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RippingMovieReview: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

  Posted by Professor VJ Duke in The Punchy Lands!, 21 August 2014 · 3 views

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 10.28.50 AM

So, the studio—along with the analysts—brings you “The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)”.

You know, it’s an interest for sure that the Spider-Man series was rebooted in the first place.

It’s a wonder.

A shocking wonder.

Spider-Man (the 2002 film), starring Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, and Kirsten Dunst grossed over $800 million. The sequel, Spider-Man 2 (2004 film) grossed over $780 million. And the third and final film, Spider-Man 3 (2007) grossed over $890 million.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) grossed a lot of money, too.

And it’s a wonder, since it came out only 5 years after the last Spider-Man movie!

(As a side note, don’t you suppose they should come up with more creative names for the movies? This professor thinks so. “Spider-Man” just gets boring after a while.)

So, here is The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) ripped for two chief reasons:
1. It’s a reboot of a successful franchise.
2. Its name stinks.



W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday with Lauren Spieller

  Posted by Amy Trueblood in Chasing The Crazies , 20 August 2014 · 23 views

    I’ve heard it several times, and in several interviews, but you can never underestimate the power of the slush pile. As today’s W.O.W. with Lauren Spieller shows, if you have a solid submission package, the slush can help you attract the attention of a great agent.  It may take time (and perhaps entering a […]



Wednesday Words: Blindsided

  Posted by DebsBlueRoses in The Writer Ambitious, 20 August 2014 · 15 views


Welcome back to Wednesday Words, where I use Random.org to help me showcase a piece of what I'm reading right now! Yesterday, I began Natalie Whipple's Blindsided, the sequel to Transparent. I'm already halfway done this book, and I must express my total love of these books. As I've mentioned before, when I started writing as a child, I wrote based on the TV series X-Men, so I don't say this lightly that these are the books I dreamed of writing when I was a child, and Natalie has done them. I love her!

All right, so hopefully Random.org will be gentle this week and not spoil anything in the next half of the book for me. There are 263 pages in the Kindle edition. Random has chosen Page....128. That is 48.6% of the way in, which is probably 3 to 4 pages ago for me. Hurray!

There are 20 lines on the 48.6% area, so Random has given me Line.....17.

"I was worried something happened," he says as I run for my bathroom to scrub my skin. I don't even want to know what he'd say to seeing me with makeup on.

This was a very interesting and sad scene, because Fiona is desperate to see herself, and it's not the first time she's tried to use makeup to do it (though it eventually absorbs into her skin, so she can't even see that). Beauty is only skin deep, but what if you can see everyone's BUT yours? I feel for Fiona.



Review of Stitching Snow

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs in Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details, 20 August 2014 · 37 views

I always love getting books before they release. It's even better if the book is by an acquaintance. Thanks to Net Galley for providing access to more great fantasy and science fiction reads. Stitching Snow will be available in October.

Princess Snow is missing.

Her home planet is filled with violence and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. The king will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back—but that’s assuming she wants to return at all.

Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.

When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane’s arrival was far from accidental, and she’s pulled into the heart of a war she’s risked everything to avoid. With the galaxy’s future—and her own—in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.

Preorder on Amazon

My thoughts:

Honestly, this was one of the best books I've read in young adult for a long time.

So many things stood out about Stitching Snow for me that it's hard to put my finger on just why I liked it so much. The whole plot line isn't apparent from the first chapter, but it's allowed to build and develop so naturally. The characters acted like real people and not heroines in the making. It wasn't a case of instant love or instant hate between the two mains, and the romance grew after we got to like the characters. There’s was just the right amount of science fiction elements without getting too technical.

It was far enough away from the whole Snow White story to keep from feeling like an echo. In fact, I had to dig for similarities at some points. I really liked that the dwarfs were robots. The evil queen was suitable evil. There was one part with the king that I really could have done without—but we can’t have everything.

Essie has the bad-ass main character role down. She tough, independent, and sometimes … wrong. She doesn’t win every fight. She stubborn and frail and fragile in a way, but stills gives as good as she gets. And I like her because she smart, and not snarky or whiny as has become the trend so much in YA. 

I would have liked to see the other characters built up a little more and gotten more of an inside look at what went on from the bad guy perspective. First person point of view does limit you to only what the main character knows. A drawback that you can’t do much about.

A highly recommended read. Four stars from me! 




Posted by Marzie Malfoy in Slytherin House Poetry Reading, 19 August 2014 · 36 views
slytherin, price, malfoy

The price I pay
For heart so dear,
Hard to reach
Yet easy to fear.

The bats fly
To protect me.
This time,


They are stuck in the belfry.

Solitude is all I have.
Isolation is what I own.
I wish one day that I
Will not have to feel so alone.

My life has been blown.
I have no cover.
Do not look for me,
For my wretch body you will discover

Bottomless pit
Is all but bottomless.
Has filled up with all sadness,
All the anger I have suppressed.



  Posted by LucidDreamer in LucidDreamer's Blog, 19 August 2014 · 17 views

On day 21 of the CROWN OF ICE publication day countdown I would like to highlight – N is for NORTH. Since CROWN OF ICE is a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen”, its setting must be in the North. Specifically, Scandinavia. However, since this is a fantasy, I decided not to identify […]



Julie Musil & 5 Scary Things about Indie Publishing -- Plus Solutions to Calm Your Nerves

  Posted by Jemi in Just Jemi, 19 August 2014 · 34 views

Please welcome the awesome Julie Musil to the blog today! Julie's latest book The Summer of Crossing Lines is out and about today. Can't wait to read it! Julie's first book The Boy Who Loved Fire is a great story with powerful characters. Today Julie's here to talk about...

5 Scary Things About Indie Publishing--Plus Solutions to Calm Your Nerves

The idea of indie publishing can be overwhelming--even scary. Believe me, I’ve been scared as heck since I took the leap and published The Summer of Crossing Linesand The Boy Who Loved Fire. But sometimes the scariest road is the one we must travel. I’ll share five scary things about indie publishing and what we can do to calm our nerves.

Scariest Thing #1--Quality Writing

What if my books aren’t good enough? What if they’re best left on the hard drive? We all worry about that, right? Readers deserve the best we can give them.

Calm your nerves by...hiring a professional editor

Don’t do this after draft two. You’ll waste time and money. My books had been through several rounds of my own editing. Then through beta readers. Then edited again and again and again. I also cut the word fat, using tips from craft books such as The Word-Loss Diet by Rayne Hall. If you’re paying per page, why pay for fatty words that shouldn’t be there?

After paring down the manuscript, I hired Bethany from A Little Red, Inc. to edit both books. She was fabulous. More on hiring a freelance editor here. It’s definitely an investment, but totally worth it.

Scariest Thing #2--Book Cover

Confession: I do judge a book by its cover. Fair? Probably not. But it’s something I consider when deciding what to read. Cool covers are important to me.

Calm your nerves by...hiring a professional cover designer

Sure, writers can create their own covers using a laptop and nifty software, but I didn’t want to skimp on this. The cover is a reader’s first impression of your book. I hired designer J. Allen Fielder, who does amazing work for a fair price. More on working with a cover designer here.

Scariest Thing #3--Formatting

Early ebooks were fraught with wonky fonts and spacing, which frustrated readers and helped give indie publishing a bad name.

Calm your nerves by...hiring a formatter or learning to do it yourself

Many authors hire formatters and swear by them. There are plenty of affordable resources listed on the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blogand Susan Kaye Quinn’s blog.

I’m a serial do-it-yourselfer and chose to do my own formatting. I’m so glad I did. If I want to make changes--even if it’s just centering text or changing one word--it’s easy to do. Begin with the Smashwords’ Style Guide(it’s free!). Most guides are created for Word, but if you use Apple Pages, the ebook From Pages ’09 to Kindle Format in Minutes($.99) will come in handy.

Scariest Thing #4--Getting Noticed

It’s crowded out there, and I don’t have the loudest voice. I’m not a salesperson and I’m definitely not a marketing pro.

Calm your nerves by...reaching out to people you’ve connected with

When it came time to spread the word about my books, I asked friends (like Jemi!) if I could spend a little time on their blogs, offering value to their readers. What’s the worst that can happen? They say no? We’re writers. We should be used to the word No. (By the way, no one said no. Writers are such nice people). I also mention news on my Facebook Author Page, on Twitter, and on my own blog. Not constant noise, just sharing information.

Other writers hire marketing teams, but I haven’t tried that. The good thing about indie publishing is that you can experiment and find what works for you.

Scariest Thing #5--Failure

We all fear failure...newbies and professionals in all walks of life.

Calm your nerves by...accepting that failure is part of the process

Don’t give up. Keep learning, keep improving, and keep trying. That’s the beauty of indie publishing. If you try something that doesn’t work, you can try something new. There isn’t a publisher breathing down your back, demanding results. You’re free to chill out and have fun with it.

Have you indie published? Did my five scariest things mirror yours? Any questions you’d like answered? Any tips you’d like to share?

Julie Musil writes from her rural home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband and three sons. She’s an obsessive reader who loves stories that grab the heart and won’t let go. Her Young Adult novels, The Summer of Crossing Lines and The Boy Who Loved Fire, are available now. For more information, or to stop by an say Hi, please visit Julie on her blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

When her protective older brother disappears, sixteen-year-old Melody loses control of her orderly life. Her stuttering flares up, her parents are shrouded in a grief-induced fog, and she clings to the last shreds of her confidence. 

The only lead to her brother’s disappearance is a 30-second call from his cell phone to Rex, the leader of a crime ring. Frustrated by a slow investigation with too many obstacles, and desperate to mend her broken family, Melody crosses the line from wallflower to amateur spy. She infiltrates Rex’s group and is partnered with Drew, a handsome pickpocket whose kindness doesn’t fit her perception of a criminal. He doesn’t need to steal her heart—she hands it to him.

With each law Melody breaks, details of her brother’s secret life emerge until she’s on the cusp of finding him. But at what point does truth justify the crime? 

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Apple     Kobo     Smashwords     Print

Thanks Julie! Those are great solutions for anyone interested in indie publishing! I won a 5 page edit from Bethany and would totally second your recommendation. She was fabulous!!

How about you? Any tips to add to Julie's list? Does self-publishing intrigue or terrify you?



It’s writers’ right to lose readers and alienate them

Posted by Selene Bell in Confessions of a Binge Reader, 18 August 2014 · 53 views

(Spoiler alert: This blog post gives away or hints at the outcomes of several books, particularly Allegiant, the final book in the Divergent series, as well as The Road, the Harry Potter series and the fate of Katniss Everdeen. But the specific spoilers come after the third paragraph.)

The New York Times wrote last week about Swoon Reads, a young-adult romance imprint from Macmillan Publishing, and its unique publishing model. It’s basically American Idol for books—readers’ favorites get published. It’s a cool concept, but one of the most striking features is that the winning books can be revised based on readers’ comments. I find that kind of alarming. On one hand, editors have always had a hand in how published works play out, and they’ve always weighed how plots affect sales. On the other hand, readers getting a say in what happens to characters takes the editing process a step farther than I’m comfortable with.

Consider, as evidence, the vitriolic fan reaction to Charlaine Harris’ final Sookie Stackhouse novel. And by vitriolic, I mean death threats—over which hot, male lead the trouble-prone waitress settled down with. Another series that ended with fans screaming for the author’s head was the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth. And what fan hasn’t cursed George R.R. Martin more than once?

But fans aren’t the best judges of what should happen to characters they love, and I include myself among them. I want everyone to get their happy ending, even though that’s not how reality works—maybe because that’s not how reality works. That's really common, and it's probably ingrained in people. We want to see characters get the ends they deserve. It’s been theorized that's because the belief that justice prevails helps keep the world spinning—and us satisfied with the way it spins. After all, if society were corrupt and unfair, we’d rise up to change it, right? (Read more in this Boston Globe article, which also explores whether fiction helps or hurts us.)

But let’s face it, novels would be far less interesting if bad things didn’t happen. Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet would be just more romance novels. The boy’s survival in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road wouldn’t mean much if death only claimed bad people. The love story in John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars wouldn’t yank at our hearts the same way. Readers don’t always know what’s best.

I’ve heard on several occasions that killing a character will make the critics appreciate your work and readers hate it. That’s, of course, too simplistic. Many readers revel in tragedy or less-than-perfect endings because they’re more real-world. And critics are just readers, too. In Veronica Roth’s case, this paradigm did play out. Multiple critics responded to Allegiant by saying the trilogy’s conclusion proved that Roth was a serious YA writer—implying YA writers who give their characters happy endings are fluff writers. Now I don’t think Allegiant could have ended any other way; self-sacrifice is a major theme in all the books. But I don’t think Roth’s work should be taken more seriously solely because she killed off her main character. That’d be too easy of an out for authors.

One of my favorite YA dystopians, Ann Aguirre’s Razorland Trilogy, does have a happy ending, but no one could write the books off as fluff. They deal with serious issues, including rape, death, discrimination, independence and redemption. The characters suffer. Novels don’t mean as much if characters don't. Take Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen. They both technically get happy endings, but they lose important things and people along the way. Perhaps the best recipe for success with both critics and readers is a half-happy ending. But if every book embraced that, readers would become desensitized. The diversity of all the ways books end makes the sadder, more poignant conclusions mean more. So, in that sense, critics, publishers and “serious” writers should thank all the happy-ending writers.

There's really no formula for success, and presuming anyone can write a best-seller by combining elements of other great books won't work. This is the part that makes me most uncomfortable about writing or editing for reader preference, especially if it's presuming to know what readers will want. Creative license and novel ideas are essential. Rubbing off the sharp edges makes works duller. Take, for example, The Hunger Games. What reader would have said, "Yes! Write me a book about kids killing each other!" Or take Fight Club. "I've been looking for a book about a crazy man beating up anyone who'd be his friend!" As a reader, I want writers to go bold. Write for themselves. Take the disgusting and make it beautiful. Please.



Authors Move In Groups For Our Mental Well Being

  Posted by bigblackcat97 in Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, 18 August 2014 · 24 views

The best part about being a writer is meeting other writers.<br /><br />People ask me all the time what my favorite published experience has been, and this is always my answer. Yes, seeing my name on a book for the first time was awesome, but much like Christmas, the best part about publishing is when it has nothing to do with what you're getting.<br /><br />This past weekend I had the awesome experience of meeting some really amazing ladies. Joseph-Beth hosted the first of a two-part YA Beach Bash featuring myself, Mindee Arnett (<a href="https://www.goodread...rom_search=true" target="_blank">THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR</a>, <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17149396-avalon?from_search=true" target="_blank">AVALON</a>), Melissa Landers (<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13574417-alienated?from_search=true" target="_blank">ALIENATED</a>), Kristen Simmons (<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10677277-article-5?from_search=true" target="_blank">ARTICLE 5</a>), Saundra Mitchell (<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11974142-mistwalker?from_search=true" target="_blank">MISTWALKER</a>), and Julie Kagawa (<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6644117-the-iron-king?from_search=true" target="_blank">THE IRON FEY</a>, <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10215349-the-immortal-rules?from_search=true" target="_blank">THE BLOOD OF EDEN</a>).<br /><br />Authors are a different sort of people. If you are one, or if you've ever met one, this probably isn't news to you. The week before last I had the chance to sign with both Rae Carson (<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10429092-the-girl-of-fire-and-thorns?from_search=true" target="_blank">THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS</a>) and Ann Aguirre (<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7137327-enclave?from_search=true" target="_blank">RAZORLAND</a>, <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13508415-mortal-danger?from_search=true" target="_blank">MORTAL DANGER</a>). During the course of normal conversation I mentioned vomitoriums (as one does) and I didn't have to explain what those are. It's worth nothing that neither one of them blinked, either. I knew I was among my people.<br /><br />So, meeting other authors is always welcome. It's an expansion of the realization that I'm-Not-So-F'ed-Up-After-All hangover from high school. Or at least, if I am F'ed up, I'm not the only one. Meeting people and maintaining friendships has become more of a driving factor to me when I agree to do events than selling books. Most authors will tell you that when we do a convention, festival, or signing, we do so not because we think we'll be moving copies, but because our friends are going to be there.<br /><br />I like friends. Friends are good.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-y5gDkwg1lms/U_E4Qi9n3LI/AAAAAAAACoM/CBl5n1JGC88/s1600/BvMJVjvIcAAFj3h.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-y5gDkwg1lms/U_E4Qi9n3LI/AAAAAAAACoM/CBl5n1JGC88/s1600/BvMJVjvIcAAFj3h.jpg" height="300" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Kristen Simmons, Mindee Arnett, Julie Kagawa<br />Melissa Landers, Saundra Mitchell, Mindy McGinnis</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><br />

<a href="http://writerwriterp...our-mental.html" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


Interview with Nikki Roberti - Become an Agent WINNER!

  Posted by SC_Author in SC Write--Writing, Publishing, and Harry Potter, 18 August 2014 · 16 views

I'm very very excited because here, for you today, is the awesome Nikki Roberti. She recently won the Become an Agent Querypalooza (as we've renamed it). And today is Pitch Wars submissions day, too. Hopefully this interview will help keep your mind off of it as you press the submit buttons!

The interview is seven questions because seven is awesome Harry Potter number and so it has to be seven :)

1. Fun facts about you: name three!

1) I am a pretty gnarly balloon sculptor. Once made a full size bike as a bribe for a kid at summer camp.
2) When I was 18, four of my theatrical pieces I wrote were performed at the Kennedy Center in DC
3) I once got punched by a photographer while covering a Michelle Obama event in DC as a journalist because I had the better spot.

2. Tell us about your writing/publication experience. How did the drafting go? How do you cope in the querying process?

My writing/publication experience is pretty varied with most of it being 12 years of published journalism experience (which I still do as a writer at an international non profit). After years of interviewing people, I started channeling my familiarity with dialogue into plays. I've had short pieces performed from coast to coast with a monologue also being performed in a studio off broadway in NYC. I took a break from playwriting to focus on my journalism career, but in 2012 I needed a creative outlet again and started writing full-length novels.

I've written four complete novels so far, but THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO SHOES is the first one I've really felt struck a chord within myself and even among other people who have volunteered to read it for me. I started writing this while working with Stark Contrast Editing on my light sci fi, THE CURED, because I was 1) learning so much about what I did wrong with my other book and 2) and I just needed a break. I was dealing with some pretty serious frustrations on numerous levels and worked it into this YA contemporary. My goal was to apply what I learned working with my editor on my other book and see if my writing improved.

As far as querying goes, I've learned a lot since I wrote my first book. I've had some nibbles over the past two years, but no agent yet on those projects. THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO SHOES is still new, so I haven't really put it out there yet. I'm hoping maybe this one will grab some attention. When it comes to coping...lots of chocolate, and my therapists named "Ben & Jerry" (Phish food is the best flavor ever).

3. What/Who keeps you going on this quest for publication, especially if you feel like giving up some times?

It's definitely discouraging at times, but writing is what I'm meant to do, and it's who I am. I can't imagine not writing. And since it's such an integral part of my life, rejection has no ability to tear my determination away from me. It will happen when the time is right. In the meantime, I'll keep at it.

4. What is your favorite book? Genre? Author? Also, what writer would you most love to be compared to?

I love ALL YA. I just love reading teen books because it transports me to a time I want to escape to. Favorite book is so hard!!! I'd have to say "The Princess Bride" by William Goldman. I nearly used excerpts in my wedding, I loved it so much. It made me laugh and feel things in a way nothing had at that point in my life.

I don't know which writer I'd want to be compared to. I have such a huge respect for so many, but at the same time, I hope one day I can just be known for my work. If I had to pick one, I'd say John Green because of how he can make people laugh in dark situations, and that's how I've always tried to focus my books on even before I ever read one of his.

5. What are your long-term and short-term goals, writing-wise?

Short-term, my goal is to make my deadlines at work this week! Kidding aside, I really hope to query THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO SHOES more this year and see where it goes into the New Year.

Long-term, I want to eventually freelance full time instead of having a day job. I freelance for various magazines and websites now while writing my books when I get home, but I would love to have an office at home where I could focus on my projects and editing clients more.

6. How was your experience in Become an Agent? What part of the contest did you find the best, and what part did you find the hardest? Anything to tell the other entrants?

My experience with Become an Agent was an interesting, but definitely a beneficial ride. I really appreciated the thoughtful critiques people gave me. But I was very confused by some of the conflicting notes and by the fact that for some reason, more people commented in general on mine than any others. At one point I thought maybe I had both more nos than anyone too. But overall, it really taught me how subjective the industry is and how people can have a strong reaction either way-- but that's better than no reaction at all. I'm definitely going to mull over a lot of the constructive feedback I received and see if I can apply it before Pitch Wars, but I also definitely learned that in the end, I have to trust my gut since people will be split.

To the other entrants, thank you for your thoughtful critiques and good luck on your projects too! I loved reading your entries, and it was so hard to only vote Yes on two. You all are so amazingly talented, and I predict good things for all of us in the future.

7. What would be a dream review for any of your books? Meaning, what would you LOVE for someone to say about your writing/stories?

I actually got a review from a beta recently that made me all sorts of weepy in a way I don't think I'll ever see again (or at least, I can't fathom happening any time soon). While my book is not Christian lit, my main character in THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO SHOES is a Christian who is widely persecuted by other Christians. However, as she struggles outwardly and inwardly throughout the plot, she remains true to herself and what she believes in. The plot is not reliant on this piece of characterization, but one beta approached me later saying that it really resonated with him how awful the supposedly "nice Christians" were to her, and it made him start visiting churches again since he saw that there is a difference between mainstream religion and personal faith. The idea anything I write could help people on their journey to asking questions or finding out more about themselves in any way is a privilege I don't even feel honored enough to accept. But it meant the world to me that he said my book helped him want to take steps toward learning more about something that had been weighing on him for some time.

Nikki Roberti Miller has more than 12 years of published journalism experience spanning newspapers, magazines, newswires, and more. Currently, she is a full-time writer for an international relief non profit and a freelancer for various magazines and websites including Engagement 101, WeTV.com and iVillage.com. As an editor, she was invited to present her theories on the mentor-mentee writer relationship at the 2011 International Writing Center Conference and also started her own online magazine, REALITY Check Girl, back in 2009. For fun, she's a recreational balloon sculptor who loves to cook and go to the theater with her husband.


I loved loved those answers. Thank you so much Nikki for submitting and doing this interview! Good luck with everything and be sure to tell me if anything exciting happens.

This is also a call for EVERYONE that submitted/participated in Become an Agent. If you get a success story because of the Querypalooza, I WANT TO HEAR IT! Make sure you Tweet me, email me, anything, because success stories make my day :)



Facebook for Authors: Page or Profile?

  Posted by From The Write Angle in From The Write Angle Blog, 18 August 2014 · 15 views

by +J. Lea Lopez

Let's talk about using Facebook as an author. I've gotten a lot of questions from fellow writers who aren't sure how to use Facebook as a tool, what they're supposed to do with it, how exactly they're supposed to do it, and so on. Eventually I plan to do a few posts on some specific how-tos, but in this post I'm going to talk about the differences between interacting with fans/readers through a page versus a profile.

I prefer to use a page, while others prefer to use a profile, and I'm not going to argue which is better or right, because I don't think there's a definitive answer. For a quick look at the differences, you can scroll down for a handy infographic that you're encouraged to share. Keep reading for some more detail and explanation.

Author Profile

If you have a personal profile on Facebook for keeping in touch with friends and family already, then you know how all of that works. Many authors will create additional profiles for their pen names, or even if they don't use a pen name, they'll create a profile for "Author J. Lea López" for the purposes of connecting with fans and having an online presence as their writing selves. It's easy, there's no learning curve because they already know how to use FB in this manner, and they can keep personal details out of their professional timeline and vice versa.

Attending FB events like launch parties and cover reveals and giveaways is easy to do. For event attendees, they get notifications whenever other attendees (who have RSVP'd) post in the event. This is great if you have some people who are waiting for Author You to show up and play games or run a giveaway. They don't have to babysit the event page and keep hitting refresh. Attendees do NOT get a notification when someone posts in the event using their page persona. It might seem like a small detail, but it can be important. Speaking as an attendee at one event, I was confused when I stopped getting notifications for a solid chunk of time, only to realize that the scheduled author was indeed posting in the event, but was doing so as her page persona. I was annoyed I'd missed out on some things.

A profile is a great option if you want to run a street team or a reader's group where you give away ARCs or a secret group to share sexy pictures of cowboys poll readers about what to name your heroine. ;-)

For me, the downsides of using a profile are many. As a reader, I don't personally want to send friend requests to all of the authors whose pages I would like in a heartbeat. There's a certain amount of distance with a page that I'm happy with maintaining. I don't want to share my life with them; I just want to see the fun things they share and learn more about their writing. As an author, I also don't want to share all of my life with my readers. And if you know me, you know I share quite a bit on social media. But I don't want to share everything, and the thought of creating a separate profile to share little more than I'm already doing on my page seems like too much work.

Author Page

When you create a page, you (personal profile you) are the admin for that page and you'll log in to FB with your regular profile when you want to share things from your page. There can be a learning curve and some confusion about how to share what where so it shows up correctly to your fans on your page instead of scaring your dear Aunt Ida with those sexy cowboy photos when you accidentally share them to your family and friends instead of your page. Getting the posting just right can be tricky at first, but at least you don't have to log in and out of different accounts or keep two separate Internet browsers dedicated to two (or more) separate profiles. If you have multiple pen names, you can have multiple pages all accessible from your regular FB profile. And as someone who does a huge amount of social media sharing via mobile devices, it's much easier to manage multiple pages in a single app than it is to manage multiple profiles.

You can send and receive messages from readers with a page the same as you would with a profile, and people can also post to your page publicly. There's still plenty of room for two-way communication with a page. There's no reader apprehension about "Does this author really want me to friend them? Is that too intrusive? Will they accept my request?" and no author apprehension about "What kind of person is this that I'm friending? Are they going to post things I hate? Will I have to hide them from my feed or unfriend them at some point?" Plus it's just super easy to click the Like button.

It's no secret that FB has narrowed the organic reach of pages, which is partially why I suspect a lot of people are using profiles instead, but there are some techniques you can use to broaden your reach whenever you post from your page. Hashtags, time of day, types of post, etc can help ensure that more of the people who've liked your page actually see the content. It's yet another learning curve. However, you do get some analytics with a FB page that you don't get with a profile that can help you target your audience better. The stats aren't perfect, but you'll get information about the overall reach and engagement of each of your posts, and you can look at that data in historic graphs to help you understand which of your posts perform better. You don't get any of that with a profile.

Of course, there's also the old-fashioned way of reaching more people: paying for it. You can pay to promote a public post on a profile, but that $6.99 goes toward pushing that post to the top of your friends' newsfeeds. It will ensure more of the people you're already friends with have seen the post, but that doesn't mean anyone else will. As a page, you can pay to boost a post with a budget as small as $5, and you can target by age, location, gender, and interests, meaning you have a better chance of making new connections and getting new fans.

A public profile is great for extensive networking, maintaining groups, planning and attending events, and connecting with readers in a format you're likely already familiar with. A page is great for sharing things with readers while maintaining some distance, analyzing the effectiveness of your posts, targeting paid FB promotion, and having access to all of your personas in one place. It's up to you to decide which you think is the best fit for you.

Here's that infographic I promised, which I made (for free!) using Piktochart. Feel free to share it around! (click to enlarge)

If you have one, do you prefer using a public Facebook profile or a page to connect with readers? If you don't, which do you think would work best for you?

J. Lea López is an author who strives to make you laugh at, fall in love with, cry over, and lust after the characters she writes. She welcomes online stalkers as long as they're witty and/or adulatory. Kidding. Maybe. Check for yourself: Twitter, Facebook, Blog.



Begin With The Goal In Mind

  Posted by Joe Stephens in My Train of Thought, 17 August 2014 · 8 views

Our big local festival Homecoming, ends today. The centerpiece of the event (as far as I'm concerned, at least) is the Half Marathon, which was won by the same man, Kenyan Julius Kogo for the fifth consecutive time. I hurt myself training for it this year and didn't get to run in it, but I WILL run next year and I WILL set a PR.

The reason I am talking about this is not that I'm a frustrated runner (though I am). It's that Homecoming is our annual signal that summer is fast coming to an end. School starts tomorrow for students, having already started for teachers on Wednesday. My classroom is ready and I'm looking forward to meeting my new kids. Especially for the next four months, life will be quite hectic. That may seem like it will make it harder for me to write, but the opposite is actually true.

I need routine to get work done. When I have time on my hands, I waste it. On the other hand, when my time is limited, I seem to feel the need to take advantage of what I do have. I don't imagine I'm at all unique in that. Probably a lot of folks feel the same way. I like to say that I could use some time off to write, and who knows, maybe if I had enough time that I could get bored with it, I would start writing again just to have a new routine. But with less than a three week summer this year, all I could think about was how little I wanted to do anything constructive with my days off.

I'm almost 18,000 words into the initial draft of my third Shalan adventure and I have two more final drafts waiting for publication. So for this school year, my writing goals are two: finish this manuscript--all the way up to publication ready--and get my first manuscript published, be that through an agent or on my own. I am stating here that this time next year, I will be a published author who is actually making meaningful money.

Assuming that is true, I'll remind you of my prediction in twelve months. If it's not, don't remind me unless you want a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.



Research Ramblings: The Spartan Citizenry, Part 16

  Posted by Sakura Eries in Sakura Eries' Blog: Keeping It In Canon …mostly, 15 August 2014 · 30 views

As noted in my May 2, 2014 post, Spartan warriors were an interesting bunch, and I’m continuing my series on them with today’s fact:

Spartans considered arrows “feminine.”

This was because arrows were a long-range weapon that allowed you to kill without really seeing your enemy. The Spartans’ weapons of choice were a thrusting spear and a short iron sword, which required them to get up close and personal. Despite their disdain for arrows, they did use bows and arrows in their auxiliary forces.

Tune in next week for more about the Spartans!



Writing Success Goal Monday #1

  Posted by Lora Palmer in Lora Palmer's Blog, 12 August 2014 · 8 views

Setting writing goals and keeping track of progress can be a great way to achieve success. They'll also serve as a reminder to enjoy and celebrate the smaller, short-term accomplishments along the journey. Each week, I'll post my writing goals and invite you all to post yours and update us on your progress. I've seen something like this on another blog where it's a summer feature, and it seems like a great way to encourage each other as a regular feature here.

This week, here are my writing goals;

1. Finish working on the query for RED SKY to get it ready for WriteOnCon 2014 (August 26-27). There's not too much left to do with this one, but I do want to incorporate a hint of romance to show that it is a YA rather than MG fic.

2. Finish edits for MIRRORMASTERS for possible entry into Pitch Wars and for WriteOnCon. This goal is going to take longer, because I'm anticipating at least cutting two characters and focusing a bit more on the main character Leah's story arc--the things she learns and how she grows during the course of the story.

3. Write at least 200 words a day on RED SKY. Maybe it's not such an ambitious goal, but it's an achievable goal with the time I have.

So, that's it for this week! What are your writing goals for the week? 



A Little Late...

  Posted by K McClelland in Teardrops On My Book, 07 August 2014 · 5 views

I just realized that it's the first Thursday of this month and that means I missed the first Wednesday. And then I come to my lovely little neglected blog to see I haven't posted since June...Damn. I'm sorry about that.

(Make sure to go visit the Insecure Writer's Support Group website and the wonderful Alex J Cavanaugh as well.)

A couple of real quick things because unfortunately I don't really have more than a moment to post.

June and July flew right on by faster than ever before. This was the fastest, busiest, craziest summer I've had in all my 28 years. I've caught up, got behind, caught up, edited, worked a lot for free, worked a lot for not free, did a decent job of keeping my kids occupied, did a not so decent job of keeping my kids occupied, and did a barely decent job of not going crazy in all the madness.

Writing is happening, every once in a while. I've been reading a lot too, only as I've had time though. And I worked on crits, but then lost my internet for a bit and I've been behind since. But now I have to wait for AQC to come back up so I can get caught up again.

I think my biggest insecurity I've been feeling recently is that my current MS that I've been editing isn't really worth it and my other completed MS that I should just query or self pub is garbage even though I put a TON of effort into fixing it. I love both stories. And I really love the one I'm editing. But I've started posting it for critique and the crits (only chapter one...) on it have brought back old feelings from the first MS I had critted and I start worrying that I'm going to be in the same place I was. Mega editing and rewriting until I have a story that I love and hate all in one. Hopefully it's not going to end up like that and hopefully eventually I won't have anything but love for my first MS.

Last thing, I'm thinking I need to switch my blog. I'm not sure exactly what I want to do because I actually like blogger and Idk if I'll like something else as much. But I've had trouble with my blogger stuff ever since I got this laptop with Win 8. So, if anyone has any ideas/suggestions I'll gladly take 'em.

I hope everyone else is having a wonderful summer and I'll see you soon. (Hopefully sooner than a month or two.)



How Car Dealerships Without Social Media are Without Sales

  Posted by dclabs in dan.croutch.ca, 06 August 2014 · 6 views

The automotive world is one that remains sheltered to innovation.  Many things about cars and the way they’re sold to us have been done the same way for decades.  It’s an industry which, on the whole, seems resistant to innovation or change all together.  Considering the first hybrid drive car was invented and produced over 100 years ago, it’s a shame we’re only now seeing electric cars slowly start to come to the mainstay.  Sure, there have been improvements in the existing technology, but internal combustion has remained the same technology, albeit more efficient, for decades.

This reluctance to embrace change seems to happen in the social media world as well.  While some car manufacturers have established a great presence online, others seem to have created them but allow them to languish.  It may be a good time to read a past post of mine about using social media well, and how a dangerous a stagnating social media account really can be.  But head offices aren’t the only ones who should be utilizing this powerful tool.  Boots on the ground dealerships are company’s direct interaction with potential, current and past customers.  Sadly the buying experience at dealerships hasn’t changed much either, and many seem to have a very poor understanding of social media.  While there are a few, very exceptional, exceptions, dealerships in general are missing out on massive potential simply by ignoring these powerful tools.

This isn’t just for new car dealerships either.  Used car dealerships often have a negative stigma attached to them as well.  Sales experiences at many used car lots can be so poor that they only support the unfortunate stereotype that plagues them.  Engaging and building relationships with your community through social media is a great way to draw people onto your lot and disarm them before they arrive.  Customers will arrive curious, happy and devoid of the traditional “used car lot” ideals.

So, how are you missing out on customers by doing social media poorly, or not at all?

Sales leads through interaction

Social media’s very nature is give and take.  Simply posting things to Facebook and Twitter like you would a pin board or website isn’t enough.  Social media is designed to be a conversation, a form of interaction.  People post, publicly, their needs and their wants.  The citizenship of your community waits to be engaged through social media.  You can get involved with local charity events, talk to brand supporters – and detractors – in real time.  You can see what the people of your sales area are saying about your dealership, about your brand.  Find people who are interested in cars, buying cars or having issues with cars.  By building these interactions you’re creating potential customers.

Having this kind of interaction also creates a sense of connection and authenticity with your potential clients.  Buyers under 30 especially are far more likely to drive a bit to a dealership that took the time to chat with them on Facebook or Twitter than visit the local shop.  While loyalty and return business means something to an older generation of buyers, it doesn’t to younger, more active buyers.  Dealerships who rely on family loyalty for sales leads will find themselves with sales shrinking fast.  By engaging with your community online – for free – you’re tapping into a massive pool of customer leads.  You can get basic sales information- name, email, location, wants – without the pressure of a showroom or the obligation of a call back.  Stash it away somewhere and keep the dialogue open.  You’ll likely find that person show up at your location.  Remember; social media interactions shouldn’t be about sales tactics, they should be about building leads through relationships.  Keep the conversation like you would one with friends or colleagues.  This leads nicely into…

Breaking away from traditional sales mentality

There is a very typical way that customers seem to be approached at dealerships.  My experience has shown that you can tie very clearly a dealership experience with how well, or not well, social media is used.  Many dealer owners who understand and value social media have altered their mindset of how sales should be handled.  A visit to one of their dealerships is often a pleasant, fruitful one.  You leave feeling informed and empowered to make your decision, your way.  Many people chose the dealership – and the vehicle – they buy based on this experience.  Actively making social media an important part of your sales environment forces you to change how sales happen at your dealership.  Customers get used to a kind of interaction on social media and come to your dealership with those expectations.  If your experience on site is anything different, that customer will shut down and likely leave.

Sales floor interactions will soon mimic the relational driven, low pressure candidacy of your social media accounts.  Customers will find a fluid experience from online interactions to sales floor.  Today’s customers are intelligent, engaged and entitled.  They know what they want, they have an idea of how they want to buy it and they want it now.  Making the decision to have social media be a key component to your sales toolbox is an instrumental step in changing how your dealership does sales.  I would submit it’s an essential one.

Potential to engage bloggers/SM influencers

One of the great benefits of social media is engaging blogging/tweeting influencers.  These people often have engaged and large followings, they know how to draw attention to their tweets and engage audiences around their subjects.  My personal Twitter Test Drive program is a very small example of that.  By using social media actively you will find yourself engaging and attracting influencers from your community.  Using these influencers to drive business and traffic to your site is a great, and often free (or cheap),  way of advertising.  Social media influencers are seen as “real people” and unbiased by their followers with a level of authenticity no company can recreate.  People take what they say to heart or consider them authorities in their area.  By engaging with these influencers you gain respect from the community simply by being vouched for.

When you partner with one of these influencers, it acts like a third party review of your dealership.  People will suddenly become curious about your dealership.  It will become the topic of online conversation or, better still, offline conversation.  All lead to your dealership name being talked about outside of conventional advertising means.  People will start engaging with your dealership’s social media platform and soon, leads will begin to take shape.  Companies constantly strive to find ways to get positive, real, reviews of their services into the lime light.  Engaging and partnering with social media influences is an easy, quick and cost effective way to get authentic, but controlled, reviews of your brand and your dealership.

A “real” relationship with your customers

Engagement through social media goes beyond building customer leads.  Once someone has made the decision to purchase and become a customer, social media still plays an important role.  In today’s world, people gravitate more towards companies that feel more “real”, or companies that they can relate too and with.  By building a relationship with your customers through interactions, they feel more like your friend than just someone you can extract money from.  Social media lets you get to know them as they use your products.  Check up on how kids are liking the new car, family road trips, etc.  Use social media to continue an engaged conversation with your current customers and they, in turn, will make their respective social circles aware of you.

A social media team can make your dealership a friend of the community, not just a business in the community.

Increased loyalty, return business

Remember how I said up there that traditional loyalty and generation to generation loyalty was dead?  Well, it isn’t really.  The loyalty of today’s customer is far more fickle than in days past.  Far more emotional.  By using social media to engage, lead and then build a relationship with a customer, you leave them feeling like a value person.  People are naturally drawn to others who value them.  Customers will be far more likely to return for dealer service.  When the time comes for a new car, or to make a suggestion to a friend or family member, you can be sure your dealership will come up.  Customers may even overlook brand bias because of the relationship you have grown with them.  Ultimately, using and engaging through social media will build return customers of the most loyal kind.




Welcom to the weird world of Tetsuya's Scifi Comedy Blog!!!

Posted by Tetsuya Tsurugi in Tetsuya's scifi comedy blog!!!, 04 August 2014 · 39 views

Hello, this is a place for scifi and comedy fans to come together and pull ideas for works and such! Feel free to talk about anything as long as it's appropiate!


Hello (Hello) Is it me you’re looking for??

  Posted by mlebleek in Bleeker Street, 04 August 2014 · 47 views


Courtesy of New York Magazine


Summer with four kids is busy. SO BUSY. There are some days where I don’t sit down from the time I wake up til the kids go to bed at night. You can imagine how that effects my writing time. I still write at night when the world is filled with blissful “now I can think” kind of silence but that’s only a few hours and I tend to get a bad case of “falling asleep while writing” when I only write at night. Plus I need to take SOME time to breathe and you know what they say about Summer Nights….”Well-a, well-a, well-a, uh!”

Since signing with Lake Union I’ve been doing a lot of work filling out a questionnaire for the publisher, getting author photos, setting up an author page and all that other fun stuff. All my work has been writing related but not many words have been added to my WIP or any other stories in the past two weeks. Two weeks feels like forever and I’m starting to miss the characters that populate my stories. I feel like they’re paused in this strange limbo just waiting for me to come back before they can keep living their lives. 

So, to the characters waiting oh-so-patiently inside my stories: I will see you soon. I’m looking forward to jumping back into your messy, entertaining and emotional lives but for now I have a few things to say.


Steve- Don’t forget to feed the kids something more than Goldfish crackers. I know you just got some bad news but don’t worry, it’s only going to get worse before it gets better ;)

Natalie- When I left you, you were out for a run. Sorry! Bet those legs are getting tired after two weeks. You’ll deserve a virtual massage after this workout.

Will- I may have given you just a little too much time to look at that brochure. I have a feeling you might notice a familiar face there if you keep looking for too long. Better get back to writing this one, FAST. 

From edits on FRAGMENTS:

Lillian: Left you burning up in that hot sun on the raft. Don’t you wish the battery on that beacon had been functional? Geeze, what bad luck *Evil laugh*


Dave: You’re lucky enough to be passed out. Gonna be a looong nap. Just snuggle up in some corner of that inflatable raft and enjoy the rest. It’s not going to happen again for a long long time.

Kent: I have one word for you–SUNBURN. SO.MUCH.SUNBURN.

From my “for fun” YA fantasy side project, SNOW. This baby’s been on pause since February. Poor thing:

Raven: So, right now you’re washing the biggest sink full of dishes ever but at least it’s with a prince by your side. Maybe he likes you when he thinks you’re nothing but a pretty peasant girl but he doesn’t know who you really are. And girl, you’ve gotta stop looking at yourself in the mirror. Seriously. Stop it. RIGHT NOW.

Cal: Dude. You are putting everything on the line for this girl, lying to royalty, hiding a fugitive. Be careful. You have a lot in common with her but remember–you are a dwarf. Traditionally the dwarf doesn’t end up with the girl. To make matters worse now she’s getting all friendly with the prince. Jealous much? 

George: I think you are learning how to dry dishes at the moment with servant girl Nessa/Princess Raven. How do you not know it’s her? After all these days suspended in time something inside you MUST know or at least have a clue…..


OH! Wait…What? Nope. Lost it. 

To that new story I just jotted down the basics of for a later date: 

Can’t wait to get to know you! Don’t even have character names yet but one day….one day. 


Well- farewell for now my friends. Some of you I’ll work with sooner than others. Just keep eating, breathing, sleeping etc till I get back to you. I haven’t forgotten about you. I swear.

Three more weeks of summer vacation. In some ways I’m looking forward to school starting again but I do love summer with all it’s swimming, popsicles, sprinklers and park days. Great. Now I’m sad that summer is almost over but at least I have my imaginary friends to keep me company through the long, cold winter of Illinois. Seriously, what would I do without you guys? 

Winter vs Summer in Chicago




The key reason why conduct Gals Like Boots and shoes plus Fretting hand Baggage a great deal of?

Posted by carryd in carryd's Blog, 02 August 2014 · 45 views

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For the Mass Grave of My Darlings

  Posted by Rick Pieters in Room to Wonder, 01 August 2014 · 32 views

How far will you go, what will you kill for your story?

I can be a ruthless murderer of darlings. Or so I thought. Ha. Not so fast, bucko!

I've killed off beloved characters, hacked away paragraphs of lyricism, dumped whole sections if they didn't earn their keep. Sure, I've had moments of remorse. I've even resurrected a couple of characters, only to have to re-kill them. Nothing was too sacred for my killing fields.

I've written before how, to be a good gardener, one must learn to be ruthless. In writing fiction (in any writing), it's a given. We bleed and vomit all over our first drafts, only to go back with scalpel, hatchet, or blunderbuss.

But eventually we get to an end point. Or so we think. I'd finished a first full edit with my editor, sent it back, got suggestions for the second and final edit, and, piece o' cake, bushed it up, polished the few bumps, and sent it back. One final step before proofing hard copy: beta readers.

First response from a new (to me) but experienced reader: one paragraph where she had no clue, after several readings, what I was trying to say, and several "too big" words. Only 27, out of over 91K words, but still.

I balked. I talked to my editor/publisher, who said I needed to really get that our audience for genre fiction reads at an 8th grade level. 8th Grade! No, says I, not possible. But I'm not writing literary fiction here, so why argue. Why not meet the challenge of "dumbing down" the vocabulary while conveying the same sense?

Because it goes against my nature. We should be smartening up, not dumbing down. Right?

Or do I accept that I'm not writing to teach, but to tell a good story well.

So I run my frustration past another who's read the book and has a good ear and eye. Surely, with the same background, he'll see that many of these words we learned in grade school.


Yeah, he said, but...

So I began going over the words with him. Simple words. Subjugate. Tenuous. Edifice.

Nope, he says. Most wouldn't know those words. I think of a recent discussion thread in an online writers' group about just this. Do we write down or not? Or is it writing down to cut out "showoff" words (and none, I thought, were showing off.) A highly regarded author has said if you're tempted to use a multisyllabic word and there's a simple, little word you can use instead, use it.

So, now it's time to murder those darlings. I didn't even know they were. I'll see them for what they are next time!

What's your take on this? I'd love to hear.


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