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text 2018-10-15 00:45
Instead of downsizing . . . .
Edging Women Out: Victorian Novelists, Publishers, and Social Change - Gaye Tuchman

I bought a book.  ThriftBooks had it for $7 and the Kindle edition is




Um, no.


This was one I used when writing my honors thesis on romance novels, and I had photocopied a lot of pages, added a lot of notes, and the Post-its were sticking out all over the place.  Creating a PDF file would have been next to impossible without re-writing all the notes, so I said the hell with it and ordered the used copy from Thriftbooks.  When it arrives, I will neatly transfer all my notes and then pitch the photocopies.

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text 2018-10-13 04:07

OMG finally. Netflix is developing a Narnia series! YES THEY ARE PERFECT FOR NARNIA! I didn't like Tilda Swinton as the white witch. I grew up watching Barbara Kellerman and her horribly over the top acting ("Can't I have just one piece of Turkish delight to eat on my way home?" "NNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"). Which I adored at 8 years old.



 The first film was fine but the second and third ones took entirely too many liberties from the books which I love (Caspian was hot tho...)I CANNOT WAIT!



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text 2018-10-10 11:30
Facts About Me: Project-Get It Done

As a reader and writer, I'm always facing some deadline or other. I don't always make them. My worst failures are not completing my Netgalley list (which is now at 300+ books) in a timely manner, and not finishing my Devereaux Case Files series. The latter is especially frustrating because I have books 1-9 complete, with book 10 started, and I haven't touched book 10 in 5 years, even though it's the last book in the series.

Now, though, I have different plans for that series, so it's not so awful.

My Netgalley list...well, there's no accounting for that. At first, there were just too many good books and not enough time. Then I spend nearly 6 months either sick myself or with family having serious medical issues. That was unavoidable. The other 6 months that I could have spent catching up were an especially amazing writing-sprint for me, that I just couldn't, as an author, ignore.

But, I have plans. I always have plans, I know. But these are plans in writing.

Does that make a difference?

Well, to me it does. I'm a list maker. And I can't abide having a list with things that aren't complete. But, I also can't abide having a list with a mess of crosses, marks, and notes on it, so I rewrite my lists often, to remind myself of what I've completed and what I haven't. The two best resources I've found are: Spreadsheets in OpenOffice, and Wunderlist, which is amazing.


Wunderlist ~ I find this amazing for a few reasons:

  • I can make numerous lists, which can have numerous items on them.
  • I can make folders, to bundle together appropriate lists which can be minimised or maximised to keep things neat.
  • I can send my lists to my e-mail!! I can even give access to other people, by adding their e-mail address to an approved list. Or I can save it to an online storage account.
  • You can not only sort your lists alphabetically or by creation date, but you can also move them manually, by pressing and holding then dragging them into position. Great for those last minute changes.
  • the whole point of the list is that it's on-the-go and that no matter how many versions you have (phone, tablet, laptop) it will sync between all of them. I can carry it around on my phone or tablet, in my bag, or I can sit at my laptop working and make adjustments when necessary.
  • there's also the accessory factor - it comes with various backgrounds that you can choose, but I prefer to keep things clean and simple with a black wooden board style.


Spreadsheet ~ my favourite functions are:

  • sorting. I sort in a dozen different ways, and I never end up with jumbled information or incorrect formatting.
  • highlighting is so helpful for those "urgent" tasks, and you can see it at a glance.
  • the options are endless: being able to add/delete columns, rows; moving information with a simple copy/paste; and being able to print it all at the touch of a button.


This year - 2018/2019 - I plan to hold myself far more accountable for my time. I've taken a lot of time away from my Netgalley list to get a mountain load of writing done, but that means that one of my tasks had totally fallen by the wayside. For the next year, I'm doing something radical - moderating my time.

It might sound simple and logical, because it is, but I've never been someone who works to a timeline, a deadline or a schedule. I'm a pantser for a reason.

This past month, I've taken on the arduous task of filing through ALL of my books - from paperback, Kindle purchases, Kobo buys, all my e-books, and all of my Netgalley books - to create a list that includes them ALL. I even went through and read the blurbs of all my Amazon buys, to make sure that I really wanted to keep them, because I was an obsessive one-clicker for freebies back when I got my first Kindle. I managed to delete over 2000 books between those on my Kindle and my hard drive, from other suppliers. After that, I wrote them ALL into a spreadsheet - title, series, page count/word count. I have a tick column for those I've read, and one tick column for my Netgalley approved books, to keep them visible.

My next task is to actually read them. One by one, I plan to work my way through what has become 4017 books. Considering some of them are series of 20+ books, that's not so bad. At least if I don't like the series, I can avoid reading the next 15 books. lol. Obviously, I won't be reading them all in one year, but if I can manage to read nearly 300 books a year, it should only take 13 years to read them...*sigh*

Wish me luck!

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text 2018-10-03 11:37
Activity Your Ideas Into Books

Maybe you’re one of those lucky writers whose head is bursting with ideas. Or perhaps you have one idea that’s been nagging you for weeks, always at the edge of your thoughts. Either artifact, you’re itching to begin writing. That’s good. But before you rush headlong into your account, act and ask yourself one question: Is this just an idea, or is it a book?

Ideas, of course, are the seeds of any activity of fiction or nonfiction. But until an idea is fully developed, until you can envision its beginning, middle and end, that one idea might not be enough. The experience of writing for pages about an idea and finally getting nowhere (or getting a pile of rejections) has taught many writers to outline their books before they begin. Many writers also write college essays and then start writing own books. If you need some college essay writing go there to buy. But if the cerebration of an outline sends shivers up your spine, at least cerebration your idea finished and making careful it merits months of writing can economise you future frustration.

Ideas for Fiction

A lot of writers, especially when they’re beginners, get ideas for fiction from their own lives. This can be functional for various reasons: you’re emotionally invested in the issue, you can relate directly to the main character, and if the situation actually happened to you, you’re less likely to be unconsciously basing the account on a book you’ve read. But remember, just because you find this abstraction that happened to you or your child fascinating, it doesn’t mean it will be fascinating to thousands of potential readers. Real often, a real-life event is just that–an event. It’s a vivid environment you recall with pleasure, or a family joke that’s repeated over and over. It evokes alcoholic emotions when you remember it, perhaps you even look back on an event as a corner in your life. But only rarely does reality provide a plot.

When writers adhere also closely to what really happened they fail to develop the elements necessary for a good account: a believable main character who is faced with a problem or conflict, mounting tension as that character tries to solve her problem and experiences setbacks, and a tension- filled climax followed by a resolution that’s solid to the character and the reader. If your main character is really your son, you might not deprivation to get him in ail or communicate rocks in his path. But you have to. It’s the only artifact you’ll create a account that will keep readers hooked and inquisitive how it will end.

Address of endings, if the resolution of your account comes also easily, it’s probably obvious and predictable. Attempt mixing up real life and have the situation evolve in a different direction. Attack yourself, and you’ll attack an editor.

However you get your idea, focus first on whether it’s a plot or a theme. Many times, an initial idea is really the implicit meaning of the account, what the author wants to convey to the reader. Themes should be coupling in their appeal– much as friendship, appreciating one’s own strengths, not judging others also quickly. So play around with the film of events until you develop a plot (what actually happens in the book) that makes this theme clear to the reader. And remember; if you’re exploitation a childhood incident as the foundation of your account, tell it from your childhood stand, not how it feels to you now as an adult.

Ideas for Nonfiction

Your nonfiction book should be based on something you’re truly interested in and passionate about. After all, you’ll be living with this idea for many months. The key to booming nonfiction is to accept your idea and approach it in a artifact that no one else has ever done before. This means doing most of your research before you begin to compose. Don’t bench for the most easily-found information on your topic–your readers have probably read the same information. Keep digging until you find an aspect to your case that strikes you as single. So examine finished the library and book stores to make careful no one else has already beat you thereto.

For a nonfiction idea to become a book, you need enough information to fill the number of pages necessary, depending on the age group for which you plan to compose. Younger children need a foundation of basic facts, but you can also get fairly detailed inside the scope of the approach you’ve chosen as long as you explain concepts in a simple and direct manner (how animals hibernate, why insects are different colors). Older readers can draw on a broader foundation of knowledge, and infer connections between your issue and related subjects. A detailed outline of any nonfiction book is essential to help you accompany if your idea has enough capital and originality, or if you need further research before you begin writing.

Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, your idea should mean something to you, but also have the potential to mean a lot to your readers. Believe it finished, add thereto, accept the nonessential elements away, and make careful it has a beginning, middle and end. Only so will your “idea” activity into “an idea for a book.”

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text 2018-10-03 11:30
Facts About Me: Re-Branding

You'll probably have noticed by now that I tend to re-brand a few of my posters/mock covers every other year or so. As I was saying to someone recently, this is for two reasons:

  1. I see what works and what doesn't. I always like to give a theme/brand at least 6 months to take effect before I decide whether it's working or not.
  2. Refreshing. Sometimes, posters get a bit tired and old. They stop having an effect, they stop intriguing readers, and you have to try something a little different just to keep the growth.

I also have a few goes at creating a brand for the book before it's ever submitted to my publisher. I do this by creating mock covers, which I use in Calibre to create e-books of my WIP's. That way I can upload them to my Kindle app and read them "as a reader" and do some proper editing and note taking, before doing the final edit. As I've said in previous posts, I can edit a book anywhere up to 20 times before sending it to the editor, so it's handy to have a mock cover to test out, every time I upload the new version. I look at how it appears on my Kindle app, how the colours appear, whether I get bored of the image, and how easy the text is to read. This is all important to consider for the final cover, but also for the teaser posters. I always try to link my mock covers and teaser posters into one brand, so that the mock covers - when the final book has been published - can be used as teaser posters, which means they're not going to waste.

So, there's a lot to consider when it comes to branding a book. It's not just about the appearance, it's also about the relevance of the brand/image to the book, the themes of the book, the 'vibe' of the book, the genre, even the characters. And it all comes together into something that has to 100% represent the book, in the end.

Which is why I often rebrand. Sometimes a new book is added to the series that adds a new element, or I find a new "perfect" font or image that just is the book, perfectly. Mostly, I try to keep the brand the same, even if I end up completely remaking all of my teaser posters - something I'm doing, right now. For instance, I've always used "storytelling" images for the Decadent series, the Cacodemon trilogy and for The Trade. I've always used military themed or male portrait close-up images for Forged in Fire, and I've always had a chess theme for The Royal Series, and a professional, businessman theme for Following Orders. The Cellist and Clef Notes have always been music related. You can see that that has never changed, no matter how many times I've rebranded the teaser posters. These are the specific "brand" for those books, even if the theme and style of the posters changes.

The reason for my most recent change is simple. Instagram. Instagram prefer square images, and because of the changes to the Later app (which I use to schedule my Instagram posts) you can now auto-post any square image. So, to make my life easier, I've adapted all of my previously portrait posters into square images. But, you can't just crop them. The images and text don't always line up, and sometimes they look really weird, or they cut out the previous "brand" theme. To make them look professional, I decided to remake them entirely. With new images, new quotes, and a new look.

Canva, was another reason for the change. Since I started using Canva to make my images, (you can find the How To Use Canva post here) I found that once you make one poster, say the Instagram template, you can "copy" that into a second page in the same document. And you can have 30 pages in one document. So, even for my longer series like Decadent - which is 6 books in total - I can make ALL of my teasers for those books in one document, making 5 posters for each book without having to leave the page, without having to remember what font I used, what size it was, or anything. I was bale to simply copy the first poster, change the text, change the image, and move the elements around until it looked good, and them move on to the next. Then, once I was finished, I could download ALL of the posters at once, into a single zip file. It was so much easier than creating one image at a time in Picmonkey, which was my old method.


Here, I'm going to show you some images that I've changed this year. You'll probably be able to see for yourself that they're clearer, easier to read, and have a greater visual impact.




Sometimes, rebranding is a matter of making your life easier rather than changing something for the sake of changing it. So, always take a look at your promo. If YOU get bored of seeing the images, of reading the same quotes from your books over and over again, then your readers will be bored too. So change it up. Changing your quote is fine, but remember that your regular followers/readers will have associated the image/style with your previous quote, so if they see the exact same poster, they'll assume it's the exact same quote. So it might be better to just redo the entire poster.

And remember to keep track of your results. You'll see from Instagram, Facebook and Twitter insights what posters work, what times they have their best effect, and whether those insights match the results of your sales/link clicks (for links such as SmartURL). Adding those together will let you know when your posters work, and which ones you need to fix.


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