Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Meet Jerssica Landmon Author of All Mascara is Not Created Equal

About the Author:

Jessica Landmon has ministered to women's groups for over a decade. She is the founder of Women Get Real Ministries, which addresses issues that all women struggle with, including fear, faith, anxiety, depression, and body image. She is happily married, and God has blessed her with two beautiful children.

Introduction to the Book:

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media are sending mixed messages about the way we, as women, are to live our lives. Catch phrases like “YOLO” and “swag” are distorting the ideals that we should strive for. Women have more to contribute to society than being sexy, and we certainly shouldn’t attach our worth to how many likes we get on a selfie.

As a mother to a tween daughter and a teenage son, I have learned a few things about life along the way. This book is full of valuable tips or bits of wisdom that I have learned, or heard from my parents, while growing up.

Some of them are quite spiritual and have helped me through some difficult times. Some of them are
practical and certainly would have helped me to avoid some major overreactions to the silliest of things. Some are just plain amusing. They stem from those eureka moments where I was like “That is so true!” Like, who knew that the thread count of sheets really does make a difference?

This is not just another book where a mother and her daughter walk hand-in-hand in the garden as the
mom passes along life lessons. This book is more of a woman-to-woman guidebook for life
Now about many of you look at celebrities and are like, there is no way their lashes can be that full! You’ve tried to layer coat after coat with your mascara and wonder why your lashes still look like, well, your lashes. You think, am I applying this wrong? Maybe I need a special brush No.

All mascara is NOT created equal! This was news to me. I don’t care how much your current mascara costs, it still might not be good. There ARE mascaras that are superior to others. You just need to find the right one.

So, as you read through the pages of this book, grab a cup of tea, and let these tips sink in. Don’t get
distracted by what society is trying to tell you to become; walk in the plan God has for you. You are God’s beautiful creation, and He has a wonderful plan for your life.


1. Can you give us a brief summary of your book, All Mascara is Not Created Equal?

All Mascara is Not Created Equal is intended to present lighthearted, witty, and spiritually sound advice to young women and girls in “tweet-like” form to help them live a life God would approve of.

2. Where did you get the idea to write this book?

I actually started writing the book specifically for my tween daughter and intended to give it her as she entered middle school. Those years can be tough. As a parent, I’m very concerned about the message culture is marketing to our youth. It contradicts the way God has called us to live.

3. How did you come up with the playful title?

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love mascara. I had tried several brands over the years and
finally discovered a fantastic mascara that I just loved. It was full of minerals and actually nourished
your lashes. Plus, it created a very full lash. I would always joke with daughter, saying that if you
remember anything I tell you remember that ‘All Mascara Is Not Created Equal.’

4. How long did it take you to write the book? Do you have any stories you can share of how you
gathered specific quotes or advice?

You could say the book took most of my life to write, as my experiences growing up and parenting are what shaped it. But, in actuality, it only took about a year to record them and fine-tune them. Most of them wrote themselves. I would be having a conversation with my kids, and all of a sudden I would give some advice. If I liked it, I would later record it. In fact, as I was compiling the tips, my kids would remind me of the things I had told them through the years. Some of the tips are just reflections of the advice my mother and father passed on to me. Of course, they
needed a little tweaking. I didn’t have to deal with the pressures of social media and cell phones
when I was growing up.

5. Did you have any challenges when writing this book? If so, what were they?
The only challenge I really faced was stopping. At some point, I had to say, this is enough. I will most certainly continue to give my daughter (and son) advice as they continue to mature, but there definitely needed to be a stopping point for the book.

6. We would love to know more about the woman behind the book. How would you describe

Practical. Organized. Planner. These are some words that my close circle of friends and family would useto describe me. And I can’t argue with that. But, when the Holy Spirit asks me to do something, all that goes out the door. Jesus’ love for me is the most important thing in my life. My goal is that everyone would experience this type of love, which is why I am so quick to abandon my plans and do what God wants me to do. On a fun note, I am married to my high school sweetheart. I was only 16 when we started dating. He was a football player and I was a cheerleader. You don’t get any cuter than that! God has blessed us with two beautiful children who are my absolute joy.
Also, I just love Yorkies, which is why you see them all throughout the book. One day, when the timing is right, I will add one to our family.

7. What do you hope readers take away from All Mascara is Not Created Equal?

I hope women learn that pop culture shouldn’t define the kind of women we become. I hope that they
see that life is hard, but Jesus will be your comforter and strength. I hope that every woman sees her
beauty, even before she puts on her mascara. Our inner beauty is so much more important than anything on the outside.

8. Can you tell us more about the ministry behind the book, Women Get Real?

Women Get Real Ministries is all about “getting real” with other women. All too often, women put on the facade that everything is just perfect. But, in reality, they are silently suffering with issues like fear, anxiety, depression, body image, and faith. We break the rules about what is and is not
acceptable to talk about, to try and reach the hearts of women providing them with hope and healing.

9. Where can we find you online and purchase the book?

Books are available through my website, and on Amazon. It is also being sold at many boutique stores in Connecticut.


A Book for Mothers to Share With Their Daughters

We all want the best for our children and that includes living the way God wants us to live. In today's rushed world, it's sometimes hard to find either the time or the words for mothers to talk to their daughters about moral issues and life lessons. All Mascara is Not Created Equal is an opportunity to open the discussion with a beautiful book.

The book intersperses humerus tips like the idea the movie star's mascara is different, to practical tips like be an informed voter, to religious tips like listen to God; he's pretty wise. The book is worth reading from cover to cover then selecting topics to discuss with your daughter. It's a beautiful gift to give your child.

This book will be featured on a Blog Tour from March 23-27. For more information see #WomenGetRealBlogTour .

I reviewed this book for PR by the Book.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Meet Michael Kechula Multi-Published Micro Fiction Author

Michael Kechula is a prize-winning multi-published author of flash or micro-fiction. His recently published book MICRO FICTION: Writing 100-Word Stories (Drabbles) For Magazines and Contests---A Self-Study Tutorial) is available from

Writing micro-fiction is a way to get published without the substantial commitment of writing a novel. Since Michael has been successful at it, I asked him to give us some background on how he got started as well as some tips for authors who want to try this genre.


NANCY:   You write short fiction. Could you describe the different kinds? Do you have a favorite?

MIKE:  I write flash fiction and micro-fiction.  Flash fiction is a literary form in which a complete story is told in 1,000 words or less.  Micro-fiction is another literary form in which a complete story is told in 200 words or less.  One form of micro-fiction that’s popular today is the drabble, which is a complete story in exactly 100 words, not counting the title. I’ve written more flash fiction tales than micro-fiction tales, so I suppose that’s my favorite way of storytelling.

NANCY:  How did you get started writing short fiction?

MIKE:  About 13 years ago, I was browsing books on writing at Barnes and Noble, and I ran across a title that included the words, “Flash Fiction.”  I’d never heard of that, so I browsed the book and bought it.  However, I should have left it on the shelf, because it turned out to be mostly an academic discussion on trying to determine what flash fiction is, or should be.  The book included a few stories, which I thought were mediocre at best, as they had no plots and were just a collection of words that didn’t exceed 1,000 word count.

Feeling intuitively that flash fiction might have more to it than what I’d read in the book, I checked the internet for more information.  That led me to a Yahoo writing group, “FLASHXER” which was short for Flash Fiction Exercise Writing Group.  I joined the group, read some of the stories posted, then tried to write my own.  I was a complete failure at developing flash fiction.  Members of FLASHXER kept sending me critiques saying my stories were dull and mundane.  For some reason, I just couldn’t get the hang of writing flash.

The day I decided to forget flash fiction forever, the moderator of FLASHXER issued a new prompt.  I read it and thought maybe I’d give flash one more try, and if I failed, that would definitely be the end of my flirtation with writing  stories of so few words.
I recall that day very well, because I was in a do or die mood.  Raising my hands over the keyboard, I kept them in mid air, waiting for an inspiration.  To visualize what I might have looked like at that moment, think of a concert pianist who is about to perform a famous classical work with a symphony orchestra.  In about 30 seconds, he will begin his performance, so his hands are raised over the keys with his fingers ready to strike.

While my hands were raised over the keyboard, these words suddenly popped into my head:  “Martian spaghetti, $39.50 a plate.”  I can’t tell you where those words came from, especially since they sounded like something out a wild sci-fi tale--- and I wasn’t a sci-fi fan.  Nevertheless, the words of an intriguing opener came to mind,  and I started typing.  An hour later, I had written a nutty flash fiction tale of 960 words.   I spent a bit of time polishing my creation, then submitted it to FLASHXER.  Within an hour, hoorays filled my screen from everyone who critiqued my tale, which I called, “39.50 A Plate.”   Unbelievable!  I’d created a story that my peers found funny, enjoyable, creative, entertaining.  One reviewer said I should send it immediately to Alien Skin Magazine. 

I took the reviewer’s advice and submitted it to the magazine with some trepidation.  After all, just a few hours earlier I was a total failure when it came to creating a flash fiction story of any genre that anybody would care to read.   Now, I was actually submitting a flash tale to a magazine that tended to be quite fussy about what they accepted.  To my amazement,  the Alien Skin editor accepted the story a few hours later.   Thus, my first flash fiction tale had been written, accepted by my peers, and then accepted for publication in an online magazine, all within 10 hours.
Ever since then, I’ve had no problem coming up with story concepts and developing them.  As of February 2015, my flash and micro-fiction tales have been published in 157 magazines and 55 anthologies in 8 countries.  I’ve been lucky enough to have won 20 flash and micro contests:  1st prize in 12 and 2nd prize in 8 others.  I’ve won 4 Editor’s Choice awards.  Four collections of my previously published and prize-winning tales have been published as eBooks and Paperbacks.   These collections contain a total of 266 flash and micro-fiction stories.   One of my flash tales was nominated by Gemini Magazine for a Pushcart Literary Prize.  Didn’t win, but never expected my work to be nominated for any prize. 

In addition to the 4 books, I’ve written 2 self-study books that teach how to write flash fiction and micro-fiction.  The titles of these books are: “Writing Genre Flash Fiction The Minimalist Way---A Self-Study Book” and “MICRO FICTION:  Writing 100-Word Stories (Drabbles) for Magazines and Contests---A Self-Study Tutorial.”  

NANCY:  What are the publishing opportunities in short fiction?

MIKE:  Hundreds of online and print magazines around the world clamor for genre flash and mirco-fiction stories every month.   A lesser number seeks micro-fiction tales, especially in the drabble format.  Dozens of magazines issue submission calls  for literary flash and micro-fiction tales every month.

In addition, numerous contests are announced for flash and micro-fiction tales every month.   Most tend to seek genre fiction works.

NANCY:  What advice can you give to someone who wants to get started writing short fiction?

MIKE:  Here are some points to consider:
1)    Decide if you want to develop a genre fiction or literary fiction work.  If you aren’t sure of the difference, consider this:  literary works tend to be lyrical, focus on characters, and have little or no plot.  In contrast, genre works are considered the opposite of literary drabbles, because they don’t focus on characters. Instead, they focus on events, plus they have developed plots.  By events, I mean the noteworthy things that happen in a story. For example, if you’re telling about a man who’s on his way to a bank to rob it, you’ll probably focus on what happens when he arrives. You wouldn’t expend words describing his motivations, what he wore, and the color of his hair. Instead, you’d establish the fact that someone wanted to rob a bank, tell what happened when he arrived at the bank, and if he succeeded or not.
2)    If you decide to try your hand at genre fiction, try to be a storyteller first and writer second.  If you’re not sure how to develop your flash or micro tale as a storyteller, consider writing the story using the same words you’d use when telling it to a friend over coffee. For example, suppose you want to tell your friend about a party you went to last night. Would you tell him like this? “I went to a great party last night while the stars shone brightly in the sky and the moon gave off just enough light to give the ground a wondrous, silvery patina.” Or would you say this? “I went to a great party last night.”

Hopefully, you’d use the words shown in the second example. That’s the storyteller’s way of relating a story, while the first sentence is the writer’s artful way of embellishing a sentence with lots of visuals. You can’t help but notice the startling differences between the two.

3)    Another thing to consider:  you aren’t writing a novel or short story.  Techniques you may have learned that work very well in developing novels and short stories usually don’t work when writing very short fiction.  For example, in novels and short stories authors always include first and last names.  We don’t do that in flash or micro, because it wastes one word count each time.  This brings up the idea of always having word economy in mind when developing your story.  For most people, this is the greatest challenge they face when attempting to write flash and micro-fiction.

4)    Consider adapting a minimalist approach to writing flash or micro.  Here are the objectives I’ve developed for minimalist authors:  to tell as much story as possible, in as few words as possible, without sacrificing a smooth read.  If you can do this, you may find yourself getting published quickly and continuously.
5)    Edit your drafts ruthlessly.
Many more techniques are involved.  All are thoroughly covered in my self-study books that teach and drill readers on the flash and micro-fiction development process.  

NANCY:   What are you working on now?

MIKE:  I just completed the final edit on my latest collection of flash tales.  This new book is called, “Revenge Day and Other Tales of Crime and Espionage.”  I expect it will be published as an eBook and paperback in June, 2015.

NANCY:   Do you have any other points you'd like to share about this area?

MIKE:   Yes.  I’ve found that stories of any genre can be told via the flash or micro format.  For example, I’ve written light sci-fi, various subgenres of fantasy, horror, romance, crime, and espionage tales over the years. 
Don’t choose a concept that is too ambitious for flash or micro.  If your concept will require more than 4 scenes, it probably won’t work effectively if presented in the flash or micro format.

Try to use dialog as much as possible. Dialog uses far less words than narrative.
Include an opener that will grab reader’s attention and make them want to read more.
Tell instead of show.  Showing burns excessive word count.

Remember to use word economy at all times.

Edit your work ruthlessly, but not to such an extent that the read becomes choppy.
Read your first draft aloud and record it.  Play the recording several times.  You’ll notice sentences that can be smoother, especially those containing dialog.

Thanks, Nancy, for the opportunity to tell my story. 


Write Publishable Drabbles

Crafting a Drabble is different from writing a novel or creative non-fiction. At 100 words, each word must count. Flowery description, body movements, or the weather use unnecessary words. Kechula, a multi-published micro fiction author and editor, shares his techniques in this self-study guide.

Efficiently telling a story in 100 words is the key to writing a Drabble. The chapters present methods for eliminating words and writing clear sentences. Topics include: tell don't show, hook the reader, and add a twist. Kechula includes his published micro fiction to illustrate the ideas. Questions follow the text to allow the reader to practice. The answers are given at the end of each chapter. A final series of 165 practice questions allows you to test your ability to understand and apply the concepts.

I highly recommend this book if you are interested in writing micro fiction and taking advantage of the opportunities for publication in contests and on-line and print magazines. Although Kechula's book is a comprehensive guide to writing micro fiction, it does not guarantee you will be published. Telling a good story is key, but if you have a story, this book will help you hone your technique.