Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holiday Cheer

So, what are you asking Santa for Christmas? I'm going to first take the high road and say that I wish for peace and happiness ... and I will keep it personal ... I want this for and among my family. We've gone through the typical coaster ride of ups and downs this past year. My daughter had a beautiful wedding celebration. My other daughter became engaged and will marry next spring. My son decided to go back to college for another degree, hopefully something that makes him happy and helps him to find a job. My husband is working ... not a layoff in sight, thank goodness. I decided to self-publish some of my work this past summer. And thus, Whips, Cuffs, and Little Brown Boxes, Cinderella Geek, and Not So Snow White became reality in both print and ebook. We have been happy and healthy for the most part with just a smattering of a few glitchy moments.
What more could I want? Well, how about peace and happiness for the rest of you? That would be nice, but probably too much to hope for ... but I will anyway. I'm that foolish optimist who will always want the best. I do that with my students, no matter how much they protest! Maybe I expect the impossible .. but that's just me. Love me or not :-)

And of course on a more selfish note ... I'm hoping for that "bestseller" or even just a traditional pub to love me and adopt me and my work! Besides being an optimist, I'm also stubbornly focused. Love me or not!

I wish all of you a very merry holiday season! And for those authors reading this ... keep on writing!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nice Bit of Showcasing and Feedback

Just wanted to give a thank you to all those over at the Murder by 4 blog. I sent in an excerpt from my unpublished mystery novel, Dying to Dream, for submission to the blog's monthly writing critique. The authors have given me feedback and it is much appreciated. Hopefully, my novel finds a home someday with proud publisher parents who will want to adopt it! Again, thanks. Maybe those who drop in here to read this will drop in over there to Murder by 4. It's a great blog with lots of interesting and useful tidbits. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Like Freebies?

If that's a yes ... click on over to Goodreads Giveaway for Whips, Cuffs, and Little Brown Boxes and try your luck to win a free copy :-) Only 2 weeks left. Just sayin' ....

"Some days I hated my life. Turning forty, pre-menopausal migraines, single, gaining ten pounds in six months, not to mention having three, sometimes overbearing mothers, and an editor with no compassion.

On the other hand, I had Kline, sort of, and there was my career, or what was left of it. I had a dog that idolized me, even if no one else did, and a house of my own. Those pluses should sustain me through my crises. So now, I would go home and write.  It's what I do." -- Lilly Millenovanovich, Whips, Cuffs, and Little Brown Boxes 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Yikes! I've Been Brandwashed!

Yes. I said brandwashed. According to author Martin Lindstrom, we are brandwashed starting ... get this ... while we are still in the womb! Reading this review on Neuromarketing got me to thinking of how this relates to book buying. Of course, I'd think of that. It's where my mind is most of the time, anyway! So, one of his points about how smells, sights, sounds, all of those sensory bites tend to influence buying habits made sense to me. It reminded me of one of my favorite readings from French Lit ... Proust's Remembrance of Things Past and how your senses trigger memories. It's always worked that way for me. Then, why not influence my buying habits? It could happen. And probably does without me being one tiny bit aware of it. Think about it. "Don't judge a book by its cover." But we do. We look at the prettiest, most awesome cover and think, "Maybe I'll buy this one." Or at least we may pick it up, out of all the hundreds and thousands of other books, to read the blurb on the back, and that's one step closer to purchasing it. Right? Okay ... maybe not for all of you. But what about the brandwashing done with names? Author names that advertise the next bestseller ... Buy that one, the one from the guy who has sold millions of copies of all his other books. What about them? Come on! You have to admit, it's a publisher's wet dream to have that guy or gal in its stable. Don't need much of a publishing campaign to get that ball ... or book rolling!

Lindstrom does take us down the path to where brandwashing is a misleading, smoke-and-mirrors sort of tactic. Like the display props in the store looking like one thing, but really they are something else. Or the idea that spraying the produce is supposed to keep items fresh, yet really does nothing more than keep them wet! But it is advertising, after all. Wise shoppers know what to believe ... right?

So, tell me ... what do you think? What helps you to decide which books to buy? And be honest! Are you brandwashed? Weigh in ...

Whips, Cuffs, and Little Brown Boxes
Kathryn Long's Booknook

Friday, September 30, 2011

Thank You.

Just wanted to say thank you to all 1870 who joined in for a chance to win the Goodreads Giveaway of Not So Snow White. The contest is over and congrats to the winners who will be receiving a free copy of Snow White in the mail in the near future. It is the support of readers who give authors the inspiration and drive to write on!

Kathryn Long
aka K. Sean Jennkrist
Cinderella Geek

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fiction and Fact ... Let's Weigh In

Okay ... let's define fiction. One source states that fiction is an imaginative creation or a pretense that does not represent actuality but has been invented. Invented, imaginative creation ... how should that work? Well, maybe we could categorize it by genre. After all, fantasy and science fiction stories create worlds and the things in it far beyond our scope of reality. But what about genres like mystery or suspense? Should authors stick to reality-based scenarios and details ... or does it really matter?

I have to say that when I read, my mind opens up to accept just about any possibility. Mystery is indeed my favorite genre, so I'm going to focus on that. So, you have some characters, a setting, events belonging to the plot -- beginning, middle, and end. You're reading along and you come to an event where you think, "Nah uh! No way could that happen!" But it just did, and then more details are layered in to validate this event. But you're still thinking, "That just doesn't happen in real life." Real life? I thought we were talking fiction here. Fiction is imaginary. It doesn't have to happen in real life, unless it's true crime fiction we're talking about. And boy, if you listen to some of those stories given on the six o'clock news ... talk about unreal!

I guess what I'm trying to justify, and maybe it's only a personal preference, fiction doesn't have to be totally realistic. Sure, it should make sense. What happens to the characters should fit with the details of the story. What might seem improbable is quite possible in the world of fiction. It's part of why I escape into those worlds I find when reading and can say how much I enjoy the experience. Certainly, there are different rules for different genres, but it all boils down to one fact. It's fiction, folks. Only fiction where anything could happen.

Of course, this is my take on it. What do you think? Should certain genres stick to reality-based facts, where if it isn't plausible in real life, then leave it out? Weigh in.

Whips, Cuffs, and Little Brown Boxes

A Date to Die For

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's Never Too Soon or Too Young.

How soon or at what age should someone think of taking the big leap and publish a book? Well, times are a changing! Meet Spencer Brokaw. He's twelve AND a published author ( Impenetrable Spy ). Can you imagine? Plus, he maintains a website where he regularly includes author interviews, which is how we got together. I asked and he accepted. So, below is the link to that interview.

Writing and publishing at a young age is what I'd refer to as "dream-inspiring". What self-publishers such as Amazon, Smashwords, and Lulu have done is to make it possible for writers of all ages to display their work in a big way and with an actual product. That's an extrinsic motivator you can't ignore. Before the days of computers and the internet, I recall how elementary teachers would "publish" their students stories, making them into books. Sure, it looked homemade, perhaps with construction paper covers and spiral-binding. But it was something to take home and show to family and friends, thus creating a proud moment for both creator and admirers.

So, I'd say it is a great thing being done, here. Giving young people the opportunity and encouragement to fulfill their dreams. Nothing wrong with that!

Here is the link to my interview, if you're interested. And to all those writers and writers-to-be ... write on!

Interview With Author K. Sean Jennkrist (Kathryn Long)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New eBook craze ... Digital Add-ons ... What Could Possibly Be Next?

Ebooks ... some might say, "Isn't that enough technology in the reading world?" Well ... I guess not. I have to admit I'm rather excited about this new trend. And I imagine it will attract a whole new category of readers -- those who would rather watch than read the written word. Sigh, groan, sigh somemore.  I myself would like readers who truly enjoy reading, but an occasional visual might add to the experience.

Okay, getting right to it. The latest technology is to embed videos in the eBooks where ever they might fit. I am linking to an article that might explain it better. It even gives you an example of a book -- Nixonland put out by Simon & Schuster. Since it's an historical book, it places video clips on such topics/people as John F. Kennedy, news clips of demonstrators against war, etc. Really, it is very fascinating to watch.

The author of the article on this trend brings up a valid point -- visualizing or imaging through words is what drives the imagination and makes each reader's experience a personal one. As a teacher, I agree totally that to take away from this skill and experience by replacing words with videos may diminish the skill. We already do that enough with the technology and media at everyone's, especially young people's, fingertips. In other words, walking a fine-line and not overusing this technology should be the guideline for authors and publishers. At least, that's what I hope for. From an author's viewpoint, I truly am infatuated by the idea. I can see embedding videos in my books, only to supplement the stories, not to replace the details. Again, limiting the numbers is key. I think I would most like to embed a video of me in each of them, talking about how I came up with the idea for writing them, etc.

So much is changing in the digital world. It's scary and exciting at the same time. Who knows where we will be five years from now? (A memory of when I first saw the hollistic chess game in Star Wars comes to mind. I thought that was the greatest invention ever!) I wish I had that crystal ball. Anyway, here is the link to the article on video-enhanced eBooks. Let me know what you think.

Video-enhanced E-books Beginning to Gain Momentum

Whips, Cuffs, and Little Brown Boxes
Not So Snow White

Sunday, August 14, 2011

When You Hit That Bump in the Road ... Life and Writing

Okay, so I was going about my business for the day. I had errands to run and I wanted to hurry up, get them done, and then home again to write. Easy enough ... or so I thought. Rushing across the garage to my car, I tripped on an uneven surface and fell flat on the cement floor. Ouch! My knee took a beating and so did my day. I ended up a hostage in my chair without a single errand run. However, on the upside, I got lots of writing done!

I guess you could say my mishap, forcing an adjustment to my plan, reminds me of writing, too. Sometimes the best plan of action must take a few twists and turns ... or "falls" if you will. Adjustments in plot, characters, even the whole book can happen when you least expect it coming. The advice being, be prepared for all things. Sure, I could have pouted for a while, thinking about the clumsy move and ruin of my day. But I got my writing done! Nothing bad to say about that :-)

Whips Cuffs and Little Brown Boxes

Not So Snow White

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Are Paid Book Reviews Unethical?

With the flooding of self-published work there comes another flood -- paid reviews. It seems there are a few well-known reviewers climbing aboard to take advantage of a new opportunity to make money, i.e. charging for their reviews. And I'm talking big dollars to fork out. Well, at least for some folks like myself with limited income it is a bit steep. Kirkus Indie charges $425 to $575 for a 250-350 word review. This option is geared toward self-pubbed, indie pubbed, POD, etc. authors. Okay, so on their webpage they do state that you will receive "a fair and unbiased assessment of your work" and that the rating can be anywhere from positive with stars down to negative.

Can you imagine? Fork out a few hundred, hard-earned dollars and get back a negative review? Ouch! At the same time, isn't this what really should happen? An unbiased, honest-to-goodness review of your work. I'd imagine that's what everyone should expect, but it's a pot-pourri of feedback out there. Friends and relatives who only want to give you a pat on the back and a leg up, persuading potential readers to buy your book. And of course, there are many others out there who would probably say all sorts of nice things, warranted or not, if you shoved some green under their noses.

I say this. Getting reviews, paid for or not, will always bring some bias along with them. In other words, it's not a perfect system. I, for one, from the reader's POV tend to ignore book reviews. If something strikes my interest, I buy it and read it to gather my own conclusions. But that's just me. As an author with a few books out there, both adult and teen fiction, I haven't really gotten much of anything in the review department. My books are selling okay, nothing worth writing home about, and I often wonder ... if I paid people to review ... hmm....

So, what's your take on it? Are paid reviews okay? Do you read reviews and let them influence your book-buying habits?

Whips, Cuffs, and Little Brown Boxes
Not So Snow White
Cinderella Geek

Monday, August 8, 2011

My alter ego, K. Sean Jennkrist has surfaced and created a new fairytale. Enjoy the magic!                                      
                                          NOT SO SNOW WHITE
is a modern teen fairytale that's magical, adventurous, mysterious, romantic, humorous, sensitive, and so much more. Winter Snow takes advice from her elfin-sized sidekick she's named Duane and journeys to find her missing dad. She soon discovers she has more than "elf power" to help her. Winter has "witch power". It's an exciting battle with good witches and bad, with school bullies versus the witchy freak, and then of course add in a little romance to complicate things and you have Winter Snow's life. The ending will leave you feeling good since Winter gets to discover more about her family and herself. Lots of surprises and lots of entertaining fun. It's CINDERELLA GEEK (the first in this series) but with a magical boost. Only 99 cents in Kindle format.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Having a LILLY Moment

If you write stories, I'm sure you will relate to my experience. I had a Lilly moment. Lilly is the main character in my mystery novel WHIPS, CUFFS, AND LITTLE BROWN BOXES. To know her is to love her ... or maybe hate her. It depends on the day. To put it briefly, or as short as I can possibly make it, Lilly is a forty-year-old, single woman who has issues. Guy issues, mother issues, friend issues, crazy neighbor issues, job issues, and the list goes on, but I promised to TRY and make this short. Anyway, Lilly gets inside my head and if you want to say I have a case of multiple personalities, okay. I'll buy that. I love my Lilly. In fact, I love all the characters in that book. They are family. But I digress ... I had a Lilly moment when my niece was explaining--she's fifty-five, divorced, and seeing this really great guy--that her guy friend had made an insensitive comment about her weight. WELL, Lilly popped into my head and the fireworks started. She went on a rampage about how great my niece looked and if guy friend didn't like it, then he could ... well, you get the picture.
Okay, so this little anecdote was really meant to be educational and informative, a writer's tidbit of advice. So, getting right to it ... Know your characters, become friends, create the whole picture for them, have conversations with them! If you do this, when you write their scenes, they will act naturally, genuinely, and everybody reading will say, "Wow! Now that's great writing!" Of course, side effects include the occasional Lilly Moment, i.e. replace Lilly with your character's name. But it's worth it!

So, go write yourself a few friends and have a great story to tell :-)


Monday, July 11, 2011

Pointing in the Right Direction ... Summer Reading Sale

 Have an ereader? Want some new titles to jazz up your summer reading experience? If you want some great buys ... check out the Smashwords July Sale where there are discounts from 25 to 75% on dozens of titles -- including mine, and also mine :-) -- and better yet, if the Kindle is not your thing, they offer the downloads in all sorts of formats to suit all sorts of eReaders. So enjoy!

The Smashwords July Sale

Monday, July 4, 2011

Celebrate the Fireworks in Your Writing!

Each of you probably have your own manner of celebrating this holiday, one of them being going to watch the fireworks ... bright, colorful, an explosion of sound echoing in the sky. Ask any kid, or many adults for that matter, what the favorite part or most memorable part of the Fourth is, and most all will say the fireworks. So, enjoy the display and think about this ...

When you write, do you include fireworks? You know, the words, the action, those little or big impacting features that make your story go ZING, POP, BOOM so your readers will grip the edges of your book and never want to put it down until the last page. Or are you afraid you may be putting your readers to sleep with too much detail, backstory, and just too much stuff that's boring? It's a challenge. Today's readers are demanding. They need to be entertained to the nth degree. Give them any less, and you might be losing them. And then they move on to the next book. There are millions out there to choose from.

Now, when I say fireworks in your writing, I need to explain that fireworks aren't limited to those action scenes you find in movies like Transformers or Independance Day. You can include intimate moments, those personal moments that may slow the pace down, but they have all the crackle and pop to call their own. It may be the choice of words, that pause given in dialog, that phrase to describe a character's expression ... just so many fine nuances that make the difference between good writing and great writing. One contemporary writer who just blows me away with his style ... whether he is writing an action scene or a quiet conversation ... his prose is superb. It's the kind of prose that makes a writer want to cry and say, "I want my writing to be like that." Take a look at James Lee Burke . I read one of his earlier novels, In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead. Of course, there are many more. I am in awe of his style.

The catch here is that I can't really explain in so many words what "fireworks" in writing is. I just know it when I read it. But I can say this ... find a beta reader, someone who will give you an objective opinion. If you suspect or worry that your writing may be boring, give it to that person and see what he/she thinks. If it turns out to be the "yawn" you suspected, go back to the "writing board" and work on that. There are many books out there on writing advice. I realize it may be confusing and overwhelming to choose. I can suggest a couple in my library that have helped me.
  • Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell
  • Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne & King
  • Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon
The last two are really great after you've finished your story and you are ready to revise, but I think it's wise to be armed with knowledge beforehand and thus avoid making those common mistakes in the first place.

I hope this encourages rather than discourages your efforts in writing. It's a battle, but like anything one sweats and toils over, the end product becomes worth it. If you have any books on writing or suggestions of authors who have that sparkle, crackle, pop in their writing, please share!

Happy Fourth of July!!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How to Deal With Criticism

Okay, this topic obviously caught my eye and took on a personal note because of my recent experience. Let me explain. I received a response from an editor of a publishing company I had submitted one of my completed manuscripts to -- A Deadly Deed Grows. Now, mind you, this one had already made its way to another publisher who thought it was good enough to send up the ladder to a final review, but it didn't make it through. They had some nice things to say about the novel, though. I was encouraged enough to follow it up with another submission.
Well, it made it up the ladder once more, only to end with a less than glowing, in fact rather scathing to the point of going down in flames, response. I'll admit, I sat and cried. I don't think I have gotten such negative feedback since ... well ... probably since grade school. I tried to toughen up, get past it, telling myself that the other editor really liked it. I guess if this one had said something nice, anything, like "clever title" or "your dialog is realistic" or "thank you for formatting correctly" ... just something, I might not have felt so wounded.

It's been over a month now since I got that email. I've licked my wounds and moved on, but there are still some scars. Writing seems to be my therapy. Anyway, I found this article on dealing with criticism --
How to Deal With Criticism in Writing . The author, Kenji Crosland, lists the following musts:

  • Learn to value criticism

  • Write without thinking about criticism

  • Listen to criticism openly

  • Respond to criticism effectively

  • I will just focus on the second one and let you check out the rest.
    Write without thinking about criticism: I chose this one because I feel that's where I'm at -- writing and trying not to be self-conscious about criticism. It's kind of like getting back on the horse right away before you lose confidence to do so. I have to write, keep on submitting, or I might lose my nerve all together. And that's a big no-no.

    As Crosland puts it, you can't let that inner voice, the one telling you your writing stinks, dictate because it will stop you in your tracks and keep you from that creative flow. So, what do you do? He says your attitude needs to change, i.e., avoid perfectionism. He quotes playwright, August Wilson, “You can make no mistakes, but anything you write can be made better.”, which Crosland changes this a bit to say, Although anything you write can be made better, there comes a point where you can’t make it better.” When put another way, you need to stop tweaking too much or you'll have one confused mess on your hands.

    He also points out that you need to write with authority. Be confident in your writing, know your craft and employ it well into your work. A fine line is being walked here. Criticism should be taken seriously and taken as a professional. But remember, it is subjective. So, if you are hearing the same suggestions/criticisms from several people (that is, people who are supposedly expert in the craft), then you should listen. However, --and I'm not just saying this because it happened to me that way--if you hear it only from one, take the advice objectively, see what there is to use, or if there is something worth using, and leave it at that.

    In any case, criticism goes along with the territory. If you are writing to be heard, and/or to be published, you have to expect the good along with the bad. I know I am. It's tough, but necessary.
    Hope all you writers out there find this useful, and as always, write on!

    ADDENDUM...I got my first really true review of WHIPS, CUFFS, AND LITTLE BROWN BOXES and it felt good! No, it wasn't a perfect 5 stars rating, but this reader had some great things to say, along with the criticism. Now, THAT'S what I'm talking about!

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Reading Lists Continued ... Does it Take a Celebrity?

    So, I have written about the top picks in young adult novels and in general adult fiction. Let's take a look at one of those categories -- books written by celebrities. Hey ... the books sell, so they deserve mention. I found an article Stranger Than Fiction -- Top Celebrity Novelists that focuses on eight celebrities from actors to musicians to spouses of actors or musicians. Some of the work is actually considered "good", good enough to at least consider adding to your reading list. I will touch on a few and let you check out the rest in more detail. And mind you, these are novels, not autobiographies!

    1) Gene Hackman: Payback at Morning Peak -- western fiction. Consider his background and experience which might add credibility to the content. And the fact that this is not his first effort. He coauthored a couple of others previously.

    2) James Franko (General Hospital): Palo Alto -- a short story collection meant to be taken seriously, but SERIOUSLY? At least that's what the author of this article implies.

    3) Lauren Conrad: L. A. Candy -- fictional account with way too many parallels to Conrad's life, which many authors will do when they write fiction, so we will let this slide. Okay, I have to add a personal sidebar -- in my Lang. Arts class, one of my students did a report on this book. Not my bag, but really popular with teens. Go figure. And popular enough to follow it up with Sweet Little Lies and Sugar and Spice.

    4) Hillary Duff: Elixer -- a supernatural mystery that's been on the bestseller list.

    5) Ethan Hawke: The Hottest State -- a brooding tale from a brooding character, or something like that. Hawke must enjoy writing stories so he can turn them into movies. Ash Wednesday is another.

    You'll find three more and many more details about all of them if you click on the article link. I do have some parting observations. So here goes ... artistic people can be artistic in many areas. It makes sense if someone who plays an instrument well can also do well at writing. There is no reason why we can't have more than one talent, though being a celebrity who writes a book shouldn't automatically insure bestseller status. I think most would agree with me on that ... unless he/she was a celebrity!

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    Reading Trends Part II: Adult Fiction

    So, now moving on to the latest trends in adult fiction ... What is the number one publisher which has seen the most growth and sales?  Harlequin. Gotta love that romance. Yet, as most of you know, Harlequin combines romance with a lot of other genres -- mystery/suspense, paranormal, historical. So, as long as you want the romance involved, there is something for everybody.
    Genres that seem to have a growing audience are -- thrillers, Americana, literary, paranormal with an erotic touch, Christian fiction, and horror stories which are still making a ripple. Of course, anything offered in e-book format has a great chance of being read, especially romance novels. Such is the craze of the eReaders. What's most consistently popular, as readers have found in the past, will probably be such in the future. And that is anything by those authors at the top of the food chain -- James Patterson, Dan Brown, Nora Roberts, and the list goes on. What has changed is the path ones like James Patterson have taken. Several times he has linked up with a coauthor, and probably because of the growing interest in young adult books, he has ventured into that genre with novels like Maximum Ride. One more group to mention comes from the famous people who decide to write, maybe their memoirs or sometimes fictional works, and their books seem to sell, so publishers will keep on publishing them.

    In my opinion, as a writer you may follow the trends, hoping to catch a ride on that rollercoaster while it's still flying high, but you need to be passionate about what you write. No matter what. Who knows? Maybe if you think of something entirely unrelated to the trends of vampires and werewolves or those other popular themes, maybe you'll be the one to start the next trend. Now, wouldn't that be something!

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    Reading Trends - Part I: Young Adult

    As both a reader and a writer, I find learning about the latest trends in reading to be both interesting and useful. So, I'm going to cover this in at least a couple postings and start with Young Adult readers. This year continues the hot topic of fantasy/paranormal, mainly vampires and werewolves. However, the fantasy realm includes mythological themes such as the Goddess Girls. Multimedia series are also grabbing young readers where they connect online and in video. Two that fall into that category are 39 Clues and Skeleton Creek. Diary and Journal formats are popular as in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which by the way leads to the books where the main characters have special needs, such as Mockingbird and Rules. Graphic novels and Manga continue to hold their place in the top favorites, probably because of the timeless captivation of such stars as Superman and X-Men. And it should be mentioned that though these are Young Adult books, adults are reading them, too. In fact, this trend is on the rise, which I imagine pleases both author and publisher alike.

    One more category I'd like to mention is books for reluctant readers. Teaching in this area has given me firsthand experience in the challenges of getting kids to read. I agree with those who say that reluctant readers are ones who just haven't found the type of book that interests them yet. Anyway, here is a list of the top ten picks:

  • Amason, Jessica and Richard Blakeley. This is Why You’re Fat: Where Dreams
         Become Heart Attacks.

  • Brereton, Catherine, Philip Steele, and Hannah Wilson. Warriors Versus Warriors:
         Ten Fighters, Five Battles, ONE WINNER.

  • Elkeles, Simone. Rules of Attraction: A Perfect Chemistry Novel.

  • Hasler, Nikol. Sex: A Book for Teens: An Uncensored Guide to Your Body, Sex and

  • Keplinger, Kody. The D.U.F.F.(Designated Ugly Fat Friend).

  • Neri, G. and Randy DuBurke. Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty.

  • Rainfield, Cheryl. Scars.

  • Summers, Courtney. Some Girls Are.

  • Volponi, Paul. Rikers High.

  • Von D, Kat with Sandra Bark. The Tattoo Chronicles.

  • I will end this post with a little anecdote. It addresses the reason why it's important to a hopeful writer wanting to sell his/her work. When I spoke with someone who owns a business and after complaining how difficult it is to find a publisher to accept my work, she asked me, "Well, have you asked them what they are looking for?" Such a simple question, but with not so simple an answer. It's very hard to find the right place at the right time, but knowing what the reader wants to read is what publishers want to publish is ultimately what the author should write ... at least is he/she wants to sell :-)

    For more information about Young Adult Readers, check out YALSA .

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    Writing Tip of the Day

    Tip to Note: When writing your story, please keep a timeline of events. I've been finding that if I don't -- time that's passed is too much or too little when I reference it later, or when I have events that follow, they do not seem logical or they are out-of-sync. In other words, it just plain ole messes the story up! Timelines -- so simple and so very helpful :-)

    Sorry folks. Because of a temporary glitch with blogspot, the comments made previously here on this post have disappeared :( As always, I appreciate all those who take an interest and submit their ideas/thoughts. Hopefully, it won't happen again. And who knows? They might miraculously reappear!

    Sunday, May 8, 2011

    Stylish Blogger Award

    It's the little things ... I received a blogsite award from a new-found friend and blogger -- Krista and The Jelly Beans of Writing So, I am honored and now will talk a bit about me :-) How hard can that be?! (sweating profusely now). Before I start, here are the rules of the game. And best of luck to those five I pass the award along to!

    Ok, here are the rules for this award:
    1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
    2. Share seven random facts about yourself.
    3. Pass the award along to 5 new-found blogging buddies.
    4. Contact the winners to congratulate them

    R.F #1: I used to be a closet Victorian Romance reader! You name it and I read it. From Victoria Holt to Barbara Cartland, I had no boundaries to my ravenous appetite. But then I got married, had romance of my own, and didn't find as much interest in that genre. I switched to Stephen King and Dean Koontz horror for a while. It took a heavy dose of gruesome to get me to change camps once again. And it's been mysteries and suspense ever since! (Although, I admit, once in awhile I will venture back into a syrupy sweet romance and feel joy!)

    R.F.#2: I am like an only child, but am not an only child ... No, it's not a riddle. My youngest brother is 16 years my senior. I have a sister, the oldest, who is 23 years older than I. And I have 9 nieces and nephews who range anywhere from 3 years to 8 years younger than I. Those were and are like my brothers and sisters. It's crazy during family reunions. I recall when I was a kid, I used to tell them, "If you ever call me Aunt Kathy, I will deck you!" It must have had the impact I wanted because when one of them had a bridal shower years later she asked if it was okay now to introduce me as her aunt!

    R.F. #3: I wrote my first song when I was 12. It was actually just lyrics which I put to the tune from a movie, "The Moon Spinners" (Haley Mills was my idol then. And Cary Grant. I loved his old movies.) Anyway, I remember going out into the backyard, swigging on the tree swing and singing my song. It doesn't get more cheesy than that, folks!

    R.F. #4: I've been writing stories since I was 7, belonged to my high school writers' club, and even took a class or two on creative writing. But it was when I approached my 50th birthday that I remembered the promise I'd made to myself: If I didn't write a full novel by then, and try to get it published, then I would give up on writing. Rather harsh, don't you think? Anyway, I finished Oklahoma's Gold that year. It felt good :-) And I was encouraged to write even more.

    R.F #5: I actually decided to dabble in the self-publishing arena, but I didn't want to publicly say it was me :-). So, I published a young adult novel under a pen name. It's actually a fusion of my children's names into one. It's here, somewhere. I will let you all do the detective work to figure it out!

    R.F. #6: I love bodies of water ... oceans especially, but I can't swim! I often say that when I retire, I would like to live in a beach house and watch the ocean waves move, smell the salt air, and just relax on my deck. To me that is Utopia!

    R.F. #7: I talk to myself. Not that it's so unusual. I know lots of people who admit to that. But I do it to act out scenes I'm writing about in whatever WIP I'm working on. It helps ... I think ... yeah, it does. Or at least that's what I tell myself ... out loud ... when I'm carrying on a conversation with no one else in the room. Oh, boy ...

    That actually wasn't too hard. I guess like most of us, I enjoy writing about myself. It's almost cathartic. Okay, so here below are my five "victims". Enjoy!

    Allison Simon

    Sue Maynard

    Elena Solodow

    Katherine Crawford

    Danielle Raver 

    Saturday, May 7, 2011

    Pointing in the Right Direction ... Book Country

    So, what's the buzz? Tell me what's a happening ... Okay, not really trying to quote lyrics from rock opera, Jesus Christ, Superstar, but I couldn't resist :-) Just wanted to give a bit of flare to introducing yet another online forum for peer reviews. What makes Book Country somewhat unique is the "author" of the forum, Penguin Books. I will paraphrase the About Us page they've created to give you idea what to expect.

    The obvious? You, the reader, can read original works. You don't have to be an author yourself, but it's a nice way to view new and immerging authors' creations. And you authors can place some of your work on the site, after you have reviewed at least 3 other works. I guess that seems fair, trying to balance both sides. You leave comments--constructive criticism, of course--and share thoughts, tips, and learn about the publishing industry through inciteful articles. It's refreshing to see that it's free. That's very unlike Fan Story, which is tainted with price-driven motives, IMHO.

    Book Country and it's creator, Penguin, plan to offer a publishing service under the Book Country logo. There will be a cost, but they claim it is a "convenient and affordable way to self-publish eBooks and print books". This (and variety of services they provide) is yet another way for new authors to skirt around the traditional methods of finding a publisher and/or agent.

    It will be interesting to see where this leads and how much it fits into the trend of things in publishing, especially in competing with self-publishing giant, Amazon and its Create Space and Kindle. At the very least, the free reviewing available is something to check out.

    Sunday, May 1, 2011

    Guest Blogger - Michael Murphy -- Three Tips for Obtaining Media Coverage for Your Novel.

    Well folks, I promised you a visit from Michael Murphy, author of the just released mystery, Scorpion Bay. He offered to write about his experience with campaigning and how to get the word out about his book. I hope you enjoy this and please feel free to post your questions and comments. Now, please give a warm welcome to my guest!

    With the release of my new mystery/suspense novel, Scorpion Bay, I reached out to the media and was able to obtain an article in the local weekly, Peoria Times, http://x.co/WslA the Arizona Republic http://x.co/WslG, and an in studio interview on the highest rated morning news program in the state, Good Morning Arizona. Here’s a few tips I learned. Hope they’re helpful in your campaign.

    1. Don’t make the pitch for the story to be about your book. Assume the media isn’t interested in an author having a new book released. Come up with and provide an angle on a unique story on the release. With my novel, I planned a Scorpion Bay launch party at the real Scorpion Bay in Lake Pleasant Arizona. Both newspapers played up that angle when I mentioned that several scenes took place at the Scorpion Bay Marina. The story then became about the marina, not about an author seeking publicity.

    2. Product Placement. Placing a product in a movie is common these days. Obtaining the enthusiastic approval of the owner of Dillons Restaurant at Scorpion Bay to mention the restaurant (it was integral to the story), helped secure the location of the launch party which resulted in the newspaper interest.

    3. Find a hook. With the television media, I approached the station more than two years ago to seek their help in researching the media aspects of Scorpion Bay. When the book was about to be released, I reached out to them and the hook was mentioned in the interview; “Good Morning Arizona often brings you stories of interest, but today ‘we are the story’. That was the hook that resulted in their interest in interviewing me.

    At the launch party, I made a point to ask people who came to the table what brought them there and more than half mentioned the newspaper or television appearance. I sold forty-three books and concluded that 23 or more resulted from the media campaign.

    Obtaining media coverage, however, isn’t just about selling a particular book; it’s more about establishing you as a credible author. A final tip, don’t be intimidated by the media, reach out to them and find a way to help them write the story.

    Scorpion Bay by Michael Murphy

    Also, visit Michael's website for more information:   Michael Murphy

    Saturday, April 30, 2011

    Multiple Intelligences -- How Do You View the World?

    I happened to find a site that brought to mind ... how do I view matters, how do I think, how do I cope, i.e., how do I get through my day! I teach, so of course, how my students learn is one of my main concerns. However, I can see how this would affect one's writing. The choice of words, actions, etc. put into the story. In any case, this was a real eye-opener when I decided to take this survey. Some of the results I could have predicted, but others were a bit surprising. And the questions? Well, see for yourself and take the test!

    Multiple Intelligences

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    Look at Me!

    Look at me! I'm pretty :-) All adorned in bright spring-like colors. I just had to post about it, even though it has nothing to do with writing. Yet, then again, it might. Imagery is a part of what we write. And artistry "speaks" a cornicopea of words. Hand in hand they give us the "stuff" to fuel our imaginations. So, this is a bit of spring to announce what we expect will come, all with bright colors and hopeful images ... even if it won't stop raining here in Ohio and giving us temperatures that belong in February! I guess when I tire of looking out the window, I will click on my blog and stare at the page. So very pretty...

    Thursday, March 31, 2011

    Stay Posted ... New Theme - Guest Authors

    Just letting you all know that in a couple of weeks I will be having a guest blogger -- author, Michael Murphy, who has a published novel, Scorpion Bay, just released this month. I'm so excited for him! He will be writing about ... well, writing! And of course a bit about his novel, Scorpion Bay ... oh, did I mention that already? And that I'm excited for him?

    Anyway, stay tuned for his visit, sometime around the middle of April. Until then ...

    Sunday, March 6, 2011

    To Kindle or Not to Kindle - That is the Publishing Question

    Hot off the presses .... Amanda Hocking's creations -- the Trylle triology, for one. If you've been following publishing trends in the news, you may already be aware of what's happening. Like it or not, self-publishing, especially in ebook format, is blazing a trail and aiming for the clouds or the heavens or however far up it can reach! With the creation of ebook readers, monster outlets like Amazon, easy to use tools provided by CreateSpace and Kindle Direct, an author can easily self-publish at little to no cost and be up and running on the Amazon website quicker than you can blink an eye ... okay maybe not quite that fast, but it's only a matter of weeks, not months or a year such as it takes with traditional publishers. And you don't have to "pass the gates of entry" to get by the agents and publishers who must approve you when taking the traditional route.
    I know what some of you are thinking ... how good can those books be? Well, I had my doubts. Since the big hype, I've purchased a couple of self-pub books, ebook format, for my reader. I've been reading Amanda's Switched. It's for young adult readers and has the fantasy or paranormal element to it. It may not be great prose, but the story is engaging. At least as engaging as it can be for this adult reader! The thing is that her books selling. Selling BIG. I mean like 450,000 copies in the month of January alone. Now, at 99 cents a pop on Amazon, with the author's take of 30%? You figure the math. Not shabby. Right? Anyway, the whole new trend of this is something to think about ... for readers, for writers, for publishers, for agents ... everyone in the game!

    Read much more about this interesting topic and phenom in USA Today ...

    Friday, February 25, 2011

    Making a Book -- How Hard Could It Be?

    If you do nothing else today, and you really enjoy books, watch this video on book making from days gone by. It's fascinating and will make you appreciate just how easy the process is today!

    Book Making

    Saturday, January 22, 2011

    Writing Revisited

    Hello all ... after a long hiatus, I am back to revisit a familiar topic, one I've commented on before, but that often needs to show its face, just to remind ourselves of its importance: avoiding the writing blues, keeping the craft in focus and thriving. It's not easy. We come up with more excuses than ... well, we could write a book on that! :-) Sometimes we need a cheerleader in our corner, one who will say, "You can do this. Just put yourself back in front of that computer and WRITE!" Well, actually, you say, that's easier said then done. So, here is yet another list of tips on the topic, expertly crafted by Noelle Sterne and featured in the latest issue (1/20) of Writing World .

    1. Schedule realistic times to write. -- base it on daily responsibilities and your personality
    2. Mark your calendar. -- then you're committing to it in writing, much more effective
    3. The night before, plan exactly what to work on. -- gives you focus and concrete goals
    4. Start with something easy. -- whether working on a new project or existing one
    5. Set small goals you know you can meet. -- usually applies to a word count -- how many/day?
    6. Sneak into it. -- going back over to edit what you wrote yesterday might "jumpstart" today's!
    7. Make a list. -- might be an outline of your WIP or even materials you need, resources, etc.
    8. Choose one thing from your master list. -- example, start in the middle of a story
    9. Use the "diaper method." --overwhelmed? cover up all of your to-do list, but what to do NOW
    10. Keep a log of your writing time. -- helps you to learn about your writing habits
    11. Accept your "moody" feelings. -- taking a break -a jog, music, etc. - will help rejuvinate you!

    For the full article, go to the
    Writing World website.