Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wish Me Luck

One of my goals for this summer was to finish my WIP (The third story in my series.) and submit it to my editor. Right now I am this close (picture me holding my thumb and forefinger about a centimeter apart) to finishing. I have about 2,500 words to go.

I decided to add a scene from the hero's POV as he rides a bull. For research last night I watched two hours of bull riding. (Okay, 'research' was just an excuse...I love to watch those cowboys!) I also printed a bull riding dictionary from the official PBR site.

So I'm ready to go. Cowboy up! Today's task will be to write that scene.

This week's task will be to do several reads of the mss. First I'll go through for content. (Even after the bull riding scene is added, I think I'm going to be short on words, so I'll need to add a few things here and there.) And I haven't actually read this story from start to finish yet, so I'm excited to see how it sounds/flows. Then I'll go through and eliminate all those pesky 'extra' words: that, -ly, watched, thought, felt, etc. Then I'll search for something else, etc. etc. And finally, I'll do another read through.

At last it'll be go time. I have my cover letter and synopsis all ready. With a few clicks of my keyboard and mouse, it will go soaring through cyber space to my new editor at Wild Rose.

And then I'll wait. Which is really the hard part in all of this.

So wish me luck!

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Persuasive Writing by DL Larson

Persusasive writing can be filled with statistics, but many readers have become skeptical, knowing stats can be manipulated and the message muddled. Research is another avenue used in persuasive writing, but it too can be twisted with half truths and unreliable sources. Storytelling, a human interest tidbit may well be the way to go when wanting to make a point.

The following story is an old one, remade and shortened, and it delivers a point of view the reader may or may not agree with, but the important part is it compells the reader to absorb the persuasive message.

The story:
A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. She considered herself a liberal and in favor of higher taxes to support more government programs to redistribute the wealth in the country. She was rather upset her father held a different view. She had participated in class discussions and listened to professors explain their reasonings of fair distribution regarding the needs of the people.

One day she challenged her father on his opposition to higher taxes and more government programs. He in turn asked how her classes were going. Thinking he was trying to change the subject she quite adamently told him she was working hard and holding a 4.0 GPA. It was tough keeping her grades up with such a heavy course load. She studied every day and spent very little time partying like other people she knew. She didn't have time for a boyfriend, and had only made a small group of friends who worked as hard as she did.

Her father nodded in understanding and asked, "How is your friend Audrey doing in school?"

"She's barely getting by. She takes only easy classes, never studies and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. But she is popular and thinks college is a blast. She's always invited to these great parties and then misses class because she stays out so late."

The father then said, "Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct 1.0 of your GPA and give it to Audrey. Then you will both have a 3.0 GPA. That would be a generous and equal distribution to someone who sounds as if they could use a little help."

The daughter, visibly upset replied, "That's crazy! And so unfair! I've worked hard for my grades. I've invested a lot to time and effort to keep my GPA. Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She's playing while I've worked my tail off."

The father smiled a bit and said gently, "Welcome to the conservative side of thinking!"

Persuasion techniques are valuable tools every writer needs. Share with us on how you have manipulated a plot with persuasive methods.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Where are you? Your Favorite Social Networks by Morgan Mandel

I don't know about you, but I spend lots of time on social networks. I joined for promotional purposes, but it's turned out a place where I've made lots of genuine friends I really care about. Though I've never met these friends, they've become a part of my life.

Although Facebook has a few recent quirks I don't care about, such as trying to force the chat feature on me and making me reset to unavailable when I sign in, it's so far my favorite.

Second is Twitter, where the comments are short and easy to read.

Fast on their heels is Google+, where I can add friends in special circles to keep them organized in my mind, then I can send comments to the public, or choose one or more of the circles with which to share.

If you want to link up with me on any of these sites, you can find me at:

What about you? Where are you? Name up to three social networks you spend time at and make sure to leave your addresses so we can find you.

Morgan Mandel
Killer Career now at
99 cents on Kindle &
Smashwords -
Coming soon is
Forever Young-
Blessing or Curse

Sunday, July 24, 2011

All Grown Up

Today I'm using my post here at Acme to do double duty as it were. At "Heroines with Hearts" (the other blog I participate in) we are celebrating 100 followers with a Blogfest this weekend. Our topic...the first 'grown up' book we read.

The year was 1983. I was fourteen years old. An eighth grader.

My family and I had just finished watching the tv mini-series "The Thorn Birds". I was home ill from school. Since I was old enough to be on my own, and whatever virus I was currently suffering from wasn't life threatening, I was home alone. My mom had a copy of the book on her dresser, and I picked it up and thought, "Hey, I really liked this movie, I wonder if the book is any good." (Or something to that effect.)

So I read it.

Let's just say the book had a lot more detail than the movie. Definitely adult reading. Not just sex, but forbidden sex with a priest. Not that the actual story-line was a complete shock, like I said, I'd already seen the movie, but I did learn some new vocabulary. For example, in the scene where the old lady tries to seduce the priest, but he's not interested, I learned the word 'flaccid'. Had to look it up in the dictionary as a matter of fact.

Looking back now, compared to the things I read and write these days (spicy romance is the usual term used), The Thorn Birds seems quite tame. But for a fourteen year old, wow, it was the big time.

From there I went on to skip the whole "Sweet Valley High" phase that many high schoolers of my day journeyed through and went straight into the Harlequin American line. I haven't looked back since. And it's been a wonderful ride!

So, how about you? What's the first 'grown up' novel you ever read? (Be sure to check out other Blogfest participant posts on this topic. For links to their sites, visit Heroines with Hearts.)

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Friday, July 22, 2011

Imagine you are a ePublished author, whether with a small press or an Indie author, and someone offers you free publicity online, press release opportunities, online PR and it is all FREE and up to you as to how much you wish to indulge? What is your response?  First comes the initial warning MOM always told you about -- "If it sounds too good to be surely is too good to be true."  But what if I told you that I know the gentle soul behind this utopia for ePub authors and Kindle book authors haven, and that is motives--while not entirely pure or wanting of success for himself--is as pure as it gets since he wants you to succeed as well; in fact, Patrick wants every worthy ePub author to be successful as he believes there is room for us all to be successful.  More importantly, he wants to create a special place where ePub authors have their own community.  In fact, he named it ePub Community.

I understand skepticism but trust me, here you can put it aside. There are some functions at the site that are confusing simply because of their simplicity but anticipated complexity. The reviews is one such area.

You can place a review, vote, etc., just like posting in a forum. You can copy other reviews on your books and paste them into the submission form.

The trick for me was getting into the habit of checking the menu and seeing what options changed depending on which module I selected. Keep in mind that each menu item is a different module, they were programmed independently on purpose so their systematic promotions would be unique as well.

Don't be intimidated by the scope and hope of this site, that is the ambitiousness posited here. That's just Patrick at work -- a challenge. Just look at it as another site to explore and use to your advantage when it makes sense to do so. Currently, it is a grass-roots effort to create a home for us all.  I hope you will accept my highest recommendation for this site. Here is where our ePublishingConsortium can be found and some information on the ePub author behind it, Patrick:

The Legacy Inheritance

The Lady of the Lake
PLEASE leave a comment and take advantage of the above --
Robert W. Walker (Rob)
author, Children of Salem, Titanic 2012 (limited time sale thru July)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Organizing Your Research by DL Larson

When I first started researching the early 1800's for my American historical, I took plenty of notes. I was very careful to site the title, copyright dates, volume, author, and what library I was researching from. I even kept track of the page numbers I found important information. I wanted to make sure when I posted my Bibliography at the end of my novel, I would have all the accurate documentation. Well, I succeeded in accomplishing that, but it didn't take long for me to realize I needed another system to keep track of the information I acquired. You may need an organizing system as well.

After shuffling through notebooks, copied pages from books, and numerous notations in my own handwriting, I knew it would be quicker in the long run to index what I had already found. My system started out much like an inverted pyramid. I used topic titles such as: Indian Tribes, Routes, Military, Rivers, Towns: Indian/White, Maps, Laws Passed, etc. This was done well before excel was a household word.

Within any topic title I kept several folders, for instance the Indian Tribes I researched were many and varied from culture to culture. My story included real people in our history so details became very important. The Pawnee Indian Tribe was very different from the Shawnee, yet they knew of each other and cross referencing became even more important. Color coding worked well in keeping my notes accurate and easy to verify if I had a question that needed answering. I didn't want to state something as simple as the Pawnee were friends with the Potawatomi if they were in fact sworn enemies or had no contact with them during that era.

Timelines, as we've mentioned this week, are very important. When doing a historical about a real person (and well known) it's never good to have him in one part of the country in a your story when history has him in another place. I documented where my character was over a three year period and although I sometimes forgot and the writing took over, it was easy to search through my notes and sigh with relief when he was where I needed him to be.

Research may be tedious, yet once organized it will save hours of time for any writer. My system may not work well for you, but what ever system you develop, it will prove its worth as you write your story.

I always thought I would write more about Indians of the midwest since I acquired so much information, but I never have. Yet, I'm not willing to throw my notes away. Maybe someday I will revisit those archives.

What works well for you in note keeping or researching a special topic for your book? Tell us your secrets on keeping organized.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

When Is It? How to Control Your Timeline by Morgan Mandel

Real time has a way of escaping. Summer flashes by so quickly before you know it its time to get the Christmas list going.

Don't let this happen to you when you write. You need to keep your readers grounded. You can't let time of day, day of the week, month or season escape, or your readers will get confused, or even angry.You can cheat on the year, if you want to keep it generic, but you need to be consistent. For instance, you can't describe a 70's happening when you want the book to occur in present time, unless you're doing a flashback.

Forever Young
Blessing or Curse
While editing Forever Young-Blessing or Curse, I found spots where I'd meandered from the timeline, saying in one place three months had passed, then later I'd unintentionally jumped back to one of those past months.

It gets tricky to keep track of a timeline, but it's essential to do so. The best and easiest way to do this is by keeping track as you go along, but of course I chose the hard way. I wrote what I wanted and then had to face the consequences when I edited. I had to go back through the chapters and figure out exactly when each event took place and make corrections. For that, I started taking notes, but found that too tedious. I then proceeded to write events on a printed calendar, but couldn't fit them in, not to mention that after typing for so many years, my handwriting is hard for even me to read.

Inspiration struck and I did what I should have done at the beginning. I told Microsoft Word to find me a calendar, and it offered me a nice selection. I chose one with lines and columns on one side, holidays underneath, and on the other side the actual calendar for the year, with all the months, days and dates. With this calendar I can type in what I want and even change the column headings if I so desire. Mine say Events, Date, Time and Day. So far it's working pretty well.

I'm happy with my new way of keeping track of the timeline. Now I can be sure my readers and I both know the answer to the When Is It question.

What's your way? Or, maybe you'd like to try mine.

Killer Career now 99 cents
on Kindle and Smashwords.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

So last week was going to be one of those perfect summer weeks. My hubby and I were heading off on a long weekend vacation with our parents. It's something we do every year. We look forward to it all year long. A fun time away spent exploring the sights and secrets of a small town. Then, we had tickets to Ravinia (the outdoor concert venue here in Chicagoland) for a symphony show. I looked forward to a picnic on the lawn, complete with wine, beer bread, and assorted fruits. Plus time under the stars with my wonderful hubby. Finally, friends and I had tickets for the latest (and last) Harry Potter film for opening night. An event over ten years in the making.

Ah, yes, it was going to be a wonderful week.

But alas, all that changed when I wound up in the hospital having surgery instead. Now I face recovery, which is going well, but definitely not the way I planned to spend my summer.

So, what do I take away from all of this (besides a clean bill of health when all is said and done eventually)? A tie in to writing, of course.

All of the changing and rearranging these past couple of weeks reminded me that my characters go through many ups and downs before they find their happily ever after. In fact, readers expect a bumpy road instead of smooth sailing. If they got from point A to point B without any twists and turns and unexpected happenings, it wouldn't make for a very interesting read, would it?

Why should real life be any different?

So I will take heart and look toward the light at the end of the tunnel and my own happily ever after just a little bit farther down the road.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Friday, July 15, 2011

Now and then I read about someone who feels overwhelmed with their email. There are ways you can bring that email monster under control by using labels, folders, and rules. Details will vary from one email provider to another, but I will describe a few things you can do with Gmail.

Create a filter.

Once you select Create a filter, you see a slew of options.

If you receive mail from sources you don't care about, you could have it automatically deleted. Or you could Star email from important sources, automatically putting it in a separate Priority category. Another nice thing you can do here or with individual emails is create labels. For example, anything coming from a member of my family is labeled "Family."

Archive mail you've read and want to keep.

This gets the mail out of your inbox but keeps it accessible. If you use this tool together with labeling, you will get your email under control.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Getting It Just Right! by DL Larson

Last night my husband and I were watching a TV show with an episode about a race car driver. The driver had both hands on the steering wheel but the sound track had the car shifting gears. My husband commented, "wonder who's shifting?" Then shortly after that a commercial came on. Not a big surprise. The spokesman said he was a retired school teacher and wanted to make sure the government did not take his social security away from him. Hmmmm, something didn't seem quite right about his words. Then it dawned on me, teachers have their own retirement plan, they do not receive social security once they retire. The information the man gave was wrong, wrong, wrong!

Small details are important and the writing world is no different when it comes to particulars. Using half-truths or not doing the research needed does several things to your credibility as a writer. If your readers know something you wrote is not accurate, they may not want to read another book by you. Editors and publishers will assume you are an expert on whatever you are writing about. If they find out differently, that too can be detrimental to your career.

Years ago when I first started writing, my dad read my first manuscript. It was daunting to have him read my historical family saga, but I figured I better get over that. Well, he read it, said he enjoyed it immensely, but I better research pheasants a bit more. Pheasants? I didn't remember writing about pheasants. He replied that my character went hunting and brought home a few. What I learned, thanks to my dad, pheasants were not native to the United States. I had no idea!
It was a great lesson about small details.

Have you discovered inaccuracies in books you've read? What bothers you when reading something you know to be different than how the author protrays it to be? Or, has anyone pointed out a mistake in your work?

Share with us!

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Please Welcome Mystery Author, Wendy (W.S.) Gager

Wendy Gager
W.S. Gager has lived in Michigan for most of her life except when she was interviewing race car drivers or professional woman's golfers. She enjoyed the fast-paced life of a newspaper reporter until deciding to settle down and realized babies didn't adapt well to running down story details on deadline. Since then she honed her skills on other forms of writing before deciding to do what she always wanted with her life and that was to write mystery novels. Her main character is Mitch Malone who is an edgy crime-beat reporter who would have made a great noir detective but instead hunts for the next Pulitzer and won't let anyone stop him.


Some of Wendy's Books -

Her Amazon author page-

COMING SOON-              

Mitch Malone hasn't returned to Flatville since his parents were killed in an auto accident while he was in college. His mission is to teach good reporting skills to the local newspaper but Mitch isn't teaching material and his first session sends in disaster when he makes a bet with two reporters that he can find a major news story before the week is up. Drowning his sorrows in the local pub he comes face to face with his classmates celebrating the 15th class reunion. The Homecoming Queen he always had a crush on makes the moves on him and when she comes up dead the next day, he is the main suspect. Add in a bully for a cousin, a police chief who made his life miserable in school and a tragedy from his youth that still haunts him. As Mitch pokes around, more people start turning up dead and he is next…

Today, Wendy is posting on a topic you may relate to, as I do -  

I consider myself a pretty organized person. I can put my hands on anything in the first place I look in my house whether it is bills, extra toothpaste, or note cards for a panicking daughter who has a presentation the next day.

If I’m so organized with physical things, why can’t I apply those same principals to computer stuff? My hard drive is a disaster. I spend lots of extra minutes looking for things in directories that all have similar names or everything in My Documents.

Worse yet is my email account? Why do I have a hard time deleting or organizing? I am on several email loops and love them but I get over 100 emails a day and some of those lists are digests. How do you organize that information? I’ll admit it. I’m an email pack rat. My email is going to crash because it is so hard to delete anything that I may someday want.

All I can think about is the old woman who dies and the EMTs have to wade through stacks of newspapers, boxes, junk mail to get to the body. What is a person to do? In my day job, I’ve worked with people who get an email, respond, and then delete it. I hate these people who only have a few emails in their inbox at any one time! (If you are one of those, please don’t take offense. I could use some help!) How can they be so organized? I’ve tried to set up a file system similar to what I do for bills and paperwork at home but only virtually. I never seem to file anything consistently so now I have two places to look, the list with 2800+ emails and then the filing system.

I can’t not get the emails. I’m currently on a blogging tour for my latest Mitch Malone Mystery, A CASE OF HOMETOWN BLUES, I can’t miss an opportunity to promote or worse yet a purchaser, an invitation or interview request. I would miss something I need. Things get really bad if I can’t check my emails for a day or heaven forbid two or three days. I have close to 500 emails. How will I ever read them all? At that point I begin to feel helpless and out of control. I nearly lost control when one loop had every one of its 1000 plus people do tagging and their tagging emails filled my box until one enterprising person creates a database with them in it. I kept up for a day or two and then have gone back five or six times but still have those emails in my in box. I can’t delete anything sight unseen.

This is the start of my five step plan. Admittance: I’m addicted. Is there any help for me? Have any suggestions? I do so want a slim little inbox and be able to put my hands easily on the emails I do need. Help!

Can anyone offer Wendy some help? Or are you helpless, also? I know I am. Please comment below.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Craziness! By June Sproat

So, in my previous post I was talking about how my kindle version of Ordinary Me has been doing so well, which I can’t explain, but what really is out of this world is the fact that the old version, previously published with The Wild Rose Press, is being sold on line for $2,475!!

I have no idea why anyone would pay that for the book, but my guess- the book is no longer in print so the company that has it moves up the price. Simple supply and demand. Craziness!!!

Of course if anyone really wants to pay $2,475 for a print copy I can personally help you out with that!

Have a great week!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Mini Vacation by Margot Justes

I was lucky enough to play tourist both in my own neck of the woods-Chicago and New York.

My daughter received her MBA at Nary Pier last Saturday, so we spent the weekend in Chicago and had a delightful walking adventure. We had breakfast at the Marriott on Michigan Ave. and we were lucky enough to be seated in front of a huge window overlooking the magnificent mile.

We stopped at Bloomingdales and visited the Nespresso boutique and of course had coffee. It was a terrific family weekend that culminated with Solonge's graduation.

Monday I flew to NY for an altogether different adventure. The Marriott Marquis located in Times Square fits the area well, loud and boisterous and doesn't seem to sleep, just like the famed spot.

I tried to see as much as I could and still manage to attend a few functions at the RWA conference.

What I thought would be a wonderful treat turned out to be a very expensive and great disappointment. The high tea at the Plaza hotel fell far short of expectation. The recommended bold tea was anything but, served in a pouch, it was weak and pretty much lacking in flavor. The bread of the finger sandwiches had been cut and allowed to sit, because when served it had that cut and dried prepared hours ago feel to them.

The best part was the volcanic scone eruption. I picked up my scone and tried to gently pull it apart, a scone will easily divide in half if not desiccated with age. This cone erupted, crumbled and tiny specs scattered everywhere. Rather like a crumbly volcanic fall-out.

When I finally was able to get the waiter to ask him for more hot water, I told him this was literally the crumbiest scone I've ever had, his reply was, "believe it or not, it is very fresh." My reply, "Seriously?" He never even asked if I wanted another scone. The price of that delight was $50.00 plus tip. Visit the hotel, the building is gorgeous, but for tea head to the Waldorf Astoria.

If you're in Chicago and want high tea, there are 3 places I recommend, the Russian Tea Time restaurant, it's small and intimate but serves a delightful high tea, the Russian food is good too. The Drake Hotel for the ambiance and an excellent tea service, but the best is the Peninsula hotel because the food is exceptional but service can be inattentive.

Till next time.
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Do You Know Your Target? by Morgan Mandel

Some authors write the book of their heart. They enjoy the experience so much they can't and won't write any other way. When they're through, they have a quandary. What's their audience? Who will read their book?

Others right away target a specific audience before even starting their manuscript. They don't have as much trouble finding an audience.

Then there's another category. They write the book of their heart, plus have a good idea who might like it. They have the ideal situation, unless they're wrong about who'd really like their book.

For my upcoming paranormal suspense, Forever Young - Blessing or Curse, I'm hoping to belong to the last category, and also hoping the senior audience will enjoy it. If younger ones like it, that will be an added boon I'd love to happen.

What about you? Which category do you fit in? If you know your target, what is it?

Morgan Mandel
Every Thursday a new post about a
Spunky Senior. July 7 Maggie
Toussaint goes kayaking!
My romantic suspense,
Killer Career, is 99 cents on
Kindle & Smashwords.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Writing Space and Time

So, I'm working on revamping the area in my home where I write. My goal is to bring the level of distraction down in this space so I can think and write more robustly.

Like most writers, I have lots and lots of books: Non-fiction including how-to's but, also, many works of fiction. I'm lining one wall with bookcases and it's looking great.

I love to read.

I'm taking a more Zen approach with my setup but not a completely meditative approach since I still need to be awake when I write.

I'm on the search for one of those chaise lounges (like the ones in the movie shown in a psychiatrist's office). Ikea has one - now I'll have to go to their store and look at it, sit on it, and rub my hand over the fabric. That might take me the better part of a weekend day. If it's too comfortable I might back off on the idea, but we'll see. I do need a place to help me get in the zone when I get stuck.

I have a small television in my area right now and I'm trying to talk myself into taking it out. But how would I get the news! I am often inspired with ideas just from watching the news. Maybe I'll just have to settle with reading it online. Of course, I can spend hours reading and researching online.

Ah, the challenges of getting it just write!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th! by June Sproat

Wishing all of you a happy and safe Fourth of July!

Have a great day!



Sunday, July 3, 2011

Wrapping it Up and Dragging it Out

Recently here at ACME we discussed word count in stories and did we write 'long' or 'short'. This has stuck in my mind because I am at the wrapping up part of my latest WIP. I have one chapter to go and my hero and heroine will live happily ever after. *blissful sigh*

Unfortunately, to make my word count, I have about 12,000 words to go. Depending on how you do the math, that's anywhere from 50 - 60 more pages. Way too long for a chapter or even two. *frustrated sigh*

So, now instead of wrapping up, I need to go back and drag the story out. Add scenes and chapters in the middle that can't just be fluff and filler, but need to move the story forward and enhance the plot. *double sigh*

I have a couple of little ideas swimming around in my head (*relieved sigh*) which will hopefully springboard into larger, meaningful, and relevant ideas with a lot of words! (Which as Morgan so aptly described, will need to be coaxed out kicking and screaming.)

How I do envy those of you who write long at times like this. *sigh*

Happy Fourth of July!

Until next time,

Happy Reading!