WIPpet–Pressure and Authority

The last two weeks I opted to pass on posting my WIPpet because I needed to spend time marketing my debut novel. I’m still in the early stages of getting the word out to readers. There are so many things to do, people to connect with, readers to meet, that I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.

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I’m not very good at asking for help. And it’s not because I’m too proud to ask, but being in a helping profession, I’m in relationships where I’m the ‘helper’. At work, students don’t ask me if I need help with anything.  They come to me for direction, coaching, and guidance, not the other way around. I rarely get asked about my personal life. And I totally get that. I would have felt super weird asking my teacher about anything outside of the subject they taught. I mean, asking a simple, “what do you like to do for fun?” could turn into a strange TMI kinda talk. Most students would rather pass.

A good amount of my students don’t even know I’ve written a book. They know I write, but a novelist…well, probably not. I’m afraid if I start sharing about my books they’ll feel pressured to buy them. I’ve been in a position of authority since college and am mindful of students’ perception of me. For them, perception is reality and suggestions from an authority figure become commands. So, I’m careful how and what I communicate. Besides, it’s super tacky for educators to sell anything to their students—it’s just a conflict of interest.

Regardless of my all-day job, I need to work on my marketing strategy. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m behind, that I’m learning, that I have no idea how this is done. I’m not afraid to admit I need help.  Here’s my progress report.

  1. Sent personalized messages to my close friends about my novel
  2. Created a Tumblr to reach possible target audience (RAs) chlolecorin.tumblr.com
  3. I’m finally Tweeting! Yay! @chloecorin
  4. Requested a Goodreads author page  yesterday
  5. Made a list of book bloggers (I’ve contacted 2 and received great reviews)

What has been the most helpful approach to promoting your novel? Which book bloggers did you use? I’d love to hear your thoughts. 🙂

On to my WIPpet which is an example of someone taking advantage of their authority. If you’ve read my first novel, you know that Dean Petty is harsh with everyone. She’s the villain with a twist in her story I hope will shock readers. In this scene, she’s meeting with Carly an RA that’s recovering from an accident.

Here’s the math: February 26, 2014. Here are seven sentences (14/2) from page 26 (today) of The Hall Speaks #springsemester

#Carly

Leaning back in her chair, Dean Petty kept her eyes steady on Carly. “Fine–and nothing less will be expected of you!” Petty, pointing her finger, “Don’t think for one minute that just because you’re sitting down–permanently, that you can slack off on your duties.”

Carly’s mouth tightened as her eyes stung. “I know…” she mumbled, knowing the Dean’s words would leave a scar.  Carly wanted to run out of there, to make a point. With her right hand she squeezed her thigh, wishing her legs would work again.

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That’s all for now!

Always, thanks for reading! If you’d like to take part in WIPpet just go here.  And thank you K. L. Schwengel for hosting! Happy reading and let’s all keep writing!:)

Photo Credit: storiesfromthera.tumblr.com

A Story to Tell

I’ve busy lately, and trying not drown in the mid-semester burnout ocean. I know,  I’m not even taking classes. However, I have two little boys so that counts as 24 credit hours at least.  And I work with students and there’s a ton going on with campus life this month and next.

The campus years are such a special time for students. As I’ve mentioned before major life decisions happen in college. During this time, one of the biggest things that students need is validation, knowing that their contributions matter and more importantly that they matter.  Without constant support it’s easy for them to indulge in self-deprecating thoughts.  And who can blame them?  Every day we are all faced with, and fighting the feelings of being less than—not enough.  I enjoy reminding young adults that they are enough, that they matter, and that their contributions are valuable.

One of the ways that has helped students see their value, (or at least the ones I’ve worked with) is by creative writing. A literary agent twitted, “Everyone has a story to tell but not everyone has the innate ability to write it.” Well, I think everyone has a story to tell and has the ability to write it the right way.

With all my business, I was able to catch a movie, Saving Mr. Banks, with a friend.  It’s the story behind the well-loved Disney classic, Mary Poppins. It’s an incredible, must see movie, for sure. Personally, I was surprised that each character in Mary Poppins represented someone in the authors’ family or something from her past. And let me say, these connections were very deep and at times sad, but beautiful. It confirmed the power of stories and how our lives and experiences tend to shape a story.  At one point in the film, Walt Disney says, “We all have our sad story. Imagine the past–how it should have been, and write it.” (not the exact quote, hopefully I didn’t butcher it too much) Because of this, I’m convinced that we all need to write more! Even the I’m-too-overwhelmed-by-classes college student should write. There’s nothing like writing what’s in our heart and seeing the proof that we are valuable as the words spill out. Because our experiences, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs matter.

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photo credit : http://allthecoloursofmylife.tumblr.com/

Top 3 Stories for Love Day

Love Day can be a little awkward. Some people love it, while others hate all the gooey love stuff. And this goes for single people and those you think have significant others. Because we all know that being in a relationship doesn’t mean it’s a happy/healthy one. So, I’m never quite sure whether to wish someone a Happy Valentines Day or just act like it’s any other day. I try to be sensitive because I remember wanting to sleep through VD all together.

High school was the worst. Nothing is wrong with being single. Most days I really liked the freedom. However, what’s hard about being alone on Valentines Day–in high school–is others knowing and them feeling sorry for you. And they look at you like something is wrong–terrible wrong. It was just awkward.

Even though I didn’t have much success in school finding a sweetheart for Valentines, I’ve always been a little in love with…well, Love. Two people coming together and falling in love fascinates me. The books I enjoy almost always have a romantic element. But I must admit, the most romantic stories I know weren’t found in books. Here’s the top three that make me smile.

(To save my friends from embarrassment, I’m changing their names for this post.)

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1. The Beach and Tiki Torches--My friend Kelly had dated Rick for several months. One day after work she found a note saying there was something waiting for her on the beach. All the directions were on a little map and off she went to find her treasure. When she got there during sunset, her boyfriend was waiting for her near the ocean front. He was wearing slacks and a collared shirt, surrounded by tiki torches. Of course, she cried as she walked toward him. And as they both stood in the middle of all these torches, he proposed.

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2.  The Scrapbook –Okay, this was too sweet. My friend, Rose, had been seeing her boyfriend for five month or so. One day, he gave her a scrapbook. He’d been collecting all the pictures from their time together and other special occasions. The heading for each page titled by an important date and photo to go along with it.  Now, the scrapbook wasn’t full, but by the time she reached the middle the page read, ‘The first time I told you I loved you.’ There wasn’t a picture so she looked at him all curious but smiling. Then he said, ‘I love you.’ They took a picture that moment and it went in the scrapbook. And I went to their wedding this summer. 🙂

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3. Under The Bridge– Not too long ago my girlfriend Nikki got engaged. The pictures were all over Facebook before we spoke in person. When she finally stole a minute away from her new fiancé, she called. And once we got through all the cheers and giddiness, I just wanted to know how he asked. As she started to tell the story I knew it was going to get elaborate. He stated their date with a message in a bottle with a yellow rose blooming out–it’s her favorite flower. Each place they went that night these messages in a bottle kept popping up, all with yellow roses. He’d driven around town beforehand putting these bottles everywhere. Then as they walked down the river walk, this bridge you see in the picture, he placed a special red rose underneath. This time, they read the message together. It was a note about their love and all that sappy goodness. And then he asked her to be his wife. At this point during her storytelling, I’m totally cheesing and wondering is this guy real. Like, what the heck, right? Anyway,this wasn’t even the best part. Above them on the bridge are all of her closets friends and family. He’d arranged for all of them to arrive in town to watch the proposal and celebrate at the engagement party that night. I guess he knew she’d say yes. Boy, I’m I glad she said yes, or this would be a very different story. 🙂

Happy Valentines Day!! 

Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org , http://www.vacationidea.comwww.thealamotrolley.com

So, this is what happens…

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When classes are cancelled and the university shuts down, guess who’s babysitting? Yep, Ron Swanson! Well, not really but close. This scene is the best representation of  how Reslifers feel during inclement weather. There’s this little dot on the job description that says, “duties as assigned,” which means “wearer of many hats” for residence life staff members.

My experience includes walking around during a Nor’easter trying to get my students to stop playing football in flooded areas. Without the structure of classes students go a little crazy, especially if they’re stuck in a dorm.  To be honest, I was not happy that day. I just wanted to sleep– you know, take a day off. However, looking back on all those adventures I don’t regret a single moment. Because our experiences are the foundation for great stories.

I just wanted to share as it’s rumored we are getting another snowmageddon in the D.C. area.  Much love to my local Reslifers this week! When the snow starts falling, keep your sanity by encouraging students to watch movies, play board games, and of course read a great book! 🙂

Image Source: A Passionate Mind and whatshouldwecallstudentaffairs

WIPpet Wednesday–Cardboard Box

The Life of an RA

The Life of an RA

This time sure does come around quickly! Well, here’s another excerpt from the sequel for The Hall Speaks. If you’ve read the first novel, you know that Sage gets into a bit of trouble when he confronts residents about some illegal activity. His storyline was inspired by the constant struggle that RAs have with residents that hate them for doing their job. I’ve had RAs threatened, tires slashed, assaulted,  all because they had to document a student that was drinking underage or something along those lines.  I’ve even had students give me the evil-eye after a judicial hearing, but I learned not to take it personally. For my character Sage, he’s not given much of a choice because the guys that are after him have made it very personal.

The Math: February 5th, 2014, so I’m taking this excerpt from the 5th blog entry and dividing 14 by 2 which gives me 7 sentences to share. I’ll throw in an extra one for fun!

The Scene: Sage is getting back from class and stopping by the front desk in Corbin Hall. There’s a surprise waiting for him.

“Thanks,” stated Sage, studying the small box. Not bothering to look through the papers, as usual; they were just organizational flyers for him to post on his floor. He laid the loose papers down on the counter. He held the thin cardboard box in both hands; it was just a little bigger than the width of his palm. He looked at it from all sides, trying to find any markings that would indicate who it came from. But there was nothing. Unable to wait, Sage slipped his finger underneath the flap, opening the box. He felt as if the ground went lopsided as soon as he made out what he was looking at. 

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Thanks always for reading! If you’d like to participate in WIPpet just go here.  And thank you K. L. Schwengel for hosting! Happy reading and writing!:)

What Everyone Should Know About College Life

College campuses are constantly changing. Nowadays, they can look more like a vacation resort than a place to get an education. So, here are some of my thoughts on college life and things I’ve noticed. These are great points to keep in mind if you write about college students or choose to use a campus setting in your novel.

1)   College is Weird and Stress Inducing.

Let me begin with a quote from a  student:

“college is so weird like you give people a bunch of money to provide a service that just stresses you out and makes you poor so that hopefully one day they give you a piece of paper that says you’re qualified to earn all of that money back this is too much i need a drink” –Brandon

Stressed and under pressure–that’s everyone, especially college students. Even before the semester begins it’s not uncommon to find students studying, preparing so they can get ahead.  So when you’re on campus and students walk in front of your car like it’s invisible, give them a break.  They are overworked and not getting paid at all.

“College kids literally don’t care about walking in the way of cars at school because we’re like “hit me i don’t care pay my tuition.” – Christina  

2)   The Best Food in Town.

Virginia Tech Dining

Virginia Tech Dining

Seriously, it’s no mystery college kids gain weight. Restaurants love being close to campus, it’s guaranteed business. Some the best places I’ve eaten have been these little hole-in-the-wall diners near my school. Also, the food on campus is not too shabby. At Virginia Tech, you can pick out your own Lobster and order filet mignon.  They even have their own campus ice cream shop and bakery. And the quality is pretty five-star!

3)   Neutral Living Space

Live with Opposite Sex

Live with the Opposite Sex

Co-ed rooms –yep, guys are girls can share a room. Heck, they can share the same bed if they want, all by choice, of course.  Many schools are providing gender neutral housing assignments. I image parents to have the biggest issue with this one. 🙂

4)   Free stuff

Free is Neat

Free is Neat

It never fails.  Each time I’m meeting with a student on campus free stuff is available, they are just handing it out as you walk by. Anything from pens, cups, t-shirts, hats, food, even computer software. Surprisingly many students don’t care. So much free stuff and so little space to put them, I guess. And there’s a such thing as having too many t-shirts. Believe me, I know!

5)   Puppies and Babies Pretty Much Get The Same Reaction From Students

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It’s one of the best things to witness, seeing the stressed out faces soften anytime a baby or puppy is around.  It’s as if babies and puppies help remind students that there is life outside of the institutional bubble. I had my baby while I was still living/working on campus and everywhere I took my son, everyone wanted to see him or hold him. Bring him to various campus events completely changed the atmosphere. I heard less profanity, saw more smiles, got more attention from strangers.  Very similar reaction my co-worker got when she’d bring her puppy. 🙂

6)   Entertainment Weekly

Dave Matthews Band

Dave Matthews Band

Since I’m originally from Charlottesville, I had to find a way to include Dave Matthews. He performed at UVA all the time and generously donated money to the school. But most colleges have concerts, plays and other forms of entertainment. And they are not just for the students. Many of these performances and events are open to the public. Universities are a big businesses– everyone is a potential customer, so inviting the community on campus actually helps revenue. Date-night on campus isn’t so bad with great food and concerts at a reasonable cost!

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Photo Source:

http://knightnews.com

http://bostinno.streetwise.co

http://social.virginia.edu

http://www.babble.com