Category Archives: Writing & Self Publishing

Six Highly Informative Blogs for Authors

new ideas

 When it comes to self-publishing, there are countless blogs out there written by authors primarily selling their books, by “experts” selling their services, and then the ones that are full of advice and entertaining stories that you don’t want to miss reading.

They are, however, not all created equal.  Some are just more passionate about the information they are providing, and overall they give us more valuable knowledge in all aspects of self-publishing.  I don’t know about you, but I can use every available resource.  Knowledge is power, or in this case, possibly the difference between success and failure.    So here is a list of some of the most informative blogs available to help you achieve that success.

Founded by Joel Friedlander, former book designer and founder of an information- packed blog.  It has extensive resources and tools, guides and books, video instruction,  and an online training course – The Self-Publishing Roadmap. This is a full service blog.

 

Former publisher of Writer’s Digest, a writer, editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review, and media professor.  She helps authors learn the business side of publishing and how the digital age affects everything from transforming writers, publishing, and storytelling. She has online classes and author services as well as countless resources.

 

London-based website by self-published author, entrepreneur, and speaker Joanna Penn.   She provides the resources to help you write, publish and market your book.  She has  books, courses, tools, and podcasts  to propel you in the right direction.  All  kinds of  great information here.

 

Founded in 2011 by independent author and consultant Stephen Hise as a platform to celebrate independent authors.  Operates like an interactive online magazine.  Contains thousands of helpful staff articles as well as tutorial books for authors.  Offers opportunities for authors to display their books on the site, video trailers, new release announcements and a featured book section.

 

Founded by David P. Vandagriff, a writer who has a background in law, intellectual property litigation and tech.  Hundreds of articles relating to self-publishing.  Learn about enhanced e-books, fiction fundamentals or self-publishing strategies.

 

At the Savvy Book Marketer, Dana Lynn Smith shares a wealth of tips, advice and tools  to help you sell more books and make more money from your publishing business. She  is an author,has a marketing degree, and 19 years of publishing experience. Endless tips and resources for aspiring authors.

 

There is always something new on these sites almost daily, so check them out!

Have any suggestions for other great websites or blogs?

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

Author of  –

THE DRAGOMEIR SERIES ( If  you love dragons, you’ll find this series intriguing and a lot of fun!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Where Do Authors Get Their Ingenious Writing Ideas?

girl_daydreaming

Do they just appear out of nowhere and land in your lap when you least expect it?  Probably not very likely.  Certainly some authors have wonderfully vivid imaginations, but others are often people who are simply good at making observations and interpreting them into amazing storytelling.  Their characters can even be based on someone they know in real life.  Some writers have so many ideas in their heads that it’s hard to know which one to go for.  There are an abundance of sources for inspiration.  Here are a few  –

 

  • Mark Twain based his character Huckleberry Finn on a childhood friend.

“In Huckleberry Finn I have drawn Tom Blankenship exactly as he was. He was

ignorant, unwashed, insufficiently fed; but he had as good a heart as ever any boy

had.  His liberties were totally unrestricted. He was the only really independent

person—boy or man—in the community, and by consequence he was tranquilly

and continuously happy and envied by the rest of us.”

 

  • John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer-Prize winning novel, “The Grapes of Wrath” is a commentary on social injustice and the forces behind poverty and oppression.

“I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this

[the Great Depression and its effects].” – John Steinbeck

 

  • The world of dreams is a magical place where writers often get answers and inspirational ideas.  Dreams have been a source for my creative ideas for years.  Many times I have been awakened with an unusual idea and have written it down on anything I can find so that it won’t be lost.  Other times I remember vividly the entire thing when I wake up, and a book is spawned right then and there.  Generally some changes ensue, but a dream was where it all started.

 

  • You might find inspiration from a snippet of interesting conversation you’ve heard recently, or a dialogue from a movie might spark something in your brain that’s worth creating a story about.

 

  • You might get some great ideas from going on a nature walk, watching the night sky, or looking at a magazine or reading a human interest story.

 

  • Traveling around the world or taking a day trip to the next town and discovering new places and people can make you see new things and spark thoughts for a story line.

 

  • If you have children or just watch and listen to children, it can change the way you view the world when you see through their eyes.

 

Ideas are free.  Just about anything we experience, see, hear or read can spark an idea.  We just need to be aware and observant – most writers excel at this.

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

 

What or where is the most unexpected place you’ve found a writing idea?

Is Every Character Important to Your Plot?

bettyandjean

The world of Dragomeir has a remarkable number of varying species which seem to get a lot of press when it comes to origins and abilities. As a result, other key characters seem to get lost in the shuffle. I think it’s only fair to give credence to a couple of characters who were instrumental to the plot, and came to the rescue of Tanis, the headliner of the story.

  • The first of these two people is Betty, the Den Mother at the Emerald Grotto. She is matronly and ageless. She is older, but at the same time, seems youthful. I know how that sounds, but she’s somewhat of an enigma. Her graying hair is always tied back in a bun and her clothing makes her look strangely homebound and domestic. It’s her energy that impresses everyone the most, and a very imposing demeanor. Betty is fearless and plays a huge role in the conclusion of the Dragomeir Trilogy.
  • The second is Jean. Originally the secretary to the Thaumaturgists, she manages to fool everyone into thinking she is ditzy and slow. Jean shows up in the second book, “Flight of the Aguiva” proving just how wrong that assessment really is. She turns out to be a member of the Watcher Clan, and an aggressive, sometimes rash leader, dedicated to the furtherance of Mt. Drago. Highly trained in combat, Jean uses her skills in the service of Queen Mother, both in the field and at the mountain in ways that disturb Tanis and his dragons. Jean is the embodiment of how far a person can go when properly motivated. She is an over achiever and proof that you don’t need super powers to be a super soldier. So check out these two remarkable women and find out how they helped save Queen Mother’s beloved mountain and the world.

Books 1-3 of the Dragomeir Trilogy are available from multiple sources at –

www.solitaireparke.com

Do you have a favorite character from a book who isn’t the main character?  What books have you read where those people really stood out and why?

See you soon,

Solitaire

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why are Headlines Important to You?

headlines.important

Reaching customers in a deep and emotional way is a key to successful writing. Your headline is probably the most important draw you can use to reach potential readers whether it is your newletter, blog, email or any piece of copywriting. Of course it’s important that your content is amazing, but no one is going to read it if the headline falls flat. The majority of people use headlines to decide whether or not to read your content. So here are 8 locations where you can find helpful information on this important topic.

If you’ve found any other sites that would be helpful to writers, please share!

Have a great day!

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

 

Top 10 Best-Selling Fiction Authors of All Time

perspective

“You can find a chart detailing the estimated sales figures of the top best selling authors on a number of different web pages and you’ll notice they all look eerily similar. But you’ll also notice that the estimated sales figures have large margins for error, this is because no matter how much research you do there is no one consensus on how many books any author has sold. It is hard to say with certainty who sold how many books since a lot of them, you might have noticed, were written a long time before computers, the internet and all the record keeping wonders of the modern world. (Then again I’m not so sure we can trust modern figures either.) But while there may be a few surprises for some people you will also find that it makes sense when you think about it. So instead of this list being a record of who sold more fiction novels, it is instead an attempt to explain why these authors have become the top 10 best sellers of all time.

So lean forward, dig in, and try to understand exactly what you have to do in order to follow them. Here is a list of the top 10 best-selling fiction authors of all time, and why.”

Check out the following site to find out who these authors are –

http://akorra.com/2010/03/04/top-10-best-selling-fiction-authors-of-all-time/

Know any more that should be added to this list?

To see the latest cover of my new Dragomeir Series book “Egg of the Amphitere” – due out very soon, go to my website –

solitaireparke.com

Check you soon,

Solitaire

 

 

 

 

 

Where Do Book Characters & Their Names Come From?

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I’ve been asked many times how I get the characters that appear in my books. Funny, I’ve always been shy in the admission of their history because many of the characters that show up are people that I know, or am related to in some manner. I’ve always worried what some of the people would say if they knew, consequently, it isn’t generally the first thing I’d choose to reveal. Most people don’t see themselves as others do, and in that knowledge rests my courage to portray them as I see them – good, bad or indifferent. This is not a strict rule of thumb though, as there are exceptions – you will see as you continue to read.

The easy ones to use as examples are the characters that have enviable personas, like Princess Rhylana. She was patterned after my wife and mother to my children. In the book, Rhylana portrays the very essence of what I see in her, and have seen for years. She’s spunky, aggressive, and kind to small children and animals. She’s a fighter, and never gives up.

Queen Mother was given her persona from a very dear lady to me, and companion. She’s aggressive, prone to lead anyone who’ll follow, (you know just to keep them safe) and dedicates her life to promoting the underdog. She’d spit in the eye of a demon, but runs from cockroaches and can’t keep herself from rescuing any and all small mammals.

Tanis, a lead character and spokesman for a series of my books was patterned after me.

Two exceptions are characters that were designed by readers. They signed up for a character contest to have their creations entered into volume one of my Dragomeir Series, “The Emerald Dragon.” Helup Ironfold, a Blacksmith by trade and rider to the dragon Jilocasin Sybaris Cirfis, was created by Jacob Overton and played a significant role in the book.   He appears in later books as well. Sergei Rasputin Cosmonov, a Red Immortal Demon and rider to the dragon Volansa Spirandi Bellator, was created by Joe Russomanno and also played a significant role in the book. Sergei too, has a role reprisal in later books.

When it comes to naming my characters, there are a few things that come to mind.

  • Some of the names are compilations of people I know or maybe even names of pets. A particular character may bring someone to mind because of their personality or specific traits.
  • I Google English names or words to determine what they would be in another language. It’s wise to check origins of names to make sure you have the correct one for the location of your setting.
  • Checking the “root” meaning of a name might be important too. It needs to apply to your character to make sense, unless it’s done purposely for comedy or irony.
  • Google is a great resource for almost everything. Once a name is picked, I often Google it to make sure it isn’t a real person who might be offended by the usage of their name. If there is a question, then I change it somehow.
  • I might use a name from a book I have read or a movie that I particularly liked because it fits the character I have created in some way. I’m careful not to plagiarize someone else’s characters.
  • I don’t always use a middle name or initial, depending on the character. It isn’t always necessary unless you need a specific emphasis on a name.
  • It’s also good to choose names that fit the era you are writing about, unless an unusual name for that time frame is part of the story.
  • I have even used names that I liked from a certain place or map that just sounded right for my character.

How do you name the characters in your stories? It would be fun to know.

Solitaire

Visit me at solitaireparke.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In what Point of View do you write?

manatcomputer

When writing a novel there’s a universal question that most writers grapple with – how do you choose which Point of View to use? Point of view is the way the author allows you to “see” and “hear” what’s going on. There are several different points of view available to you and each one has several pros and cons. You must consider how the point of view you choose will impact the story you are trying to tell.

FIRST PERSON POV: When you tell a story through a viewpoint character using I or we. First person POV refers to the I, we, me, my, mine, us narrator, and is often the voice of the heroic character or a constant companion of the heroic character. Every detail of your story must be filtered through the storyteller. It is usually your main character. If your main character cannot see, hear, touch, smell, taste, think, know or feel it, you can’t include it. So, if you want to introduce something outside the range of your main character, you must use the words or observed actions of some other character who is in a position to see or know the events in order to convey the information you want the reader to have. Remember that the POV character cannot know the thoughts or unspoken feelings of another character.

Advantages –

  • It’s Easier to feel empathy for the character since you are spending so much time in their brain
  • It can give logic and motivations to characters that would seem otherwise evil, immoral, or otherwise not relatable.
  • It more easily fleshes a character on the page by allowing the audience to listen to their voice for long periods of time.

Disadvantages –

  • You are limited to writing about what the narrator can see or sense.
  • The narrator must constantly be on stage or observing the stage.
  • You can’t go into the minds of other characters.

SECOND PERSON POV: Where the author uses you and your – it is rare. Authors seldom speak directly to the reader. When you encounter this point of view you should pay attention. The author has made a daring choice, probably with a specific purpose in mind. Most times, second person point of view draws the reader into the story, almost making the reader a participant in the action.
Advantages –

  • The reader can feel more intimately connected and involved with the story.
  • It gives you the power to be different, even eccentric in the way you can speak to the reader so directly.
  • It gives life to the characters in a way that other viewpoints don’t.

Disadvantages –

  • It begins to feel quirky, whether you’re reading it or writing it.
  • Novels solely written in second person make it more of a possibility that the reader may feel disconnected from the story.

THIRD PERSON POV: The he, she, it, they, them narrator, third person is the most common POV in fiction. It offers a variety of possibilities for limiting omniscience: information that the narrator and reader are privy to in the telling of the story.

Advantages –

  • In omniscient mode, the narrator is all knowing and can move to anywhere in the story world.
  • The narrator can also tell the reader things the main character doesn’t know, creating dramatic irony.
  • Provides a broad perspective on the story, which is useful for epics involving many plotlines.

Disadvantages –

  • Far less intimacy between reader and main character. The reader feels as though he is looking at characters rather than being a character.
  • Narrator is reliable (this could also be seen as a pro).
  • You can confuse yourself and the reader unless every voice is distinctive.

My urban fantasy books from The Dragomeir Series were written in first person. They are all from the main character Tanis’s point of view. Not knowing any more than Tanis did from moment to moment was used as a means by which to increase the potential bond between him and the reader. The reader goes where Tanis goes, sees what he sees, and has to catch up on events when he returns to a person or place. I wanted the reader to use Tanis’s ability to understand people and to figure out friend or foe, good and bad, but to ultimately do it together. I felt the books needed to be a more personal, casual account of what was happening to have a better shot at complete immersion with the story as it unfolds. I hope you enjoy reading the Dragomeir Series as much as I did writing it.

THE DRAGOMEIR SERIES –

  • “The Emerald Dragon”
  • “Flight of the Aguiva”
  • And coming soon – “Egg of the Amphitere”

 

Solitaire . . .

What Point of View do you use and why?

 

 

 

What is Urban Fantasy? – Part 1

 

 urbanfantasy

Urban fantasy describes a work that is set primarily in the real world and contains aspects of fantasy. These matters may involve the arrivals of alien races, the discovery of earthbound mythological creatures, coexistence between humans and paranormal beings, conflicts between humans and malicious paranormals, and subsequent changes to city management.  Many urban fantasy novels geared toward adults are told via a first-person narrative, and often feature mythological beings.

The term “urban fantasy” has been in use in print from as far back as the early 20th century. However, when used then, the term described a characteristic of some object or place. It was not until the 1980s that the term began to describe a style of fiction, written, performed in theatre, or filmed for Hollywood and television. The following sites each have a description of Urban Fantasy –

 

Know of some other interesting sites?  Please Share!

Solitaire

 

Where Do Writers Write?

wheredowriterswrite

I came across a very interesting site, The Next Best Book Blog, that not only gives you an idea of where writers come up with their creations, but shows pictures of these locations. (If you’re like me, you will love being able to visualize where the creativity originates.) It is a weekly series that features a different author every week. I have always loved books, and as an author I find it interesting to see where other writers are generating their masterpieces. So here’s the link – Enjoy!

http://thenextbestbookblog.blogspot.com/p/where-writers-write.html

Solitaire

P.S. Where do you write?  I’d love to hear from you!

Woohoo, it’s Memorial Day Weekend!!!

catsplaying

Hi, Solitaire here. It’s that occasion again – Memorial Day Weekend. Time to take a break, even if it’s a short one, to spend some quality moments with family, or just relax and do something other than work. You deserve it!  As an author, that’s hard for me to do. Not the spending time with family part, but the not using the time to write part. I almost feel guilty not using every spare moment to sit down at my computer and continue to write my latest novel. I think that’s probably a universal feeling with most authors. But like any profession, authors need to get away from their chosen profession once in a while. So take this weekend to unwind a little, and maybe it will spur those creative minds on to bigger and better ideas for your up and coming writing endeavors!

Have a great mini-vacation and enjoy some much needed relaxation! Happy Writing!

Solitaire

You can check out my just released Dragomeir Series Book Two, “Flight of the Aguiva” here –

www.solitaireparke.com

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