Showing posts from 2011

One Ridiculously Easy Way To Improve Your Manuscript

So you want your writing not to suck. There's a ridiculously effective way to improve it. It's easy--once you know how: Put your manuscript on a diet! I have a guest post from writing coach extraordinaire , Rayne Hall, with some tips. SLIM YOUR WRITING STYLE FOR THE NEW YEAR   Does your writing style have bulges and saggy bits? Dr Rayne's Word Loss Diet helps you to trim, slim, tighten and tone your manuscript.  In thirty years as an editor, I've found the same fatty words bloat the style of many authors. Here is a notorius, fattening, calorie-rich word: 'could'.  If you cut it from your diet your writing style will be come sharper and tighter. Beginner writers are prone to overusing it. Experienced authors  may use it a lot in their drafts, but edit it out in the final version. Instead of telling us that the heroine could see, could hear, could smell or could feel something, let her see, hear, smell, taste, feel it. Simpl

Release Day: The Unfinished Song : Root (Book 4)

The Unfinished Song : Root (Book 4) will officially be released on December 28, 2011. For two days only, it will be available for just 99 cents. Of course, you can also still get it free by signing up for my newsletter . I have already filled the 100 slots for free books that I allocated, but I have decided to give out twenty more, so you can still squeeze in! In the holiday spirit, I'm also offering my short story anthology, Conmergence, for free. If you've always wanted to read my short stories, but were afraid it might be a total money-wasting, mind-melting experience, now you can at least protect your money. (As for your mind, you must still read at your own risk.)  You can download Conmergence from Amazon, but if you'd prefer a pdf, that's fine too, just email me and let me know. Happy holidays and good wishes for New Year!

Woot Root! Sign up for a free copy!

The Unfinished Song: Root (Book 4) is coming soon! And to celebrate, I'm making an insane offer. I will give you the book for free . Sign up here ... or just email me . But hurry up, because I'm going to cap this offer at 100 and I'm already almost halfway there. I want you to get your free book before they run out! Why? Well, two reasons. One, I am crazy. My relatives will attest to that, if I ever introduced to you (which I wouldn't because my relatives are also crazy). Two, I want to recruit folks to the Faearth Fanclub , which I'll be rolling out this month. Basically, it's just a newsletter at this point, but I'm working on a website where fans will be able to get all kinds of cool, free stuff. What better way to start than by giving away a free book? So fans, if you want to read Root, Book 4, for absolutely free, just sign up and I will gift you a copy on the Super Secret Release day! (Reviewers, as usual, you can have a free copy, even

What Spammers Think of My Blog

I saved this remark from the plebian comments section, because it was so beautiful I felt it deserved more attention. Look at what this wonderful spammer has to say about my blog: I’m impressed, I must say. Really rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the issue is something that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this. See? This blog is both "educative" and "entertaining"! My ideas are outstanding and much more intelligent than most blogs the spammer is spamming. And a spammer would know, right? After all, their bots visit so very many blogs, most of which don't hit the nail on the head at all . There you have it. My blog is worth reading. You have it straight from the spammer's bot.

Amanda Hocking Joins the Million Books Sold Club

Amazon announced today: David Baldacci, Amanda Hocking and Stephenie Meyer are the latest authors to join the Kindle Million Club, selling over 1 million paid copies of their books in the Kindle Store. They join 11 other authors in the Kindle Million Club: Stieg Larsson, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Charlaine Harris, Lee Child, Suzanne Collins, Michael Connelly, John Locke, Kathryn Stockett, Janet Evanovich and George R.R. Martin. As with John Locke before her, Amanda Hocking sold the majority of her 1 million Kindle books independently using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Since its launch in 2007, KDP has provided a fast, free and easy way for authors and publishers around the world to make their books available in the Kindle Store. In addition to the more than 2 million books sold by John Locke and Amanda Hocking, 12 KDP authors have sold more than 200,000 books and 30 KDP authors have sold more than 100,000 books.

When is a picture worth a million words?

Squeeeeeeeeee! *ok, fan girl glee that my book is parallel to George R. R. Martin out of the way* They say it takes 1,000,000 words to become a good writer. I have written more than that... most of it so awful, dreadful and nausea-inducing that a goblin wouldn't even feed it to his mutant rat-horse. Many a day I despaired nothing I wrote would ever be worth sharing. Now, it is true, that George R.R. Martin's book is $15 and mine is free , but a lot of people must still want to read it to make it the number one downloaded epic fantasy on Amazon. And that feeling... it's just... I'm going to have a write a whole new book just to capture that feeling in words. For now, all I can say is... This picture was worth a million words.

A Writer's Tribute to Steve Jobs

20 Things I’ve Learned from Steve Jobs   1. Build stuff that you love, then ask people to buy that stuff so you can keep building more. In 1974, Steve Jobs invited Steve Wozniak to join the Homebrew Computer Club. Woz wanted to keep it a hobby. Jobs convinced Woz to start a company. In 1976, they sold the first fifty Apple I computers.   2. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. At age 13, Steve Jobs called up the head of HP and asked for free computer chips…and got them.   3. Even if you don’t graduate, you can still keep learning. Jobs dropped out of Reed College, but kept auditing classes. (I learned to write BASIC on an Apple II.)   4. If you lose your job, stay focused on what you’ll do next. In 1985, Steve Jobs was fired from Apple, the company he’d help found, and replaced by John Sculley. Jobs promptly founded a new computer company, NeXT. "I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing tha
Rest in peace. You will be missed by many.

Creating Believable Magician Characters

Today we have a guest post by Rayne Hall. Rayne Hall is a traditionally published author, who has recently made the move to self-publishing for her latest dark fantasy Storm Dancer, which is only $0.99 on Amazon and definitely worth reading. She also teaches writing classes, which I highly recommend. She is an excellent teacher. You can find out more about the classes below, or on this site: Creating Believable Magician Characters by Rayne Hall Does your story have a magician - a shaman, a sorcerer, a necromancer, a ritual wizard, a theurgist, a miracle worker or a witch? The traits which make them effective magicians shape their personality. Here are ten tips for their characterisation. Your magician should have most - not necessarily all - of these character traits. Although I'm using the female pronoun for this article, everything applies regardless of gender. 1. Intelligent Magic requires a

9/11 Ruminations

Last year, this was my 9-11 Post: On September 11, 2001, I was living overseas. I remember that a local newspaper carried the headline, the next day, "Superman Cries." I very much wanted to buy a copy, but I had other priorities at the time. My mom was scheduled to be on an airplane on that day, and I was trying to track her down, make sure she was safe (she was), and then I spent a lot of time on the phone or trying to get online to talk it over with her and other loved ones. By the time I tried to pick up a copy of the newspaper, they were sold out. It's interesting that at a moment like that, people would turn to a fictional character to try to make sense of the tragedy. They could have used the Statue of Liberty or Uncle Sam, the more usual allegorical figures of nationhood, but instead featured the comicbook Superman, with a single tear. * * * I included a link to this  emotional timeline of 9-11  from Mind Hacks. What I did not discuss was my own emotiona

Confessions of a Were-Tiger Mom

My oldest son started kindergarten yesterday. It was also the release date of the third book in my series -- The Unfinished Song: Sacrifice . Usually, I neglect my kids because I'm busy writing, but yesterday, I neglected my new release so I could spend the day with my little man. At least, that was my intention. It's not possible to turn off Writer's Brain. After Roll Call and Storytime, the kids ran outside to play while the parents squeezed into tiny chairs to listen to the teacher. The teacher was a perfect kindergarten teacher: sweet and chipper and friendly and yet down-to-earth. While she expounded on the daily schedule and how budget cuts impacted the status of art supplies, I gazed around the room, struck by an idea for a story about a woman whose three preschool sons are werewolves. I would call it, "My Three Werewolf Sons." Right at the moment I was puzzling out the backstory about how the young children came to be bitten by a werewolf (I would blam

The Unfinished Song: Sacrifice Now Available

At some magic hour today you should be able to buy Sacrifice, third book in the twelve part series The Unfinished Song. Early bird buyers will be able to pick up the book for just $.99.

The Unfinished Song: Sacrifice Debuts Tuesday, Aug 30!

Yay! Thank you to those who have waited patiently...Sacrifice, the third book in The Unfinished Song, is here! Almost. It should be available for review copies and early bird purchase on Monday, August 30, 2011. This will be a busy day for me, since it is also the day my oldest son starts kindergarten. UPDATE: Except, of course, I meant TUESDAY, because that is the 30th. D'OH! Here's a sneak peek at the cover:

How Writing Daily Can Help You Lose Weight

Writing daily can help you lose weight. No, I am totally serious. I know it seems counter-intuitive, because, after all, you are sitting around on your buhunkus, and, if you are like me, tempted to eat snacks while you write. But writing each day takes willpower. Learning to discipline yourself to write can have a positive impact on the rest of your life. Willpower is like a muscle . This has a downside and an upside. The downside is that it can become exhausted, which means that you can find yourself more susceptible to temptation. The upside is that by exercising your will every day--for instance, by writing daily, if you a writer--you can improve not just your ability to write, but also strengthen you willpower in other areas, like dieting. Heidi Halvorson, a researcher on willpower, writes: So if you want to build more willpower, start by picking an activity (or avoiding one) that fits with your life and your goals – anything that requires you to override an impulse or d

15 Drunkest Countries

15. United Kingdom Per capita alcohol consumption: 13.37 liters Recorded consumption: 11.67 liters Unrecorded consumption: 1.70 liters Per capita consumption by type (recorded) Beer: 4.93 liters Wine: 3.53 liters Spirits: 2.41 liters Other: 0.67 liters 14. France Per capita alcohol consumption: 13.66 liters Recorded consumption: 13.30 liters Unrecorded consumption: 0.36 liters Per capita consumption by type (recorded) Beer: 2.31 liters Wine: 8.14 liters Spirits: 2.62 liters Other: 0.17 liters 13. Ireland Per capita alcohol consumption: 14.41 liters Recorded consumption: 13.41 Unrecorded consumption: 1.00 Per capita consumption by type (recorded) Beer: 7.04 liters Wine: 2.75 liters Spirits: 2.51 liters Other: 1.09 liters 12. Portugal Per capita alcohol consumption: 14.55 liters Recorded consumption: 14.55 liters Unrecorded consumption: 2.10 litres Per capita consumption by type (recorded) Beer: 3.75 liters Wine: 6.65 liters Spirits: 1.27 liters Ot

Excerpt: The Unfinished Song, Sacrifice

Rthan Rthan’s old hut had been dismantled after he had fallen in battle, as was customary. During his captivity, his tribe had mourned him as one already dead. On his return to the tribe, a new hut was built. Kinsmen in Sharkshead and others from his birth clanhold, folk who had heard he still lived and come to see if it was true, helped him with the building. Six sturdy rib bones from a whale provided the main support, around which was woven a skeleton dome of femurs and fibulae. Then layers and layers of skins rubbed in lard, fur side down, facing the interior, were stretched tight and lashed to the bones, so that when the hut was finished, it was slick and waterproof on the outside, soft and warm inside. Kinsmen thumped his back and insulted him affectionately, lighting the hearth fire as their last favor before they left him alone in his new house. The fire burned blue. Against the light, he could see Meira’s silhouette. The little girl stroked a patch of otter fur. “Otter

Why We Love Princesses

Princess Kate gets hitched. I love princesses. I should. A princess taught me to read. A princess convinced me to get married. And a princess made my dream come true. But I met a guy once who hated princesses. He was a Spanish anarchist who would hold up protest signs whenever any Spanish royalty showed up. The problem, he complained at a dinner party attended by radicals, pacifists and intellectuals, was that just about everyone in Spain adored the Spanish royal family, and for good reason. The king of Spain had defied terrorists to defend democracy. The anarchist didn’t care. “I hate the kings. But I especially hate the damn princesses.” “I love princesses,” said the activist next to me. “I LOVE them!” She and the gay guy on her other side then started talking Princess Fashion Tips. The anarchist rolled his eyes. I wondered if he was right. Are we unhealthily obsessed with royalty? Dany from Game of Thrones.  Some examples: • The Royal Wedding. Need I say more?

Sneak Peak

Rather than drone on about how edits on The Unfinished Song: Sacrifice are going (except to say they are indeed ongoing), I thought I'd let you have a peak at my next project-in-progress. This is going to be a military hard sf series called STRAT. On a hell world where feudal mech lords use memetic tech to imprint loyalty onto their vassals and thralls, all Charlie and his people ask is to be left alone, free to think for themselves. Then, on his wedding day, Charlie's bride is kidnapped to be a thrall. As he fights for his life and her freedom, he discovers the war helm of an ancient and powerful lord. He needs the knowledge in the helm to bring the battle to his enemies. But if he uses it, he risks losing himself... I'm going to release it in novella-lenth episodes of about 25,000-35,000 words each. Charlie is gonna fight in a lot of wars, and each episode will cover one war. I'll start with a trilogy and may expand from there.

Scary Scenes

My friend Rayne Hall is an excellent writing teacher, and she has another class coming up on Scary Scenes . Even if you're not writing Horror, if you want to learn to add suspense to your novel, this is a great class. (I speak from personal experience!) Are your frightening scenes scary enough? Learn practical tricks to turn up the suspense. Make your reader’s hearts hammer with excitement and their skins tingle with goosebumps of delicious fright. Whether you’re working on a ghost story, a thriller, a paranormal romance, an urban fantasy or a romantic suspense, this workshop is perfect for planning or revising your scary scenes. If you wish, you may submit a scene for critique at the end of the course.

Teaser and Revisions

Sorry, my blog is boring right now because I'm working hard on the edits for The Unfinished Song: Sacrifice. It will be a few more iterations, I fear. Since I don't have the energy for a real post, I'll give you an excerpt from the book. Here's a rare scene with no spoilers, unless you haven't read The Unfinished Song: Taboo yet, in which case go do so at once before you read this. (Just kidding.) Vessia “You can’t be rid of me that easily.” The voice was unexpected. Vessia whirled around to see Nangi watching her. Vessia felt a frisson of resentment shudder through her. It had been so long since she had run through the meadows alone, as she’d used to when she lived with Old Man and Old Woman. She missed the smell of heather under open sky. She needed wind to lift her hair off her neck, she needed to swing her arms without anyone touching her shoulder to calm her. The land they were passing through now was hot, dry and dead, closed up into canyons of striated r