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Monday, April 10, 2017

Writing Tips

Our guest post this time around is from Sleuths' Ink President Kathy Garnsey. Some really good advice for getting your words down.
 
 
 
Whether you're ready for it or not, we are in the fourth month of the new year.  How much have you written?

That is the burning question isn't it? As writers we seem to find every excuse in the book from family obligations to killing ants! I personally know about the ants this year. Anyway, we are full of excuses, but excuses never wrote a book! So how do we get our seat in the chair and write? I suppose if I had that answer I would be a genius, but I do have some advice---as told to me and read by me--how else do we learn?

1. Set a time each day, even if it is only a half-hour or an hour, and DO IT. It doesn't do any good if you still don't do it. Tell everyone you know to leave you alone from four to six in the evening and write! Whatever time you decide you must put your rear in the chair and write. It isn't that hard--really.

2. Never get discouraged. If you fall short of your goals, and most of us do, do not get discouraged, simply try harder to get it done. Our families never seem to understand what a writer is, or does, so it is up to us to educate them. Or ignore them, whichever works best.

3. Get over your writer's block.  There is NO SUCH THING! Really, truly, there is no writer's block, simply a plot glitch to which we have not thought enough about. If you ever write for an editor, you can never tell them you have writer's block because they will tell you "real" writers do not get writer's block. Ask any published writer you know and I think they will tell you the same thing.

4. Stop procrastinating! Which actually brings us back to the #1 above. Yes, it is a full circle that we procrastinate around. Actually stop and listen to your own excuses and you will most likely find the same ones over and over again.

So how do you get past the "non writing" phase you may be in? The advice is really simple. You get rid of all the excuses and JUST DO IT! No, that phrase does not belong to just one shoe maker, it belongs to each and every one of us. Set a word goal for the week or the month and make yourself stick to it--no matter what! Get your laptop out while you watch TV and work on your book. Set a goal with a fellow writer and see who gets there first. 
Whatever it takes to write that book and get it done, just do it! 

Happy Writing to everyone!

 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

BEGINNINGS


https://morguefile.com
 

Please enjoy this guest post by Sleuths' member Rosalie Lombardo. She is not only a talented writer, but also a Certified Natural Health Professional and Enzyme Digestive Health Specialist.

Note: This was meant to run in January, but things happen. After all, beginnings aren't just for the first of the year. Spring is also known for fresh starts.

 New Beginnings

                 Each January, in many places throughout the world, people celebrate the beginning of a new year.
            Starting something new is a gift for everyone. Writers, in particular, are used to starting something new. New beginnings are not exclusively designated as an annual occurrence; they happen every month, week, day, hour and minute. They originate when the writer decides to start an endeavor.
            Writers construct innovations the instant they compose a new word, a sentence, a thought, a story. They are a special breed of people who constantly celebrate new beginnings. All beginnings are just new choices. This holds true with any undertaking. The choice to start fresh exists for everyone and it belongs exclusively to the choice maker. No one else owns that power.
            We can choose to cast aside unwanted patterns, to continue or eliminate a habit, to think positively or negatively, but what eludes most of us is the awareness that we are the only creator in our minds.
            Creation starts with one tiny step immediately after saying “I choose.” That moment is when the magic of change occurs. No matter what direction our decision takes us, the creator has to launch the first step.
            Writers like us are accustomed to making choices, taking first steps, and creating. The advantage with new beginnings emerges from our regular exercise of writing. Most writers don’t realize the blessing this process affords them.
            I see a parallel with writing and choice; if a writer can readily start a new thought for a story, he can just as easily apply new thoughts toward creating something different in his life (a new page, a new habit, a new path.)
            I believe the familiarity writers have with new beginnings can be transferred to choices made in everyday life. I choose. It is my decision. What does my spirit want to do today? The common theme is me, myself, and I.
            Once you take the first step, the results can be all you’ve ever imagined. Re-creating yourself might seem like a big order, but you start with that one first step.
            Every day we create our world through the choices we make the instant we open our eyes. What kind of world will you create when you open your eyes this New Year? As for me, I choose to create happiness and to expand that happiness by wishing you all Many Happy New Beginnings. Until next year.

Rosalie

 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Member Guest Post - Tierney James

We are pleased to highlight one of our members Tierney James, who has a new release out this week - Dark Side of Morning. Here is a little bit about her and a blurb from her book.

Destination Writing
It’s no secret. I love to travel. Maybe being a geo-teacher for National Geographic or loving cultures mixed with a healthy dose of science influenced the way I write stories. Because I have been blessed with the ability to see the world, I learned early on I needed to keep a journal in case I wanted to use the information down the road. The road that led to my current novel, Dark Side of Morning, was conceived about twenty years ago.

One of my favorite places is the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois. My fascination with all things Native American led me there many times because of their remarkable collections. It was there I discovered display cases with traditional dressed Native Americans. One was a Pawnee near the outside of the blessed Pawnee earth lodge. I sat there and wondered if he could see me. Thus Dark Side of Morning took shape in my head. Every time I visited I took notes of the way the museum looked, smelled, sounded, etc. A year ago I decided it was time to write what was stomping around in my head. Research still needed to be done to bring a sense of realism to my words. But with time, energy and a great deal of coffee my characters formed.

I have many notebooks, packed full of experiences. Some are from going within an hour’s drive of my home and others are from across the world. The thing that is common with the information I collect involves more than an itinerary of events. I include the food I ate and how it tasted, smelled and how it affected me. I use my five senses to collect the world around me. One of the things I love to do is watch the news programming, especially in other countries. All those collections will make your story sound authentic and keep your reader engaged. Try a snippet of my latest book.

Dark Side of Morning

Dr. Cleopatra Sommers never came to terms with her father’s disappearance at the Museum of Natural History in Chicago. He had been a Native American scholar that explored avenues of unexplained spiritual paths in their cultures.  The museum had been her home and playground growing up where her father spent long hours working. She was always drawn to one display case holding a mannequin of a Pawnee Indian. There was no way she could know he watched her all those years until the night he crossed over to find her.

Detective Jacque Marquette suspected the beautiful doctor of stealing priceless artifacts from a Native American exhibit. He realized after meeting his identical twin from another time and place, Dr. Sommers might not be as crazy as he initially thought. The layers of concern for his city begin to stack up as he is caught between culture and the Pentagon. Only with the help of a Pawnee warrior from two hundred years ago, can save his city from a deadly disease brought in from a parallel universe.

Wind Dancer had loved the little girl who grew up before him for years. When he decided to cross over to prevent his enemy from finding Dr. Sommers, the bombardment of changes forced him to rely on the ways of the past to survive. Navigating the future proves to be complicated as he teams up with a grumpy detective to hunt down a common enemy. No one expected the price to be sacrificing Dr. Sommers to the Morning Star in order to avert disaster.

 You can find me at the following places:



Twitter: @TierneyJames1

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Writing Resolutions

https://morguefile.com
    

Do you make New Year's Resolutions? If you make them, do you keep them? Besides the usual promises to lose weight, be a better person, or follow a budget, why don't you make a resolution to pay attention to your writing life.

Perhaps you need to finish your first novel. Or finish that series you've been working on. Perhaps you have twenty novels but your sales are dwindling. Here are some ideas to help you make this year more creative.
  • Write it down. Put pen to paper and describe your goals for the year.
  • Make it simple. Complicated goals almost guarantee failure.
  • Be specific. Do you want to write every day? Is that possible? Be truthful with yourself.
  • Place your goal somewhere you will see it. On the wall by your writing desk is a great location.
Here's to a new year and a rejuvenated writing life.



 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

GUEST POST - How to Write Villians


 
 
 
 
The Villain’s POV

By

Kathleen Garnsey

 
Writing the villain’s point of view is one of my favorite things to do. Call it my alter ego, my hidden bad-girl, or the part of me that will never, ever be, but I love to write it. Call me weird, sick, or whatever you like, but it is fun! Why? Because I will never be that person, and I want to create the worst of the worst on the planet, or in my case other planets! My bad guys are bad---through and through bad. I have been told they should have at least one redeeming quality, but I do not agree. I like them bad to the bone, un-redeemable, the character everyone wants to hate. So, how do you do that? I will tell you.

First, you can only be in the villain’s pov when your main characters are not! That is an important point. If you have a hero/heroine in the scene, it belongs to them. The kind of scenes I’m talking about belong only to the bad guy, or killer. Now their pov will be twisted and demented since normal, good people do not murder or torture. The villain’s world (pov) is where he/she plans the murder and shows the reader how evil, and or sick they really are. Their thoughts show their true character and motivation and you will be amazed what you can do while in their head (pov).

The scene with the murder’s pov will not be as long as your other scenes, and should not be since the real story belongs to your protagonists. There have been times my villain could take the entire story over, since I have so much fun writing them, but I have to limit myself. Too much of an evil thing is too much! Now you may not have quite the demented bad guy I like to write, but the reader needs to understand what drives that character to do the things they do. We have all asked ourselves, how could he do such a thing? Well, this is your chance to show the reader why.

How does your murderer/villain treat other people in public? In private? What do they say differently when they are alone? Are they always alone? Do they have friends they use, who do not know who they really are? Does this character have friends in common with the victim(s)? These are some of the questions you can show the reader while in this pov. Use it sparingly, and use it well. Depending on the length of your book, not more than three to four short scenes. It is a great tool to enhance the mystery of your book. Now, you may say that letting the reader know what is going to happen and when will spoil the story—Alfred Hitchcock would beg to differ. His philosophy was that anticipation builds suspense to a higher level. Knowing that the killer waits in the closet at the top of the stairs makes every step your victim takes riveting.

Think about some of the movies you have seen. Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, or Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. Those two characters will scare you to the bone and beyond! But they are great examples of the real psychotic that can make your story, or take it over. I say that because you remember the bad guy more than who chased them through the entire movie, but that was the point in those movies. You do not want your character to be quite that bad, but you get my point regarding characterization.

Have fun with your characters—yes, even the evil, psychotic, twisted killer. This character is the entire reason for your story—let him/her shine in their own wickedness. Without the demented murderer there would not be a story—your hero/heroine would have nothing to do and no one would die!

Kathleen Garnsey

Born in Michigan, raised and married in California, Kathleen is now a twenty-nine year resident of Missouri. She currently lives in Ozark and stays busy with her husband of forty-nine years, her son, daughter-in-law, and three fantastic grandchildren.

Writing is Kathleen's passion, which she became serious about in 1987 when she joined Ozarks Romance Authors. Always a fan of sci-fi and romance, she loves combining the two elements into stories of passion and adventure in another time and place. She has written five futuristic romances which are available, or soon to be available on Amazon. Look for her past titles: Warrior's Link, Hawk's Redemption, Falcon's Quest and Secret of the Kiah. She just completed The Alluring Traveler which will soon be released
 

Friday, October 7, 2016

MARKETING FOR WRITERS



Our very own Cait London has graciously agreed to share some of her writing wisdom on our blog. Read, learn and enjoy.
November 2016 The Bride’s Basket (book 3)

The Business of Writing
When you’re a career writer, craft, time management and consistency count. But the business of writing may play a higher percentage of effort and time in your career.
While traditional publishers sell many of my books, I’ve written my newest series as an “Indie”. This means, I am responsible for not only the bookkeeping, but the marketing and promotion to make those books successful. I calculate loosely that three-quarters of author’s time is dedicated to the business end of writing. UNLESS that writer has a dedicated team working for him, including a web designer, a virtual assistant, an editor, a marketer, etc.
I’ve just attended a writers conference dedicated to marketing and promotion. Five days and nights of multiple workshops running every hour. With a new book coming out in November, the third in a series, The Bride’s Basket, I am now deep into testing what I’ve learned at Novelist Inc. a group for professionals.
In networking with other professionals, I learned that it is best to focus on:
·         Subscribers for an e-newsletter. (I’m using Madmimi.com because of ease.) It is best to use a mail system such as MailChimp or Madmimi. This so the spam machines won’t kill newsletters. These require the sender’s email address from a website.
·         Using contests by professionals to add to that subscriber list. Currently, RyanZee.com multi-author ads and whatever giveaways, contests. Landing Pages are essential.
·         From that subscriber list, I asked for beta readers and am so far thrilled with the results. Beta readers can be used to help with reviews, etc. They can help with ideas, circulating your information, etc. (If you wish to beta read for me, please email cait at caitlondon.com?)
·         To send to beta readers and contest winners, I’m using Bookfunnel.com, one of the best writer-helpful inventions ever.
·         To prepare files for Bookfunnel, I’m using Vellum.pub (only for Mac). Vellum is miracle formatting software which takes a Word file and spins it into different files suitable for Kindle, Kobo, Nook, etc. and epub. It produces beautiful graphics with your choice of book styles. You upload that file to the specific retailers. In Spring 2017, Vellum plans to add the paperbook create element. I’ve used a lot of software, including formatting CSS and hand formatting for CreateSpace, so Vellum is a miracle to me.
·         Vellum also produces an epub format, suitable for SmashWords and when exported can be used as a PDF that is also used by Bookfunnel. Yes, some people don’t use e-readers and prefer PDFs.
·         With these files available at Bookfunnel, files such as ARCs, contest winners, etc. can be sent directly to the recipients.
·         Facebook Ads. I’m gearing up to learn these, but every heavy self-promoter I queried recommended these ads.
·         A proper website. For ease, I’ve used my blog during a family stressful time, but am preparing a proper website at BlueHost.com (I recommend this webhost.) This will be my second proper website with BlueHost.com, but this time, I am building it in WordPress. Mooberry for grids is an excellent plug-in.
·         I regularly use Adobe Elements for graphics, banners, etc. but plan to use more Canva.com Did you know that visuals are 94% more likely to get a reaction than text? And 40 times more likely to be shared?
The above represents only a small portion of the work some writers do—if they do not have teams providing for them. There are more that can be added to the list, including JoAnna Penn’s podcasts at TheCreativePenn.com. Mel Jolly at AuthorRx.com also provides great informational enewsletters for organization tips. (She’s a Virtual Assistant helping others.)
I hope that shares a glimpse of what an author is expected to do business-wise. There are different approaches: Many travel and speak at conferences and booksignings. Many stay online, etc. But writing for publication and sales is a business.
BIO:
 USA Today Best Seller/NY Times Author Cait London's book list includes romantic suspense, paranormal, contemporary, humor, *western historical, and women's fiction. Always busy, she travels and loves any distraction. Her small town NorthWest upbringing is relived in her stories, also her life experiences as the mother of 3 daughters and as an artist. She's learned her family's German; she's forgotten it and French, but may attempt Norwegian. Her awards include: Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award, RT W.I.S.H.(s), RT Career Achievement, Laurel Wreath Award, RIO, Overall Sales Performance, Best Paranormal, Booksellers Best, WRWA Reader's Award, Dorothy Parker Award for Excellence and various nominations.

>>NOTE: *This author thoroughly researches her books, driving the Oregon Trail, the NW gold trails and the sites of her stories.

 For More:

**Visit her website: www.caitlondon.com


**Sign up for her newsletter: http://mad.ly/signups/199386/join

**Facebook: www.Facebook.com/CaitLondonBooks

**Twitter: www.Twitter.com/CaitLondon


 

 
 
 

 

 

 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

BOOK SIGNINGS





In today's digital age, are book signings still relevant? Let's face it, many people have completely given up paper books for the more convenient electronic readers or smart phones. It's so easy to download a book. Just a few seconds and you have a new story to read.

Here are some reasons book signings are still important for authors and readers.

  • Believe it or not, there are many people who will not give up their hard copy books. Their reasons vary. I've heard everything from the feel of a book in their hands, the smell of the ink, or the connection they have to just turning a real page.
  • Authors need to connect with readers and vice-versa. Writing is a lonely occupation and it's nice to get out there and talk to people. And readers often are in awe when they get the chance to meet one of their favorite authors.
  • It's a good way for authors to get a feel for what people are reading at the moment. And, it's an ever changing landscape. Perhaps you write mysteries. Are people interested in true crime, cozy's, or a little supernatural action? Just seeing what people are actually buying will give you a good idea.
  • For readers, it's a great way to find a new author and/or new genre to get captivated by.

This fall would be a great time to attend some book signings whether you set up to sell and sign or you go to just browse and buy. Check with your local book stores for any upcoming events. Here is a link to one where several Sleuths' authors will be selling, signing, and giving out some swag.

https://www.facebook.com/Half-Price-Books-of-the-Ozarks-109845385983/