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Showing posts from May, 2022

Is It Time For My Swan Song?

I’ve kind of been in the mud the last few months, maybe longer, but reading the latest posts by my brilliant blog-mates told me that I wasn’t alone. It’s been a difficult time for so many. Wars, gun violence, the murder of children, homelessness, and political discord have filled the news and social media. We’d have to have a hard heart not to let it bother us. Most of us would say we are lucky to be in the situations we’re in and be grateful for that, but we grieve for those who aren’t.  For me, the respite has been visiting my grandkids, who are free from all the angst of the world’s problems, as children usually are. It’s a change of pace watching Booba on TV instead of news, though we’re careful not to let our anxieties rub off on the children. Kids growing up in today’s environment of conflict and hate-mongering must absorb some of it no matter how careful the adults try to keep their young minds on youthful projects. I grew up in a different time. Simpler, with a more united p

When is Promotion Too Blatant?

Here on the Blood-Red Pencil blog we've looked at marketing from a lot of different angles. There are professionals whom we can hire to help us promote our books, and that's probably the easiest way if we have the budget for that. Or, if we're published with a major publishing house, and they simply adore our books, they'll often have a marketing plan for it. For the rest of us who are published by smaller houses, or totally self-published, the challenges are greater, and we have to find creative ways to market without becoming a pain in someone's inbox. We also have to balance writing time with marketing time. Something that's not always easy to do. This is where AI can be a game-changer for authors  who don't want to spend all their precious writing time doing marketing and promotion. Having been in this publishing game for more years than I'd like to publicly admit, I've seen trends in promoting wax and wane. When my first books were published by

Has Our Changing World Changed Our Writing?

We've touched on huge worldwide changes, especially over the last two years. We've bemoaned the discouragement we've felt as writers. Instead of rolling with the horrific punches that have been thrown our way, we sometimes roll up in a ball and let those changes kick us to the curb and maybe down into the storm sewer. Giving up the ghost, as the saying goes, seems easier than rising up to fight the obstacles we never expected to face in our lifetime. Forgive the clichés. They were used intentionally to make a point. They're called clichés because they're old, tired, trite, overused, etc. Sometimes, we feel like that — at least I do. I've lived during WW2, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam Conflict, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and these few don't even begin to paint the real picture. Google lists 285 armed conflicts since I was a 7-year-old. That's a lot in just 76 years. Even though I may be the oldest one here, it's fair to assume we all have been

Editing for Voice

One of my favorite things about editing and publishing the LOW DOWN DIRTY VOTE series is the astonishing range of voices the stories present. During submission season, I honestly feel like I’m the richest person in the world because of all the wonderful stories that I get to read before anyone else! That said, every story is edited. Volume 3, whose theme was “The Color of My Vote” attracted a few first-time writers, which presented an interesting challenge: to edit the stories without killing what was unique about the stories—without quashing their voice. No crime seems as bad to me as killing a writer’s voice. Low Down Dirty Vote For example, one story came in full of extremely long paragraphs and used a lot of flowery language, uncommon in crime fiction. But the author writes in a tradition different from my own. His voice is deeply woven into the traditions of a different country and life experience from my own. And his unedited story had moved me deeply, sparked my imagination. So

A Kindle Vella Blog Hop

I have been a Kindle Vella author for over four months now and am still loving it! One of the best things is the intensely supportive Kindle Vella author community on Facebook and other social media venues. When Benjamin X. Wretland, a fellow member of Colorado Writers and Publishers, announced he was putting together a blog hop, I couldn't resist joining in.  Here's your opportunity to meet a few other members of this new Amazon platform and read the first three chapters of their books for free on your smartphone! Genre: Action & Adventure / Teen & Young Adult  Click to Read Alexandros Iraklidis, a timid farm boy on the Greek island of Anafi, yearns for adventure and a new life away from his family farm and the routine in which he feels trapped. At the prompting of his friend and the gift of a stranger, the boy flees to discover a new life in Crete. When a storm at sea robs him of the chance, Alexandros finds himself stranded on a neighboring island with no way to ret

Scorpion-Readers and the Writers Being Stung (Podcast Episode 2)

  Episode 02 - Scorpion-Readers and the Writers Being Stung Transcript and links: A scorpion asked a busy beaver for a ride across the river. The beaver complied, and that time it was fine. Other scorpions heard about the deal and arrived for a lift across the river. The beaver began spending more time giving lifts to scorpions than he did building his dam… so he asked the scorpions to each carry a small twig to help with the dam building. And for a while that was fine. One day one scorpion took offense at the request and halfway across the river he dropped his twig and stung the beaver. “Why did you do that?” cried the beaver with his last few breaths. “You’ve killed me for no reason. The other scorpions now have no one to help them across the river. And what about you? You’re going to drown.” “Don’t care,” said the scorpion. “I’ll just float here until another beaver comes along.” [Music] Author, how shall I harm thee? Let me count the ways. Piracy, copyright theft, and plagi

Writers Gotta Read, Right? Mother's Day

My idea of an ideal Mother's Day is settling into my "reading chair" with a cuppa coffee, something to nibble (chocolate?), and a BIG stack of books that I've yet to read! For those who might feel likewise, or have young'uns to read to, we offer up some lists of books that have a Mother's Day theme. From Pixabay Let's start with books for the grownups... The Cozy Mystery List has a Mother’s Day Mystery Book List Janet Rudolph's Mystery Fanfare chimes in with Mother's Day Crime Fiction and Mysteries   The Washington Post provides For Mother’s Day: 11 books for moms who — more than ever — need an escape From Good Housekeeping we get 26 Gripping Books for Moms Who Love to Read Goodreads always comes through. There's 305 books (a mix of toddler to adult) on this Mother's Day Books list Goodreads also has a shelf of Mothers in Literature   And how about a list of books featured on the