Don’t Blow Your Blurb

Don’t Blow Your Blurb

You’ve done all the heavy lifting (as in writing an 80,000 word novel). You’ve polished the prose, checked all your commas, formatted the ebook and even your roommate’s cat loves the cover art. For all intents and purposes, your ebook is ready to go. But wait! You’ve got to write your book’s description for the Amazon listing. For some hellish reason, you’re expected to summarize your blood, sweat and tears into a concise, compelling paragraph that will convince would-be readers to buy your book. It’s your sales pitch. It’s all come down to this. This is the reader’s introduction to...
Self-Editing or How to Keep Your Brain From Eating Itself

Self-Editing or How to Keep Your Brain From Eating Itself

I got my edits back from my very patient and all too kind editor. And now is when the blood-letting starts. For me receiving my edits is a lot like report cards week at school—exciting and full of dread. You know you did your best, but you worry about any nasty surprises that may be in there. (Fun Fact: I got a D in typing my Freshman year. TYPING!!!! Can you believe it?!) As writers, we are our own worst critics. We like to imagine the worst and allow that to feast on our brains. Any “nasty surprises” I dread...
When should you be aggressive about passive voice?

When should you be aggressive about passive voice?

Like any other writer that has the grammar and punctuation tools active while using Word, I’m sure you’ve seen the annoying blue squiggly line with the warning “passive voice, consider revising” message pop up in your editing. Most of the time (for me at least) I did not elect to phrase things that way; it just sort of happened. I don’t consciously think of verb tense when I write. It’s like driving into your day job; you go on auto-pilot. In retrospect, you may not even recall stopping for any traffic lights along the way (which is a bit frightening)....
Happy Book Birthday!!!

Happy Book Birthday!!!

Hard to believe it, but a year ago I published the first book in my space opera series, Allies and Enemies: Fallen! As a way of saying thanks to all who have supported this endeavor, I’m listing the ebook for FREE on Amazon. Stay tuned for exciting news on the next installment in the series, Allies and Enemies: Exiles! FacebookTwitterGoogle+E-mail
Writing with ADD: the Pomodoro Technique

Writing with ADD: the Pomodoro Technique

Writing with ADD: the Pomodoro Technique Like many folks, it wasn’t until adulthood that I was diagnosed as an adult with ADD. With this discovery, a great many mysteries about my childhood (especially high school) were suddenly resolved. It explained my ability to “hyperfocus” on certain projects, becoming completely absorbed to the point of obsession while my attention would drift about erratically when it came to day-to-day events. To this end, I believe it’s why it took me nearly 10 years to finish my first book. It’s why I can recall verbatim all the dialogue from movies or TV shows...
Find Your Yoda

Find Your Yoda

Editors are the Yodas of the publishing world. One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received about self-publishing was this: “Whatever you do, you need to hire an editor.” This is brilliant advice for any writer. Even if you’ve got an English lit degree, you need to have someone else look at your work before you release it out into the wild—publishing or just sending out to catch yourself a lit agent. Period. But, Murphy, you say (in our hypothetical relationship, you know that I prefer to be called “Murphy”), that’s well and good, but how, pray...
Sucksville: Four Ways to Combat Editing Frumpiness

Sucksville: Four Ways to Combat Editing Frumpiness

You’ve finished the first draft of your book. Hooray for you! *Fist bumps all around.* But if you’re anything like me, you now find yourself faced with the dreaded editing phase of your work. I’d rather run and hide. What is it about editing that makes it so hard? Maybe it’s the part where you make yourself sit in one place with your nose pressed into the mess of sentences you thought made sense at the time. Or perhaps it’s the fact that mentally you’ve “moved on” from this story and you’re eager to get going on the first draft...
Sparking Creativity: 4 Ways to Jog Your Imagination

Sparking Creativity: 4 Ways to Jog Your Imagination

We’ve all been there. You have a deadline looming, or maybe you’re just viciously aware that you have to write something… anything. But it’s just not flowing out of your brain and onto your keyboard. It’s not exactly writer’s block, but it’s this gray area of wanting to write, but just not kicking the logjam of words loose. I’ve tried all of the common advice out there—take a walk, paint/draw a picture, go watch a movie. As a person with ADD, losing your creative spark is a dangerous thing. You end up falling down the rabbit hole of Twitter or...
Allies and Enemies: Fallen in Star Heroes Box Set – Now Available!

Allies and Enemies: Fallen in Star Heroes Box Set – Now Available!

What do a NY Times, USA Today and a Dragon Award Finalist have in common? This awesome boxset, that’s what! Launched today, Star Heroes: 9 Novels of Space Exploration and Adventure is a steal at 99¢! (FREE for Kindle Unlimited). If you crave space opera excitement, download it today.  Star Heroes is a space opera collection with nine novels of the galactic frontier. Exploration, alien invasions, genetic engineering, and artificial intelligence–it’s all here. Blast off with these adventures by New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling authors with one click! Star Nomad by Lindsay Buroker In this fast-paced space adventure,...
What’s in a Name? (4 Ways to Create Character Names)

What’s in a Name? (4 Ways to Create Character Names)

Fiction writers have a unique problem when compared to writers of non-fiction: names. If you’re writing a biography of someone’s life, the name game or what to call your character (i.e. the subject of the biography) is pretty much a done deal. But as a science fiction author, I have often found myself pondering the problem of what to call a character. If you’re in the same boat, your character’s names don’t always jump out at you. You know what they’re all about and what purpose they serve in your story, but you don’t know if they’re a Tom, Dick...