Friday, September 30, 2016

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 142

It's been cool and rather rainy around here over the past week, and all I can say is, "Woohoo!"

Maybe some of you detest the rain, but I love it.  And combined with the cool weather, it feels like fall is here, my favorite time of the year.   Fall charges up my writing batteries like nothing else, so I'm looking forward to this weekend.  Give me this kind of weather, a howling wind, a deserted castle to write in and I'd be in seventh heaven.

Oh, and I'd probably need spare batteries for the laptop, too.

Have a great fall-ish kind of  weekend and enjoy the links!


How to Make the Most of Goodreads Giveaways

"Going Wide" Part 2 - Gaining Traction on Kobo

Tips for Making Yourself More Promote-able

Bloggers: 10 Sites With Public Domain, High Resolution, Images
I keep telling myself that I need to add pictures to my posts. Maybe this is just the push I need.

Become a Story Genius: How Your Character’s Misbelief Drives The Plot

10 Things Authors Need to Stop Doing on Social Media Immediately


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Time Needed Between Revisions

I’m not a happy camper writer these days.

Ten months ago, I had a nice little writing routine. I had (and still have) two critique groups, both of which met once a month. Back then, the people in Group A were my first alpha readers, often reading my chapters shortly after I wrote them. Group A provided me with valuable insights as to what was working and what wasn’t, and after collecting their comments and suggestions, I’d set the chapter aside to simmer and move on to the next one.

Group B is my next wave of readers. They don’t see a chapter until after I’ve made the revisions from Group A. Since Group B is farther behind in the story, it was usually several months before I needed to make these revisions. This meant I approached the chapter with fresh eyes when the time came to ready it for Group B. And as most of you know, spending time away from your words before revising them is a good thing.

Unfortunately, “months” have now turned to “days.” For a whole slew of reasons (missed crit group meetings, failure to submit chapters when they weren’t ready, differences between submission lengths), Group B has now caught up with Group A. This month, I submitted my latest chapter to Group A on the 8th, received the crits back on the 15th, then rushed to incorporate these changes (some of them significant in scope) before submitting the chapter to Group B less than ten days later. 

Ten days may seem like a long time for some of you fast writers out there, but to me it’s like speed writing—on steroids! Not to mention the fact that I was already so tired of staring at that damn chapter by the time I’d turned it in to Group A, it was a real slog to reopen it in order to do the revisions for Group B.

So what am I going to do next month? I’m going to have Group B critique some other stuff (earlier chapters, other stories) until Group A builds up a good lead on them again. It’s the only way I can climb out of this mess.

Who knows? Maybe this is the incentive I need to write a short story for the IWSG anthology.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 141

Sigh....  Another week come and gone.  

Progress on my current chapter has been slow.  I already know what happens during the scene, but deciding when everything happens is causing me all sorts of problems.  I know I'll eventually get it all sorted out, but right now it's darned frustrating.

What I need is a large block of uninterrupted time to untangle this mess, and this weekend may be just the ticket. Wish me luck.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links!



Indie Choices: To Pen Name or Not to Pen Name

Perks and Pitfalls of Twitter Pitches

Creating a Three Dimensional Character

What Makes Fantasy Epic?

Book Readers Live Longer

The Secret to Writing Dynamic Characters: It’s Always Their Fault

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Fantasy - Then and Now: A Guest Post by Tara Tyler

Split Infinity (Apprentice Adept Book 1) by [Anthony, Piers]
Today, you're in for a special treat.  Instead of listening to me whine about being a slow writer, you get to hear from Tara Tyler, who's about to launch the second book in her Broken Branch Falls series.

Take it away, Tara!

Thanks so much for having me, Ken. Love the name of your blog (Hogwarts Sabbatical)! And thanks to everyone for stopping by.

I've been reading fantasy books forever! When I was a "young adult," Piers Anthony was my favorite author and SPLIT INFINITY with a black unicorn crossing swords with a guy on the cover was the first book that sparked my love for reading. One of the crowning moments in my career (so far) was to be included in an anthology with my first favorite author!! (in CHRONOLOGY) But fantasy has come a long way since then...


I'm pretty thrilled with some of the fantasy movies of late - especially the HOBBIT series, another favorite from my youth. One of the few books I was forced to read that I actually enjoyed (along with Jane Eyre, but that's another story) Back then, the majority of traditional fantasy books took you away to a completely new world, with legendary creatures and usually a few humans. Epic Fantasy was incredible when done right, besides Tolkien, there's Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, Donaldson's Thomas Covenant series, Terry Brooks, and Anne McCaffrey just to name a few more of my faves.

The 13th Floor Complete Collection by [Rains, Christine]Then came the newer fantasy trends. These new books cross genres and bring magic and fantastical creatures into our realistic, modern world. Sure, vampires and werewolves and ghosts have been around for a long time, but today's authors have taken these paranormal creatures a step further by hiding them out in the open among regular humans, like the Twilight series and of course, Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. Have you heard about the new movie coming out soon, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children based on the book by Ransom Riggs? Looks pretty incredible! Reminds me of X-men and their school for mutants, but isn't that sci fi? Or super hero? Things keep getting mixed up! Other new fantasy raves - the mysterious, magical Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and Christine Rains' thrilling paranormal 13th Floor series.

Effigy (The Coileáin Chronicles Book 1) by [Fifield, M.J.]Genre lines are crossing more and more all the time. Writers are mashing up traditional themes coming up with new and exciting story lines. Even with historical - Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies... ugh! But they did it and some folks thought it was pretty good. We're opening our minds and broadening our scopes. No more limitations on imagination! My own series stars teen beasts in high school who don't believe in humans!

But don't worry, there are still traditional epic fantasy series. Game of Thrones is one of my newer faves. And I'm patiently waiting for MJ Fifield to get the second book in her series done because I so thoroughly enjoyed the tortured queen and her determination in the first! Effigy (The Coileáin Chronicles)

So whether you prefer traditional or new age fantasy, there's something for everyone's tastes and always new options to try!

What was your first favorite book?
What changes have you noticed in Fantasy?
Do you prefer traditional or new age?

    by Tara Tyler
    Publication Date: December 1, 2016

    Welcome to the forest.
    Gabe and his girlfriend Ona are headed in opposite directions for Spring Break. After finding out humans might be a real part of their history, Ona is determined to dig up evidence of them in the mysterious mountains at Camp Cradle Rock. Being a logical goblin, Gabe tries to talk her out of it, but there's just no reasoning with a stubborn ogress.

    When Ona goes missing, Gabe and his friends fly to Cradle Rock to search for her and discover a village of trouble, igniting an age old war. His physical skills may be lacking, but Gabe won't give up. With the help of his diverse group of friends, he will find a way to save his girl and maybe all beastkind. Humans, bah!

    Add to your Reading List on Goodreads!


    Tara Tyler has had a hand in everything from waitressing to rocket engineering. After moving all over, she now writes and teaches math in Ohio with her three active boys and Coach Husband. Currently she has two series, Pop Travel (techno-thriller detective capers) and Broken Branch Falls (fantasy adventures). To squeeze in writing, she economizes her time aka the Lazy Housewife. Make every day an adventure!

    Talk to me!
    Author Blog ~~ @taratylertalks ~~ Facebook ~~ Housewives Blog

    Friday, September 16, 2016

    Seven Writing Links -- Volume 140

    Yesterday was not a good day for me.

    For no apparent reason, my Achilles tendon suddenly started hurting and I hobbled around all day. Then I read the first chapter of a book written by an author friend of mine and found myself wishing I could write as well and as quickly as they seem to be able to do. Then I reread the chapter I'll be submitting to my crit group on Monday and was stunned and depressed by how much more work it needs. I went to bed early last night.

    Today is totally different. It's Friday, my ankle barely hurts, and I'm all ready to jump back into my manuscript and do whatever it takes to make it shine. It's amazing what a little time and sleep can do for you.

    Have a great weekend and enjoy the links!


    Short Stories And Their Structure
    Now that the theme for the IWSG anthology has been announced, perhaps it's the perfect time for this article.

    Selling Books on Social Media: 4 Steps to Less Wasted Time

    The Only 5 Ingredients You Need for Story Subtext

    Want to Make Revisions Easier? Create an Editorial Map

    Does FB Sell Books & Do Writers Need a Facebook Fan Page?

    3 Ways To Use The Setting To Steer Your Story’s Plot

    Query Letters Part 2: The Extras

    Tuesday, September 13, 2016

    Fantasy and the Sense of Wonder, Plus the Cover Reveal for Timeless

    Several years ago, I attended a writer’s workshop hosted by David Farland, a well-known author in the fantasy genre, and one of the topics he discussed was what readers looked for in different genres. Readers of thrillers, for example, wish to feel the rush of adrenaline, romance readers want to feel deep emotions, and readers of fantasy, the kind of stories I write, want to feel a sense of wonder.

    It’s no wonder then, that fantasy (and science fiction) writers often create full blown worlds within their stories, with advanced magic systems, diverse religious societies, and sometimes entire alien ecosystems. They strive to give the reader a sense of wonder that will carry them all the way through the book. Which is why I spent this past week looking for ways to incorporate more wonder into the current chapter of my WIP.

    One of the reasons I enjoyed the Harry Potter series so much was because Rowling never let you forget you were in her wizardring world. Not a page would go by without her adding some little detail to ground you in the setting. Contrast this with some fantasy stories where entire chapters go by without any sense that it’s occurring in another place and/or time.

    My story is an urban fantasy, so I don’t have a ton of world-building available to me, but that’s okay. As long as I keep adding little details that remind the reader they’re in my world, that’s all I need.

    It really is all in the details.


    And speaking of details, I'm happy to be able to show off the cover for Crystal Collier's latest book, Timeless.   Just look at that gorgeous cover.  I'm definitely going to have to find out which cover designer she used.  And be sure to stop by her blog and enter the contest for a chance to win a copy of the book.

    Congratulations, Crystal!

    Time is the enemy.

    In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

    In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil, and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

    Can Alexia escape her own clock?

    Tuesday, September 6, 2016

    The Insecure Writer and Typing "The End"

    Today is September's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

    Why am I an Insecure Writer this month?

    Because I'm not sure what will happen when I finally type the words "The End" on my current manuscript.

    It's not that I'm afraid I'll never finish the story.  I make progress on it (almost) every day, so it's only a matter of time before it's done.  What worries me is that after I finally reach the end, after I've revised it so many times I'm sick to death of it, after I run it past my crit partners so many times they're sick to death of it, that I still won't feel it's ready for prime time.


    Even now, I look back at some of my earlier chapters and think, "hmm.. that scene still needs work."  But what if I always think my scenes still need work, no matter how long I've been tweaking them?  What if I never get to the point where I feel my book is ready for prime time? Will it end up sitting unpublished on the shelf, waiting for my family to submit it posthumously? 

    Unfortunately, I won't know the answer until I type "The End."


    This month's IWSG question: How do you find the time to write in your busy day?

    By scratching and scrounging for every single second.  Between work and family, I don't have a ton of time to write, so I squeeze it in whenever I can.  During lunch at work, at night when everyone else is in bed. or during those rare times when the rest of the family is off doing something else and I'm not feeling guilty about  some chore I should be doing.  Some days I daydream of winning the lottery, just so I could write full time.

    And finally, to end my IWSG post on a positive note, I'm happy to be part of the cover reveal for Tara Tyler's latest book, Cradle Rock. So drop by Tara's blog and check out her IWSG post.

    by Tara Tyler
    Release Date: December 1, 2016

    Welcome to the forest.
    Gabe and his girlfriend Ona are headed in opposite directions for Spring Break. After finding out humans might be a real part of their history, Ona is determined to dig up evidence of them in the mysterious mountains at Camp Cradle Rock. Being a logical goblin, Gabe tries to talk her out of it, but there's just no reasoning with a stubborn ogress.

    When Ona goes missing, Gabe and his friends fly to Cradle Rock to search for her and discover a village of trouble, igniting an age old war. His physical skills may be lacking, but Gabe won't give up. With the help of his diverse group of friends, he will find a way to save his girl and maybe all beastkind. Humans, bah!

    And here's the book trailer! With sketches from my super fantastic inside illustrator, Laura Kramer.

    Friday, September 2, 2016

    Seven Writing Links -- Volume 138

    For those of you who are wondering, last week's laser eye surgery appears to have been a success. For a while, the affected eye didn't seem quite right, like someone had smeared a thin coating of grease over my left lens. Not enough to keep me from seeing, but enough to cause me to clean my glasses every five minutes. Most of that has gone away, but I still have LOTS of tiny floaters in that eye (noticeable only when I stare at the bright sky).

    In spite of this, I went on vacation this week and not only did I have a good time, but I managed to make progress on my story. It's a rarity when those two things happen simultaneously.

    I recently set my phone to deliver more notifications when writing related tweets appear in my feed. Unfortunately, I'm beginning to notice a disturbing trend among those people or sites that are announcing or marketing their books. Not that they're tweeting too much or because the same tweets keep appearing again and again with annoying regularity, but because most of the notifications I receive don't tell me anything. These tweets are nothing more than a picture of the book's cover followed by a link and a whole bunch of hashtags. Unfortunately, notifications don't show us the pictures--just the text-- so I'm usually left with a bunch of cryptic messages that do nothing to entice me to tap on them and go read the full tweet. And since the hailstorm of tweets will only grow with time, expect more and more people to depend upon notifications to keep them updated.

    So for the love of all things bookish, at least put the damn title of your book in the tweet, okay?

    Anyway, that's my rant for the week. Enjoy the links and have a great weekend.


      Indie Publishing Paths: What’s Your Newsletter Plan? Part Two

    When Everyone Is Special, No One Is

    How to Actually Use the Writing Advice You Find on the Internet

    Book Promotion is Not a One-Size-Fits-All Strategy

    Authors, Can You Afford to Produce an Audiobook?

    Layering 20 Scenes to Create a Strong Romance Novel

    The Writing Personalities As Crit Partners