Reflections from an emerging writer as she journeys through the creative process.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

IWSG One Year Anniversary

October 1st is the Insecure Writer's Support Group's website's one year anniversary! Happy Anniversary! As always, it is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. This month, his co-hosts are:
Fundy Blue http://selkiegrey4.blogspot.com/
To go to the website and visit other members of the IWSG, click HERE.

I wanted to give you ten tips on e-book publishing today. These tips were gleaned after publishing six e-books at Amazon and Smashwords. They are not in any particular order, but all are important tips to make a successful publication.

Tip 1: Always keep a backup file. Before preparing your manuscript for publication, set aside that file. If you make mistakes on a copy and accidentally erase the copy, you still have your backup or original file.

Tip 2: Never use more than four consecutive paragraph returns (hard returns by hitting ENTER). On a small screen device, this creates blank pages.

Tip 3: Don't use tabs or space bars to create first line paragraph indents. Instead, code your paragraph style at the top of the page under "paragraph."

Tip 4: Don't use fancy non-standard fonts, colored fonts, compressed or expanded fonts. And, in most cases, drop caps don't work either. Think of the different size tablets that your reader will be using and keep it simple.

Tip 5: The e-book doesn't come out the same as a printed book, where you can set the page. It will change with the different size readers and the page will be different on each one. Also, no page numbers.

Tip 6: Use font size 11 or 12, or 14 at maximum. Consider the different size readers.

Tip 7: Microsoft Word gives the most predictable results and works well when converting your book.

Tip 8: Make sure your book is edited before publication. So many times a good book can be spoiled by poor editing or none at all.

Tip 9: If you aren't a graphic artist, consider hiring someone to do your book cover for you. The cover is the first thing that a reader sees of an e-book.

Tip 10: Activate Word's show/hide before you start formatting. This is the backwards "p". When clicked, it exposes your paragraph returns, extra spaces, tabs, field codes or strange formatting.

These ten tips are a few things I've discovered that will help make a cleaner, more well-formatted book. Also, both Amazon and Smashwords have books to help you format specifically for them and the last time I looked, they were still free. Good luck with your newest publication and I hope these suggestions have helped.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Writing In First Person

Have you ever written in first person? I'm talking about a fiction novel, not a memoir or an essay. I've been experimenting with this style of writing with a new story I've been outlining. The question is, will it be expansive enough to develop all the characters in the story?

By writing in first person, my characters must all interact with the protagonist. They must become well-rounded and viable by what happens between them and this character. Would this get boring after so many chapters of first person?

In order to create tension between the characters, the plot will have to be paced so that new elements are introduced at intervals close enough to keep the reader's interest. What's my story about? All I can say right now is that a young woman is trapped by her own mistakes and she must prove to others that she is a sane, level-headed individual who can pick up the pieces of her life and move on. It won't be so easy because there are those around her who would like to see her fail. Can she retrieve her life from what seems like the bottom of the abyss?

My working title is A Walk Through Hell.  Not only am I writing it in first person, but this is a different genre for me. I've stepped away from fantasy to write in contemporary fiction. If you have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dragon's Fury Is Now Available!

I'm pleased to announce that Dragon's Fury, Book 3, Dragon Stone Trilogy is now available as an e-book at Smashwords. It will also be available at Amazon in the next few days. To get your copy of this Young Adult fantasy adventure at Smashwords, click HERE.

If you prefer to get your copy at Amazon, click HERE.



Dragon’s Fury
Darius is wanted by the King, a rogue sorcerer who has usurped the throne. Escaping arrest, he’s given a dragon stone and a dragon egg to guard. Not knowing what the dragon stone is, he tosses it in the bottom of his satchel and takes the egg to the desert, where the desert dwellers, the Zandir, place him under their protection. The dragon hatches and becomes a loyal friend and fierce protector to Darius. The Great One, Zandir’s voice of the gods, gives them a mission to save the kingdom of Mar. He reveals the well-kept secret that there is one left alive of the true King’s line. The young Queen of Mar has been in hiding with the Zandir but is unaware of her identity. The false King refuses to go quietly and is exposed as an evil sorcerer that has been traveling through the timelines, taking what he will. A mighty battle ensues, with dragon fire breaking the chain of magic and attacking the evil King. Who will win and who will escape from the growing forces of magic? 

Enjoy reading the final adventure as the dragon's journey comes to an end. If you haven't read the first two books of the Dragon Stone Trilogy, they are:
  • Call of the Dragon, Book 1
  • The Puzzle Box, Book 2
These books are also available at Smashwords and Amazon.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New Beginnings - Insecure Writer's Support Group

The first Wednesday of the month is for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. This is a blog hop and if you'd like to be included, or would like to find other members, click HERE.

I titled this New Beginnings because right now I'm in the process of deciding what I'm going to write about next. After spending the last two years writing about dragons I'd like to switch gears and write about something else. I've been researching a couple of different ideas, but at the moment I don't have the courage to talk about them. The ideas are still too flimsy, like eggs getting ready to hatch. Perhaps I need to see a crack in the egg and the living being pop out as it materializes into a true identity.

To me, this is the hardest part of writing a story. Starting an outline and sketching out the idea. How do you start your story? Do you outline? Or have scraps of papers with notes on them? I take a fresh notebook and start writing ideas down. Scenes as they come to me and parts of dialogue. But some of it I never use if it doesn't fit in the final story.

This next story will have more than one layer to it. I plan on making a secondary plot that won't be revealed until near the end. Perhaps I'll create another race of characters and make up a whole new world for them to live in. So, on with the plot! Same old, same old? A new twist on the same plot? This is hard for me until I get the story down, but it will tie in with the new world and new creatures. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Jefferson Smith: The 5 Most Common Writing Mistakes That Break Reader Immersion

Jefferson Smith has an article out about his study on Reader Immersion. He cites the 5 most common writing mistakes that cause readers to lose focus and stop reading. Actually, in the article, he cites many more reasons that he has found while reading an e-book a day for forty minutes. So far, he's read 50 books and will continue his study so he can make another such analysis after reading 100 books.

The first 5 most common errors are:
  1. Weak mechanics: Spelling, grammar, etc.
  2. Implausible character behaviors: When a character does something contrary to his/her established traits or in violation of basic human nature.
  3. Echoing: When words or sentence structure repeat frequently in a way that calls attention to the pattern.
  4. Illogical world features: Aspects of the world building that do not bear scrutiny.
  5. Conspicuous exposition: Presentation of backstory in inappropriate places, or in dense passages, or for insufficient story reasons.
I must include in this small commentary that Mr. Smith did his study while reading only fantasy and science fiction, which are his primary genres as an author. I found his article to be challenging and as a writer with a book recently finished, I will be examining the entire text for mistakes.

If you want to read Jefferson Smith's entire article, click HERE.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dragon's Fury is Finished!

I'm happy to announce that Dragon's Fury, Book 3, Dragon Stone Trilogy is finally completed and is being edited for the final time. I'm expecting this book to be out the first part of September on Smashwords and Amazon in ebook form.

This particular book was a challenge for me to finish and I had to revise the ending several times. Hopefully, the ending I created will be satisfying to all my readers.



Dragon’s Fury
Darius, the seventh son of the King’s new acolyte, is wanted by the King who has usurped the throne. Escaping arrest, he’s given a dragon stone and a dragon egg to guard. Taking the egg to the desert, where the Zandir place him under their protection, the dragon hatches and becomes a loyal friend and fierce protector. The Great One, Zandir’s voice of the gods, gives them a mission to save the kingdom of Mar and reveals the well-kept secret that there is one left alive of the true King’s line. The Queen of Mar has been in hiding with the Zandir. But the false King refuses to go quietly and is exposed as an evil sorcerer that has been traveling through the timelines, taking what he will. Who will win and who will escape from the growing forces of magic? A mighty battle ensues, with dragon fire breaking the chain of magic and attacking the evil King.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Tamora Pierce

For those of you who are not familiar with Tamora Pierce I'd like to introduce you to a staple in young adult literature. Her writings are about the challenges of growing up in different worlds, but can pertain to any young person on the planet. Although I'm not a young person anymore, I've been enjoying her work and find her writing style to be straightforward, magical and heartwarming. She deals with all kinds of situations in her books and doesn't shy away from the difficult areas like death, loss and loneliness.

I've been devouring her books lately and keep finding more in her listing. I've just finished reading Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen, two books about a young lady who gets kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery in a land ripe with civil unrest. The books share her growth as a person as she finds herself changing from a wayward girl with no goals into a strong young woman leading the civil rebellion. Woven into this is magic, war and a god who is a trickster. It is excellent reading for any age.

I'm currently reading The Circle of Magic, Tris's Book. This is the second in a set of four: Sandry's Book, Tris's Book, Daja's Book and Briar's Book. It is about four young people from different backgrounds who find themselves thrown together at Winding Circle Temple, only to discover the different magic hidden inside each one. Since I haven't finished the books I'm not sure of the ending yet. One thing I've discovered about Tamora Pierce's writing is that it isn't predictable. There's always a twist or turn to keep the reader surprised and guessing at what comes next. If you like Young Adult literature, I highly recommend Tamora Pierce to you.

Have you read any good books lately? Are there any you want to recommend?