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Archive for the ‘writing a best seller’ Category

Publisher’s Weekly Review of Maven Fairy Godmother Excerpt

I am so thrilled to get a pre-publication review of Maven Fairy Godmother from Publisher’s Weekly on the Amazon Breakout Novel Award promotion!   I am certainly willing to “smooth out the prose.”

Manuscript Review by Publishers Weekly, an independent organization
Maven, a dissatisfied middle aged woman with dismal job prospects, gets tapped for a new job-fairy godmother in the Faery dimension. The job comes with nigh-limitless magical powers and a set of carefully defined rules. Senior Fairy Godmother Fiona firmly believes in upholding the archetypes of stories and doesn’t like how modern-day Maven breaks the rules, forcing her charges to acts of self-realization and independence. Fiona’s other charge, Tulip, struggles to come to terms with her changeling birth and must commit to a life in Faery or in Mundane. Ultimately, the novel follows Maven’s training, as well as the deftly interwoven lives of her “clients,” or women whose wishes she has granted. This fairy tale world, while somewhat self-aware, has a keen understanding of the roles archetypes play in fiction, but manages to subvert them. The author raises questions about the absence of middle-aged women in fairy tales that draw obvious parallels to modern-day existence. A bit of work on smoothing out the prose and explaining the world in greater detail would go far in making this novel a remarkable piece.

 You can help me build my platform for Maven! Please go to Amazon, download the free excerpt of Maven Fairy Godmother, and if you like it, write me a review. (the more stars the better… :-))


Semi-Finalist at Amazon!

Maven Fairy GodmotherI got word today that my novel, Maven Fairy Godmother, is a semi-finalist in’s Breakout Novel Contest. By all means, go over a give it a free read, and tell me what you think.  I am glad to have made it to the first round, and would like to move up. The comments so far have been very helpful and mostly positive. I am so excited.

I’m also concerned that there may be some serious re-writes ahead, but that is okay. I’ll have some good feedback before I take another look, and in the meantime, I can work on the sequel, already about 25% in first draft.  I am doing more writing than I have in most of my life, now that I have two of my own blogs and one for my job. Research takes time, but it pays off in more ideas and more resources.  Any by the time Maven is in print, I’ll have the platform up and going for her to stand on. 

The comments so far indicate that Maven is not far enough from the stereotype of fairy godmothers in Disney movies to be interesting. I may reevaluate that, especially in the first 50 pages of the book, which is all that is presented at Amazon.  If an editor reads that far into a book, then the writer has a good shot. From my own experience, I won’t read that much of a book expecting it to get better, and the few that I have read because it was required, never got better, and some that stated out with promise never delivered. So I am very glad to get this kind of feedback.

 The semi-finalists collect votes, and from there the finalists are chosen. The final winner will get a publication contract, and the 9-runners up will be able to publish through Booksurge, the Amazon Print on Demand service. 

The writers group that published Port Nowhere used Booksurge, back before Amazon bought them, and they do good work. Their templates are easy to use so that you can make a decent looking book with in a reasonable amount of time, although it helps to have a deep knowledge of some of Word’s advanced features.  

 I also have some other stories, though not about Maven, at my website , These are the stories from Port Nowhere, and are not fantasy but space opera. They were a lot of fun to do, and I hope sometime to revise the proprietary bits out and republish them in a new setting. Now to spam all my friends and get out the votes.  This is one candidate I am completely behind–unless that means I am beside myself!

Novel Structure and a Hook

This simple structure comes from Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method of plotting a story:

sentence one: introductory sentence.
sentence two: disaster #1
sentence three: disaster #2, caused by consequences of actions taken because of disaster #1.
sentence four: disaster #3, caused by consequences of actions taken because of disaster #2,
sentence five: resolution and closing

It’s the basis of all screenplay writing and other how-to-plot materials. The introductory sentence is the statement of who and where the protagonist is now. Disaster #1 is the inciting incident, coming no more than five pages into the story, after the perfect world is set in motion. It’s called the Initiation in the Hero’s Journey. Disaster #2 is what happens when the protag responds to Disaster #2–a.k.a. the Road of Trials. This leads to Disaster #3, The Dark Night of the Soul where the protag either reaches within to find the strenght in the Shadow or we have a tragedy. The resolution plays out the results and brings the story back to where it started, the Return.

James N Frey suggests that in addition to this structure, the author needs a premise, a point that is illustrated by the story (NOT a moral tacked on to the end.) The premise gives the plot and the disasters a thread of logic and meaning–that is, if you want to write a DAMN GOOD NOVEL. Don’t we all?

So here’s my stab at this process. I have a premise, and lucky for me, the preliminary scribblings I have done do fit this premise: Gratitude is the only way out of the prison of guilt.

In this case, the imprisonment has to do with the feeling of being stuck because one is grabbing too much to try to have security–like the money with his fist caught in the jar of nuts. He won’t let go enough to let his fist out of the jar. The characters work from a sense of guilt and try to atone through magic or through controlling the magic of others.

All my characters have some guilt (or at least resentment, which is a component of guilt). this is a second novel in the series, so there is lots of baggage from the first. Set in the dimension of Faery, where the Fairy Godmother Superior manages the wishes and in some cases, the lives of the populace.

Sentence One:

The number of wishes to be granted in Faery have grown to an unmanageable proportion, so Maven is sent to recruit missing fairy godmothers to help with the overflow.

Disaster #1:

When Maven finds the first FGM on her list, she is captured and threatened with being drained of her magic, and possibly her life.

Disaster #2:

Along with the normal folk who want wishes granted, monstrous creatures–trolls, ogres, and other beasties are seeking Maven to grant their wishes, thus sucking up more magic from the realm of Faery and threatening its very structure.

Disaster #3:

d’Book, alter ego of a secondary character whose magical ability is to take magic from others captures Maven, threatening all of Faery in his bid to rule the magical world, and thereby to destroy it.

Sentence Five:

Hwo does she get out of this? Probably by not doing magic at all. Could be interesting since she’s not a ninja, or sorceress or even a halfling with a disappearing pig trick.

More later. Meanwhile, Check out Randy Ingermanson’s fiction courses!

The WriteWise Program from Bookwise

Before you plunk down a few thousand to self-publish your book, please read about the WriteWise program. I am an associate of the Bookwise company, so I do have an interest in making a commission from it, but here is the information as it was given to me. Make up your own mind about the benefits, but it looks like a deal for the money.

Here’s a link to a free teleconference call that you can listen to all the information.

The program costs $4995. For that you get:


  • Your work must be in harmony with and meet BookWise standards
  • You must have the financial resources
  • You are willing to invest the time and energy

If you are selected you will receive the following:

  • Coaching to discover your unique bestselling idea
  • Admittance to a 2-Day Write Wise Writing Seminar
  • Assigned a “Book Producer”
  • Your manuscript will be finished in 2008
  • Your book will be strongly endorsed by Richard Paul Evans & Robert G. Allen
  • Richard Paul Evans and Robert G. Allen to write foreword for your book
  • RPE and RGA will be your literary agents to major publishers
  • BookWise publishing guarantees that your book will be published
  • you get 50 copies of your book for your use
  • Book editing
  • Book cover design
  • RPE and RGA will escort you to Book Expo 2008
  • RPE and RGA’s Step by step plan to make it a best seller
  • RPE and RGA’s Step by step plan for attracting media to your book
  • A “Wow” Press Release about your book
  • Mock media audition test
  • Live interview on
  • Autographed copies of all of Richard Paul Evans and Robert G. Allen’s books
  • Photo with Richard Paul Evans and Robert G. Allen for your website
  • Listed in acknowledgements of future books by Richard Paul Evans and Robert G. Allen
  • Website with purchase links and name collection
  • Learn the book industry
  • Get your book to the right people
  • Partners in BookWise publishing royalties

For comparison, see Booksurge’s Fictionwriter program at $5759
(Booksurge is a print on demand subsidiary of

  • Author’s Advantage (Black & White Interior)
  • Comprehensive Copy Editing (includes up to 3 rounds)
  • Signature Cover Design
  • Advanced Marketing Copy
  • Short paragraph describing your book
  • Condensed sentence description
  • Author biography & Publicity Kit with 500 full-color postcards, business cards, bookmarks
  • Press Release Creation
  • Targeted Press Release Distribution Service
  • Buy X, Get Y Advertising on -matching your book with a similar bestseller

iUniverse/, which is owned by Barnes & Noble, has a premium package for $2200 which includes book packaging, author support, a website (for an extra $29/month!) and marketing/editing package. You get 20 paperbacks free.

From, 10,000 copies of a 300 page book at 6×9 would cost over $56,000, roughly $5.60 each. They do not offer any assistance for editing or marketing other than their website. .

You can also contact Lee Clevenger, Southeastern Writers vice president and faculty guru about the services.

A limited number of authors will be in the program at one time in classes, so you will have support form fellow authors. If you should decide that this is for you, please contact me as an enroller. You do NOT have to join Bookwise to take advantage of this program.  Visit my WriteWise page for more information

Write ON!
If you are interested in Bookwise, having your own bookstore website and network marketing business, I’d love to hear from you. 

Information about  Richard Paul Evans and Robert G. Allen’s WriteWise program for James Brausch

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