Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What Kind of eReader do you have? Or don't you?

I was surprised to notice I've sold many Killer Career ebooks in the Kobo format. I don't even own a Kobo, but I guess I better do a Google and find out what one looks like.  Apparently, they're pretty popular.

For some reason, I thought most people had kindles, like I do. Mine's a kindle 3.

Many years ago, I also owned a Palm. It's in my cabinet somewhere. The screen was too small for me to be comfortable reading from it. I also own an Iphone, but again, the screen is too small for me to enjoy reading on it.

What about you? Do you have an eReader? If so, what kind? If not, why not?

Morgan Mandel
Killer Career 99 cents
on Kindle and Smashwords

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

As today, the day marking the beginning of summer, begins to wind down, I started to think about what we need to do. We took out the pool and cleaned it and it's filling as I type. You can read about my pool adventure here.

I have a few more days off, so I need to write. And I mean write. Not think about it, just write and get the words down. Books don't come to be by just thinking about them, you have to get the words on paper, or so I'm told!!

There is another thing to think about. Summer reading. I think summer reading is 'fun' reading. Easy reading, escape reading or beach reads. Whatever you style is make sure you stock up and enjoy!

I received a review for the anthology Summer Lovin' which my short story is in. Check it out for some fun summer reading. It's available on kindle as well.

Lastly, I want to remember all the soldiers who fought for our freedom. Today we honor them and thank them.

I hope you all had a wonderful day and have a great week!



Saturday, May 28, 2011

Air Travel by Margot Justes

Booking air fares is a nightmare, not only do prices change seemingly minute by minute but keeping track of timetables, and how many stops it will take to reach your destination adds to the frustration.

First you have to decide if you're flying economy, packed and squeezed like the proverbial sardine in a tin can, your choices of comfort are no-existent. It is assuredly less expensive to fly economy, and if you select off season travel it could be downright cheap to cross the pond. (aka the Atlantic) You may feel like a pretzel by the time you deplane, but you will be on terra firma in a new and wondrous place. That is how I look upon travel.

There are deals to be had by contacting the airlines, for instance Lufthansa notifies me anytime they have a deal.I also check the vacation specials that include hotel and airfare packages.

In early spring and fall prices drop, tourists for the most part have gone home, and you can visit at leisure without fighting the crowds, and saving money at the same time.

This spring there were offers to Ireland for less than five hundred dollars round trip, not a bad deal.

One word of advice, if you're cruising, do not fly on the same day you board the ship, if there are any delays, the ship will leave without you.

If you can afford business class travel, it's not necessary to pay the full price, unless you really feel you have to overpay. Your travel agent should be able to check with consolidators to get the best business rate.

Lufthansa (I like to fly Lufthansa-great service and good prices) offers business travel deals this summer , the high season for travel. You have to book and fly by a certain time, but the price is fantastic, half of the going rate. The business fares to some cities in Europe are going for less than two thousand dollars, economy is going for about six hundred.

It takes the patience of a saint to get everything booked, confirmed and priced to your satisfaction, but it can be done. Look at the planning as part of the excitement and anticipation of your trip, and once everything is all set, you'll feel like a savvy traveler.

Next week boutique hotels or chains?

Till next time.
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris

Friday, May 27, 2011

Please welcome a special guest at ACME. My guest blogger today is a 5-Star Bks. Author with an impressive amount of determination and talent. Kelly Irvin is articulate and entertaining. Her bio says it all:

Kelly Irvin's writing career in nonfiction and fiction spans the last twenty-five years. The Kansas native has a degree in journalism from the University of Kansas. She spent a year and a half in Costa Rica as a college student, learning the Spanish language and gaining an understanding of other cultures. She moved to Laredo, Texas, in 1981 to work at a local newspaper. After five years in Laredo, she spent another year in El Paso. That stint at border newspapers gave her keen insight into this multicultural region. All of these experiences were fodder for her fiction and are reflected in her…

Bombshells With a Side of Empathy

My Blazer hurtles through the streets of San Antonio at a neck-breaking speed of three miles an hour during rush hour traffic. Which is why I listen to audio books. The other day I enjoyed an old Dana Stabenow novel that got me to thinking about character versus plot and that ironclad rule that says you have to hit the reader with something earth shattering in the first few pages. Kate Shugak had been lollygagging about in her Alaskan park eating pie and drinking tea for several chapters before Stabenow hit me with a murder that left tears in my eyes. I admit I’d been thinking what the heck, when is something going to happen? Then I realized the time she gave me to build a relationship with her characters made the murder incredibly effective.

Granted the book is a few years old and Stabenow is an established author who can get away with this delayed bombshell in an era of instant gratification, thirty-second sound bites, and twenty-four hour cable TV. I can’t and sell my work. I imagine most of us can’t. So how do we make readers care about our characters when that bomb blast hits on page two? In A Deadly Wilderness, my first novel, I introduce a nasty murderer-for-hire in the prologue, then proceeded directly to Ray Johnson’s trek through a wilderness park where he falls from a cliff and lands on a dead body. Why care about Ray? He uses his day off to take two young boys on a hike. One has lost his father and the other is a foster child whose mother is in jail. It’s apparent Ray is in love with Marco’s mother—and the love is as yet unrequited. Plus he’s hurt. All in the first couple of pages of chapter one. The main character is fleshed out by his actions and reactions to the events occurring around him.

In No Child of Mine, which debuts in September, seven-year-old Benny Garza is introduced on page one. Very quickly the reader knows he’s a foster child who has experienced more than his share of pain. His mother’s in jail. He’s been terrorized by gang-bangers and Mom’s boyfriends. Yet, he’s still excited by the same things as most little boys are—horses and food. He wants to fly. He’s worried his foster dad will be mad because he gets his church clothes dirty. By the time the inciting incident occurs on the second page, it’s enough (I hope!) to make the reader want to scream aloud: “Stranger Danger, Stranger Danger! Run, Benny!”

All this to say, it is possible to make readers care and care quickly. We just have to spin the tale with fewer, carefully selected details that build character and propel plot at the same time. Happy spinning!

Kelly Irvin

No Child of Mine
Coming September 2011

Currently available:

A Deadly Wilderness
(Also available in large print)
"A solid romantic suspense debut . . ."
--Publishers Weekly

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What Overtakes Your Dreams? by DL Larson

I have a small plaque on my desk at the library: "In Life, don't let the weeds overtake your dreams!" Nearly ever day someone reads the quote outloud and comments on the simple advice. Many times it's the adults who ponder on their future, sharing how they haven't had time to work on their goals or dreams. My usual response, "that's why I display the plaque! We should NEVER forget our dreams."

Every day happenings have a way of nudging our dreams right out of our thoughts, let alone off our "To Do" List. Staying focused is hard. But that doesn't mean we let the routine part of life choke our goals til they no longer thrive. We need to take a moment or two and decide what it is that overtakes our creative ambitions? And what can we do to accomplish our once shiny and sparkling dreams? How do we make them a priority?

So, after contemplating awhile, I'm taking my own advice; I'm restructuring my goals, creating time to read more, write more and make a real effort to keep the weeds from covering up my dreams. I'm striving for time management - a real challenge for me!

What helps you stick to your routine? Do you have a favorite inspirational saying? Perhaps most importantly, how do you avoid the pitfalls that suck away your writing time?

Take a moment to share with us.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Please Welcome My Guest, Mystery Author, Jean Henry Mead

Today I'm happy to host Jean Henry Mead, a delightful mystery writer and Internet friend.
Jean Henry Mead
 Jean Henry Mead is a mystery/suspense and western historical novelist. She's also an award-winning photojournalist. One of her fortes is interviewing writers, actors, politicians, artists and ordinary people who have accomplished extraordinary things. She began her writing career as a California news reporter/editor/photographer,first in Central California and later in San Diego. Mead later transferred to Casper, Wyoming, to serve as a staff writer for the statewide newspaper. While there she served as editor of In Wyoming Magazine and two small presses. She also freelanced for other magazines, both domestic and abroad, among them the Denver Post.. Her first book was published in 1982. She's since published fourteen novels and nonfiction books.
You can reach Jean at http://www.jeanhenrymead.com/

Writing with Humor

by Jean Henry Mead

I’m not a comedian but I’ve found that adding humor to my books increases sales. In fact, I’ve received several reviews stating that the reviewer hoped I would add more humor in my next novel. A Village Shattered takes place in a central California retirement village where Sew and So club members are dying alphabetically. Nothing humorous about that, but I added a couple of quirky characters to the mix: a love starved widow and a rednecked cassanova, which not only makes it a fun read but enjoyable to write.

The second book in my Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series is Dairy of Murder, which takes on a more series tone when Dana Logan and Sarah Cafferty, two widows traveling in their motorhome, learn that Dana’s sister has died and her husband claims it was suicide. Dana knows her sister Georgi, a mystery writer, would never take her own life, so she and her friend Sarah set out to prove it was murder. Along the way they stumble over more bodies and a vicious drug gang. The only humor comes from Sarah’s dialogue and reviewers complained that it wasn’t as funny as A Village Shattered.

My first novel, Escape on the Wind, republished twice and retitled Escape, a Wyoming Historical Novel, was probably my most humorous as well as my best selling novel to date. It features a kidnapped young heiress, Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch, and a little known member of the gang, Tom “Peep O’Day, an alcoholic horse thief who nearly takes over the plot because he was so much fun to write about. Good-natured and bungling, he causes the gang to botch the Belle Fourche bank robbery.

I added humor to my first, recently released children’s novel, Mystery of Spider Mountain, as well as the second, The Ghost of Crimson Dawn, which I’m currently writing. I’ve also added humor to my nonfiction books. Casper Country: Wyoming’s Heartland, was researched by spending two years behind a microfilm machine reading 97-years’ worth of newspapers, dating from 1889. I’ll never do that again, but I found some funny incidents to add to the centennial history book, which was eventually used as a textbook at Casper College.

One of the things I remember was an article about three young boys stealing watermelons from a railroad boxcar. They were housed briefly in the county jail during the early 1900s. When police were asked about the case by a reporter, an officer remarked about how good the watermelons tasted. I doubt the young boys had watermelon for dessert.

In my latest novel, Murder on the Interstate, Dana and Sarah discover the body of a beautiful young woman shot and killed along I-40 in northern Arizona while traveling in their motorhome. The killer returns to make sure his victim is dead and disables their RV. A woman trucker then comes to their rescue and they chase the killer in “Big Ruby” MCurdy’s produce truck to record his license number. Along the way Ruby alerts other truckers to keep an eye out for his dark red Dodge pickup and the resultant conversations are humorous. When the two women find themselves trapped in a Hummer during a flash flood, they’re cracking jokes to prevent hysteria.

To research the book, I drove my own 36-foot motorhome along the same mountainous interstate while listening to truckers on my CB radio, so the language is authentic.

                                      To order Murder on the Interstate, go to http://tinyurl.com/3qvolo5.
                                      To learn more about Jean and her books, you're welcome to visit her at her website at http://www.jeanhenrymead.com/.

Please leave a comment below to welcome Jean to Acme Authors Link.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The writing honeymoon is over - or is it?

Over the years - no decades - I’ve struggled to find enough of the right kind of time to write. I’m writing this on the train on my morning commute.

I work full time in a very demanding federal law-enforcement environment and with budget cuts and hiring freezes, those demands seem to be increasing constantly. I’m also actively involved with a number of veteran organizations, and there is the Love Is Murder Conference - and if you don’t know about this conference by now, you should.

Oh, and I teach part-time.

I’ve completed a novel, a screenplay and numerous shorter works of fiction. I’m also near completion on a number of non-fiction works related to tax advice and guidance for writers.

So, I AM writing.

I’ve submitted and been rejected, pitched my work then chickened out on sending it again.

I’ve noticed lately that most of my writing time has been spent on outlining and starting new ideas. I’m back to that!

I had promised myself after getting my daughter moved north for grad school that I would finally be able to complete those many projects begging to be completed. But, I distracted myself with the many things around the house that need to be done, my dog who just turned eighteen, my elderly friend who’s being scammed, and now my garden. I’ve been doing more and more home repairs lately and proud of the professional results.

I know all the right and write things to do to fix this situation with my writing but I think I’ve discovered something about myself. I love the romance of my honeymoon phase of writing.

Yes - honeymoon phase! That’s where I get to experience again and again the adrenaline rush of thinking in my head with new ideas followed by the excitement of writing them down and seeing them play out in my head like a movie. I’m great a visualizing scenes - now if someone could just develop an implant with a USB port so I could have these scenes recorded directly to my laptop.

As I said, I know the right and the write thing to do because I’ve done it with my completed, then submitted, then rejected novel, as well as a screenplay and short stories. I just don’t enjoy the part of writing where I have to do all the hard work of submitting and facing rejection.

The prospects that ventures such as Amazon Create Space and Barnes and Noble’s PubIt! offer are enticing and I definitely have plans to investigate those prospects, but the bottom line when it comes to writing regardless the path you choose is - Writing is really hard work!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Travel by Margot Justes

The price of travel is relative, for me I'd give up a lot to travel, with the exception of coffee and dark chocolate. In that order.

That being said, don't automatically assume that going to Europe or taking a cruise is impossible. A twelve day cruise from Rome going to Greek and Turkish Islands and Israel is expensive. As I said it's relative, but it can be had for $800 plus gratuities and tax, that will run about $1,000 total per person. Remember that it includes all the food you could ever wish for and all your entertainment.

That price is for an inside cabin, but in reality how much time will you spend in your cabin? Not much.

I love the early morning twilight as you come into port, all the lights flickering a warm welcome. I'm on deck to greet the dawn, the coffee is set-up and waiting for me.

By the second day, the waiter already knows there is an early riser who likes skim milk with her coffee and it's there for me. The skim milk offsets the chocolate calories, at least in my mind. The only time you spend in the cabin is when you're sleeping or changing clothes, other than showering of course.

For me, the days at sea are spent, reading, swimming, writing, and walking; there are walking paths set-up on the top deck, so it's just you, the water, a gentle sometimes not so gentle breeze. I prefer quiet contemplation.

For those sea going travelers who want to be continuously entertained, there are dancing lessons, art sales, the full gamut to make sure you're not bored.

When booking a cruise, you make a deposit and the final payment is usually due 60 to 90 days before departure. Up to the time of the final payment, you should watch the prices and if you see your cruise is less expensive, get in touch with your travel agent or the cruise line and you get the applicable less expensive price. I check my cruise price twice a day, morning and evening-they change like air fares.

Have I convinced you yet that it's a possibility?

Next week, I'll cover the airfare.

Till next time.
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Goal Not Met ... by DL Larson

On May 20, 2010 I made a challenge: To complete my WIP, Renzo, The Reliant, by May 20, 2011.
My Reward if I succeeded: chocky dessert from whatever restaurant I chose, AND a boat ride with my hubby!

Well, I'm bummed I did not meet my challenge. I have not completed my WIP. I have worked diligently when I worked, but I didn't realize when I made this challenge how many changes were about to happen in my life. My son and his family moving in with us was a surprise and delight, but not in my plans, nor was my mother passing. Plus my daughter unexpectedly deciding to marry was a surprise, not to mention an emotional whirlwind. Mom mode took over more often than writer's mode this last year and that is fine ... real life should take presidence over writing time. I'm a bit disappointed I did not meet my own challenge, but I did make significant strides to reach my writing goal.

I've completed 21 chapters with approximately 43,000 words. I'm close to half way. All but six chapters are typed and roughly edited, so I wasn't completely lazy as a writer. My characters are at a good pace with goals for each in place, the plot is flowing and my mind is ever churning at the question, what next? I'm hoping when I do have writing time, the words will flow and more progress will be made.

I'm not ready to challenge myself again, chaos still reigns at my house. But I have a focus on where my time can be better spent and I have plans to redirect my schedule to make more time to write - no matter what!

My family has always come first before my writing and that will never change. For when is all said and done, the warm hugs of family are more precious than anything else in my life. After all, it is my family who has cheered me on every step of this writing journey.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Routine Chores by Morgan Mandel

Today I've been busy doing routine chores, starting with fixing breakfast, letting the dog out, checking email, cleaning house.

When you're writing a book, it's a good idea to add some routine chores to make a character seem real. The trick is not to add to many of them, otherwise your book will slow down and become boring.

Another fun thing to do when writing about routine chores is to somehow give them a special significance, such as, by changing one small factor in the process.

A character could be fixing breakfast and the stove would blow up.
Letting the dog out and it starts growling because there's someone lurking in the yard.
Checking emails and finding a sinister message.

What other scenarios can you think for putting a twist on routine chores?

Morgan Mandel

Killer Career is 99 cents on
Kindle and Smashwords

Monday, May 16, 2011

Westminster Abbey by June

Westminster Abbey has been in the news lately since it was the venue for the royal wedding on April 29th, so I thought I would mention it today.

We visited the Abbey, (which hubby insisted on calling “Westminister” just to aggravate me,) and it was just amazing. Although the television coverage during the wedding was incredible, it was more beautiful in person. What you didn’t get to see on television was the statues and markers identifying all the people buried in the Abbey. According to the folks at the Abbey, there are about 3,300 people buried there. Some even have their own chapels, such as Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, and writers and poets in Poet’s Corner.

The Abbey is also the home of the Coronation Chair recently seen in the movie The King’s Speech, although I am certain it wasn’t the real one. It also didn’t look like the one I sat in at the film and prop museum!

Westminster Abbey truly is fascinating, however you are not allow to take photo’s inside and although I know you can “sneak a picture”, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It is a holy place and deserves the respect.

Have a great week!



Saturday, May 14, 2011

Amazing Archeology by Margot Justes

The search is on for the remains of the Mona Lisa, researchers have localized the area where the remains of La Giaconda have rested for centuries. And the dig is on, literally.

It took archeologists about two weeks to find the crypt in a deserted convent; they used ground penetrating radar, the same type of radar used for military purposes, only this time it was art research-pure and simple.

The hunt is on for Lisa Gherardini Del Giacondo, she is believed to have been the model for the Mona Lisa. The crypt was located underground in the St. Ursula convent in Florence. When they removed about a foot of concrete they found ancient bricks that were 35 inches wide, along with two crypts they found various pieces of pottery and old bones. The crypts are as yet untouched, that will take another few days.

The archeologist believe that one of the tombs contains the remains of La Giaconda, as she is called in Italy. That in itself is remarkable, but there is more, they will compare the DNA with that of her children and hopefully be able to reconstruct her face and match Leonardo's painting.

The centuries old mystery of who was the Mona Lisa may soon be solved. All the theories and intellectual debate that continued for ages may soon stop, but is the identity of the model going to dilute and diminish the enigma that is La Giaconda? Or will it add more mystique and perpetuate the magic of Leonardo's masterpiece?

Till next time.
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Some Setting Pics for Forever Young-Blessing or Curse by Morgan Mandel

Thought I'd share some photos I took on our trip to Arizona, where I was researching the setting for Forever Young-Blessing or Curse. These were taken on the Amtrak on the way over.


Raton station

I can't identify the exact locations, except for the Raton station, but you can get a general idea how it looks. Dry, sandy, not much grass.

Morgan Mandel
Killer Career now 99 cents on Kindle

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Amazon's New Publishing Venture

Here's the headline:

Amazon Launches New Publishing Imprint, Montlake Romance
Debut title will be bestselling author Connie Brockway's "The Other Guy's Bride"

Here's the link to the press release:


It's a must read, especially since Montlake Romance is pulling in some big names, and Amazon plans on expanding it' publishing imprint efforts into other genres including thrillers and mysteries.

It's worth keeping an eye on how this story goes!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother’s Day – SWEET!

It started on Friday; I took the day off work for my youngest daughter's concert at school, which was very cute. Then I enjoyed a peaceful afternoon of quiet – a rarity in my house!! While I was on the web I saw my oldest daughters Q&A article was published on her high school newspaper, you can read it here if you are interested. Then off to her softball game.

Saturday was more softball and it was a good day for it…before the rain, (which thankfully waited until the second game of the double header was almost done) came down!

Sunday was beautiful. We took the girls to the beach and walked by the Northwestern rocks. It’s the only place I have found that they get along and are nice to each other for at least five minutes, so that was a mother’s day gift in itself!!

Hope all Mother’s out there had a great day and wishing you a wonderful week!



Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day by Margot Justes

This will be brief, I'm taking the weekend off to spend with my daughters.

Happy Mother's Day to moms everywhere.

Till next time,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Themes, Threads, Platforms: Axis of Ads

Putting your best props forward can get some readers interested in your story, as in letting it be known that your main character smokes a certain brand, or is addicted to marinated Omaha steaks on the grill, or drinks Miller Bock, etc., and so it goes.  Putting it out there can draw attention to your story. So never back off use of such brand names in your story, even if the bad guy is the one who likes to chug Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Even more attention-getting for your novel or story are the thematic issues, the threads you pull from beginning to end of tale, and your platform or platforms if you wish to call them as such.  To be honest, there is typically a major theme or platform *issue of some sort that is your chief thread, but more often than not in a novel, you will have sub-categories of theme.  Some novels can have manay threads being pulled at once.

Each such thematic issue, be it as simple as a love interest for your lead character or as complex as the human condtion...what the flesh is heir to, is of interest to readers. When we set out to describe our books on to synopsize the action, we typically concentrate on WHAT happens rather than the deeper questons. In most descripts we get the WHEN, that crucial bit about the time period. One way or another it is made clear. We're always treated to the WHO of the story--whose story is it anyway.  This is elemental for a book description that goes forth to entice readers into the setting, that other elemental: WHERE. So yes, all of these are crucial when discussing your book for the purpose of gaining readership. Let's recap:  Who, Where, When, What happens (plot in brief).  But there remains the other two journalistic questions:  Why?  and yes, How?

The why and the how of your story is going to deal with these threads, these themes your characters wrestle with.  Why should we care about the story?  Why should fictional characers care?  Why is it important?  Beyond why lies the How?  How could it be?  How could it happen?  How could we sit idlely by and allow it to happen?  How is it in our control, and how is it out of our control?

If karma plays a part in your story, can you use the term and the concept to entice people into reading?  Fate?  The inevitabilty of human interaction that leads to tragedy?  Tragedy and tragic failure and tragic characters - these bigger picture issues?  Perhaps we can't hope to cram them into the single paragraph or two required of a back flap on a book cover, but are there ways to utilize them in talking about our books to maximize reader curiosity that might lead to more purchases and thus more readers?

I have certainly not restrained myself from talking about the How and the Why in discussing my novels online whenever I find the opportunity to do so. I believe most readers are fascinated by the larger issues underpinning the dramatic and episodic elements of your novel.

It is for this reason that in discussing my Childen of Salem, for instance, on Twitter, Facebook, even Youtube, I am often asking the reader about their interest in a layered tale of human triumph as well as tragedy.  In my Titanic 2012, I speak of the curse on the ship, the plague, the tragic end which was planned at some point and no accident when men have their backs to the wall. I have no qualms about calling my Inpsector Alastair Ransom a tragic hero as he is precisely that, and his own powerful, strong character traits for which we ambivalently love him and hate him will be his undoing.

Of human bondage - loved it as a title but what about as a theme or platform? Heir to flesh, heir to failure and ultimately death.  When is death not with us? The heroic facing death heroically, stoically, or less than firmly?  Loss of a loved one?  Reactions of characters to tragic loss... all part and parcel of the bundled package tied round by the various threads of the novel.

Do we stay at the superficial level of the basic outline of story, lamely depicting four hundred pages in a matter of sentences that only state the obvious surface happenings of a who, a what, a when, and a where only to lob off the how and the why and the wherefores?

Okay, okay....there's little room for such in a synopsis the size of an envelope, I know. I even had to cut out the word 'ecumenical' before the word 'spy' in my descript of Children of Salem which might've helped with the how and the why of Jeremiah Wakely's going into the village to spy on his former neighbors, and why he held a grudge against them in the first place....but there's the limit of space and speed.

However in other venues, 'ecumenical' can and perhaps should be returned to the discussion as who else speaks of 'ecumenical spies' running about in his/her book but I?  It makes the book unique. It behooves me to find venues to speak in more detail about the various 'platforms', issues, threads, and themes found in the novel, to cast a wide, wide net across the landscape of the ebook world.  And so I do not hesitate to do blogs and speak of issues of interest to my featured characters in my various series of books or stand-alones.  Witchcraft may be a word that 'begets' readers to the novel, but Religious Intolerance may also be a word that 'begets' other readers to open the pages of the book, as might the practice of Excommunication and Shunning as in The Scarlet Letter.  The closeness of the book to Scarlet Letter, as Hawthorne's great grandfather figures as a character in my book and a quite flawed one at that. What of interrogation techniques in an American Colony called Massachusettes?  Or what was considered a jail aboard the Titanic in 1912?  What other cargo than passengers was aboard Titanic?

There can be an endless list of discussion points plucked from your novel which you can take to facebook, twitter, and other social media and chat groups such as a history forum.

Food for thought.  If it gives you ideas, so be it; then I have done my job as I see it!

Please do leave a comment or question!
Rob Walker

The Correct Usage of Words by DL Larson

Recently I've noticed the misuse of a few words and have the urge to call up the author and share one of my old professor's nuggets of gold. Nuggets of gold was the term Prof. B used when explaining how to remember the proper use of certain words. The words I've noticed lately are the misuse of "affect and effect." Folks tend to mix up the two and I don't blame them, they are tricky.

The nugget of gold on effect and affect:
Affect is a verb. Effect is a noun.

Easy to say, harder to remember, I know. So the nugget of gold that will help keep things straight is this: the same letter game. a-a, and e-e. Confused? Let me explain. Things ARE AFFECTED by ... and THE EFFECT is ...

Do you see how the letter game works? a-a as in Are Affected, makes affect a verb every time. And, e-e as in thE Effect, makes effect a noun every time.

I loved Prof. B's nuggets of gold. At the time, way back when, I thought it was silly. But I can't tell you how many times I have referred back to her teachings. It has saved me from looking up the proper usage many times. I hope it helps you too.

Do you have any nuggets of gold to share? We'd love to hear from you.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I Have a Cover, Thanks to Rob's Son, Stephen! by Morgan Mandel

I'm thrilled to announce that my almost done paranormal thriller, Forever Young-Blessing or Curse, now has been blessed by a beautiful cover!

I have Rob's son, Stephen Walker of http://www.srwalkerdesigns.com/, to thank for patiently collaborating with me and making it seem easy to achieve a professional product. When you're a pro, it is.

I know if I'd done it myself it would have taken much more time and effort than I was able to afford, not to mention my doing so would not have producted such great results!

I'd already seen the marvelous examples of covers Stephen had done on Rob's many covers at Amazon, so I knew I wanted him for my own.

Thanks, Rob for recommending him!

Morgan Mandel