Book Reviews and Writing Tips

Book Reviews and Writing Tips

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Review of Assassin’s Game by Governor Dan Walker

From Amazon Website

Out of control political corruption
5 stars

I didn’t really know what to expect when I received a copy of this book from the author, who I’ve known for several years.  But I’m a mystery fan and this book didn’t disappoint me.  It is full of intrigue with one twist after another to keep the reader turning the pages to see what will happen next.

The story starts out with the gory murder of a prostitute.  Soon we discover that organized crime is under almost everything that goes on in the political world.  The mob has politicians and respectable executives in their pocket.  They see their plans realized by working through these people that the average citizen wouldn’t expect.  The mafia orchestrates the demise of certain leaders and sees that the replacements of their choice fill the vacancies.

In this fast-paced novel, you’ll find plenty of deception from murders, kidnapping, drug deals, prostitution, and gambling.

Some of the resolutions are alarming, but then we are reading about the mob, so what would you expect from shady characters like this?  They thrive on fraud and are callous individuals you wouldn’t ever want to meet in real life.  Money is more important than respectability.

The unwholesome characters are well drawn and believable, almost too believable.  The thing with this book is that the author had a front row seat to the underbelly of Chicago politics when he was governor of the state of Illinois.  With this distinctive background, there is no one else that could write this story.

I recommend this book to those who like a good mystery, and to those who want a glimpse into the darker side of corrupt politics.  In some of the circumstances, this could be what is going on in the political world today.  Now that’s a scary thought.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Season’s Greetings to you all

Thanking all of you for following me and for reading and commenting on my posts over the past year. You have meant the world to me when there is no one else to talk to at times. I sincerely appreciate you all and all of your help when it comes to writing. Many of you are full of good tips that you share with the rest of us. Those tips are valuable to all of us.

Some of you have instructed us on how to make videos, given us links to exciting new writing sites and news. Thank you.

I have laughed, cried, and been in awe at some of your stories. Sometimes they really make my day. There are so many wonderful writers among you.

A special thank you to Lisa Fender. You’re help is invaluable to me as you’ve taken on the task of reading and helping me with my mystery novel. We’ve been at it a year now, but we’re getting there. Promise. Because of you it will be a better book.

I’m thinking of all of you this holiday season and wishing the best of everything for you and your families as we go forth into the new year of 2014.

However you celebrate, enjoy and stay safe.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Solstice Poem

The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper

“And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.”


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What do you think?

Free Clip art

Lately, we’ve had a couple of news items that I’m sure people would have certain opinions about.  One in the news here is the polygamy ruling and the other is the cell phone on flights debate.  Since I wanted to avoid politics and religion on my blogs, I guess we’ll address the one about using cell phones on airline flights.

There is a debate going on to lift the current ban on using cell phones in-flight.  The FCC ruled to look into this current ban further, citing the fact that technology has changed, the rule is obsolete, and now cell phones don’t interfere with the cockpit instruments as they supposedly did in the past.

There was an article about this on CNN travel a few days ago.  To read the whole article go here.  I think we all know how this will end up although nothing is settled yet, but I have a feeling they will toss everything to the wind and soon we’ll be listening to constant chatter for hours coming from all directions on the plane.  I don’t fly that often, but in my view, there will be no more peace and quiet if this happens.  Technology marches on.  The airlines now allow laptops and tablets on flights after the plane reaches cruising altitude.  That’s okay because typing is still rather peaceful and not disturbing, as it’s a quiet endeavor.  One has to admit that you can accomplish a lot of “work” while you’re just sitting there.

I can’t say the same for cell phones.  Today you can’t go anywhere and not find at least half the people there are on their devices.  This becomes quite annoying and I believe if they change the laws all the remaining solitude of an airline flight becomes a thing of the past.  There will be no place to go to escape the noise.  The crying babies and unruly children are enough to put up with, but can you imagine listening to fifty people or more talking non-stop for three or four hours?  You’d probably learn more about their private lives than you’d ever want to know.

What happened to talking to your neighbor, which might be a very enjoyable experience, or just dragging out a book and having some quiet time?  People today are addicted to their devices.

What do you think?  Are you for or against this?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Things are looking up for indie publishers

I don’t know how many of you saw this interesting article printed in The Guardian.  I’m bringing this to your attention because I know many of you are indie authors, or have a book in the works that you intend to self publish.  Please click here to read the article.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Just a bit of life

No, this won’t be a book or writing related post today.  Instead, I thought I’d share with you some pictures of the snowfall we got today.  Of course, you can imagine that I was beside myself with all this white stuff coming down.  It hasn’t snowed this much in one day since I lived in Alaska in the 1970’s. 

I took a lot of pics around my house from the patio and the front yard, otherwise I was not venturing out to get on the road in this mess.  It was cold and quiet all day.  The snowfall started at 9:30 am with tiny flakes drifting down like bits of fairy dust, but it gradually got to be heavier and bigger flakes.  This action went on all day and at sunset we had about four inches on the ground, perhaps a bit more.  This is supposed to go on through the night and isn’t likely to melt anytime soon with a high predicted for 26 degrees tomorrow and a low of 6 degrees. 

Yes, we are setting some records here for my last winter in this place.  Here are a few of Mother Nature’s pics.

 Video pics by Sunni Morris
Music by Aine Minogue - my album

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Book Review for The Last Whisper in the Dark by Tom Piccirilli

 From Amazon Website

Full of details and quirky characters
5 stars

I had never heard of this author but the title of the book intrigued me.  What I found inside was a page-turner and a great story, whether you like crime fiction or not.  This is one crazy family, but that makes them real.  I like to read about dysfunctional, quirky people and this book has them.  Even though they are professional thieves with their own agendas, they stick together as a family against outsiders.  They tend to put aside their personal beliefs on morality and virtue to stand up for kin.  Who doesn’t think that’s great?

These characters commit crimes because they find it thrilling to do so.  That adrenalin rush is more important than the money, which is hid everywhere in the house.  Another crazy thing here is that all of the family is named after dogs breeds, which is definitely unusual.

In the story, there are many surprises and twists.  The youngest son, Terry, short for Terrier, is trying to distance himself from his past life of crime, but he is pulled in anyway because he’s trying to save a girl from a botched bank robbery, plus deal with a relationship problem of his own, and the rest of the family’s issues.

I enjoyed this book and it makes me want to read the first book about these people.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Book Review of Loyalty by Ingrid Thoft

From Amazon Website

Too Many Characters, but Interesting Story
4 stars

Fina Ludlow, the main character, is a PI in a family of men.  First off, this girl is certainly not a role model for anyone.  She’s a junk-food addict.  How can you survive that way and have a body to-die-for?  The condo she got from her grandmother is a pigsty and she lives there rent-free.  This isn’t realistic in today’s society.

Fina is tough, as you can imagine a PI should be, and like any male counterpart, she drinks and cusses and isn’t afraid to kick-ass if necessary to get the information she wants.  However, this girl usually seeks out men that she’s slept with, or ones she wants to sleep with to get answers to her questions.

She works for her father’s law firm, which also employs her brothers as lawyers.  This story has an excessive amount of characters in it.  The author introduces them in the first part of the book.  It was very hard for me to read the first fifty or sixty pages and keep all these people straight.  After that, the story finally settled down a bit and I was able to follow it better.  I think the author would benefit by having a character list in the front of the book that the reader can refer to when necessary.

Ms. Ludlow constantly complains about her family, her mother in particular, and it’s hard for her to get any answers out of her dad or brothers, for her murder investigation, because she’s female and they don’t want to share any of their secrets with her.

If you can get past all this, this is an interesting story, even of it is a bit predictable.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

NaNo Update

Free Clip Art

All I’m doing at present besides the usual daily routine is writing and cleaning out my sewing room, with a tad of reading on the side.  NaNo is going well considering I don’t get many hours a day to write.  I’ve added 16,000 words the last three days, so I’ve really been on a roll.  My keyboard is smoking hot with me typing fast trying to keep up with the thoughts flying around in my head.

I’m hoping to finish the mystery I’m reading and post a review next time.  I also managed to get hold of a book from last year’s ABNA contest that was a finalist.  I expect it to be a fast read so will be posting that review too, hopefully by the end of the year.

Happy writing everyone

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Busy weeding out and working on NaNo


Hi readers, please excuse my lazy posting.  I’m involved in weeding out stuff to move and writing on my NaNo project when I get an hour here and there.  It’s moving along better than I would expect considering the few hours that I’ve actually spent writing.  I’m currently at 15,380 words, so not too far behind to catch up.  I can bang out about 3.000 words of this rough draft in an evening, if I’m lucky.  I’ll be posting once a week this month because of all the other stuff on my plate right now.  I have to spend every spare minute I have writing on my WIP and not writing up blog posts.  Bear with me.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Keyboard Shortcuts that may be Helpful

Keyboard - clip art

This came across my mail today so thought I’d share.  I didn’t know about all of these.  Most of these are for a Windows operating system.

Ctrl + Shift + T lets you bring back the last webpage you were looking at.  In Google Chrome, you can restore up to ten browser tabs using this method.

Ctrl + Shift + Escape lets you get to the browser manager to terminate any frozen apps.  For Mac use Command + Option + Escape.

Alt + Left/Right Arrow Keys to navigate through browser history forward or back a page.  For Mac use Command + Left/Right Arrow Keys.

Ctrl + L will put your cursor on the location bar without using your mouse.  You can type in an address leaving out the www and .com and hitting Ctrl + Enter will automatically add that part and launch the site.  For Mac its Command + Enter.  This works in Chrome, not sure on other browsers.

Windows + Left/Right will make a page extend to the end of the screen without having to maximize the window to full screen.  This works in Windows 7 and can be useful for pairing two web browser windows next to each other.

For Fast YouTube Viewing hitting any number key will jump the video forward the corresponding percentage.  For example, hitting the 4 will jump the video by 40% regardless of the length.  Hitting the arrow keys will jump forward or backward by 5 seconds.  Also hitting the space bar at any time will pause the video.  This is useful when watching long videos and presentations.

Spacebar / Shift + Spacebar lets you browse the web without using the mouse.  If you’re reading something lengthy, hitting the Spacebar is like the Page Down Key.  Shift + Spacebar will scroll back up one page.  The Shift key is usually a modifier to reverse the action for other shortcuts.

Double tap Command or the FN key to turn on dictation.  This works for Mac only with Mountain Lion installed.  It lets you convert speech to text.  The first time you use it you will be asked if you want to turn dictation on.  For keyboards without a CMD or FN key, you can change the shortcuts keys in the dictation and speech settings found in system preference.  This sounds really cool.

Gmail shortcuts can be turned on if you have Gmail for email and spend lots of time on there.  There are six automatically turned on when you have a Gmail account.  To enable other ones go into Gmail settings.  The Google support page lists all the shortcuts or you can go here for a cheat sheet.

To keep your desktop free of icons to your programs, you can launch an application to bring them up in system search.  Windows and Mac index all your programs.  To launch this, use Command + Spacebar in Mac or just the Windows and typing for windows systems.

Have fun playing with all this stuff.  I’m not sure if it works in all browsers.  You’ll have to experiment.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Two more days to sign up for NaNo

From NaNo Website

That’s right - national novel writing month is upon us again.  For those of you who want to give it a whirl, you have two more days to sign up.  NaNo starts on November 1.  All it takes is a committed attitude and lots of determination.  There is nothing to lose and everything to gain.  So set your goal and work towards it.  You just may get the rough draft of a novel started by the end of November.  Good luck everyone!  Here’s the link:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Book Review of Far Out by Rev Audie Derryberry

From Amazon

The reason I downloaded this book and read it is two-fold.  I follow a blog that listed this book as a free download, so I decided to read it because I enjoy this author’s blog posts.  In addition, this is a new author and this is his first book so he deserves a chance.  It’s a short and easy read.

In my opinion, this book would probably be of most interest to people who like science fiction, space travel, and the study of Christianity.  The book is centered on a family living in the southern California desert.  The father, James, is a retired astronaut, but is very interested in space, our origins and where we’re going.  After his retirement, he builds his own time travel machine in a laboratory he constructs at home.

After everything is ready, he travels back in time and then forward in time to see what will happen to Earth.  According to our main character, James, everything will end more-or-less in 2018, which is 70 years after the last generation born when Israel became a nation in 1948.  The story is based on Bible scripture and the author’s interpretation of that scripture.

This book is well written, but isn’t the type of literature I usually read.  However, if you’re into Bible scriptures and space books you’ll enjoy this.  It would be a fun way to get your Christian message across to younger readers.  The author says he wrote it to provoke thought and offers the scripture the book is based on free of charge through email at the back of the book.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

NANO is around the corner

From NANO website
November is National Novel Writing Month.  If you’re thinking about participating in this for 2013, it’s time to get your act together.

 Last year was the first time I entered the NANO and I surprised myself at how easy it was to write 50,000 words in a month.  It may seem daunting to you now, but if you prepare before Nov 1, which is allowed (plot, character profiles, notes for scenes, etc) you’ll be ready to hit the floor (keyboard) running on November 1.  You need to write about 1666 words a day every day in November to reach the goal, but you’ll find it’s easy to write more than that if you stay focused and don’t get too distracted.  If you’re on a roll, keep going.

 The whole purpose here is to get you writing.  There are no prizes, but you’ll get to post a nice winner’s badge on your website or blog if you win (write 50,000 words).

 It’s worth giving it a try.  Remember the word CAN'T isn’t in your vocabulary.  And we’re only talking about a rough first draft here, not a finished ready-to-be-published book.  Turn your editor off and concentrate on writing only.  You can finish and polish later.

 Stock up on plenty of snacks and easy to cook meals, so you can keep writing.  Turn off distractions and let your imagination go.

 To sign up go here:

 There are links to lots of pep talks, tips, and writers boards.

 Good luck!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Tuning out for a while was great


I’ve been away visiting family for the last couple of weeks.  I can’t express how great it was to be away from TV, radio, and any other news.  Frankly, I didn’t have time for it and I get plenty of that in my normal life at home.  I don’t get to visit family often and the time went by way too fast.


Tom Clancy - Wikipedia
Of course, life went on while I was away.  I came back to find out author Tom Clancy had died.  This was a shock.  He was only sixty-six and made number one on the New York Times bestseller list sixteen times during his writing career.
Part of the government had shut down and they’ve closed the national parks, among other things, which doesn’t surprise me.  There are protests here with people crossing the barricades to go hiking anyway.  The government website has crashed for the stupid Obama care we’re supposed to sign up for, if we have no insurance.  Again, this is no surprise.  I don’t want to get into a political rant here, but the government is so incompetent.  Did any of you know that on page 57 of this healthcare bill, that no one bothered to read before voting into law, states that the government gets control of your bank account when you sign up for Obama care?  That right there is good reason not to comply.
Government people cannot live within their means.  They should learn how, just like the rest of us.  Okay…on to other things.

Gas prices are a lot cheaper in Texas than they are here.  Wow!  I was stunned over that because sometimes it varied by a dollar a gallon.
When I stepped off the shuttle from Vegas, it was freezing cold, well 65 with a stiff north wind blowing.  I should have stayed in Texas where it was about 85.

Tarantula - clipart

On another note, we’ve seen a lot of tarantulas here lately.  This is surprising since we’ve lived here for nine years and have only seen one or two during that entire time.  I found out why in this weird news article, if anyone cares to read that.  Apparently, we have a bunch of lust-filled spiders this year.  Hmmm…
Please see my other blog here for more details and pictures from my trip.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Need FREE Images for your writing?

I know I’m always looking for free clipart or appropriate pics I can use in my posts and various other writing.  When I received an email from Writer’s Relief, I found a link I wanted to share with all of you.  There are thirty sites listed on the Blue Glass blog for royalty free images.  Have fun browsing around.  Maybe you’ll find something useful.

 I’m taking a few days off, so will post again when I can.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Going Crazy with a Project I Shouldn’t have Taken on


I’m talking about the family book I’m writing in collaboration with my little sister.  I’ve been gabbing on the cell a lot lately with three of my sisters trying to tie up loose ends on the book, then re-read and edit it.  I’m sending to my little sister for the second set of eyes I need.  I have no idea how many cell minutes I’ve used this month.

 I finally finished the printing phase and now have to start the binding phase.  I’m using a comb-binding machine for this project, which turned out to be 324 pages.  Yikes!  But there are many B/W photos we’ve managed to round up over the last ten years, as well as some family recipes.

 I mainly wanted to post to let my followers know where I’ve been.  I want this whole thing finished by Monday at the latest.

 Happy writing everyone

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Life goes on and the Days are flying

Public Domain Clipart
I’m behind in posting here, but there is honestly nothing worthy to post about now.  The days are ticking by faster than they should.  We’ve had a lot of rain causing it to be sticky and humid, very unlike the desert.  Everyone’s allergies are running rampant right now, even one of my poor cats that has never had allergies before.

 The writing group we started is going okay and is a nice distraction every two weeks as it’s always good to get together with other writers and discuss the craft of writing.

 I’m working almost daily trying to get the family book finished so that I can take it with me on my trip in two weeks and two days.  There is still much to do and I’m sure I’ll run out of time, as I usually do with everything.  It is like pulling teeth to get anything I need out of my family.  I hope that I’m not the only one who feels this way.  Everyone is too busy doing their thing and not in any hurry about getting me tidbits to finish this book.  I may have to do without their add-ons and get on with it.  There is a time to put your foot down because of time constraints.

 I still have to format this thing, add family pictures and print the thing out.  I intend to bind it myself with a binding machine I have.  I doubt anyone on Amazon would want to read our family history and childhood escapades.  I haven’t really used the binder yet for any big project like this, so I’m hoping that won’t be a major ordeal since I have to make about eight copies to take with me.  This thing is not tiny either.  We’re talking about 150 pages so far.  I guess my siblings must think I have all the time in the world to work on this.

 Other than that, there are just the main housekeeping duties going on in my life and trying to organize everything for this trip.

 The county fair will be going on shortly after I arrive, so my sisters and I are going to that, which should be fun.  I haven’t been since I was in my teens.  I’m sure my family will shuffle me back and forth from house to house, but that’s fine to live out of a suitcase for a while.  It’s all in good fun and something I won’t be able to do again for a long while.  I intend to relish every moment although I’ll probably eat too much, drink too much, and stay up half the night most of the time.

 I’m still undecided as to whether I’ll take the laptop with me or not.  I have trouble with my balance when I fly because of an inner ear problem I have with altitude, so it may be wise to leave it at home and not have to worry about keeping track of it.  I have to sip on OJ or water the entire plane trip anyway, coming and going, so as not to get dizzy.  It’s quite an ordeal, but I won’t let that keep me from going.  On the other hand, I could tell you some tales about past plane trips which were less than ideal.  Because of this situation, I didn’t fly for more than twenty years at one stretch.  I had to resort to the train or bus, which I would probably never do again for any type of long distance travel.

 Despite all this, I’m really looking forward to it because my family and I have such a blast when we get together.  It will be fun going to all the old haunts.  There is only one problem once I arrive and that is one of my brothers, but then there is someone like him in everyone’s family I bet.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

BOOK REVIEW - Homecoming Ranch by Julie London

Cover from Amazon
Enjoyed this more than I thought I would

 I’m not a romance genre reader, but this was a good book and kept me interested.  Madeleine has no idea that she has two other sisters until her father dies in Colorado and leaves the three girls his ranch because he had nothing else left to give them.  Grant Tyler felt like he needed to do something because he was a terrible father.  That right there was enough to intrigue me to want to read this book and see how the girls reacted to each other and what would happen in their lives, which would turn upside down by this event.  I wasn’t disappointed.

 Madeleine never even knew her father and only saw him once while growing up.  He was a sperm-donor for her mother who wasn’t a good role model.  The girl grows up with many issues.

 When Madeleine leaves Florida, where she works in real estate, she is out of her element.  She is having trouble finding the ranch she has never been to.  She stops on the side of the road when she gets a flat tire and is standing there with a map and a highlighter to mark the route when Luke sees her as he’s driving by and pulls over to help.  Luke isn’t happy when he finds out that she now owns the ranch, along with her two new sisters.  Luke used to own the ranch and was looking forward to living on it one day, but while he was in Durango starting his business, his father sold it to Madeleine’s father in order to get money for Leo’s (Luke’s brother) medical treatments.

 Madeleine usually has her life in order, but that changes once she’s in Colorado where her life turns to total chaos.  There is a lot of animosity between Madeleine and her new sisters.  One of them leaves in a huff soon after arriving to go back to California.  The other, Libby, attempts to work out a relationship with Madeleine who really wants no part of it.  She just wants to sell the ranch and get back to her structured life in Florida.

 There are several twists and turns along the way, but that only added to everything that was going on.  Luke and Madeleine fall into a romantic relationship, but the reader doesn’t know where this is going yet because Madeleine doesn’t want to stay in Colorado and Luke does.

 The characters are all believable.  Luke’s brother, Leo, is a very good role model because he’s determined and doesn’t let his handicap get him down, even though his disease is incurable.  This is the first in a trilogy, so I think the future two books will be about the other two sisters and a climax to Madeleine’s relationship with Luke.

 This book was very easy to read and entertaining as well.  I recommend it.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Great Points to Keep in Mind when Doing your Rewrite

Free Clipart
This is what I’m working on right now with my first mystery book, so I’m making an effort to cover all my bases by reading a lot of good hints about “do’s” and “don’ts.  I came across a good blog by an author living in the England, Mike Wells.  Reading this interesting post may help you avoid the pitfalls you can plunge into while revising your book.

 This post is specifically about why books are rejected by agents and set aside by readers, but I think it’s also useful if you’re self publishing your work.  The same thing would still apply because, of course, we don’t want our book set aside by readers.

 A brief summary:

 Story starts too slowly.

Story is not as advertised.

Too many characters introduced too quickly.

No clear-cut point of view.

Story has no distinct main character.

Too much bio/back-story info is presented.

Flashbacks used too often and/or too early.

Opening scenes lack enough tension to pull the reader along.

One or more scenes do not advance the plot.

Reader cannot emotionally connect with the main character.

Too many seemingly unrelated plot threads.

Narrative is description-heavy.

Description is loaded with “purple prose,” particularly the opening paragraphs.

Dialogue is not interactive enough.

Story starts too quickly.

 All of these are such good points to think about and sometimes I wonder why I can pick up traditionally published books and experience one or more things on this list.  I’ve been looking at my WIP to see how many of these things I’m guilty of doing.  Mr. Wells goes into this a lot more in his well-written post that you can find here:
The Green Water blog by Mike Wells

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Writing Quest

It’s amazing to me how I find myself always reading about writing if I’m not writing.  I’m not sure why that is.  You’d think that you’d eventually reach a burnout stage.  However, my quest for knowledge goes on even if I’ve read about the same writing topic numerous times before.  That is one way of getting something through my thick skull, repeat and repeat.  I think maybe that all this reading will eventually make me a better writer.

 I do know my imagination goes wild when I’m working on a story and my characters always seem to take over and take me places that I didn’t have in mind when I got started.  I guess that’s a good thing.  It’s entertaining for me to see what they will be up to next and keeps me writing to find out.  In fact, I find it hard to shut my mind off and that isn’t a good thing because it leads to a lot of sleep deprivation.

 My characters, although fiction, become real people to me as I go on with my story.  I think of them as actual people that I know and it’s almost sad to finish a book and close them away within the pages.  Do any of you form a personal attachment to your characters?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Are real writers delusional and irrationally optimistic?

I think the answer to this is YES.  It helps to have a little insanity.  Why else would we keep writing, always staying positive even when we hit the low spots?  Real writers keep writing and never seem to give up no matter how many times we meet rejection.

 I read an article by someone awhile back and I was thinking ‘boy, does this hit the nail on the head’.  I’m definitely like this, always thinking my current work is better than the last one and THIS ONE IS IT, the one that will sell more copies than any other will.  I’m always eternally optimistic like this.

 Of course, these days, not as many of us send off queries to publishers, or at least I think this is getting to be less common with self-publishing becoming more popular.  We have to face the facts that the chances are slim that any of us will end up with a publishing contract with a big publishing house.  Meanwhile, we’re all getting older as we wait for a response from the bog boys that may take months, and will probably be an adamant no, in which case we start the process all over again.  I can go on and on with dozens of reasons to abandon the query process and self-publish your book.

 Aside from all the previous problems I mentioned, if you self-publish you could keep more of your royalties.  Today, we have to do our own marketing regardless.

 But, even if we choose this route, what keeps us writing even if we know we won’t sell a single book?  Way down deep, I always have that impulse to keep going when all seems bleak and useless.  There is always that spark that says ‘I won’t give up’ and ‘I feel so good about this, it doesn’t really matter if anyone else likes it as much as I do’.  This is the way I am.  There’s no denying that.  I never really get discouraged because it seems to be enough to get my story out there.  I have never planned to make a living writing anyway.  If I ever do, that will just be icing on the cake because I really love what I do.

 When a ‘normal’ person looks at this, I’m sure they think I’m irrational and delusional.  I know my partner does because he tells me I live in a fantasy world several times a day.  I’ve heard this so much that I almost believe it myself, although I know this isn’t true  I have a vivid imagination and a lot of drive to do my best and keep striving toward that goal, which is writing, even if it’s against all odds.

 With so many writers out there, it is almost impossible for anyone to find me on the internet.  It’s a case of constant marketing, which I’m not very good at in any way.  I’d rather be writing my next book, which I know will be the ONE, and better than all the rest so far.  I rewrite and polish, and publish, and then start the process all over again.  Many times, I’m doing this before I have entirely finished the last masterpiece.

 It’s a writer’s life and I like it quite a bit, and hope I live long enough to write at least another dozen books, as I always have stories flooding my mind.

 “The ones who have been published are the ones who don’t quit.”  I’ve seen this quote in several places and I agree with this, whether you’re waiting on the traditional publisher or self-publishing your work.  It all takes endless determination to make it through the process.

 I think I’ll always have this disease called ‘irrational optimism’ because it seems to filter into all areas of my life, not just in my writing world where I spend most of my day  When I’m on a deadline, I always feel I can do it, no problem.  I even tell myself that I’ll get it done somehow, even if I know deep down that I won’t.  Those thoughts keep me going to the end I guess, with anything I do.

 It’s time to get off my unicorn now and join real life for a while.  Until next time, enjoy the journey we’re on and keep writing.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Editing Checklist

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I came across this article on one of the Linked In groups I follow.  This checklist is for all kinds of writing.  I think parts of this would be good to review when blog writing or book writing.  In any case, it’s interesting.  This article is from Pamela Vaughan on HubSpot.  You can read the full article here:


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Fiction Writing Group Update

 My first foray into creating a fiction writer’s group here has gotten underway with the first meeting last Saturday.  After quite a few pitfalls, including the paper printing the wrong address, we did have five people show up so Heather and I were pleased with that for the first time out.

 Everyone is just getting started in the writing field, but that’s okay.  We’ll see where this goes.  We figured we would get a spy from the other group because there is a rumor they want to start up a fiction area as well since that is lacking here.  Time will tell if we’ll make a go of this or not.  It’s still something we want to do, so you have to go for it and hope for the best.

 We haven’t paid for any advertising and have used numerous means to get the word out.  We’re hoping word of mouth will spread around as time goes by.  We have a nice, mixed group so far.

 This has taken up a lot of time, so I’ve yet to write the end of my mystery book.  I’m very close now.

 Happy writing everyone.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Busy Organizing a Fiction Writer’s Group

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I met another writer on Linked In who lives close to me.  We are starting a writer’s group here for fiction writers.  There are already a couple of groups here, but they concentrate on memoirs, poetry and screen writing.  They are very disorganized and get off-track at the meetings.  Because of this, you can’t learn much about writing or anything at all about fiction.  We decided a fiction writer’s group is what we need, so we used our time this last week in getting the word out and getting organized to take this on.

 We are doing everything free so far, all advertising, which consists of a free area in the local paper to post events.  We have also posted notices at the library and other places around town, as well as put an ad on Craigslist.

 We sat down this past week and worked out the agenda for out first meeting this coming Saturday.  She was able to book the community hall in her housing complex.  We have printed up our own handouts for the group.  Everything is looking good so far.  We’ll see how Saturday goes.  We think we’re ready and have managed to get a few phone calls for our efforts, so if those people actually show up we’ll be in business.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Clean Up Bookmarks and Favorites FREE

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As I told everyone before, I am terrible about emailing myself links because I find something interesting that I want to read in more depth later and simply don’t have the time to check into it right away.  I am also terrible about bookmarking things and need to clean out my favorite’s box.  I have my limit of 2500 bookmarks there.  Naturally, many of those are writing and publishing links.  I’m sure I have some duplicates as well as some very old pages that no longer work.

 The reason I’m posting this is because I wanted to share a FREE program for getting rid of broken links and duplicates in your favorites list.  I’m sure I’m not the only compulsive person here that is compelled to save things.

 I am quite a fan of the digital whiz, Kim Komando.  This link came from her site and is trusted and tested by her to be virus and malware free.  If you use McAfee virus protection on your computer, you may see a message that says this software contains a malicious code, but she has checked it and it’s safe.

 This program works with every major browser including Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Opera.  The name of the program is AM-Deadlink.  To download, click the gray button or the mirror.  It downloads quickly and you’ll be able to select your browser from the drop-down menu.  Click the green check mark to detect dead or broken links.

 You can select bookmarks and delete them using the red X button.  There is also a button for detecting duplicates.

 This is nifty and saves a lot of time.  Here is the link:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ways to Fix a Sagging Plot

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We’re talking about the middle of your story when things can lose momentum.  Most of us find the beginning and climax easier to write than the middle, which is subject to becoming the sagging part of your story, perhaps leaving readers as bored as you are with writing it.  The good news is there is a cure.

 If you’re like me, you write by the ‘seat of your pants’ letting things come to you as the story unfolds.  I usually never make an outline until right before I get near the end of my WIP.  This is probably not a good practice as I’ve discovered recently with my first mystery novel.  With mystery there is too much to keep track of.

 I had to go back and make an outline of events so that I account for everything in the end.  I never have to do this with fantasy, which is usually what I write.  Now I’m wondering if it needs more action as well, so I started researching some issues to think about.  Naturally, I want this to be an entertaining read and not boring.  Who doesn’t?

 I found that one of the ways to avoid a sagging middle is to have your protagonist change his original plan and move in a different direction even if it’s against his will, but he has to meet the added challenge in addition to what he set out to do in the beginning.  This is one way to add another dimension to the story and keep the reader reading and away to take care of the sagging middle issue.

 There has to be an increase in tension as the story moves along toward the end.  Unexpected obstacles or making things more complicated will keep the middle from sagging.  It is important to leave the reader with a greater concern as to what will happen next as the story moves along.  Of course, this all makes sense, but sometimes is harder to achieve than it sounds.

 In my research, I came across the idea that cause and effect is something to keep in mind.  When you think about how it all has to link together in the end, this cause and effect makes sense.  We can accomplish this by keeping each event linked to the one before it and to the one after it.

 It’s best to bear in mind the basic elements of a story:

Inciting incident

A complication

A crisis

A resolution

 One of my writer’s reference books tells me to keep the eight basic elements of plot in mind and to ask some questions of my characters.

What does the protagonist hope to achieve?

What will happen if the protagonist fails?

What must happen for the protagonist to win?

During the course of the story, if we want an exciting end, it’s good to show that the consequences are getting closer for the protagonist as the story moves along.

It is important not to let the characters or readers lose sight of the  goal or consequences.  As I to some rewrites on my story, I'm trying o keep all this in mind hoping to come out with an exciting finished product.