that feeling of being blocked. I have also found various writing prompts to use when I am blocked. Often with this method, not only is my ‘Writer’s Block’ gone but I also usually have several other story ideas pop up.

Thomas: So tell me what you’ve written, and has it been published?
Ener: Two of my poems have recently been published and I have written several poems that I am getting ready to send off. I am also working on developing some of my fiction writing to send off as well.

Thomas: Where can potential fans find your work?
Ener: To date, I have had just two poems published. They can be found in the 2019 April issue of Adelaide Literary Magazine.

Thomas: Are you working on something at the moment? And can you tell us about anything about your current projects?
Ener: Besides the batch of poems I am working on, I am working on two different book ideas. One is a bit out of my element but I am very excited about it. It is a Young Adult story in the fantasy genre that mostly centers around the two main characters journey to seek a way of overthrowing corrupt leaders who have been suppressing the people in their country. The leaders have found ways of taking all magic away from the people, making it illegal to have more than a very small amount in their possession. The other book is still in the researching stage. I am researching different true crime cases for a book. I want to hopefully shed light on a case that has not had as much attention on it in hopes of spreading awareness.

Thomas: How active are you in social media? And if you have social media as an author/ for your books then please share links?
Ener: I am moderately active on social media. For my twitter the link is: https://twitter.com/Ashley_ElizaAnn

Thomas: Tell me about some writers you really like and/or admire?
Ener: There are too many to name! The ones that come to the top of my head right now are: Jane Austen, Jenny Han, Siri L. Mitchell, Kristin Billerbeck and Harriet Ann Jacobs.

Thomas: What advice would you like to give writers who are struggling with their first novels?
Ener: I would say, do not put too much pressure on yourself to write what you think publishers want you to write. We all have our own unique voices and stories to share, it would be a tragedy if we never got to experience them. If you love what you have written and really believe in it, then stay loyal to it. It will find a home, just stand by it and it will happen.

Thomas: And let’s end with something a little different…Which of your character(s) would you take with you to spend the night in a haunted house? Why?
Ener: I would take Lux, from my fantasy novel. She is loyal, fun and quick on her feet. Also, she is the descendant of fairies…though because she isn’t a full fairy her magic can sometimes be a bit unpredictable.

Undiscovered Publishing to host convention in 2021

HOUSTON, TEXAS- Undiscovered Publishing is announcing today the Writing Community Convention, which will take place in Houston, TX in 2021.

This event is set to take place on October 2nd & 3rd, 2021 as an all-day event, focusing on the members of the Writing Community. The venue will be announced later this year.

Undiscovered Publishing Founder & Owner Jordan Smith explains what this convention is all about.

“This convention will be a source of face-to-face interaction for the Writing Community,” Smith said. “It will also serve as a resource for them to learn more about publishing, find some resources for their self-publishing journey and more. It is a convention designed specifically around the Writing Community, hence the name.”

This event will have various members from around the Writing Community that you can visit with at their booth, as well as listen and watch at various panels, presentations and more!

Guest speakers and members of the community who will be exhibiting at the event will be announced throughout the next couple of years leading up to the convention in October 2021.

For more information on tickets, exhibiting, event app and more, please be sure to visit the event website at writingcommunityconvention.wordpress.com.

Undiscovered Publishing is now on Patreon!

Patreon is a platform where viewers like you can support artists, small businesses, and communities like Undiscovered Publishing. We created an account so that we can better serve the writing community, but unlike crowdfunding or donations, every donation tier comes with exclusive rewards! The more you donate, the more perks you get!

Our most affordable tier starts at just $1 and there are perks with more rewards at $5, $10, and $20 with increasingly awesome rewards.  There are a variety of rewards such as exclusive monthly coupons to use for ebook purchases at B&N.com or priority reservations for future events hosted by Undiscovered Publishing.

Please check out our Patreon page for more information and if you’re as excited as we are about all the rewards, please consider getting involved by becoming a patron!

#Writingcommunity Spotlight: Ella Medeiros

Ella Medeiros Author Photo

This was an interview conducted by Undiscovered Publishing blogger Thomas Neil with aspiring author Ella Medeiros.

Thomas: Tell me about yourself? And what made you want to be a writer?
Ella: For me, storytelling comes as naturally as breathing. I can remember making up stories and telling them to my younger brother even as a little kid. I’m certain that my love of writing came from my love of reading. When I was little, my parents always encouraged me to read as much as possible and that definitely translated into my becoming a writer.

My first attempt at writing a story was all the way back in the fifth grade. Now as a twenty-year-old in college, it’s nice to see how my writing has changed and improved throughout the years. I’m looking forward to see where life takes me and my stories.

Thomas: What attracted you to the particular genre you are involved in? And do you stick with it consistently or do you change it up?
Ella: My current work-in-progress is an urban fantasy novel. That’s not a genre I’ve seen a lot of even as an avid reader. I’ve always loved the idea of magic and modern life coexisting. It raised a lot of questions like how it would affect everyday life. But as much as I love the genre, I don’t write it exclusively. I’ve dabbled in everything from spy thrillers and mystery to romance. I think it’s a good idea for all writers to try new styles and genres. You never know if you’ll find something you like.

Thomas: What is your writing process like? And how important is research to you when writing a book?
Ella: My writing process is bit chaotic, but it usually follows this path. Randomly, I’ll have a character idea, sometimes it’ll be inspired by a real person, event, or sometimes even a dream. But as soon as I have an idea, I immediately write it down in what I call my “Idea Journal,” which is just a glorified $0.99 notebook. Over time I’ll develop this character and give them life. To me, the characters are the most important part of any story. Your plot could be bland, repetitive, or cheesy, but as long the characters feel real to me I can ignore any problems with the plot.

After the characters are created, I begin on their story. Sometimes it can take me months to create an appropriate concept for them. While I above all want to have good characters, I also want to create a plot that helps them grow into the best versions of themselves. Usually while doing this I’ll grab that notebook and make simple plot outlines and note various devices that could be used. For example, long before I began writing my current project I had decided to use character descriptions and detail to help convey an idea of identity throughout the work. I believe that if someone desires to implement something similar to this it is very important to plan it out prior to beginning writing.

That being said, while I figure out these devices and themes out very early, I prefer to begin writing with a very bare outline of the plot. I like the feeling of being free to add scenes without being restricted by an outline.

As for the actual writing, I always put on some on some of my favorite music and begin work. Actually, I’ve had to stop listening to slow music when I write because I find myself typing along with the tempo of the music.

Additionally, I believe that research is extremely important. There are very few things as irritating as incorrect information. If you want your work to be respected, it starts first with research. For example, my current project takes place in Chicago. As someone who resides in New England, I have no idea what it’s like living there. So I’ve spent countless hours wandering the city on google maps and researching what Chicago residents think of the city. Research is what makes the story and characters believable.

Thomas: Have you ever experienced “Writer’s Block”? And do you have any tips you would like to share to overcome it?
Ella: Personal experience reminds me that writer’s block is very real and very annoying. Usually I get writer’s block towards the end of each semester. Being a junior in college means that even when I have a bit of time to breathe, I’m so exhausted that I can’t gather the motivation or the inspiration to write.

I usually deal with this by either listening to upbeat music or by reading. Usually doing this puts me back into the mood to write. And other times you just have to force yourself through it. That sucks but it’s necessary to not let that lack of motivation control you.

Thomas: So tell me about what you’ve written, and has it been published?
Ella: Currently, I have nothing published. However, I’m currently working on my debut novel and already have several short stories that I’d like to post online. I’m hoping to post those short stories within the next two weeks but that could change if my school workload dictates otherwise.

I try to stick with fiction and short stories though I have dabbled in poetry without much success. I would love to give poetry another shot in the future though.

Thomas: Where can potential fans find your work?
Ella: Right now none of my work is available online. However, I am planning to release short stories on the site Wattpad under the username @crazycatstories. I know it’s a strange name, but I like to blame that on the fact that it was 3am when I created the profile and not on the fact that I’m a crazy cat lady in the making.

Thomas: Are you working on something at the moment? And can you tell us anything about your current projects?
Ella: I am! I’m currently working on the first draft of my debut novel whose working title is currently Et Morte Pueri, which translates to The Death Child. Like I mentioned earlier, this is an urban fantasy novel that takes place in an alternate version of our world.

The story follows Fae, a young woman who blindly follows the orders given to her. Throughout the story, she struggles to discover her identity outside of her duties all while struggling with idea of right, wrong, and that small grey area between.

Here’s the synopsis: “Those the gods have blessed have a duty to protect the innocent. She has never questioned this. She has never questioned the judgement of the Judges, and she has given them everything. But when she is asked to betray her most precious beliefs, she must break free of the chains that have bound her identity since her beginning.”

Thomas: How active are you on social media? And if you have social media as an author/for your books then please share links?
Ella: I’m very active on twitter and spend way too much time there. I can be found there @ellaella_books. I love meeting new people who share common interests with me there!

Thomas: Tell me about some writers you really like and/or admire?
Ella: Growing up I always loved writers like Ally Carter, who I know best for writing the Gallagher Girls Series, and Erin Hunter, who shocked eight-year-old me by turning out to be four different people. They are definitely some of my biggest inspirations for becoming a writer. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve fallen in love with the works of classical writers like Jane Austen as well as those of Katherine Arden, who is one of my favorite writers of all time.

Thomas: What advice would you like to give writers who are struggling with their first novels?
Ella: Just keep writing. No matter how discouraged you feel, just write. Don’t let yourself be intimidated by what others say. Writing everyday creates habits. Those habits make you a better writer every day. It’s hard, but the result is so worth it. Don’t give up.

Thomas: And let’s end with something a little different…Which of your character(s) would you take with you to spend the night in a haunted house? Why?
Ella: If I had to pick any character, it would definitely be one from my current project. Arrow, who is a close friend of the main character, is a very kind person and hates to see anyone upset. He would definitely make sure that i’m safe and cheerful throughout the entire night. Though I can’t guarantee he wouldn’t “accidentally” burn down the house, ghosts and all, later.

#WritingCommunity Spotlight: WB Welch

WB Welch Author Photo

This was an interview conducted by Undiscovered Publishing blogger Thomas Neil with author of Blood Drops, WB Welch.

Thomas: Tell me about yourself? And what made you want to be a writer?

Welch: I’ve always been one to live for the experience: I tried an array of activities as a child, changed my major like ten times in college, and I’ve dipped my toe into several different professions. I love travel, and I love trying new foods.

I’m not sure what made me want to be a writer. I’ve idealized the thought of being a novelist since I was around seven, and writing has always been a past time I enjoy. English classes were some of my favorite, and I took electives like British Literature and Shakespeare in college.

I’ve just always enjoyed well put together words.

Thomas: What attracted you to the particular genre you are involved in? And do you stick with it consistently or do you change it up?

Welch: I write whatever comes to me at the time. While I do have an affinity for horror, I don’t attempt to stick to one genre. I have one completed and one in-progress novel, and they are both literary thrillers, and my very first novella was a young adult story.

Thomas: What is your writing process like? And how important is research to you when writing a book?

Welch: For novels, I always find individuals to represent my main character, then print them and tack them to my bulletin board for the duration of the project. That gives me something to stare at other than the wall whenever I am stuck or contemplating. I also hand write my initial ideas and notes from my research. This is an important aspect to me. I feel like I will always do that. It helps me focus on what’s important.

I always have something to research. For this latest novel, it’s set in a place where I have never been, and authenticity is important, so I researched the crap out of the setting. My main character is also in a profession I’ve never come near, so that took a bit of looking into. I had to learn a lot about some plants and illnesses, but I don’t want to spoil any surprises, so I won’t say too much. If I had to put a number on it, I would say I spend a good solid month or two on finding and looking through research topics whenever I am starting something big.

Thomas: Have you ever experienced “Writer’s Block”? And do you have any tips you would like to share to overcome it?

Welch: I don’t know how bad it has to be to qualify as writer’s block. I’ve been stuck on an MS for a week or two, but that’s usually when I am trying to force my storyline in a direction it doesn’t want to go. I take a step back, reread all my original notes and comb over the research again, then spend some time in thought. Usually, the aha moment will come to me when I am cleaning or cooking or something.

Thomas: So tell me about what you’ve written, and has it been published?

Welch: Blood Drops is my horror anthology that came out at the end of last year. There are eighteen tales included, and they range from ‘extremely plausible’ to ‘kind of out there.’ Amongst the tales, there is one that introduces us to Dahmer’s apprentice, one that shows us the power of a Louisiana voodoo queen, one that shows us the danger of even leaving the kids alone for five minutes, and one that gives us a whole new reason to stay off the grass.

Thomas: If you’ve had your writing published, how has it been received?

Welch: Like everything else, some people love it and some people don’t care for it much but, overall, it’s been extremely well received. Blood Drops has been reviewed over fifty times on Amazon now, and a similar number of people have left feedback on Goodreads. I have a couple of public events coming up soon, so I hope to continue spreading the word.

Thomas: Is there anything you’d change or do differently now that it is published?

Welch: I would slow down and plan it out a little better. I decided to publish last minute and found myself frantic trying to pull some of the final details together.

Thomas: Speaking of publishing, how did you go about getting your book(s) published, and what was your publishing journey like?

Welch: I self-published on Amazon. While the formatting can be a headache, for the most part, publishing on Amazon is pretty user-friendly by today’s standards, so it wasn’t bad. The hardest part, to me, is trying to figure out how to promote yourself. I still feel like I’m stumbling along with that aspect.

Thomas: Where can potential fans find your book(s)?

Welch: The Kindle and Paperback editions are available on Amazon. Paperback editions can also be ordered through most local bookstores and libraries, since Blood Drops has been included in expanded distribution. If you’re ever having a hard time finding me, I have a website, wbwelch.com.

Thomas: Did you do your own artwork for the book cover etc, and if not how did you go about getting it done?

Welch: I did do my own artwork.

Thomas: Have you taken on board anything from a review (good or bad) that you’ve later incorporated into your writing?

Welch: Not any one thing in particular, but I pay attention to all of the feedback I receive. Every time someone speaks, there is a potential opportunity to learn, and I try not to pass up new learning opportunities. That being said, art is subjective. Not all feedback will take your story where you’re trying to go. It’s important to be humble enough to take advice while being strong-minded enough to be able to say no when necessary.

Thomas: Are you working on something new at the moment? And can you tell us anything about your current projects?

Welch: I am working on a zombie novella with Tory hunter that will hopefully be out sooner rather than later. I am also querying one novel, writing another, and am in the planning stage of Blood Drops II.

Thomas: How active are you on social media? And if you have social media as an author/for your books then please share links?

Welch: Active enough to use fifty percent of my city’s wifi allowances. I joke, but I am on Twitter a lot. I am also on Instagram and Facebook.

Website: wbwelch.com

Facebook: facebook.com/authorwbwelch

Twitter: twitter.com/authorwbwelch

Instagram: Instagram.com/wbwelch

Thomas: Tell me about some writers you really like and/or admire?

Welch: I really enjoy reading many authors. However, the first few to come to mind were Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, and Patricia Highsmith.

Thomas: What advice would you like to give writers who are struggling with their first novels?

Welch: Don’t. Stop.

The road to publishing is long and daunting. I think the biggest thing that would have helped me early on is knowing how long it can take to see a book published, even after it has been written. You get the first draft done, you are proud and excited and waving your creation around to all your friends…and that’s wonderful, you should be proud. That being said, once you have the initial draft in place, there are many more things that have to happen for your book to get around.

If you’re self-publishing, edits upon edits upon edits await you. So does book formatting, cover design, blurb creation, promotions, etc., etc. If you are going to be querying agents or indie publishers, you have edits upon edits upon edits to face as well, but you also have to write and edit your query and synopsis, and once you have queried an agent/publisher, then comes the excruciating wait. Neither path is easy. Both require patience and determination and grit. But I am here to tell you, the years of dedication will have all been worth it when things finally start to happen.

Thomas: And let’s end with something a little different…Which of your character(s) would you take with you to spend the night in a haunted house? Why?

Welch: Hahahahaha! Really? None of them…I don’t trust any of them. I’m kidding; let me see. If I could choose any one of them and guarantee they would cause me no harm on our haunted adventure, I would want to take the monologue from Laveau. I can’t say too much without spoiling some of the surprise, but let’s just say I trust him to have a handle on things.