Showing posts from January, 2013

When You Don't Know What to Write

You might hear a lot of writers comment about how they have more ideas than they have time to write.  Maybe you're among them--but what if you're not?  Then what do you do? Well, inspiration is all around us.  It's up to us to take advantage of it.  There are times when we may find it hard to write because of stress or other life situations that crowd out our creative voice. Where can we find inspiration?   Here are 4 ways: 1) Writing prompts.  They are all over the Internet.  Just search for them. 2) Read local news.  As they say life is stranger than fiction.  You might find something really unique to work with and build on. 3) Start small.  Maybe a novel is overwhelming and stifling  your creativity.  Open it up by writing flash fiction.  Search Google Images for whatever subject you have in mind.  When you find a picture that speaks to you copy it and write a little passage on it.  Here are some examples of what I've done. 4) Live. 

The Importance of a Professional Author Photo

Maybe you’ve come across author’s pictures that have you responding with, ‘really?’  I know I’ve found them.  You know the ones, the author isn’t smiling, the author is in their house near a Christmas tree, the author isn’t looking at the camera, the author is drinking a glass of wine, and the one that really inspired me on the importance of this post--one where the picture was taken in the author’s washroom!  I kid you not.  In the background was the sink and the towel bar.  Seriously? How can authors be viewed as professional when they don’t present themselves that way?  The simple answer: they can’t be.  The author photo is the only representation of your physicality you have to show your readers.  Your author photo is your brand and has a bearing on how readers view you. Think about it this way, if there wasn’t an author photo, one is left wondering who the person is behind the words.  Personally, I like seeing what an author looks like.  In some way, it connects

#SampleSunday An Inside Look at Eleven, an FBI Novel

Detailed book overview: Eleven Rooms. Ten Bodies. One Empty Grave. Nothing in the twenty weeks at Quantico prepared Brandon Fisher for this.   His first case as an FBI agent with the BAU takes him and his team to the small rural town of Kentucky where there’s been a startling discovery. Buried beneath a house is an elaborate underground bunker with eleven rooms and ten bodies.  Stranger still is the one empty grave that taunts for an eleventh victim. With the remains dating back a couple decades and  the most recent being within the last few years, they know there is more than one killer at work.  The property owner was already serving a prison sentence on a fluke charge of slaughtering cows.  Now their main concern is the killer who roams free, making it necessary to negotiate with one killer to catch another.  Yet when the course of the investigation touches close to home, threatening the lives of those he loves, Brandon fears he's become the target of a

Author or Marketing Director?

Isn’t it true as soon as that first book goes out, as authors we’re immersed in a new world? Not only are we excited that our work is out there for people to read, but we quickly realize it takes time and effort for it to be noticed. I know when I first published I had no idea what was entailed. All those hours I used to spend writing and plotting had been encroached upon by other necessities. After all, I didn’t spend all the years polishing my manuscript not to have people read it. Yes, I had an idea of what I was getting into, and it had actually factored into my choosing the self-published route. I realize it’s harder for first time authors to get the large publishing contracts, and there is very little, if any, money spent on their promotion. In my eyes, and from my research, it seemed I would be left to do all the promotional labor on the side anyhow. So I reasoned, why I would give them a cut of my earnings? I mean if I was doing all the work, I should reap all the

Happiness -- Elusive or Attainable?

I’m going to start this post with another question:  What makes YOU happy? Quite a deep question isn’t it?  I believe for a lot of us rush through our lives from one responsibility to the next with little thought as to what truly makes us happy.  Usually it’s not until we face a stress-related health problem or some other “ah ha” moment that we realize a need to reassess our lives. This can happen to authors all too easily.  We have responsibilities that fall outside our writing, editing, and social networking.  We have domestic needs to care for, most of us have a day job we go to, and for some that’s just the start of it.  Maybe we’re parents and have to care for young ones, or tend to elderly parents?  No matter what your life situation, I believe it’s safe to say you have a lot going on. But when you think on that question, what makes YOU happy, what first comes to mind?  I found in this process that possessions, or the acquisition thereof, were not at the top o

First Person POV Can Save Your Writing

All of us -- both as authors and as readers -- want characters we can relate to and connect with. Nothing can kill a plot much faster than cardboard shadows roaming the pages. I’m sure we’ve all been victim to this plague at one point or another, whether the infection has been injected by us as the author, or we’ve tried to read a book that has them. The question as an author is, how can we avoid flat characters and get ones our readers feel they can pinch? When we start out writing, we all have areas we can improve on. In fact, even once we may have “mastered” one technique or area, we’ll find there are still ways to sharpen it further. That’s why I always say that writing isn’t a destination but a journey -- a metaphor that holds true in so many ways. So if we are to improve our craft, the old adage,  practice makes perfect , is always in play. When I started out writing, I didn’t even know where it was headed. My goal was simply to write a full-length novel. I didn

The Business Side of Writing

You’ve published your first book?  Congratulations.  You’re probably caught up in a whirl of excitement.  After all you’ve accomplished what so many could never dream of doing.  Not only did you write a full-length novel, you’ve exposed yourself by putting your work out there.  You may dream of making good money off it, or you may have been cautioned not to expect a lot and it will take time for you to build up a readership. But through all this, you still have a lot of work to do.  In some ways when you hit the publish button, your career has just begun.  Sadly with many authors they feel readers should come to them.  Well, good luck.  They feel that now their book is out there, it’s done. It’s up to you as the author to find and hook the readers, or that’s all your book will be--“out there”, the electronic file just sitting around in Amazon’s server ready to be downloaded. So how can you go about getting your book noticed?  I’ll give you one tip that will set your

New Year’s Resolution, or Illusion

Every year we hear it said; maybe we’re the one who says it: “This year I’m going to...” This lead-in is usually followed by a list of things we want to change about ourselves in the coming year, or what we want to accomplish.  All too commonly the above-noted words are followed by “lose weight”, “quit smoking”, “quit drinking”, and “get out of debt” among others.  Yet despite these grand plans, 75% of these resolutions end up resulting in failure. That’s why this year, I’m not going to adopt a resolution per say, but I’m most certainly not heading out into the year without any plans or goals either.  I would rather subscribe to a new way of thinking, a method that addresses the main areas in my life.  Maybe you’ll find my new outlook fits you too.  Go ahead, embrace it.  I think we all should. Here’s my new way of thinking:  “ This year I’m going to make each day of my life count by tapping into my full potential physically, mentally, and spiritually.” Hope you have