Thursday, December 31, 2015

Meet Your Writing Goals in 2016 #AmWriting



As we all know, time goes fast. It seems like it was only a moment ago that we were celebrating the start of 2015. To keep us on track in 2016, I'm asking you to be honest with yourself about your time management ability and the big picture of where you'd like to see your career twelve months from this exact moment.

Now, let's turn that big picture idea into twelve actionable steps. You may have two or three big picture ideas that you want to achieve and that's fine. Regardless, look at each month and set small, actionable steps that you can manage.

Here's the trick to staying on track and it's really easy. After you have your monthly steps, go to Follow-UpThen.com to set up monthly reminders that will be emailed directly to your inbox. I love this FREE service. I only started it a few months ago and it's been a lifesaver.

What you do is set up emails with your monthly goal in the subject line:
Jan1@followupthen.com (subject line with goals)
Feb1@followupthen.com (subject line with goals)
March1@followupthen.com (subject line with goals)
April1@followupthen.com (subject line with goals)
May1@followupthen.com (subject line with goals)
June1@followupthen.com (subject line with goals)
ETCETERA

The service sends you an email containing your goals for the month on the selected date. Write as much or as little as you'd like. I often give myself a little motivational pep talk along with my goal checklist because I'm sensitive and need encouragement. For instance, I'll write, "Have you finished edits and submitted to publisher by now? If not, finish by the 7th, no excuses. You can do this! How is such-and-such marketing strategy going? If it isn't working, discard it now. Don't waste your time." I actually get more mushy than that, but I was too embarrassed to give a direct quote!

Receiving that email in the inbox is also good for snapping you to attention if you'd been feeling unmotivated or overwhelmed. It's a simple redirect to your path.

Why not use a calendar? Well, calendars get ignored--your inbox is in your face. Or you can use it in conjuction to the calendar if you're set on sticking to that, but I suggest at least trying it for a few months. I can't understate how effective this service is.

Also, when you're setting up the emails, you are taking the time to really think out where you want to be on that path to your big picture and articulating it to your future self as if saying, "Hey, are you on track? If not, let's refocus." 

Time goes fast. Each day matters. Every month is another stepping stone toward realizing your goal. This is a tool that I've found to be very effective. I still use an editorial calendar for blog posts and things of that nature, but follow-up then is my "wake-up call" every first of the month to reassess where I am overall. 

Happy 2016! May all your dreams come true and then some! Focus, focus, focus!

***as a disclaimer, I am not affiliated with FollowUpThen.com in any way. I receive no payment for endorsing them, I simply love the service for its ease and reliability.***

Write on!
A L Easton
http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com 

Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com.





Friday, November 6, 2015

Creating an Author Brand by Having Fun #AmWriting


I hear this word a lot--branding--and it causes writers to panic. I'm going to make this simple for you. When it comes to creating your author brand, think about the image you want to create and have fun with it.

That's right. I said the F word.

Have fun with it. In the age of Instagram, Facebook Author Pages, Blogs, Tumbler, Twitter, and others, there are endless opportunities to allow your personality to shine through. Authors sometimes become uncomfortable thinking of branding themselves because they simply want to write and have their books magically sell themselves.

Believe me, I sympathize with you. I get it.

What I'm suggesting is that you stop looking at it as work and begin seeing it as play. Your fans want to know you. In this digital world, they want to feel like you're more than a name plastered on the front of a book they liked. What are your favorite foods or rock bands? What are your hobbies? What do you want your readers to see? Branding yourself doesn't mean you need to expose your inner most soul to the world. You are in complete control of this, but you do need to think "relationship."

As a romance author, at first thought I needed to just plaster pictures of hot men everywhere all the time, but that's not the case. Sure, it's fun to throw some of that into the mix, but your readers aren't shallow one-dimensional beings. They want to laugh--what's your sense of humor like? What makes you laugh? They want to be engaged--do you have a pet who likes destroying things? Post a photo, let the world see the mess. They'll love you for it. Whatever you post as an author, though, think to yourself "is this enhancing or distorting my public image?"

You see, even though you may be posting about your dog or the hikes you enjoy, you as a professional always need to be conscious that you're projecting an image of yourself to your readers. No, you don't always need to think about what is genre appropriate unless you are a children's author perhaps. You do, however, need to know your audience.

My romance readers love inspiration, humor, hot men, my pets, my hikes, pictures of dream homes, and things of that nature. I don't want to always have a new release that I'm pitching to them, but I do want to keep them engaged with me in between book launches. That's what a brand does.

I've heard some writers on cross-promotional teams say they can't support so-and-so because of their 'brand'. I disagree with this to a point. I feel it is being too narrow and is underestimating their audience to dismiss other genres. When I promote a nonfiction book from an author friend, I see it as respecting my audience for being well-rounded individuals. However, I also know I will alienate my audience if I start ranting about politics or religion--as will most in the public eye unless you're a mega star.

So think of who you want to be as an author--the image of yourself that you're comfortable presenting to the world. Consider what will build a relationship with your audience--the type of relationship that will motivate them to attend a book signing when you're in town and feel excited to interact with you one-on-one. What will the small talk be about? What makes them care about you enough to subscribe to your mailing list and like your fan pages? What makes them so invested in you that they're the first to sign up for all your pre-orders? I hate to tell you this, but it takes more than producing a good book a few times a year. By creating a brand and having fun with it, you're allowing them to be a part of your world and that has value.

Write On!
Amber Lea Easton
Editor, Author, Graphic Artist, Lover of Life
http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com
http://www.amberleaeaston.com 

Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Are You Allowing Ego to Tell You that You're Not Good Enough? Screw That #AmWriting

Monday Motivation
Have fun, entertain yourself, stay in the moment, detach from the outcome

Too many writers I know are perpetually depressed at the end of each month or each quarter when they receive royalty statements. Like clockwork, they lament that they are taking time off because "it's just not worth it" or they're quitting forever because they can't "find their niche." These are ego-driven reactions based on external forces and, at the end of the day, are useless to you as a creative professional.

Your Amazon ranking, bestseller status (which is highly suspect these days with so many claiming the title without actually earning it), social media followers, and what not have nothing to do with your intentions for your work. They have even less to do with your ultimate success.

I make my living solely as an author, editor and graphic artist--a soloprenuer. I have no safety net--no "day job". This is my full-time career. In fact, one third of the American workforce is now freelancing. What this means is that there are millions of people in the United States who don't have a guaranteed paycheck and whose income fluctuates. You, as an author, are not a special little snowflake so you need to ask yourself this question: is this your hobby or career?

If it's your hobby, then why are you freaking out? Any extra money generated from a hobby is 'fun money.' Relax and enjoy.

If it's your career, then suck it up and start acting like a business person.

Despite the roller coaster ride of being a solopreneur, I am not freaking out every month, resorting to sketchy tactics to get reviews, watching my "ranking" every day (I'm on so many different distributors that such an activity would be silly), or caring about what my peers are doing. No, I don't want to become homeless. I still have a mortgage to pay and kids in college. My behavior is focused purely on enjoying my job, thinking "big picture" at all times, and removing minute distractions from my to-do list. The result is that I am detached from the outcome--if one book sells better than another, that's fine. I don't look backward because I am continuously moving forward with new projects, marketing plans, and networking for opportunities.

So today I need you to ask yourself what's more important--your overall career or your Amazon ranking at this precise moment in time (keeping in mind that it changes in a blink of an eye)? If you want to succeed in this business, you need to detach from the outcome once your book hits the marketplace. If you've done your due diligence with professional editing, proofreading, revising, etc, then you have done the best that you could do on that project and it's time to move on to the next. Promote it, of course, I'm not saying otherwise. Marketing is the cornerstone of all business. I am, however, saying that getting caught up on the inconsequential trappings of so-called success to the point that it forces you into producing crap just to have a constant "new release" to keep up with so-and-so is stupid and self-sabotaging behavior.

Every single month I hear the same thing: "I'm doing everything to promote and can't sell anything." Well, are you really doing everything you can or are you actually making excuses? If given advice, do you listen with an open mind or are you quick to shut it down because you think you know better despite your wailing about failing? Are you blogging? Are you interacting with your social media followers or simply blasting out "buy my book" links? Do you scoff at those who are succeeding because you think you are somehow better--while you commiserate with those in the same boat as you so you can remain safely in your comfort zone?

Ego is a dangerous thing. It gets in the way of your success. While telling you that you're better than so-and-so, it also whispers that maybe--just maybe--you suck in comparison. Ego-based actions create the stress and the self-doubt. Detach from all that bullshit and focus on the work at hand.

You will be a better writer if you detach yourself emotionally from the outcome--push your ego aside--and allow yourself to be entertained by your work. Be grateful that you're living the writer lifestyle because so many people locked away on commuter trains dream of doing what you're doing. Understand that you are an entrepreneur just like the guy who owns the local pub--incomes fluctuate monthly so spend and save wisely. Do you think the pub owner quits in a fit of self-pity if his sales aren't what they were last month? No. He simply puts up the open sign on another day, does his best to improve or experiments with strategies to get more people in the door next month--he doesn't throw a tantrum or a pity party because the pub across town is "perceived" as more successful. Instead, he works his butt off toward his big picture business plan.

You are a business person and creative professional--both those descriptions should clue you in to the fact that you need to embrace the broader vision. To succeed, you must be relentless.

Don't be that writer who pouts in a corner every month because your royalties were miniscule. Instead, remind yourself that this is your business, take a web class, reevaluate your marketing plan, slow down to create quality rather than producing quantity, open your mind to other ways of conducting business, be professional at all times, continue to improve your craft, and have fun with your writing.

Never. Quit. Don't allow ego to sabotage you any longer. 

Write on!
Amber Lea Easton
Author, Editor, Graphic Artist, Lover of Life
http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com
http://www.amberleaeaston.com


Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sometimes You Just Gotta Cover Your Ears and Say "Nah-Nah-Nah" #AmWriting #MondayMotivation

Monday Motivation


I'm always lurking in various writers' online forums. Sometimes I participate but mostly I observe. That sounds much creepier than it really is--trust me. 

Lately I've seen an over-abundance of writers talking about the word "over-saturation" of the market place and lamenting their inability to gain any traction. This annoys me on many fronts, mainly because I've been making a living as a writer and editor for a long time now and don't like hearing such discouraging remarks that aren't necessarily true. 

Here's the reality: Yes, this business is hard. No, not one person holds the magic key that will unlock your stardom. Yes, you need to think big picture at all times or else you will become frustrated. Yes, you need to try a lot of different things until you find what resonates with you--and, no, that may not be what your best writer buddy is doing. Yes, you need a thick skin. No, rankings that change by the hour aren't important. No, you probably won't be a one book wonder that takes the world by storm. No, you really don't need an agent to succeed. Yes, you do need an editor (even an editor needs an editor--there's nothing better than a second pair of eyes looking at your work objectively). Yes, you will make mistakes. Yes, you will recover from whatever mistakes you're making (unless it's being an asshole or a plagiarist--those mistakes are almost impossible to recover from). No, just because you think you're creative on all fronts doesn't mean you can design your own cover--find an artist, preferably one who doesn't suck. No, you don't need to give your work away for free (this one is a pet peeve of mine--writers are artists and need to value their work)

Listen, you can do this. If writing is in your blood and is the passion that burns hot in your heart, you can do this. Publishing isn't a get rich quick scheme. You need to always be thinking big picture rather than being stuck on the small details (like rankings or reviews). I know too many authors who are making livings as such to be dissuaded by the people in the online forums talking about how the market is so over-saturated that they are considering giving up. I sometimes suspect that these people are posting to hear all the comments urging them not to quit--but I'm asking you not to be that person. 

Yes, there are a lot of books out there, that's true. It can feel daunting to look at the abundance of new releases every day. If you happen to know a lot of authors, you may feel competitive about so-and-so's new release. Don't. Remember: quality over quantity. 

Quality always rises to the top. Always. It may take time, but if this is truly your calling, you won't give up even if you are crippled with doubt from time-to-time. We all are. It's our nature as sensitive creators to feel doubt--which is why I'm bothered by these forums that are meant to support and only end up spreading discouragement. 

Work on your craft. Concentrate on making each book better than the last one. Know your big picture goal. Don't rush yourself because of some imaginary competition going on. The only things you should ever be worried about is your own editorial calendar and being better than you were yesterday. 

Write on!
Amber Lea Easton


Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Creating a Memorable Cast #AmWriting #WrtingTips

When you've met someone for the first time, it's easy to make your own assessment of their personalities, but seeing them interacting with others seals the deal about our overall impression of them. Can we see ourselves being this person's friend? Is there something compelling about them that makes us want to learn more? Are they charismatic? Shy?

These same impressions apply to our fictional characters. We as the author may know exactly how our main characters are at their soul level, but we can't clearly demonstrate that to readers unless we've created a memorable cast of secondary characters.

The cast of your novel is very important. Not only do they support the main characters, but they interact with them to give us a sense of who they are outside of of the current plot. If a character has an awkward relationship with their siblings where they become nervous or the interactions become stilted or more relaxed, this portrayal adds a layer of characterization that is almost subliminal to the reader. The same goes with co-workers, new friends, or childhood buddies. How our main characters interact with their supporting cast helps the reader formulate a bigger picture of who they're dealing with--and if they are likable or not.

Secondary characters don't necessarily need their own storylines unless you plan on creating a sequel or unless it's relevant to a sub-plot. If the latter is the case, don't forget to tie up all the loose ends by the end of the story. Mostly, however, the supporting cast comes and goes, woven into the story to support the main character's agenda. When you've done it right, readers will most likely comment in reviews about how they wish so-and-so would have their own story one day or how so-and-so was such a bitch that they felt sorry for your main character. You get the idea. They will notice the interactions, the friendships, the dysfunction or the humor without it subtracting from your main character's identity; rather, a successful secondary character enhances the plot whenever they make an appearance in the story.

I wrote an important word in that last sentence--enhance. As with every word that makes it to the final cut of your novel, make sure that each secondary character has a purpose for being present in the story. There have been times when, upon revision, I've combined two secondary characters into one after realizing that it sped up the pace and created more impact. I've also killed off a few that no longer served a point mid-way through and their deaths not only helped me get back on track but also provided me with a great plot twist. No matter how much you may like the secondary character because they make you laugh or maybe because you simply enjoy writing him or her, if he or she isn't adding something useful to the story, then you need to reevaluate your manuscript as a whole.

No one exists in a void--not even a recluse who interacts only with his dog. The dog, in that example, is a secondary character. Their interactions would be vital clues to the reader about the inner workings of the recluse's mind--perhaps revealing longing or anger or self-pity or love.

This all goes into the show and tell aspects of writing. Interactions with others shows the reader what your character is like in his world.

Look at your manuscript. Who are the main characters' key relationships? Who makes up the supporting cast and are they all relevant to the plot? Do they drive your story or are they dead weight? Are there two that are fundamentally the same and can they be combined?

Each part of your book--from every word in every sentence to each cast member--must serve the plot and main character development. Doing this well not only delivers an excellent read, but it also leads to loyal readers who say things like, "I felt like I knew these people and hated to see it end. I can't wait for this author's next book!"

Write on!
Amber Lea Easton
http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com
http://www.amberleaeaston.com 

Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Monday, October 12, 2015

When Every Word You Write Sucks #AmWriting #MondayMotivation


We've all had moments where we look at what we've written and absolutely hate it. We threaten to quit, never write again, burn the manuscript (I've even printed a manuscript out just so I could burn it--very dramatic of me, I know), tell ourselves that we're writing crap, and then pout for a few hours (or days).

But then we start again.

Are we crazy? Yeah, probably, but at least we're somewhat functional in the world, right?

If you're ever at the point of hating what you're writing, here's a trick to find that flow again. Save a tree and don't print out your manuscript just to burn it so you can feel better while you watch the pages curl up with flames. Instead, take a scene from your manuscript and write it from another character's perspective. Better yet, switch it from third person to first or vice versa. This is a "for-your-eyes-only" writing exercise designed to snap your mind out of a funk and back into creativity.

It is sort of like tricking yourself, actually. Think about it: if you're sitting there hating what you've written, what better way to prove to yourself how bad you are then to write it over again from a different point of view? Maybe you can even be snarky or go way over-the-top to the point of absolute absurdity. When you're finished, you'll have done something productive (writing) and you'll more than likely realize that you don't suck at all. Because think about it...how many people are adept at doing what you've just done? Not many.

Only a crazy author would or could write the same scene from different perspectives--or make fun of themselves through literary effect.

You're a F'n genius!

Now get to work.

Write on!
Amber Lea Easton
http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com
http://www.amberleaeaston.com 

Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Cherishing Your Creative Space #MondayMotivation #AmWriting

A writer's gotta do what a writer's gotta do...
Monday Motivation

Never underestimate the power of setting the mood, especially when you're creating. We all have our little turn-ons that trigger something inside that calls our Muse into action. Whether it's candles, incense, a certain soundtrack, absolute quiet, that special space by the window, or noise of a coffee shop, we creative professionals need a place where we can easily tap into the flow.

What does your creative space look like? Do you need to have certain "things" nearby as you settle in to work? Whatever you have in your creative space that eases you into a state where creativity snaps isn't silly. Consider it all tools of the trade.

As creative professionals, it's important for us to protect our space. If you don't have a specific area--like an office with a door--then establish a place somewhere else and honor it as your creative zone. 

I've spoken before about the importance of habits that train our brains to be 'on' at certain times. Having a designated area that is yours for writing does the same thing. Not only that, it pushes away the outside world enough where we are allowed to slip into the flow while feeling safe with our 'stuff'. 

For me, it's candles or incense paired with music. Once I settle into my desk with those elements going, I'm completely focused on writing. Nothing else matters as I slip into my own little world. I have a friend who must be at a coffee shop with the buzz of people around so he can be stimulated by their energy. Each of us has a 'thing'--and we need to honor it. 

I've found that many creative professionals shy away from admitting their quirks, at least at first. I think this has a lot to do with the naysayers that already look at us sideways for working outside the box. Saying that we're "writers" can still get us those snorts and eye rolls no matter how many books we've published or how many awards we've won. As a result, we sometimes shy away from protecting our creative boundaries.

I get it. Many, many years ago now, a snide man at my son's soccer game said to me, "Be honest, Amber, fiction writing is just fiction, isn't it?" (He must have thought long and hard waiting to use that line on me.) I looked at him and said, "It's none of your business what I do." And guess what? I spoke the truth. 

It is no one else's business what you do, especially when it comes to nurturing your creativity. 

Maybe you don't want to claim that corner of the living room because you think your family will mock you as selfish or fail to respect that area as yours. Perhaps you don't want to spend your days at a specific bench in the park that invites you to write because you don't want to look like a loon to the other parents at your kids' school. Maybe you've denied your true nature for so long because of appearances that you can't fathom having a shelf of candles on stand-by so you can burn one every night when you settle in to write your book. 

Give yourself permission to cherish your creative soul without caring one bit about what someone might say. Need to rock out when you're writing? Do it. Use headphones if you have to but, baby, crank that music! Need absolute quiet but live in a busy household? Demand your time, set that boundary, and make them respect it. Want candles? Burn them. Live somewhere that doesn't allow real candles or incense? They have the battery operated ones now that have the same flicker, do that. Claim that spot in your home that is yours alone for your writing--even if it's a corner of a room or the middle of the damn sofa. Need to write during your lunch hour at your day job yet people keep interrupting you? Find a quiet area and retreat there--you owe no one an explanation. Does nature do the trick for you? Sit on that bench, write your heart out, and don't worry about the people who may see you. Do you need a steaming glass of tea within reach? Then make that happen. 

Honor your space--wherever that may be and however that may look for you. 

Listen, creativity is a gift. Do you realize how lucky we are to have this ability? If we don't nurture it ourselves--if we're not warrior-like in our protection of it--who will?

Look at your creative space today and make it yours--whether you're sitting on a cliff like the guy in the picture or surrounded by high energy people in a busy coffee shop--if it flips that inner switch for you, own it and never apologize or make excuses for doing what you need to do to honor your creative soul.

Write on!
Amber Lea Easton
http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com
http://www.amberleaeaston.com 

Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com.



Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Art of #Writing a Memoir

Unless you are a memoirist, you may scoff at the idea of art being involved in creating a work of nonfiction. However, the memoirist traverses a narrow passageway along a sheer cliff when writing their personal story. If they slip up and become too preachy, they fall. If they don't write truthfully--even if means casting themselves into a harsh light--they fall. If they aren't eloquent in the delivery, they fall. It truly is a challenging hike.

All writers make themselves vulnerable when writing. That's what makes us unique in the world where most individuals hide behind social masks. Writers by nature know how to open our hearts and say, "this is me."

Memoirists take it to another level of transparency by telling the no-holding-back account of their real lives. The art in doing this is to make it relatable to their audience with emotional hooks that draw a reader in so they feel they are relating to the author's journey. To create such an emotional hook in nonfiction is easy if you're willing to truly become vulnerable to the process.

You see, everyone has a story--but we writers have the ability to tell it that we often take for granted. Writing is easy for us so we may shrug and dust off the idea that being able to express ourselves in this way is ordinary. It's not. If you feel you have a story inside you that others could relate to and are brave enough to put it into words for the world to read, then don't hold back because you think, "I'm not unique, everyone has a story to tell". There are people out there in the world who may share your struggle and aren't writers, who crave the knowledge that they aren't alone or seek inspiration that they can do what you've done. So, yes, in reality everyone does have a story tell, but can they?

I've written a memoir, which was a painful process. I think I cried over every word as I typed. I pushed through to the end, though, not because I felt I was special--but because I never wanted anyone out there in the big bad world to ever feel as alone as I did. I've received countless emails from all over the globe from others who shared a similar journey and thanked me for letting them know that their experience was "normal" for the situation.

Below are steps to writing a memoir that are born out of experience, but in no way should be construed as "rules", only as guidelines to help you get started.
  • Use journals if you have them. Before I began, I brought out all of the journals I'd written during the time. I read them all, cover to cover, to make sure the content was fresh in my mind. This wasn't easy, but it was necessary to remind myself of the facts. 
  • Before you begin, write yourself an intention statement. This is for you alone at first, but later can be tweaked to form into a query or back cover copy. Before you write one word of your memoir, sit quietly and think about why you're doing this. What is the point you want to get across? What is your message? Why are you willing to go out on a limb? Scribble it all down, whatever thoughts come to mind. Imagine yourself sitting across from Oprah and she says to you, "Why did you write this amazing memoir?" What's your answer? You need to know this before you begin. After you write your initial thoughts, streamline it down to one clear sentence that can be your mission statement that all of your chapters support. 
  • Outlining. As a fiction writer, I don't outline. As a nonfiction author, I do. With nonfiction, it is important to have a carefully laid out blueprint of what it is you intend to say in each chapter. This way you stay focused and clear. 
  • Start where you want to start--where you feel it's necessary for readers to understand the purpose of your book.
  • Beware of backstory. If you feel it's necessary to have a build up to where the nut and bolts of your story begins, then take time to figure out if you're truly beginning where you need to be. If so and you still want the long backstory, whittle it down to snippets rather than pages. Work it into conversations if you can. Make it flow. Memoirs, just like novels, need to flow well to be read well. Too much backstory is a speed bump. Keep that in mind. 
  • Don't hold back. If you screwed up, say so. If it's painful, let the reader feel your pain. If it's funny as hell, make us laugh out loud. How do you do this? By removing your filters. Memoirs more than any other genre of literature need to be ripe with honesty--the good, the bad, the ugly, the hilarious, the poignant--we want to feel everything you've felt. This can only be achieved if you do not censor yourself while writing. 
  • Don't include the mundane. No, that's not censoring--it's keeping your focus. I don't care if you washed your car or what you ate for breakfast unless it directly affects the story. Look at your outline. Every single word you write needs to be in line with both your mission statement and the outline you've created. No one cares about anything else. Just because it's a memoir doesn't mean we need to know the meaningless details. 
  • Just like you need to start in an appropriate spot, you also need to know when to end. Yes, you're still alive so technically the memoir could go on and on--don't let it. If you've delivered your message, then you're done. Write "the end" and move on. 
  • Hooks. Craft beginnings and endings of chapters to include emotional hooks that keep the readers turning the page. This should be easy for you to do because, if you're passionate enough to be opening your life for the world to see, I'm confident you can come up with emotional hooks.
  • No, you don't need to be famous to write a memoir. I wrote one that ended up being named 4th on the "10 Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list and hit both national and international bestseller lists. I'm just a writer who lives in the mountains with my dogs. I'm just like you. I read a memoir by a lady who moved with her husband to Costa Rica called, "Happier than a Billionaire." She's not famous, but she wrote a damn good book. People will tell you "you're not famous, who cares?" Believe me, someone out there will care. Write your book. 
I hope that helps. 

Write On!
Amber Lea Easton

Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Five Reasons Why Writers are Amazing #Motivation #AmWriting

 Monday Motivation

Despite being a professional writer for a few decades now, I'm still put in the hot seat by relatives and random strangers about having a "real" job. I hear this complaint from other writers, too. It seems like our lifestyle truly irks others a lot more than it bothers us.

Today for Monday Motivation I want to remind you why you are amazing:

  • Writing is hard work. It takes discipline and focus. Not everyone can do what we do. They may say that they have an idea for a book, but it's a whole other animal to actually complete a manuscript, let alone publish it. There's nothing easy about it. Sitting down to write, rewrite, edits, rejections, rewriting again, pitching...it's a far cry from easy. We may love it, that's true, but being passionate about our jobs is a good thing and doesn't negate the effort involved. We freelancers know the meaning of "hustle" because--if we don't meet deadlines, come up with original concepts, and pitch our projects well--then we don't eat. That's hard work and we need to give ourselves credit for all of it. 
  • As solopreneurs, we create our own hours. If our child has a school field trip, we can rearrange our schedules to chaperone. Need to go to the doctor? No problem. We're flexible. 
  • We're brave. We're willing to risk public criticism on a daily basis by putting our work into the world. More than that, we've abandoned the status quo to roll the dice on a freelance lifestyle. We're modern day warriors! (Well...warriors may be an exaggeration...but we're definitely braver than the guy who sits in his cubicle all day hating life because he's too scared to lose the security of a steady paycheck and too afraid to risk anything on a dream. Fail or succeed, we have gone into the unknown and tried. Do you realize how many people never try?)
  • We are masters of our Fate. We control everything from the amount of projects we take on, the prices we set, the continuing education we seek, the marketing we embrace or discard, the exercise we work into our schedule--all of it is one hundred percent our decision. We alone decide what our brand is, what ideas we'll pursue, and what our intentions are each day. No one is handing us anything. 
  • We are free. We can work anywhere at anytime. Don't forget about the "free" in freelancer. We can be working on the beach or sitting at our desk. We are free of the constraints of 9-5! We are free of the commute! Have a client who wants to meet at 9AM? It's up to you to decide if that works with your schedule. Perhaps you'll want to ask them to bump it to later in the day so you can avoid rush hour. (Just tell them you have a scheduling conflict, which is true, they don't need to know anything else.) We're FREE! It's the digital age where we can have Skype calls with clients anywhere in the world...from anywhere in the world. 
So the next time some snotty know-it-all sneers when you say that you're a writer and responds with something like, "so what's your real job?" or "so you're actually unemployed, right?" Look them in the eye with confidence and say, "If by real job, you mean ordinary, then, no, I don't have a real job. I'm a writer. I create something from nothing. I have an extraordinary lifestyle...much better than ordinary." Then walk away because people like that aren't worth your time. You are too busy being amazing. 

Be proud of what you do and what you're creating. It's special. Hold your head high and be proud to be a creator. 

Write on!
Amber Lea Easton

Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Why Authors Need to Blog #Writing #BookMarketing



Fresh content, like fresh meat, incites interest amongst the hungry. In our case, I'm talking about readers hungry for content rather than starving beasts gathering around road kill. 

I've met numerous authors who tell me that they don't blog because they don't have anything to say or because they don't have time. Yet you'll find them on social media every day tweeting out buy links or posting on Facebook about their husbands or their cats or their coffee. This is a mistake in time management. Blogs are one marketing tool all authors need to utilize on a regular basis. 

I admit that this might be easier for me because of my journalism background. I'm accustomed to coming up with topics and creating daily content. So, yes, I admit that I may have an advantage in that area--but that is where the advantage stops. I still need to plan out my topics on an editorial calendar, sit down to write them, and consistently publish. 

Blogs give readers the opportunity to stay connected with you. Perhaps they'll share a great post with their friends or comment on your article. Your posts may reach people who have never heard of your books, but they might check them out after reading your blog. You can also monetize your blog for some passive extra income. 

The concept is straight forward: You, the author, writes fresh content. That content is free and available to an unlimited audience. That audience arrives on your blog, likes what they see, checks out your books that you have linked on your sidebar. Perhaps you have an e-course, too, that they may be interested in or a Pinterest board for them to follow. 

But what to write about? Does it always need to be about your book or genre? No. Do you have great recipes that you'd like to share? Blog it! Do you have an interesting hobby? Blog it. Do you have opinions about current headlines going on in the world? Blog it. Do you like reviewing books or movies? Blog it. Do you have cute pets who are always stirring up trouble? Blog it! Do you have an interest in the paranormal? Blog about it! Are you getting the gist here? 

We're in a visual age--so add photos that are eye-catching and relevant. (also get them legally) Pin them to Pinterest and add them to Instagram--yes, those venues work for authors, stay tuned for a future blog post. 

There are no limits to what you can do! It's your blog! You can write about anything that will interest your readers. Just like people get sick of hearing political ads about "vote for me, vote for me," they also get tired of hearing "buy my book, buy my book" with everything you share. 
I have a blog where I write flash fiction every Friday. It's fun for me to challenge myself by writing a very, very short story on my personal blog. I also write about being a widowed mom and the challenges that presents. On another blog, I write about all things romance--from what's sexy in today's fashion to romantic ideas to guest author promotional stops. On yet another blog, I write about paranormal events and all things unexplained (because it's fun for me). On this blog, it's all about the writing industry because I'm a full-time editor who likes helping authors. 

Do you see what I'm saying? All of that content is circulated constantly. On each of my blogs, I post at least twice a week. Each post is shared on Triberr, Google Plus, Tumbler, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. How much does this exposure cost? NOTHING. 

Do I still have time to edit for my clients? Yes. Do I still have time to write novels and meet deadlines? Yes. Do I ever see the sunlight? Yes. No, I am not superhuman. I am disciplined. 

If you don't have a blog, get one now. If you have one that you only use when a new release is about to launch, stop being lazy. There are people out there who aren't authors--who are simply professional bloggers--who are making money talking about being a parent or doing crafts. Some of these people have quit their jobs to BLOG. That's it. They have sponsors, they utilize Google Ad Sense, they sell e-courses about blogging or crafting. They use their blog content (free) to draw readers to their site to buy something (crafts, parenting supplies, etc). WE as authors have an advantage because we know how to write. We already have a product to sell (books)...yet it's sad how many authors I know who don't utilize this forum at all with the lame excuses of "nothing to say" or "no time." 

Let me clue you in on something: there is always enough time if you correctly manage it. What's important to you? How are you managing your book marketing time? Where are you putting your attention? How are the tools you're utilizing working for you? If you know something isn't working, then stop doing it. Waste no more time on it. Focus only on what works. Experiment. Blog! 

Write on! 
Amber Lea Easton

Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com.


Monday, August 31, 2015

Embrace Your Creative Spirit and Tune Out the Naysayers #Writing #Amwriting

Monday Motivation
(caution, there is swearing today because I'm all fired up)
I often lurk in writers' groups. Sometimes I comment, occasionally I'll post an interesting article, but lately I'm cringing. Why? Because I see other 'authors'--some who have yet to publish--telling others to limit themselves either by changing their memoir into a novel "because they're not famous enough for anyone to care about a true story" or watering down the sex scenes to "make it more accessible to the more conservative folks."

Fuck these people. Don't listen to this kind of advice.

If you want to write a memoir, do it because you're compelled to do so. I wrote a memoir about surviving my husband's suicide and parenting small children through trauma. Guess what? I wasn't famous at the time. I was scared to death, though, to put my life on display. Why did I do it? Because I never wanted another young widow to feel so isolated and alone during the darkest time of her life. So I wrote it. I had never been so scared to publish anything in my life--and I'd been a professional writer for years! Not only was it well received, I have heard from people all over the world about the impact it made on their lives. If I had listened to all the naysayers in my life--and believe me there were plenty--I would have been too afraid to put myself out there.

As for watering down anything you're writing for the sake of someone else, I plead with you to do the opposite.

Creativity is a precious gift that we must honor for ourselves and for the sanctity of our profession. As a creative professional, you have only one obligation when writing your story--to stay true to your vision. Period. That's it.

I've been told by relatives that my romantic thrillers (mainstream) are "too dirty" to read and they "wonder" what I'm thinking while writing them. I usually laugh out of sheer shock because it seems like an absurd thing to say, but I never let this into my head while writing. (Thank goodness they don't know my pen name, that's all I can say.)

I urge you to keep the critics out of your mind while sitting at the keyboard. Write the story that's in your heart, make it the best it can be, choose your writing groups wisely, work with an editor who respects your vision, and put it out into the world to honor your personal truth.

Not everyone can write a story from beginning to end. It's a special ability to create. Sure, a lot of people have "ideas" that they love to share with those of us in the industry, but actually being brave enough to create is a whole other beast. If you're one of the courageous ones who opens their hearts to the world, yes, there will be naysayers in your midst. Ignore them. Tell them not to read your work because there's a fan base out there for all of us. (I encourage my relatives to stop stalking me if they're so concerned about my illicit ways...they stalk anyway.) 

Guard your creative energy wisely. When you're alone at the keyboard, there is only one thing that matters: your story. If you have doubts about it and choose to go to an online writers' group for advice, be careful. I hate to say this, but some will try to deter you because of their own fears. Don't make their self-doubt yours. You must have an independent mind where you are open to feedback but not attached to it. If something resonates with you, understand why--is it giving you an excuse to quit, which is what you were looking for in the first place?

Your story might not be something I like, but that doesn't make it wrong. The same goes for your mother or your brother or your cousin or the neighbor down the street--who the hell cares? Be true to your creative spirit, write well, read books to hone your craft, stay focused on your story, surround yourself with at least a few like-minded people (they do exist, trust me) and tune out anyone who tries to deter you.

You have a gift. No one can tell your story the way you can. Hold your head high.

Write on!
Amber Lea Easton
http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com

Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Don't Underestimate the Power of 3-D #Writing

What am I talking about? What is 3-D writing? It's the ability of bringing a scene so vividly to life that the reader forgets that they're reading and actually sees the setting. This means adding smell, sight, touch, intuition, and maybe even taste into your descriptions.

Think about the first things you notice when you walk into a new place--the scents, the lighting, the 'vibe', the people. Are you capturing those things in your own work? If so, are you using power words or are you writing something lame like "it smelled weird" or "it felt off." Those are weak so I hope you're amping it up to something like "the smell of wet dogs barely concealed the scent of rotten eggs." As a writer, you want to stimulate a reaction in your reader. This needs to be your goal with every scene.

As a writing exercise, I'd like you to look at this picture below and write one or two paragraphs describing it or the scene you believe it depicts. Use the senses. Make your words come alive. I'd love it if you'd share your results in the comments below. Don't worry. I'm not here to judge. Writing is fun, remember? As this blog progresses, I'm going to do similar 3-D writing exercises.

So...look at the photograph, imagine the place, and bring it to life. No lame sentences allowed! Show me, make me feel it, challenge yourself.


Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Staying True to You #MondayMotivation #AmWriting


The publishing business is hard to navigate, especially in the beginning. Some may try to tell you to be more of this or less of that and you may be tempted to listen because you want so desperately to find your niche.

I understand. I've been there.

I once believed anyone who I felt had more knowledge than me, only later to find out they were doing this writing thing as a hobby whereas I've always done it as a career. Perhaps they spoke with more authority or simply at a louder decibel. Honestly, I don't think I trusted myself enough to stand my ground because, like a lot of writers, I let self-doubt undermine me for awhile.

As I waded through the muck, I tried things that didn't resonate with my soul because I wanted so desperately to get more exposure or "not fall behind." I made a fatal mistake--I compared myself to the perceived success of others.

The key word there is perceived. Writers are simultaneously competitive, driven, and creative while being plagued with self-doubt, insecurities, and sometimes loneliness in this solo profession. As a result, we tend to gravitate to anyone who seems like they have their shit together. Let's be honest, though--we're all the same, no matter what level of professional success we've achieved.

I speak the truth. The most successful of authors have days when they want to toss the computer out the window, quit to work as a bartender on a beach somewhere (that's my personal favorite), or never write again. It's our nature--some of us hide it better than others.

So why compromise who you are to be like so-and-so when we are essentially the same? Yes, we have different goals. Yes, we are in different stages of our careers. So what? We need to honor where we are on our own path rather than trying to race to catch up to so-and-so. We must be true to our own journeys as creators.

It took me awhile to come to this revelation, but I'm relieved to have finally come full circle. I have recently disconnected from anything and everything that isn't serving the highest purpose for my career. Anything that resonated as wrong for me is now gone. Writers groups that were bogged down with negative thinkers or unpaid obligations that wasted my time without giving me the connections I'd hoped for have been cast aside.

There comes a time to reevaluate your career and lose the dead weight. Anything that isn't moving you forward is essentially holding you back.

Think about why you started writing. Don't just say something random or cliched about it being your calling. I want you to get real with yourself. Did you always see yourself scraping by or did you want to go for the glory?

There's no shame in admitting the latter, by the way.

Ask yourself if the activities you're doing today--if the people you've aligned yourself with--are propelling you forward or keeping you stuck.

Are the writers' groups you're involved with encouraging a sharing of ideas or have they become bogged down with the "my way or the highway" mentality of the leadership?

Are you seeking new connections on a weekly basis or have you become complacent when it comes to networking?

Are you actively staying educated on the changing dynamics of the industry by reading blogs or online trade magazines? Let me give you a tip: you need to do this. What's golden today may be outdated tomorrow.

Are the so-called experts in your inner circle deserving of the title? Know who you're taking advice from--even me (my bio is to the right)--before you believe it to be so.

Do you have an editor/writing buddy/beta reader trying to get you to change your style to be more or less? Always keep an open mind because some feedback is crucial, but at the end of the day you need to be proud of your work. After all, your name is on it. What do you want that to stand for a year from now? Ten years from now?

Do you feel good about what you're writing? Do you feel happy when you think about the projects ahead? If not, why? What can you change? You're a writer! Isn't this your dream?

Ultimately, you are the author of your own career. Now is the time to reassess how it's going. There is no harm in choosing new writers groups or disconnecting from peers who bring you down. I ask you to remember the dream you had when you first set out on this journey--are you in line with that today? If not, it's very easy to make a course correction.

Don't wait. Be true to yourself today. Honor that dream you had and eliminate anything that doesn't resonate with your heart.

Write on!
Amber Lea Easton
http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com 


Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Cut Open a Vein #AmWriting #WritingAdvice


Like the title? No, I'm not advocating suicide.

To write well in any genre, we need to delve into the power of surrender. Cut open the vein, bleed, feel the pain flowing from yourself and into your story. Do not censor yourself. Do not worry about your mother's feelings (or anyone else's for that matter). Do not concern yourself with going "too far"...because in writing there is no such thing.

If you feel as if you're heart is exposed and pulsating for the world to see, then you are doing it right. If you're crying, then you're doing it right. If you're laughing out loud, you're doing it right.

Do you understand? You must be so connected with your writing that your emotions are raw--whether it be laughter, tears, fear, or angst, if the writer doesn't feel it, neither will the reader.

It's human instinct to try to pull back when we reach a certain threshold--but you're not an ordinary human, you're a writer. You go where others are afraid to tread. You're an adventurer of the dark side of human nature. You're the explorer of what makes people tick. When you reach that threshold where your inner critic warns "be careful" or "hold back", you must push through to get to the nitty gritty of your story.

The pain doesn't stop there. After you've poured yourself into the story, you must be ruthless in the editing of it. Do you know when you've truly nailed an emotional scene? If, in your revisions, you the author is once again laughing or crying or feeling the pain and you only vaguely recall writing it, then you know you have nailed it. Good for you! There's no greater joy for an author than to re-read your words and think, "wow, that was raw and amazing and I can't believe I wrote that!"

Bleed, I say. Push yourself. Ignore the ideas of "too far" or "too raw" or "too deep." You'll be a better writer for it in the long run.

Write on!
Amber Lea Easton
http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com 


Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com.