What to Do After the First Draft


by Katie McCoach

Your fingers hurt. Your eyes burn. You haven’t had anything to drink except coffee for the past few days, weeks, year. You are pretty sure you haven’t slept a full night without dreaming about characters and plot lines.

You are certain you will never type again. Because you finally finished writing the first draft of your novel. Phew!

No matter how many times an author finishes the first draft of a novel, they know this is only the beginning of the writing process. So what do you even do after you write that first draft? What comes next? Where do you even begin the process of revising, rewriting, sharing, and more?

via What to Do After the First Draft

Tuesday Talk with… author Empi Baryeh

Tuesday Talk E. Baryeh


E. BaryehWelcome to Nesie’s Place, Empi!

Thanks for inviting me, Felicia. I’m thrilled to be here and looking forward to meeting your readers.

Where are you from?

I’m from Ghana, West Africa, although I call myself a citizen of the world, because I’ve visited or  lived in at least 15 countries.

You’re a wife and mom, too. How do you balance out your time?

To be honest, I don’t think I have struck a balance yet. Luckily, I’ve always been a night owl, so once my kids go to bed, I’m able to eke out a couple of hours to write before heading to bed myself. I also use my phone on my commute and during breaks. I’ve even popped in my earphones and recorded my thoughts and new scenes while driving.

Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?

Hybrid. I have four published books at the moment and three are traditionally published, while I chose to self-publish Forest Girl. I tried my hands at self-publishing with Forest Girl because I felt it didn’t fall neatly into any romance genre and would probably not get picked up by a traditional publisher. I’ve learnt invaluable lessons about the publishing process, which has made me appreciate the contribution of editors and publishers to our work as writers. Kudos to them!

How long have you been a writer?

I started writing at the age of 13 when I stumbled upon a YA story my sister had started but never completed. That was nearly thirty years ago! (I feel so old)

How long did it take you to write your first book?

My first published novel was Most Eligible Bachelor, whose first draft I wrote in a record 6 – 8 weeks in response to a contest by Harlequin. This is the fastest I’ve ever completed a full-length novel. It didn’t make the cut, but I had completed novel, which (after a few re-writes) was later published by Evernight!

The first book I actually completed was Forest Girl, which I wrote in high school (yep). I shelved it for many years, which was a good thing, because when I returned to it, I’d evolved as a writer and wanted the story to reflect this. The plot didn’t change, but the story went under the editor’s knife to fit my current writing style and skill as well as my reading audience. So over twenty years in the making!

I’ve had the pleasure of reading two of your books, Forest Girl and His Inherited Princess  and love the African settings and your attention to detail. Have you run into any culture clash with U.S. readers?

First of all, thank you for choosing to read Forest Girl and His Inherited Princess. I haven’t really had any culture clash with US readers. Like you, many of my (I’ll expand it to) non-African readers have expressed their love for the African settings and the culture. I believe some readers choose my books for the cultural adventure the stories provide in addition to the romance. And hot African heroes, of course. 🙂

Pantser or Plotter?

Pantser, for sure. Once I have a story idea, I start writing. I plan certain things, which might make me seem like a plotter. The only time I tried plotting was with His Inherited Princess. I had the story idea, and decided to outline the story before starting. Let’s just say the story turned out very different from the outline. I don’t think I’ll be doing that again anytime soon. (*nervous laugh*)

Have you ever taken the NaNoWriMo Challenge?

Yes, I’ve NaNo-ed a couple of times, but I’ve never managed to do fifty thousand words in one month. My most successful year was 2017 when I consistently wrote daily for the entire month. It came after a long break from writing, so for me, that was a win. I used it to complete a WIP, which was picked up by Black Opal Books and will be out in Spring 2019!

The biggest win, though, finding ways of creating opportunities (time-wise) to write. This has helped me beyond NaNoWriMo.

Do you belong to any special writing or critique groups?

I’m a member of the Romance Writers of West Africa, a support group for writers of West African origin and/or authors who write romance fiction set in Africa. Aside from that, I have writer friends with who serve as my critique partners and vice versa.

What’s your favorite genre to write or do you only write in one genre?

Currently, I write sweet and sensual contemporary romance set in Africa and with at least one African MC. I’ve been toying with the idea of writing some romantic suspense as well as inspirational romance. I also have some WIPs that are more of general Women’s fiction than romance.

Do you have a favorite book or character in your published works?

That’s a tough one. I always fall in love with the characters when I’m writing/reading them. I have to admit, though, I’m still trapped in the force field of Omar’s charm (His Inherited Princess). He was a delight to write. Some of his lines cracked me up. (“I gave you two choices, India. Mercy wasn’t one of them.”)

Do you have a book you want to write but the thought terrifies you? (It’s okay—I have TWO!)

Oh yes! I want to write my bio and the thought of opening up to the world terrifies me. And yet, I feel it’s a story that should be told.

What’s your favorite genre to read?

Contemporary romance. I gravitate toward sweet and sensual more than hot and steamy. That said, I’d read any genre if the blurb sounds interesting. As long as there’s an element of romance, I’m open to all genres. For non-romance, I like espionage/mystery stories (think Ludlum).

What are you reading now?

I’m reading a YA titled Between the Trees by Kathy Moczerniak. It’s the story of a teenage girl who finds refuge with an aunt and uncle after suffering abuse in her own home. I plan on following that with some royal reads, starting with Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals and Delaney Diamond’s Royal Brides.

Favorite beverage to read with?

Tea. sometimes with a dash of instant coffee.

Where do you get the most writing done?

My official writing desk is very plain (so I’m not sharing any photos). No embellishments or distractions. Mostly, if my laptop fits on table, I can sit and write. Lately, I’ve done a lot of ‘first drafting’ on my phone during my commute, which helps a lot. I can’t say that enough.

Do you have pets who “help” or inspire you?

I have toddlers who “help”. I normally have to wait until they are in bed before I can do any serious amount of writing.

Finish the sentence, “When I’m not writing, I love to think about my next scene/chapter/story or read or watch a movie.”

Are family and friends supportive of your writing career? My daughter reads every word I write, and my sons are like, “You write? Really?” My husband thinks I play Mahjong ten hours a day.

For the most part. My siblings are always telling their friends about my books and my sisters have read some. My brothers don’t read romance, but they tell everyone. My husband doesn’t read romance, but he’s an unofficial distributor and he attends my book readings anytime he can. So, I guess that’s a yes.

Netflix binger, yes or no? Favorite Netflix program?

I’ve never tried Netflix (gasp!). Okay, I’m not sure if Netflix works in Ghana. But if I went on it, I’d probably get addicted to a few shows and never make time to write.

Totally addicted to social media or could you live without it?

I’m totally addicted. I don’t even understand people who ‘go off’ Facebook or Twitter. Frankly, social media is an introvert’s dream come true.

What’s the inspiration behind your latest release?

My latest release, His Inherited Princess, is the story of a princess who loses her husband and is inherited by her brother-in-law according to the custom of the land. The widow inheritance trope was inspired by a true story my mother told me about an inherited widow, which made me want to write a fictional one.

What’s your next project or release?

2019 is gearing up to be a fantastic one. I have 3 stories in my immediate future, which I’m really excited about:

  • MR HOT MOCHA PERFECTION (previously promoted as A Valentine Affair), coming out February 11 as part of Love Africa Press’ Be My Valentine
  • EXPECTING TY’S BABY, a standalone sequel to my book, Chancing Faith, is coming out in Spring this year from Black Opal Books.


  • The third is another installment of the Royal House of Saene series (the princes) also from Love Africa Press (no release date yet).

More Royal House of Saene? YASSSS! I’m here for that!

Do you have any advice for new authors?

  • There is no perfect time to write. Make the time. Write as often as you can. Take advantage of as many ‘idle times’ in your day as possible to put something new down.
  • Use your phone or tablet.

Thank you for visiting with us today, Empi! Continued success to you!

Thanks for inviting me, Felicia. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you today.



His Inherited Princess


India Saene, Princess of Bagumi, must enter a marriage alliance to save her kingdom from an economic crisis. Tragedy strikes when her husband of a few hours is killed in an accident on the way to their honeymoon. She recovers from a coma two weeks later to discover she has been inherited by her husband’s younger brother!

Sheikh Omar El Dansuri has never wanted to be king, nor does he desire a wife. However, when his older brother dies, he not only becomes the future king of Sudar, but he also inherits his brother’s bride through an age-old tradition. Falling for the headstrong India is out of the question especially when evidence points to her as his brother’s killer.

Neither India nor Omar wanted this marriage, but the passion that burns between them cannot be denied. When India’s secret is revealed, will either of them survive the consequences?

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Felicia’s Review


Her gaze dropped to his lips—generous, well-defined lips that looked chiselled; yet, she remembered their softness when he’d pressed them against her temple the other day. She shook her head. She may have gotten a clean bill of health, but the accident must have screwed with her mind, making her more vulnerable to his special brand of allure.

“Salma tells me you haven’t had your coronation,” she said, more to give her mind something else to focus on.

“No. I haven’t been crowned.”

“Why not?”HIP Princess Teaser

He paused, but before he could answer, Salma cleared her throat. “I’ll take the flowers to the head nurse now, My Lady.”

India diverted her attention to Salma and couldn’t help thinking the woman was running. “Very well, Salma.”

When her PA had left, she took in a breath and returned her gaze to Omar who stood only a couple of feet away. Funny, his brother had been taller, but she’d never had the sensation of being drowned by him. Next to Omar, however, she felt like a delicate little flower. He seemed to tower over her, large and immovable.

“Isn’t the stipulation for your coronation that you marry first? Which, according to you, we are.”

“I assure you, India, we’re married,” he said. “However, in Sudari tradition, marriage is only confirmed through consummation.”

Her eyes widened, and she nearly choked on her own saliva. It took every ounce of effort to keep her mouth from gaping. “Wh—what?”

She’d read about cultures where newlywed couples had to make love in the presence of family elders to confirm they’d slept together. She’d never imagined such a thing would still be practiced in the twenty-first century.

Clearly, she should have done a more thorough investigation about Sudar before agreeing to marry into their royal family.

Ha! As if she’d had a choice.

“Your family expects to witness your first night with your bride?”

With a casual wave of his hand, he replied. “Of course not. That would just be primitive.”

He spoke with a mild French-ness to his ‘r’. It was sexy as hell. Try as she might, she couldn’t squelch the images it pushed into her mind; images of being slowly undressed by Omar, of his hands and lips running lightly over her skin, of succumbing to his virility, allowing him to do the things his one kiss had put in her head.

The flames burning her face cascaded over the rest of her body. She fought to calm her erratic heartbeat. “How would they know we’ve consummated?”

“Nothing you’ll be uncomfortable with,” he replied. “It would suffice that you and I spend the night in the same bedroom.”

“Even if we don’t, erm…consummate?”

Had someone switched off the AC?

A beat passed.

His right brow hooked up. “Are you against…consummation?”

Was that a smile? Did he think this was funny? Time to shake off the deer in headlights sensation and take charge of this situation.

She swallowed. “Of course not.”

“I take it to mean you’re not a virgin. Good,” he said.

She raised her brows.

“When you’ve had me, I want you to know the difference.” His eyes gleamed. “Tell me, Princess India, have you had an orgasm before?”

Her eyes widened, but she stopped short of gasping at his audacity. “I don’t see how that’s relevant to you.”

“I’m your husband. That makes your pleasure of paramount importance to me.”

“Since I didn’t agree to or participate in a wedding with you, I’d say you’re getting way ahead of yourself, Omar.”

He leaned forward, and she began to tingle all over. Though he hadn’t touched her, she could feel his heat radiating into her. She stopped breathing for a couple of seconds. Did he mean to kiss her? Exert some dominance over her? Why didn’t the idea fill her with righteous indignation?

“Aren’t you even a little curious about the notes I can make you sing with just my tongue?”

A smile of pure male satisfaction came to his lips at her sharp intake of breath. God, she was in trouble.

Determined to have the last laugh, however, she squared her shoulders. “Not in the least.”

“Given the way the soft skin at the base of your lovely neck is pumping, ya jameel, I call bull.”

Princess India



I’m an author of sweet and sensual African, multicultural and interracial romance, which happens to be my favourite genre of romance to read. My interest in writing started around the age of thirteen after I stumbled upon a YA story my sister had started. The story fascinated me so much that, when I found out it was unfinished, I knew I had to complete it. Somehow the rest of the story began to take shape in my mind and I’ve been writing ever since.

I live in Accra, Ghana, with my husband and our two lovely kids.

I love to hear from readers and aspiring authors.

Here’s where to find me:

Blog: https://empibaryehauthor.blogspot.com

Website: https://goo.gl/hpo1U4

Facebook: https://goo.gl/K39DHE

Goodreads: https://goo.gl/p2JiDL

Instagram: https://goo.gl/BGEkB4

Twitter: @empibaryeh

#BookTour “Moore Family Saga (Acts I & II)” by Michele Sims

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Twenty five years before the events in the novel, The Fire God Tour, Kaiden and Alicia Moore, originally from North Carolina, were enjoying a life full of love and passion. As a young, beautiful and an upwardly mobile professional couple who had made their home in New York City, they were busy balancing their careers with the demands of their new marriage which as fate would have it, included an unexpected bundle of joy. They got pregnant on their honeymoon and so began their adventure in this novel, The Seed on Fire, a sexy contemporary romance of a multi-cultural couple with elements of fantasy that is also the prequel to the novel The Fire God Tour.

Nothing about their lives together has ever been typical and their relationship will forever be changed by a series of nightmarish events that threaten their love and the life of their unborn child. Will their commitment to each other and support of their close knit family be enough to cope with their challenges? Come and join them on their journey as they experience the joys and excitement awaiting the birth of their son, Miles Aridio Moore, a process, to their surprise, also fosters a period of significant self-growth.





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This is the second installation of Cade and Lecia Moore’s romantic suspense story. Cade’s music career is taking off. While finishing a schedule of gigs in Paris, he gets a call from his brother Vincent back in the states, who has been watching over Cade’s son, Miles, and his wife, Lecia. Vincent has some surprising news. Miles, now seven, is showing extraordinary abilities that allow him to produce fire. As a member of the Network, a secret society with nearly bottomless resources, Vincent has been able to determine that Miles’s abilities aren’t unique but an extremely rare genetic mutation.

Cade returns to the states to be with his family, but it’s clear that life cannot go on as normal when Miles suffers from an intense illness that leaves him immobile and mute for days. Through Vincent’s Network contacts, Cade and Lecia are able to find adequate care for Miles at a facility that understands his condition.

Aside from his unusual ability, Miles shows an affinity for several other skills, from writing as a result of his extensive vocabulary, to singing and dancing. But a dark side also appears: in the notebook he uses to list new words he learns, he’s keeping a separate list—of people who he plans to make disappear.





SOF teaser 4


Enter to Win

Michele Sims is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card.

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Michele Sims is the “author-ego” of Deanna McNeil, MD and creator of the Moore Family Saga and the Fire God Series. She loves writing hot love stories and women’s fiction with multidimensional characters in multigenerational families. She is the recipient of the 2018 RSJ Aspiring Author Award and first runner up in the Introvert Press Poetry Contest for February 2018. She is a member of the LRWA, in Charleston, SC and the From The Heart Romance Writers’ online group.
She lives in South Carolina with her husband who has been her soulmate and greatest cheerleader. She is the proud mother of two adult sons and the auntie to many loved ones. When she’s not writing, she’s trying to remember the importance of exercise, traveling, listening to different genres of music, and observing the wonders of life on this marvelous planet.



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#ReleaseBlitz “Love Grind: MacLaine Girls Novella 3” by Shelly Ellis

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She’s used to baring it all . . . but baring her heart is a whole different story

Down on her luck and broke, Jennifer Dudley long ago traded dancing in the chorus line for swinging from a stripper pole to make ends meet. She’s hoping an offer to come back home and teach dance at her old performance academy will be the opportunity she needs to fix her life. When she moves in with and falls for a software developer with brains, a boyish smile, and muscles, she decides she might be well on her way to a second chance at success—and love. But her X-rated past may come back to haunt her, compromising her newfound happiness and hurting the ones she loves the most.





Love Grind teaser

#LoveGrind #ShellyEllis #HonMagPR

Read an Excerpt

Jennifer walked through the front door, shutting and locking it behind her. She smiled when Horatio rose from his doggie bed and trotted across the living room toward her.

“Hey, big guy!” she gushed as she rubbed the boxer’s head and he licked her hand in greeting. “Did you have a good day?”

He panted and barked in reply.

“Yeah, I’ll hang out with you. Had a change of plans this evening but that’s OK. We’ll just watch some TV and eat nachos, huh?” she said to him. “Just let me get out of this leotard and tights.” She then strolled to the stairs.

Jennifer could hear the thumping base of R&B music playing on the floor above. It sounded like it was coming from Blair’s bedroom. She jogged up the stairs, tugged the strap of her dance bag over her head, and turned to walk down the hall toward her bedroom, but halted in her steps when she saw Blair stroll out the upstairs bathroom they shared, sending out a cloud of billowing steam into the hall in his wake.

Her mouth fell open in shock when she saw him.

Blair was butt naked, save for the towel he was using to wipe down his neck and face as he sprayed on deodorant and hummed absently along with the song that was playing on his stereo. As he walked, she got a delectable view of all that maple-colored physique in profile—from his toned arms to his tight ass to his muscular thighs. When Blair turned to walk toward his bedroom, she got a full frontal view. Though she should’ve looked away, she didn’t. Her eyes couldn’t help but travel the path of dark hair that led down his chest to his happy trail, ending at his manhood—and she almost choked.

“Oh . . . oh my,” she whispered.

Who knew computer nerds packed that much equipment?

Hearing her, Blair finally realized he wasn’t alone upstairs. He lowered the towel from his face. Their eyes met and for a few agonizing seconds they both stood in the hall, paralyzed, staring at one another like deer caught in oncoming headlights. Finally, he dropped the towel to his crotch.

“Shit! Shit, I’m so sorry,” he said.

“No! Don’t apologize! It’s my fault!” She held up her hands. “You didn’t know I was home. And I didn’t . . . I mean . . . I mean . . . I should’ve—”

“I’m gonna . . . uh . . . go put some clothes on now,” he said, lowering his eyes and stepping around her.

All that manly nakedness was only inches away from her now and she felt the overwhelming urge to reach out and touch it, but Jennifer nobly held back. Instead, she closed her eyes and went flat against the hallway wall as he jogged past her to his bedroom, slamming the door shut behind him.

Jennifer cracked one eye open, then another. She stood in the hall, dumbfounded, unable to erase the memory of what she’d just seen.

“Oh, my,” she whispered again, laughing a little, still in shock. “Whoa!”



Shelly Ellis is a NAACP Image Award-nominated women’s fiction/romance author and creator of the Gibbons Gold Digger and Chesterton Scandal series. Her fiction writing career began when she became one of four finalists in a First-Time Writers Contest when she was 19 years old. The prize was a publishing contract and having her first short-story romance appear in an anthology. She has since published ten novels and was a finalist for 2015 NAACP Image Award in the Literary Fiction Category, a three-time finalist for the African American Literary Award in the romance category (2012, 2016, and 2017), and a finalist for the 2015 RT Reviewers’ Choice Award in Multicultural Romance category.

She is married and lives in Prince George’s County, Maryland with her husband and their daughter. Visit her at her web site http://www.shellyellisbooks.com.




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