Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Writer & Readers!


Well, I should have written a post yesterday, intended to in fact, but just ran out of time. I don't have a lot of that in supply today either. So for those who follow this blog, Sorry! Hopefully I'll be back on track next week. 

But, in the meantime, you'll note the trailer above for Hawke's Indians.  The book will be free next week Aug. 5, 6, and 7 on Amazon Kindle.  Get your copy!  Please download and enjoy. Comment and review. It's a light-hearted western with lots of action and fun. Complications when a forward-thinking train robber decides to modernize with Indian Motorcycles and the train detectives aren't too far behind.

I ran across a nice website for those who enjoy author interviews, books contests and links to authors' websites. It's over at Books & Authors. Poke around, I think you'll enjoy it. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Writers Websites Wednesday -The Renegade Writer

Go for the unconventional route in your freelance writing career. And get a little help from Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell.  Lots of tips and helps at The Renegade Writer.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

There’s More To Being A Writer Than Just Writing
It’s something we don’t want to hear and certainly don’t want to think about. But, it’s the honest truth these days.
It used to be that a writer sat at a desk and wrote. After publication the publisher might arrange a book tour or a few book signings, but by today’s comparison those requirements were pretty minimal.
Today, depending on how a writer writes, publishes and manages his or her career, there’s a multitude of additional activities that writer will need to address.
First among them is marketing. From the days when not much was expected from the writer by the publisher in marketing we’re catapulted into an era where marketing is king. A publisher now usually wants a writer to have a social media presence – a twitter account (preferably with a lot of followers), a facebook page (preferably with a lot of friends or ‘likes’ and every other social network you can think of along with being willing to promote in other ways as well. And then there’s a blog…
And by the way, don’t depend on the publisher for much these days in the way of publicity and promotion unless you’re a big name writer.
But it doesn’t end there. If you’re taking your writing career in another direction and planning to self-publish, then the manuscript is just the beginning whether non-fiction or fiction. You’ll need to know how to format the manuscript (after it’s been edited to perfection) for upload to whichever publisher you choose, Kindle, Smashwords, or another if you’re doing digital publishing. Formatting is different again if you’re considering possibly a place like CreateSpace where you can publish in hard copy. You’ll be responsible for cover creation for designing the book interior, for coming up with photos you can legally use (if the book calls for them). All of this you’ll need to do yourself or arrange for outsourcing. Fiverr does offer some possibilities for outsourcing, but use caution. Be sure you’re going to get what you need.
And of course, we come full circle back to marketing. Without even minimal help from the publisher (such as even just having a good distribution network) you’re going to be head of publicity. That means you have to get the word out.
You might consider creating (or having created) a video book trailer. I just did my first one and you can see it at             
You can guest post at blogs (after making contact and inquiring). You can start your own blog, blast the word out via your social network, offer free copies for reviewers, contact reviewers directly and ask for reviews, place small ads (within your budget), join Goodreads and discussion groups where your book announcement would be appropriate.
There’s a lot more today to being a writer than writing -

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Writers & Readers Websites Wednesday - Library Thing

For Readers and Writers Websites Wednesday I ran across Library Thing. 

Somewhat like Goodreads it's like a great big book club. Once you join you can get customized book recommendations and you can join the Early Reviewers program in which you can register to receive advance copies of forthcoming books in exchange fore writing a review along with the chance to take a peek at the bookshelves of famous authors.

Check it out. Let me know which one is your favorite.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Following Your Own Writing Trail

As a writer you hear all sorts of advice about outlines and formulas, how to do it, how not to do it. Oh, and above all, don’t follow those rabbit trails, stick to your story. Cling to your outline, don’t deviate!


All right, come on. Isn’t following rabbit trails, getting off the path, the very essence of creativity? That which will help create an exciting, twisting tale. That which makes the storytelling, the exploration fun and exciting. 

Forcing yourself to ‘stay on track’ is a form of idiocy as far as I’m concerned. My first books were written entirely without any outline at all. Now, I write a simple one, but it’s meant to be for basic markers, a place to start from the center so I have a few ideas of where I’m going. They change, believe me.

But the divergent trails of discovery continually beckon and I continually change course so my story grows organically out of the foibles of the characters, the unexpected twists of events, the impact of outside forces. 

You might be writing along and spot one of those fun little trails that you follow in your tale thinking it just won’t lead anywhere in particular but then, suddenly the clouds open and the sunshine pours through and that side trail lights up into the superhighway of your story. Suddenly everything you had in mind earlier changes and your story takes off in a totally new and breathtaking direction. 

I’m mixing metaphors here, but seriously, could that even happen if you were faithfully sticking to the outline you started with? If you were ignoring or discarding new ideas simply because they don’t fit that original framework you began with? Rigidly holding yourself to our originally idea only because it WAS your original idea? Don’t you think if you stick inflexibly to an outline that your story might well be perceived as being artificial? Formulaic? Well, boring and predictable?

Writing a story is a journey of discovery. Serendipitous discoveries can abound if you just give yourself the chance. After all, even rabbits go somewhere. Their trails are just that – trails to somewhere. 

So don’t listen to what you ‘must’ do. Find your own way. Lay out a few ground rules and markers for your story, then give yourself freedom and explore all the hidden nooks and crannies of that story. Wander about aimlessly at times until you find that golden path. 

Oh, and have fun!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Writers & Readers Websites Wednesday - writer's skills & opportunities

Writer W. Terry Whalin offers a site filled with information and opportunities. His work has been published in print magazines as well as books from traditional publishers.
"Through this site, Terry offers proven tools and methods to help you succeed. Every single link and page will focus on helping launch your career."

Whether you want to produce a nonfiction book, a children's book, grant proposal, newsletters, novels for any other type of freelance writing. Terry has some info and help for you..

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Kickstarting That Writer’s Vocabulary

You write. A lot. You plant the seed and spin a story, but perhaps you have a hard time choosing just the right word. A writer needs words like one lost in the desert needs water. And we hear so much about vocabulary, how broad it must be, what words to choose, how to turn a great phrase. So, in hopes of helping you cultivate that ever expanding vocabulary, here are a few tips and some helpful resources.

First the obvious. One of the best ways to expand your vocabulary is by reading. Read everything. Novels, non-fiction, newspapers, magazine articles, labels! All will help you to improve your own vocabulary. Hopefully in addition to simply reading for entertainment you, as a writer, are permitted to do only occasionally) you’re making note of words you don’t know as you read, and sooner or later looking them up in the dictionary. Good idea! (Sooner’s better than later by the way.)

Want to build your vocabulary a fun and helpful way? Then check out You answer multiple-choice questions regarding word meanings and at the same time you donate rice to help relieve hunger. A great site. Fun and broadening. Broaden your vocabulary and help feed people; a great combination.

Here’s a more scholarly site. If you’re serious about ‘boning’ up on your vocabulary, this could well be the site for you. It offers tests that are divided by grade up to ‘Senior’ – which might be the level you want to begin at. Units which become progressively more difficult are offered and you’re retested on words you get wrong. Best. Of all, it’s free.

A Thesaurus is key to helping you word build. There are lots of them free on the web. There’s also the online Visual Thesaurus at . It has an initial free trial period, and then if you find you’re making a lot of use of it, a charge of $2.95 a month or $19.95 a year kicks in. Certainly worth exploring and seeing for yourself. Or you might like the digital (Kindle) edition of Word Power Made Easy – the Complete Three Week Vocabulary Builder. Get it at your local bookstore or online at Amazon at

Looking for a helpful, hold in your hand, hard copy book you might find useful? Then check out Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis. A great vocabulary study book. Your library might have it. Online it’s a bit over $11.00

You can try Bringing Words To Life by Isabel L. Beck. A more expensive book, but a very good vocabulary builder.  Again, perhaps your library, a local bookstore or online at

And now for a final note. Great writers have great vocabularies, but don’t think that means you need to rub your expertise in everyone’s face. Meaning don’t use long or unusual words all the time in your writing to show off your great vocabulary. 

The fact of the matter is once you have that great vocabulary it is how you use it, not which ‘hundred dollar words’ you use. Find new ways to use words to make your story colorful and engaging. Savor words like fine wine and allow your readers to do the same. Surprise them, amuse them, find that new turn of a phrase that hasn’t been used before, choose words with punch, long or short. The secret to a great vocabulary is to learn how to engage your reader. That's what we're here for, right?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The New Grown Ups Disney World Guide Book - Free!

The day has arrived!  It's Free!

Get your Kindle copy of The New Grown Ups Disney World Guide Book though this Friday (July 5) 

Don't miss out on your chance to get this book packed with tips, helps, great ideas of what to do and lots of links to find what you need while it's a free download.

No Kindle?  No problem. You can download the reader here free:  or if that doesn't work, here:

And there is a link to the reader on the book page at Kindle as well.

Remember reviews are welcome and very much appreciated - so are comments. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Writing a Novel? Tips For What Not To Do

No long intro here, I’m going right for the meat of it. You’re writing a novel, you’re in love with your words. Well, look again and see what you need to change:

Do you have your characters living in a happy fantasy land sort of like the fairy tale creatures out of Disney? Is everybody just getting along hunky-dorey and skipping hand-in-hand down the garden path?

Well, stop it! Come on, you know darn well that even best friends can have disagreements and fights. Family members scrap all the time. If everybody’s happy your readers will be BORED. Look, stressful situations can bring out the worst in even the best of people. Add some tension, pepper it with strife. Don’t let your characters get away with being so freaking happy. Really. Spice it up.

Have you gone a bit too far? Have you created a ‘hero’ or ‘heroine’ that nobody really likes? In fiction, novel or script, the main character has to be someone the reader or watcher can identify with, bond with, hope will succeed and want to follow along with throughout the entire story. Of course your main character can have flaws, baggage, irritating habits, but watch out. If you push it to far you’ll end up with a protagonist who’s demanding, insensitive, timid, wimpy or cold (or a host of other flaws that go above and beyond). Go for sympathetic and likeable – with a few quirks and flaws.

How’s your description going? Yes, description is needed to fill in the background, to give a feel to the story, to weave a great tale, but if you’re writing paragraph after paragraph describing weather and scenery then you’re going too far. Weave background into your story. Tell your readers about the weather when it has an impact on the story or the main character(s). Perhaps the weather is trapping someone somewhere and/or affecting their mood because of it. Details are what make the background the canvas against which your story is told. But be selective. Give the details that add to characterization or which might affect your main character’s ability to achieve his/her goals. 


How many of you have used the “as you know…..” cheat? Don’t look blank. You know darn well it’s just a way to dump information by using a character’s dialog. It’s when a character tells another character something they both already know just to bring your readers in on it. Don’t do it. It’s annoying and amateurish and it causes your reader to blank out and pass over that passage, so they don’t even get the information you planned to impart in the first place – might even cause that reader to put the book down. Don’t do it.

Think about these. There are lots more, but I’ll leave them to a later post – meanwhile, you can tell me – what are your biggest ‘no-nos’ for writing?

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