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How to Improve Your Writing

  Posted by Joe Stephens in My Train of Thought, 30 July 2016 · 9 views

Running, Runner, Long Distance, Fitness, FemaleI enjoy walking for exercise. I have a balky knee, which keeps me from doing what I really love, running, but I continue to putter along in a less impactful way. Before my knee went bad on me, though, I ran pretty seriously. Slowly, but seriously. I ran in half marathons. And one of the things I learned in my quest to become better at running is that you don't always have to run long distances to improve. When I was training, in fact, I would only run long one day a week, with shorter, specific types of runs other days, rest on others, and cross-training on still others. Cross-training is doing other kinds of exercise that improve you in your chosen sport. There are specific exercises you can do to make your body more ready to run long distances.

The same is true for writing. If you're a novelist, like I am, in order to get better at that, the primary thing you should probably do, and I know this isn't exactly groundbreaking news, is write novels. But it's by no means the only thing you have to do. In fact, I would argue it's not the only thing you should do. Just like distance runners do specific kinds of runs and specific kinds of cross-training on days they aren't running long, writers should be doing other things regularly to improve in the type of writing they consider their primary writing mode. Here are three things I argue will improve your primary writing.

Child, Writing, Writer, Journal, Paper, Writer' Block1. Write If you're new to this blog, you may think a small child has broken in and taken over this guy's computer. But here's what I mean. You don't need to write on your novel every day. But you do need to write just about every day. One of the things that has made the greatest difference in the quality of my writing has been the fact that I've begun writing for a magazine. I started out writing book reviews, but have since branched out to play reviews and even general articles. I had no idea I was capable of writing non-fiction at all, much less do a decent job of it. But my editor says I'm actually good. And the bonus is that it's improved my writing on the days I'm working on my novels. I can't quantify it, but I can say that I approach my books with greater confidence and enthusiasm now that I've been writing in other modes on off days. So, if you can't get a job writing something else, then just do it on your own. Start a blog. Go on Pinterest and find writing prompts that you can use. Write poetry. Write letters to the editor. Write. All writing improves all writing.

Books, Bookstore, Book, Reader, Readers, Reading, Shop
2. Read. Read a lot. Stephen King said, "If you don't have time to read, you don't have time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that." I agree. But the question is, what should you read? Everything. If, like me, you write mystery and detective novels, you should probably be reading in that genre. But don't stop there. Read romance. Read YA. Read non-fiction. Read literary fiction. Read book reviews. Read articles and books about writing. Read deeply. A recent article in Psychology Today concludes that what you read, how much you read, and how you read it makes more of a difference to the quality of your writing than earlier believed. It's the mental equivalent of saying that if you want to get stronger, you need to lift heavier weights. If you're interested, the article is here.

Girls, Colorful, Smile, Funny, Happiness, Women, Pretty3. Live intentionally There's this image of the writer as a hermit who lives holed up in front of a keyboard or a pad of paper doing nothing but writing, but I think we can all agree that the best writers are not just those with the best vocabulary or ability to turn a phrase, but also those who seem to have something interesting and unique to say about the human condition and about how we relate to one another. In order to do that, it's probably best if you actually, you know, relate sometimes with other people. Human people. Meat world people, not just the ones we make up in our heads. So go places. Do things. Live. Talk to people. Laugh. Cry. Get angry. And pay attention. Take notes. Listen to what people say and how they say it. Write it down. Notice how people treat each other and how it affects them. Write that down too. Those are the things that will make your characters come to life when you get back to your keyboard or pad of paper.

So those are my ideas for becoming a better writer. Probably not new ideas, but how many of those are there? What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Qualify? Additions? I'd love to hear from you.




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Book Talk & ARC Giveaway: BRIGHT SMOKE, COLD FIRE by Rosamund Hodge

  Posted by bigblackcat97 in Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, 29 July 2016 · 21 views

My book talks are coming at you from a librarian, not a reviewer. You won't find me talking about style or craft, why I think this could've been better or what worked or didn't work. I only do book talks on books I liked and want other people to know about. So if it's here I probably think it won't injure your brain if you read it.

The walled city of Viyara is the only one to survive the Ruining - the scourge that brings the dead back to life, hungry for the flesh of the living. The spells cast by the Sisters keep the rock walls strong against the dead, but the stones demand blood to remain strong... and as time passes, more is demanded.

The ruling family of the Catresou's know more than most about blood. Each generation has one family member - a daughter - marked with the word for "Justice" in the old language of the gods. She knows when blood has been spilled, and will avenge it. "The Juliet" is always bonded with another Catresou to be her protector, a bond powerful enough to allow the two to communicate without speaking, and be held to each other's word.

But this generation's Juliet falls in love with a Mahyanai boy named Romeo, and marries him according to the custom of his people after spending three nights together. When her cousin Tybalt - the boy who was sworn to be her protector - is killed by Romeo, Paris must step into the role. But before he can go through the ceremony where they are bonded, the Juliet tries to bond herself to Romeo instead... accidentally killing him (or so she thinks) in the process.

Magic gone wrong has bonded Paris to Romeo, and the Juliet to Mahyanai Runajo, one of the Sisters who wants nothing more than to give everything she has - including her blood - to protect the city. With dark rumors swirling around the city about necromancy, and living dead breaching the old spells that hold the walls together, the two pairs must discover how deep their bonds go - and what they're wiling to sacrifice for life and love.

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Interview with William Alan Webb and Spotlight on Military Sci-Fi STANDING THE FINAL WATCH

  Posted by Lora Palmer in Lora Palmer's Blog, 27 July 2016 · 26 views




William Alan Webb
Today on the blog, I'm honored to host the awesome William Alan Webb with an interview about his upcoming release, a military sci-fi, STANDING THE FINAL WATCH (The Last Brigade Book 1). It's due out August 17th from Dingbat Publishing, it sounds epic, and I can't wait to read this one!
Photo published for Standing the Final Watch (The Last Brigade Book 1)
You can pre-order it now on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Standing-Final-Watch-Last-Brigade-ebook/dp/B01HSCAJM6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1469180961&sr=1-1&keywords=standing+the+final+watch#navbar

1. Tell us a little about yourself. 

I’m the world’s oldest teenager. My mind tells me I’m still a 17 year old kid, with everything that goes along with that age. My physical self sometimes disagrees with that chronological state of mind, especially after a long day in the hot sun maintaining four acres just east of Memphis, TN. The good news is that I discover muscles I didn’t know I had, the bad news is that’s because they hurt.
I’m from West Tennessee and remember when most of the Memphis area was glorious wilderness. I’ve seen huge tracts of dense old growth forest leveled so we can have another drive-through doughnut shop, and it makes me sad, even though I’m an inveterate capitalist. I’m feeling pretty protective of the natural world today, so forgive me if I sound preachy.

2.  What is your upcoming debut, STANDING THE FINAL WATCH about, and what inspired you to write it?

STFW is my ode to epic thrillers and science fiction. I call it a rocket ride without seat belts. In terms of prose, my biggest influences are writers like John Ringo (especially the raunchy but over-the-top action of his Kildar series, and the non-stop shoot-em-up of his Posleen books), Robert Heinlein, Douglas Niles’ two Fox books (awesome alternate reality WW2 novels!), Clive Cussler, Roger Zelazny, Mark Greaney, Joshua Hood…the list is long, because I borrow (steal) a little bit from every writer I like. And if there is the slightest sense of the Avengers or X-Men in the narrative, I can’t deny growing up devouring comics.

This book is fun to read, I want to make that clear, because the topic of the book seems grim. The world as we know it comes to an end in a slow and agonizing fashion. First something terrible happens, then things unravel and enemies attack…and what makes it more frightening is that our government anticipates much of this could happen in the real world. So when you’ve got something scary to worry about, what should you do? Have fun with it!

If you read the prologue you’ll figure out real quick that my villains are truly evil. It’s a gruesome beginning because I wanted the sensation of what it might be like to get caught up in a terrorist attack. Judging by the early reviews, I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. What I think makes my villains worse is they have a Hitler complex: they believe what they are doing is right for humanity.
The book is dominated by Nick Angriff. If you like larger-than-life heroes in the mold of Jack Reacher or the real George Patton, you’ll love Angriff. He’s got plenty of flaws, but at the end of the day is true to his motto: loyalty, honor, sacrifice. He’s the kind of guy you want for a friend, or neighbor, because you can always count on him to help, no matter the situation.

As to inspiration… if you mean what inspired me to write it at the moment I wrote it read any news report or newspaper. Events in the world inspired me. Much of this book was written nearly two years ago, yet you would think it’s ripped from the headlines today. Sometimes I hate being right and I hope I’m wrong about a lot of the prophecies I make in the book.

But I don’t want to leave the impression it’s morbid. This is an action packed thriller I wrote for people to enjoy reading, to stay up late reading and tell their friends the next day “I’m exhausted, but I couldn’t put it down. You’ve got to read this book,” or recommend to their friends for a beach read.

3.  Would you like to share an excerpt from the novel?

Sure. I love this part. I remember the day I wrote it, researching convection and trying to see through the eyes of the falcon…

The broken ground of the Sonoran desert soaked up the heat of the midday sun. As the desert floor warmed it began to heat the air close to the surface, which then caused that air to expand and grow lighter. The lighter air rose in bubbles of warmth called atmospheric convection, but better known as thermals, rising higher until the temperatures of the air surrounding the bubbles became cooler, causing them to sink again and create updrafts. On that blazing hot day the cooling effect did not occur until the warm air was high into the atmosphere.

Wheeling on those thermals, a Prairie Falcon sensed the subtle changes in air temperatures and stayed in the updrafts, using the energy of the warm air to provide the lift under its great wings and keeping it where it could see for miles in every direction. An efficient killer, it could detect the tiniest prey on the desert floor from hundreds of feet in the air. Rattlesnakes, lizards, mice, whatever small prey it could find, it could eat. Once spotted, the bird would fold its broad wings inward and contract its wide tail, before diving to snatch its meal in sharp, hooked talons. On that clear day, however, no prey roamed the desert, because the giant animals that walked upright had come back to dig in the ground. The raptor had no concept of what they might be doing, nor did it care, it only wanted food and they were not its prey, so after a fruitless search it banked off south in search of better hunting.
That’s about six hours of writing! I must have re-written that fifty times before I was satisfied. 

4.  Where is your favorite place to write?
In my frighteningly cluttered office, leaning back in my overstuffed chair, with the wireless keyboard in my lap. I cannot write on a laptop…nope, can’t do it. Unless, of course, I plug in the wireless keyboard, then I’m good. And I always have my youtube playlist cranked in the background, up to 411 videos right now, most of them Status Quo (although I’m listening to Slade as I write this.) 
I have to have fast access to research materials to write. My personal library is about 5000 books and I’m really good at ferreting information from the internet, and have a good sense of what’s reliable and what’s not. It sounds romantic to think about writing on a beach, under an umbrella with a blue or pink drink at your elbow, but for me that wouldn’t work. The writing part, that is. The beach, the drinks, those would work just fine.

5.  You'll be published by Dingbat Publishing, correct? Tell us a little about your experience with them and what made you choose to go with Dingbat Publishing for STAND THE FINAL WATCH?

Yes, Dingbat Publishing is my publisher, that’s correct. Another fine publisher also offered me a contract, and it was a very hard decision as to which company to choose. In the end it was a matter of business, but the other publisher remains a friend and I would yet like to work with them on something.

As to my experience, you ask me this as I just finished a rewrite and my editor has promised the final edits will make me bleed. LOL. Like most writers, I hate seeing even one of my words disappear.
For me, Dingbat was a terrific choice. I know that’s what I’m supposed to say, what debut writer is going to say ‘yeah, they bought my book, but they really suck?’ For me, however, it’s the God’s honest truth. It’s run by this fabulous lady who has written a lot of books herself. What’s even better, she wrote the book for writers on ballistics. Literally, it’s titled Ballistic Basics, A Writer’s Primer On Firearms And the Forensics That Track Them. 

I work hard to get the research correct in my writing, but what a backup when it comes to guns and weapons! I’m also thrilled with the cover their creative team came up with, it’s great.

And let me throw this out there, too: a lot of writers on twitter want input on some of the smaller presses they might be discussing deals with. If Dingbat ever offers you a deal, snap it up. They are great to work with.

6.  If you could choose to live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Somewhere in the Caribbean. Maybe Ocho Rios or Negril, Jamaica. 88 degrees every day is perfect weather for me. But if I stayed in the US, then Florida. Beaches and warmth are why.

7.  What or who has most influenced your writing?
I have so many literary influences it’s hard to pick one or two. I’ll say this, the first writer who inspired me to try and write was Robert E. Howard. The Conan stories written by him are masterpieces of fantasy. Thomas Lyon Russell’s brilliantly imaginative Riding With The Magi showed what you can do with a book, and Tom was my creative writing mentor at the University of Memphis. Roger Zelazny has a style I wish I could emulate. Robert Heinlein showed me the way, and of course Tolkien was almost my religion for a decade or two. It was John Ringo who inspired me to try my hand at military SF, both with his over-the-top Ghost series, my character Green Ghost is an homage, and with his Posleen series. Lastly, Douglas Niles’ brilliant two ‘Fox’ books, Fox On The Rhine and Fox At The Front gave a structure I could follow. Lastly, I would say Cornelius Ryan’s ensemble method of constructing a book is a terrific pattern for story-telling.

8.  Tell us about what your next project will be.
Wow, which one?

The sequel to Standing The Final Watch is written and in its third edit. It’s titled Standing In The Storm. Book three, tentatively called Standing At The End, is at about 20K words with plots point mapped out. A prequel, Not Enough Bullets, is about a third done and I entered the first 50 pages in a contest, so we’ll see how that goes.

I still plan to finish the World War Two book I’ve been working on for ten years now. It’s about 100k words long now, called Bloody Roads West: Army Group South and the German defense of Austria, 1945. You can read a short treatment of it on my website.

In my spare time I plan to rewrite a couple of old fantasy pieces, my first novel, The Queen of Death and Darkness, and a novella, A Night At The Quay.

That should get me through 2017 anyway.


Thanks so much, William, for a fantastic interview! It was a blast having you on the blog today! So, people, go pre-order your copy of STANDING THE FINAL WATCH :).


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Internet Fixed

Posted by LWFlouisa in LWFlouisa's Blog, 26 July 2016 · 73 views

So now I can do research full time now. Sometimes the Internet is still a little slow.

Just finished Hemato Tomato: Bloodlust. Not sure how I feel about the finished product. I still feel like the story is only half way told, so I may end up writing 10,000 more words on this.

This was my first experiment in Historical Futurism, where historical characters play a role in science fiction setting with plots that cross over between science fiction, fantasy, horror, and romance in a very that makes you feel really strange.

It's like suddenly meeting Charlotte Corday at your local Star-bucks without any implication for time travel, and the reader is just suppose to take the plausibility of the romance for granted. They are stalked by magic wielding robot police, and the you have a grand ole adventure.

A bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea.

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Do Agents and Editors Support Diverse Books?

  Posted by SC_Author in SC Write--Writing, Publishing, and Harry Potter, 25 July 2016 · 50 views

Hi all! This is my first post after a seven month hiatus (wow). I'm so happy to be back!

There's a big push in the publishing industry for "diverse" books (and I put "diverse" in quotations because I'm not a fan of that word - it leads to tokenization of writers and characters of color). Agents have been actively asking for "diverse voices", "diverse characters", etc. Which is great! It is signifying a real shift in the publishing industry.


Or is it?

Whenever I am unsure about the efficacy of an action against racism, I look to the "white gaze". This, I define as the culture that dictates that literature and art that must meet the approval of Whiteness.

The Whiteness I talk about is not just Trump-like confederate flag culture. Whiteness is liberal racism. Whiteness is white feminism. Whiteness is quoting Martin Luther King Jr. out of context. It is idolizing Jon Stewart for saying what Black people have been saying for decades. It is this Whiteness that pervades the publishing industry, and so it is this Whiteness that I am talking about.

Whiteness is a mostly-white industry asking for diverse books and diverse writers while pushing little to diversify their own industry insiders.

Now, I'd like to move the anti-racism rhetoric to something that I hope the publishing community will follow. The problem for writers of color is not only that the publishing industry is made up of predominantly white employees - although this is influential. "How removed from Whiteness is the operations of the industry?" is the question we should be asking.

Even if, in some magical step, the publishing industry hires hundreds of people of color, people of color are not a monolith. They are not interchangeable. The ideologies of the people of color who make up the industry matter. Are the people of color anti-racist or are they yes-men to their bosses? Will they speak up? A better question might be: if they do speak up, do they have reason to fear reactions and discipline from their bosses and colleagues? Are the "radical" people of color not hired by the industry?

Whiteness is when a race-related novel hits an agent's desk and the entire industry's initial instinct is "How will white people respond to this book?" instead of "How will the communities depicted in this novel be impacted by this book?"

Something as simple as "How will the market respond to this book?" has layers of ramifications that can be deconstructed with pointed questions concerning race: "What populations make up said market? What responses are you afraid of?" When race-related novels come to play, the supposed colorblindness of the market that the publishing industry always focuses on is revealed for its whiteness.

When I look at the publishing industry, I see some publications that I trust to be pretty removed from the white gaze (such as AC Thomas's THE HATE U GIVE). However, these are far and removed. A view of the publishing industry structurally reveals that the white gaze is ingrained into every layer of its culture and operations. The race books that are published must be "respectful" enough to not upset white people too much. With white fragility, this goal is almost impossible to achieve.

(Sidenote: the task to publish an "not respectful" novel about race is not impossible. There are a few ways to accomplish it. 1) If the author glorifies the pain of people of color - especially Black people - which people crave to consume and which distracts from their constructive guilt. 2) If the author of color has credentials that no white author would be expected to have (see: Ta-Nehisi Coates). 3) If the book is written with such a high degree of technical expertise that no white debut author is expected to write with. All these reasons should not exist.)

When I look at the publishing industry's anti-racist work through the lens of the white gaze, I am less optimistic that true subversive and anti-racist change is occurring. The white gaze has not been addressed, confronted, or deconstructed; it has only ever dictated which novels can be published and which novels cannot. Whiteness has been the gate-keeper of the publishing industry since its origins, and it has not ended yet; it has simply morphed into liberal racism. The present era of colorblindness has indeed led to the publication of novels about race and writers of color; most of this literature still continues to be dictated by the white gaze.

I think about all the authors of color who did not get published. The books of color which got rejected. The books of beautiful color which got revised into books of beige. What did the editor's red pen scratch out?

Do agents and editors support books that will upset white people because they aren't written for white people? Do agents and editors support books that talk honestly about the rage people of color feel towards Whiteness and white people? (Because God forbid that people of color being brutalized and beaten by Whiteness ever dare to say, "Fucking white people.") Do agents and editors support books that engage with anti-capitalism, books that refuse to say "Not All Cops", books that have Assata-supporters and radical queer activists of color that reject the white gaze?

I guess my point is, do agents support diverse ideas or do they support diverse faces speaking the same White ideas? It is a masterful tactic of white supremacy to have its ideas be spoken by a person of color (see: Ben Carson, Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal). The same white gaze that uplifts these people also shuts down those of color who dare speak ferociously against it.

I know the main criticism of my assertion: the profitability of the market dictates what books are published or not, not race. To that, I have three responses.

1) Why not both? The publishing industry, with bookstores and libraries disproportionately in white areas, has structured a market geared towards white consumers. Yet the truth is: people of color buy books too.

2) Why assume white readers won't read books outside the white gaze? If the publishing industry seeks to engage in allyship, it cannot babysit its readers.

3) The profitability bottom-line must be confronted. In a Western world where white people are the plurality and hold most of the wealth, the publishing industry can not say it is anti-racist without troubling its profitability idolization.

So I guess I come back to my initial question: "Do agents and editors support diverse books?" And by this, I mean diverse ideas.

If any agent or editor is reading this, please feel free to comment, Tweet, respond, etc. with #YesIDo. I am SC_Author on Twitter. I want to create a list of agents and editors (right below!) so that writers who seek to find supportive agents might find someone to query.

1. Your name here!


Writers need to know which agents and editors will support them - if any. It's scary to speak. In my own personal case, I've decided that there's no point to me being a writer if I have to swallow what I want to say. So I'm speaking, I'm pushing, and will continue to do so.


What do you think? Please feel free to comment below, and share!








This has been a post part of the Write Inclusively campaign. I'm planning to change its name soon, but if you would like to be up-to-date with the campaign, sign up for the newsletter. We do not email much - in the last  two years, only two emails have gone out. We were responsible for #BigFiveSignOn.

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2016 PitchWars Bio – Bring on the YA!

  Posted by Amy Trueblood in Amy Trueblood's Blog, 19 July 2016 · 55 views

              Welcome to my blog and my bio and wishlist for Pitch Wars! Although I’m a newbie mentor this year, I’m no stranger to Pitch Wars. I’ve been chosen as an alternate twice. First for a YA Thriller, then for a YA Historical (for which I had to pull out of […]

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Laurel Garver & Fish Out of Water!

  Posted by Jemi in Just Jemi, 18 July 2016 · 33 views

Please welcome one of my bloggy friends to the blog today -- Laurel Garver!
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The amazing power of fish-out-of-water stories

Stories about a character forced into an unfamiliar context are a staple of creative narratives, from books to plays, TV
shows, and films. The most common kind of fish out of water is geographical—crossing the urban-rural divide or visiting a foreign land. Crossing socioeconomic or class divides is common in fairy tales, yet often with very little realistic nuance—going from pauper to prince overnight would actually be quite stressful! Other divides include ethnic (My Big, Fat Greek Wedding), religious (David & Layla), educational (Good Will Hunting), temporal (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court), and generational (Freaky Friday).

We love fish-out-of-water stories because they tell us about the human condition, and make us examine our own inner workings. Every one of us has places where we feel at home and places where we don’t. Those contrasts, if handled well, make for wonderful story tension. 

Here are some of the specific “powers” these kinds of stories have, as I discovered while writing my latest novel, Almost There, about an urban teen who, on the eve of a trip to Paris, gets stuck in her mother’s rural hometown. 

Reveal temperament
Characters’ reactions to unfamiliar environments shows how adaptable, accepting, or curious they are. Does the unfamiliar threaten or fascinate? How confidently or timidly do characters carry themselves among those unlike them? 

Weaknesses and fears that never come out in familiar, comfortable environments often show themselves in new venues. Conversely, the new experiences can cause unknown interests and strengths to emerge. 

When I dropped New Yorker Danielle in rural northern Pennsylvania, I found that her city-kid independence expressed itself as curiosity—and also made her seem a bit cocky to the locals. The wooded landscape initially frightens her, but also proves an inspiration for creating new art.

Reveal a comfort zone and sense of “normal”
Your concept of what is safe or dangerous, wonderful or disgusting, cool or weird is to a large degree colored by how unfamiliar things compare to life inside your comfort zone.
An urbanite will feel far more comfortable in man-made environments and in the press of a crowd. Put one in the woods, and they’ll likely find the environment deeply sinister. Sounds they can’t account for might be a dangerous predator; dirt could be full of gross, crawly things. 

As an outsider, a character might make striking or hilarious observations a local wouldn’t. For example, on arriving at her grandfather’s, Dani describes the summer hum of crickets chirping as “a threatening cacophony, reminding me that this is their crawly, leggy, wingy territory.”

Dani’s normal is multicultural and fairly unfazed by difference. When she learns the neighbor has been labeled with the ethnic slur “Mick,” she quips, “Seriously? Is being Irish considered weirdly ethnic here? In New York, you could have earlobes stretched to your shoulders and pierce your whole face with nails and hardly get a passing glance from anyone.” 

Reveal underlying biases 
Characters approach unfamiliar things with a set of expectations—sometimes even deep prejudices they didn’t know they held until put in proximity with this environment. 

For example, when an unfamiliar beater Volvo appears in her grandfather’s driveway, Dani assumes that only an elderly person would drive such a car, and this person must be “be a granny from Poppa’s church bringing us dinner. I hope it’s one of those epic tuna noodle casseroles with crushed potato chips on top that Mum always jokes about. I bet it’s as delicious as it is lowbrow.” It’s actually one of her New York friends, an additional shock because she’s accustomed to no one learning to drive until they’re 18 and no longer a restricted “junior learner”—rules peculiar to the five boroughs. 

Awakening to biases can become an instrument for change in a character. When Dani befriends a neighbor and sees the ways he struggles that she never has, she begins to re-evaluate her own life, and realizes just how privileged her upbringing has been. 

Reveal values
We all naturally make judgments about unfamiliar things. The familiar world will be held up as a model, and the unfamiliar measured against it as either inferior or superior. How a character makes value judgments about which culture is superior gives a very accurate window into their entire value system.

For example, Dani recognizes in the neighbor boy an entrepreneurial drive she’s never seen in her city friends. She notes that he acts “like a grown man” when seeking work and calls it “intriguing.” Rather than label him a boring workaholic, she admires his maturity. 

What is your favorite fish-out-of-water story? Why does it speak to you?

About the Author
Laurel Garver is a Philadelphia-based writer, editor, professor’s wife and mom to an arty teenager. An indie film enthusiast and incurable Anglophile, she enjoys geeking out about Harry Potter and Dr. Who, playing word games, singing in church choir, and taking long walks in Philly's Fairmount Park. You can follow her on her blog, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

About Almost There
Genre: Young Adult Inspirational

Paris, the City of Lights. To seventeen-year-old Dani Deane, it’s the Promised Land. There, her widowed mother’s depression will vanish and she will no longer fear losing her only parent, her arty New York life, or her devoted boyfriend.

But shortly before their Paris getaway, Dani’s tyrannical grandfather falls ill, pulling them to rural Pennsylvania to deal with his hoarder horror of a house. Among the piles, Dani finds disturbing truths that could make Mum completely unravel. Desperate to protect her from pain and escape to Paris, Dani hatches a plan with the flirtatious neighbor boy that only threatens the relationships she most wants to save. 

Why would God block all paths to Paris? Could real hope for healing be as close as a box tucked in the rafters?


Available here: Amazon  /  Barnes and Noble  /  Smashwords  / Apple iTunes   
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Thanks Laurel!

I love fish-out-of-water scenes and stories. The story I'm currently attempting to plot plotting is going to have a strong element of this. 

Maybe my love goes back to my the first time I saw Wizard of Oz! 
How about you? What's your favourite Fish-out-of-Water story?


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Who Do You Write For from Bishop O'Connell

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs in Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details, 12 July 2016 · 27 views

As writers we often have one eye on our intended audience as we write, even if it isn’t conscious. Like a lot of art, if you ask a writer about his book, either you or he will compare it to something else: “It’s Harry Potter meets A Tale of Two Cities.” Inadvertently, or perhaps quite intentionally, this book’s audience has been identified. It is the very small but dedicated group of readers who enjoy books about child wizards during the turmoil of the French Revolution. Most of us don’t intend such comparisons to define our intended audience, but it happens and permeates what we write. No matter your genre—including literary fiction—odds are you have a set of preconceived notions that go with your selection of an audience.

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Almost a year after their wedding, and two since their daughter Fiona was rescued from a kidnapping by dark faeries, life has finally settled down for Caitlin and Edward. They maintain a facade of normalcy, but a family being watched over by the fae’s Rogue Court is far from ordinary. Still, it seems the perfect time to go on their long-awaited honeymoon, so they head to New Orleans.


Little do they know, New Orleans is at the center of a territory their Rogue Court guardians hold no sway in, so the Court sends in Wraith, a teenage spell slinger, to watch over them. It’s not long before they discover an otherworldly force is overtaking the city, raising the dead, and they’re drawn into a web of dark magic. At the same time, a secret government agency tasked with protecting the mortal world against the supernatural begins their own investigation of the case. But the culprit may not be the villain everyone expects. Can Wraith, Caitlin, and Edward stop whoever is bringing the vengeful dead back to life before another massacre, and before an innocent is punished for crimes beyond her control?

______________________________________________________________

As a fantasy writer, I tend to take for granted that my readers will know that elves have pointed ears, dwarves are short and bearded, magic spells are cast by wizards, and countless other small things. I’m assuming those readers will have enjoyed other fantasy novels, particularly what is considered the canon (Tolkien especially) and thus have some context. But, our assumptions can cut both ways. Experienced fans of our genre might read in a mystical explanation to something completely mundane. Conversely, the uninitiated might be completely mystified by something that is a given to most fantasy readers. How do we as writers prevent this?

For me, the answer is simple: assume your reader has never picked up a fantasy novel before. That’s right, nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. This has two benefits. The first is that you prevent any confusion or frustration on the part of your reader. The second is that you’ve just opened your book up to countless readers outside your genre. That’s not to imply this is an easy feat. What is easy is to be so proud of the complex world you’ve created that you can’t wait to show your reader and you inundate her with information. In my post, Too Much Information! Knowing What to Reveal and When I went over the “how” of exposition. What I will delve into, is the “why.”

Let’s ignore the obvious: you don’t want your reader to be bored by a dissertation before getting to the story. That’s important, of course, but what I want to discuss here is the second reason. I take Ms. Rowling’s lead and assume ignorance on the part of reader and that opens my books up to a broader audience. Really, in the end, don’t we as writers want our stories to be read, and enjoyed, by as many people as possible? I certainly do. I’m sure there are those who think of themselves as purists and unless you know the arcane details you’re not “worthy” of reading the story, but that’s not for me. I want my tales to be enjoyed by anyone who picks it up, even if their usual preference is romance, mystery, biographies, printer manuals, math books, cereal boxes, newspapers, well, you get the idea. I believe if you strip out the supernatural aspects out of my novels and replace them with mundane aspects, the plot and characters still hold together. At least, that’s what I strive for. That, and no readers left scratching their heads when they’re done.

This is something all of us should strive for. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a book about faeries, or the Founding Fathers of the United States. After all, your readers might not be American or aware of American history. See? There I just assumed the readers of this piece were mostly American. I could’ve deleted that line, but I think it serves to show all of us that we have to strive, constantly, against those sorts of assumptions. Don’t limit yourself, or your work, by not inviting someone in to enjoy it. Be a good host and make your party as inclusive as possible, and ensure each guest is as welcome as possible. I hope if you’ve read my books, you found them so welcoming, and if you haven’t, consider this an open invitation.

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Bishop O'Connell is the author of the American Faerie Tale series, a consultant, writer, blogger, and lover of kilts and beer, as well as a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. Born in Naples Italy while his father was stationed in Sardinia, Bishop grew up in San Diego, CA where he fell in love with the ocean and fish tacos. After wandering the country for work and school (absolutely not because he was in hiding from mind controlling bunnies), he settled Richmond VA, where he writes, collects swords, revels in his immortality as a critically acclaimed "visionary" of the urban fantasy genre, and is regularly chastised for making up things for his bio. He can also be found online at A Quiet Pint (aquietpint.com), where he muses philosophical on life, the universe, and everything, as well as various aspects of writing and the road to getting published.


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More Sweet Romance Reads (Free Series Starters)

  Posted by Jean Oram in The Love Bug Blog, 09 July 2016 · 47 views

It’s the season for summer beach reads that are light and fun and I have just the thing for you!

What is it?

I’ve paired up with four other sweet romance authors to offer readers FIVE free sweet romances to help sweep them away this summer!


That’s a sweet deal. (Tee hee!)

If you’ve already read and loved Whiskey and Gumdrops you’ve got to check out the other four great novels in the My Sweet Love box set! (Don’t forget to leave us a review where you download the book for free.)

My Sweet Love (Contemporary Romance Boxed Set) includes stories from:

Stacy Claflin, Susan Hatler, Ciara Knight, Jean Oram (me!) & Lindi Peterson. 

Grab it free until early September:

Amazon


Kobo


B&N


iBooks


Google: coming soon

More about the books found in My Sweet Love:

Enjoy five sweet and refreshing, clean romances with heart—from first loves to second chances, all from award winning, and bestselling authors. 

Seaside Surprises (a novel) by Stacy Claflin, USA Today Bestselling Author 

Tiffany Saunders hopes to pick up the pieces of her life in a new city. She winds up stranded in Kittle Falls and a chance meeting with a handsome local changes everything. 

Jake Hunter has some deep emotional scars and is trying to cope with running the family business. The last thing he wants is a relationship—until a mysterious brunette walks into his store and complicates it all. 

Tiffany prefers to keep the painful memories of the past where they belong—in her rear view mirror. But dark secrets cannot stay hidden forever. Just as the walls around Tiffany’s heart start to come down, the past catches up with her. Will true love be able to conquer all? 

Love at First Date (a novella) by Susan Hatler, New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author 

Ellen decides that finding the right guy is about compatibility. So she signs up for Detailed Dating—the local online dating scene in Sacramento. She filters through the profiles of each provided “match,” and narrows it down to two candidates. 

When Ellen’s friend asks her for a favor, dog-sitting leads to disaster and Ellen ends up at the vet where she meets a man she can’t get out of her mind. Henry isn’t a logical choice, but she pays for dog obedience class just to spend more time with him. 

Ellen knows that for a lasting relationship, she should go for one of the pre-screened guys. But her heart keeps begging her to give Henry a chance. 

Riverbend (a novella) by Ciara Knight, USA Today Bestselling Author 

Five years after the death of his wife, Dr. Mitchem Taylor is ready to open his heart again. Only one thing stands in the way of giving love a second chance–the strictly enforced “no dating” rule. A rule that pierces his heart every time he thinks about his university assistant, Cynthia. 
Cynthia Gold has been in love with her boss, Mitchem since they day they met. Pining away over a love she can never have forces her to make a drastic change—a new job thousands of miles away. But can she walk away from her life she enjoys and a boy who’s like a son, or keep her heart bound to a man who may never love her. 

Whiskey and Gumdrops (a novel) by Jean Oram, New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author 

Mandy Mattson just saw her ex tie the knot with her long-time rival and there’s only one way to make herself feel better–to finally follow her dreams and open her own restaurant. 

But she can’t do it alone… She’s going to need the help of her sexy best friend, Frankie Smith–the man she’s been keeping at arm’s length since she began crushing on him in high school.

Will she be able to follow her dreams even if it means losing her heart? 

Uptown Heiress (a novella) by Lindi Peterson, Award Winning Author 

Hotel empire heiress Grace Adams has an epiphany. Love isn’t a game. Neither is life. It’s time to find a job and prove she doesn’t need Daddy’s money. Waiter, Justin Walker, is biding his time working for the rich crowd. His service pays off when he meets beautiful Grace Adams. He asks her out, not knowing she’s a hotel heiress. 

When they find out they are competing for the same job, Grace and Justin try to maintain their budding friendship and romance. When Justin discovers that Grace represents all he tries to avoid, will Justin’s view of high society keep him from finding love? Or will time-honored truths show Grace and Justin the beauty of everlasting love. 

Come home to these five ‘close to your heart’ romance stories, which will leave you with a warm smile.

Enjoy!

Xo 

P.S. Don’t forget my readers get a free Blueberry Springs set of short stories when they subscribe to my newsletter right here on my site: www.jeanoram.com/freebook


The post More Sweet Romance Reads (Free Series Starters) appeared first on Jean Oram.


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Just playin' with preview.

  Posted by Rick Pieters in Room to Wonder, 22 June 2016 · 105 views



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9 Simple Ways to Get Outdoors as a Family

  Posted by Jean Oram in It's All Kid's Play Blog, 23 May 2016 · 56 views

Posted ImageSo many schools are reducing recess–outdoor play–due to budget cuts and hopes of boosting test scores. However, studies show that increased recess time results in better test scores compared to increasing time in the classroom. Yikes!
But here’s something you may not have heard about in the argument for keeping recess. Outdoor play–and specifically, recess–helps our kids eyesight. I know! Wow, right?
On the website All About Vision, they quote several studies that found all sorts of interesting results. Here are a few quotes I found particularly interesting:

The researchers calculated a 2 percent drop in the risk of developing myopia for each additional hour children spend outdoors per week. “This is equivalent to an 18 percent reduction for every additional hour of exposure per day,” they said.
Compared with children with normal eyesight or farsightedness, children with myopia spent an average of 3.7 fewer hours per week outside.

In other words, more time outside means you’re increasing your child’s chance they WON’T need glasses. Think of all the money you’ll save!
In favour of recess:

The study authors concluded that outdoor activities during recess in elementary school have a significant protective effect on myopia risk among children that are not yet nearsighted and reduce the progression of myopia among nearsighted schoolchildren.

The 12-year-old children who spent more time outdoors had less myopia at the end of the two-year study period than others in the study.

There you have it.
Let’s get outside and play! What do we do in the Oram household? Well, first of all we got a dog. Why? Because not only does it teach our kids empathy and responsibility for others, but our dog gets us outside daily. We walk the dog, the kids ride their bikes alongside or walk too. It’s great exercise for all of us!

The brain is better able to pay attention, hold things in memory, and show self-control after it has been outdoors.
–Gabrielle Principe, Your Brain on Childhood

Getting a dog isn’t your thing? It doesn’t have to be complicated or strenuous. How about these simple activities that will get you outdoors:
9 Ways To Get Outside as a Family

Watch the Sunrise / Sunset
Does the world seem different at this time of day? What colors do you see in the sky?
Find Cloud Animals
Lie on your back and look at the clouds—whoa! Is that a giraffe?
Draw on the Sidewalk with Chalk
Try and Catch Your Shadow
Can you catch it?
Water Fights
Ring Toss
Make your own rings out of plastic container lids. Then shove a stick into the ground to toss them onto!
Hopscotch
Play CatchPosted Image
Eat Outside
Picnic, BBQ, simply taking your meal out on the deck–it’s still outdoors and you’ll still get the benefits of being out in nature. Both for your soul and your eyesight.

Thanks for playing! See you next time. And if you need more activity ideas don’t forget to check out my book, 1,001 Boredom Busting Play Ideas. It’s reasonably priced so everyone can play.

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Birthday Bash Giveaway 2016!

  Posted by MarcyKate in MarcyKate's Blog, 16 May 2016 · 11 views

May is hands down my favorite month of the year. It’s warm! It’s sunny! And, today, it’s my birthday! (I don’t care how old I get–I’m pretty darn fond of life, so I like to celebrate it :P) I’m a big fan of birthdays, and I particularly enjoy parties. And what’s a party without your friends? […]

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BOSTON KNIGHTS - A Story About A Little Gold And A Little Love

Posted by AK Paladin in AK Paladin's Blog, 29 April 2016 · 124 views
Love Gold Treasure

This story was inspired from two directions. The first was the discovery of two unusual keys at the Flinder's Market in Adelaide. The second was two ladies that I have known for many years that do everything together. And no, there is nothing of me in this story. Well, very little that I will admit to anyway.

This story practically wrote itself. The keys were discovered the first weekend in February, the story was finished and through the first critical editing by the second week in March.

The teaser for Boston Knights follows:

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The discovery that some ancient stories handed down in the families had more truth to them than fiction sparks a hunt for the real truth of the stories. Told as bedtime stories, three individuals find themselves working together to find out more about their ancestors and where they might have hidden some gold, or if it was after all, nothing but a hoax.

The adventure begins with Steve, whose elder brothers work in construction. Having found an old desk amidst some demolition work of theirs, they call their brother to salvage it and see if perhaps he might want to restore it and some other bits and pieces.

As Steve is an antiquities restoration expert, he is definitely interested. Within the desk, behind some well locked drawers, he eventually finds hints that the stories he was told as a kid, may have been more than just stories. In his pursuit of answers, he finds members of two other families that heard the same stories when they were children.

This begins a delightful adventure that finds the three of them embroiled in more and more details that lead them further and further from their homes.

Eventually, the puzzle pieces begin to come together in Ayr, Scottland when they make the acquaintance of some more members of the extended families, only to find their hopes dashed when they discover any gold that may have existed was quickly squandered. Moreover, any additional clues seem to have been destroyed.

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This is what I would call a light romance and adventure. At a somewhere over 63,000 words, it is a quick and easy read aimed at young adults and romantics looking for something a little different.

I will 'clean up' my teaser as I get this book through its final editing. It is, by the way, a finished manuscript ready for presentation to an agent/publisher.

I'm still looking.


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Batman v. Superman A Movie review

  Posted by Utsav M in Pineapple Lightning, 16 April 2016 · 82 views



Wassup peeps. Last week has been a bit busy, so this is a little late. I meant to watch and review this movie earlier than this but even though I did manage to do the watching part, I did not feel like reviewing it. Why you ask? Because they messed up a potentially epic movie.

Starting off Batman as a seasoned crime-fighter is great. It gives us a perspective few super-hero movies do. However, even though they make him a grizzled veteran, they cannot but help show his origin story of parents dying and falling into a cave of bats. Make that the first scene and we are already into 15 minutes of logos (yeah, call out to cinema sins) and a story shown in a much better and detailed manner in Batman Begins a decade ago. Batman is portrayed decently by Ben Affleck, who has found his acting chops since the horror known as Daredevil- the movie. Thankfully both Affleck and Daredevil seem to have moved on to bigger and better things.

As far as Superman goes, I have never liked Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel and I did not like the movie either. I am glad they kept continuity from the movie and turned the mass destruction of Metropolis into a plot point but the story feels hollow even with the bone-structure of a great movie. Superman is conflicted but not conflicted enough to hang up his cape. Lois is ever present and irritating (I cannot believe I said that about Amy Adams) and is supposed to be his human anchor but again feels forced.

Luthor - well...sigh. While they alluded to the fact that this is Alexander Luthor not Lex Luthor, I wonder why they would not pull the trigger on one of the most iconic villains of all time. With the story backdrop, he would have been perfect as a foil to bring down Superman. Instead, we get a Joker ripoff trying to build Doomsday and kidnapping Superman's mother to goad him into a fight with Batman. Talk about lame and cliched.

As far as the fight is concerned, it is a good fight but the end of the fight is contrived and feels...you guessed it...forced. I mean, who in their right mind would say, "Save Martha", instead of  "Save my mother"? I want to slap the guy who came up with the cool realization that both Batman's and Superman's mother share a name and would be a cool plot point to use that to stop their fight.

The only breath of fresh air is Wonder Woman who is mysterious and understated and her reveal is very well done. She looks every bit Superman's equal in the fight against Doomsday. The fight was well done and Superman sacrificing himself was a good twist...except that it wasn't.

Everyone and their three next generations know a Justice League movie is coming and Justice League cannot not have a live and flying Supes. Ending the movie without showing his casket move would have been brave for the new Justice League. Let it be formed without Superman. Let him join in a dire hour. Make his return monumental. But nah...DC has no cojones.

And as far as the random teasers for the Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman sprinkled throughout the movie, they feel ...gah...yes ...forced and unnecessary. They could have just mentioned their names without having video trailers for each of them. Learn from Marvel, Thordamnit!!

Anyhow, I am disappointed even though I never had much hope to begin with, which shows how poor a job they have done. And I am forced to stop myself from ranting.

Signing off,

Utsav



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Query Review Request

Posted by KellyMoore in KellyMoore's Blog, 12 April 2016 · 163 views

AS IT SHOULD BE, a women’s fiction novel of 81,000 words. Emily’s marriage crumbles when she discovers her husband’s secret love nest – filled with the furnishings she has carefully stored away for their future vacation home; and on the heels of their divorce, due to an unexpected night of passion during their estrangement, she finds herself expecting the child she has always longed for. When her ex-husband, Tom, marries his new lover, Emily escapes her heartache by making a new life for herself and her child in a place that stole her heart long ago - the captivating village town of Seaside.

As It Should Be is the story of a woman who finds herself with the chance to redirect her path from that of one who is tossed aside and struggling against bitterness, to a woman with new hope - and fresh new purpose for her life. It is a tale of transition: from a seemingly secure marriage, to the awkwardness and uncertainties of singledom; from a life without the responsibilities of children, to the wonders and challenges of pregnancy and motherhood; from the familiar comforts of home - to the possibilities of life and love in a bright new place.

I am happy to forward all or a portion of my manuscript for your review if you are interested. Thank you sincerely for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.
Warm regards,
Kelly Moore

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The Short Story Process

Posted by Terence Park in T.P. Archie's Blog, 12 April 2016 · 153 views
Short Stories and 6 more...

Short Stories.
We've all done them.

I started just after my first novel, The Insertion, had reached draft – hopefully that's a book that'll never see the light of day. This was back in 2009. I was on Litarena, a site over at http://www.litarena.com/discussion/ I did 4 pieces there - essentially spin-off tales from The Insertion (all I could think of). My biggest problem: I was thinking 'novel'. That site was difficult to navigate and I headed over to Creative Writers on My Telegraph where I became a regular contributor to their monthly contest. It took me about six months to get the hang of trimming the story to size. Things started to click when I based my story model on American comic book monster tales - these were panel drawn art work, 4 and 5 pages in length as published in 1960s titles such as Monsters on the Prowl, Creatures on the Loose, Tales of the Unexpected.

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In all, I reckon I must have submitted over 40 stories to them. CWG as it's known, is hosted on the blogging platform of the Daily Telegraph and membership is free. Up to recently it was still going strong and can be found at http://my.telegraph....-writing/forum/ If you go there, look for Bleda or Atiller (username handles) and say 'Archie sent me'. Later I joined the Short Story Club, also on My Telegraph. Our hostess was author, Louise, Doughty and I got stuck into the exercises she set, producing a few promising novel starts in the process.

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Outside the net, I go to local writing groups in and around Rossendale, in the North of England. Hasiwriters, based at Haslingden Library, are largely to blame for the many unfinished pieces in my collection - as many as 40. By definition an unfinished piece is a minus – of course on the plus side, it had to have had something to interest me - I don't start unless my imagination is triggered. I think of unfinished stories as a back-catalogue of ideas to pick up and develop when my creativity is all worn out :-).
Other groups I attend vary; Irwell Writers (The Mosses Centre, Bury) does idea generation, read-around and feedback, whereas Manchester Speculative Fiction (MadLabs, Manchester) does pure feedback - they use the Milford Method. Burnley Writers were competition geared last time I looked in. Holmfirth Writers (over the Pennines in Yorkshire) does idea generation, writing + read around. The trick is keeping a focus on your personal writing projects. In my head, I've enough unfinished stories (40) and unfinished novels (10) to keep me going to Doomsday.

Detailed stats – these change all the time. Typically I write around 300 words in a session. Recently I started a piece called Fickleday – it's now at 1,000 and when it's done it'll come to between 5k and 10k words. The setting is the Earth's lithosphere (underground) — I might have Nazis in! Before I do more work on it, I have to get back to Dragonshard, two thirds done. Dragonshard will come in around 10k. Both these pieces are a take on pulp themes - updated with bits of fresh science.


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First Things First!

  Posted by mlebleek in Bleeker Street, 04 April 2016 · 104 views

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Today I am sharing a guest blog post I shared on Books a la mode this past week. It is on the importance of first lines. I’ll post the beginning of the piece here and you can finish reading it on the Books a la Mode website. Also, add a comment in the comments section to be entered to win a copy of WHEN I’M GONE!

 

Screenshot 2016-04-04 06.15.33

Excerpt from Books a la Mode:

 

Sometimes when you are writing a book you feel incredibly powerful. “I, authoress Emily Bleeker, created this world…these people…these emotions and lives!!!” And then other times you feel completely at the whim of outside forces. “I, secret writer EmilyB, wrestle with writer’s block…plot holes…rebellious characters and self-doubt….” Both of these personas are there, living inside of me (in the healthiest possible way for multiple personalities to exist). But, moments of great power and weakness aside, there is one part of the creative process that I refuse to leave to the whim of my power/humility struggle and that is—the opening line.

I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to first lines in books. I always take special note of which sentence an author chooses to share with the world. All my favorite books have my favorite first lines: Pride and Prejudice, Tale of Two Cities, Gone With the Wind…I could go on. Before I became an author I don’t think I even noticed those first words, at least not in a conscious way. I’d jump into a book and not really understand why it pulled me in, called to me. But now I understand how those first glimpses of your story, your tone, your characters—are incredibly significant and honestly quite fun to create.

For both Wreckage and When I’m Gone I knew the first lines of these stories before I had even worked out all of the major plot points……READ THE REST AT: Books a la Mode! 




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Must read 'Pursued'

Posted by arielle99 in AuthorGSW, 12 March 2016 · 235 views
love, romance, thriller, fiction and 3 more...

Must read 'Pursued' Attached Image

It's finally here! At last, I know the wait must've been very crucial and long but it is done. Just want to thank my AgentQuery FAM for making this dream come true, thank you so much for your kind DM and loving words, it was much appreciated! Could not have done it without you all! ❤️😭🙈❤️ *** Did not know where to post this,, but wanted to thank everyone for their everlasting support and kinds words*** Being a new author is difficult, props to all authors, but I would really appreciate if you all could spread the love, word around social media !! Thanks a million AgentQuery FAM


SUMMARY: Arielle Platinum, CEO of Gregory Industry, has everything she ever asked for–until she witnessed the death of an exotic dancer. Thought to be a liability by the mob, a hit is placed on Arielle. Now on the run, Arielle finds herself alone and scared. Her life was nearing its end. About to give up, she is rescued by the last person she ever thought of, Jason Hampton-a man she had not seen since he dropped out of high school. Jason, now a wanted criminal for previous crimes, asks her to trust him and together they will defeat the mob.


Blog with the first 3 chapters: Whisperingit.wordpress.com


Lulu link: http://www.lulu.com/...t-22602699.html


Amazon: http://www.amazon.co...C/ref=r_soa_w_d


iBooks: Coming soon


social media insta: @authorgsw


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Claiming the Katana

  Posted by Professor VJ Duke in The Punchy Lands!, 03 March 2016 · 114 views

Birds of a feather don’t flock together because birds of a feather tend to be jealous of that feather.

V. Shnodgrate, Renowned PL Poet

Untitled“Hehaha!” Salami laughed triumphantly.

And he jumped up on a stool for added height. Daddy Salami isn’t too tall, you know. And the stool didn’t add too much to his height. It was a 3-inch stool, if that.

Salami scowled and became decidedly more cranky.

The stool had betrayed him, see.

“Ya cur-belly!” he shouted from his perch. “Ya think ya won? Ya just lost!” And then he belted forth in a strained voice: “Ya just lost evvvvvvvvvverything!

The professor really wished he hadn’t said that. After all, we were the ones that lost. Well, sorta. Must always keep in the warrior frame of mind, see.

Warrior Frame of Mind:

How are we? Solid.

Chance of success? 100%.

What to fear? Nothing.

I am the reaper.

See. Double-see. And a triple-see, just to make sure you saw.

King Arthur shook his head.

“You think you won?” he asked. “Yeah, no. Not even close.”

Arthur strode further into the room, his regal cape flapping in the breeze behind him.

There was no breeze since we were in a castle. But any time a cape is described in writing, there’s always a breeze, I find. So, I added one for kicks, giggles, and whatnot.

Arthur stopped inches from Ruber Salami.

The ant had met the bear. That was the size difference anyway.

See what I mean? You can't even see the ant.

See what I mean? You can’t even see the ant.

“I’ll enjoy seeing you suffer,” Arthur said.

“Me?” Ruber asked, aghast. “It was his plan.” Ruber stuck a thumb out in Salami’s direction. “Why come and pick on me? And, look, there’s PVJ, too!”

“Ruber,” I said, “don’t bring me up. I’d rather not be brought up; I’d rather not be here; I’d rather just not be–at this special moment.”

Arthur looked at me with a scowl and shook his head.

Then to his soldiers: “Off to the dungeons with them.”

“Didn’t ya hear me?” Salami screamed, frantic from his perch. “I’ve won, cur-face!”

Arthur spun. “Really? You think that by saying that you’re going to win?” He sighed.

And that’s when it happened: Salami propelled himself from his perch, towards the katana. He scooped it up and tossed it to his son. Ruber grabbed it but was immediately torpedo-ed (new word) by Arthur. The katana hit the ground.

This professor scooped it up; the soldiers charged in, and the battle begin.

I traded thrust for thrust, slash for slash. Their broadswords and this professor’s katana lit up the night sky.

Figuratively speaking.

Like this.

Like this.

Ruber and Salami were also fighting.

Somehow this professor ended up fighting Arthur. The king was holding a katana–it looked exactly like the Jeweled Katana, in fact, save for one significant characteristic: It was way smaller, to fit a person of Arthur’s size.

But still.

Why make a copy of the sword?

We traded blows.

Crack!

Arthur’s katana split in half.

He stepped back, and this professor made towards the exit.

Like an giant anteater running from a jaguar.

Only I don't have a tail like that.

Only I don’t have a tail like that.

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How to Create a Successful Writing Habit

  Posted by Jean Oram in The Helpful Writer, 29 February 2016 · 128 views

I assume you are a writer if you are reading this and that you want to take your game up to A-Game level. You want to create a writing habit that is efficient, effective, and ultimately successful.

Being within the first few weeks of the new year, some of us have grand and lofty writing goals and resolutions such as: I will write every day. Or: I will finish this story draft by summer holidays.

But how do you create a habit? Or flipping that around, how do you break bad habits in order to form good ones?

I was listening to a podcast on Social Triggers the other day while driving across the frosty prairie and Derek Halpern was interviewing Charles Duhigg, the author of “The Power of Habit.” He had some interesting things to say about habits. Namely that there is a cue that pops us into a reward system that creates a routine or habit.


For me, the cue is my son’s morning nap. He’s in his crib and that is my cue to ‘reward’ myself with a big cup of green tea and sit down and write (also a reward). If I don’t have that big cup of tea I begin thinking about it instead of writing. Drinking tea while I write in the morning while my son naps is my routine. It is a habit that works for me. I have even managed to transform a less efficient time of day into an efficient one with this habit.

But what if you don’t have a good writing habit? How can you make one? Well, I suggest you check out this awesome flowchart of Charles Duhigg’s. (Used with permission.) As well, you can get more background on this by checking out Derek Halpern’s podcast–you can listen to it straight from your computer–or reading Charles’ book “The Power of Habit.”


How to Change a Habit Flowchart by Charles Duhrigg

How to Change a Habit from Charles Duhrigg–click to enlarge. (Then click again until you get the ‘+’ button on your cursor.)


So how about you? Do you have a cue that signals that it is time to write? Do you have a routine that makes you successful? Think about it. If you do, share what works for you. If not, share what you think you might be able to do. Let’s make 2013 our best writing year yet!

 



*Originally posted on jeanoram.com in 2013

The post How to Create a Successful Writing Habit appeared first on The Helpful Writer.


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