Book Reviews and Writing Tips

Book Reviews and Writing Tips

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.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Humor Novella Just Released

Author Heather Whipp
My friend, Heather Whipp, has a new novella just published.  I’m posting a description of my her book here for any of you who want to check it out.  This is a short read of approximately 12,870 words.

What Next by Heather Whipp

Born and raised by an unashamed flirt of a mother, who, as a flamboyant pole dancer and attracts men like bees to a honey pot, a young girl finds a satisfying way to occupy her day.  She records the zany and earthy lifestyle found in an isolated, country community, which time and progress appear to have left behind.

As Bonnie grows older, she begins to query the number of strange and fascinating people in her world.  Her na├»ve comments and her misinterpretations of saucy events ensures mischief and mayhem are left in her wake.

Bonnie believes she has inherited her inquisitiveness from her sharp-eyed Grandma Molly, who is the matriarch of gossip peddlers in the community.

As would be natural with someone young and uninitiated into worldly matters, Bonnie Long receives many inappropriate responses when she asks the wrong people the wrong questions at the wrong time – like one as simple as, “What are you doing?”

Adult-content rating: This book contains content considered unsuitable for young readers 17 and under, and which may be offensive to some readers of all ages

You may purchase this story, or download a short sample on the provided link.

While there, check out Heather’s romance/adventure novels.  And please leave a review for her if you read any of the books.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Question: What is your opinion on using a pseudonym when writing in a different genre?

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I posted this question to a couple of the groups here on Linked In, but I would be curious to know what you guys think.

 I usually write fantasy fiction novels and have three on Amazon.  I decided to try something new, so I’m writing my first mystery novel, which I’m almost finished with.  I'm thinking about using a pseudonym for this book.  I'd like to have some input from anyone who wants to comment.  Are there any pros and cons to doing this or should an author stay with their brand?  I would love to hear your comments on his subject.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Another Useful Writing Blog

Pic courtesy of Google Images
I recently discovered Chris Andrews’ blog, thanks to a guest post by Vashti Quiroz Vega on 11 July 2013.  He has some excellent advice about novel writing posted.  I thought this might be worth mentioning since I have posted many good writing information links lately.

 Everyone should check out his outline here about novel structure:

While you’re on his site, read all the other hints he gives about writing  Like the past couple of posts, this will give you a lot to read and think about when it comes to novel writing.

 Thank you Vashti for discovering this fantasy author’s site, as it is hard to find everybody on the internet that has useful things to say.  To read the guest post, go here:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Writer’s Resources

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The following website has eye opening information for writers regardless of genre.  Don’t be fooled just because it is sponsored by Science Fiction Writers of America.

 You’ll find info here on copyrights, agents, self-publishing, vanity presses, anthologies, services for writers and contests.  This site is a resource for literary scams.  It’s a good idea to read the info here and bookmark this sit for future reference.  It may save you money and lots of frustration before diving into something that sounds great.  I think all writers should surf around this site.  You can learn much before jumping into unknown territory.  There is so much to read on this site, it’ll keep you busy for weeks.

 Another good one to check is Preditors and Editors here:

Preditors& Editors

Again, there are lots of categories for writers to explore from contest to software to publishers and everything else writing related.  There is also a warnings section here for writers where you’ll find general rules for spotting scams in the literary world.  At the bottom, on the warnings page, is also a section for URL’s with broken links, sites that contain viruses, or link you to pornography.

 It is worth looking up publishers on this site to find out if they are a place that you want to do business with before you make any decisions about your book.

 This one will also take you a couple of weeks to go through, if you read all it has to offer.  Be sure to bookmark for future reference.

 Happy writing everyone.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Almost everything you wanted to know about E-Book Publishing

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It’s been a while since I wrote a post on book publishing.  I know many of you are interested in this.  I follow Lorraine Reguly’s Life blog here:
 , which is where I found this link with wonderful information on e-book publishing.

There are so many links on this blog that it will keep you busy for days reading all of this info that covers getting started, sales, marketing, and promotion, as well as creating and formatting e-books.  There are links for tools you can utilize in your project and a list of e-book sellers, distributors and service.

Jane Friedman has even included a list of authors who blog about e-book publishing.  At the bottom, you will find links to get the current news and trends in e-book publishing.  I think this gal has covered it all, updating this information as she gets it.  News always changes fast in the publishing world.

 I encourage all of you to check this out.  Jane Freidman is web editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review and the former publisher of Writer’s Digest.  You will find her full credentials on her blog, which includes free advice for writers.

 I have written this post because I probably have different followers that haven’t run across this information yet.  It may be helpful to some of you who are thinking of going this route for your books.

If you'd write to read my previous post from 6-27-2012, you can find it here:

 There is a list of publishers for you to research there.

Happy writing

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What's in Store for Barnes and Noble?

I read an article recently about the losses they are suffering in today’s marketplace.  The bookseller is looking at a grim future.  Total revenue has fallen 10 % when comparing to last years sales figures, which they attribute to store closings and declining Nook sales.

 The company has decided to abandon the color Nook idea, keeping only the black and white version and farming that out for production.  Despite high hopes for the readers, they haven’t been able to keep up with Amazon and the Kindle reader in sales.

 Barnes and Noble will keep the paper book division, despite the thought by some that they are going the way of Borders, believing the biggest majority of future sales are in ebooks.

 Who is to say?  As a reader, I’d rather read a regular old-fashioned book, but I know with space requirements the ebooks are becoming increasingly popular.  One thing good about a paper book, besides the smell of good old paper and sitting back in your easy chair, is that a regular book won’t break if you drop it and it never needs to be charged.  This is a big plus in my mind.

 If they close the B and N here, it would be a terrible thing because we only have a couple of ‘mom and pop’ tiny bookstores that are still in business, but they have no selection, nor will they order anything if they don’t have it.  I guess time will tell what happens here and if Barnes and Noble will have a future.

 If you’d like to read this entire article, here is the link: