Murderbots and Other Stuff You Should Read

Murderbots and Other Stuff You Should Read

Hey! This one goes out to indie authors. You’ve heard that advice to read a lot if you’re looking to up your game as an author. It’s a great way to learn your craft as you entertain your brain. (Not to mention support your brethren.) And, I don’t know about you, but I gain inspiration when I enjoy a well-written story. It’s some great advice. I read about 2-3 books a week. Not all of them are fiction. There’s some non-fiction writing craft stuff in there too. Here’s a shout out to some books that I’ve recently “discovered” and don’t...

Short Stories: Chihuahuas vs. Dire Wolves

Here’s a theory—Chihuahuas have the souls of larger dogs (most likely dire wolves) wedged into those tiny little bodies. It would explain why these tiny pups think they’re big enough to take on a cat twice their size or why they always seem to shake. (The shaking is actually their molecules vibrating with the effort to keep all that “big dog soul” energy contained in such a small package.) Like I said, a theory. Consider short stories. You’re trying to package an entire universe, complete with exposition and world-building into this teeny weeny manuscript that shouldn’t be more than 30,000...
Keeping it real

Keeping it real

Recently, I was interviewed for the Rocking Self-Publishing podcast by the charming Simon Whistler. (The podcast should air on 3/30. I say should because I’d like to give Simon an easy out in case he realizes what a spaz I am.) This was a fantastic experience for me. Not only was it lots of fun chatting with Simon, but he asked some excellent questions. During the interview, I had the chance to discuss my personal philosophies on being an indie-author and ran through my Top 5 Elements of Middling Success or How to Fail Upwards. (I’m still working on the...
Write a @$%*! Author Bio, already.

Write a @$%*! Author Bio, already.

You stare at the blank screen. The little cursor is blinking away—you swear it’s mocking you. You have to be witty, charming, appealing. You have to write your author bio. Sure, you can talk about your book for hours, but when it’s time to talk about you, your muse clams up and slinks off to a desolate corner of your little mental cocktail party or maybe goes to bury herself under the thick pile of winter coats in the master bedroom. You need a good author bio. It may seem unimportant: why would anyone care if you live in Montana?...
Meet Me At Arisia 2017

Meet Me At Arisia 2017

Arisia, “New England’s Largest and Most Diverse Sci-Fi & Fantasy Convention” has just announced its programming for 2017 and I am delighted to be on two panels. Taking place from January 13 – 16, 2017 at the Westin Boston Waterfront hotel, this con seems to grow bigger every year. I’ve been attending religiously, but this is my first chance to be part of a panel as a legit author (the second panel is about costuming). This year’s Guest of Honor is Ursula Vernon. If you’re attending Arisia, why not stop by and say hi? Marketing Your Book in a Digital Age...
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)....
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...