Brent Archer is a gay romance author living in Seattle, drawing inspiration for his contemporary writing from his #ownvoices experiences. Over the course of his life, he’s been an actor, singer, semi-professional dancer, genealogist, and accounting professional—none of which he went to the University of Washington to study! Though his international studies degree has collected dust, he’s used the history minor a few times over the years. He lives with his husband, and writes under their grape arbor in the summer time and the local pub or coffee shop the rest of the year. From a chateau in the Loire Valley to a dumpling shop in Shanghai to a ćevapi café in Auckland, Brent loves to experience the world and write about his adventures. Four continents down, three to go!
Check out Brent’s website at http://www.brentarcher.net
Find his books at LGBTQ+ #ownvoice: https://lgbtqownvoice.com/mbm-book-author/brent-archer
Follow him and say hello on his Twitter, Facebook, or his fledgling Instagram:
In the spring of 2013, I was unemployed and not worried in the slightest. A few short stories I’d written had been accepted into anthologies, and I thought, let’s see if I can do this “writing thing”. My two, romance novelist first cousins threw encouragement and advice at me, and my husband signed off on my new career.
I’d leave for the coffee shop by 10 am (or the pub before 11 am), claiming that coveted upstairs spot at Caffe Fiore in West Seattle. I’d open my laptop and get to work, maintaining a 10-4 schedule five days a week. By early 2015, I’d finished five novels and a few more short stories, but, being a fairly new writer, hadn’t cracked open how to market or publish my new series.
Unfortunately, I had to go back to work. Those pesky bills had mounted, and my husband retired in the spring of 2016, earlier than we’d planned. I took on a full-time job, still managing a small writing schedule. Lunch wasn’t spent chit-chatting and getting to know my coworkers. Instead, I drove to a pub, pulled out the Surface, and typed while chomping on my salad and drinking way too much iced tea. Though not the massive word count I’d been getting during my sabbatical, I still managed to pump out another couple of books.
Fast forward to 2020. When the pandemic shut down the outside world, I started working from home in my staff accountant job. Reduced working hours should have shifted to writing, but like many creative souls, I wasn’t able to create, though I did manage to publish one book in June. I was laid off the day before Thanksgiving and didn’t look back. In early 2021 I was offered my old position back. I declined, determined to go for it with the writing career.
So, six months into writing fulltime, I’ve replaced the hustle and bustle of the coffee shop and pub with virtual meet ups with other writers. My creative soul feels nurtured enough to engage. My word count is up and I’m closing in on finishing three novels, a novella, and plowing through writing a fourth novel. Though I have yet to crack the marketing aspect of the publishing process, I’m able to take classes I hadn’t had time for while at my desk job.
Next challenge to overcome: creating time to edit.
I think back to those two years of writing bliss and have tried to recapture the momentum. Though Caffe Fiore didn’t survive the pandemic, my favorite pub did, and I’m looking forward to camping out in a wooden booth, soaking up the energy and life buzzing through a busy restaurant as life returns to Seattle. When I decided to “go for it” last February, opportunities popped up. I’ve stumbled onto participating in a new online bookstore project and a potential for a book signing at a local wine shop just by putting the word out that I’m now a full-time writer.
My writing journey has had many twists and turns, but I’m looking forward to the next chapter of the adventure.
In 2018 I started my career as a journalist. I excitedly packed up and shipped myself away from Vancouver, a city I’d lived in since I was nineteen.
When I was young, I kind of assumed that only a few select and lucky people got paid to do things they loved. So I was thrilled to be living the dream of watching and reporting on sports, movies, art, and entertainment all while getting paid.
The very last thing I expected was to be derailed by a global pandemic.
When I left my job in April of 2020, I was thinking this pandemic would last a couple months - max. We all know what those couple months have turned into. I daresay I felt a tad cheated. But I knew that life must go on and I found myself searching for a new way to make money, or as some people call it "make a living."
Someone wise once told me something they had been told by another wise person: "If you worry too much, you'll worry your life away." Well, I have no intentions of worrying my life away.
I spent much of the new free time I had (thanks Covid) thinking about what I could do to make a living and enjoy said living. I clued in that there are certain things I like: writing, listening, and creating. Not only do I like them, I find that I'm good at some parts, very good at other parts, and am interested in learning how to get better.
Some friends started a podcast. And it was good. Now, I’ve listened to many podcasts, often thinking what I would do to make them better: change the intro music, create a smoother segue between topics, end on a higher note, or just plain end it sooner.
What I learned from journalism school and my time working in the news field was how to convey information, whether it be fun, educational, or silly, in a tight and concise way.
I knew that those skills could really help me transition into my new career field.
Producing podcasts is like working on a puzzle. Certain parts fit perfectly while other parts need a little time to develop and other pieces’ usages will become clearer as the puzzle nears completion.
The nice part is that it really can be as easy as adding two pieces of audio together, adding some music, and a couple fades and then poof: magic. Other times, trying to find the right millisecond to cut or having a client ask for each of their “ums” and lip smacks to be edited out, will make you want to cut out your eardrums.
But that’s the ups and downs of working in this field.
I can’t wait to experience more.
Mack Britton is a podcaster and content creator living in Vancouver, BC. He enjoys spending time with friends and family, throwing himself into movies, music, pop culture, and taking short walks on the beach with a light lager. A former journalist in BC's Okanagan, Mack hopes to combine his joy for sports, news, and social issues with the enjoyment of producing podcasts.
Check out the podcast he currently produces at https://sicker-than-your-average-health-show.simplecast.com/
Does a writer ever feel organized? Especially this year. Massive changes in teaching (my day job), isolation with my family, managing mental and physical health and so much fear—I’ve always thought of my brain as a sponge, but it reached saturation point. I knew I was going to have to make changes to preserve my creativity and productivity.
In order to know what I could accomplish in a given time period, I needed to learn my patterns. I committed to actually using my Happy Planner (stickers! yay!) to set goals and track my word count. I identified a reasonable weekly target. Who knew checking off little boxes would be remarkably motivating? I looked forward to recording my daily total, so it was easier not to get distracted. This meant that when I saw a dream opportunity come up (writing for Sarina Bowen’s World of True North), I was able to confidently pitch an idea and know I could follow through. It also helped me better schedule my submission dates on a new Harlequin contract. (Before this, I was always guessing about it, which led to some stressful moments.)
Motivation has been critical, and let’s be honest, since last March, some days it didn’t happen. For the days my brain was working, I needed to treat my writing time as necessary and worthy. That meant asking my family not to interrupt me when my headphones were on and learning not to feel guilty about that. During moments where I had time to write but focus seemed impossible, I did fifteen to twenty-minute sprints with one of my critique partners—short and achievable, but enough to get 250-400 words in, and to see progress.
During a time where it felt (still feels!) like nothing is solid, using my planner and insisting that my writing time is sacred helped me not only stay organized, but grow.
Raised in a small town on Vancouver Island, Laurel grew up skiing and boating by day and reading romances under the covers by flashlight at night. Ever committed to the proper placement of the Canadian “eh,” she loves to write books with snapping sexual tension and second chances. She lives outside Vancouver with her law-talking husband and two daughters. At least half her diet is made up of tea. In 2021, Laurel will be joining Sarina Bowen's World of True North with Turnabout, a second-chance MM romance. She's also thrilled to be writing a Christmas rom com with Dee J Holmes as part of the Holiday Fake-out anthology and will be taking readers back to Sutter Creek, Montana with a new wedding-lodge trilogy starting in November.
Laurel's newsletter followers have first-hand access to news and freebies! Sign up today and get an exclusive Sutter Creek novella.
Come say hello and follow on your favourite platform!
Sutter Creek, Montana: https://laurelgreer.com/sutter-creek/
Holiday Fake-out: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57108968-holiday-fakeout
Laurel has created a Rafflecopter just for readers of
All That Editing.
Two readers will have an opportunity to win a copy of Snowbound with the Sheriff.
The winners will be notified by email. Giveaway runs from March 2 to March 15, 2021.
Picture it. Seattle. Mid-2020. (You read that like Sophia from Golden Girls was starting a story about Sicily back in the day, right? Good. Because that’s exactly how I said it.)
When the pandemic first swept the world, I was craving a way to connect. Writing conferences and reader events were being canceled for the foreseeable future. There were no more happy hours or easy get-togethers with friends to work out plot problems or share new books we’d read. I found myself craving the ability to invite people over to my garden (dubbed the Revenge Garden…but that’s a different story).
And then I had an idea. I could invite people over – virtually. I tossed around different ideas. A book club? Author interviews? I wanted something fun. Something different. Something that was an easy way for people to participate when convenient for them. Then I remembered a librarian friend telling me how much she enjoyed a live reading I did during a book event, so I settled on that.
Live readings from the garden. From the Revenge Garden.
Readings from the Revenge Garden was born.
The first couple of readings were just me, sharing some of my favorite authors’ stories. I didn’t know what I was doing. How was I going to invite readers to join me each week? How was it going to grow? I didn’t know yet, but I was having fun. I didn’t really have any expectations. I just wanted to connect with people over books. Romance books specifically. All genres of romance.
I shared the readings to my Instagram stories, but they disappeared after 24 hours so I kept exploring and tweaking. I fumbled to learn about IGTV and how to share the preview of the videos to my feed. Friends pitched in to help with lighting and, little by little, word started to spread. More people showed up each week and I realized I could share not only my favorite authors, but my friends’ favorites as well.
I wanted to meet new authors and readers. There are so many wonderful authors out there, I couldn’t wait to schedule them for readings and share their stories with the people who were regularly coming to the readings. I invited friends and acquaintances, and those friends invited their friends and acquaintances.
Much to my surprise, people were as excited as I was. A handful of people tune in live each Sunday, and more watch the recordings through the week. Generally, the audience is anywhere between 40-100 people in a week and I’m booking the readings into May of 2021 (that will be our 100th episode, which is so wild!). I’ve played with ideas about how to continue to expand, and I might in the future, but right now I’m just having fun discovering all these fabulous stories.
All in all, it was a simple idea. I just wanted to get together with friends to talk about books. That’s how it started. Talking about books with my friends. So, each Sunday at 10 am Pacific, I head to the garden (which has led to some interesting moments during these winter months) and read from some amazing authors’ books.
It’s not high tech or super polished, but it’s a connection. A way for readers and writers to connect when so many of our options to get together had to be canceled. Amid the craziness of 2020, finding this way to connect has been one of the biggest joys of the year and I’ve been thrilled to share it. Every now and then I put out a call on my Instagram or Facebook page, letting people know I have openings for upcoming readings. Authors sign up for dates that work for them, sending me their covers and a ~1000-ish word excerpt.
If you’re interested in having me read your work, I’d be happy to. Just let me know.
Because, if we’ve learned nothing this year, it’s that we’re all in this together and we should grab joy where we can.
Carmen Cook grew up in Montana, riding horses and dreaming of life beyond the mountains. As soon as she could, she started traveling, heading across the country for college before backpacking through Europe. She then moved to the Pacific Northwest, where she promptly threw down some pretty deep roots by getting married and having kids. It wasn’t long before her imagination started running away with her and she began to write. Each Sunday she hosts Readings from the Revenge Garden on IGTV. Follow #ReadingsFromTheRevengeGarden to stay up to date on all the readings and featured authors.
Visit www.carmencooknovels.com to sign up for her newsletter to keep in touch.
Books in the Sapphire Creek Series:
Coming Home(pre-order now)
Coming to Call (releasing in 2021)
I spent a long time wishing I had red hair because from Pippi Longstocking to Anne of Green Gables to Cat Crawfield, redheads in books always seemed to have the best luck when it came to stumbling into adventure.
I've always been a writer, and most of my first stories involved a plucky redhead. But at some point, I went from wishing I could change to longing to see more girls like me colliding with the supernatural - spirited away from the daily mundane, become warriors or discover latent magical powers, or otherwise save the day. I was convinced these were stories just for me and that no one else would be interested in them.
I was in my late teens when I discovered authors Octavia Butler and LA Hunter, which led to Seressia Glass, NK Jemisin, and Nalini Singh.
By my twenties, I was writing the heroines I longed to read consistently into my fantasy worlds and thinking that maybe other people might want to read them too.
When I moved to Prague with my husband, the pieces came together. I fell in love with a city and with an idea of a world in which gods lived as unseen forces among humans, and dancers could call on their power. Among the inspirations for my heroine was Misty Copeland, the ABT's first African American principal dancer.
Death's Dancer came in a fury of NaNoWriMo words that left me exhausted and satisfied. It was the story that I'd always wanted to tell and the one I longed to read.
Four years later, the world that began in Death's Dancer has grown into four books with a cast of characters that resemble the world around me.
Jasmine Silvera writes about things that go bump in the night, including headboards.
Binding Shadows, the first book in the prequel Tooth & Trilogy series, is a semi-finalist in the 2020 Swoon Awards, where readers can vote for their favorite happily ever after.
Conjuring Moonlight, the second in the Tooth & Spell trilogy comes out in 2021.
Why might an author need an author’s assistant? Many authors want to write rather than manage backend tasks. Being a published author involves much more than writing, and it can be downright daunting.
Authors may find landing page creation and email automation complicated. What about streamlined content creation? Which app should be used for what? An author may have pain points such as social media, an outdated website, or how to manage a book launch during a pandemic. They may also have newsletters and a blog that may cause stress.
WorldOMeter has surpassed 2.5 million new book titles published in 2020. That statistic does not include backlisted books. The staggering number of new titles is an indication of the author’s journey to compete for the reader’s attention. An experienced author’s assistant can help navigate this.
One of my strong points is bringing awareness to my authors and their books. An active online/social media presence is mandatory. If readers can’t find you or don’t see regular content from you, how will they remember you or your book the next time they are looking to purchase?
I’m a proponent of every author having profiles on Goodreads and Amazon at a minimum. I encourage authors to have a media page on their website and a one-sheet available. I suggest all authors have their elevator pitch practiced.
I started my journey as an author’s assistant nearly six years ago. I worked part time for an editor. I learned much about the process of taking a manuscript from a document to published and beyond. The editor referred me to my first author. Between these professionals, I found my happy place.
My authors range from the first time, self-published to the bestseller, traditionally published. No matter how you publish, book promotion almost always falls to the author.
I pride myself on assisting my authors through elevating a social media presence. Connecting your book with potential readers is my goal. Let's set your book up for success.
Am I the only writer with lots of ideas in different genres? I suspect not. If you’re thinking about switching genres, it’s important to consider that it takes time to build a reader base, so messing with that dynamic can be tricky. Will your readers be willing to follow you to your new endeavor? Can you keep the expectation promise you made with the first genre in the second one?
Then there’s the process to consider. After fifteen inspirational romances, I’ve developed a rhythm. In a romance, the story ends with happily ever after. The internal and external conflict and the hero and heroine’s character arcs are all tied up. I use Michael Hauge’s Six Stage Plot Structure to plot. I know at what stage I’ll hit bumps, and there’s comfort in a familiar process.
When switching, I discovered that Hague’s plotting methodology didn’t work well with a cozy mystery. However, Chris Vogler’s version of the hero’s journey did. The process took much longer than usual because I was essentially starting over. Not only did I need to immerse myself in the cozy series and its characters, but I had to deconstruct the previous books in the series. That was the only way, in my opinion, that the current book could be authentic. Details matter, and readers will notice every single one of them. In a cozy series, the protagonist’s character arc spans the entire series. In each book, the immediate external conflict is tied up, but the cozy leaves room for continued character growth in the next book.
In the end, switching to a new genre gave a boost to my writing, as I stretched myself and learned new skills. Do give yourself grace if you switch genres. It will take time to find your rhythm. I found the learning curve to be unexpected but valuable.
For the established writer, assess whether your readership will follow you and how important that is to your brand and potential sales. Only you can determine this according to where you are in your career.
If switching genres has been teasing your creative thoughts, I encourage you to go for it. Above all, have fun!
A freelance writer for over twenty years, Tina Radcliffe, is a Romance Writers of America Honor Roll member. Besides her novel-length fiction for Harlequin HarperCollins, and her independent publishing releases, Tina has sold over three dozen short stories to Woman’s World Magazine.
A former registered nurse and library cataloger, Tina resides in Northern Arizona, where she writes fun, heartwarming, inspirational romance.
Visit Tina on the web at
Visit Tina on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/tinaradcliffe/
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Tina has created a Rafflecopter just for readers of
All That Editing.
Two readers will have the opportunity to win Tina’s two different genre releases.
Link to Rafflecopter.
The winners will be notified by email. Giveaway ends on November 30, 2020
The Deeds of the Deceitful (Hope Street Church Mysteries Book 6) Kindle version https://amzn.to/2Hg46DYand
His Holiday Prayer (Hearts of Oklahoma Book 3) Print version https://amzn.to/2HbhsRM
When Lynne asked me what I’ve learned about self-publishing my brain froze. That’s what happens when too many thoughts fire at once… I hear static. I’ve made so many mistakes. Truly. But maybe my stumbles can help you avoid injury and win the race. Since we’re all anxious to get back to binging The Home Edit on Netflix so we can be inspired to organize the homes we now spend so much time in, I figured I’d approach this blog like Clea and Joanna… in an orderly, outlined list.
1. Writing the book is the easy part.
Anyone who has written a book will roll their eyes because writing any book is freaking hard. It’s work. It’s complicated and requires sustained effort. I was clueless when I started. About everything. Writing. Editing. Marketing. Book Reviews. I never even heard the term genre fiction prior to 2013 because I was too busy building another career that required twelve-hour days. But, once I get an idea in my head like, “I’m going to publish this book…” I run with it.
a. Find the writing software that makes writing easy.
i. Scrivener- I used Word for my first three books and hated the editing process because I like to write scenes and move them around before I polish the edit. Scrivener makes it easy to restructure and reorder a novel. Bonus: the export features give you .mobi and .epub files ready to upload to vendors.
b. Find support software that makes writing fun.
i. Pinterest– I’m super visual so I collect my research of location photos, character inspiration, and even gadgets on a private board for each novel and use it just as I would a bulletin board. Saves paper and I can move things around easily when writing. Bonus: Edit those boards down to just a few images prior to release and make it public. It’s great content to share with fans or to sway new readers.
ii. Plottr– This plotting app is only $25 and it’s like home organization for your plot. It tracks character names and their attributes like eye color/hair color as well as locations. That’s super helpful for writing a series so you don’t forget that one guy who was in chapter ten three books ago. It integrates with Scrivener too! I love it for jotting down early ideas for future books and working them out before I start scene one. Try it using my link https://getplottr.com/ref/108/
2. Don’t run too fast.
I started writing when a running injury that wouldn’t heal led to eight weeks of bedrest. Yes, that is the loose premise of my first novel, August Fog. Real original, right? They say write what you know. Well… I didn’t know anything except that in 2013 everyone was thirsty for Fifty Shades erotic romances, and what I read while stuck on my couch in a cast didn’t seem that hard to emulate. An idiotic concept, I know, but at the time writing was just a fun way to pass the time. I did not go into it knowing how much I would truly love it. I wrote a vomit draft that had the loose workings of a good story and a tight grip on some man-parts and boom… I had a book. Too bad the only “editor” I paid was very unqualified to do the job and because I was so trusting and ill-informed, I uploaded it to the world about three drafts too early. Lesson learned.
Slow down and learn the craft. Rewrite repeatedly until it’s a tight story then pay a professional editor to go through the manuscript at least twice. This is crucial. This part is a walkathon people… not the hundred-yard dash.
a. Hire a professional editor
i. Lynne Pearson – you’re already on her blog, now you just need to hire her. I do and never regret it.
ii. Reedsy– if she is booked and you’re still in a jog instead of a stroll… there are very qualified editors here that will bid on your project
3. Packaging is everything.
This is usually when people say the cover is the most important step after writing, and… it is, but these days the cover isn’t enough. People look for a brand. Yuck. I know. I hate buzzwords too so let’s call it your style. You will have a lot of graphics needed for each book and you want them to be somewhat consistent. Not the same. Just similar. I could honestly write ten blogs on this subject, I think I have several on my own blog, because I love graphics and design. You may not but as a self-published author, you have to wear many hats. Marketing director is the one you’ll wear most, so start thinking of your career in a bigger picture, not just one book. And be prepared to spend money at every step from here out.
To figure out your author style ask yourself some questions: Who is your reader? Define them specifically. Where do they find books? Then, will you write in one or two genres? If so, know thy genre. I didn’t and published in the wrong category with the wrong type of cover, then wondered why readers were disappointed. Know who is going to understand your books and love them, and then gear everything to them.
Even if you’re hiring a graphic designer, do the research yourself. Know book cover trends and learn which books are selling well. The idea isn’t to copy those covers, it’s to create a book that can stand next to them without looking amateurish, then grab the reader to win their affection.
i. Amazon– Look at upcoming releases in your specific category. Note font style, photos, colors, etc.
ii. NetGalley- A great resource even if you’re not a book reviewer, browse releases that are coming out around the anticipated date in your genre. There are often books there as early as a year ahead.
iii. Authors you love – Go to websites of several successful authors to see their design and interface. Gear your website to your target reader too. Make it user friendly and professional.
b. Hire a graphic designer
i. Reedsy– again this site has pros with portfolios that you can look through then have multiple artists bid for your work.
ii. Pre-Made– tons of websites sell pre-made covers that work for romance or fantasy. I don’t have specific recs because I design all of my own graphics, but be careful to select a cover that mixes with your research, not one you just think is cool.
iii. 99 Covers – a site to bid your cover design out that has some nice examples in a range of genres that I would try if I were to source this out
4. Build a presence before you publish.
This seems like a weird concept but gathering a network of people early who know you or like your opinions gives you a window for selling your next book. I won’t go into this too much. There are hundreds of blogs about social media, but my advice is pick one or two outlets like Facebook or Instagram and dedicate time there networking with people who are similar to your ideal reader. This is key. So what to post?
a. Don’t post memes about cats or show pics of your dinner every night unless it relates to your reader or your book. Occasional pics are awesome and relatable but don’t make your feed the meme channel. That’s just you hiding your “style” (insert the word brand there).
b. Talk about books you like to draw in readers. Readers talk about reading…
c. Start a newsletter. Trust me. It can go out monthly or every other month if you don’t have time but start building an email list now. Mention it in blogs or social posts and have accessible links everywhere (website, social zones, emails) for people to sign up.
d. Make them smile. It’s the best way to connect and you can do it without memes.
e. Talk about your writing process so they see you as an author.
f. Connect with issues or causes that relate to your books or audience. If you write women’s fiction, post things that your audience might find valuable. Articles you found or discuss problems you may all share. Show them your voice and the things you care about.
g. Never post unless you have a purpose. If it’s last night’s lasagna that you needed because you wrote 8,000 words that day and you’re starving… tell the world! Just limit mounting your soapbox to things that are worth readers’ time.
5. Advertise and promote.
This subject is too extensive to cover in an outline but I’ll give you my resources. You really do have to spend money to make money, especially when you’re starting out. There are ways to get your book promoted for free like a well-known blog featuring your book or a best-selling author endorsing it, but if you don’t have such luxuries, you will be promoting your books yourself. This is when your running shoes get the workout because you need to advertise early to make your own buzz, then spread that book in many different directions.
a. Outlets I use:
1. BookBub– without a doubt, having a following on this website is crucial but so is their advertising service. My ads here give the best return, meaning with the right ad, people who don’t know me click on the ad and buy my books.
2. Amazon – whether you distribute wide or commit to KU, these ads work well once you learn how to run them. Start small, $3-5/day, until you get the wording and target audience who click on your ad. Definitely watch some videos or take a class because this is a bit complicated in the beginning. Once you learn what works, your books will sell.
3. Book+Main bites – for romance this site is awesome because readers can read a sample scene that you choose by categories like heat level and trope.
4. Newsletters – That mailing list you’ve been building is like gold. People who sign up already like you or know you either as an author or as an aspiring author, so being able to update them on a new book directly will be easy sales. Don’t spam people or bug them daily and don’t only pester them about the book. Same rule applies here as with social media, give them content that’s worth their time. Bonus: swap book mentions with other authors to reach more inboxes.
5. StoryOrigin – vital networking resource for authors, especially you data-driven geeks out there. Use this site to swap newsletter book mentions, get audiobook reviews, and join group giveaways, all with data tracking so you’re not trusting people who don’t follow through. Authors helping authors and it’s still FREE for the moment but that will change very soon.
6. Write the next book.
Easy peazy. You already did it once. Now stretch. Cool down. And lace those sneakers up again. Your career is the marathon. Each book is simply a mile marker. Just keep going and you’ll get there. Now, I need to go make that lasagna I’ll be posting pictures of tonight because I’ve earned it writing 3x the words Lynne asked me to and the next episode of The Home Edit is going to make me rearrange my kitchen. I hope you get some valuable information out of all of this and visit me on Instagram. I’m there all the time and love connecting with writers!