Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Writers & Readers Websites Wednesday - Books!

Reader? Writer? College Student?  

Education Insider offers lots of places where you can get free, unabridged books and audio books.  Lots of resources - some that lead to even more resources. Mostly classics but other offerings as well.  Definitely a site worth visiting. 

And when you have a minute check out these other blogs as well: 
Sci Fi Writer M Pax:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Some Young Writer's Notes

It’s about time we talked about the kids.

            Kids write too.  Some quite well, others just trying their hand at the craft.

            Sometimes we forget.  I don’t know how many of you out there began writing at an early age, but I was about 12.  Managed to write an entire novella without describing hardly a thing!  Quite an accomplishment that.  Thank heavens for a Godmother who read my work and pointed out that little failing.   

            When I started writing there was no internet where I could go for mentoring, research, or anything else.  My mentors were physically present. A Godmother who was game.  A good teacher.  Finally a published writer who agreed to read some of my work.  She gave me feed-back – mostly diplomatically negative, but welcome nonetheless. 

            I wrote through my teen years, jumping right into novels.  I was at home writing when most kids were out doing the social two-step.  Never did do short stories or articles back then.  I had my goal – to be a published novelist.  I reached that goal when I was 21 when my first Western novel was published by Doubleday.  There are kids out there now with the same single-minded pursuit, I have no doubt of it.

            Being mentored by another writer is mostly quite a few years back now, but I had one additional mentor who set me on another path of writing just a few years back.  Funny how people and things change the direction of your life ~ especially when you keep yourself open to it. 

            Having a resource such as the web at our fingertips (all our fingertips) is a pretty magical thing. (yeah, yeah, be blasé, like it’s nothing special, always been there.)

It is.

It hasn’t.

Still, the web can also be isolating – yes even more so than the writer’s life already IS isolating.  And for kids, that can make things even more daunting.  The arrival of the web has created a strange balancing act between having the world open up with almost any information you need right there at hand, and doing little but stare at a computer screen because of it.  Not to mention you don’t even have to get up from the computer to go to the library to find information you need – and you can find lots of wrong information on the web.

            So if you’re a kid and write, kudos to you, keep it up! Work at it, enjoy it, research places to publish your work and to sell it.  They do exist.  There are places directed exclusively at young, enthusiastic new writers; websites and magazines that offer opportunity to the young, new writer. 

Check out Stone Soup – the magazine by young writers and artists at (that’s for the 8 to 13 crowd).

There’s WattPad at for the over 13 crowd.

Go to and scroll down to subscribe to the children’s markets for young writers called Writing Kid for free. 

Do google searches for research and to find sites where you might be published or sites of hard copy magazines receptive to the young writer.

That’s not to say the local avenues of getting your writing out there should be passed up.  Write for a school paper.  See if your local newspaper has a young adult/kid’s section written by kids and find out what it takes to get your work published there.  Discover where writing fits into your life.  And don’t forget to get out and experience life so you have something to write about!

            And, if you’re an old hand, a writer with a track record, how about mentoring a kid who’s seriously writing?    How about trying to get a kid who’s not interested in writing interested?  I’ve been to both places.  It’s rewarding, frustrating, uplifting and infuriating.  Quite the roller coaster but worth every minute invested.  

** And if you're reading this on Aug. 27 don't forget The New Grown Ups Guide to Disney World  is free today.

And a couple of other blogs I want to mention: 
Drunken Space Penguin on reading & writing.
Sci Fi Magpie Sci Fi writing & reading & observations

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Writers & Readers Websites Wednesday - Acronyms

Yep, it's that day again and I have a good one for all you readers and writers out there. 

Have you read all those initials, abbreviations and acronyms out there?  Get confused and wonder what the heck some of them mean?  

With over 1,000,000 definitions sure you can find the info you need here. 

Whether you're a writer or a reader searching for answers to that burning question - what the heck does that mean?  the Abbreviations and Acronym dictionary is for you.

Have fun!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Writer’s To Do List

Have a lot to do?  I know I do.

But in the spirit of procrastination I do find time to wander the web a bit between projects and I came across a rather long post (the equivalent of three pages with – oh horrors – no illustrations) on how to write a writer's ‘to do’ list and manage it.


Now I don’t to be too sarcastic here and really I don’t intend a slight – in fact it’s good to come across these things so they inspire me to keep it tight, keep it short. Folks just don’t have that much time. Save the long writing for a novel that just insists it wants to keep going.

So I’m going to keep my comments on the lengthy writer’s ‘to do’ list minimal. 

Here it is.

I realize there are many folks different from me and I applaud them – I like difference.

However, the question nags. How does one come up with more than three pages on a subject such as a ‘Writer’s To Do List’? I might be able to do it myself, but it would be a stretch and I’d probably find myself getting repetitive.

So I’ve decided to give my own advice on a Writer’s To Do List. And I do keep a running list on my desk in a spiral notebook, my supply of which usually comes from a well-known office supply store around back to school time when I can get them from $.01 to $.05 each.  When a page fills I rip it out and recycle (trying to be green conscious).

Pretty straight-forward advice:

1. Create the To Do list  - i.e. write stuff you have to do in a list on the page.

2. Follow Your list – i.e. read it once in a while to see what you need to do next. First thing in the morning might be good.

**Check off what you manage to accomplish.

To the point? Clear? Got it?

-- Of course I am rambling on here as well.  Maybe the fun is in the rambling on…I, too, on occasion love to ramble on.

And don't forget a couple other cool blogs: 
Seumas Gallacher's blog:
David Lender's Blog:
Kevin Hanrahan's Blog:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Writers & Readers Websites Wednesday

Today I'm going to kind of turn it over to another blog - Where Writers Win. They have a great page offering the seven most useful writing Apps for writers for those of you who use lots of apps. 

Hey, you're a writer? There's an app for that! Pretty minimal cost or free.

Reader inspired to have a go at writing? Grab an app. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The First Draft of Anything is Shit - What????

"The first draft of anything is shit."
~Ernest Hemingway



Okay, Ernest and I are going to have words.


Okay, I can sort of see where the guy was coming from and after all, writer Ernest was pretty intense and if rumor has it a bit of a drunk (well, maybe a lot of a drunk). Perhaps his intensity and drinking  (and sadly his eventual suicidal inclinations) colored his opinion. Perhaps it truly was that way for him.


Here’s the thing. That statement can well be true many times. And, first written drafts usually DO need a lot of work, but then again there are times when perhaps the spelling, punctuation and technical stuff might be off and need some polish, but the underlying writing is pure gold or just darn good fun.

Yep, I said it. Sacrilege. We all keep hearing the first draft has to be awful, or bluntly put, shit. That it has to be worked and reworked and polished and polished some more.

But I’m here to tell you there are a couple of books along my illustrious trail that were written, checked over for that technical stuff and submitted to the publisher just that way. (I won’t tell you which ones, I’ll just let you guess – and you’ll probably be wrong.)

And, yes, they were bought by a major house.

And yes, they were published.

Did I have to do some additional tweaking of my writing once it reached the publisher’s editor and the galleys came back to me?

Yes, but it was pretty minimal.

Does that make me a genius? No. They were fun, fast fiction. Fast to write and fast to read.

Perhaps all ‘great literature’ has to be shit first, I can’t comment on that as so far I've written the fun stuff, not the 'great literature' stuff, but the point is, not every first draft written of a book or a script or a short story or whatever, is shit.


Not even close. Unless of course you’re among those who believe most of what’s being published is shit – then we have a whole new problem such as why if it began as shit it remained so throughout the editing process… but I won’t go there just now.

What I will say to writers is this. You can’t always be running around trying to figure out what you should do. You have to know some of that stuff inside you. (And, my apologies, but not everyone has a 'book inside'.) Oh, you can get some great advice, but not all ‘truisms’ about writing and writers are ‘true’. Not all rules are to be followed. Not all pearls of wisdom are truly wise.

And not all first writing drafts are shit. Might be total word shit. Might not be.

So you have to get in there, use your spell check, re-read for errors and punctuation glitches; get it right so a book editor will actually look at it or a reader won’t be turned off by the script’s many errors  and put yourself out there. Truth is, it all comes back to you, the writer.

And stop thinking of your first written draft as shit. It’s a beginning.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Writers & Readers Websites Wednesday- Nerd's Guide

 Are you a reader? A Writer? A Thinker? Someone who enjoys twisting their brain? Fishing for ideas for your next story?

Then you might want to consult the list Nerds Guide To Reading for some wonderful read suggestions. They all link to Amazon (no I don't get a commission on sales) but you can get them many places, including libraries, in Ebook format, in used book stores, wherever.

Head on over and check out the list - then read!


Monday, August 5, 2013

A Writer's Break & A Book Giveaway

It’s been a long week, you know? I realize as I’m writing this it’s only Monday, but last week is sort of lapping over.  
 My newest digital release, Hawke’s Indians  is free on Kindle this week Monday through Wednesday Aug. 4 through 7.  Grab a copy, you know your Kindle needs feeding and if you have a minute, throw up a short review on Amazon. (No pressure though ). So I’ve been spending some time getting the word out about that including my book trailer that accompanies it.  
Two more books are in the pipeline to be released in digital edition over the summer.
Keep an eye out.  Oh, and poke around here to see the books already in digital format and available. 
Meanwhile I’ve been blogging away, for others and for myself. It’s a lot of words, especially when you’re supposed to be finishing writing another book at the same time. 
It was a week when I also finished a paying project not my own for a client and got the time to put together the info needed to submit a script for consideration. 
Now, not that I’m complaining, but I have a checklist on a spiral pad close to hand. I keep checking things off and, well, gladly adding things on the bottom. I like it like that, but well, I needed a break.
So I stumbled on the Giving Bunny project. I couldn’t resist. You don’t have to be handy with needle and thread, you can use glue, though I stitched mine.
The idea is you make these little bunnies and place then in tucked away locations to be discovered by somebody who’s day needs a bit of brightening.  So far I’ve turned two bunnies lose, one at a small local mall and another at a restaurant.
It made me smile to make them and think of their discovery so I hope some other folk will feel the same, grab the simple pattern from the website with the printable tags and get those bunnies out there! The person who finds it may feel all warm, fuzzy and sparkly inside, but they have no idea how sparkly it makes the anonymous giver feel. A wonderful break from 'real' work.
Have a great week – it’s back to work for me. Let me know if you decide to join the bunny brigade and where you leave one…

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