Never Give Up🏆

Y’all, today I feel accomplished. Today, I harbor hope in my heart as I stare at the typed papers in front of me. I finished editing my next novel, which I am pretty stoked about.

*insert screaming girl who’s jumping up and down like an idiot*

Yeah, that excited.

I’ve been working on my craft for a few years, and I have grown in leaps and bounds with each story. Some people might move on if they didn’t catch a break with their first manuscript, or their second, but if you love doing something, you don’t quit. It’s that simple.

You see, dreams aren’t a sprint. They’re a marathon.

Dare to imagine the impossible. Chase your dreams. Even if you’re wheezing along the way.

In life I’ve learned there will be doors you knock on that will never open for you, but just because those doors stay closed doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t knock on the next one. It’s during the moments that you stand in front of a closed door that determines how much you really want something.

Keep moving.

Keep improving.

But most of all, keep believing.

~Tiff~

Ashyer Black – Query Letter

I’ve been pretty quiet when it comes to putting my query letter out there for people to review and see. Of course, I’m not counting any family or friends who read through it, helped edit it, and all that jazz. I love them, and I appreciate their advice, but I think they’re a little partial and completely biased. As I’m getting older, I’m realizing that I need to put myself out there a little more to see if there are any words of wisdom from the strangers on the web. So, without further ado, here is my current query.

September 17, 2019

Dear Ms. Agent,

My name is Tiffany Berry, a once upon a time city girl dragged to a small, southern town in Kentucky by a redneck Marine, where I still stop my car for critters scampering across the road, much to the dismay of my neighbors. As a transplant to Kentucky, I have fallen in love with it over the past decade, which is why I weave it into my story. This girl bleeds blue, and I have read that you have a soft spot for BBN as well as animals, so I am hoping my story resonates with you. I am seeking representation for my completed 72,000-word young adult fantasy novel, ASHYER BLACK AND THE DRAGON STONE. Here’s a brief description.

Twelve-year-old Ashyer Black wasn’t always a slave, but that changed when the Noctis infiltrated every branch of government, every city, and even the smallest of rural towns, enslaving all the humans, including the children. Ashyer’s imprisoned in an orphanage with Kase, his only friend, who Ashyer has spent his life protecting. As Ashyer approaches this thirteenth birthday, fear pushes his friend, Kase, to the edge. As Ashyer clings to a strand of hope and defies the Noctis, someone from their past shows up where he least expects them to and breaks them free.

As they flee, Ashyer finds out he is made of magic. Not only is he made of magic, but he is a Venator, a magic creature who comes into their powers right before their thirteenth birthday. He barely has time to come to terms with it before he is shipped off to Magtech Vocational Academy (M.V.A.), School of Magic and Technology.

At M.V.A., Ashyer learns about the Noctis—once Venators that turned to using forbidden, dark magic. During the school’s annual Sortilege Ceremony, Ashyer’s scroll marks the path to the Dragon Stone – one of the stones keeping Arsen Valdis, master of the Noctis, locked up to where he can’t destroy every world. Ashyer is determined to end the Noctis’ reign of slavery over Earth, but secrets unfold, and warnings are given as Ashyer and his friends prepare for the journey to recover the Dragon Stone, removing it from Arsen’s control forever.

ASHYER BLACK AND THE DRAGON STONE is about the power of friendship and the bonds of family—even when it isn’t by blood.

I’d be happy to send you the entire manuscript. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yep, that’s it, ladies and gents. I’m hoping that other fellow writers going through the querying process have niblets of information to pass along.

Tiff

Understanding Show, Don’t Tell

As we pursue our dreams of having a novel published and sitting on a bookshelf, most of us are trying to improve our craft and become better writers. I spend a fair amount of time pouring over books about the craft. When I wrote my first novel, I had never heard of show, don’t tell until it was in a note on my manuscript by an editor. That’s when I started searching the internet for something to read on what was a mystery to me at that time.

One of my favorite reads on it is, Understanding Show, Don’t Tell by Janice Hardy. I think she breaks it down and makes it simple to understand for any newbie in the field. I don’t know about you fellow writers, but I plan on reading, growing, learning, and taking any help that I can get. I want to do the stories that play out in my mind justice as I transfer them to paper. I believe this book has helped me grow and become better, not perfect, but better.

If you have a recommendation on a good book to read about show, don’t tell, drop a link below, or if you want to share what you’ve learned along the way, share it as well. I’m all ears and willing to listen.

Much Love to Y’all,

Tiff

Live Your Best Life

I’ve been reminiscing quite a bit lately. My oldest son will be turning sixteen in two weeks, which seems impossible to me. Where does the time go? If I died tomorrow, I know the one thing I have not failed at is being the best mom to my boys. Having a child when you are barely nineteen isn’t easy, but I wouldn’t go back and change a single thing in my life. My pregnancy at a young age was a defining moment in my life. It made me pause, look around me, and see what steps I needed to take to be what I needed to be for my son.

You can be a teen parent and be successful – even if you don’t make it on Teen Mom, y’all. I promise. It will take long days, even longer nights and determination, but you can do it. If someone would have told me when I was twenty-one that I would one day be in a position to take my family to Hawaii or the Virgin Islands, I probably would have laughed in their face. But…both happened. Some people focus on the fancy cars or big houses, but for me, it’s all about making memories.

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One day, both of my boys will be grown and setting off into the world to create their mark on it. They will remember the time we have spent together as a family – from planting a vegetable garden every year to the cool vacations we took. Not to brag or anything, but I’m a pretty decent cook as well. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather have a chef, but wouldn’t we all?

To my boys, live your best lives. Love hard, tell your kids you love them and how awesome they are, and remember to always be kind.

~Tiff~

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