Book Beat Babes

Book Beat Babes

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Follow-up on my Tweeting Experience! by DL Larson

In my last blog I shared my attempts at tweeting for the first time. I posted five tweets, then later added one more: One reporter. One warrior priest. One werewolf. And one thief. A deadly dragon, a missing baby and Savagers eat their prey.

I received 2 hearts, meaning two publishers were interested enough to ask for a query. I received three other hearts in my other pitches. Overall, I was delighted to have gotten some attention. Now, the work begins. 

I researched the various publishing houses. They all seemed legitimate and I felt my book could possibly fit within their interests. Most want the basic query and bio sent to them. A few want a synopsis and the first ten pages, others prefer the entire manuscript. 

I will continue to research these publishing houses, and I will most likely send out a few queries. In the meantime, I have sent a query to a literary agent I have researched. I remarked that during the pitch fest, I drew interest from several publishers. I didn't name names, but I conveyed I have gained attention on my first pitch madness experience.

Where will this get me? 

I have no idea! But I'm learning as I go. Keeping up with social media is a full time job, and I wonder how writers find the time to write when so much is demanded of them elsewhere. Another thing that makes me smile ... I have a few followers on Twitter! They obviously know how twitter works better than I do. I believe it's another venue to gain followers on their site. It's a numbers game and I'm sadly behind, but at least I'm in the game.

'Til next time ~

DL Larson

Friday, June 24, 2016

The MySpace Hack and Why You Should Care

If you haven’t heard yet, account information that was hacked from MySpace was recently put up for sale.

I know, you thought MySpace was dead, or you’re too young to remember just how big it was.
Well it isn’t dead and even if it was, the hack provided a plethora of login information.  Yes, that information was in many cases very old but that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful to the criminals who have obtained it.  This, as well as every hack, reveals just how vulnerable we all are online.  In the early days of the World Wide Web, security wasn’t in the forefront of most people’s minds.  Now, you can’t avoid it whether at work, home or at play.

So, why does this hack matter?  Well, many of us probably forgot that we even had these accounts let alone the login information we established at the site, and there may be other such accounts lurking out there that we haven’t accessed in some time.  Thing is, in our zeal to embrace the World Wide Web we probably have information posted at these sites, in addition to login credentials, that reveals enough about us to make us vulnerable to social engineering efforts.

Conversely, the login information may very well be the same as the credentials we setup at other sites that contain even more sensitive and valuable information, at least this is what the hackers are banking on, figuratively and literally.  People tend to use the same login credentials across accounts and this is an Achilles heel for all of us.

Over the years, we’ve been encouraged to create stronger and more unique passwords.  At work you’re most likely required to do so.  In fact, more and more commercial sites are requiring the same thing as well as requiring that you change your password frequently, at least more frequently than most of us like.  I do find some of the security questions interesting since many of the suggested ones are things that hackers find by way of social engineering to include mother’s maiden name, street where you lived, etc., which is why the forgotten sites that you may have used the same login credentials as MySpace can be lucrative for hackers and identify thieves.

So, if you’re a creature of habit and have used basically the same login credentials at multiple sites for years, you may want to consider changing your password at sites where you’re registered, especially those with access to financial, medical and other personal information.

For more info on the MySpace data up for sale and how to set a more secure password the following links will help:,2817,2368484,00.asp

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Tweeting for the First Time! by DL Larson

I've enrolled in a class for writers. I want to learn more about tweeting and twitter. Today I'm supposed to tweet 10 pitches. Up to 10 pitches of my sci-fi romance. I feel as if tweeting is something kin to playing scrabble. I have 140 characters to explain my book. In that 140 characters, I must include #SFFPIt - the hashtag regarding the pitching that is going on today in the sci-fi genre. In that 140 characters, I must include what type of Sci-fi, so I included SFR. That stands for Science fiction romance. That takes 12 characters out of my 140 character limit.

I angst over these pitches. I have a two-part book. Do I pitch the first part that leads into the second part? Or do I jump over the first part and attack the second part? I need a hook, a hero, a stake, and an inciting incident.
OR ...
I could have a hero, conflict, desire.
Or ...
I could have a hero, setup and a twist. You get the idea. The possibilities are numerous. But what is the best way to form the pieces together to entice an agent to want to see more? Only the writer can determine that. And that brings me right back to the angst part of my day.

Last night our small community was hit with three tornadoes. Everyone is fine. Our home still stands, a machine shed was damaged and we have fields of damaged crops and standing water. We have been without electricity for 24 hours. We cleaned debris and tree limbs out of my daughter's yard. It took hours and hours and hours. And all the while I'm dragging branches and raking sticks and leaves, I'm trying to conjure up the perfect tweets for my book.

I've only tweeted one so far today - because the electricity just came back on! I don't believe I have anything fantastic to offer. But for my first time at tweeting a pitch, I'm happy to have tried.

Here they are:
#SFFPIt Wolf works nights. Ancestral spirits help him kill a dragon. The Lord heard his plea. If only insanity could be cured so easily.
This is within the 140 characters, but I didn't mention it was a romance. A colleague was confused by the Lord part. So I continued on with a different approach. He suggested I introduce Part 1 rather than part 2 (the above one is about part 2.)

#SFFPIt #SFR Wade, a priest & killer, loves Rock 'n Roll. A snoopy reporter tip-toes into his life. How can he fall for a human? Part 1-2
 This one explains the beginning of my story, and hopefully the oddity of being a priest and a killer, and intrigued by a human. 

#SFFPIt #SFR Wade protects his werewolf prince. They are considered aliens on Earth. No one knows they exist, except the enticing reporter.
Does this one show a bit of intrigue? I don't know. I'm still not happy with my pitch. But does it say enough to want to read another pitch? 

#SFFPIt #SFR Wade forgets he loves the human, Tracy. She fears the werewolf will kill Wade because he's wounded from the dragon slaying. 
When a book has many layers, it's unclear to me which avenue will bring the most interest. But in this order, the pitches begin to form a story. Enough to attract an agent? I have no answer to that.

#SFFPIt #SFR Wade knows the wolf better than anyone. Priestly chanters protect Wade even though they can't stop Wolf from attacking him.
This will be my last pitch because I've run out of time. Maybe it will be enough to draw some interest. Either way, I've learned a great deal about twitter and tweeting. And I've learned pitching is intense and confining at the same time. Maybe that's the true purpose. How well can a writer tell her story?

'Til next time ~

DL Larson

visit me on twitter: DL_storyteller

Friday, June 10, 2016

Hacks for Writers

It’s interesting to think of hacks for writers since the words hack and writer have traditionally meant something rather unpleasant.  In fact, being called a hack in any profession has traditionally meant that the person in question was lacking.  So, it’s ironic that hacks have become so popular.

Hacks tend to cut corners so many of the hacks, or tips, basically seem to provide a shortened method of doing something or reaching a goal.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but sometimes when I read some of the hacks for whatever area is being discussed, I’m not always convinced that the shortcut is the best way to do things.

Most lists of hacks focus on 5-10 items but there is a website that lists 1000 hacks for a variety of categories.  My first thought was that I need a hack to get through the long list but I must admit that some of the hacks listed are quite useful.  It does help that they are organized by category, which in a way is a type of hack, and quite a useful one.

So, in the spirit of hacks as a way of helping writers doing something faster or to accomplish a goal here are a few hacks of that I use:

-Capitalize and/or change the font to bold for a particular word in your manuscript to make sure that it is being used appropriately.  The word very comes to mind as one example.  You will know very quickly if you overuse this word by changing the font to bold.
-Put markers in your work as you are writing or rewriting so that you don’t stop and take a side trip that takes you away from finishing the work in question.  I often tag paragraphs with the words research or verify so that I can come back to it after I’ve written a scene or chapter and not get bogged down in details that while important are minor compared to finishing the writing in question.
-Keep a cut file for all those gems that you have to eliminate in the rewrite.  You just might be able to use them in another work and if you change your mind later on and want to put it back in your work then you will know where to find it.
-Keep your research notes in a separate file so that you don’t inadvertently violate copyright laws.  Copy and paste can be both useful and detrimental depending on how they are used.
-Email a copy of your work to yourself periodically so that if you don’t remember to backup your computer, all is not lost.

There – that’s five hacks.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Five Things

1 - Crowdfunding for writers:

We’re seeing more references to successful crowdfunding by writers such as the ‘Rebel Girls’ effort by the founders of Timbuktu Labs:

But before you go down the crowdfunding road take a moment to consider if it’s the right journey for you as outlined by Jane Friedman one of her recent blog postings:

2 – An updated list of the top 30 websites for Indie Authors:

3 – An Indie success to admire:

4 – Something to think about:

5 – Indie Book Reviews:

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Roald Dahl, A Tribute To His Legacy! by DL Larson

This is a picture of Roald Dahl, author. He is known for many children's books. You may recall James and the Giant Peach, (1961) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ,(1964) The Fantastic Mr. Fox, (1970) The BFG, (1982) Giraffe and Pelly and Me, (1985) Matilda, (1988) and My Year, (1993) published after his death. The list goes on and on, but these are many of the American favorites.

He didn't begin his writing career until after his children were born. He wrote in the small hut (pictured) at the edge of his garden. And my favorite, since I too favor this technique ... he wrote in pencil on yellow paper.

Roald Dahl was born in Wales, 1916. He was a fighter pilot in WWII. Much of the world will celebrate his 100th birthday this summer. Disney has The BFG coming out in July, directed by Stephen Spielberg. If you'd like to watch the trailer, google: Disney's The BFG. The official trailer will come up.

I received a poster at my library as a promotion for the upcoming movie. We still have the book, The BFG, in our classic section. I brought it home to read. The story comes to life immediately with an orphan girl being abducted by a giant. From there the action keeps going. I'm not quite finished, but I do believe the Queen of England will take a significant part in the resolution of the story.

This book is exactly what I've been looking for my upcoming summer reading program. This book will fit nicely with our theme "Challenge Yourself - READ." The story is full of action, misunderstanding and misconceptions, with a 'try at all cost' emphasis. Dahl subtly shows the reader how narrow-minded we human beans are.

Dahl reminds me of Dr. Seuss with his whimsical made-up words. In The BFG, the giant taught himself how to read, and although his speech pattern is a bit roughysided, he's understandable!  It's scrumdillyious. And a twister to the tongue at times. Dahl created or made up 238 words in The BFG. He called it gobblefunk.

Many of Dahl's books have become movies. He wrote the screenplay for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, as well as You Only Live Twice. He wrote adult fiction, specializing in short stories for magazines. His work could be found in Ladies Home Journal, The New Yorker, Playboy, and many others.

Another thing I admire about Roald Dahl: Writing and English were not his best subjects in school. Oh, how I love hearing that about other authors. My English teachers in high school and college repeatedly told me I was too chatty with the readers. I believe I was blogging and didn't know it! Another told me it felt too much like a movie in her head. One of Roald's grammar school teachers wrote on his report card: "I have never met anybody who so persistently writes words meaning the exact opposite of what is intended." (taken from mentalfloss article/527-17/11)  Such is the life of a writer who prefers imagination over perfection.

Roald began writing at a request from another writer, C.S. Forester, who was looking for a story about a soldier who had been on the front lines during the war. Dahl agreed to write something and ended up writing an article he called, "A Piece of Cake." He was paid $1,000. The title was changed, but not much else. The article came out as, "Shot Down Over Libya."

Have you read any of Roald Dahl books? If so, what is your favorite? Have you seen any of the movies?
Do you remember any of his jumbly words?

'Til next time ~

DL Larson

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Authors, Remember The Logistics of Pet Ownership

The hubby and I are planning the logistics of our next trip to the cottage in Wisconsin. Much has happened since the last time we  vacationed. The saddest of all was the deterioration of our Amstaff, Rascal, whom we'd loved for almost eleven years, and who crossed the Rainbow Bridge in November.

Happiest, was the addition of our Miniature Pinscher, Buster,whom we adopted shortly thereafter to take our minds off our loss, and to provide a home for an animal in need.

Rascal was getting up in years and had been with us since a puppy. She knew what was accepted and what wasn't. Two-and-a-half year old Buster, on the other hand, still needs training, although I must say, he does very well in obedience classes.Also, he's very adept at giving us kisses.

Anyway, we're figuring out our strategies ahead of time to keep our little animal safe, so we can all have a good time. When we're away from the cottage, we may need to put him in one of the bedrooms and close the door. That sounds like a possible solution, but, there are other matters to consider, such as blocking off any targets of exploration in that room, such as under the bed, where objects are stored. Then there's the dresser, above which is the TV, and underneath runs the cable and electric wires. We'll set up barriers and see if that will work. Otherwise, we may need to resort to placing him in a crate when we're gone. 

Of course, we'll also need to keep him company and make him feel at home in the new environment, along with addressing his physical needs, such as walks, food and water.

Why am I mentioning this on a book blog? When writing fiction, it's important to make fiction seem authentic and believable. I enjoy reading books where dogs are included, and I also like watching movies where a pet plays a small or large role. However, often it seems a dog is added merely for decorative or emotional purposes, and the logistics of dog ownership are absent. 

Matters such as where a pet is allowed to stay in the home and the reasons are not always revealed to the reader. What's even more irksome is when a book character gets up, and no mention is made about seeing to the animal's needs. Let the poor dog out, please, and give it some food and water!
Instead, the book character leaves and goes about life trying to solve a mystery, or falling in love. Then, later, when the character deigns to come home, whatever time that may be, the animal sometimes is greeted, other times ignored, along with its needs. 

So, if you decide to add a dog or other pet in your book, remember that I and other pet owners are not happy if an imaginary animal is treated poorly. I beg you, when including a dog or other pet in your book, remember the logistics of pet ownership.

R.I.P. Rascal - Here she is in her younger
 years in the backyard with Morgan Mandel.

Find all of Morgan Mandel's books at

Also, find excerpts and descriptions at:
Twitter: @Morgan Mandel