Friday, December 23, 2011

Eleven Things I Wish I Had Known When I Became a Newbie Writer

I have Christine Cunningham who is visiting my blog today. Christine is the author of Eternal Beginnings and is here to share eleven things she wished she had known when she started as a newbie writer.

Picture 118.jpgCunningham EB cover.jpg

-You don’t have to go it alone
-Social networks are amazing free advertising tools when used properly
-Write what you are passionate about and not what you think will sell
-Ask for help from others!
-Ask to help others!
-Take criticism well and use to make you a better writer or at least build thicker skin
-It’s okay to have a day or two where the writing doesn’t flow
-Having a lap top makes means your office is anywhere
-Have food and water within reach so you never have to interrupt a flow for something at trite as eating
-Make sure you take time to do other things besides write, like shower
-There will always be something new to learn so be grateful, gracious, and giving

You can learn more about Christine and her work at the following websites:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Research Tips and Tricks at Museums

Today, I have Karen Baney, a self-published author who writes Christian Historical Fiction and Contemporary Romance novels.  Karen enjoys sharing information to help authors learn about the Business of Writing.  She is going to share her research tips and tricks at museums. Karen is launching her new book,Nickels at the

My husband and I recently took a nice long weekend trip to Tucson, Arizona.  As with most of our vacations, we worked in a trip to a few museums.  I love walking into museums, smelling that old musty smell of things long past.

Then reality hits.  I mean, I’m standing in the largest aircraft museum in the country.  I could spend days here.  How am I ever going to gather all of the information I need in one short afternoon without testing my husband’s patience?

Normally, I’m armed with my Nikon D50 and a notepad.  I take hundreds of pictures and make notes (as long as the museum permits picture taking).  But this time, I brought something extra.  My iPhone and this neat little app called EverNote.

Several times throughout the day, I snapped a few pictures with my iPhone, saving the shot directly into EverNote.  I added a few quick notes and viola!  My research notes were instantly uploaded to my account and available from my laptop, phone, and even my desktop sitting at home.

By the end of the trip, I found myself getting into a groove.  If there were long text descriptions of something that I wanted to capture to read later, I used my iPhone.  If I wanted the highest quality picture of an object, like the WWII airplanes, I used my Nikon and added a few notes to my paper notepad.  I always jot down the picture number beside the note.

At the end of each day, I allotted an hour in the hotel room to organize the day’s notes.  I loaded the pictures from my Nikon to my laptop.  I went through my notepad and typed up the notes directly into EverNote.  Now, when I’m ready to write my WWII series, all my notes are neatly organized and extremely accessible.  I don’t have to try to remember what drawer I stuffed them in.

My tips for researching at a museum:

1. Take lots of pictures.
2. Bring a notepad.
3. Always write down the picture number and a brief note in the notepad for the pictures you’re taking.
4. Find ways to use your smart phone to work more efficiently on research trips.
5. Do a quick review of your notes at the end of each day.  You’ll remember things you forgot to write down and you’ll capture them while they are fresh.


For more information about Karen or her books, visit

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Getting to the Point: First Person vs. Third Person Views

I have author of Wedlocked, Bonnie Trachtenberg who will be sharing tips about Point of View which is one of my favorite topics.

I’m thoroughly convinced that one of the biggest reasons would-be authors never make it through page one of their would-be novels, is the daunting and confusing first step of choosing a point-of-view.  It’s something most book readers aren’t even consciously aware of, despite the fact that it hugely determines how they will relate to the characters and to the story as a whole.

First person offers a single-eye view of the world through the perspective of one character, who is also the narrator of the story. In third person, the author tells the story in an “anonymous” voice, and is afforded the advantage of tapping into more than one character’s head to convey thoughts and feelings.

For my debut novel, Wedlocked, I did not have to struggle with the decision of which view to choose. Wedlocked is based on my own experiences, namely, my impulsive, brief and disastrous marriage after years of struggling through singlehood. Telling the story through my main character, Rebecca’s, point-of-view was a natural choice, since she is really me with a few tweaks. But I soon learned of the great disadvantage of choosing first person: the story could only go as far as my protagonist’s own eyes, ears and experiences. Rebecca had to be in every scene! Luckily, her perspective was enough to convey what I needed to, and her vibrant and witty personality carried the story with ease.

In my second novel (due out early next year), I knew first person wouldn’t work nearly as well as third person. That’s because I had two characters whose heads I intended to pry into, and they weren’t even going to meet until about one hundred pages into the book. Thus, I chose third person, even though the thought of it worried me; I wasn’t sure what obstacles I’d face. Would I be able to make it as funny as Wedlocked? Could I convey the distinct personalities of the main characters as clearly? Happily, the answer is yes! As the “anonymous voice” telling the story, I could still communicate the characters’ colorful personalities and humorous thoughts, and dialogue wasn’t an issue because it’s the same in both point-of-views.

Just remember, you don’t have to make a final decision that’s set in stone before you begin writing. I learned that it’s okay to make an educated guess as to the best view to take and if you run into serious problems you can always go back to the beginning and change it. Trial and error is not against the rules and can be a great way to figure out the best mode of telling a story.

I think most authors still use third person because it allows for more versatility and complex storylines. But the use of first person seems more prevalent than ever before. Maybe that’s because a whole genre (Chick Lit) was founded on it. Ever since Bridget Jones began scrawling in her diary, millions of female readers have been swept into novels with the aid of that personal, intimate voice that speaks so well to them. Now the popularity of first person has stretched into other women’s fiction too. Several of my readers have told me that it was Rebecca’s wit and exasperation at her circumstances that made her so much fun as a narrator and so easy to relate to. That says a lot about the appeal of first person, but ultimately it’s your unique story that will determine which point-of-view is best.

Bonnie Trachtenberg is the author of Wedlocked: A Novel. She was senior writer and copy chief at Book-of-the-Month Club and has written seven children’s book adaptations.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Promotions vs. Connecting with Your Readers

I'd like to welcome author, Wendy Young on my blog today where she will be discussing her experience about connecting with her readers. She is the author of Come to the Shadows and Red Sky Warning.

As a new author I have so much to learn, especially in the area of marketing – ie: finding readers and convincing them that I have something they will enjoy.
The first solution that pops into most author heads is: PROMOTION. I’ll do ads. They’ll find readers. I need to pay money for PR and I’ll be set.

Or, will I?

Ads may bring you short-term gains but there’s a good chance you won’t even make your money back, much less build your brand if, well, you have no brand to back up the hype.
In comes a scarier and more personal approach: Connect with readers.

Be it meet’n’greets, author appearances and book signings, book clubs or the virtual equivalent meeting of the minds on Twitter, Goodreads, or via Blog Tours, a sure-fire way to build true fans is to go to them and offer an introduction. Humanize the work in your own words, with your own face, and you will see your fan base develop.

What has worked best for you? Do you rely on promotion? Or do you focus on connecting with readers?
Wendy L. Young has been writing for more than twenty years and now focuses on writing mystery/suspense novels with a healthy dose of thrills. Connect with her on Twitter @wendyyoung and pick up her new release Red Sky Warning, and her debut novel, Come the Shadows, anywhere eBooks are sold.

You can learn more about Wendy by checking the following sites: