Monday, December 4, 2017

Knowing Your Audience #AmWriting #WritingTips

As an editor, I've discovered one of the biggest problems with an aspiring author's manuscript is that they really don't understand the reader demographic of their chosen genre. Even though they claim to be an avid reader of young adult, for example, they write as if they are targeting the literary elite with words no thirteen year-old would understand.

Knowing your audience sounds like a no-brainer, but have you really thought of your work from a reader's perspective? This is why it's so important to put your manuscript aside for a month or more after finishing the first draft. Coming back to it with a fresh perspective--from a reader's mindset--will  help revisions go much better. Too many people want to rush the process. Once they have a manuscript completed, they start querying or, worse, want to self-publish it without doing the necessary revisions.

Stop. Put it away, out-of-sight. Wait a month or so. Then before even trying to revise, simply read it from beginning to end as a reader would. Make notes where the plot feels slow or a character isn't jiving with how he/she was in the beginning to how you intended he/she to be in the end. Readers will pick up on this.

What about your words? Who are you trying to impress? Other authors? Your mom? Your co-workers from the day job? If you're trying to impress anyone other than your reader demographic, then you are moving in the wrong direction.

Publishing is a business. The sooner you realize this as an author, the more successful your career will be. No, I'm not suggesting you sell-out your vision or compromise your creative integrity. You can be true to you while still thinking big-picture and understanding words like "demographic."

Finding readers for your story should be your ultimate goal. Your characters deserve to be seen and experienced. But, if you're clogging up your manuscript with unnecessary--or dare I say pretentious--scenes and words, you will fail.

I'm an editor. It's my job to tell you how it is based on twenty-years in the business where I have worked as both editor and author. Because of this, I'm asking you to be hard on yourself and read your manuscript while asking yourself, "Who am I communicating with here? Am I on target?"

Agents will ask themselves this question when they read your sample chapters. Acquisition editors will ask themselves these questions when they read your manuscript. Readers may not ask those specific questions, but they'll react when they read your first few pages by knowing whether this story appeals to them or not.

Get ahead of the game by revising with a laser-like focus. Know your audience. If you write for everyone, you connect with no one.

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 Creative Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. As both an editor and a creativity coach, she strives to work as a partner with her authors so that they achieve success in their creative endeavors. Her memoir, Free Fall, 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. With clients across North America and the Caribbean, she has a proven record of success. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Training Your Muse to Work on Demand #NaNoWriMo #Amwriting #WritingTips

Over the years of being a professional writer both as a journalist and as a prolific author I've trained my mind to snap into writing mode whenever I sit down at the computer. This is common among most professional creatives who make their living full-time with their chosen art. However, whenever I meet aspiring authors, the same question comes up time and time again: where do you find your inspiration?

I don't.

Some days I'm not inspired at all--maybe my kids have been fighting or the car has broken down. Maybe I'm worn out or pissed off. But guess what? If I don't write or edit or market--if I don't work--then I can't support myself or my family. I am a professional author and editor--a career that I worked hard for, paid dues for, and love with all my heart. I treat it like a business because that's exactly what it is.

What I have discovered over twenty years as a full-time writer is that aspiring authors balk at the word work when it is paired with their art as if marrying the two words equals prostitution. They yearn for the illusion of Hemingway drunk in Key West all afternoon or the romance of Fitzgerald's life in Paris. Well, both of those authors woke up every day and wrote their hearts out. Hemingway used to write standing up so that he would finish early in the day...then and only then would he play. He got up and went to a all of us do who make a living in this chosen profession.

If I sat around and stared at clouds all day--and, don't get me wrong, I stare at plenty of clouds--I would accomplish nothing. Instead, I have a routine that I fiercely protect. My writing is work, the fact that I love it is a bonus.

Perhaps there in lies the rub, eh?

People have this idea that if they love what they do this much, it has to be thrust into hobby status. To make money from it is somehow sacrilegious to the infamous Muse we all claim to serve. To admit to making money from it is selling out. Hmm...I wonder if Mark Zuckerberg feels he sold out after his idea of Facebook made him a billionaire? I doubt it. I wonder if Nicholas Sparks cries himself to sleep after every movie premiere that was born from one of his novels? I don't think so.

Professional writing is a real job. Get over yourself if you think it's some divine mission of your soul and you must suffer and struggle to be authentic. If you believe this to be true, then why are you writing a manuscript at all? Why are you reading writing blogs or attending workshops to hone your craft? Why are you sending out query letters or checking out successful Indie authors? Why are you putting in the hours to revise and dream? The ultimate goal of most aspiring authors is to one day be published--but that seems to be as far as they get. They don't ask themselves the important question of "then what?"

Once you get an agent who wants multiple revisions, then what? Are you going to tell him/her that you can't get them done until you feel inspired?

Once you get a publisher who throws firm deadlines at you, then what? Are you going to fail to deliver because the Muse eluded you?

Once the book is published and you suddenly have readers wanting more of your work, then what? Are you going to tell them you can't deliver because all the pressure is destroying your inspiration?

One reason I love National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is because it teaches writers to produce on demand. Perhaps the unsuspecting novice doesn't realize they are being trained, but that's what is happening. They see their writing buddies producing massive word counts a day. They see their own progress and a clear goal ahead. They sit down during one month and write without doubt stopping them. All they know is they want to reach that goal, to be part of a community pursuing a dream.

Why not do that every month? Why not do that every day? It's possible. There are many of us doing it--journalists, television writers, novelists, essayists, bloggers--so why can't you?

The Muse is ours to play with as we choose. We call Her forth when we need her. We have the power of creativity at our fingertips. The Muse wants to play with us, she is not a bitch. She is waiting simply for an invitation. If you tell her, "when I sit down at my desk today, meet me and be ready to play" she'll be there. Not only will she come prepared to kick ass, she'll take you away from those every day troubles that you were using as an excuse to avoid her.

Inspiration is a nice idea but a foolish one. Save it for your time day-drinking (of which I am a fan) or star gazing...after you've gotten your word count in for the day. Write--even if you don't think it's worth crap--write. Every. Day.

The Muse is waiting for you, all you need to do is show up.

Write on!
Amber Lea Easton
Prolific Author and Professional Editor/Creativity Coach

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 Creative Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. As a creativity coach, her mission is to work with authors from the idea phase all the way to completion, working one-on-one to make dreams come true. 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 For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to
Email Amber for editing or creativity coaching at

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Reckless Endangerment is today's featured #book by Mountain Moxie Publishing #RomanticSuspense

Each week I will be highlighting a featured novel from Mountain Moxie Publishing. Today the spotlight shines on the romantic suspense novel, Reckless Endangerment. Coming home again isn't always easy for wounded warriors or for the loved ones they've left behind. Check out the excerpt, blurb, and a taste of a few reviews below. 

Back cover blurb...

 Coming home again isn't always easy. Colonel Michael Cedars and reporter Hope Shane fell in love in a warzone, but then the world blew up and splintered their lives in two. 

Sometimes heroes fall and take the ones they love down with them. A Marine accustomed to giving orders, Michael struggles to find his role in civilian life. Wounded, he faces new battles as he learns to walk again, struggles with wartime ghosts, and questions his abilities as a husband.

But theirs is a love worth fighting for—and Hope Shane doesn't surrender. An investigative reporter, she's hot on the trail of a human trafficking ring. Danger intensifies as she gets closer to the truth, but the human traffickers know her weakness.

Will Michael become her Achilles Heel? Will her reckless disregard for rules shatter the fragile bonds of their marriage once and for all? Is he still the hero she married or has he become a liability that could get them both killed?

An excerpt...

“None of us are who we were.  Do you think I’m the same person I was before seeing my best friend killed?  Before stepping over Marishka’s body and the bodies of her murdered children?  Before seeing you face down in the dirt?  Do you think I don’t see corpses in my sleep?  Do you think that hasn’t changed me?” she asked.

“You look the same.”  His gaze flicked over her before sliding toward the window. 

  “Maybe I’m still walking on both of my feet, but that doesn’t mean other parts of me aren’t paralyzed.” She scrubbed her fists against the tears and hated herself for being weak.  “I’m pissed at you for denying me access to you in Frankfurt.  You have no idea—none—how much I needed to be with you when you were hurt and you made me out to be a liar.  I’m your wife, for God’s sake.”

“Stop saying that word.” 

“You’re a selfish bastard.”  She shoved her hands through her hair and counted silently to twenty.  “Say what you want, I don’t care because I’d rather fight with you than mourn you. I’d rather you hate me than feel nothing.”

“I do hate you.”

Blowing a strand of hair from her face, she grabbed the ouzo bottle, opened it and slammed cabinet doors looking for a glass.

“I know you’re lying,” she said.

“Get the hell out of here,” he yelled.

“Where are your goddamn glasses?” she asked between clenched teeth.

“How would I know?  I’ve been here less than six hours.”  

“Who needs a glass, right?”  She took a long swig of the liquor. The alcohol burned her throat but felt damn good. She took another swig before meeting his gaze. 

“Is that how you’re dealing with your guilt?  Drinking it away?” he asked.

She held the bottle out toward him.  “Want a taste?”

He looked at her through narrowed eyes, muscle working overtime in his jaw.

“C’mon, babe, look at it this way…maybe a taste will kill you,” she said. 

For the first time since entering the room, a flicker of humor shot through his eyes.  With a shrug, he grabbed the bottle and drank without breaking eye contact. 

“I’m still alive,” he said.

“Sorry to disappoint you…again.”  Needing to touch him, she reached for the scar that zigzagged across his forehead.

He flinched away from her touch.

“You need to leave. You don’t owe me anything,” he said without looking at her face.

She caught her lower lip between her teeth and studied his bent head before answering.  “This isn’t about owing you anything.”

He met her gaze then, annoyance flashing in the brown depths.  But there was something else there, too...pain so intense she took a step back.

“What is wrong with you?” he asked. “Just because I’m in this chair doesn’t mean that you can bully me.”

“Am I bullying you?” She grinned at the idea of bullying him.  He’d always been the badass Marine with more arrogance than necessary.  Her independence clashed with his attitude more often than not, but that had been a good thing.  Maybe...just maybe...he’d missed it.  “I brought you fast food and alcohol.  We even had a fight.  I think you like that I’m here.  I’m livening things up.  You looked pretty bored when I walked in.”

He grabbed her hand before she could snag another fry.  He squeezed her fingers so hard she thought her bones would snap.  “Look at me.  I’m not the man you married.  I’m not even a Marine anymore.  Look at me.”

She only saw the man she loved who stared back with desperation in his eyes. She saw his hair thicker and longer than she’d ever seen it before and liked it. She saw his teeth sink into his lower lip and wanted them sinking into her skin.  She only saw Michael. 

“You’re still the sexiest man on the planet,” she said.

“You’re delusional.”  He dropped her hand as if the mere touch of her skin sickened him.

“Maybe I am.”

“What are you getting out of this?”

“A headache.”

“I can’t…I’m changed.  We’ll never be able to be like we were.”  He looked at his legs.  “Not like how you remember me anyway. I’m different now.”

“So am I.  We’re all different.”

“It’s more than that and you know it.  You and will be...expectations.”
“I see, so I should pretend you don’t exist because you feel awkward about sex? You must not think much of me, Colonel.”  She bit out his rank between clenched teeth. 

“When I see you that’s what I want, are you satisfied now?  Right now I would like to throw you up against that counter, rip those jeans from you and fuck you.  I remember how we were together.  That’s what I want.  I can’t do that.  Do you hear me?  I can’t have what I want and seeing you is torture for me.  I can’t have you.”

Silence quaked in the room.

She put both of her hands on his knees, conscious that he couldn’t feel her touch. “You keep talking about what you’ve lost, but you haven’t lost me.  Don’t you see that?  You may not be a Marine anymore and you may not be able to walk anymore, but you have me.  I love you.  I need you.  Can’t that be enough? And you have your son. What about him? He needs you, too.  You haven’t lost him.” 

“I wish you hadn’t come here.”

“Too bad, I’m here. Deal with it.”  She moved onto his lap and moved her hands over his shoulders. “What’s the problem?”

“Stop this,” he whispered.

“You want me to kiss you. You want to kiss me back.”  She could see it in his eyes, the need, the desire, the question.  “Is that what you want, Michael?”

“What would that prove?”

“Does it have to prove something?  Can’t a kiss be a kiss?”


“Typical man.”  She leaned within a fraction of his lips.  “Don’t you remember high school?  Don’t you remember when a kiss meant everything?”

In a sudden move, he grabbed the back of her head and ground his mouth against hers.  She knew the intensity was meant to shock her so she matched it with her own.  She sat on his lap and plunged her tongue into the recesses of his mouth until he moaned.  His free hand squeezed her breast through the thin material of her blouse but, instead of hurting, it ignited her blood.

The Michael she knew still lived inside this man.  She felt him in the warmth of his mouth, the strength of his hands on her body, the restrained power of his touch.  

She couldn’t stop touching him, hands moved through his hair, over his face, along his shoulders.  Alive.  Here.  She fought back a Hallelujah.

A few reviews...
5 stars Extremely talented
Although this book is marketed as romantic suspense it also covers some serious issues, such as people trafficking and post-traumatic stress disorder, adding further depth to a book that is rich in plot and personal conflict already. Nothing prepared me for the literary quality of this novel. Regular romance and suspense fans get more than enough here to be satisfied by the great chemistry between the main characters and the intriguing story lines. However, if you - like myself - want a little bit more out of a book than you will find it in the well-handled and insightful passages about trafficking and PSD, issues that are handled with care rather than in an exploitative or decorative manner.
Easton clearly cares about what she writes and it pays dividends, her book is impressive and certainly recommended. 

5.0 out of 5 stars
Gritty At Times, Realistic, With An Immensely Satisfying Romance and Mystery
By J. Faltys "Joder"

By the end of Reckless Endangerment I can sum it up by saying it's Triple-H......heartbreaking, heartwarming, and heartpounding. It's full of likable and fully fleshed-out characters, realistically depicted issues related to the aftermath of war, and it presented a fast-paced mystery surrounding human trafficking that kept me on the edge of my seat. It shows that atrocities not only occur in faraway lands but outside our front door as well. As two people deal both mentally and physically with the hand war dealt them it's only through love and acceptance that true healing can begin and a HEA can be fully achieved. 

5.0 out of 5 stars
Great read
By Silas 
I love this book! The author did a great job of writing a contempary novel with all the twists and turns that make it impossible for you to put the book down!! I am really impressed with the author's use of hard hitting problems facing today's society and intergrating them into the story line. This is not just another cookie cutter, predictable romance!! I highly recommend this book for all who looking for a novel with a little something extra!