BIG Changes Ahead for Adopting James

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Adopting James will be changing ownership soon. I don’t know to whom yet.

You’ll notice that I’ve been writing more about writing than about foster care and adoption lately. That’s because, even though I’m still an advocate for adoption and foster care, I am setting my social media laser more on my new publishing company and getting it off the ground.

(You’ve submitted your short story for a chance to win $150, right???)

Here’s the rub.

Just several hours ago I opened up a new blog, Endeverblog, that will feature more in-depth, practical writing advice, as well as video blogs (as soon as I learn how to develop a smooth video presence) and updates about Endever Publishing Studios.

So follow it. Watch three nearly-nobodies build a revolutionary publishing company from the ground up.

The analogy I used for my team was this: Right now, we’re on a rickety wooden boat, just barely able to get to the first port. When we get there, we’ll buy the tools to fix the boat and make it a little bigger. After so many ports, I hope to expand our boat that is Endever Publishing Studios, into a super tanker.

So join our blog, submit your short story, and root us on. We’ll need all the support and encouragement we can get. (Besides, you may end up working for us if you’re passionate about seeing a change in the publishing industry.)

Adopting James, meanwhile, will still go strong for several more weeks, but eventually I am going to transfer ownership and hand the reins over to someone who can redirect it back to focussing on adoption and foster care. This will free me up to step back and put more energy into Endever. I’ll still be around to post guest blogs, and you can still see my latest posts on Endever, so it’s not such a sad and final parting.

Nothing’s happening with Adopting James just yet. We’re still in talks concerning its future. So keep stopping by and don’t miss a single post. We’ll be in touch.

Click here to submit!

Follow Endever on Facebook and Twitter to watch us grow!

Any questions, please email me at endeverpublishing@gmail.com

Submit Your Short Story, Win $150!

 

Yesterday I posted the big announcement of my new publishing company, Endever Publishing Studios, and introduced you to my co-founders/co-owners, Joseph and Lynn. I am so excited to keep you abreast of the company’s growth and for you to get to know my partners through the next several months.

Thank you SO much for your support and likes and Facebook shares (127 in under 24 hours!). But remember, it doesn’t just stop there.

Your short story submission is vital to our company’s birth. Here’s why. The $10 fee goes  to the following:

  • The $150 cash prize for the winner of the writing contest (chosen amongst three finalists who will have their work published on this blog). On top of the monetary prize, the winner will have his/her story published on this blog and Endever’s blog which will be up soon, AND have the opportunity to write a short story to be featured in one of our upcoming books published through Endever.
  • It costs around $250 to resister the company in the state of Kentucky.
  • We’re looking at up to $150 to purchase an ISBN number for our first book (that little barcode on the back of all of your books).
  • Any remaining money will go toward a professional cover design artist to give our first book (which we decided on today) a professional look and feel.

Friends, I implore you to keep sharing this link to our writing contest, spread the word, but MOST IMPORTANTLY, submit your short story for consideration to win the prize and help fund Endever.

Endever Publishing Studios, I believe, is just the first step to revolutionizing the publishing industry, and your submission can be a part of that much-needed change.

Thank you so much for your support and good luck!

Click here to submit!

Follow Endever on Facebook and Twitter to watch us grow!

Any questions, please email us at endeverpublishing@gmail.com

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Writing Contest and Publishing Company Reveal!

 

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It’s been a long time coming—Adopting James is hosting its very first writing contest and you’re invited to enter!

The purpose of this contest is to help fund my publishing company to get it off and running. Don’t worry, the winner will be rewarded handsomely—$150 plus perks.

Read on.

When I asked for people to apply to be my partner for my publishing endeavor, I planned on only having one partner, but, like the company, I had to adapt to the unexpected. There were two people I just HAD to have on my team.

Meet the members of my team who are going to help me judge the writing contest and assist me in building Endever Publishing Studios from the ground up!

Lynn Bio PicLynn Galloway, co-founder/owner of Endever Publishing Studios (Louisville, Colorado)

Lynn makes the best mac & cheese ever, which is where her culinary genius stops. Her strengths fall more in line with books, music, and seeking out the beauty of the world. Her passion for the written word drove her to obtain her degree in English and it’s her dream to publish her own work while helping others present theirs to the world.

 

 

glasses1Joseph Neil Love, co founder/owner of Endever Publishing Studios (Murfreesboro, Tennessee)

Joseph is a freelance writer and editor of fiction and nonfiction. His reading tastes are wide-ranging. On his nightstand: Flannery O’Connor, Richard Brautigan, Kayak: The New Frontier, and a notebook of half-asleep scribbles. He is at his best when he’s eating donuts with his wife and daughter.

You’ll be hearing a lot more about—and from—them soon. (You’re in for a real treat, because these people are all kinds of awesome!)

12348017_10153746085945480_4118101682328303873_nAnd you know me, Andrew Toy, founder/owner/CEO of Endever, Louisville, Kentucky (not Colorado). I’m the guy with the blog and big dreams of revolutionizing the publishing industry and someday visiting (working for?) Pixar Animation Studios. I love burgers, wings, and pizza. I strive also to be your next favorite author.

 

Back to the writing contest!

THE WINNER

The judges will decide on three finalists. Those three finalists will have their short stories posted on Adopting James, visible and available to nearly 20,000 readers! They will also be posted on Endever’s blog (coming soon) for readers/friends/family members to vote on.

The winner will be awarded $150, have his/her name/short story/blog/social media information posted for thousands of readers to view, as well as be given the opportunity to write a short story to be featured in one of Endever’s future publications! 

 

SUBMITTING

There is a $10 entry fee. The money will go toward the $150 prize to the winner and the rest will go to helping fund Endever.

What, in particular, will it go toward? Starting a business requires many expenses such as registering as a business with the state, purchasing an ISBN number for our company’s products, and on and on.

Your submission will help get Endever off the ground!

 

GUIDELINES

We are looking for a fictional short story of up to 500 words. Give us your best shot! Any genre, any topic. WOW us. Must be fictional! Suspense is a plus.

(Please, no poetry, essays, instructional, nonfiction, or anything not strictly a story in fictional prose.)

The deadline for submitting is February 25. Please be thirteen or older.

Get writing, and good luck!

Please note that the cash prize is only awarded if there is a minimum of fifteen entries. The entry fee is non-refundable due to time costs associated with reviewing submissions. And the judges have the right to extend the submission deadline if we feel it will attract more submissions. 

Any other questions, email us at endeverpublishing [at] gmail.com

Click here to submit!

Follow Endever on Facebook and Twitter to watch us grow!

This Is Perhaps My Favorite Writing Tip to Share

I love reading book and movie reviews. To me, they’re more exciting than the trailer itself, because they don’t give much away; they just tell you wha to expect.

Because I like reviews so much and I am an author, I start my books AFTER they are written.

Let me explain.

Before I start writing, I imagine the book is complete and I open up the computer to look it up on Amazon to read the reviews. What kinds of reviews do I want to read about my books?

With The Man in the Box I really wanted to evoke a strong sense of suspense and tension. I wanted, above all, to put the readers on the edge of their seats. I wanted them to be so gripped and hooked by the story that they couldn’t put it down for the life of them.

And so, when writing, I always had that end goal in mind. Did I succeed? Let the readers Untitledspeak for themselves:

Cherese Vines of Charming Words wrote: “This was a heart-stopping suspense adventure like I haven’t read in a long time.” 

Danielle E. Shipley of Ever On Word raved: The suspense had me on the edge of my seat … heart thumping out of control the whole time, except for that one minute where it almost stopped.”

Ken Stewart of Ken Stewart’s Blog said: I finished it in a day. I had a hard time putting it down.”

Don’t bother looking for it online as I’m currently revamping it for a possible second edition.

Even with my YA book, These Great Affects, the sole purpose of it is to make people cry. The lady who was going to edit it told me she doesn’t cry easily, and I told her this would do it. She read it and she told me she cried. Success! I made a girl cry! (Storytellers are really very warped sometimes.)

The point is, write with your reader’s feelings and emotions in mind. What do you want them to say after they read your book? How do you want them to feel by the time they close the last page? Write toward that end, and it will be like a light in the distance across a dark ocean of unknowns.

Follow that light.

Follow me on Twitter: @atoy1208 and Facebook and watch my adventure in starting my own publishing company! 

Is the Foster Care System Perfect?

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Sarabeth and I were extremely lucky with our daughter when she was our foster daughter. (The picture is her at the zoo a few months ago.) Other than the tedious waiting, everything went smoothly from the day we brought her home from the hospital to the day we brought her to the courthouse to sign the official adoption papers, one of the happiest days of my life (even happier than the day Pixar Animation Studios wrote me a personal email).

Stupidly (and luckily for us), no friends or relatives sought her out. She had no visitations whatsoever.

But what about the people who have their foster kids taken away from them because the states deem it best to return them to their parents who had their kids taken away from them in the first place? (Whether it be for abuse, financial loss, drugs, etc.)

One thing that floors me is the states’ insistence on reunifying these broken children and babies with their (often) undeserving parents.

The state values reunification over anything else, and, often above the child’s own safety and wellbeing.

Think about it. Foster parents go through rigorous background checks, take many hours of classes and training programs, they’ve proven that they’re financially and mentally stable, yet the state insists, “We will do EVERYTHING in our power to reunify the kids with their parents if they show even just a sliver of change in their habits and behavior.”

Thus violating their own motto (at least this is our state’s): “Moves hurt kids.”

I’m not complaining about the system. Right now, I’m just questioning it. I’m questioning if the whole foster care system is even operating as smoothly as it could be. Are America’s foster children being given the fairness and safety they deserve?

Are foster parents treated fairly when they form a bond and connection with the kids given to their care, provide a safe and loving roof over their head, and then the state rips them apart at a moment’s notice?

Are social workers being treated fair? Overworked, underpaid, overwhelmed.

If you’re a foster parent or know of any, what are your thoughts about the system? Where would you like to see improvement? Or is it as good as it could be? Share your thoughts below.

Follow me on Twitter or Facebook to read the email Pixar wrote me! Also, need an editor for your manuscript? Consider me. 

On Writing: Character- vs. Plot-Driven

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A couple of weeks ago I posted a request for my readers to ask me questions about anything concerning writing. If I haven’t gotten to your question, rest assured, I will.

Agyei Agyapong of Vestpalblog asked: “What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? How did you overcome it ?”

There are many challenges I face as a writer. One, dealing with a  full schedule and just life in general. I address that issue here.

But that’s an issue that’s divorced from the writing process itself. As far as struggling with something directly with writing… I would say character development.

There are two kinds of serious fiction writers. There are plot-driven writers and those who tend to be more character-driven.

I was shocked when I heard recently that some people are prompted to start a book because of a character they made up that sounds interesting.

I could never do that. My book prompts are all “What if” questions, such as, “What if a full-grown family man discovered an imaginary world?” (Don’t bother buying this one yet because I’m revising it for a possible second edition.)

“What if a teenage girl falls in love with a guy …AFTER he dies?”

“What if…” Well, I’ll keep the rest a secret for now.

And so, ironically enough, that’s where other people come in. People who’s minds are character-driven. I need their help to add a little sauce and flavor to my characters’ personalities.

I purposefully surround myself with people who can look at one of my bland characters and figure out what makes them tick, what drives them, what are their weaknesses, and so on.

So, as a writer, figure out if you’re plot-driven or character-driven. That’s easy. The harder part is finding people who can be that other side of your brain and fill in those holes in your book.

Also, I’ve begun reading books on the topic of character development so that I can better train myself and stretch that part of my brain so that I can become more character-driven as I write.

I hope this helps. And if I think of other struggles I face as a writer, I’ll write about them in subsequent posts.

Follow me on Twitter or Facebook to read the email Pixar wrote me! Also, need an editor for your manuscript? Consider me. 

What Do All Great Stories Have In Common?

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As an author and soon-to-be publisher, I’ve been wrestling with this a couple of months.

I began looking at some of the greatest stories of all time, both books and movies, and I’ve asked myself, what makes them great?

And to take it a step further, “What do they all have in common?”

Surely there’s some underlining theme, or common thread, that connects all the great stories together?

Stories like, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Lord of the Rings, Frozen, and (I hate to admit) Avatar. 

(Though that last one FINALLY got it’s but kicked in the box office by the amazing Force Awakens!!!)

If you’re going to help me answer this question, you have to be unbiased. You have to be willing to admit that The Great Gatsby is one of the greatest books of all time, even if you don’t think it’s that great.

There’s something in these renowned stories that draws millions of people to them, year after year, and generation after generation.

So, what is the one theme that attracts millions? Consider two of the highest grossing animated Disney movies, Big Hero 6 and Frozen. Hiro had to learn to let go of his brother (who lives through Baymax), and Elsa’s life-changing act was, well, letting go.

But does “letting go” have anything to do with The Lord of the Rings? Forrest Gump? The Hunger Games?

It’s a process-of-elimination kind of question. I want to hear your thoughts! It’s killing me!

WHAT is it that all great stories have in common?? Leave your comments and suggestions below. Let’s discuss!

Follow me on Twitter: @atoy1208 and Facebook and watch my adventure in starting my own publishing company! 

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