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The DIY Series is *FREE* on Amazon! 10/10 – 10/14

Hi friends!

To celebrate the wonderful month of October…and my birthday, I’m giving away DIY Writing Retreat and DIY Chick Lit for free on Amazon 10/10 – 10/14.

Both are *excellent* for preparing for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and both are super fun. They are only currently available as Kindle ebooks, but you can read them on a computer, tablet, or phone if you don’t have a Kindle!

About DIY Writing Retreat:

DIY Writing Retreat - free all weekendDIY Writing Retreat: A Guide to Getting Away is a guide to making time and space for you to do exactly one thing: write. With step-by-step instructions to planning and running your own escape, DIY Writing Retreat will show you how to schedule time for your retreat, find a cabin or cabin-equivalent to stay in, and separate yourself from the rest of the world. Then, it will guide you through the entire retreat, from writing prompts to relaxing activities.

Written by the acclaimed author of DIY Chick Lit, this fun guide is sure to motivate writers at every stage, from aspiring authors to experienced novelists. Time to write alternates with fun activities that will energize you and keep you going. A worksheet guides you to reflect on your writing process and set goals for when you return home. There are even (super easy) recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Download it now!


About DIY Chick Lit:

a pink cover with a cupcake in the center, title: DIY Chick Lit/A Writing GuideDIY Chick Lit: A Writing Guide is a beginner’s guide to writing funny, snappy, sucks-you-into-the-story prose about modern women, life and love. Designed for the aspiring novelist, it’s full of tips and techniques, prompts and pep talks that will spark your imagination and inspire you to put pen to paper.

Originally published in 2013 as The Chick Lit Cookbook, this fun, cupcake-themed writer’s road map has been updated as part of acclaimed writing teacher Alicia de los Reyes’ DIY writing series.

DIY Chick Lit will take you from start to finish of your first draft in just 13 chapters, each with a short exercise that will get you writing now. Whether you’ve been wishing for years that you could write chick lit or are a brand-new fan of Bridget Jones and Becky Bloomwood, you owe it to yourself to pick up this guide.

DIY Chick Lit will prove to you that writing a novel can be fun and easy—it’s just like baking cupcakes!

Download it here!

Ends Saturday, October 14! Get them while you can!

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DIY Chick Lit & DIY Writing Retreat PDFs!

Great news! If you are tired of looking at your Kindle/device screen but still want to read DIY Writing Retreat and DIY Chick Lit, they are now available as PDFs…on Etsy!

etsy screenshot

There is a brand new Scratch Paper Shop and I’ve already made my first sale (thanks, Sonia!).

Why would you want a PDF of my handy ebooks?

  • So you can print them out and write in them
  • So that you don’t have to take the internet with you on a writing retreat
  • So that you can flip the pages
  • So that you can put them in a sparkly binder!

And great news–through the end of March, you can buy one of my books and get the other free. Just use the code STPAT17 and add both of my ebooks to your cart.



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An Indie Book Review: Growing Eden

I discovered Kate Fridkis a few years ago through Eat the Damn Cake, no longer a widely syndicated blog about eating, body image, feminism, and life. I read through the blog amazed: here was my alter ego, writing about the things that I cared about, and often no closer to any of the answers than I was. She included an “unroast” at the end of each post about one thing that she liked about herself. These reminded me of a Regina Spektor line: “I’ve got a perfect body/’cause my eyelashes catch my sweat.”

Fridkis is cool but dorky: she lives in Brooklyn but she was home-schooled. She writes candidly about not making money writing and about the difficulty of being a very introspective person who often overthinks things, which I can certainly relate to.

Fridkis is also unique in that she’s married, has a child, and writes about this. I read a lot of writers my age-ish, and very few of them have and/or write about family. I don’t mean to say that young people have to write about home and family–I mean to say that I’m tired of reading about home and family only in magazines like Better Homes & Gardens. I’m not a well-to-do mother of three ensconced in a home in the countryside, but I am a married woman expecting a child who could use some camaraderie from someone under thirty.

Enter Growing Edenpublished by Thought Catalog. The book, which is more of a collection of essays, traces Fridkis’ Indie Review written on a photo of a book saleexperience from getting a positive pregnancy test to giving birth. She’s incredibly worried about a lot of things that I am also concerned about, like being a mother before achieving careers success (check) and thinking too much about her own career (check).

Fridkis is incredibly generous with insight into her fears; the book is thoroughly honest. I was completely engaged with her experience not only because of how much we have in common (young women, living in cities, trying to make it as writers), but also because of the level of detail Fridkis shares about her own thoughts. “I have these bouts of angsty existentialism that are embarrassing even as I’m being quietly devastated by them,” she writes. Someone else might worry about, you know, being embarrassed. But sharing her innermost thoughts, her deepest fears, her sick fascinations (reading obsessively about infertility as soon as she becomes pregnant) and her ill-timed reactions (crying when she finds out it’s a girl) reveals how human she is, even if you can’t exactly relate.

Writing through your own personal lens is often more revealing than trying to explain an entire phenomenon–writing a memoir about your particular pregnancy, for example, is a much better way to explain what pregnancy is like than trying to interview every pregnant woman ever. Fridkis’ insight into this one particular experience sheds light on the human experience, and gives a small picture of what it is like to grow up as you grow another human, here, now, in the US in the 2010’s.

More, please!

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How self-publishing can help your writing (+ an indie book review)

Remember that time I said I was going to review an indie ebook each month? Yay, the day has finally arrived. First up: It’s Witchcraft: A Beginner’s Guide to Secular and Non-secular Witchcraft by Jamie Weaver.

Before I get into it, there are two reasons I wanted to read a book on witchcraft. The first is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I adore the storylines about Willow (a witch), and I would like to share here that I called Willow and Tara’s romance the moment they trapped themselves behind a door with a refrigerator. (Perhaps my proudest TV prediction.)

The second is a song called “Meet the Witch” by a band from the 90s called Big Dipper. The refrain goes, “But you aren’t alive til you meet the witch” and it has a great clangy guitar sound.

My mild interest in witchcraft began with Willow and blossomed into a mild obsession when I heard this song. IIndie Review written on a photo of a book sale wanted to write a story about a witch set in the 90s.

But I know zippo about actual witchcraft, so I started hunting for a book that would tell me about the basics of being a modern-day witch. There are a ton of big, heavy tomes out there about the history of modern witchcraft, but I wanted something that would give me the basics without too much pain. I was poking around Tumblr when I found Jamie Weaver’s book.

It’s Witchcraft is a wonderful intro to witchcraft that is encouraging, down to earth and clearly written. It’s just what I was looking for: a succinct, clear explanation of what witchcraft is today, plus how to be a witch (first step: get an altar). There are well-organized instructions for rituals that are straightforward and allow room for your own tweaks. My favorite aspect of this book is how reassuring Weaver is; you don’t have to subscribe to any particular belief system, even within witchcraft, to start learning and participating in it.

In fact, you don’t even need an altar; you can retreat to an “interior” altar if your surroundings don’t allow for one.

I highly recommend this book to anyone curious about witchcraft; it’s cheap, and if you are embarrassed about your interests, as I sometimes am, you can hide it on your e-reader.

And an aside to fellow writers: ebooks are a great way to research what is going on now in the sub-culture of your choosing. This ebook was written by a witch for fellow witches. It is not a heavily researched tome on the history of witchcraft in America, but it is an insider’s perspective on what it means to be a witch and how a witch operates in day-to-day life. Short of meeting a witch, this ebook offers excellent insight into the daily experience of witchcraft. So no matter what you are researching (archaeology! hotel owners! the French countryside!) I encourage you to do a little hunting around ebook-land for a resource written by a practitioner or expert in her field.