Thursday, March 29, 2012

Blogging from A to Z

Warning! Warning! I will be blogging for all of April!

Totally shocking, I know. Especially coming from someone who maybe blogs once a week. So, what has gotten into me? And why would I do something so drastic as to blog everyday for a month?

I'm doing this awesome "blog challenge" if you will. It's kind of like NaNoWriMo, which was about writing a novel in thirty days. But this, this A to Z challenge, is about blogging on the topic of an alphabet letter-- a different one-- everyday for the next thirty days, minus a few sundays off. It's called Blogging from A to Z challenge April 2012.

I thought about writing about The Hunger Games, because that is super trendy-- and because it would capture most peoples' interest.  It wouldn't be hard to do, especially because the difficult letter K is already filled for lead character Katniss. However, I'm sure a gazillion bloggers are going to do this.

Oh, and it doesn't help that I haven't read the books ... not one of them. Maybe one day.

My blog posts won't be long, some may be too short, some will definately be incoherent and dumb, and a couple might even be interesting. So, here's to blogging, and I hope you enjoy my posts beginning April 1st and carrying into the 30th. Hopefully, you and I will learn something. The sky's the limit in a blog challenge like this. It's a fantastic writing excercise too.

And hey, if you need to work on your blogging skills, or want to meet new people, find more blogs or add more people to your blog, this a great way to do just that. Any blogger, about any subject, is welcome! There are four more days to sign up.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

E-books Galore

If you don't know about Ereader News Today or Pixel of Ink, then you're missing out on free books. Sure, some are newbie self-published authors (like myself) but there are plenty of very established authors that offer up their book free everyday. Check out these two sites, like them on FB, or sign up to recieve their newsletter, and you'll never be in want for books ... for free.
I've already FAR too many books on my ipad ... but they're free!

Just a happy reminder, that I'm offering my new book The Puzzle Master for free again this saturday, the 24th of March. Know anyone who would like to read this? Have a middle-grade/YA reader? Friend or family member? Be sure to send them the book. You can do that! Just go to  the page, and send it as a gift.

And hey, if you don't want to wait, then buy it today. It's only $.99!
The Puzzle Master

Also, remember: you don't need a Kindle to read any of these books. You can download it to your ipad, iphone, e-reader of all kinds and even to your computer. Get your Kindle app here.

Enjoy!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Five Reasons to Write a Short Story

I had this cool essay that I thought about writing. So, what did I do? I didn’t write it. Instead, I sat on the idea for about three days. I would go back to the idea, while I was cooking, while I was doing laundry, while I was exercising and watching Murder She Wrote reruns, and by the time I sat down to write it –something I really didn’t want to do, because I wasn’t even sure how to write it—the whole thing came tumbling out in about fifteen minutes.

Mind you, it was definitely not pretty. It was mashed-up, ugly and not readable. However, after I edited it about two times, things improved. And after a few more edits, it might even be printable. Why am I telling you this?

1. Because I realized I wrote for 15 minutes and came up with seven hundred words. That’s so cool and very hard to do. If I did that every day for an hour I could have a “book” written in a month or less. In the real world, words rarely come that fast and furious. 90,000 words is usually a three-month thing at the earliest.

2. Because I realized that stewing over something for a few days can release a flood when the time is right to open the dam! Awesome.

3. Because I realized short stories can be a great reason to write. Period. Not books, not long short stories, or because I switched genres, or myriad of other things. No. Short stories teach one a lot of great things. (see below)

Some writers are horrified with small amounts of writing. I understand. It means perfect writing with as few words as possible. However, I look at it differently.

Here are five reasons to write a short story:

1. Short stories teach you to be succinct. I know. Just getting your backside in a chair and writing a few sentences before Facebook pulls you away is a Jedi skill alone! But truly, honing, crafting, and making perfect that short, little essay will teach one wonders in streamlining, extricating profuse verbosity, and really, just saying what you need to say.

2. Shorts stories are a great way to have an entire product within a reasonable amount of time. As I said, three months for a book, or maybe three hours for a story. Talk about (almost) instant gratification!

3. Short stories teach you the essentials of a story – in one page (or two). The beginning, the middle and the end, all within a matter of hundreds of words. That’s like seeing the big picture within the little picture. All three of those parts make a whole, and when you can see it in the work, because it’s a matter of two pages, it’s like scales falling from your eyes … it’s, dare I say it, like being an agent that can see if there’s a story in your work or not.

4. Short stories are diverse. They can be an essay, a memoir, a story (as the name implies), or even a children’s book, devotional or love letter. Short stories are the starter homes to the mansions, if you will. I can stay in the starter home or be just as happy in the mansion. While the starter house has a few less rooms or square footage to live in, it also means fewer rooms to clean, if you get the analogy. Not a bad thing!

5. Short stories can be the start of something big. As previously mention, short stories might just be the starter house, which is supposed to be a grand mansion instead.

If you’ve got a great story, like about a dog walker who is really a kung-fu master, but aren’t positive you can write 90,000 words about it, try the short story. If you really need more than 700 words to tell the story, then perhaps you have a book. If not, well, you’ve got a nice story about a man and his dog(s). And who doesn’t like stories about man’s best friend?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Your Writing Spot

Here's a view --from the outside--
of my ash and birch trees.
Every day, I go to my writing desk -- one that includes a PC, paper and pens, and a spot for my unending cup of coffee -- and write. Well, each day except Sunday. I do need a day of rest.

But this is my writing spot; it's where I go for inspiration, creativity and dreaming. If it changed, I would also have to seriously change my writing process and routine.

writer-friend of mine recently blogged about how her beloved writing spot has drastically changed: how three of her neighbor's trees were cut down in a matter of hours over the course of three days! Not just little trees mind you, but decades-old trees that not only provided shade and glorious beauty, but inspiration for her work. She depended on these trees, even if subconsciously.

The trees are gone now and it's as if three family members have died.

She basically has to re-establish her writing routine. Though they are mere trees, they also belonged in her daily schedule; they were ingrained into her make-up; a part of her creative life.

This got me thinking about how much I love the two tree rights outside my window; two trees that I tend to stare to and through as I'm thinking up plot or characters or dialogue. What would I do without them? I would have a hard time "rebooting" my system, if you will, if they disappeared.

What's your favorite writing spot? If it changed, would it be difficult for you to find a new place? Could you? Do you even need a writing spot? I know my friend will find a new "happy writing place" but it definitely won't be the same as before.

Appreciate your writing spot and write to your hearts content while you're there. Let me know what and where your writing spot is. I would love to know ... as I'm sure my friend would, too.