Thursday, July 30, 2015

Welcome To New York


We all have them.

When we buy a cup of coffee, we expect to taste coffee. We expect our cars to crank. We expect people to act like us and feel shocked when they don’t.


They hurt the best of us.

I am currently in New York City to attend a writing conference. I’ve been anticipating this trip for six-months. In my imagination, I saw myself striding through the city like a celebrity —fashionable, confident, with perfect hair and perfect makeup. I could see myself biking through Central Park, lounging on the rail of a ferry with Manhattan glistening behind me. I fantasized riding the subway and maybe, just maybe falling into Zac Efron’s arms when the vehicle lurched to a stop.

I had expectations. Crazy expectations. And over the past few days, I’ve learned that one of the biggest mistakes people make is to have unrealistic expectations of themselves and the world.

I’ve sure learned my lesson.


Day one.

At the airport, I was body-scanned. Thoroughly. My luggage was probed—the security guards thought my business cards were bullets. Anyway, after being suspected of terrorism, I flew to New York City and arrived at my apartment. I ate dinner at a diner, walked to Radio City and the Rockefeller Center, and prepared myself for the best week of my life.

New York City is beautiful, chaotic, and unceasing. People move fast. They drive fast, live fast. Millions of people crammed onto an island and they merge with each other, crowd into crowd, rarely conversing or smiling. Even though they’re surrounded by so many faces, everyone seems alone.

View from my apartment building's roof

Two of the cats who share my apartment

Day two.

Early morning and a trip to the local bagel shop. Very crowded. Bagged bagel to go. Not good. I’d been told that the bagels in NYC were the best. I was expecting the BEST, but a bagel can only be the BEST when it’s warm, smothered in cream cheese, not cold and plain.

My mom and I purchased metro cards for the subway and mapped our route. We were going to meet Tara Brose (model and sister of Tessa Emily Hall) for coffee in SOHO. We did, but it took a while for us to make the commute. The subway is confusing! My mom and I navigated London and Berlin without a problem, but New York had us baffled. When we finally reached SOHO, we got lost, wandered block after block before finally arriving at the coffeehouse. By that point, I didn’t look like the celebrity I’d envisioned myself to be. I was sweaty, sticky, with frizzy hair and smeared lipstick. And my shoes were giving me blisters! Wonderful!
              Tara arrived—fashionable, confident, with perfect hair and perfect makeup. She is such an amazing person. I loved talking with her, drinking some truly terrific coffee, and being in an air-conditioned, toilet-accessible building.

 Afterwards, my mom and I returned to the dreaded subway and attempted to commute to the Staten Island Ferry. We ended up in Brooklyn—not our desired destination—and after an hour of hopping trains, we made it to the ferry. Let me mention that I didn’t fall into Zac Efron’s arms during the ordeal.


I saw the Statue of Liberty. I walked miles, block-to-block, U-turn, block-to-block again. By the time I returned to the apartment, I was starving, hot, my feet were covered in blisters and my makeup had sloughed off. If there was an award for CRANKIEST PERSON, I probably would’ve won it at that moment. But there wasn’t enough time for me to grovel in my pain and frustration. My mom and I had tickets to see Wicked on Broadway. Finally, a chance for me to look AMAZING! Black leather dress, high-heels, red lipstick—I was ready for a night on the town.

Wicked was incredible. I met one of the lead performers and was feeling good. My mom and I walked to Times Square. Everything was good. Better than good. Great! But adversity should be my middle name because on our way back to the apartment, we got lost, forgot to eat dinner, and fought the masses for miles. My leather dress and high-heels didn’t seem so spectacular anymore. Quite the opposite. My feet were on fire, blistered, oozing, about to contract gangrene and fall off. CRANKIEST PERSON suddenly became I AM GOING TO MUDER YOU IF YOU DON’T FEED ME AND PEEL THESE DANG SHOES OFF MY FEET.

My poor mom managed to half-drag me back to the apartment, feed me a dinner of carrot juice and hummus, and let me prop up my mangled feet.

Word of advice. Fashion doesn’t matter! No one cares what you’re wearing. Dress for comfort. You don’t want to be miserable. Tennis shoes and exercise shorts are the way to go!


Day 3.

The subway strikes again!

My mom and I were headed for Central Park but ended up in Harlem. For a brief moment, we feared for our lives and then quickly called a cab. We went to CafĂ© Lalo, a wonderful restaurant and set of the film “You’ve Got Mail.” Best lunch, coffee, and desert I’ve had in a while. We, then, stepped outside…only to be caught in a downpour. Using takeout menus as umbrellas, we ran through the rain, laughing, and stood under an awning with an older lady for several minutes. The storm strengthened. We ran to a deli. No umbrellas. We ran to a grocer. Umbrellas and a flower shop!

Umbrella Prototype

By that point, my shoes were filled with water. My clothes (the same outfit I was wearing the day earlier) were soaked. Standing in the rain, surrounded by wet strangers, I realized that all the frustration and twisted plans were memories I could laugh about with my mom. Flexibility would make my trip amazing, not pretty clothes and achieved expectations.

Perfection is an illusion, a lie we tell ourselves. Nothing is perfect in this world.

Amused by our misadventures, my mom and I walked through Central Park, went shopping for new shoes and dry clothes, and enjoyed a nice dinner of sushi at a local restaurant.
I found Kyle and Cora's rock from JUST STRENGTH!
        If life went according to plan and fit our expectations, it wouldn’t be interesting. Adversity gives our stories plot-twists, intrigue, and a chance for God to mold us into better people. Loosen up. Inspect your expectations. Are they realistic? Does perfection dictate your happiness? I challenge you to find joy even when things go wrong.

Look for laughter in the storm.

And blistered feet.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Newsy Tuesday

Because of my approaching conference, I’m taking a leave of absence from Blogger to focus on final preparations. When you hear from me again, I’ll be in New York City. All of my crazy experiences will be shared on this page—travel tips, awkward moments, mishaps, pictures, everything. But until then, follow me on Twitter @PrimeWayWriter, Instagram @authorcarolinegeorge, or check out my Facebook page. I’ll be posting continuous updates.

Thanks for your support and readership! Below are contest information, a list of upcoming posts, and several reader recommendations.

Future Posts:

·        Welcome To New York

·        The Writer’s Conference: What All Writers Need To Know

·        Three Cheers For Teens

·        The Pitch (Video Blog)

·        Student Vs. Author

For Writers: Check out author Tessa Emily Hall’s Monday Minute Challenge! It’s a wonderful contest that tests your writing skills.

Book Recommendation: WARM BODIES by Isaac Marion

Coffee Of The Day: Chock Full o’ Nuts

CONTEST: Don’t forget about the Social Media Challenge! To enter the contest, post the hashtag #IAmTheVestige on your social media account. Each post will act as an entry. The more you tweet, Instagram, blog, and Facebook #IAmTheVestige, the more times you will be entered into the final drawing. There isn’t an entry limit. Post as much or as little as you want. Just know that the more entries you have, the more likely you are to win the PRIZE PACK!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Social Media Challenge


Is your summer book pile diminishing? Would you like a thrilling, genre-bending read without having to sacrifice the cash?

Next week, I will be traveling to New York City to pitch my latest book to agents. I’ve been working nonstop the past few months to prepare for my pitch session. Late nights, rewrites, fit-throwing, queries, synopses, one-sheets—it is all complete.

To celebrate and promote my upcoming trip, I am hosting a social media challenge!

To enter the contest, post the hashtag #IAmTheVestige on your social media account. Each post will act as an entry. The more you tweet, Instagram, blog, and Facebook #IAmTheVestige, the more times you will be entered into the final drawing. There isn’t an entry limit. Post as much or as little as you want! Just know that the more entries you have, the more likely you are to win.

Winner will receive:

·        A signed PRIME WAY PROGRAM book of their choosing

·        A signed PRIME WAY PROGRAM cup and bookmark

·        A personal letter

·        And their social media featured on my blog

Help me generate book buzz and hype! Like, share, comment, post, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #IAmTheVestige.

A minute of your day could win you a free book!

This contest lasts from 7/19-8/3/2015.

The challenge winner will be announced August 4th.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

How To Make Inspiration Boards For Your Novel

What is more dangerous than a writer with a computer?

A writer with a pair of scissors and a glue stick!


Send me pictures of your inspiration board for a chance to be featured on my blog.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Self-Publishing: What You Need To Know

To most people, self-publishing is an obscure, confusing topic. This makes sense. For all of history, traditional publication has been the only way to achieve author-status. Not anymore. Now there are various ways to make books available to the public.

Below is an email I received today and my response. It briefly answers several of the questions I’ve been asked regarding self-publication.


Hi, Caroline. I was just reading your blog and was wondering if you self-published The Prime Way Program. I don't see anything about a publisher anywhere, so I just assumed it was self-published... If so, could you tell me a little about the process? How did you go about the professional editing/cover design/marketing? Is it time consuming? I'm attempting to write a book right now, so I'm starting to {halfway} considering all my options. I don't want to think too much about it because, obviously, the book's not even written yet.

I really enjoy your writing and I can't wait to hear from you!



Hello, Ashley.

I'm a self-published author and am pursuing traditional publication for my latest book.

Self-publishing is the fastest, most independent form of publication. It takes a ton of time, effort, and motivation but if dedicated, you can have your book on shelves in less than six months. There are hundreds of companies that specialize in helping writers self-publish their books, but these services are expensive and steal your opportunity to learn about the publishing industry, marketing, formatting, etc.

I set a goal to be published by age sixteen and self-publishing was the only option that allowed me to reach my goal. And since I didn’t have the financial resources to afford professional help, I had to learn how to be my own publisher, agent, editor, publicist, and graphic designer.

Be aware. If you want your book to be released within a matter of months, you’ll need to work at least six hours a day.

The process is complex, but everything you need to know can be found on the internet. I downloaded several eBook publishing manuals onto my Kindle and referred to them when formatting my book. There are also countless blogs and articles that offer help to writer’s self-publishing their novels. Be proactive. Don’t fear research. It’ll become your best friend.

When editing, I recruited teachers, authors, and a retired journalist to critique my manuscript—the more credible editors you have, the better. Professional editing is expensive but if you don’t know anyone who is literary knowledgeable, it could be a needed investment. There is nothing worse than an error-riddled book.

Marketing is a job in itself. Make sure to create a website, build a blog platform, and be aggressive with your social media. Once you’ve branded your novel and discovered a target audience, cater to them. Goodreads giveaways are a great way to generate buzz. Also, don’t be afraid to invest money in your promotions. Almost all of my book revenue has been invested in promotional products. Another way to market yourself is through writing workshops, blog tours, and speaking opportunities. You don’t need a publicist. Emails and research have the same effect.

Cover-designing is one of my favorite aspects of the self-publishing process. Unlike tradition publishing, self-publishing allows you to choose and create your book’s cover. There are many design companies that offer this service, but I decided to be independent and finance savvy. I hired my photographers, models, graphic designers, and located the shoots’ sets. I also worked as a makeup artist and designed my characters’ wardrobes. Lots to do. So much fun. I recommend this route!

Because of self-publishing, I’ve learned so much about the industry, become a business woman, and a developed author. I support this process one-hundred-percent.

Let me know if you have any more questions.


Caroline George

Click the link to watch a Q&A with author Tessa Emily Hall and me. We discuss traditional and self-publishing.

Here are several pictures that capture the self-publishing process:

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Writing Can Be Such a Pitch!

Remember when I said being an author was hard?

Yeah, I was right.

Today has been especially difficult. I’ve been working on my latest book’s pitch and query because in nineteen days, I’ll be on a plane to New York City. In twenty-three days, I will meeting with agents.
No pressure.

What made today difficult wasn’t that I had a TON of work to do; it was that I didn’t know how to do my work. I spent most of the day researching, listening to webinars, and deleting sentences. It’s funny, really. A few months ago, when I registered for the conference, I thought the preparations would be a breeze because, let’s face it, I’m a genius. Nope. Not true. I find my conceited expectations brutally, humiliatingly hilarious.

If you remember one thing from my blog post today, remember this: it is better to expect and prepare for difficult and be pleasantly surprised when things are easy.

Between the pitch and query, writing the query has been the most enjoyable. I wrote two options today, each with a different angle. One is professional. The other is risky and as Sara Megibow would say, “Sparkly.” Click the links, read the template queries, and let me know which format you like best. PROFESSIONAL or SPARKLY?

Remember when I said being an author was lonely?

Yeah, I was right about that too.

God has placed many wonderful people in my life who support and love me in spite of my eccentric, overly-driven behavior. But even though I have them rooting for me, I am pursing this career on my own. They can offer their opinions, but the decision to listen is mine. Besides, not all of them can offer sound advice regarding the publishing industry or understand my mentality.
Writers are athletes without coaches.
Authors are athletes with too many coaches.


Have you ever wondered who made the cover of your favorite book? Who inspired and mentored your favorite author while he/she pursued his/her dream?

There are several men and women who have made my writing career possible. I’d like to take a moment and introduce you to some of them.

Mrs. Capers was my Literature teacher throughout middle and high school, and is now my mentor. In eighth grade, I dumped two, full-length fan-fiction novels onto her desk. She encouraged me to write an original novel, edited and critiqued my work, gave me the freedom to find my own literary voice, and is now helping me prepare for my upcoming conference. She’s been with me every step of my writing journey.


Britleigh and Bradley were the first Cora and Kyle. Bradley attended a nearby high school—I didn’t meet him until he arrived at the cover-shoot. I’ve known Britleigh since I was a toddler. She is an incredible, strong person who has supported me throughout my writing journey.

Kati was my second Cora. Due to her gymnastics background, she had the physical built I wanted for the second book’s cover. I loved working with her. She perfectly embodied Cora's character and let me wrap her in bandages and smear her with dirt.
Tessa Emily Hall has been my best friend for almost a year now. She is a brilliant author and editor with a heart for young writers and serving the Lord. We met when we reviewed each other’s first book and a few months later, we started to plan a book-tour. Tessa immediately adopted me into her life and has taught me so much about the publishing industry. Together, we’ve spoken at libraries, homeschool groups, and coffeehouses.

Favoron Productions created the cover of my latest book. They’re a spectacular startup company with talented photographers, filmmakers, and producers. I’m excited to see where God takes them.

Maribeth and Cole are professional models who posed as my main characters, Julie and Jack. I met Cole in my college psychology class and knew immediately that he had to be the face of Jack. I found Maribeth on his Instagram—she looks like Julie. Both are incredibly talented and professional with bright careers ahead of them. I hope to use their skills again in the future.

My Mom has been my most-dedicated supporter, reader, and confidant. Even though we occasionally bicker, she will always be the person I credit with my writing success.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Writer's Midnight Ramble

No sugarcoating. I’m going to be completely honest with you. Writing is a puzzle. Editing is difficult. And the publishing process is like waiting to speak with your mom while she’s talking to her best friend—it won’t happen, at least, not for a while.

I am currently in the editing process for my latest book. In twenty days, I’ll be flying to New York City for a writer’s conference. What does that mean? Well, I have to prepare a pitch, one-sheet, proposal, and finish my initial edits. That said, I’m busy. Very busy. And when I get stumped, I don’t have a ton of people offering advice. My mom, although brilliant, does not understand the current publishing industry. My mentor is a teacher and lives an hour away. My author best friend is busy being an author. I email them at least once a day—it’s no wonder they’ve stopped replying—but even with their council, I am on my own. To make my own decisions. To learn and prepare.
Writing is one of the loneliest jobs available to an eighteen-year-old girl.
At this exact moment, I’m listening to We’re On Our Way by Radical Face and trying to formulate coherent thoughts. It’s midnight. I should be in bed, but the caffeine from my English breakfast tea is keeping me alert and buzzing with ideas.
Last weekend, I attended freshman orientation at my college and registered for classes. While there, I met an English major named Gabriela. She is an aspiring novelist, like many of you, I’m guessing. I found her writing beneath a tree—anyone who picks writing instead of mingling is definitely my kind of person. In her, I saw a younger version of myself, an imaginative, determined girl with a passion for stories. She is an example of potential and eagerness. She is me. She is you.
In honor of Gabriela, I’d like to share three random tidbits of wisdom.

1.      Find a way.

I learned at an early age that success wasn’t going to be handed to me on a platter. People weren’t planning to give me their time because I was Caroline George, little girl with big dreams, who asked for it. If I wanted something, I would have to work for it. Relentless. Perseverant. If someone told me NO, I’d find a YES.

The publishing industry isn’t going to hand you an agent and contract on a platter. You have to work hard. Relentless. Perseverant. And if someone tells you NO, find a YES.

2.      Don’t let other people hurt your confidence.

Everyone experiences days when they feel inferior and unsuccessful. I often have these days.

Get up. Look in the mirror. Cringe.

Check email. No messages. Cringe.

Scan sales report. No sales. Cringe.

It’s easy to allow situations to injure your confidence, but in my opinion, people are the worst confidence-wreckers. One cruel remark will tear down any and all your self-esteem. And to be honest, there isn’t a foolproof way to prevent confidence-wrecking attacks. I can, however, advise you to keep your priorities in check. Believe in your purpose. Trust in the talent God gave you. Stay focused.

3.      Love what you do. Fight for what you love. And love the fight.

Thanks for reading my midnight ramble!

And to all the aspiring authors like Gabriela,

Don’t give up, kid. You’ll make it.