Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Is Fantasy More Work or More Fun?

Today's guest blogger, Wendy D. Walter, is on a blog tour and I'm happy to be one of her stops.  Wendy is the author of Ambril's Tale, The Return of the Dullaith.  today she discusses writing fantasy - oh, and there's an excerpt from her new novel and a great contest at the bottom.  Read on!

Some of my favorite people have never read a fantasy book. This became uncomfortably clear after I giddily announced that Ambril’s Tale, Return of the Dullaith had just been published. The expression on these friends’ faces veered from shock, to horror, to a quick recalibration of their impression of me…I watched as their regard for me instantly sank to unplumbed depths.

I was shocked. Didn’t everyone love to escape into a place where the good guys wielded magical tools, and the bad ones had breath that smelled like a train wreck of port-a-potties? Apparently not. Even my own mother confessed that she had never read a fantasy book. No Tolkien, not one Harry Potter…not even a Narnia book. After manually closing my mouth, I sat down to think about this.
Rippling Plots and Puzzle Pieces

I love fantasy. The bigger the world, the more ripples in the plot, the more I love it.  Because it allows me to go to that place in my mind that I call home, and make stuff up. Whether it’s in someone else’s world, or one of my own, it doesn’t seem to matter. I adore visualizing the entire puzzle at once, simultaneously trying as many puzzle pieces as I can manage, then working in one more. The challenge is exhilarating. But why doesn’t everyone feel this way?

It really gets down to which way you break. Is fantasy more fun, or more work  for you? I found that people are either  problem solvers, who love to try out a million options. Or they’re people who usually opt for the tried and true solution, the one with a proven track record.

Do Garden Gnomes and Quick Sand Annoy You?

My boxes don’t always fit. But the correlation is there. For some, it really is a grind to imagine garden gnomes coming alive and quick sand spreading out on a library floor. For them, a good story well told must be rooted in our reality, no nonsense allowed.

Fortunately for me, there are lots of people who eat nonsense for breakfast and dream up metallic tree monsters at lunch. Occasionally, some of these folks actually bring these thoughts into reality, and they become faster-cheaper-better kitchen gadgets, jazz music and the String Theory.

I love High-Octane Day Dreams, Do You?

I still quail after receiving glares of consternation when I mention what I do, but I’m getting better at defending my high octane day dreams. Fantasy isn’t for everyone, but if you break down the fun side, be proud. Port-a-potty breathed demons? Bring them on. Quick sand in the library…why not? Just watch your step while you dream big.

Excerpt Chapter Five

Chapter 5: Fowlclun to the Rescue

Ambril sighed as her thoughts brought her back to the present. So here she was, feeling safe and snug. Deep down though, she knew the chicken-legged monster had done her in.
Well, at least her death had been painless. It smelled nice in heaven too, kind of like cookies. But when she tried to turn her head, she realized that she hadn’t made it to heaven yet. Pain shot through her body, making her wince. She was definitely still alive. She gingerly explored the top of her head and found a throbbing lump. Someone had thoughtfully placed an ice-filled cloth on it, which almost helped. That was what covered her eyes. She thought about the chicken-legged monster again. Silhouetted against the sky, the thing had been as big as a house.
So why wasn’t she dead?
Her limited experience with monsters had been that they generally wanted to eat her, not tuck her into bed with an ice pack.
So just where was she? Then she became aware of the odd, rocking sensation again. Wherever she was, she seemed to be moving.
There were also sounds of movement nearby. She heard the whuffle of fabric, the crinkle of paper, and a grating ping, as if someone were hopping around on a metal-tipped pogo stick. There were whispers too. Perhaps the monsters were planning a dinner party–with her as the main course.
She had to find out. Slowly, Ambril reached up and moved the ice pack from her eyes. She was lying in a huge bed layered with patchwork quilts. The vaulted ceiling above her was covered with a fuzzy, warm fabric. Judging by the swinging lanterns hanging from the rafters, they were moving along at speed. She looked around with her eyes half closed. The spacious room was filled with comfortable furniture which had softened with age. As far as she could tell, she was alone. Where were the whispers coming from?
She took another look. There was an old-fashioned kitchen, a huge stone fireplace, and an umbrella hopping around all by itself.
She stopped and looked again.
As she watched, the umbrella flapped its fabric as it preened. The ornate bird’s head carved on the handle yawned and blinked. Ambril scanned the room quickly and swallowed hard when she saw a feather pen sweeping crumbs off a kitchen table.
What had happened to the world? Ambril’s body went rigid as she clamped her eyes shut and wished she could just reset the clock, go to sleep and wake up in her old familiar room with the sound of the streetcars outside.
But what was she thinking? They didn’t even live in San Francisco anymore. In fact, they didn’t live anywhere. Even if she managed to escape, how would she ever find her family? She imagined herself tacking up signs all over the forest:
One blonde mother - One grumpy brother
If found, send up a flare
She had to smile at that and smiling helped calm her. Her breathing evened out just as the whispers became loud enough for her to make out what was being said.
“–Such a slip of a thing and chilled to the bone. How she ever took on a Dullaith is beyond my thinking!” A young girl’s voice tisk-tisked from across the room.

About Ambril's Tale, The Return of the Dullaith
Fourteen-year-old, Ambril struggles with the mystery surrounding her father’s death when she moves back to the mysterious town where she was born. When she accidentally uncovers a secret which threatens to destroy her entire family, she continues her quest, against all odds, to clear her father’s name. But will she be able to claim her magic and and heal the rifts in her family?

Ambril’s Tale, The Return of the Dullaith has received great 4-5-star reviews. Readers are impatiently demanding Book Two, which will be out early Spring 2013.

Giveaway Info

At each blog stop on her tour, Wendy is giving away a prize, a copy of one of her books (paperback or e-book). You can also enter her 12-12-12 Grand Prize Giveaway of a sterling silver pendant of the Tree of Life, and an End-of-Tour Grand Prize Giveaway of a hand-painted gnome, hand-painted by Wendy herself! There will also be some surprise giveaways along the way! Stay tuned!

1)      To win a book: leave a comment on this blog post about who is your favorite hero/heroine to be entered to win a copy of Ambril's Tale: The Return of the Dullaith in paperback or e-book format. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments so we can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. This giveaway ends five days after the post goes live.
2)      To win one of the Grand Prizes: Click the link to go to Wendy's website and enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the page. A winner will be selected on Dec. 12th for the 12-12-12 for the sterling silver pendant of the Tree of Life. Here's Wendy's site:

About The Author: Wendy D. Walter
Writing was an early passion for Wendy. As a kid, she wrote lots of stories, but being shy, they usually ended up under the mattress. When she finally set out to tell Ambril’s Tale, she decided not to write a story but a world, full with her own marvelous illustrations. She considers The Return of the Dullaith as just the curly tip of the fairy boot. Wendy lives near San Francisco with her husband, daughters, cat and border collie. More information about Wendy's book and art, check her site:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

5 Tips on Writing Realistic Dialogue

Ken Myers is the founder & contributor for He frequently researches and writes about a variety of topics, and today he has a few words about writing dialog

     We have all read books where the dialogue was just pitiful. It was either an information dump or so fluffed up we could barely stand to read it. We, of course, do not want to be that writer. But how can you write realistic dialogue, especially in a story with a modern setting? Well, here are some tips: 

1.     Listen – The first thing you should do before ever writing dialogue is to listen to the people speaking around you. Eavesdrop on the people on the bus, listen in at the cafeteria, and incline your ear towards the people waiting behind you in line at the store. You can pick up lots of interesting information on how people really speak by just listening to authentic conversations.

2.     Incomplete – One thing you will notice about these conversations is that people do not speak in complete sentences. They often trail off, leave things unsaid, or are cut off by another person. In close friendships and family relationships it only takes a couple words for a whole idea that would be unintelligible to anyone not in the know to figure out. For realistic dialogue you can do the same thing. Just be careful to be clear in what the characters are communicating.

3.      Easy on the Accent – I know we all love to write characters with accents, but go easy on them please. It can become difficult for a reader to follow along with someone whose dialogue looks like a bunch of consonants. The best thing to do is mention the character’s accent once or twice and throw in an occasional reminder. Let the reader ‘hear’ the accent on their own.

4.      Slang –Everyone uses slang, even if they do not realize they are doing it. You don’t want to get too jargon friendly or your audience might not get everything, but you can throw in a phrase here and there to add authenticity. Just make sure the context explains the word.

5.      Read Aloud –The last thing you should do when you feel like you have your dialogue all ready to go is to read it aloud. If you can, have someone else read with you so you can hear the conversations. When you hear the dialogue read aloud you will get a better grasp of what works and what doesn’t.

These are just a few tips to get your dialogue writing on the right path. It is really up to you and your reader’s taste, but authentic dialogue is something that most people can pick up on, and pick apart, quickly, so it is definitely worth your time to do it right. Happy writing!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Art of Writing for Blogs

Today’s guest blogger, Sara Dawkins, is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor of and I thought a lot of writers could benefit from her experience writing blogs.

As someone who was used to writing for school and technical papers, let me tell you that writing for blogs was a bit of a shock. Oh, sure I’d written a piece or two of fiction in my time and through that had some grasp on writing conversational English, but to write an entire article in that language? Never had it crossed my mind.
Let’s just say you wouldn’t want to go back and read my first blog posts. Not only were they boring to the max, but they were also so stilted that it feels more like reading a college essay then a blog post. It was only after reading other blogger’s work and finally loosening up that I got to the point where I could write conversational English. For those of you just starting out in the blogging world, or if you want to loosen up your writing style for other reasons, here are a few tips for you:
1.      Don’t sweat the small stuff – I know that things like sentence structure and proper formatting were drilled into you from a young age, but at this point you need to throw it out the window. You know how great chefs never use recipes? The same idea applies here. You know what you are doing, now let creativity flow.
2.      Write like you talk – A good rule of thumb is to write like you speak. If you use a lot of big words and complex sentences, then fine. Great. But if you tend to talk more like your average Joe go with that. Use short sentences. Use run on sentences. Use slang and conjunctions. Be human.
3.      Have fun with it – Blogging is supposed to be fun! If you are not having fun writing it then your readers won’t have fun reading it. Laugh, make jokes, be silly.
4.      Don’t plan too much – This is not a research paper. You do not have to outline your topic, come up with a thesis, or hit key points. Yes, you want to communicate effectively, but if you over plan you end up sounding like a robot. Have a general idea of what you want to say and then go with it.
5.      Keep it short – This is important. Blogging is all about brevity. Keeping your blog posts short is the best way to keep readers interested. Do not have huge chunks of text. If you can a list post is great, but if you can’t small paragraphs work well too. Remember that we are all busy people, so help us to make the most of our time and be succinct.
These are just a few little tips on helping you to become a writer who is fun to read. You want to really connect with your readers, in fiction and in bogging and everywhere in between. As always, enjoy what you write or don’t bother writing it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Holiday Festival Fun

With eight novels in print with a small press and a number of major conference appearances under my belt I just spent three days at a craft fair, and I thought it might be fun to talk about why.

When I started as a self-published author I did a lot of this kind of event.  Then I established a strong relationship with Borders Books and enjoyed sitting in one of their stores almost every weekend.  Sadly, Borders is no more, so I decided to backtrack a bit.

So I spent the weekend at the Northern Virginia Christmas Market along with 300 other vendors.  It’s a bit more work than signing in a bookstore.  I had to buy copies of my books.  I had to bring plenty of change (and I got one of those gizmos that attaches to your phone so you can swipe credit cards.)  I had to haul tables, chairs, books, tablecloths, banners, bookmarks, book stands in with me.  I was on my feet most of the time.

On the other hand, I got to talk to a lot of readers, and people with friends who like to read.  In this way I was a big help to some folks with hard-to-buy-for people on their gift list.  I also chatted with a librarian who needs writers to speak at her library, and a couple of book club members who would love to have an author come to their meetings.  I put my postcards, bookmarks and business cards into a lot of hands, and had several people say they’d download me onto their Kindle when they got home.  And I signed 80 or so books that would not have been bought otherwise.

Aside from that, I had a good time chatting with other vendors, and I really do enjoy being face-to-face with readers.  Plus it was a chance to get most of my Christmas shopping done without having to sneak around.

Was it worth it?  Let me put it this way: I’ll be standing at a table doing the same thing in Virginia Beach at another Christmas Market on Thanksgiving weekend, where I expect to sign even more books!

Friday, November 9, 2012

C3 Conference – And Now a Word from Our Sponsors

There is no “how to give a literary conference” kit.  So I’m building one.

When I've attended crime fiction conferences I couldn't help but notice how publishers, large and small, make their presence known.  Those publishers may buy space for posters on tripods, contribute gifts for the attendees or put their name on parts of the conference.  It makes sense – whatever sponsors contribute allows the organizers to lower the cost to attendees.

That’s good for the fans who attend the conference, but what does it really do for the publisher who becomes a sponsor?  It’s all about building their brand.  Sponsoring a conference is a way for a publisher to establish itself as legitimate and professional in the eyes of a room full of readers and authors.  That can lead to increased prestige and increased sales in the future.

We are offering a number of ways publishers can sponsor the Creatures, Crimes andCreativity conference.  For example, they could finance the wine service at one of the dinners.  We’d promote that on the C3 web site, announce the sponsorship at the meal, and invite the sponsor to say a few words.

A company could supply the goodie bags we’ll hand out at registration (with their name and logo on them of course.)  Or they could buy ad space in the conference program.

We’re also looking for someone to supply flash drives for all the attendees.  They could load them up with ebooks, or we can.  And any publisher could supply books to give away to attendees, either published or their Advance Reader Copies (ARCs.).  We’ll put those books in the registration goodie bags, or use them as center pieces at a meal.

To make a big impression, a press could sponsor a meal.  That would earn them one full admission to the conference, a banner on our web site declaring them a conference sponsor with a link to their website, a designated table for their party at that meal, an announcement of their sponsorship at that meal and an invitation for their representative to introduce themselves and make a brief presentation at that meal.  Plus we will post any signage they supply at the conference.

Acorn Book Services is sponsoring Sunday breakfast at the C3 conference, including omelets made to order.  They also came up with a creative sponsorship idea of their own.  Acorn will publish an anthology exclusively for the C3 conference, and supply a copy for every attendee.  Aside from including (and thus promoting) work from Acorn’s authors, all writers who register for the conference are invited to contribute a story.  Check out the submission guidelines on the conference web site.

We hope having publishers help sponsor the conference will pay off for them, and for all the fans and writers who attend. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Get a Free suspense novel TODAY!

I don't often promote specific authors' work here, but Jessie B. Tyson is a dear pal from the British Isles and since her new novel, White Heaven Women is free to download today and tomorrow, I thought I'd beat the drum a little.

Many people believe that we have all been here on earth before, with a different name, different life. Some live their current lives believing they’ll be reincarnated after death. This past life theme is prevalent in movies, television ad novels, including the new supernatural suspense White Heaven Women by British author Jessie B. Tyson.

White Heaven Women is a gripping tale set in Whitehaven, Cumbria, UK. Flashing between 1899/ early 1900s to 2000, readers are introduced to two sisters, Beth and Sarah, and the fate that awaits them.


Why the author wrote White Heaven Women

Where to begin and most importantly, to keep it short. The starting post is usually a good place. When I lived in north England, I was a Home/ Community Support worker for a woman who suffered from Palsy who asked me to write her life story. All went well for a few weeks morning my imaginative muse took over like a control freak- it wouldn’t let me write the truth about her anymore! The only thing in my story that is true now is the existence of blue ghosts.
Listen to the audio on YouTube to see why the author made the ghosts in “White Heaven Women” Blue – a true audio story!



Now, go get your free copy of White Heaven Women at:

Amazon US:-

Amazon UK:-



The charming Ms Tyson would love to hear from you. Contact her at

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Proofreading tips and technique

Today's guest blogger, Brian Carey, wants you to take one more look at your writing.

After an essay or other written work has been done and completed, checking to ensure it’s in the best condition follows. Proofreading work saves a lot of time and ensures that your work doesn’t go in vein. Proofing software is not efficient. This leaves your open option as the manual way. Here are some tips for you:

1.      Concentration

You need to concentrate on your work if you intend to catch the small mistakes. And to do this, you need to rid yourself of all distractions in the room where you are working. This will promote your ability to see the small errors.

2.      Get someone else do the proofing

This is quite straight forward. Professional editors are in the best position to see ambiguity and mistakes in work. Get some help with the proofreading before hitting send or submitting.

3.      Put it on paper

Sometimes it’s hard to proof soft copy.  This is because of how the eyes are naturally made not to tell the accuracy of typed work. Hard copy proofing is the best approach. Print the work out and proof it.

4.      Homonyms

These ate words that share same spellings and pronunciation, yet have different meanings. For most people, words like complement and compliment are distractive. They could spell disaster in an essay or exam test.

5.      Contractions and the apostrophes

Contractions are difficult. Yet, many people make mistakes that include them in their writing. Words like their and they’re can hurt the credibility of your writing if they are not checked. Also check out for instances where you have used apostrophes in plurals. They are never used there and you need to correct that.

6.      Checking for punctuations

A huge part of proofreading work is to check punctuations. This means looking out for words that are capitalized wrongly, missing or extra commas, periods that have been used wrongly and other typos.

7.      Read work backwards

It’s essential for you to start the habit of reading words backwards. This is because, the brains makes and corrects its own mistakes. Whereas this could be amazing in the ideal world, the corrections are wrong. You need to read each word, back to back to determine which one doesn’t make sense.

8.      Check the numbers
 Numbers are often confusing in text. However, humans are mad about numbers.  You never  know what their implications are when they turn out wrong. The best you can do is double checking your number sources. Make sure the numbers you use in the essay or writing is accurate.

Now what kind of proof reader are YOU?  Did you spot any errors in this post, which I put up exactly as I received it?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Writing Creatively after a Career in Academia

Today's guest blogger, Melanie Foster, is a freelance writer , aspiring novelist and business owner. She enjoys writing about her past career in academia, as well as her current ventures in entrepreneurship. Today she has some tips on how to get down to the writing after you've secured that MFA or other writing degree.

Say you're like me, and you spent some time in a graduate program. Part of the reason you enrolled in said graduate program is because you enjoyed writing. Soon enough, however, you realize that academic writing is an entirely different animal from creative or even straightforward, journalistic, non-fiction writing. You leave academia to practice the sort of writing you were passionate about in the first place, but you realize that you've become stuck on the arcane, stilted style of academia. What to do? First of all, it's important to know that your training in graduate school HAS helped you become a better writer because you can form very logical arguments about anything. You know how to exhaustively explore any topic, and this is absolutely essential for any creative writer. You've also become a very close and careful reader. But you have to get rid of some academic writing habits. Here's how:
1.      Start reading the kind of writing you aspire to.
After years and years of reading critical theory, dissertations, and research, your writing style will be doubtlessly influenced by the academic style. The best way to reverse this influence is to simply immerse yourself in whatever form of writing you'd like to write. For example, if you want to write literary fiction, read a bunch of classic and well-regarded contemporary novels. If you'd like to write crime novels, read as many crime novels as you can get your hands on. Of course, read outside your chosen genre, too, to lend some diversity to your style. But always be aware that you'll subconsciously be influenced by the material you read.
2.      Check your work for overly long sentences.
This is the bane of the academic-cum-creative writer's existence. You learned to write very long sentences in school, simply because you had to explain very complicated ideas. Plus, all academics write in a long-winded manner. When you are writing creatively, you'll have to be particularly wary of long or convoluted sentences. The best way to do this is to read your work out loud. If you start running out of breath, and you can hear that your work sounds more like research than like a conversation, you know you're doing something wrong.
3.      Share your work with intelligent, non-academic friends.
All writers are shy about sharing their work with others, especially before they're finished. But for ex-academics, it's especially important to share your work to check if it makes sense. When you were in graduate school, you likely hung out exclusively with fellow academics, and you all talked about the same things and in the same way. Whatever you wrote, you wrote for this specific audience of academics. Showing your work to a non-academic who reads lots of creative writing is best. Make sure also that these friends are brutally honest. If they say your writing is confusing, it probably is. Of course, don't accept all criticism, but take the advice of someone you trust and ask how you can change it to make it more readable.
A lifetime in academia doesn't sentence you to a lifetime of academic prose. It just takes some practice to become aware of academic habits and some work to get rid of them. Good luck!

Melanie welcomes your comments and question.  Comment here, or write to her at

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Real Life vs Fictional Detectives

Today's guest blogger, Jack Meyer is a freelance writer and regular contributor at  While he has a passion for various subjects like education, career and technology, Parenting etc., he also has real-life experience as a police detective.  Today he offers us crime fiction writers some notes contrasting his experiences with the lives of the detectives we make up.

Detective-style television shows or novels can be quite entertaining for those who are in to that genre of entertainment. Although these shows and books are intriguing to watch and read, the role of a detective in real life is much different. The purpose of the fictional detective is to entertain and enthrall you. What differences are there between the men and women of justice, and the actors that portray them?

1. Evidential Time Lapse - Evidence collection is an important part of any investigation. As opposed to the quick response television DNA evidence is processed, it could take several days or longer to process in reality.

2. The Law - Writers can modify techniques and laws to suit the story. Real life detectives have to obey the laws themselves and know how to conduct an investigation. For instance, breaking into a location to possibly acquire evidence could have that evidence thrown out in a court of law.

3. Blasting Away - It is common place to see a war zone break out in the middle of town in an exciting detective movie. However, real detectives would have to account for every bullet fired and mark each one as evidence. That P90 in the trunk would require massive amounts of paperwork.

4. Permissions - Real life detectives don't have the ability to walk onto a location and start an investigation. Without good probable cause or permission from the location's owner, the detective would need to prove that a warrant is necessary. Otherwise, any evidence collected is not admissible in court and would prove fruitless.

5. Timing is Crucial - Fictional detectives have a knack of solving cases within a time frame that watchers and readers are comfortable with to keep his or her attention. Real detectives can spend more than a year trying to solve a mystery, which could become tedious and monotonous to those who relish excitement.

6. Relationships - Many fictional detectives suffer the negative aspects of relationship difficulties as real detectives do. Although this plays into the drama of the story, in real life it is usually a circumstance of a high-stress environment that couples have a hard time getting through.

While some are drawn to becoming detectives in real life, others only want to be entertained. Some may think that the glamor of the detective in entertainment venues is as dramatic and exciting as the real thing. Although it could be an exciting career for some, it could be disappointing for others. Detectives have a purpose when they choose the career, and it's not entertainment.

Jack Meyer welcomes your feedback or questions about true detectives.  You can contact him at

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Any Excuse Will Do

Today's guest blogger is a busy woman.  Sandra Bowman is Marketing Director for Intrigue Publishing, but she's also a published author of urban dramatic fiction writing as B. Swangin Webster.  With all that going on, she still had no excuse to avoid appearing on my blog...

Well, today I am guest starring….well, I think I’m a star anyway, but I’m here on Mr. Camacho’s blog. I first would like to thank him for this award, oh wait; wrong show. But I would like to thank him for giving me an opportunity to talk to his fans about my excuses…I mean re-writing process. Gasp!

See, I had it in my head that although I love, love, love, yes I said it three times, now will my prince appear. Wait, that’s another blog. Ok, back to the topic at hand. I love my first novel, Let Me Just Say This because I wrote it as a high school project back in 1984. Yeah, that was when there were manual typewriters with the correction ribbon. But I didn’t use a manual typewriter.

I wrote it…as in long hand… on eight yellow legal pads. Now more than 20 years ago, nope not telling you my age, I have looked at it over and over and decided that I am such a great writer that I should go back and re-visit my old friends and let them tell me their story, again. In the eyes of a forty-something year old. So I guess I am telling my age, aren’t I?

So the process has been slow going. I mean I have so many distractions. Like I’m now the marketing director of Intrigue Publishing and I have five grandchildren and I work in a middle school and I have to help mentor new authors and…and…oh wait, those are all excuses, aren’t they. Truth is, I wanted to do this and now I have every excuse why I can’t. And let’s not forget; I’m blogging on my own blog AND Mr. Camacho’s.

So see, there are good reasons why I haven’t sat down in over a week to rewrite my first novel. Did I mention I was in a car accident?

But wait, I’m doing exactly what I tell new authors not to do. I’m making excuses. There is no excuse because I have full use of my hands and my computer and laptop are always near me. So I guess there is no excuse but to do it, right? So here I sit, staring off into space when I could be writing and you know what. I am going to do it.

Right after I go outside and plant some flowers, and maybe wash the car and then I have to go to the store. So I’ll do it when I get back, or maybe I’ll do it first thing in the morning, yeah, that’s it. I’ll do it in the morning. I sure hope I have the energy.
Whether you're interested in writing, publishing or attending the C3 Conference, Ms Bowman would love to hear from you.  Message her on Facebook at  or write to  .

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My View of Reviews

I am often asked how to get reviews for a book.  It’s a fair question when fewer and fewer magazines and newspapers have review sections, well known reviewers naturally prefer to review well known authors and even bloggers who review books are inundated with books from publishers every month. 

Blogger reviews are great, and you can get them.  The trick is to network with bloggers.  Start by following the blogs you’d like to be reviewed on.  Post comments often.  When they write a review you really like, tweet it, or if it’s already out there, REtweet it.  BE a fan to GET a fan.  When you send your book out it is much more likely to be reviewed if the reviewer recognizes your name.

Even bloggers who don’t usually review books can help you.  Once they know who you are they might agree to let you post a guest blog talking about your book.  Or, maybe they’ll put an excerpt of your book on their blog.  Many bloggers like to do author interviews, so make sure you offer to answer a few questions. 

Another way to get reviews is to become a reviewer yourself.  I write monthly for The Big Thrill, the newsletter of the International Thriller Writers.  There’s no pay, but it makes networking with other writers in my genre very easy.  And when I have a new book coming out, it is very easy to ask people I have reviewed to take a look at it. 

You don’t have to have connections with a newsletter or magazine to do this.  Post reviews on of books in your genre.  Not only does this put your name in front of their readers, but it makes them more likely to say yes if you ask for a review. 

All the same rules apply to getting reviews in print publications.  Your best bet is to get to know the reviews at local newspapers and magazines.  If they don’t have one, get to know the entertainment writer.  If he’s writing about TV or local theater he might want to review the local author’s work too.  So comment on their articles (so easy now that almost all publications are on line as well) so they’ll get to know your name.

And don’t overlook social media sites.  I regularly post on a Yahoo Group called Kindle Korner and when someone mentions one of my novels I ask them to put their comments where everyone can see.  A lot of the group members have posted reviews of my books.  Other good places to get reviews include Goodreads and Library Thing.  Both sites have easy setups for doing reader giveaways.  Readers can win a free copy of your book if they post reviews.

Of course the most important factor in getting reviews is to write a book worth talking about.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Staying Focused

This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of  This is one writer who knows how to maintain her focus to get her writing done

As a writer, staying focused on my writing is often one of the most difficult parts of my day. I mean, I have so many distractions around me. Facebook and texts, co-workers and family, even music can get me off of my writing train and derail my thought process. In order to stay focused while writing you need to:

1. Keep your cool – Believe it or not the temperature in the room can affect your concentration level. A cool room is better for your brain than a hot one, though if it gets too cold that can cause problems too. But a hot temperature can make you sleepy, nauseated, and even overheated.

2. Keep it quiet – I know that music is your muse, but studies have found that silence works best for higher thinking. If you are just doing point and click tasks then music is fine, but if you are really trying to write turn it off. If you play music to drown out other auditory distractions, then choose your music wisely. Pick instrumental music r songs with lyrics in a language you do not understand to reduce distraction. Keep the sound down low, just loud enough to cover up the other noises.

3. Make time to write – If you do not set aside strict times to write you will never get anything done. There will always be something else to do or someone demanding your attention. Be firm and stay strong.

4. Say no – People will want to disturb you while you are writing. They do not understand that writers get into a flow and once you break it they have a hard time getting back on track. Make sure you tell people no when they come to you with requests during writing time. You can tend to them later, right now is your time to write.

5. Edit later – If you stop to correct every misspelled word or fragmented sentence you will lose your train of thought and everything will take you twice as long. Go back and fix mistakes when you finish writing. Now is the time to keep the flow going.

6. Write down your ideas – One problem that many writers have is that they have tons of great ideas but they feel like they can’t get them out in time. What you need to do is write notes on your ideas. Get them out of your head and down where you can’t forget them. That way you can relax and enjoy writing instead of trying to keep two things (or more) in your head at one time.

7. Reread your work –It is always a good idea to reread what you have written, even if you just finished writing it a minute ago. Every break you take or stop you make is an opportunity for you to lose the focus of your writing. Remind yourself where you were going and what your point was.

     These are just a few ideas to help you stay focused in your writing. There are many more ways that you may find work for you as you write. Remember to keep your eyes on the goal and distractions to a minimum.

Debra Johnson, blogger is a busy writer and editor, but she still welcomes your comments at