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Showing posts from March, 2022

Goodbye, Dog Days!

The original title of this piece was "Old Dogs, New Tricks". Then I recalled using that same title in 2016. But that's okay. I like my new title better.  The phrase "dog days" kept nagging at me, so I conferred with Merriam-Webster to get a clear understanding of the term's meaning. Often said in reference to the hot, muggy time between early July and early September, it refers to the typically uncomfortable, steamy temperatures north of the equator during those two months. Then I saw it had a second definition: "a period of stagnation or inactivity". That pretty well sums up the last two years, thanks to COVID-19 and family. Hence, "Old dogs, new tricks" rolled seamlessly into "Goodbye, Dog Days". We've had some excellent posts recently on the topic of Kindle Vella. I planned to serialize a novel (then 2 or 3 more, perhaps, if the "test drive" went well). However, a brainstorm hit me with unexpected suddenness. Wh

Writers Gotta Read, Right? Women's History Month

Alrighty, folks, we're winding down on Women's History Month (which includes International Women's Day), but that doesn't mean we have to stop reading relevant books on March 31st! So, roll up your reading sleeves, and let's march forward with some reading lists for your consideration: CNN recommends 20 books that are essential reading for Women's History Month   Princeton University Press (ahem, yes, THAT Princeton) offers an impressive nonfiction reading list for consideration Popsugar pops out The 11 Most Popular Books to Read During Women's History Month Here's a GoodReads post on  64 Top Nonfiction Books to Read for Women's History Month  (which includes an almost equal number of comments with more suggestions and some interesting perspectives on the list) Buzzfeed waxes enthusiastic about 9 Fantastic Books That You Must Read for Women's History Month Orion goes poetic with 17 Poetry Collections to read during Women's History Month   Mov

Revisiting Writing Distractions and Old Manuscripts

A few days ago, Polly Iyer wrote about an ugly world that started for her in 2015. Those comments resonated on so many levels for me. I don't remember what I was doing in 2015, but, by 2016 and that dreadful presidential election, my creativity had waned to almost nothing. By the first quarter of 2017, I simply crawled under a rock with 43 J.D. Robb In Death books and read them all consecutively until I was caught up. That took until early April. Then I gardened. A lot.  And tried to paint again. The creative muse didn't like that. My work was simply dreadful. Finally I cooked for a few months. And gained a lot of weight! But I didn't write. Not until I started really thinking about how the country could heal some of its divisiveness. First I wrote some letters to the editor. Then some blog posts.  And then I started thinking about fiction and stories that might help me cope... and maybe also others. I thought about all those JD Robb books, and how they saved my soul and

Writing in the Midst of Too Many Distractions

What’s going on in the world is not a mere distraction in the writing process, it’s a mind-bending, hard-to-fathom series of catastrophes with roots in a few different causes. Let me explain. Without getting specific and naming names, the genesis of my struggles (and I can only specify this post by how it affects me), started way back in 2015 with ugliness rearing its political head, causing a fissure in this country that goes on to this day. We have had divisions in the United States before, but never have they been more apparent, more deeply felt, with two sides locked into their conflicting beliefs, each charting a course that the other side disparages except maybe those that triggered the Civil War. These beliefs are not just polite disagreements but a vicious clash of ideas and direction, steeped in anger and finger-pointing and buoyed by lies and disinformation, promoted by men and women with their own political and personal agendas. Politics has always been a dirty business, g

2022 April - June Writers Conferences and Workshops

Whether a one day session, one week conference, or a month-long writing workshop, writing related events are a good way to commune with other writers. They are opportunities to network and get your name out there. In some instances, you can meet and mingle with editors and agents. Some offer critiques or pitching sessions. Nowhere will you find a higher concentration of introverts enjoying each other's company. Local conferences are a good place to meet potential critique groups or recruit members. Note that information for this list is accurate as to what was available in December 2021. Dates and formats may change. Some events may be postponed or cancelled. Some are free. Some require a fee. Some are more social than others. Many are for new writers, but a few dig deep into craft. You should choose an event that speaks to your needs and desires. Unfortunately, with the pandemic, many in person events have been cancelled. Some have been replaced with virtual events, podcasts, or o

How to nail your book stall display at conferences and events

Last month, my friend  Heather Kindt  and I sold our books at Albuquerque Comic Con, our fifth event where we shared table space, learned and relayed each other’s pitches, and vied for the attention of new readers. This being our fifth time selling together, in addition to each of us attending writing- and book-related conferences individually, we’ve honed what we both believe is key to a successful event:  our display . Event #3: FanExpo Denver, October, 2021   Looks pretty good, right? I’ve boiled down the most important elements to three, all starting with S for easy remembering purposes. You’ll see by the end which one was missing in that FanExpo pic up there. First S: Signage Anyone displaying wares knows signage is important. What’s less obvious is which size, type, and placement is ideal. Let’s take a trip into the past, to our first two events. Event #1 Event #2 Oktoberfest (Event 1) was outdoors, so it didn’t occur to me that my too-small poster (which was fine for

Time Sensitive: Balancing World Events and Writing Business

Note: Contest 1 closes midnight March 9th . Contest 2 closes on March 17th. Scroll down for more details. Many writers don't enjoy the marketing and promoting side of the business of being an author. Myself, included. Those first steps in the overall process - the writing - creating characters - coming up with a plot - finding the perfect setting - and then ending up with a finished novel - are the most satisfying. As Neil Gaiman, who writes the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline , and The Graveyard Book  says, “Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.” Still, we have to promote if we want our books to rise in the rankings at Amazon - the giant retailer that controls so much when it comes to book sales and a force in the business that we can't ignore. There are millions and millions of books listed on Amazon and where does ours land in that mix? Unless an author is with

Keywords and Hashtags

With the advent of Twitter came the use of hashtags and now they are everywhere. When promoting your book, hashtags are now used as keywords. It's important to get them right. So what are they and how do you use them? Here a hashtag, there a hashtag, everywhere a hashtag.  It all starts with the hashtag symbol # plus descriptive words. All keywords are not created equal. If you start to type a hashtag word on Twitter, the number of posts per day will appear, for example #WritingCommunity might say 100 posts today or 100 posts in the last hour. You should ascertain if your chosen keyword is something people are entering into search engines. When using keywords to promote books, make sure they are popular terms that are used enough that it will generate sales. For example #paranormalromance is better than #love or #relationship. If a keyword is extremely popular, there may be too much competition for the word. If so, your book may generate at the bottom of a very long list. #Romance