Friday, February 28, 2014

Big Bang Press to Publish FanFiction. Scribd’s Titles, Ice Dogs, and LOL Cats

Some news around the publishing industry -

From Book Business Magazine - Publishing Startup Out to Prove FanFic Authors Can Have Mainstream Success
"I was getting very frustrated with the fact that there are all of these authors out there who I think are really talented but weren't being paid attention to," says Morgan Davies , editor-in-chief of Big Bang Press. "You have people who are experimenting with their craft and doing all sorts of interesting things in their stories. There are many writers who I think will be quite popular in a wider audience outside of fandom."

Scribd now offers readers over 300,000 book titles through their subscription service.

I also received a surprise this week! Terry Lynn Johnson sent me a copy of her latest, Ice Dogs. She’d sent me bookmarks and postcards the week prior, plus I already had her first book, Dogsled Dreams. The cover is even more gorgeous than what the picture shows. Thank you so much, Terry - I can’t wait to read it.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Science of Formatting, IWSG, and Cat Update

I am visiting Stephen Tremp today with a piece title “The Science of Book Formatting.”

One of the sites listed at the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is featuring an article today by founder Alex J. Cavanaugh. Please stop by How to Write Shop for more info on the IWSG.

In other news - Spunky’s cone of shame comes off today! He will be SO happy.

And here is Rocko doing what she does best - contemplating trouble. My cousin sent that cute black door-frame kitty and of course, it caught Rocko’s attention at once. I come into my office and find it on the floor, I know who to blame.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Writing Reviews That Match a Book’s Star Rating

I’m being interviewed today by author Medeia Sharif. Please stop by and say hello.

There have been a lot of great posts and articles regarding book review etiquette. They’ve covered everything from how to contact reviewers, what to cover in a review, and why you should never respond to a review. I’d like to cover the content of a written review in relation to its star rating.

Sometimes I read a review that doesn’t match up with the amount of stars given. Perhaps the reviewer gushes over the book and yet only gives it three stars. In order to avoid confusing readers (or misleading them) here’s a breakdown as to the content of each written review:

5 Stars - This book hit it out of the park and the review should reflect that. Everything should be positive, with maybe one tiny issue mentioned at best. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it did land over 90% and an A.

4 Stars - This book was really good and most of the review should be positive. Obviously there were issues preventing it from being a 5 star, and those should be mentioned. But the bulk of the review should not be what was wrong with the book.

3 Stars - This book was good/average but nothing you’d read again. Since three stars is right in the middle, half of the review should state what didn’t work and the other half what did work.

2 Stars - This book wasn’t very good. It had a lot of problems and those should be mentioned in the review. It wasn’t God-awful, so there should still be a positive line or two. It didn’t fail completely, just really missed the mark.

1 Star - This book was awful. One star is an F and this book failed on almost every level. Almost all of the review will be negative, although hopefully the reviewer found one nice thing to say.

And with all reviews, if the reviewer didn’t connect but felt others might, that should be mentioned, and any book that wasn’t finished shouldn’t be reviewed.

That is how I see the breakdown. If you view the breakdown differently, please let me know!

2014 National Wormhole Week is coming up and we are hosting a blogfest.

Hosted by Stephen Tremp, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and myself.

This blogfest, also known as “Wormfest,” runs March 10-16, 2014, and is a celebration of Stephen’s upcoming release, Escalation.

Rules are simple:
Name one thing where science advances mankind, and one where technology will go too far and set us back. They can be the same thing or different.

Sign up HERE

Monday, February 17, 2014

Human Behavior and Realistic Characters, Marketing Ideas, Amazon, and Birthdays

Today it’s my turn at the Insecure Writer’s Support Group website with “Create Realistic Characters by Studying Human Behavior.”

Some other interesting publishing news:

Book Business Magazine has a regular feature, Brian Jud’s Beyond the Bookstore. Last week he posted an article - How You Can Come Up With More Marketing Ideas. There were ten tips, including “Stop selling your books. Start selling the benefits that people receive from buying your books.” That one is so true! And not just for books - if you are marketing yourself to the media, you have to take the same approach.

Forbes posted some interesting stats and figures about Amazon, including the fact that 14 employees are required for every $10 million in revenue generated. (In comparison, bookstores require 47 employees.)

And thanks for the birthday wishes! I had the typical 48-year-old’s birthday:

Despicable Me Minion Cake

Homemade Despicable Me Minion Hat from Friend

Singing and Talking Olaf from Frozen from Husband

That's normal for someone my age, right?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day, Spunky, and Birthday Party

Hi everyone!

Just some light fun today. It's Valentine's Day, so I'll have some images of love for you.

Spunky continues to improve! (Sorry, no current picture with the cone of shame. He needs his dignity.) We let him roam around the house with the cone off, monitoring his every step as he's not to jump or run. Yes, try telling a cat he can't jump and run - LOL! Tuesday he gets the staples out (22 staples and 2 stitches) and will no longer have to wear the cone of shame. He'll still be in the crate most of the time, but hopefully the vet says he can roam free soon.

It's been rough, and a lot of money, but we'd do it all over again to give him a fighting chance at another year or two of life.

We also had snow again this week. Snow and sleet for two days. This is the third time in a month. We never get snow in Eastern NC!

It's supposed to be around 50 degrees Friday and Saturday, which should melt all the snow. I hope so, as my husband planned a birthday party for me Saturday night (it's actually Sunday - I missed Valentine's Day by 26 hours) and I don't want to be like this sad little kitty.

I still want to find that cat and throw him a party.

Otherwise, everyone have a special weekend and enjoy some images of love. Any big plans for Valentine's Day?

Spunky, trying to be buddies with Hobbes.

Dave and Steve!

Me (many years ago!) at Wildlife Safari with a cheetah asleep in my lap.

Calvin & Hobbes, loving on each other!

Cow kiss - with tongue!

My husband got me a bouquet of kittens for Valentine's Day! Not many people can say that you know...

Monday, February 10, 2014

When to Hire a Professional if You Are Self-Publishing

When do you hire a professional if you are considering self-publishing? Visit my guest post today with Elizabeth S. Craig to find out.

If you ever get the chance to meet Elizabeth in person, please do. She is a total delight and such a fun, spirited person.

The latest on Spunky -

If your pet ever has major surgery, be prepared! It’s very stressful and a lot of work. Spunky was so miserable and getting medicine down him was a struggle. We were terrified he’d pull out his staples as he bucked, trying to avoid the medicine.

He is better now, more alert, eating and drinking, and a total love bug. He has to wear the cone of shame until after the staples come out and be confined to the crate for a few more weeks, as he’s not to run or jump. (Which is exactly what he wants to do!)

What we’ve done is buy him another year or two. Sadly, the results came back on Friday that cancer is in his hip bones. There’s nothing they can do for him. We’ll just keep loving on him and taking care of him until it’s obvious he’s losing the fight. He’s been a wonderful kitty and we’ve appreciated having him in our life.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Writers- How to Structure Your Life

Today I am visiting Patricia Stoltey and talking about how writers can structure their lives to get it all done.

Many thanks for the wonderful comments left on my IWSG Post. They removed the tumor from Spunky and he’s doing great. Should come home today!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, hosted by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Today I have several insecurities in regards to writing, promotions, and upcoming events. I have a lot to get done and time is slipping away.

But sometimes it all takes a back seat to real life.

Today, this is my insecurity.

That’s our Big Boy, Spunky. Today he is at the vet because he has a lump on his side that is cancer. The specialist will decide whether to remove it or do radiation treatments.

I posted about it on Facebook and was overwhelmed by the prayers and thoughtful comments. We are praying that Spunky makes a full recovery. He’s our “Lovebug” and my husband’s “Buddy.” He’s only eight, so we hope he’ll be around many more years.

So at the moment, my mind isn’t on writing. Spunky is more important. Sometimes when we get caught up in this writing gig, we need to remember that real life matters more.

One thing I can do today is help a friend promote a special sale on his book:

“…delivers on the promise of its predecessor, combining military action sequences and political intrigue with strong, memorable characters. Reminiscent of the action-driven stories of Robert A. Heinlein's early fiction…” - Library Journal

Alex J. Cavanaugh’s CassaFire just .99 for a limited time!

Buy it now on Amazon