Monday Musings: A year of writing, mothering, traveling, and learning lessons

Share

Emily Kimelman’s year behind and the year ahead

Twenty sixteen was one heck of a year for me…and a lot of people. I spent January and February in a haze of mommy-hood, barely sleeping but doing lots of cuddling with my newborn daughter and husband—man that was cozy.

Never a family to just chillax, we traveled to Mexico and Texas escaping the freezing temperatures of New York. I also was preparing for the launch of my Sydney Rye Kindle World which went live on March 17, 2016 with the help of seven amazing authors.

It was a ton of work, super fun and totally exhilarating; I’m very proud that the world of Sydney Rye is now available for anyone to pen a story in—I know I have a ton of fun with her and Blue. My readers have really enjoyed the new novellas and so have I!

In April, my family moved onto an airstream (we seriously can not just chillax!). We headed to Cape Cod, and I started working on The Girl With The Gun, the eighth book in my Sydney Rye Series. It was the first book I dictated entirely—a practice I started toward the end of my pregnancy due to my body’s straight-up refusal to be stuck at a desk. Turns out a giant baby bump is bad for your back. Lol.

Since dictation is so much better for my body, I was determined to continue the practice, even though I no longer had the same physical restrictions. My dream of walking on the beach and speaking my stories aloud came true. I used Dragon Dictate to transcribe and it worked out great… except that I didn’t update the rest of my process to accommodate my dictation.

See, I’ve always written my first drafts straight through—don’t look back! is my motto. I fix everything in editing later. But, when I went back to look at my transcription they made no sense—here’s an example of a sentence:

It only the martyr Troy Campbell enter.

So, yeah, I had to listen to all the recording as I edited—which, um, slowed me down … a lot. So, lesson learned! Now, I always go through my transcriptions right after I speak them. I can usually remember what the heck I was trying to say and have it all make sense 🙂

I finished the first draft of The Girl with the Gun at the end of May and in June Toby Neal and I started co-authoring our Scorch Romance Thriller Series. The first book was done in thirteen days! And it sucked! Lol. Seriously though, it was terrible. We almost gave up. But instead we pushed on and now, as I write this, we’ve completed four of the books and are hard at work on the fifth and sixth with a launch schedule that starts at the end of January 2017.
We are both super excited about this series. It’s some of the best work we’ve ever done. Romance Thriller is a new genre for both of us and we’ve found a voice together that we think is pretty much impossible to put down *rubs hands together gleefully*. Seriously, if you’re a fan of the genre I dare you to start this series without finishing it. In fact, I double dog dare you.

I’m ending the year in my airstream with my husband and daughter. We were in Texas in December and reached California as 2017 dawned. I’m looking forward to a year of adventure, romance and writing.

May you all have a happy, healthy, loving holiday season and new year!

Emily Kimelman is the author of the best selling Sydney Rye Series featuring a strong female protagonist and her canine best friend, Blue. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don’t mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!

Find out more about her on Emily’s BestSelling Reads Author page.

Share

Going Analog to Beat Writer’s Block

Share

By Toby Neal

Creative Commons

Creative Commons

Last year, for a period of four months, I couldn’t write.

This might not seem like long to you, but I’d been writing close to 2,000 words a day for five years. But after Red Rain, Lei Crime Series #11, I couldn’t seem to get going again.

“Big deal,” you say. “You wrote fourteen mysteries, three romances, two memoirs and a couple of YA novels in five years. It’s okay to be a little burned-out and take a break.”

That’s what my friends told me, too. I told myself that, agreeing. But not writing isn’t “taking a break” to me. I’m happiest when I’m writing, and I couldn’t seem to. Nothing appealed, not even my romances, which are my go-to feel-good projects when I get a little stuck. Even blogging, which I normally love, felt Herculean.

Instinctively, I sought new distractions and input. I bought tons of self-help, lifestyle, writing, performance and life improvement books (along with my usual brimming TBR list of friends’ books and other fiction.) I cleaned my house personally for the first time in six months. I decided to sort my beach glass and shell collection and reorganize them. I gardened. Did a little cooking. (Not too much. I’m not that addled.) I called friends who hadn’t heard from me in ages to go to lunch. I also worked out and dieted, because if I’m not writing, I better be doing something good. I’m no slacker, and this felt like slacking.

And gradually, I began to go analog.

This definition from Vocabulary.com matches the way I mean the term: “Analog is the opposite of digital. Any technology, such as vinyl records or clocks with hands and faces, that doesn’t break everything down into binary code to work, is analog. Analog, you might say, is strictly old school.”

My version of analog meant stopping the noise and distractions in my head and life, most of them somehow digital.

I stopped filling my ears with noise and my eyes with electronics, staying away from my computer except for planned chunks of work using the Pomodoro method.

I stopped listening to music in the car, and let my thoughts wander instead. I stopped listening to audiobooks or calling friends on my walks with my dog in the neighborhood; instead, I practiced just noticing things: the cry of Francolin grouse in the overgrown, empty pineapple field. Distant roosters, barking dogs, doves and chattering mynahs, the sound the wind makes in the coconut trees, the swish of my feet through grass, the feel of air on my skin.

I tried to break my phone habit, and couldn’t… but still, the tiny screen was less sensory input than the big one. The intrusiveness of all the bits of colored data representing relationships and knowledge felt more manageable to my spongy brain.

We had holidays. I usually write during holidays, at least in my journal.

I didn’t, this time.

I just tried to really be with my family, and I had a lot of intense feelings. Joy. Sadness. Excitement. Contentment. Exhaustion. Even boredom. I realized I use technology (and food) to manage my emotions. Not doing so was a real internal rollercoaster.

In the silence of sitting in analog, I got a tiny insight: some of this block is performance anxiety.

WiredIn2I worry I won’t be able to top myself, that I’ve already done the best work I’m capable of.

Once that insight finally bubbled up through the silence I was cultivating, I could examine it. Interact with it. Test its veracity, as we do in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is my primary counseling mode.

As I grappled with it, the tiny insight got louder, clearer and more detailed.

I recognized the voice of the Inner Critic, and the razor-tipped arrow of a lie that pierced me in the heart and froze me in place. “You’ve done your best work already and it’s still no great shakes—you’re nothing but a self-published mid-lister. Quit before you embarrass yourself.”

Well, damn.

That’s some toxic self-talk! No wonder I stayed constantly distracted by internal and external noise for the last five years, trying to run so fast to the page that my self-doubt couldn’t catch up to me.

The usual things I had done in the past to get back to writing didn’t work.

My kitchen timer failed me. Pep talks with my friends didn’t work. Even Grumpy Cat flashing at me on Write or Die couldn’t get me going, nor least the pleas of my readers for the next Lei book, which usually motivates and this time, just felt like pressure. The joy and fun of the Lei Crime Kindle World had morphed into the weight of other writers depending on my ongoing success.

I felt crushed and smothered. Worries about money didn’t even motivate me.

I was a miner, deep in a hot dark shaft, who had reached the end of her vein of gold.

And for once, I decided to just sit there, in the dark uncomfortableness, until something happened.

That’s what “going analog” is. It’s sitting, undistracted, holding the emptiness of departed inspiration and motivation, without trying to produce anything.

Going analog is doing simple things with your hands, like sorting a lifetime of collected shells into Keep and Take Back to the Beach.

Image source: Lorna Sass at Large https://lornasassatlarge.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/molokai-purple-potatoes/

Image source: Lorna Sass at Large https://lornasassatlarge.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/molokai-purple-potatoes/

Going analog is heading to the farmer’s market and browsing the stalls, choosing three Molokai purple sweet potatoes. It’s going home and peeling one, cutting it up, cooking it, and eating it mashed with a little salt—and nothing to read or listen to during any of that.

Going analog is walking the beach without music, phone, or audiobook, feeling everything: wind in my face, sun on the top of my head, sand scouring my feet, ocean a beating heart next to me, people randomly occurring with dogs, and now really seeing them. (Even saying hi to them!)

Going analog makes me wish for a mindless job again: a place to go and punch a clock, performing whatever task that society has decided has value and will pay me for.

This thing I do is amorphous, making up stories and hoping people like them. Drawing metaphoric blood and using it as ink, Hemingway called the process of writing — a dubious endeavor of questionable value… Not like getting out and mowing the knee-deep grass. Now that’s a job that needs doing.

I persevered with my uncomfortable analog state, adrift in dubious oversensitivity, miserable in my idyllic, carefully constructed writer’s life, unable to tell anyone but a few what was going on.

No one takes me seriously, or believes I’ll stay stuck.

Except me.

Being stuck feels absolute and irrefutable and forever. But I refused to anesthetize it.

One day an idea bobbed through my empty, silent mind. A silly idea, for the Kindle World novella I needed to write by a deadline. A novella’s just a tiny jump for a steeplechaser like me, but now, in my humbled state, even a fan fiction novella seemed impossible.

But I hadn’t had an idea at all in ages. I grabbed the string hanging from the balloon of the idea and captured it analog.

Written by hand.

“A Thelma and Louise revenge caper set in the desert in Mexico,” I wrote. “A road trip gone badly wrong.”

This violent, intense action idea felt good, like it had the steam I needed to get me moving. Of course, I’d hoped I was going to have a Great Big Awesome Idea that would take my work to the next level, and top myself, and beat the Inner Critic once and for all.

Instead, there was this idea. No great literary masterpiece. Perhaps that will never come from my pen. But this road trip idea is something. It’s enough. There’s a sense that heads will roll.

I decide a samurai sword will be involved, and heads will, literally, roll. It makes me smile, and I haven’t smiled over an idea in a while.

road-rough-finalI begin writing, sneakily. Quietly. Not calling it writing. Not saying the drought is broken. Just jotting a few things down. And then I’m at ten thousand words, and the story has me by the throat, in the clutches of evil men on a bad stretch of Rough Road. (Look for it in Emily Kimelman’s Sydney Rye Kindle World.)

This time, I didn’t use my usual technology prods.

I just wrote, when I could, when I felt like it, without music on.

Against the black wall of the mine, directly in front of me, there was a tiny shimmer. A new vein of gold might just be there.

Go analog to beat your writer’s block.

Sit in the dark uncomfortable of nothing going on in your head, no distractions or stimulation, for as long as it takes until your idea comes.

Don’t reject the idea when it finally appears, because it’s not pretty, fancy, or solid enough. Grab hold of it “old school” — by the dangling string, with both hands. Nail that idea to a piece of paper with a pen, and be grateful.

You might just strike it rich with your new vein of gold. And if not, at least you’ll be writing again.

About Toby Neal

Toby Neal was raised on Kauai in Hawaii and makes the Islands home after living elsewhere for “stretches of exile” to pursue education. A mental health therapist, Toby credits that career with adding depth to the characters in the LeiCrime Series.

Visit her full bio on her BestSelling Reads Author page.

You can also find Toby and her books at http://www.tobyneal.net/

Follow her on Twitter @tobywneal

She’s also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LeiCrimeSeries/

And on Pinterest at: https://www.pinterest.com/tobyneal/

 

Share

Thursday teaser: Return of the Ascendant

Share

Ascendant Series #1
By Raine Thomas

You could WIN a signed copy of Return of the Ascendant. Find out how at the end of the excerpt.

Return of the Ascendant_ebooksm

Looking up, Kyra realized she was walking in shadow. Typically, the quad was well-lit by tall lights designed to look like old-fashioned gas lamps. The posts stood about twenty feet apart and surrounded the square area, offering plenty of luminescence and providing a sense of safety. Now, at least three of the lights along Kyra’s route had gone out.

Her steps faltered. She looked to her right, where the school’s science building stood. Rows of bushes cast deep, uneven shadows along the brick face. A muggy breeze rustled the leaf-covered limbs, generating an eerie scratching sound as they brushed the harsh surface of the wall.

Feeling as though someone was watching her, she cast a furtive look around the quad. On any normal evening, there would be plenty of people walking around the area. Now, however, not another soul was in sight. Kyra supposed they were all either still moving into their dorm rooms or had already left for the big party.

Despite the visual confirmation that she was alone, she had the pressing urge to call out and ask who was there. An image of herself acting like a horror movie cliché kept her lips firmly sealed, however.

Another scraping noise on her right had her starting. She clutched her purse closer to her body and picked up her pace. Surely the shadows were just making her jumpy, she reasoned. That didn’t explain why every hair on her arms and neck now stood on end.

Swallowing her rising fear, she almost broke into a run as she reached the last twenty feet of darkness. Her eyes didn’t move from the gloomy bushes. She couldn’t explain her reaction, as the university was in a small, sleepy town and had a low crime rate. But every instinct in her told her to run.

Just as she neared the halo of light cast by the closest lamppost, it went out. She staggered to a halt.

That was when the darkness moved.

Not possible, she thought.

She watched the shadows take shape, growing ever taller. Five feet, six feet, seven feet tall…like a creature advancing and casting a longer and longer shadow. Her heartbeat accelerated. The voice in her head ordered her to flee.

Run now!

Before she could command her limbs to move, she felt her arm taken in a firm grip. She barely avoided issuing a terrified shriek over the contact. Her fear had escalated to a point where she couldn’t even get a sound past her throat.

Her head whipped to the side. She realized the man who had grabbed her was a good eight or nine inches taller than her, even in her heels. She got a sense of a chiseled profile and broad shoulders as he urged her to move. Her gaze flew to the ground as she tried to avoid breaking an ankle. Only when they emerged from the darkness did her sense of panic begin to ease.

Her unexpected companion’s pace also slowed once they reached the light. She turned her gaze to him once again. Had he been the one who had cast the shadow?

She didn’t think so. Although she couldn’t tell much about him from his profile, she didn’t sense that he would harm her.

“It isn’t me you need to worry about,” he said in a deep voice. “You were right to fear the dark.”

Win a signed copy of Return of the Ascendant by describing your favorite alien-related book or movie in the Comments section. The author will choose a winner.

About Return of the Ascendant

Expecting to enjoy another typical college night at a frat party with friends, Kyra Vaughn’s plans derail when she’s almost killed…twice. Her savior, a tall, sexy stranger who calls himself TaeDane, claims that he’s the personal bodyguard for the Ascendant of Alametria. She’s convinced he’s crazy.

Especially when he insists that she’s the Ascendant.

With dark enemies hunting her down, Kyra has no choice but to trust her supposed bodyguard. Ty vows to help her remember her past and return her safely to Alametria, but someone seems intent on interfering, challenging his abilities at every turn.

As Kyra’s memories emerge, she remembers that Ty is more to her than he’s let on…much more than he’s allowed to be. She’ll also discover that there are many things about her planet and herself that she’d rather forget. In the end, she’ll have to make a choice: cling to the life she knows, or risk it all to become the person she’s destined to be.

Where to get it:

About the author

Raine-Thomas-Headshot-small-233x300Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine recently signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen. She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.
Visit her:

And follow her on Twitter @Raine_Thomas.

Share

Book launch today: Road Blocked

Share

A Reed Ferguson Mystery by Renée Pawlish

Launching May 10!

Road BlockedReed Ferguson returns in a gripping tale!

A dead body on a beach in Tahiti. A Medicare scam. A doctor who believes hired killers are after him. It’s all part of Denver private investigator Reed Ferguson’s latest case, where he matches wits with a dangerous adversary who will stop at nothing short of murder. Working with his wife Willie, and his quirky friends, Reed must unearth a killer before he becomes the next victim.

Road Blocked is a suspense-filled mystery, with a Bogie-wannabe detective, a dose of humor, and a clever homage to film noir. It’s available today from Amazon.

From the award-wining author of This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies.

 

 

Share

Focus Friday: Forgive No More

Share

ForgiveNoMoreCover

The third James Blake thriller

By Seb Kirby

Prologue

Sera Monastery, Lhasa

Everyone knew him here as one of the most devout, one of the few who had risen to the rank of Ajahn. Devout because of the time he spent in meditation and prayer. He was honored they would think of him in this way within the monastery, given he was not Tibetan.

It was the center of his universe, the place he went back to in order to replenish his life, to regenerate his energy and regain what was lost when he went out there, into the wider world.

The last time he’d been out into that world he’d killed fifty men and not a few women without a thought. Because he served a higher goal. And because, when looked at from here, from the center of the universe, the deaths were not important. In the great flow of energy passing through this place and through him as he meditated and chanted, the lives of these people were as nothing. Could be nothing.

Still a slew of naked thoughts ran through his mind and threatened to disrupt the state of truth to which he was all the time aiming in these two hours alone in the monastery cell — why had he been concerned that the little girl would have to die? Why did he have to meet her? Why did she have to speak to him before the killings at Town Lake? He’d checked the lists of those who’d died. The little girl had been spared. But that was not the point. It was the simple fact that her innocence had touched him and he’d been made to care what would happen to her. It would not leave his thoughts. Try as he might to let these ideas go, they hung on, confronting him.

With time and mental effort, his mind focused once more on the flow of energy through him, the flow that gave him the glimpse of the divine.

He turned to face the door as a novice samanera came for instruction.

Strange, he thought, that he was so far away now from the world where they knew him by a different name.

Wolfgang Heller.

About Forgive No More

Dark secrets revealed in a thrilling climax

James Blake and his family can only be safe if the truth about the conspiracy threatening their lives is brought into the full light of day. Follow James in this intriguing thriller as the conspiracy widens and he must return to Italy to confront those seeking to destroy his family. Forces from around the world, from Washington and Tijuana to Munich and London, are ranged against him. As the mystery comes to a resounding climax, he discovers that dark secrets have survived down the centuries and are in the hands of those who threaten all those dear to him.

From international bestselling author Seb Kirby, Forgive No More continues the intriguing story of crime, corruption and conspiracy begun in Take No More and Regret No More. It is a must-read for fans of Harlan Coben, Daniel Silva and all who enjoy a thought provoking and exciting thriller.

Exclusively on Amazon.

About the author

Seb KirbySeb Kirby was literally raised with books – his grandfather ran a mobile library in Birmingham, UK and his parents inherited a random selection of the books. Once he discovered a trove of well-used titles from Zane Gray’s Riders of the Purple Sage, HG Wells’ The Invisible Man and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities to more obscure stuff, he was hooked.

He’s been an avid reader ever since.

He is author of the James Blake thriller series, Take No More, Regret No More and Forgive No More, the science-fiction thriller, Double Bind, and the upcoming second installment of that series.

Visit his

And follow him on Twitter @Seb_Kirby

Share

June iPad Mini Giveaway + $$$ + Books !

Share

June Giveaway Badge

Win an iPad Mini, one of four $25 Amazon gift cards, or one of 20 free e-books by any BestsellingReads member.
That’s right, this month there will be 25 winners!
We’ve got reading covered at BestsellingReads, and who loves avid readers more than we do?
Nobody!
Enter today and win an e-book of your choice.
Happy reading!

ENTER NOW !

Share

Win an iPad Mini

Share

June Giveaway Badge

 

Win an iPad Mini, one of four $25 Amazon gift cards, or one of 20 free e-books by any BestsellingReads member.
That’s right, this month there will be 25 winners!
We’ve got reading covered at BestsellingReads, and who loves avid readers more than we do?
Nobody!
Enter today, and win an e-book of your choice.
Happy reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Share

Reading with Renewed Eyes, by Scott Bury

Share

ScottAs I take out the tools and toys I stored away last fall and brush off the dust and accumulated grime of the winter, as I find things lost under the snow, as leaves begin to bud on the trees (I’m in Ottawa, so that doesn’t happen as early as for you in the tropical USA), I cannot help but look at the world with renewed vision. To see things I hadn’t noticed for months or more. To look more carefully at familiar things. To take in what I had taken for granted.

That includes my reading material. Over time, it’s easy to narrow our focus, to read the same kind of thing and to dismiss entire categories in favour of the familiar, the safe — the books that the commercial publishing industry tells us we’re supposed to like.

I began reading “new fiction” extensively a couple of years ago — about the time that I decided to publish my own book. And now I read with a refreshed view of literature.

 My focus on style

After many years as an editor (day job), it’s hard to read anything without questioning a writer’s choices in words and phrasing, or to think of different, better ways to organize a section, a chapter or a whole book.

When I read good writing, fiction or non-fiction by a talented author, I find it a treat. I find I’m reading genres and categories that I never would have five years ago. Romance? Me? Police thrillers? Erotica? Steampunk? Urban paranormal?

I immediately recognize the signs of an inexperienced writer — or worse, text that has not seen an editor. Here are some of the things that bug me in fiction:

          A surplus of sentences that begin with an “as” phrase:

o   As they entered the two-storey living room, Brenda and Tomas heard a sound they had never heard before.

          Too many sentences that open with a dependent clause:

o   Blowing his wife a kiss, Alan opened his car door for the last time. Pretending to catch it, Vonda managed to hide her scowl. Turning quickly, she stepped into the house and closed the door just in time to avoid the explosion.

          Passive sentences:

o   The victim was sitting in the driver’s seat, the side of his head blown apart by what must have been a large-calibre bullet.

          Needless detail (I have to admit, I’m guilty of adding this in my own work, occasionally):

o   Jesse stepped down the hall and stopped in front of room 616. She reached up to knock, but hesitated. Holding her breath, she lowered her hand to the knob. Her eyebrows drew closer together, and she unconsciously held her breath as her palm wrapped around the faceted glass. She twisted, softly at first, then harder, but was still shocked when the knob turned and the door swung silently away from her, revealing a dark room.

 Inexperienced writers often try to cram way too much into their first paragraph, like this one, where the author is trying to evoke a futuristic world, describe his characters’ jobs and their relationships all at once (details changed to protect the feelings of the author):

“Bergstein’s stomach clenched. Without Glide, Henri was just too much of an asshole to bear. Henri ran his fingers along his orange belt, which happened to match his suit. Bergstein had never trusted men who wore color-coordinated outfits, one more reason to hate the plump bastard.”

 This kind of writing is not restricted to independent or self-published authors. It fills books that bear colophons and logos from any of the thousand-headed beasts that the commercial publishing conglomerates have grown into.

For example, unnecessary detail made the monster bestsellers of a few years ago —The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels — so thick. I cannot think of any reason other than product placement for the details about the heroine’s laptop computer, her Ikea furniture, nor Billy’s Pan Pizza.

The current blockbuster, Fifty Shades of Grey, is replete with the kind of writing that gets mortal writers (like me) slapped by self-appointed writing coaches and seminar leaders. Consider this gem from the beginning:

She hands me a security pass that has “visitor” very firmly stamped on the front. I can’t help my smirk. Surely it’s obvious that I’m just visiting. I don’t fit in here at all. Nothing changes. I inwardly sigh. Thanking her, I walk over tothe bank of elevators and past the two security men who are both far more smartly dressed than I am in their well-cut black suits.

 You try that at your next writing workshop. I can hear the leader shrieking now (as I sigh inwardly): “Adverbs! Adverbs modifying more adverbs! Sighing inwardly? You could pop an eardrum doing that! And what do you mean by a well-cut suit, exactly?”

 Fresh authors, fresh writing

Today, I’m reading with refreshed eyes, with a renewed appreciation for craft, skill, passion and the willingness of a writer — an artist — to try new ways to express ideas, feelings and experiences.

Here’s one I especially like: Scott Morgan. 

Two years ago Victor carried a gray plastic Star Trek lunchbox, and that was cool. Bill Wharton carried a red one with a Michael Jackson sticker on it, and it was acceptable.

Kyle Stigman never carried a box. As far back as anyone could remember, he had brought his lunches in brown paper bags. He drew pictures on them with a black Sharpie. New ones every day. People noticed, but two years ago, it was OK to be noticed.

          “Brown Paper Bags,” in Stories my Evil Twin Made Up

Or this from fellow Best Selling Reads author Rachel Thompson:

She’s unsure how it started, moving from found to lost. One day she watches birds fly on apathetic wings, the next he stands behind her—his hands inside her heart.

He damages her new home, where she now lays her head, the place where guilt and lust meet.

          “Caged,” in Broken Pieces. 

 New expressions. Close observation of details, of feelings and experiences that we can identify with, and that are a hell of a lot more meaningful than pan pizza or well-cut suits. I love that stuff.

I find that in new fiction. As long as the writer knows the craft of writing and writes with his or her own voice, his or her own vision, I’ll enjoy it.

     § § § § § § §

Scott Bury is a journalist and editor based in Ottawa, Canada. He is the author of The Bones of the Earth and One Shade of Red.

 Scott2011

 

 


 

 

Share

March Kindle Fire Giveaway ~ Congratulations Elisa Giocosa !

Share

 

The hovering Rafflecopter for BestSelling Reads

March Giveaway landed on the 26th!

 

Our Grand Prize winner of the Kindle Fire is

Elisa Giocosa!

For Second and Third Place

Tiffany Drew and Lisa Wolf

each won a $25 Amazon Gift Card

 

Thanks to all of you for your participation!

Maybe the April Rafflecopter will land in your neighborhood!

Look for our April Giveaway Soon!

 

 

Share

Picking Through the Good, the Bad, and the Scary Ugly, by Shannon Mayer

Share

Immune_FinalBefore the onslaught of the Indie Revolution, picking books was fairly simple. You had your favorite authors, and you went to the bookstore and bought their books. Perhaps in the back of said authors books there would be an intro to a new author that you might take a chance on. Or maybe a cover would catch your eye at the front of the aisle.

Now, though, it’s not so easy to pick the good from the bad, from the ugly. Sometimes, really ugly.

Here are a few tips, things to look for when you are ready to purchase your next e-book. (And a side note to the authors reading this, some good tips to help you sell your books better)

  1. Cover art – If the cover art is sloppy and unprofessional, the chances are good that the rest of the book will follow suit. This is your first impression, and if it tanks for you, move on.
  2. Editing. Take a moment to read the sample. This is a great option. The link is on the far right-hand side of the Amazon page below the purchase button. Read the sample, if you are finding errors in the first few pages, the chances are high they will continue. Tops, three minutes to do this.
  3. Reviews – Read both good and bad and take them with a grain of salt. Recognize that the bad are often from the average Joe, but just as often are from detractors trying to sink an author. This is especially true when you see reviewers make statements that question the validity of the good reviews. My advice? Look for the reviews that have a couple of paragraphs, some details of what they like, and what could be better.
  4. Experience – See how many other books the author has out. This will take all of thirty seconds if you click on the name and go to the author page. The more prolific an author, the better chance that he is honing his skills and improving his craft. This is not a hard and fast rule, as many authors have just one book out that is amazing, but if you are on the fence, it may be the tie-breaker for you.
  5. Price – Just because a book is free or 99¢ doesn’t mean the quality is poor, and likewise, just because it’s $5.99-$9.99 does not guarantee a good book. Many authors, even bestsellers, will use a lower price point to bring in new readers. This is a boon for you, and a boon for the authors.

All five steps should take less than five minutes, and when you think about the time you’d spend in physical bookstore picking through the piles of books, it is more than comparable. Not to mention you can do this in your pj’s.

  § § § § § § §

ShannonMayerShannon Mayer is the author of the bestselling urban fantasy Priceless which has sold over 20,000 copies in its first two months. On her down time, she hangs out on the farm coming up with ideas for her next books, herds old people to the local cribbage club, and in general makes a nuisance of herself.

Connect with Shannon on Amazon  Facebook  Twitter  or of course on her Blog

Share