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Six Highly Informative Blogs for Authors

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 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?

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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?

One of the most amazing lessons you’ll ever learn about writing!

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I came across a blog site today that was incredibly insightful and full of terrific information by a prolific writer, Jon Morrow. His site, BOOST BLOG TRAFFIC, is one that you will want to visit again and again to keep you inspired, to give you up to date great ideas for blogging and just writing in general, and probably change the way you think about being a blogger or writer. According to Jon Morrow, the sky’s the limit, and you are capable of almost anything. So believe in yourself and check out the site of an incredible man and his story. Be sure to check out the “Popular Posts” and get his Free download!

Click here – http://boostblogtraffic.com/jon-morrow-confession/

 

Know of any other posts that are great for writers/authors? Please Share!

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does Dialogue have you stumped?

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Today I came across some great tips concerning dialogue from a regular contributor to CreateSpace.com, Maria Murnane. (www.mariamurnane.com) She writes romantic comedies and provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing.  So I thought I’d share what I thought were some  helpful pointers.

  • Look who’s talking.

 A common problem is that the characters all sound the same, so the readers have a hard time telling them apart. As a result, the readers get confused, annoyed, distracted, or all of the above – none of which you want to happen. If you want your readers to become invested in your characters, you need to bring those characters to life – and dialogue presents a wonderful opportunity to do just that! So when your characters speak, have them make an impression. Are they sarcastic? Jaded? Bitter? Happy? Sad? Pessimistic? Optimistic? Loyal? Funny? Do they use their hands a lot when they speak? Do they lower their voice when they gossip? Do they chew gum? Do they have a particular gesture or body tic that gives away what they’re feeling? You may have heard the expression “show, don’t tell,” and this is a great example of that. Don’t tell us what the characters are like, let them show us.

  •  Does your dialogue sound realistic?

 When I read a book with dialogue that doesn’t ring true, instead of getting sucked into the story I find myself thinking, “Who talks like that? No one would say that.” You want your readers focused on the story, not on the problems with your writing. A good way to avoid having unrealistic dialogue in your own writing is to read it out loud. This may sound a little crazy, but it works! After awhile you will be writing the way people actually talk and your dialogue will be realistic. You want to create strong, believable characters that your readers will care about, so take the time to give them lines that will allow that to happen. With every conversation you write, ask yourself “Does this sound believable?” That might seem daunting at first, but over time it will get easier. It will be well worth the effort. Your readers – and your characters – will be grateful.

  •  Turn the beat around.

 A “beat” is a description of the physical action a character makes while speaking, and good beats can bring your characters to life and make your dialogue pop right off the page. Beats can also help you show your readers instead of telling them. (Misuse of show, not tell is a common mistake many first-time authors make. Remember that readers don’t like to be told what to think

     Example #1

A) “I told you, I’m not going!” John shouted, furious.

B) John slammed his fist on the table, his nostrils flaring. “I told you, I’m not going!”

  John is clearly angry. But in example A, we know this because we are told so.   

In example B, we know this because we are shown it.

              Example #2:

A) “You’re really not going?” Karen said, incredulous.

B) Karen’s jaw dropped. “You’re really not going?”

 We know Karen is incredulous, but why do we know this?

In A, we’re told what to think, and in B, we’re left to decide on our own what to think.

Well-placed beats make your writing richer, fuller, and better. And good writing, like good teaching, engages your readers and lets them draw their own conclusions.

  • Use contractions in dialogue.

Well written dialogue draws you into the story and makes you feel like the people speaking are real. So to write good dialogue, use language that sounds the way people actually talk. And in English, that includes contractions. A lot of them. Without contractions, people sound more like              robots than real people. (Did not becomes didn’t; Is not becomes isn’t; Do not becomes don’t; I am becomes I’m; He is becomes he’s, etc.) Contractions aren’t often used in formal writing, but they are for informal conversation, especially in the United States. So perhaps you should review your  own dialogue to see if it passes the robot test.

  • Dialogue doesn’t necessarily impact the plot, but it impacts character development, which is just as important.

Once you have completed your novel, read it over again. You may need to tweak the dialogue a bit, especially in the early chapters. Your characters have probably evolved, and some of the early lines may no longer fit their personalities. Good stories do a wonderful job of creating characters who are like real people to the audience, and that’s what you want to do with your manuscript. So when you’re finished, go back and read that dialogue with fresh eyes. Do you think it rings true throughout for each of your characters? If it doesn’t, change it! That’s the fun thing about being the author – it’s all up to you.

Have any tips that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them.

Solitaire

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DRAGOMEIR SERIES – Creature Feature – “The Sabers”

This time on Creature Features let’s take a closer look at the species known as The Sabers.   These creatures can be found in Book Two of the Dragomeir Series, “Flight of the Aguiva.” They are one of the older races of non-human, quadrupeds and considerably larger than most. Their leader is an enormous Alpha male named Suyet Suun. Try to imagine a nine foot long, eight hundred pound Bengal Tiger in a yellowish gold color, with tusks coming off the side of his face – ten inch long, large tusks. He was at the very least half again the size of a Bengal. Huge feet below a shear muscled body, and topped off with the most regal of heads. That was Suyet Suun. The females of The Sabers are smaller versions but just as beautiful. The Sabers are mammals and give birth in the same way as the feline species we have on Earth.

These creatures are fully sentient, and thanks to the demons on the Provinces, have been placed on the endangered species list. The demons hunt them for sport, or did until they moved to Mt. Drago. They are peaceful, but become warlike when their young are threatened. Fierce fighters, they unfortunately do not have the numbers to fend off the superior volume of the Hordes of Hell.

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~ Happy Holidays from Mt. Drago ~

I am in the final stretch of Book Two in the Dragomeir Series, “Flight of the Aguiva.” It will be coming out in the spring of 2015, so get ready for more adventure and excitement with the people and creatures of Mt. Drago. Here are some of my favorite quotes from “Flight of the Aguiva.”  Have a wonderful Holiday Season Everyone!

 

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Check out my Author’s Links

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Holidays at Mt.Drago

In The Dragomeir Series, Book One – “The Emerald Dragon,” most of the dwellers of Mt. Drago are technically not from around Arizona or even from earth for that matter. The ones that are from here celebrate holidays in the same way as those who live in the smaller world. Good examples of that would be people like Bob Harris, and Ivory McNeil, both of whom came to the mountain from known places like Chicago and New York. During holidays like the one coming up, Thanksgiving, they celebrate in the same traditional ways that other people have for decades. Turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, and all of the trimmings served by the resident Stewards will be held this year at Mt. Drago on November, 27th 2014 at around noon. Hope to see you there! Turkey roasted over an open fire . . . nothing better!

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DRAGOMEIR SERIES – Creature Features – “Pieces of Eight”

Pieces of Eight – Technically, they are genetically altered, Class Eight Demons. They appear in “The Emerald Dragon,” and were responsible for bringing the first of the Aguiva dragons. What the Dark Lord was looking for was a demon with the strength of a Class Eight, but with a much smaller overall size. These demons stand about six feet tall, weigh in at about two hundred pounds, and on the Provinces are considered tiny. The size factor was adhered to because of the Aguiva dragons. It takes a human sized person to fly one of the War Birds. Anything larger and the Aguiva wouldn’t be able to lift the weight.

The look and feel of the Pieces of Eight is very similar to their counterparts, the standard Class Eight Demon, just smaller with less pronounced facial features. They generally have dark brown hair and eyes. They are strong, fast, and fiercely protective of their War Birds. The demon pictured below is an artist’s rendition of Caleb, complete with his flight suit. Caleb flies the Aguiva dragon named Seven. There are one hundred and seventy- five demons within the ranks of the Pieces of Eight. Other intriguing creatures to come! If you have any thoughts or comments, please let me know and I will be happy to get back to you. You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads; or for more information, check out my Books, The Omnicon store, and More on the website –

http://www.solitaireparke.com

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How to Build Better Books – Awesome Site!

Tired of hunting for information?

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If you want to find out how to do just about anything pertaining to writing, publishing and marketing books, this is one of the most comprehensive websites I have found yet.  It is run by Joel Friedlander, and there are links to information you may not even have thought you would need.  I have found it to be incredibly helpful in so many areas and thought I would pass it along.  Definitely check it out.  You’ll be glad you did!

Here is the link –

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/

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