Book Beat Babes

Book Beat Babes

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Summer Goals

School is out this coming week and summer vacation (Yay!) is almost upon me. As always, I have high hopes of getting a lot of writing tasks done.

To keep myself on track, I find having a written list of things to aim for works best for me. So, over the summer I hope to accomplish:

*Setting up a Twitter account and being active on it.

*Putting together an Amazon author page.

*Adding a few 'fun' things to my web-site: pictures, a sub-page for my series, etc.

*Finishing and submitting my WIP.

*Beginning the first book in my new series.

And, I think that's enough for the moment. I'm sure other minor things will come up as well, but I also have other plan and goals not related to writing, so I don't want to overwhelm myself or set my sights too high.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!

Debra
www.debrastjohnromance.com

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Minute to Win It! by DL Larson

I'm helping with a high school class reunion this year. It's scheduled for mid-June and I'm in charge of our class olympics.  It's been fun and a challenge to come up with games that all middle-aged people can play. My goal is to not leave anyone out.

This may not sound like writing, but it has turned into quite a writing project. I've selected a few games off of Pinterest, and the rest, I've thought up on my own. I have fifteen minute to win it games.

I made a template, so each game will have instructions, object of the game, supplies and the number of people needed to perform the task. Next, I will collect all the materials needed for three teams to play and assemble them for each round of games.

I have games with water, if it is hot. I have games without water, if it is cold. I have food games, I have ball games. I have games where the players will be wearing ridiculous objects or performing silly stunts. And I made sure all the games are G rated. I have no way of knowing who will be in attendance and I certainly don't want to offend someone because of a game.

I've made notes for our MC and instructions for our Team officials.

This may not have been beneficial to my writing career, but it's been a fun diversion from the regular routine of writing. It was writing for a different reason, for a different outcome and I believe I used another part of my brain that likes dreaming up stuff to make people laugh.

So if you are having a family reunion, or a get-together with friends this summer, I urge you to play a game or two. Exercise your writing talent and your imagination in a different direction. Make up a game of your own.


Need something to get you started?

- Hot Air Solo Cup Relay - 2 people needed.
Supplies for each team: several balloons, several large solo cups, bucket (table if possible)
Object: how many solo cups can each team get into the bucket (in one minute.)
Instructions: One player must blow up a balloon inside the solo cup without touching the cup. Once they can lift the cup using only the balloon, they then transfer cup and balloon to their teammate, who can not touch the cup either! The teammate carries the balloon and cup, touching only the balloon to the bucket (at the end of the table or other designated area.)
Once the player has reached the bucket, the player releases the air in the balloon until the cup falls into the bucket. If the cup does not fall into the bucket, it does not count in scoring. Players may use the same balloon or a new one in the time allowed.
Repeat!


Til next time ~

DL Larsonwww.DLLARSON.com





Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Take Out Those Hard Drives

Well, I didn't spend much time writing today. That's because on Saturday there's an electronic recycling event happening in our area.

Every time I get a new computer, I make sure to transfer the important files to the new computer. Still, I'd been hanging on to the old laptop computers, though they were useless in many ways. Two had Windows 98 still, another had Windows XP and was prone to stalling. None had enough memory. The hubby also had a Windows XP that needed recycling.

So, today was the day to get those laptop computers ready to be recycled, not an easy task. For each of the four computers, I had to locate the hard drive and remove it. Amazing how the hard drive turns up to be in so many different places!

Early on, I decided to Google and find out where to look. That helped quite a bit, although at times it was still hard to find the right video to show me what to do. Then I had to tackle all those little screws in all the weird spots.

Still, it was important to remove those hard drives, and I did it! Next step will be hitting them with a hammer or maybe dunking them in water, or both, so no one can retrieve sensitive information off of them. At least the hard drives are small, so I don't expect that chore to be as difficult as removing all those little screws.

Find Morgan Mandel's mysteries and
romances on her Amazon Author Page:
http://www.amazon.com/author/morganmandel

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/morgan.mandel
Twitter: @MorganMandel



Saturday, May 23, 2015

Cover Change by Margot Justes



Covers sell books, that is the first thing as readers that we look at, then the back, maybe the first page or two, but the cover is what grabs the attention.

I'm doing something I've never done before, I have a new cover for a paranormal book released in 2013. The old cover below was artsy, but lacked intensity and boldness. 







Cheers,
Margot  Justes
Blood Art
A Fire Within
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
and coming in July A Hotel in Venice
www.mjustes.com

Friday, May 22, 2015

So Many Choices!

So, I’m looking at a couple of options for self-publishing going forward.  I really do not like to do all the formatting myself, deploy my work to all the platforms out there, and I don’t want to have to directly hire someone – or many "someones" – to do the work for me.  So, I’m reviewing a number of one-stop sites for my publishing needs so I can be more focused on my writing.

One site that really, really caught my eye is the Self-Pub Startup GateKeeper Press and their website is very compelling:

http://www.gatekeeperpress.com/

A recent article in Publishers Weekly boasted that authors earn 100% royalty and of course that’s because authors pay for the service up front:


I like the idea of having the choices they offer so if there is actually a part of the book production process that I want to do, such as pick my own cover – because there are sites that do support this in a very cost effective way – or, choose my own editor, then the package structure that GateKeeper Press offers is fairly reasonable and flexible.  At least, that’s the impression I have from the research I’ve done so far.  I haven’t actually signed up for any of their services yet.

BTW – here’s a link to one of the book cover sites that I found:


But now there is another intriguing option:


Vook isn’t new but they’ve done a recent retooling of sorts that make them an attractive option as well but I need to know more.  As the article indicates, Vook recently acquired both Byliner and Booklr which combines some powerful tools and opportunities for authors.  The new platform is called Pronoun and according to the article and the CEO of Pronoun, “…the global self-publishing market is a $100 billion…” business.  That’s b for billion – BUT I have to wonder how that breaks down in terms of how much of that money actually makes it into the hands, or bank accounts, of the author producing the work.

It just might be intriguing to publish different works with the different platforms just to see how they compare.  I guess I’d better get busy writing.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Who Needs Cardboard?

Cardboard's flat, and  may come in handy for packing.
When it comes to book characters, it won't get you anywhere. Whatever you do, don't write a cardboard character. What's that, you ask. It's a one dimensional character, who doesn't seem real. Here are some ways to give your characters dimensions:
  1. Family - People don't come from nowhere. Offer some kind of information of a character's family, even if it's only the basics of whether or not he or she is the only sibling. To expand, you can throw in tidbits about the jobs, habits, good or bad qualities of family members. 
  2. Experiences - Unless your character is a newborn, he or she will have memories of the good and bad things which happened before the story begins. Dot in a few of those experiences here and there, but not too much, so readers can understand how and why your character thinks or behaves.
  3. Goal - There must be something your character is striving for, even if it's only to be left in peace. Offer hints about what your character wants.
  4. Emotions - In subtle or even obvious ways, show how your character reacts to various situations. An eye twitch, a furrowed brow, kicking something across the room, swearing, blinking back a tear, or outright sobs, are some ways to show your character has feelings.
  5. Health issue - Whether it be existing or brought about by the plot, you can easily slide in ways to make a reader worry about your character's well being. The possibilities here are endless. They can be something beyond that person's control, or not. Either way will work. A character may be an alcoholic, or maybe get drunk only once, but at exactly the most dangerous time in the plot. A character could get into an accident, even while completely sober, and suffer minor or catastrophic injuries. Or the character may overeat in times of stress, and is slightly overweight.  
  6. Hobby - You can easily include a hobby for your character, either one you enjoy, or one you wish you enjoyed. Joanna Campbell Slan uses scrapbooking in her books. Because of that, she gathers a huge audience of scrapbookers. A few other examples are stamp or coin collectors, attending garage, yard, and rummage sales. I'm sure you can come up with other ones that can round out your character, and as an added bonus, may also pull in specific hobbyists.
  7. Obsession - In large or small ways, your character absolutely craves something. It might be an unattainable person or object. It could be demanding perfect order in appearance or a dwelling. The opposite obsession could be slovenliness or hoarding. Or, a character could get caught up in gambling. Reading, watching TV, and movies, can also become small or large obsessions.
Can you think of other ways? Or, maybe you'd like to mention a multi-dimensional character in one of your own books or someone else's.

Find all of Morgan Mandel's romances and
mysteries at her Amazon Author Page:

Excerpts of her books are at:

Connect on Facebook:
Twitter: @MorganMandel

Monday, May 18, 2015

Zombie Book Prequel Coming Soon!

Yes, I've been busy. The editing is nearly done and it'll be sent shortly to the formatter...

Remember Becca, the girl who turns part-zombie? Well... what happened to her cousin before he came home?

Coming Soon! A short story prequel to my book, Girl Z: My Life As A Teenage Zombie
 (cool cover, huh?)

** NOW OUT! ** 

In the zombie short story - CHANGES: A GIRL Z Prequel, Spence’s “perfect” job is anything but. He escapes a living dead nightmare when his co-workers turn into flesh-eating monsters. As the plague spreads, Spence heads home hoping to see his family one last time... if he can make it.

Get it at:
All formats - Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/543942
All Amazon Links: http://authl.it/B00XWWO79S


cverstrate.com


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Garage Sale

This weekend was the community garage sale in my town. I coordinate a sale for the Historical Society. We ask for donations and use the sale as a fundraiser. It's all in the name of 'one man's trash is another man's treasure' and all that. In the past, we've done pretty well. This year, the weather was a bit strange and we have a lot of leftover furniture to figure out what to do with.

At any rate, it made me think that cleaning out and organizing is a lot like editing. I think I've made this comparison before.

The Keeper Pile - This is the good stuff. Those perfect sentences. Realistic dialogue. Just the right phrasing. Enough description to convey the setting, but not too much to overshadow the story. Leave it right where it is.

The Recycling Pile - This is the stuff that's good, but doesn't work in that specific place in the story. Sometimes scenes need to be rearranged to help the story flow better. Cut and paste to a new location.

The Giveaway Pile - This stuff isn't necessarily bad, it just doesn't work for this particular story. Cut it, save it, and maybe come back to it for another book.

The Trash Pile - This is the stuff that doesn't need to be there. It doesn't stay on theme. It doesn't move the story along. It serves no purpose. Hit delete and don't look back.

It all comes down to organization.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!

Debra
www.debrastjohnromance.com


Friday, May 15, 2015

Did You Hear?



Kensington Publishing Corp. has added two new imprints to the publisher’s Digital-First Line.  According to the article at Publishers Weekly this relates to the Lyrical Press acquisition that Kensington made in 2014.  The two imprints are Lyrical Shine (Contemporary Romance) and Lyrical Underground (Thriller, Mystery, and Horror).  Here’s the link to the Publishers Weekly article:


And here’s the link to the company’s website submission page:


According to the website they are looking for all types of romances as well as many other genres so it’s worth a look.

In other publishing news:

Simon & Schuster is partnering with Foli which is a mobile content delivery service and the target locations for this union are airports, museums and hotels.  This is a very interesting development IMHO because it can tie a writer’s work with an element or setting of their story.  So, for example, according to the Publishers Weekly article, “David McCullough’s The Wright Brothers will be a feature selection at the National Air & Space Museum,” as well as other locations.  Apparently the availability is limited to three days and at the venue in question but the reader can buy the book at anytime.  Pretty cool!  Here’s the link to the article:


This next article titled, Amazon Publishing Marches On, is interesting for me because not only does it explore the publishing empire that Amazon has built so far but it provides two charts – one that lists Amazon’s bestsellers for 2014 and the other that lists the publishing company's imprints and their focus in publishing.  Good stuff!  Here’s the link:


So, lots of good information to reference and process for the Indie author this week.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Making the most of a Writer's Magazine by DL Larson

My RWR issue has been on my kitchen island for several days now. I haven't moved it for fear it will get lost in my office and I won't remember to read it. The May 2015 issue of Romance Writers Report has wonderful information in it. This issue the 2015 RITA and Golden Heart Finalists are listed. Windy City member, Sonali Dev is a RITA finalist with her debut book, A Bollywood Affair.

Congratulations, Sonali!

Also mentioned in the May issue, are the authors who passed away this last year, including Cathy Linz, a Windy City member. Cathy was one of the first people I met when I joined Windy City. I remember her red cowboy boots and friendly smile. She teased me about my big book and how it weighted down the gift bags that were handed out to the librarians and book sellers at our Appreciation Dinner. The year was 2005. I was glad to see Cathy was remembered on the RWR list, and at the same time, I wanted to see a whole page devoted to her. She was such a HUGE part of why I stayed connected with the Windy City chapter.

Several other articles caught my attention too. Here's just a few:
'How to SUCK at Self-Promotion."
"But they mean well! When People Are Too Helpful."
"Breaking Free of Distractions"
"Scene Stealers"

If you do not currently subscribe to a writer's magazine, I urge you to. Each month valuable and applicable information is at your fingertips. I may not always read my writer's magazines the day they arrive, but I always read them. And I always, find something worthwhile and uplifting to store away in my writer's tool kit to use when its needed.

So, my grandkids just left and I'm too tired to work on my WIP. Sounds like the perfect time to sit back and read RWR.

Til next time ~

DL Larson
www.DLLARSON.com

 

Friday, May 8, 2015

What's the Word?



Words are very important to writers – I think everyone who writes will agree with this.  Well, if you haven’t visited it yet, Dictionary.Com will provide you with not only words of the day and their meanings but also word facts, internet slang, what terms mean and more.  In fact, the site recently unveiled its newest entries with a focus on technology terms, which shouldn’t be a surprise given the explosion in social media and the technology that goes along with it.

Here’s the link to an article about the new words, terms and updated meanings:


From the word dox, which means, “to publish the private personal information of (another person) without the consent of that individual,” to the updated meaning of gesture, “a particular movement of the fingers or hand over a screen, used to control or interact with a digital device,” the word list is an interesting read.

I remember the first time I heard my daughter refer to someone as a tool!

So, depending on which genre you are writing in, having a resource such as Dictionary.Com can be very useful.  Another useful site to reference is Webopedia.Com, particularly their Text Messaging and Online Chat Abbreviations. Here’s the link:


Something else that caught my eye recently is an article about a new app called Thred.  I haven’t had a chance to check it out yet but it could prove useful for writers in marketing their novels.  Currently, it is only available for the iPhone and iPad.  It is meant to be a mobile tool (not the same meaning as what my daughter had expressed) and the company web site emphasizes that it is exclusively designed for the mobile environment.  So, I think that it is reasonable to expect that it will expand to other mobile platforms in the future.  Here’s the link to the article which will link you to the app site.


This could prove to be an interesting way to produce a different kind of “book trailer” to distribute through social media.  The article references photo stories but a book trailer really is nothing more than a visual way to get readers interested in your work.  Photo stories can accomplish the same result IMHO – don’t know what this acronym means?  Take a moment and look it up in the link above.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Life Intrusions

I was rolling along with a new project, getting writing time in everyday and making some decent progress with my page counts.

Unfortunately, it's a busy time of year, and I haven't put fingers to keys in over a week. It's nearing the end of the school year, so there are a lot of finishing-up type projects going on in addition to the day-t-day routine of grading papers, lesson planning, and 'crowd control'. We have two faculty members retiring, so I'm planning a luncheon and the gifts for that. The weather has been beautiful, so there's been yard work to do. And I got my galley files back on Christmas at The Corral which I haven't touched yet.

In my writers' group we call these things 'life intrusions'. What it comes down to is my WIP will languish for a bit. And I have to be okay with that. Something has got to give if I don't want to wind up a giant stress ball...well, more than I am already...so it's going to be that. I have to make myself not worry about it. All in good time, I'll get back to it.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!

Debra
www.debrastjohnromance.com

Friday, May 1, 2015

E-books and the Physical World



So, when one hears the term e-book one tends to think online resources and a portable reading device.  One doesn’t necessarily think to find an e-book in a physical store or library but that has actually been changing for a while now, albeit slowly, to include the establishment of the first bookless public library in San Antonio, Texas.  The BiblioTech has a catalog of 10,000 e-books according to an article in Oct 2013 – here’s the link:


What’s really interesting is that this bookless library is in an area of San Antonio where 40% of the neighborhood households (at least at the time of the article) lack a computer and half lack access to broadband/internet services.  So, the absence of technology in one area helped give birth to the use of it in another area.  As they say, life is stranger than fiction at times.

Here’s the link for the BiblioTech library – it’s really cool so check it out but it appears to only be available to those who live in the county, which is not unusual for a public library.


However, libraries still have the challenge of the cost of bringing e-books to their patrons, so this library in San Antonio is a bit of a marvel in my opinion.  An obvious thought would seem to be that e-books would cost less than the physical books but they often cost more so it’s not unusual for libraries to have more limited content for e-books than the actual physical choices.  Still, it also depends on the preferences of the library patrons which can vary widely throughout the country. Some patrons still lean towards having a physical book.

Libraries, and the many reader programs they offer, are often a great place for writers to build their reader base or even for new writers to become discovered so when libraries suffer so do readers and writers.  Libraries have also been under increasing budget pressures which, according to librarians with whom I have talked, can greatly impact on their e-book purchasing decisions.  So, if you are an Indie published author and you only have the e-book format available there can be significant challenges to placing your book in a wide enough selection of libraries to increase your reader base.

In the end it all comes back to discoverability.  Just because you write it doesn’t mean they’ll read it, especially if they can’t discover you.  Writers connecting with readers, a challenge that has been around, well ever since there have been writers and readers, is truly the second most important pillar for writers – the first is completing the writing project in the first place.