Books

Independent Bookstore Day is Here!

Writers need readers. Writers are readers. Readers need books. This Saturday, April 29th, keep your book buying local and participate in Independent Bookstore Day. The event is nationwide and many small shops are participating. New books, old books, traditionally published, indie published – it’s all out there and yours for the buying. If you’ve been saving up to splurge on a stack of new reading material, now is the time, book lovers. As writers, we never know what experience will seed the plot of our next book, or what stranger will shape a character that will drive readers positively wild with anticipation. And, anyway, what better place to hunt for ideas than in a bookstore? On Saturday, carve out some time from your day to go book shopping. Bring a friend and make an afternoon adventu...

The Help of Others

A guest post by writer Jessica Loftus: I’ve always thought that the idea of writing being a completely solitary lifestyle was a myth. The act of writing is solitary, not the life of a writer. Especially a fiction writer. For those of us that have the characters in our heads all the time, we wish we were alone sometimes. I have times in the middle of the night where I’m trying to relax and then my characters start having fights. It’s even worse when I’m editing because I hear them say, “Hey, I changed my mind. My house didn’t burn down after all.” Being the pushover that I am, I sometimes just let my characters run rampant with my story. Outside of our own insanity, a writer has their support system. Whether it be your significant other, your best friend, or your writing group you have a su...

Downsizing To An E-Reader

My family is filled with serious readers. When together, we collect books, trade books, talk books. Even the little humans among us refuse to go to sleep without their favorite stories being read to them. Recently, during an all-hands-on-deck session to help a family member with a move, while packing up about 20 shelves crammed with books, I got to wondering. Remember how, back in the old days (and by “old,” I mean the pre-Kindle days), the worst part about moving was relocating all the boxes of books? Such a pain that was, transporting those deceptively small containers. Each one weighing more than a Vespa. Nowadays, my garage holds my overflow books. It looks like the Leaning Tower of Inked-Up Pages in there, with a giant stack of cardboard boxes filling up one entire corner. It is a dai...

I am my characters

People often comment on how “real” my characters are and they ask me how I create such believable heroines. I suppose it is because most of my work is grounded in reality. My characters are not me but some of their struggles, particularly with men, come from my own struggles—even if I don’t realize it until after the book is released. Take for instance, Stephanie Cohen in Just Friends with Benefits. Stephanie is an attractive, intelligent, funny and interesting woman but she often refuses to acknowledge what is right in front of her. Rather than take things at face value, she will analyze things Ad Nauseum. And often, she will draw the conclusion that favors her own desires. In a word, she is a bit delusional. I cannot begin to tell you how much time I have wasted wondering what a guy was ...

Bookworm and Author Kate LeDonne Interview

"I encourage writers to make it about the work, and doing your best work. Detach. It's not about you. It's about the work. Let go and see what happens. You can always change your mind and put things back in."

Spanx Me, NaNoWriMo!

Forget “March Madness.” Instead, make it “March Marketing Madness.” As part of all this basketball craziness, I recently filled out my bracket for the family pool. I’m not doing well; I think even my sister-in-law’s grandmother is ahead of me. Still, there is value in participating in creative activities outside of one’s normal comfort zone, and staring at all those match-ups got me thinking about business. In “March Marketing Madness,” the sports teams are replaced by companies. The purpose of the competition is to pair them up with other businesses or organizations to develop a brand new marketing initiative that combines each one’s products and/or services. The only requirement is that the new marketing initiative both involves and benefits self-published and indie-published writers.  I...

The New Romance Aisle: Lover’s Lane at Lowe’s

Who says a trip to the hardware store can’t be romantic? Not me! Not any of my friends, either, as it turns out. Over the summer, couple after couple pointed out to me (in unrelated conversations) that once they had settled down, they spent far more time together going out to hardware stores than going out to restaurants. To a one, my friends joked that “date night” had evolved from stolen kisses and candle-lit dinners into Friday night trips to the hardware store, where they would spend hours with sales associates talking about plumbing questions, painting solutions, fencing, and other home-based projects in need of a joint decision in order to move forward. This new style “date night” got me thinking about ways in which a hardware store could increase the in-store romance factor for cust...

A Writer’s Joy: Meeting a New Fan

Even as an adult I sometimes feel as if I am back in high school. Usually, this is a good feeling (I loved high school), if a little bit bizarre, considering that I’ve long since left my school days behind and moved into the working world. But, as I’ve come to understand, life is a series of overlapping cycles, of beginnings and endings, and what’s old is often new again. For example, deciding to write professionally, choosing Novelist as my new career category, was a decision that came upon me slowly. I loved my adventures in the business world and had planned a long and healthy future turning simple ideas into tangible products and services. As I suspect most of us have experienced, even the most carefully plotted plans have a tendency to be uprooted when stormy weather sets in. For me, ...

The Summer of Curveballs

It’s…September? I keep looking at the calendar to confirm that the summer is really over. I guess the gentle fall of the first leaves, the shorter days, and the perfect weather (by D.C. standards) should be proof enough, but neither my eyes nor my mind wants to believe it. Where did summer go? I ask myself as I sit at my desk, my fingers aching from a lack of keyboard exercise. The best analogy I can think of for the place in which I find myself is this: Have you ever carefully plotted a novel, analyzed the characters, the settings, the conflict and resolution, only to find, when your fingers hit the keys, that the characters had other ideas? And what had been a great idea for a new story had morphed – at lightning speed –  into something you had never considered as the right path to creat...

Blogging and Twitter: The Guide

Are you thinking about starting a blog, but you’re not sure where to begin? Do you have a blog, but its not getting many hits? Is Twitter a mystery to you? Perhaps, you’ve written a novel or opened a small business, and you want to find ways to use a blog to connect with a broader audience of potential readers and customers. Zero to One Million Blog Hits in One Year explains the basics of developing blog content and marketing that content on Twitter. This guide, written for beginners, emphasizes the importance of creating a marketing plan, networking in the online community, and focusing on developing a unique brand based on your novels or products.     Excerpts from Zero to One Million Blog Hits in One Year: INTRODUCTION “When you’re ready to start a blog, set a course for fun, ...

Remembering (How To) Love

  When I decided to write a novel, a love story was the natural choice. It seems that anything I write, including short stories and poems, ends up being about love. So why fight it? I often wonder if the act of loving is an ability, an inclination, a talent, or a Heaven-sent gift. Maybe it’s a combination. I also wonder why some people excel at love – at the process of growing and nurturing love – while others fail, miserably. Yes, I do believe love is a process. It has steps, sequences, and a risk of failure. And, whether you honor them or break them, love has rules and boundaries. If it weren’t for these things, love couldn’t be the central plot in a novel, because plots are based on a series of actions that take us from one place, location, or extreme to another. I do enjoy love st...

Prepping For My New Blog

Today has been interesting. I think I’ve turned a corner and finally conquered a major task that has eluded completion since I first realized it needed to be done. For the past few months, I’ve been working myself into a frenzy of concern and trepidation at the thought of upgrading my “starter” blog to a beautiful and modern new format. After weeks of searching hundreds of WordPress sites, analyzing them, envisioning my own version, deciding to move forward with an idea, then scrapping that idea, I’ve finally done it. I’ve selected a new structure for my blog. I chose a WordPress theme, one already designed and ready for installation and customization. This new blog of mine will change the way I both communicate with and support the community of writers, authors, and publishing vendors tha...

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