Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Here we are on the last day of August, with summer winding down and the kids returning to school. Right now I'm looking ahead to November, specifically NaNoWriMo. I've written about NaNo before, but here's a description in a nutshell: You write a first draft of a novel (50,000 words, which breaks down to 1,667 words per day) in 30 days, during the month of November. Hence, National Novel Writing Month = NaNoWriMo. Sounds daunting, right? Actually, it's totally doable, and I should know. I've been participating in NaNo for years, and I always make my word count. My personal best is 66k in 19 days, but there were a few extenuating circumstances there: I didn't pay my cable bill, and I had no internet for half the month. It was a wonder Facebook survived without me. Lesson the first: reducing/eliminating distractions has a positive effect on word count. The other tip I can't stress enough is getting all of your pre-work out of the way before November 1. What is pre-work? Well, your outline, for one. Also, if your story concept needs any sort of research--be it places, dates, obscure languages--do it now. when November 1 hits you want to hit the ground running, not get bogged down reading semi-factual Wikipedia pages. Lesson the second: research now, write like the dickens later. Something else I do to keep me on track is engage a NaNo buddy. Your buddy can help you by critiquing plot points, helping you out when the story hits a rough patch, or just by commiserating and sheering you on. My NaNo buddy this year is Barry *waves* and we've already had a few chat sessions to talk about our projects. He's working on a horror novel with a fricken' AWESOME concept, and I'm going to cobble together a retelling of Medusa and other Greek myths. Which means that our projects will never, ever be in competition for the same venue. Side benefit! Lesson the third: get a support group/person/houseplant. There's no need to go it alone! Writing 50,000 words in 30 days is tough, but any serious writer can make this goal. If you feel like you need a challenge to get yourself back on track, or just want to revel in writing something new, I say give NaNo a go. You might surprise yourself. Oh, and that 66k I wrote in 19 days? It's a real book - Changing Teams! Check it out here! See that, if I can win NaNo, and get the resulting project published, you can too :) Are you planning on participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Tell me in the comments!
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Today we’re going to talk about something that’s just as important to successful writers as proper grammar and strong characterization: making a good first impression. This can be done in many ways, and several of them have nothing to do with the actual quality of your writing. Now, don’t for a moment think that I’m suggesting your writing should be anything but top notch, and polished until it’s and perfect as you can get it. But let’s face it, the writing isn’t always the first impression someone has of an author. There are many other ways to make contact with new readers, either via a website, social media, personal appearances, or swag. Yes, swag matters. A lot. Let me tell you about my husband. He’s a rock star (locally, anyway) which means that we have an abundance of band t-shirts in our house. You know the shirts I’m talking about – they start out black with vibrant designs silk screened onto them. After a few washes, the fabric fades and possibly pills, and the design cracks and flakes off. Whenever that happens, you know the band settled for the cheap shirts. What difference does this make? Well, out of sight out of mind, for one; the main purpose of swag is so people have a handy little reminder of who you are, and what you do. And if your swag disintegrates or looks sub-par after regular use or wear, that doesn’t leave the best impression. Sometimes we hit the nail on the head, and get swag that is both well designed and long-lasting. I worked at a liquor store over ten years ago, and one of the sales representatives gave me a Magic Hat shirt. I’ve been wearing that shirt almost weekly since then, and while the design is faded it’s still legible. Even better, the fabric hasn’t shrunk or thinned out to nothing. In short, Magic Hat sprung for the good shirts. What does this mean for us authors? First and foremost, swag should be well designed. If you know your way around graphic design programs there’s nothing wrong with designing things yourself. There’s also nothing wrong with hiring someone who knows what they’re doing—remember, you can reuse the same designs again and again, so consider that in your cost benefit analysis. As for printing, if you don’t have a nearby print shop a quick internet search will reveal a plethora of online retailers. Don’t be the author with the home-printed bookmarks and crooked logo. Trust me on this. By being choosy about our swag—and making it as professional-looking as possible—you strengthen your brand and appeal to a wider audience. There are all sorts of articles out there advising authors how to strengthen their brand, and professional, well-designed swag is an easy way to stand out from the crowd. What do you think about swag? Love it, hate it, or collect it? Tell me in the comments below!
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
That's right, the second Chronicle of Parthalan is on sale for 99 cents, but only for a limited time. This is s great opportunity to revisit Parthalan and Asherah - but you need to act fast, since the price goes back up on August 13. And stay tuned for updates on the next installment, Rise of the Deva'shi, will be available by year end. Click to purchase---> http://amzn.to/2aJqfoE A broken queen. A friendship mired in deceit. Can one man from the desert help hold the realm together? Asherah, Queen of Parthalan and Lady of Tingu, has led her people through eight centuries of prosperity. That peace shatters when Mersgoth, the mordeth thought long dead, attacks Teg’urnan. In the aftermath a new warrior emerges: Aeolmar, a man as secretive as he is deadly. Asherah and Aeolmar race across Parthalan in pursuit of Mersgoth, and track the beast to the High Desert. While they're gone, Harek, now Prelate of Parthalan, conspires with the Dark Fae against the elves...Against Leran, the king of the elves and Asherah's son in all but blood. Will Asherah see the truth of Harek before it's too late, or will he bring down the fae once and for all? ***********************************************************************