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Email Marketing from your Desktop

Email marketing is thus far the most important skill that every independent writers should acquire. Unlike the Major House Publishers with their 1,000s of instant connections (libraries, bookstores, public relation firms, subscribers, bloggers etc), the chance of any regular independent writer capturing that best-selling role seems merely impossible. The fact is, many independent writers cannot build an instant audience as many household publishers, but for that persistent writer who's willing to learn, build, and apply his/her skill to online marketing, the goal of achieving that instant audience is not that impossible.
Think about this, there are millions of eReader (Kindle, Nook, Sony, Kobo etc) owners in the United States alone, and many more book lovers around the world. How would they know about your wonderful story if they are not inform? Email and Social Media exposures could be the answer. Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, YouTube, and many other internet giants will seize to exist today without email.  In fact, there can be no such as a social media Viral response without email correspondences.
This is why email marketing is so important to every writer, especially the self-published ones with no backings.
On today's topic, I'm willing to teach you one of the simplest aspect of email marketing, using Google.
As we all know, Gmail is the most commonly used free email domain in the world, and the only one that allow its account holders to send 500 free emails per hour / day. Yahoo, AOL, HotMail and MSN only allow you to send 100 emails per hour & 500 per day. This is very important to remember when you begin your email marketing, because if you go over the sending limits your account may get restricted.
In order to take to take full advantage of Gmail's vulnerability, you will want to send out over 400 emails a day to those individual readers who may get excited about your published book(s). To begin, it is always wise to export and save your current contacts, and then import the new contacts (recipients) to your email contact list from day to day. To export your current contacts you'll need to;

  1. Sign in to Gmail.com.
  2. Click Gmail at the top-left corner of your Gmail page, then choose Contacts.
    Gmail drop-down
  3. From the More drop-down menu, select Export....
  4. Choose whether to export all contacts or only one group.
  5. Select the format in which you'd like to export your contacts' information. Please note, some of these formats can lose some contact information.
    • To transfer contacts between Google accounts, use the Google CSV format. This is the recommended way to back up your Google Contacts.
    • To transfer contacts to Outlook, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, or various other apps, use the Outlook CSV format.
    • To transfer contacts to Apple Address Book, use the vCard format.
  6. Click Export.
  7. Choose Save to Disk then click OK.
  8. Select a location to save your file, and click OK.

To import contacts to Gmail:

  1. Create a custom CSV file with TargetHero.com. Sign up and Sign in, Click on the List menu, Click on the Create a list icon, Enter a name, and then your list of emails,either manually or from a file. This will export and format the email list that you just created as a CSV file that can be saved to your computer.
  2. Sign in to Gmail.
  3. Click Gmail at the top-left corner of your Gmail page, then choose Contacts.
  4. Click the More button above the contacts list and select Import....
  5. Click the Choose File button.
  6. Select the file you'd like to upload and click the Import button.

When it's done, Gmail will display the number of contacts imported.
Next step is to compose your Newsletter / HTML Book-page into the email body. To learn more about how you can create an email-bodied-book-page in minutes, follow these steps; http://bit.ly/1759Sef
If you need help creating a more attractive book-page, you can always contact Judd Miller at juddmiller@rocketmail.com for $5 per book-page creation.
Now that you are ready to send out your first promotion emails to the new recipients who doesn't know about your book(s) yet, it is always best to keep in mind that if you offer your eBook for free, the recipient are more than likely to take interest in it (instead of viewing it as spam) and possibly share it with their friends, colleagues and family members. Offering your eBook for free may increase exposure to your other published books.
Another thing that you may want to do is change your Gmail account name, perhaps from 'Richard Hansen' to something like 'Free Kindle Books' or as we prefer it 'Indie Writers Support.'
Follow this guide to learn how to apply this setting;

  1. Click the mail_gear.png gear in the top right.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Click the Accounts tab.
  4. In the “Send mail as:” section, locate the email address you'd like to edit.
  5. Click edit info next to the address.
  6. In the “Name:” section, specify what you’d like your name to be and click Save changes.

To learn how you can send to all of the contacts at once, go to; https://support.google.com/mail/answer/30973?hl=en

Now, you are ready to go, but the question to many writers is, how do I find the email lists of those readers that I can advertise my books to? Well, we have extracted a lot of social media members who shows strong interest in these related topics based on our search criteria; books, eBooks, novels, writing, reading, magazines, poems, manuscripts, audiobooks, literature etc. Choose from any of the social media lists below and Judd Miller will send you at least 1,000 members of each websites to the email address you provide with your paypal payment(s). The list are 1,000 members emails for $5;  2,000 members for $10; 3,000 members for $15 and so forth. Choose wisely, because these lists could save your writing career.  This practice will also save you a lot of money instead of using email marketing websites such as Constant Contact, aWeber, and iContact who charges up to $25 just to send out 2,500 emails.

Remember that you may also apply this same method to your Yahoo, AOl, MSN and Hotmail account before you start sending. This will increase your sending ability from just 500 emails per hour with Gmail to about about 1,000 emails per hour if you use the other email accounts as well.
You are not restricted to using these emails for only email marketing. You may use them to increase your online visibility as well through social media invitations / connections  (Facebook Fanpage, LinkedIn Connections, Google+ circles etc).
If you interested in our Bulk Emailing Software that sends out unlimited emails per day, email Judd Miller at juddmiller@rocketmail.com.

We hope you enjoy today's subject.
At Indie Writers Support, our mission is to support every writer, and always bring new materials for people to read/learn. We want to help you writers promote your published book(s) to the maximum, and with these lists and many more to come you will be able to achieve your selling dream, and become more successful in the future.

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I want to show you how we can make Amazon Book Clubs the biggest Facebook Group in the world. If you follow the instruction given below, you will be able to get a lot Facebook likes, friend requests, and followers without any cost.

The overall process will take less than two minutes to carry out, and you must first be a JOINED MEMBER of Amazon Book Clubs on Facebook.

This Trick can work using the Google Chrome Web Browser or Mozilla FireFox.

  1. Login into Facebook.com
  2. Open / go to the Amazon Book Clubs Facebook group; https://www.facebook.com/groups/AmazonBookClubs
  3. Press the Ctrl, Shift and J button on your keyboard at the same time if you are using a Google Chrome browser. Or press Ctrl, Shift and K if you are using a Mozilla FireFox. A Console will show at the foot or side of your Facebook page.
  • You may see some precautionary clause that will warn you to stop. If this occur, refresh the webpage and see if it clears up. The warning is a script-code written by facebook developers to deter Hackers, given that he or she have - and is using - your fb email and password. Be aware that this is a top-secret code, known only to skilled web developers like myself. It is a loophole that cannot be change because of the facebook's built-in algorithm used by the developers themselves. Your account will never be detected, and you will receive massive exposure every time you post on the Amazon Book Clubs Facebook Group. Proceed to the next step if the warning continued or clears up.

4. Download & or Open this -> Script-Code, from, (http://www.readersbooks.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/GET-facebook-FOLOWERS.txt).

5. Select and Copy All of the texts / numbers.
6. After copying, Paste the script-code Into the Facebook Console box, and then press ENTER.
8. The Facebook automated system will take care of the invites.      


This process may take about a minute or less.

After you've done this, you will automatically start receiving friend requests and followers from the Amazon Book Clubs group every time you post a book-related message on its wall. All of your Facebook friends & followers will also be notified - as the very first subject on their newsfeed - every time you post your book-events, reviews, covers, blurbs, excerpts etc.

Join the Amazon Book Clubs Facebook Poll, and tell our group members who you are; Author, Reader, Editor, Reviewer, Publisher, Book-Seller, Amazon affiliate, or Networker? 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/AmazonBookClubs. Every time you post here, the messages will automatically stream on indiewritersupport.com, readersbooks.info, worldsbestsellingbooks.com, amazonbookclubs.forum.net, and 10 others, effortlessly.

Check it out & See you there.

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Using Point-of-View in Writing

Point of view is something all beginning writers struggle with. It is simply a matter of letting the reader know who they are in the story. Imagine you are playing a role in a film. This is who you are, this is what you see, and this is how you feel about it, and what you understand is going on in the scene. How you choose to convey all this to your reader, to make him part of the story, is the point of view. You have to decide how you’re going to do this. There are a lot of choices and it can get pretty confusing. In the last two blogs I’ve only told you how I’ve dealt with this, with some success, with two of them, Interior Monologue and Omniscient. I’m also a beginning author, not an expert and only sharing my experience.
Most of us write in third person POV. You pick out your main character and see the action through their eyes. You let the reader know in the first line or two of the chapter who that person is and can establish how they feel about themselves and the world around them. This is where “show, don’t tell” comes in. You don’t say: “she saw him and was frightened.” You say: “The menace reflected in his eyes and the way his fists clenched made her heart pound.”
The good news is that there is an expert who has written a series of books that not only explain POV, but the entire craft of writing. Her name is Dr. Angela Hunt. There are seven short, easy to read books in the series titled,Writing Lessons From The Front. The first book is about plot, the second about creating characters, the third about point of view, the fourth is titledTracking Down the Weasel Words.
Weasel words? All beginning writers do it. We use too many words to describe a scene or make a point. A very wise mentor of mine, Dusty Richards, who is a member of my writing group and has published at least a hundred and forty western novels, puts it this way, “You have to have something happening on every page.” Dr. Hunt tells you how to find all those extra words and get rid of them to keep the action flowing.
The fifth book is Evoking Emotion, or how to keep your readers hooked on reading. She tells you how. The sixth book is Planning and Process, or all that stuff you must do before you get around to writing, and the seventh book is Tension on the Line. You have six seconds to hook your reader on the first page and you have to keep that tension going throughout the book. This might be the most important book in the series, but you need them all if you’re going to be a writer.
The entire series is very affordable as e-books, but if you can choose only one, make it Point of View. Dr. Hunt’s easy, conversational style not only takes the mystery out of the subject, but gives you the freedom to experiment using more than one point of view in a scene or a chapter.
In my western romance, Maddie’s Choice, I used two POVs. Maddie is from New York, a writer, and she has a smart mouth and a sense of humor. Gideon, the male protagonist, is a bitter, disillusioned war veteran, suffering from PTSD. His voice and approach to Maddie’s shenanigans keeps the pace and the humor flowing.
Learn the rules, understand the reasons for them, then go your own way. Rules were made to be broken, as Dr. Hunt says.
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Five Fiction Mechanics

    Our overriding job as fiction authors is to entertain our readers.  They buy our books not to be impressed, awed or confused but rather to be entertained. Here are some do's and don'ts that I think we need to pay attention to.

    (1) Unpronounceable Names. Some authors give characters unpronounceable names. Bad idea. Most readers subvocalize so words that are difficult to pronounce usually get skipped over. If the reader skips over a character's unpronounceable name they will find it difficult to follow the story. Calling a character d'Aczrgueith instead of Azerg is an unnecessary obstacle to the reader being able to enjoy your book.

    (2) Complicated Names. In science fiction, writers sometimes think they are being clever to invent an entire naming scheme. They decide that male aliens will be named d'Aczrgueith A XXXXXX and female aliens will be named d'Aczrgueith K XXXXXX then they give you a cast of characters with names like d'Aczrgueith A Fuirnbz, d'Aczrgueith A Kertnm, and d'Aczrgueith K Szrmnof. This is another example of the "See how clever I am that I was able to think up all this stuff" syndrome. We are not writing a novel to prove to readers how clever we are.

    (3) Similar Names. It's our job to make it easy for readers to keep our characters straight. If you have one potential love interest named Rachael then don't name another potential love interest named Rhonda. If you have a major character named Carlson don't have another one named Cartman. If the hero is Steve Fisher then make the hero's boss Walter Tallman and his best friend Ralph Amoroso and the villain Eric Ames. Keep both the character's first and last names very different.

    (4) Odd Units of Measurement. Another aspect of the "See how clever I am" syndrome is the science fiction writer's temptation to create completely new units of measurement. "The ship was a small freighter, only 132 irals long." Does that convey any information whatsoever to the reader? No. Should we expect our readers to turn to a glossary in the back of the book to learn that an iral is equal to 2.439 meters and then get out their calculators to translate 132 irals into meters or, heaven forbid, from irals to meters to feet in order to understand our story? No.

    Yes, it's likely that aliens will not use feet, meters, pounds, kilos etc. but aliens are not reading our books. People who do use feet, meters, pounds and kilos are reading our books and therefore we need to use units of measurement that are understandable to those readers.

    If you had written a novel about an OSS agent working behind the German lines in WW II your book would still be in English even though real people in that situation would have been speaking German. Do the same automatic translation for your readers for aliens' units of measurement.

    When I was very young I read a comic book where Donald Duck somehow ended up in a jungle in South America where he was confronted by a lost tribe of natives. The balloon above the tribal chief's head said something like, "Why have you come here?*" and at the bottom of the page was a footnote: "*We have translated all conversations from Sumapti to English for the convenience of your readers."

    We need to be equally considerate for our readers.

    (5) Clarity In Time And Place. If a story takes place in multiple locations and at multiple times we need to make the time and place of each incident clear to the reader. One way to do that is with a specific time and place designation.

    "Chapter One – January 27, 1945, Hitler's Bunker, Berlin." "Chapter Two – March 1948, Zurich." This works but it can be inconvenient for the reader because he/she may have to flip back and forth between chapters in order to keep things straight. If possible, use comparative times: "Chapter One – Hitler's Bunker, Berlin." "Chapter Two – Two Years later, Zurich." "Chapter Three – Present Day – Washington D.C."

    These may seem like mundane issues but they make a big difference in the reader's comprehension of and therefore his/her enjoyment of our work.

My website: http://www.davidgraceauthor.com
My latest book is Death Never Lieshttp://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NLTBMSQ

    –David Grace

I specialize in crime fiction and I've written over fifteen novels. Several of my short stories have been published in national magazines. You can check me out at:

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Yesterday our community in Vernon, British Columbia, observed a Walk for Alzheimer Research and for those who are living with Alzheimer Disease and their families. The Ukeleles for Fun band for which I usually play percussion performed for the walkers as they rounded the arena track. I wasn’t able to participate this year as I had an important commitment at my church, but I was there in spirit. I also contribute regularly to the Alzheimer Society’s research campaign and have been doing so for many years. I urge everyone to consider regular donations of whatever they can afford to Alzheimer research. The main reason I am so committed to this worthy cause is that my late husband, Gus Johannesson, had early onset AD, was diagnosed at age 58 and died four years later. At the time of his diagnosis our children were 12 and 17 years’ old. Now my present husband, has been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment and is getting some help from an Alzheimer drug that wasn’t available when Gus needed it back in 1992. It is not a cure, but can hold off many of the complications from AD for a length of time. I’m hoping and praying that a cure may be found in the near future. In remembrance of Gus, I am sharing a copy of the letter that Alzheimer Manitoba asked me to write for their 1994 campaign.

Gayle Moore-Morrans


Alzheimer   Manitoba     

Johannessons at Pishew Falls MB 1988

And they didn’t live Happily ever after . . .

November 7, 1994

Dear Friends,

This September my husband Gus turned sixty. We wanted to celebrate as many families do, but the plans for our party were a bit different. His 60th “Toast and Roast” became the retirement party he never had and an affirmation of what he has meant to his family and friends while he is still able to appreciate it.

On the day of festivities we presented him with a book of remembrances gathered from friends and relatives around the world. This book is a tribute to Gus’s life as well as a tool for memory as he copes with his illness.

Two years ago Gus was diagnosed with Alzheimer Disease. I can’t say that our lives immediately changed. The disease doesn’t change your life overnight, but has over a number of years changed every aspect of our lives. To date, the cause of AD is unknown, there is neither cure nor definite treatment; it is progressive and will eventually be terminal.

It is incredible the emotional upheaval we all have been through these past years. All four of us have had counselling and hope that it remains available whenever we need it. The family has found comfort, relief, professional information and fellowship in support groups for adult caregivers, a children’s support group, the early stage support group, numerous educational sessions, and from Alzheimer staff and volunteers.

The Alzheimer Society of Manitoba has been able to provide these services because of people like you. I am happy to have this opportunity to personally thank you and let you hear firsthand how meaningful your help is for my family and many others.

It took a long time to really recognize that something serious was happening as Gus has always been a bit of the “absent-mined professor” type and we just figured he was getting more-so with age. This is not the situation. A man admired for his keen mind, having studied at the doctoral level in systematic theology has now forgotten how to tie a tie or manage the simple task of handling a sandwich. In happier days Gus was a Lutheran pastor giving support and guidance to others. Today he is on the receiving end.

Alzheimer Disease attacks the whole family. We are all hurting, angry, frustrated, scared; dealing with a tremendous loss.

Your roles change. I have had to become in as many ways as possible mother and father to my children and husband, directing all my energies outside of the workplace to the family. The children and I have become caregivers, not easy for an adult, let alone a twelve-year-old and seventeen-year-old. A caregiver’s day is often referred to as the “36-hour day.” That is how we live, each and every day.

As is typical with early AD, symptoms come and go resulting in good and bad days. So far Gus’s skills that are totally gone are writing, public speaking, driving, anything mathematical, and many deductive reasoning processes.

We thank God for the good days, for the patience that we are learning, for on-going medical research, for the help offered by the Alzheimer Society and most of all, for the prayers, love, help and support of family and friends.

Our family includes you when we say “Friends.” You probably don’t know us personally, but as a supporter of the Alzheimer Society you help make each and every day a little bit brighter, a little bit easier.

Once again, thank you for making our lives happier. Please continue your needed support. It is your caring and generosity that makes the difference!

With our sincere appreciation,

Gayle Johannesson

P.S. The number of families coping with the devastating reality of Alzheimer Disease is expected to at least double in the next decade.

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10916222466?profile=originalRELATED TO ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI?


     It is true that I am a relative of Thomas Jefferson which causes a great deal of pride but lately, I have been considering the possibility that I may have another relation of more ancient descent and more holy.  This thought is not something which occurred to me suddenly.  Considering the events over the past twenty-five years, the randomness of this assumption is most unlikely.  Yes, there is indeed something very strange at play here.  Is it an aura which surrounds me?  Could it be my voice, which is a real contender in my considerations?  Maybe my scent?  What would cause a group of normal birds to behave so unseemly?  Perhaps that is the key.  Could the birds all suffer from some sort of mental instability?  Forgive the pun but maybe the birds in question were all bird brains?  Who knows but it is a unique story.

     My tale begins over twenty-five years ago when a friend asked me to join her for a day of sunbathing on the lovely local beach at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.  A Carolina blue sky greeted us.  Looking up at the sky, I was content to watch the wispy thin layers of white smoky clouds move endlessly past.  The warm sun was so relaxing that it was impossible not to dose carelessly on such a day.  As I began to turn over so that sunburn may be avoided, I noticed him.  Standing only about a yard away, a simple seagull was watching me.  Harmless enough, I gave it no thought.  After a while, I again raised myself from my incoherent state of sun intoxication to note that what appeared to be the same gull was standing in nearly the same spot; still watching me.  This was a little strange but when my friend pointed out the gull’s strange stance and gaze, I agreed that it was more than weird.

     “Look at him, he looks like he is in love with you.  What did you do to him?”  My friend was one of those less than jovial sorts who was very suspicious of even the best of her friends.  When I explained that all I had done was enjoy the incredibly perfect day, she groaned loudly.  She thought that every man was a victim of some sort of spell which she believed that I cast. That was an interesting suggestion but this was not a man but a small bird.  I ignored her comments once again.  Yet, I began to watch the bird watch me.  He inched his way closer to me.  This was beginning to feel uncomfortable.  Was he about to attack me?  My negative minded friend remarked that he may be rabid.  This did not soothe my feelings of despair as others began commenting on the strangeness of the poor bird.  Another lady pointed out that the bird was looking at me with looks of love.  Quiet laughter was stirring around me.  The bird was so close that now he was resting near my foot.  He was passive so any fears abated for the time.  Still, he moved nearer.  Things continued well enough after that.  However, I was afraid to move my foot for fear that I may upset my new friend.  When a passerby moved a little closer than my protector felt was appropriate, he spread his feathers and charged him.  Laughter erupted as everyone agreed that the bird was in love with none other than yours truly.  My friend announced that she was embarrassed.  She thought that we should quietly leave.  Actually enjoying my notoriety, I looked at the bird as I softly commented that I was not dating anyone at the time and he was a very handsome bird.  He would make a lovely dinner companion.

     Marching away, my friend replied, “You always take things too far.  The bird is sick.”  After that, I have no recollection except that I felt sorry for the poor guy.  Mumbling only to him as I packed up for the day, “I’m really sorry if I did anything to encourage you.  I haven’t meant to hurt you.”  Sadly, he flew away.

     Fast forward about eight years.  My husband and I are enjoying cappuccino in Venice.  St. Mark’s square is not so busy; it is an off tourist season time.  As we enjoy the rare moments of quiet; I spy a lone pigeon yards across the square.  I notice that he seems to be looking at me.  Repeating the funny story of the seagull to my husband, we watch with disbelief as the pigeon walks very unsteadily towards me.  Something is obviously wrong.  He looks bloated. 

     “He is not well.”  I proclaim this to my beloved who sadly nods.  Closer the ill feathered friend moves until he is near my foot.  Feeling a little overwhelmed and perhaps slightly freaky, I change the subject; hoping to make my husband forget my earlier story.  When I feel my new friend collapse on my foot, I know that I could not ignore that the bird had chosen me to die beside.  This act raises questions in my mind such as is there some strange connection between me and nature?  When I embarrassedly reveal my secret, my husband whisks me away.  He also fears for my safety from others if they know my strange powers.  I have always regretted leaving yet another victim.  Surely, we should have given him a proper burial. 

     Years later, we are now living in Florida.  A place which displays endless sunsets of pastel crayoned colored skies.  Wildness such as one never images in the hustle and bustle of Florida are ours each day.  Bald eagles are a common site.  We have a family of the king of birds living near our home.  Frequently they stir our hearts by their flight of strength and majesty.  We watch the heavens for their sightings.  One of the eagles is goliath.  His large white head and tail are wide and strong.  He soars over our home; our days are richer because of his protective flights.  Any snakes that would harm us are in danger.  We name him Sampson; a worthy name.

     So it was that innocently I would call to him, “Good morning, Sampson.”  At first, nothing happened.  Quickly his act of avoidance seemed to turn to one of curiosity.  He began to fly over the house a little more frequently.  Waiting on the balcony for his majestic appearance, I would call to him.  Soon he would land in the tree near our house.  For a very long time, he would sit and watch me.  One day as I talked with my son on the mobile phone, I explained that I was in the garden talking with Sampson, my eagle.  My appalled son begged me to stop my liaison with “a predator.”  He seemed to believe that I may be putting myself in harm’s way.  Since I love and respect my son, another victim was left in my wake.  Poor Sampson still flies overhead but he ignores my calls.  He knows that I am fickle and no longer trusts me.  Just as well; my neighbor has mentioned my bizarre behavior of talking to the clouds.  Now I talk with God often in my garden so I ignore his looks of worry.

     The final episode in my list of quirky bird lore is the one that is now playing out each day.  This little Yellow Bellied Sap Sucker is driving me insane.  It started innocently enough.  Since I frequently study my Florida bird book with matching binoculars, I am aware of his fate.  He is an endangered species in our fair state.  He is almost as handsome as my warrior, Sampson.  This red headed specimen once lived in a dead pine tree months earlier.  I watched him frequently from my perch in the window.  Often I would see him in the tree in front by the garden.  One day, I made the mistake of calling to him.  I am a slow learner.  The next thing that I knew, he was pecking on our house.  The incessant pecking of this bird on hardy board seems absurd.  After all, we are speaking of a reinforced wood.  If he is looking for insects, they are not there.  His next move to my bedroom window seemed more thoughtful although my afternoon naps are constantly disturbed by his pecks of whatever it is he is pecking about. My retirement is not as blissful thanks to my newest amour. When I sit in the swing on the front balcony, he sits in the tree and stares at me.  It seems that he is talking to me.  My husband asks me to please not encourage another suitor of the feather species.  I laugh but am becoming concerned.  Then the bird dive bombs my husband’s head.  We no longer enjoy our swing.  It has become a place of territorial rivalry.  My husband wins, of course, but I never should have put him in this position.  Daily, my red headed friend pecks.  At night, I can hear him as he protects my bedroom in his tree by my window.  The only peace which I seem to obtain is when my husband yells angrily at him.  This causes him to fly away but he always returns.

     My deduction is that St. Francis must have suffered the same sort of admiration and love from his many friends. Did he also suffer from concern at their strange behaviors?   If I am related to yet another great person, I am thrilled. My hope is that perhaps these are small miracles that God has given me because he allows these creatures to see something special.  Maybe I have a similar quality such as kindness that only one who sees the heart can understand.  I hope this is true.


 Linda Heavner Gerald

Some of Linda’s other works: Beaufort Betrayal, Rosemary Beach, Will He? Dusty the Island Dog, and Till Heaven Then Forever.  Her books are for sale all over the world.

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It's Not About You! It's About The Story...

What is writing fiction all about? If you're an author, ask yourself this 10916221488?profile=originalquestion. It's important, and here's why. You have to make a decision about why you write. If you write to make a big splash on the literary ocean, then that's the wrong reason. If you write because you believe what you have to say is important, then that's the wrong reasonburning_book. If you write because the story is everything, then you're writing for the right reason.

Some of you are sitting out there scratching your head and saying, "Hey, my story is important and it will set the world on fire." You could be right, and your story might be one that will ignite change and raze the world. But could someone else tell the same story, and do it better? If you answer yes, then you are writing for the right reasons. Why? The story is everything.

Some of you are still sitting out there and scratching your head saying, "That's your opinion." Well, yes, and no. It is my opinion, but it is also the opinion of many of our illustrious predecessors in the craft. They wrote because they had to write. They had to get the story out. It was building inside of them and unless they wrote it down, they would burst. Dostoevsky couldn't write unless he had an idea behind it. Meaning had more importance than just telling a story. Others, like Conrad and Dickens felt the same way. The story didn't take on significance to them unless it had meaning, an underlying idea that would give their story life.

It isn't enough to tell a story about boy meets girl, boy loses girl, then boy and girl unite. 10916221499?profile=originalI've read many number of stories that are about that simplistic. Throw in a vampire, or put these people on another planet, throw in some sex to make it erotica, or have them chase a killer and you have a story filled with action, but it's empty. What made Dickens great is that he cared about the society he lived in. He saw things around him that needed to be told, that needed to be corrected. He could have written dozens of non fiction books about the differing classes in British society, and how they didn't address poverty or child labor, or how the weak are preyed upon by the unscrupulous and those obsessed with making money. He did it within his timeless tales. Those ideas were all there and he addressed them brilliantly. Dostoevsky wanted to discuss the criminal class in Crime and Punishment, but more importantly, he wanted all of us to know how many people are affected by a murder, how the criminal class thinks, and to discuss the conscience of man.

Once upon a time, people read a book and discussed it in the marketplace, just like

people talk about television shows today. TV is weak and filled with scandal and stupidity. Books spur a deep conversation, connect us, create empathy for our fellow man. American Idol doesn't. Shows like Scandal diminish us, they don't spark conversation about ideas, just salacious gossip. Authors wrote about ideas within a story. The story was everything, and that is why their books last, are continually read by generation after generation. They are not sterile, or bereft of meaning, they make us think.

Over the past few years, I've listened to many authors talking about their writing, and have read their interview on the many blogs out there about books and authors. The writers all say they enjoy telling a story, or God wanted them to write, or friends and family encouraged them because they said they have talent, etcetera. Out of all the thousands of authors interviewed out there, the reasons are surprisingly the same.

Where it gets sticky, and the reasons once professed start to change dramatically, is when you get into a fight over the author's ability to tell a good story outside the fantasy land of friends and family encouragement. I'm talking about the writer who starts butting heads against the real world of publishing. Any good editor or reviewer will tell you about those authors, the ones who use the cheesy cheap vanity presses, or Smashwords and other sites like those to put an Ebook on Amazon. You know, the self-publishing world. The truth emerges, and it ain't pretty. It doesn't have anything to do with God, or that they can humbly enjoy fashioning a good yarn. No. It becomes, "I'm good, and I know it."

Writing fiction to those authors is all about them. It's not about the story. But they're wrong, and here's why. As writers we have a responsibility to write with clarity and truth, and as Vonnegut says, to pity the readers and say what you mean. Even if you're writing about a vampire, or another world, authors still have a responsibility to follow that line of truth. My stories are not about me. And they should never be about me. It's the story that's important. I want to make you think, and to wrap it up within a story. Even if you can't remember my name, it's my fervent desire to help you remember the story. The story is everything.

When I work with my editor I'll even pause and ask her what she thinks is true to the story, to the characters. I listen to her advice and think hard about what she says. I have to leave the role of writer for a moment to see if the story is working. For those who hang on to their prose as if it's an organ you're trying to surgically remove, it can never be about the story. This is a little something to think about over the weekend. Ask yourself the question and see what you really answer, what lies in your heart. If your story is everything, then you might be a teller of tales that will last beyond your life and change the world, if only a little bit, like one person at a time.

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Using Exclamation Points in Your Novel


One of the first errors I learned about as a novice writer had to do with the use of exclamation points. After penning my first novel, and fortunately, before publication, I was taught by a writing guru that exclamation points don’t belong in one’s narratives. Period.

Here’s an example of very amateurish writing where exclamation points abound. This is not okay! (I just had to put an exclamation point here to make you smile.) It’s actually very similar to several newbie manuscripts I was asked to critique.

She walked into the crystal cave and cried out. In front of her stood a giant elf! He was huge! And his eyes burned with fire! She turned and ran as fast as her legs would carry her, and almost fell!

All right, now that you are cringing (I hope), I will stop. A few years ago, I actually edited a manuscript where there were multiple examples like this on every, single page, all throughout the book. Yup. But my young author learned, just like we all do, and she dutifully removed those offensive punctuation marks.

Of course, there’s a difference when you use exclamation points in narrative versus dialogue. Although this example has far too many exclamation points, it’s not quite as awful as adding them in your narrative as I showed above.

Shelby held a silver chain to the light. A heart-shaped crystal dangled below, winking in the winter sunlight. “Look what Uncle Sig bought me!” she said.

Camille jumped up to examine the necklace and Johnny roared into the room, “flying” his rubbery metallic green dragon toward me.

“My dragon flies!” he yelled, zooming it up and down in the air and finally landing it on my shoulder.

“Wow. What’s his name?” I peered down at the realistic reptile who perched on me.

“I dunno,” he said. “How ‘bout…Claws?”

I picked up the squishy critter and looked at him. He did have very distinctive claws and a rubbery mouth that opened when you pressed on the skull. “Claws is a good name, buddy. I like it.”

“Can he come to dinner with us? He’s really hungry!

Camille fastened the necklace around Shelby’s neck.

I handed Claws back to Johnny. “Sure he can. Do you have to use the bathroom before we go?”

“Yes!” he squealed, holding two hands in front of himself and dancing in place. “I do!”

Okay, so the little boy and his sister in the above segment are really, really excited. And it’s probably okay to sparingly use exclamation points in their dialog. In the blue text above, such as those with the dialog tags “yelled” and “squealed,” they are sufficiently clear to let the reader know the boy is being very loud. I would remove the exclamation marks from those segments, at minimum. Frankly, I think one or two per chapter is more than enough. You can show excitement in many other ways, especially by using action beats.

For example, you might say, “He shrieked and ran in circles, arms flapping like an airborne chicken.” Or something equally as silly. ;o)

Remember, as a general rule, avoid exclamation points in narrative, and use them very sparingly in dialog. You don’t want to get the same highbrow lecture I did when I was a newbie, do you?

Now, how do you handle someone shouting in your novel? How about when it’s an inner thought?

What if your character has just stumbled upon the dead body of the one he loves?

(As you know, all inner thoughts are generally shown in italics, except where you use, “he thought,” etc.)

I have seen at least three methods to show this:

1)    No! No! No!

2)    NO. NO. NO.

3)   “No, no, no!” he thought.

Some folks use upper case to stand in for exclamation points. I’ve used that approach a few times in my own work. What do you think? List your comments below, and if you have any examples you’d like to discuss, feel free to post them in the comments section.

Remember to take pleasure in the little things. And if you love to write, write like the wind!

Aaron Paul Lazar


Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, thrillers, love stories, and writing guides, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming releases, THE SEACROFT: a love story and DEVIL’S CREEK.


Aaron Paul Lazar, copyright 2015




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'Conflict' In Your Writing

In writing your screenplay or novel or play, you must have a star. This is the person who fascinates you enough to write all those countless words.  When we have a tightly written manuscript, it means we have become fascinated with a certain person in such a way that we actually live through that character.


What do we mean by “live?”


To live in a fictitious or real word our daily bread is “conflict” or in the writing jargon, what we call plot. This simply means that two people are at odds over a certain situation. It can be little or big—but a battle is there nonetheless. The two people can argue over which movie to go see or which restaurant to visit or maybe your landlord wants his rent and you don’t have the money to pay him.


You can climb higher on the conflict ladder and that’s where two people are in a life and death struggle or clash. You certainly don’t want to go to see a film or read a book where everyone is in complete harmony and peace with one another. How boring that would be.  Even Walt Disney films have tons of conflict in them. The wolf versus the three little pigs, for example. He wants to eat them and to do that he has to blow their houses down.


Conflict, as I have mentioned, is just another name for plot. Thus in a sense, we could go further by saying that the word plot is called “entertainment.” It is why we spend our money. We love nothing more than dissention. The higher the dissention, the more interested we become.  We have names for each of the two opposing people involved: Protagonist or our hero, who generally represents the one of the two we’re rooting for; Antagonist who is the rival or the one we call the villain or heavy.


The battle these two wage against one another is based on a series of choices. In dealing with the bad guy, the good guy has to always come up with a series of choices: diplomacy, logic or as a last resort war  The bad guy also has a choice of dealing with the good guy: shooting him, throwing him off a cliff, tying him up. Choices on both sides and carrying them out make up your storyline. The more difficult the choices, the more you get involved in the story. You proceed like this for most of your tale until you tease us by making it look like the bad guy is about to win. Then all of a sudden due to some ingenious choice, the good guy wins and vanquishes the bad guy. The end.


So, there you have the writing profession in a nutshell.  This brings us to the specific category known as a “good writer.” This is a person who can hold you on the edge of your seat via interesting choices. You can’t put the book down or you are completely enthralled by the film. This means you’ve done your job well. Your characters have had to deal with a ton of conflict in their personal lives and have had to make many interesting choices for good or bad.


Writers who have lived lives full of choices are able to pass those moments along to us in a realistic way. In other words, they have the “life experience” to pass them along in a meaningful way. These are writers who are thought of as gifted. More than likely though, life has been a big hors d’oeuvre tray to them.  They have actually tasted life. Bad writers dream of life and philosophize about it. Boring. They are trying to impress you by using big, rarely-used words and long, complicated sentences. They are snobs and intellectuals who are peddling more sizzle than steak.  These people hang out more in writer’s workshops than in life’s alleyways. Conflict to them is something to avoid at all cost.  Unfortunately tons of them are out there clogging the works for real writers.


Most good writers don’t have “writer’s block.”  They realize that if their project becomes sluggish , they should just add some more conflict. Agatha Christie said that in her writing if things slowed down, she always introduced another murder.


Bad writers in the first place are not friends with conflict and, therefore, always seem to be experiencing writer’s block. Now, you see why. They haven’t had enough conflict in their lives to be able realistically to relate it to others.


I heartedly recommend you “live” a lot if you intend to write. It will not only fill up your years with fun but could even fill up your pocketbook. Cheers!

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Peace of Mind Childproofing

10916222681?profile=originalYou’ve put up a baby gate to prevent falls, carefully covered your electrical outlets, padded the sharp corners on your coffee table, and buckled your tiny passenger into an approved infant carrier.
You try to keep your home as bacteria and germ-free as possible, disinfecting thoroughly and then locking up household cleaners away from inquisitive hands and mouths.

Yet there are still an estimated 2.1 million accidental child poisonings each year, with dishwashing liquid the leading cause. Sadly, the damage caused by these products is often gruesome: burned mouth, scarred esophagus, repeated operations to rebuild the throat, sometimes even death. And no matter how diligent you are about keeping your cleaning products out of harm’s way, you may still be slowly and unwittingly poisoning your child, day after day. How?

If you use products with harsh and harmful chemicals that contain known carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) the toxic residues left behind on your floors, furniture and in the air find their way into your child’s body through her skin, mouth, and nose. And your personal care products (soap, shampoo, conditioner, styling aids, deodorants, etc.) can contain dangerous chemicals as well.

Your little one is like a sponge: developing cells in a child’s body are more susceptible than in adults, especially in his central nervous system. Even small doses of neurotoxins that would be harmless to an adult can alter his nervous system development. And until your child turns 13, his growing body has virtually no ability to fight biological and neurological damage from toxic chemicals. As much as we tend to think of skin as a protective barrier, in fact it’s highly permeable, as evidenced by the successful use of skin patches to deliver prescription medication.

Your baby or toddler is most often down at floor level, crawling and exploring, and frequently sticking her hands into her mouth. And in fact, only 10% of health problems from chemicals are a result of ingestion, 90% are caused by inhalation and absorption.

Are you confused? How can your brand name household cleaning products and personal care products contain harmful toxins if they’re sold at grocery stores nationwide? The truth is that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does NOT regulate personal use products. The workplace and the outdoors are considered legal environments, while your home is not.

Did you know that indoor air quality is 3 to 70 times more polluted than the outdoor air in the worst polluted U.S. cities, according to an EPA study? And that women who work from the home have a 54% higher death rate from cancer than those who work outside the home, according to a 17-year EPA study?

Labeling laws simply don’t protect the consumer. The U.S. Federal Code of Regulations exempts manufacturers from full labeling of products if used for personal, family or household care! “Warning!” labels mean that as little as 1 teaspoon of product can harm or kill an adult, “Danger!” means that as little as 5 drops can harm or kill an adult. Go ahead and take a look at the products in your home, you may be shocked and surprised!

Many conditions such as the rising rate of childhood cancer, asthma, and ADD/ADHD are being linked to increased use of chemicals in our homes. So what can you do to protect your loved ones? Educate yourself on what’s really in the products you use to bathe, deodorize and beautify yourself and your family. Study the labels on your household cleaning products; anything that says “harmful to humans and domestic animals” isn’t something that’s good for you or your child.

Research your alternatives: responsible manufacturers don’t use formaldehyde, phenols, NTA, phosphates, ammonia, or chlorine (bleach) in their products, and trustworthy companies do exist. As a responsible adult and savvy consumer, you owe it to yourself and your child to make informed choices about the products you allow into your environment.

As a concerned parent, you want to provide the very best for your child...so start today to make saferScience Articles, healthier choices!

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A Romantic Writing Room


After a year of giving up my newly renovated antique house to my dear daughter, beloved-but-unemployed son-in-law, grandkids, pregnant mother cat, one hormonally challenged male dog, and a still-chewing everything puppy…  (while being unemployed myself during much of that time..)

After looking the other way when antiques were scratched, lamp cords were chewed off, couch skirts were peed on, satin fabric was clawed apart, our new Oriental rug was destroyed…

After having to search for a single fork in a sink full of dishes almost every day (“We’ll do them in the morning, Dad!”), dealing with a sore back from bending over a thousand times a day to pick up casually tossed cheese stick wrappers and toys, and wondering if I’d ever get into the laundry room to do laundry for my wife and me…

After all that – I think I deserve this new room of mine.

10916220462?profile=originalOkay, those of you who know me realize I’m exaggerating, because I adore my daughter, grandchildren, and animals. Since they moved out to their own place just a few miles down the road a month ago, I’ve been filled with conflicting with feelings of terrible longings for their company... mixed with blessed relief. I call them constantly, with any little excuse. And I ache to see the kids every second of every day.

But there is a bright side to all this, and it’s the reclaiming of our home. It’s clean. Oh, is it clean. Organized. Tidy. Polished. Shiny. Dust-free.

This is the 200th anniversary of our 1811 house, and in the spirit of giving ourselves a little reward, I decided to redo the boys’ bedroom. We gave the kids all the furniture, anyway, so it made sense to change things around a bit.

10916220096?profile=originalI’ve never had a writing room. I’ve never had a home office. I never even had a corner of a room that could be mine, where I could write in quiet and focus on getting my characters into trouble, and finagle the plot so they could be saved again. I always had to clamp headphones over my ears to drown out the television, or get up at 4 AM to find some quiet time to write.

My usual typical writing spot is my comfy leather chair in our bedroom. It’s too close to the TV, though, and my wife enjoys have it on all the time. But I like to be with her, so I hang out in the bedroom in the evenings. But that means I'm always tuning out 10916220278?profile=originalwhatever sit-com blasts from the darn thing. 

Sometimes, for an hour or so in the freezing cold dark winter mornings, I sit in the living room downstairs while the fire takes hold in the woodstove. But I'm often distracted by the need to let the dogs in and out, clean the cat pan, put a load in the washer or dryer, make my lunch for work, take out something to defrost for dinner, load up the wood rack by the woodstove, etc. You get my drift, all the usual pre-work morning stuff. So unless I got up, again, at 4 or 5 AM, I don’t get much time to focus on writing.

Okay, so all this is leading up to me trying not to feel guilty for spending too much money on what I’m calling my “zen* room”. It’s a romantic writing, reading, thinking, quiet room. I thought of my wife when I designed it, and have also referred to it as her “sitting room”, because I made it kinda girly-pretty and put her Keurig coffee maker in there.

I know, I know. You’d expect a guy to want a MAN cave, right? Something with lots of leather, dark wood, heavy curtains, beer posters, big screen TV, sports trophies, and the like. Well, I have something sort of like that in our living room already, with dark antiques and brown leather couch and club chair. Ahem. Minus the beer posters and sports trophies.

But this time I departed from that model. I guess I figured I wouldn’t feel so guilty for spending the money if I designed it with my wife in mind.

So in spite of the fact that it’s kind of a feminine room, I must state that I consider myself a regular guy in some aspects. I love to do handyman projects around the house, can’t wait to play with the snowblower and lawn tractor, adore chopping down acres of brush and clearing land, and have a list a mile long of outdoor brick-laying type projects I can’t wait to start.

But I’m also a guy who loves some not-so-typical things. I’m a great deal like my character, Gus LeGarde, who is frequently referred to as a Renaissance man. Gus and I love antiques. We love Chopin. We love to cook. We love French Impressionist art. We love nature. We love to hike. And, we love to cross-country ski.

So, that was my lame attempt to prove to you that I really am a semi-regular guy in spite of how pretty this room is. Ha.

What inspired this? My hairdresser.

Yeah, really. The lady who cuts my hair was running late last month. She offered to let me sit in her new little new-age-comfy room with the water fountain and a footbath. It was so darned comfortable I almost fell asleep several times, and I realized that I wanted one, too!

So, let me show you what I did.

I asked my wife what color walls she wanted, and she chose a pale orange sherbet color. On an impulse, I checked out a Ruby Gordon’s annual half off sale, and found a cream-colored leather loveseat and comfy chair/ottoman in the clearance section. This sort of set the tone for the rest of the room, which really is quite romantic. (And DANG, is it relaxing and comfortable...)

I ordered this trickling wall mounted water fountain. Still waiting for a pump to be sent that isn't LOUDER than the trickling water sound, but it's en route, so they say. 

I found turquoise pillows and a throw at Pier One, a vase thingie that holds apple blossoms, or whatever fake things my wife my wants to stick in them during the winter, and then I went nuts and ordered a glass lamp to match the turquoise color that had ended up being so prevalent in the room. 

10916220670?profile=originalI haunted my favorite antique stores to find a perfect – I mean made for this room – antique lamp with the exact same colors that we’d already chosen.

Next, I ordered a cherry wall cabinet to store some of my Young Living Essential Oils, an Aria oil diffuser to set the scene, a foot bath and all the good smelling stuff that goes with it, and some gorgeous photos from a wonderful photographer friend. 

Here is one of the images that will eventually be hanging over the loveseat and chair, in large format. 10916221063?profile=original

See how it miraculously matches the room colors? It’s like it was meant to be.

It’s almost all put together. I’m waiting for the ottoman, so I can put up my feet while I write. The essential oil diffuser arrived yesterday, and I set it up this morning. My wife wanted curtains, so I got those last weekend – sheer, romantic type curtains. (I won’t dwell on the fact that my cat, one of the seven kittens my daughter’s cat had last year, keeps climbing up them and messing them up.) I’m waiting for the prints to frame and hang. And then, I’ll be ready to write in style. Wonder if my characters will have any more romance in the next few books? I do feel some love scenes coming on...

Here are a few shots of my writing room - a work in process


The "Aria" my new Young Living oil diffuser that also has soothing natural sounds and beautiful colors within its clear glass globe. Highly recommended! (and you'll know why if you read Essentially Yours, one of the books in my Tall Pines Mysteryseries.)


Here's where my wife sits and reads from her Kindle.


One corner that ended up looking a little "Oriental."


And here's where I sit, minus the wall art that's coming. Like I said, pretty darned comfy.

And so, as the project comes to a close, it's just in time for the next adventure of either Gus LeGarde, Sam Moore, or Marcella Hollister. Haven’t decided what’s next yet, but I’m itching to start something new.

 Happy Valentines Day! 

Guys: Do something extra special for your sweetheart today. Maybe buy her a copy of my new love story, The Seacrest. You'll brighten up her day, and you'll feel all mushy inside. Who knows? It might inspire you. Maybe you'll end up with a girl-cave all your own.

Aaron Paul Lazar

copyright 2015, aaron paul lazar


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Direct, Not Indirect

We all use shortcuts in writing. When we perceive a topic to be of lesser interest, we summarize it, treating it like a minor building block of the story. One way to do that is using indirect quotes. By not putting what is said into dialogue, you are relegating it to a passing mention.

Indirect storytelling can also, however, be a sign of inexperience. It is much easier to report on a scene than inhabit the characters involved in it and tell it from the inside. Plus, we are all influenced by what we read, and a veteran writer often uses indirect speech—because she knows which pieces don’t merit more attention. Yet we may not realize the distinction when we sit down to write ourselves.

I’ll use a running example to show how relative weights need to be assigned. “He told Annie he would be working late” works well in the context of a businessman engaged in an elaborate fantasy about an upcoming dinner with a sexy new client. In his mind at the time, making that tired excuse to his wife is an insignificant matter, and so it should be told that way.

Indirect is the wrong approach, though, when a plot event is crucial. Let’s say that later the husband has to tell his wife he had sex with the sexy client. That same indirect storytelling—“He confessed to Annie that he slept with the new client, and she broke down crying”—is the utterly wrong way to engage the reader. What he tells her is not minor anymore. It may make or break his marriage. For that reason, the reader’s emotions will be deeply engaged if the scene is told in full, with dialogue throughout.

I should point out one other aspect of indirect storytelling. It can be a way for an author to shield himself from truths he’d rather not face. Writing is a process of exposing yourself. An author who writes about a cheating husband may in real life be faithful to his wife. So the indirect approach may be the author shying away from a subject that makes him uncomfortable. His wife, after all, may well be his first reader of the manuscript.

A large factor in determining importance is whether an action is being performed by the scene’s point of view character. You’re trying to raise your major characters to more prominence, and indirect quotes tend to lower them.  So when a plot event is attached to someone the reader knows, open up the nut and show what’s inside.

Exercise: If you decide that a passage should be heightened more by dialogue, you don’t have to write out an entire conversation. Sometimes a few lines of exchanged dialogue will provide the proper emphasis. If it needs more than that, add thoughts. In other words, you can calibrate. Just don’t deaden the screams.

“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”
—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Copyright @ 2015, John Paine

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How to Catch Those Pesky Typos

10916219871?profile=originalIt’s one of the hardest parts of being a writer, don’t you think? Editing your own work, running over the same pages over and over again…and still, if you’re human, it’s inevitable that you’ll miss a quotation mark here, an extra space there, or worse, a typo.

You know that reading your own words is the most difficult scenario for proofing, don’t you? Your big, beautiful brain is so good at translating what you physically “see” on the page into what your mind “knows” you “meant” to type, that it usually will glide right over an extra “the” or a missing “a.”

Yes, it purposefully corrects the errors, without even notifying you!

You can read the same sentence a hundred times, and it’ll look great to you. Your mind interprets it as you intended it. And when the first person to take a look at your book finds a glaring omission, or an extra word in that lovely prose, you may feel like an incompetent idiot.

You thought you were careful. Right? You worked so hard to catch those typos.

When it first happens, it's embarrassing. But over time, you’ll learn you cannot catch all of the errors by yourself.

I’ve written twenty-two books, so I’ve been through this process a few times. (you can see them at www.lazarbooks.com, including my newest release, Betrayal.) Over the years, I’ve had publishing house editors go over my manuscripts. They found errors, I fixed them. And I tried not to make more errors when I made the corrections, which is all too common.

We had the first and second edits, then copy edits in the end to make sure we didn’t miss anything. Once in a while, in spite of our best efforts, an error would creep through. Humiliated, I’d beat myself up for this one stupid error and swear it would never happen again. 

Because, you see, I, like you, get upset when I see typos in a best selling book. I used to think, "How can they have missed them?" "How hard can it be to find them?" "Didn't they even READ this thing?"

It was very humbling and illuminating to discover that sometimes, in spite of heroic efforts, these pesky mistakes can make it through to the final version. It happens to the best of us. 

As time went on, I learned that beta readers were an amazing asset. Not only were they excellent at finding and spotting typos, but if you found talented readers or writers with a knack for literary insight (like my beta readers!), they would point out inconsistencies in a scene or even mention when they thought a character went beyond their natural boundaries. My beta readers have helped my books become the best they can be, and I love them. ;o)

Over the years I’ve developed friendships with writers and readers, and I’d offer them the job of beta reading my manuscripts before I submitted the book to my publisher. It worked out very well, and I always felt better when they’d read through my books. On average, I have 10-12 people read the manuscript before I consider it “close to done.”

Of those twenty-two books, I’ve published fifteen through a traditional small press since 2007, and have recently moved on to self publish (through Kindle Select) seven more that were waiting in the publishing queue in the past year. Polishing and proofing all of these manuscripts was a real challenge, and my beta readers did me proud. But believe it or not – they didn’t catch all the typos.

I have discovered there is one more essential step to proofing one’s manuscript: reading it aloud.

Yes, it’s something you can do yourself. It might take you a whole weekend to get through it. But it’s worth the effort. Better yet, if you have a narrator who is recording the audio book version, this is where the final catches will be found. 

Aside: I recommend that authors release all books in this order: eBook, audio book, print.

I have found that my best narrators (actors, really, with great attention to detail) have consistently isolated a couple of leftover “extra or missing letters/words” which are the hardest to find. Sure, with a real typo, like a misspelled word, MS Word underlines it for you in red. Those aren’t too hard to find. It’s harder when you have an extra preposition in a sentence, or a misused word like “here” instead of “hear.” MS Word doesn’t often catch those mistakes.

I find these errors creep in at the end of a work in progress, when I’ve gone through to beef up a sentence or make changes in general. Then I don’t always “cut” fully or “paste” fully and that’s my downfall! Creating typos because you’re fixing another typo is annoying, but pretty common.

Does that happen to you?

Here’s my advice on how to produce a typo-free book.

1) When creating your book, try to find a writer or reader friend who will swap chapters with you as you write it. You read their stuff, they read yours. You help them, they help you. It’s all good. They can help you cull out that first crop of errors, right off the bat.

2) When you’re done writing the book, go through it until you feel you are satisfied. This may take multiple read-throughs. It all depends on how careful you were the first time around when creating the story.

3) Ask another good friend to check it over, so you can be sure you didn’t make any really embarrassing faux pas.

4) Draft beta readers to help you. This may take years of cultivating friends and readers, but it is worth its weight in gold.

5) Review it a few more times yourself after you’ve incorporated beta edits (remember, just use what makes sense to you, you don’t want to lose your focus!)

6) Release the book as an eBook.

7) Find reviewers. Watch the comments come in from readers. Notice if anyone mentions typos! If so, go after them immediately. In this day and age, it’s easy to fix a file and reload it up to your seller’s page. Repost the eBook with the changes. (easy peasy if you are on Amazon)

8) Post the file on ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) to find the perfect narrator. Choose him/her carefully.

9) Send the manuscript to your audio book narrator to read before they begin production. 

10) When they find a few mistakes – fix them. Reload the eBook to correct these things.

11) Let the narrator finish the audiobook recording. If they find anything else (at this point it might just be a missing quotation mark, or an extra space), then upload the corrected eBook again. Now it should be close to perfect.

12) At this point, it’s safe to start thinking about creating your print version. I use Create Space and have been very happy with their quality and support. 

13) Order a proof (or two, or three, depending on what you find and fix!) before you finalize the manuscript. NEVER just review it online – you need to hold it in your hands, go through it page by page. Formatting can be tricky at first, so make sure you focus on page numbers and margin spacing before you let it go live. And read this printed version one more time – you might find another error! 

14) Send an autographed copy of your print book to all your beta readers – they worked hard for this, and they deserve a special treat!

Even with this painstaking approach, once in a while something slips through. It’s disappointing if it happens, but it’s probably God’s way of keeping us humble. ;o)

Let me know what you think in the comments below. And remember, if you love to write, write like the wind!

Aaron Paul Lazar


copyright aplazar 2015

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7699943_f260.jpgMy belief has always been, when the dark and hidden areas of our minds are exposed to light and truth, the darkness has to go.  Light and darkness simply cannot dwell in the same place. 

So, as a Life Coach, I endeavor to ask the right questions that will uncover areas in ourselves that will ultimately answer our questions and set us free from bondage.  Or to help us see the truth within relationships that perplex us, that also sets us free from the actions of others.

Sometimes our communication and conflict management patterns can be out of whack.  

This can be for a variety of reasons based on our background and learned behavior.  Those patterns can change with some insights, skills and relationship help.

And if you want it to change. 

You have to want it to change. 

It is always about a choice, isn’t it?

So, if this post helps you see your own passive-aggressive behaviors, you will understand why others find it difficult to be around you, trust you, and respect you as you would like to be trusted and respected.

passive-aggressive-spouse (1)You confuse them.  People move away from folks who purposefully confuse them — if they are smart.  It can be such a drain.

Or if it answers your questions or rings a bell in some of your relationship conflicts with the other people in your life who have these traits this will help you realize you are not really crazy–and it is not you!

Just becoming a Christian doesn’t mean that our behavior patterns change overnight.  The minute we become believers of Jesus Christ, our hearts are born anew.  We get brand new hearts, alive unto God.  And we are saved by His grace, not by our own goodness, but by His. 

But our souls, (mind, will, and emotions) have to be renewed on a daily basis by a continued pursued relationship with Jesus.  His spirit helps us to change and it is never ending growth.  We have to learn how to recognize old coping skills from the past and allow the Lord to show us how to move past them and find our security, comfort, and value from Him alone.

So, I am offering you a list of what you can look for in a passive aggressive person, or to even recognize some of the traits in yourself.  If so, I hope you find it home-hitting and immediately revealing and you start the journey to correct it.

passiveaggression1If these traits describe you as you usually are, I invite you to sit up and take notice.  You likely do not even realize you are doing these things.  Once you read them and ponder your own behavior, you may finally understand why you are having difficulties having the relationships you most want, at home and at work or in the church.

More good news, the more willing to work on yourself you are, the greater your chances of having the life with others that you crave.  When you realize how you are pushing them away by your crazy-making behaviors, you can change things within yourself. When you are trustworthy within yourself, you will be perceived as trustworthy by others.

Although men and women express their passive-aggressive behaviors somewhat differently, generally, you are behaving in passive-aggressive ways if you are regularly:

1. Unwilling to speak your truth openly, kindly and honestly when asked for your opinion or when asked to do something for someone.

How this shows up in communication is being “assertively unassertive”.  You say “Yes” (assertive) when you really mean “No way” (unassertive).  Then, you let your behavior say “No way” for you.  People become confused and mistrusting of you.

2. Appearing sweet, compliant and agreeable, but are really resentful, angry, petty and envious underneath and your actions are just off enough to the point that those close to you sense it.  It makes those around you annoyed and confused.

sb_passiveagressive2People who do not get along with others are interested only in themselves; they will disagree with what everyone else knows is right.  A fool does not care whether he understands a thing or not; all he wants to do is show how smart he is. Pro. 18:1&2 NLT

 3. You fear direct communication because you fear rejection. You then often push away the people you care about because you don’t want to seem in need of support.

relationship difficultiesAll the while, you are afraid of being alone and so you want to control those around you so they won’t leave you.  Very confusing!

4. Complaining that others treat you unfairly frequently.  Rather than taking responsibility for stepping up and speaking your truth, you set yourself up as the (innocent) victim.  You say others are hard on you, unfair, unreasonable and excessively demanding.

5. Procrastinating frequently, especially on things you do for others.  One way of controlling others is to make them wait.  Ouch!!  I know that speaks to so many of us.  You have lots of excuses why you haven’t been able to get things done.  You even blame others for why that is so.  It’s amazingly unreasonable, but you do it even though it destroys relationship, damages careers, loses friendships and jobs.

And, you tell others how justified you are in being angry because, once again, others treated you unfairly.

6. Unwilling to give a straight answer.  Another way of controlling others is to send mixed messages, ones that leave the other person completely unclear about your thoughts, plans or intentions.

Then, you make them feel wrong when you tell them that what they took from your communication was not what you meant.  Silly them!

depositphotos_21157319-Man-telling-spooky-story7. The silent treatment.  Passive aggressive behavior is recognizable by the disconnect between what is being said and what is being done. Nothing highlights this more than the famous silent treatment. Silence generally signifies agreement but not in this case.  When you are on the receiving end of the silent treatment, you realize that the other person is far from agreeable.  They have a big problem with you and just to allow themselves the victory, they have no intention of telling you what that is.

There are 2 other common versions of the silent treatment.  One is to answer the question ‘What’s wrong?’ with ‘nothing’, when there certainly is something wrong.  The other is to answer any question with just one word.  This is intended to signal that there is a problem, without you having to say it.

8-Examples-of-passive-aggressive-behaviourBoth expressions say “You poor confused person. You’re not worth talking to.”  But the real reason for their behavior is that they have not, cannot, or will not take responsibility for their own behavior.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12:1-2 ESV

8. Frequently feeling inadequate but covering it up with superiority, disdain or hostile passivity. 

bully-free-workplacesWhether you set yourself up to be a self-sabotaging failure — “Why do you have such unrealistic expectations of me?” or a tyrant or goddess incapable of anything less than perfection, “To whom do you think you are speaking?”  You are shaking in your boots from fear of competition and being found out as less than perfect.

9. Often late and/or forgetful.  One way of driving people away is to be thoughtless, inconsiderate and infuriating.

And, then, to put the cherry on top, you suggest that it’s unrealistic to expect you to arrive on time, or, in your words, “think of everything”.  Being chronically late is disrespectful of others.  Supposedly forgetting to do what you have agreed to do is simply demonstrating your lack of trustworthiness.  Who wants to be around that for long?

Pro. 16:7   When people’s lives please the LORD, even their enemies are at peace with them.

10. Making up stories, excuses and lies.  You are the master of avoidance of the straight answer.  You’ll go to great lengths to tell a story, withhold information, or even withhold love and affirmation in your primary relationships.  It seems that if you let folks think you like them too much, that would be giving them power.  You’d rather be in control by creating a story that seems plausible, gets them off your back, and makes reality look better from your viewpoint.

11. Constantly protecting yourself so no one will know how afraid you are of being inadequate, imperfect, dependent or simply human.

12. Complaints of injustice and lack of appreciation

13. Dragging your feet to frustrate others.  Again, a control move somewhat like procrastinating, but the difference is you begin and appear as though you are doing what you said you would do.  But, you always have an excuse why you cannot continue or complete the task.  You won’t even say when it will be — or even might be — done.  Do you know anyone like this? 

people-running-scared-clipart-1044249-Royalty-Free-RF-Clip-Art-Illustration-Of-A-Cartoon-Fearful-Man-RunningEverything is viewed as an attack on you.  When something doesn’t go your way, it is seen as unfair or an injustice.  It’s all about how the world impacts you.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1-20 ESV

14. Disguising criticism with compliments

At first, passive aggressive people may seem pleasant and warm.  They often appear to be complimentary.  It is only after they have left that you realize that the compliment was actually disguising a cheap jibe.

15. Always getting in the last punch.

Passive aggressive people love to throw the last punch.  So much so, that even when an argument has been reconciled, they slip one last insulting remark into the conversation. This remark is often more subtle than the ones which went before but it is still an insulting remark which allows them to feel victorious.

gods-willWe belong to God.  It is time for us to step into maturity and begin to face truth about the strong holds in our lives that hold us back from producing His fruit in us. 

The answer always lies in Jesus.  Our renewed minds will flow out from Him if we are willing to admit the truth of our actions to ourselves and then to Him.  It is not in our own power but in His.  In our weaknesses He is made strong, but we have to be willing to get out of denial and face our truth.  He will help us with the rest! 

loveLove is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 

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I have loved everything to do with the paranormal world for as long as I can remember. I write about ghosts, hauntings, aliens, angels, demons, ESP, premonitions, past lives, reincarnation - you name it - for quite some time as well. One place where I write regularly is http://www.examiner.com/x-35811-Hamilton-Paranormal-Examiner.

I have also written a number of books including Glimpses: True Stories of the Paranormal, Glimpses 2: (it could happen to you!) and Totally Scared: The Complete Book On Haunted Houses with Dawn Colclasure. The last one is being update with even more information than the first edition.

As well, I have had quite a number of personal paranormal occurrences during my life including seeing spirits, having a vision, hearing the angels sing, a near death experience and more. These I have also written about on various blogs and columns, as well as in my books.

I am so happy to report that people are now beginning to take claims of the paranormal much more seriously than in the past. I just wrote a story about The Afterlife Files, which aims to prove that what people are experiencing is real. That story can be found in my Examiner column. The fellow behind it wants to create a made-for-TV documentary showing this proof for all to see.

Todd Moster is a lawyer, so he should certainly know what constitutes solid evidence. He says that such a documentary could potentially change the way we view our world.

He is particularly interested in EVP (electronic voice phenomena), which ghost hunters acquire through various means including the regular digital voice recorder, to Frank's boxes and more up-to-date spirit boxes.

Asked how he developed such a strong interest in EVP in an interview on January 21, 2015, he replied, “I’ve been interested in the subject of EVP since the late ‘70s when I read the book Breakthrough: An Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication with the Dead by Konstantin Raudive, which documented his experiments in that area. Although I later put the topic aside for many years as I concentrated on my career as a trial attorney and executive recruiter, I looked into the area again in the early 2000’s and was intrigued by all of the new research in the field. The new information inspired me to produce a mini documentary about EVP called Breaking the Barrier in 2008.”

To fund his project, Moster has begun a Kickstarter campaign called The Afterlife Files with a goal of raising $500,000 so electronic voice phenomena (EVP), which has become a mainstay of proof for paranormal investigators on the reality of life after death, can be studied and analyzed from a scientific standpoint.

That sounds like a lot of money to get within the short time allowed by Kickstarter, but he is determined.

“As has been the experience of many a producer before and after me, I found that the needed funds were not forthcoming,” he said. “The advent of the crowd-funding phenomenon in the last few years, however, has given a new platform for producers to take their ideas directly to the public for support. And in keeping with the innovative spirit of the crowd-funding platform, we’ve chosen Kickstarter.com. We’ve reinvented the format from the more conventional documentary vehicle we pursued in 2008 to a cutting-edge scientific exploration of EVP, combined with a documentary-style series intended for TV or Internet distribution, which will follow both the experimental process and the diverse group of paranormal investigators, die-hardskeptics, mainstream scientists and other participants who carry it out.”

He called his project “the most ambitious and decisive scientific exploration of whether the human personality lives on after physical death.” The proposed series would begin with a pilot similar to Breaking the Barrier but would focus more on “introducing viewers to the subject of EVP, as well as to the mission, design crew and key investigators who will conduct the hard core scientific study that is at the heart of The Afterlife Files.”

Then the 12 remaining episodes would involve actually garnering proof in the field that EVP does or does not represent the voices of the deceased.

Moster said the total of $500,000 that he hopes would be donated through the campaign would ensure that he meets his financial requirements. However, he admitted that it might be optimistic given that Kickstarter projects must meet their goal within a specified amount of time. He said the site allows a campaign to run “from 1 to a maximum of 60 days.” He chose 40 days beginning on January 28, 2015.”

But would that be enough time to raise such a large amount of money?

“At first glance, $500,000 seems like a crazy amount of money,” he said, “but it’s the absolute minimum we need to obtain the high profile scientists, lab facilities and cutting-edge equipment to do this right. Kickstarter advises us that the average contribution comes in around $75 although many people, of course, contribute more and some pledge less. If that average holds true for us, we’ll need about 7,000 backers for our project.”

He realizes that hoping to raise enough interest from that many people might seem like quite a stretch but he believes it is “really a tiny percentage of the millions of people worldwide who are fascinated by the paranormal, or just wonder from time to time (as do most of us) what happens to us when we die.”

He plans to place a video trailer at the top of his Kickstarter page. You can see that trailer HERE. If he can get the trailer to go viral he said, “we’ll have a good chance of crossing the finish line.”

As well, he said there are quite a number of rewards being offered as part of the campaign for those who donate, “ranging from music and signed movie posters at the lower levels to producer credits, private progress reports, and exclusive tickets to our premiere screening at the higher levels – to make it a fun experience for our supporters.”

The success of his campaign will ultimately depend on how people feel about his proposed project and their willingness to help see it to fruition.

“We’re depending on everyone who finds this project intriguing and worthwhile, even if they already have an opinion one way or the other on the subject, to spread the word to their friends, family and coworkers. That is really the only way we will succeed and be in a position to start putting our team together in April.”

If successful, Moster plans to film the pilot and a 12-episode series for television that will be more of a scientific expedition designed to determine if EVP claims are based on reality or just wishful thinking. He plans to collaborate with EVP researchers, people who want to make contact with those who have passed over, scientists and of course, skeptics of the phenomena.

In the past, Moster has written for a History Channel series and other shows. The co-producer for The Afterlife Files will be Nancy Williams of Nancy Williams Productions, who is an Emmy winning journalist and was a syndicated TV news reporter/producer for Time Warner. Her production company based in Los Angeles, CA, produces material for video, web and television.

But that's not all...

Another 'afterlife' documentary is also in the works call The Scientific Establishment of Parapsychology. Created by Don & Steve Mera of the U.K. it is destined to become a TV series. Unfortunately, I am not at liberty to say any more about it at this point but any project that aims to add credibility to the paranormal field is certainly good news - at least to me.

I have written literally hundreds of story based on information from people around the world about their personal experiences with spirits of the dead (which is really a misnomer since they are still very much alive - in spirit). I have also written about people's real experiences living in haunted houses, having predictive dreams, near death experiences, premonitions and so much more.

As well, I recently wrote a book review on The Science of Spirit Possession by Terence Palmer in which he uses a critical scientific mind to determine that possession is a real phenomenon. 

To know that there are folks out there who want to prove these types of events based on science, is a wonderful thing. Surely, they will help open the minds and eyes of those folks who have never had such experiences and others who seem to live just to debunk anything having to do with the paranormal. Hopefully, even the staunchest critics will give the subject another more serious look.

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My parents divorced the summer of my third year in school. This did not come as a great disappointment. My father was a womanizer and a heavy drinker. The fights between my parents were frequent. We moved that summer into our “own” house. My mother was a hard worker and with my aunt to help her, our new life began.

In many ways, our life was much better. There were no more fights to fear and our little cottage, although not in a really desirable part of town, was better than the house we shared with our father. My brother and I were happy and accustomed to making the best of things. Our life sailed along with an occasional trauma as life goes with all of us.

The summer of my thirteenth year, out of the blue, my father called. Professing his undying love and remorse that he had not called since I was eight years old, he asked for the pleasure of my company for the approaching Saturday morning. Excitement pulsed through my young body. My father actually loved me. All of those years feeling that their problems were somehow caused by me were erased with that one call. He was probably drinking pretty heavily when he called but I didn’t know or care about that. MY FATHER LOVED ME. I decided right then that every Saturday would be spent with my Dad. We would make up for all of the lost days, weeks, months and years in the coming Saturdays. At school, all that I talked about was my upcoming special time. I cancelled my usual time with Kathy, my best friend. She would have to understand that although she had been my companion for years spending each Saturday morning with me, she had been dropped. Our typical Saturday at the local movie and then a banana split were over. Whatever my father had planned would be so much better.

The time passed slowly. My wardrobe was planned down to the ribbon in my hair. That day finally arrived. My mother tried to curb my over zealous attitude. “He probably won’t come.” She would stress that my father was undependable and basically a liar but I knew better. After all of the hurt that he had caused, he wouldn’t dare disappoint me.

An hour before his arrival, I was dressed in my prettiest dress and waited on the front steps with my mother who continued to warn me that I was about to be hurt. I listened to her patiently at first. Sure, she hated him because he had caused so much hurt but that was her problem. He loved me. I remember waiting in the hot sun as mother continued to try to prepare me for disaster. An hour late, he pulled up to the curb as my mom explained that we could go get ice cream later.

“I knew that he would come. You need to believe in him!” Yelling those comments, I ran to the opened door without a hug or kiss to my faithful mom. Dad closed the door and we were off for a few hours of much needed bonding. Little did it matter that he wanted to see a Western movie. Not my favorite for sure but next week, he would probably insist that I see what I liked. After the movie, he treated me to a banana split as he watched with great pride. We laughed and talked so much. The day was everything that I had ever dreamed.

The next week, I excitedly planned his arrival. Just like all of my friends, I had a father. The kids at school quickly tired of hearing about my special day. What was the big deal anyway? Didn’t everybody have a father?

The next Saturday found me dressed in another pretty dress with a new ribbon because dad liked the ribbon in my hair. Again I waited in the hot sun. Mother didn’t join me since she was amazed that he showed last week. I waited for three hours. He never came; not even a phone call with a lie. When my mother tried to get me to go with her for ice cream, I assured her that I was not disappointed. It had always been crystal clear that he was a liar. Now that I had given him a chance, I would never wait for him or make plans with him again.

Quickly, I changed from special clothes to those of play. Pulling the ribbon from my hair, I frowned at my reflection. How gullible could I possibly be? The rest of the afternoon was spent in my swing where I sorted out life’s problems. He never phoned again but I didn’t care. My Saturday’s were spent again with Kathy and life went on as before. Yet, in my heart, I always hoped that someday he may call again.

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Discover how easy it is to create your very own eye-pleasing book cover with these editable PSD book cover templates by ecoverdesignerpro.

Finally, the quick and easy way to get professionally designed book covers without spending a fortune on expensive Graphic Designers. While the deal is now close to the public, we have reserve the ultimate full copies of these editable, royalty-free, eye-pleasing, book cover templates for our Indie Authors.


THIS is the only place you can get this package right now. You will not find it anywhere else online. You will receive the full list of individual (and editable) book templates shown below.

Note: You must have a photoshop account or software in order to use and edit these book covers to make them your own. This Youtube video ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WC3VnZenQGw ) will show you how to dismantle and redo one of the book covers included in this package.

This package is all yours. Pick it up at http://j.mp/1sGgBb6


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Multiple endings: what to choose?

10916216483?profile=originalEnding a dystopian-type novel has its problems. If you end on a cheerful note, it may spoil the nature of the rest, but if the ending is simply depressing, I fear the reader may not come back for other books on your list. I faced this problem in my novel Troubles. The backstory is that the world had done nothing much about replacing oil, all economies had collapsed, the world had descended into general anarchy but with local islands of relative stability for the rich, and the occasional one for the poor enforced by the gun.

The novel open with nuclear fusion being invented, whereupon the world would suddenly have energy and there would be a general economic recovery. This meant great opportunities to get rich, if you were ruthless enough, and some were. I have a range of protagonists: the "hero" who wants to see democracy, a fair go for everyone and law and order, even though he himself has used the gun to previously enforce law; his brother, a weak leech; the would-be oligarch; the more effective robber baron; the young woman who started with nothing and is working her way up, helped with a machine pistol; the new agent of the government, in the carpet-bagger model; and of course, the guns for hire. There is also a string of minor characters, mainly helped by the "hero".

One problem with discussing endings is that one has to be careful not to add spoilers, however I should add I have a further constraint, because I am writing a form of "future history" so while this is a stand-alone book, the overall background has to end in a fashion that permits the next book in the series, so the reader may guess that not everything ends well. However, the question relating to this blog post, and the question I agonized over, is whether the young woman should live or die? She has been an intermediate character, not evil, but not exactly virtuous either. She has "gone with the flow" so to speak, and hence has done some fairly nasty things, but she has also done some good things. As a consequence of a not very nice act, she inherits an old building that used to be a bank, and which contains a huge amount of aged currency that is not directly negotiable and would not be considered hers. At the time of writing, I actually had three endings. In one in she wandered off into the sunset, abandoning the money, and looking forward to a more anonymous life in the vicinity of a man who had both admired her and feared her. That ending was a bit "up in the air", but the reader looking for optimism could find it. In ending two, she tried for the money. That almost begged a sequel, in which there would be two sub-endings: she succeeded or failed. The third ending was that she was simply killed, the robber baron kept the money and some would say, justice was done, at least to her if not to the robber baron. There is a case for each of these, but the author can only choose one. Which would you choose? Why?

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5 Sites to Promote Your Book on a Shoestring Budget

10916216654?profile=originalWhen it comes to promoting your book, you have to spend money to make money.

How many of you have been told that?

The first time I heard it, my heart filled with desolation. I live in the real world where disposable income is as rare as the unicorn–in other words, it doesn’t exist. What chance do I have of being successful with my marketing endeavours without the coin to back it?

The answer is: I don’t know. My book is relatively new (just over a month old at the time of my writing this) and it’s really too soon to tell. Nevertheless, I thought I’d share some of the places I’ve found online that allow me to advertise my book for free. Here are the 5 sites that top my list so far.

Indies Unlimited

The vetting process on this site is incredibly helpful. I submitted my novel for their free promotion. About 6 weeks later, the site contacted me with an excellent critique of my book description as well as suggestions on how to improve it. I made the corrections and received a second critique and even more suggestions–all for free! As far as I’m concerned, this site is indie author gold, for that reason alone.

Online PR News

This site provides a free place to post and distribute a press release. You have to write the press release yourself, but this is an excellent opportunity to reach people to which you might not otherwise have access.

New Book Journal

Free author announcements for anything author related. Announce your book release or a book signing…the possibilities are endless.

Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing

This website posts a list of new Sci Fi releases each week. I sent an email to the site administrator asking if my book could be included in the next list and he was happy to oblige. This taught me never to be afraid to send a query to anything online I’d like to be a part of. The worst that could happen is my request will either be ignored or rejected. To my surprise, that rarely happens.

My Book Addiction’s zOctober Event

I read about zOctober on a news feed site I frequent and sent an email and was accepted right away. I am posting a “Mad Lib” style puzzle and a short story on My Book Addiction’s site in October. Great publicity for my book and my brand, all of it absolutely free!

That’s my list so far, opaline pearls in a sea of seemingly barren oysters.  Do you have any other hidden gems you are willing to share? Post them here and I’ll feature them on my next post with a link to your online pages–another great, free place to publicize!

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Create your own Crowd-Pleasing Book-tour Events

In today's lesson, I am going to show you how you can effectively create your own book-signing event, effortlessly. This process will take you less than an hour, and the result may attract hundreds, and maybe thousands of visitors to your book-signing events.

Localized book-signing event is critical to every independent authors because of the impacts it can create for author's professionalism and book sales. I don't know if you are aware of this, but your friends and family members are usually your first fans, followed by your community, the city, state, and then eventually the nation or internationally. It's like a simple arithmetic equation, the one with the infinite possibilities called, 'words of mouth.' 

Words are the first evolution of mankind, and any whisper can be heard worldwide nowadays.

Your friends and family member are most likely to be the first to talk about and your book to others, and the others (usually within your community) may spread the word after that. Then before you know it, your book is known outside of your community, into the next city, state, and the whole nation.

This is the kind of impact that book-signing can do for you. It can make an unknown author famously known, starting from the city. While you may hire a publicist to perform these publicity tasks for you, the fact is that, 'you can do these tasks yourself, and save you a lot money and time.'

The very first step to creating a successful book-signing event is to acquire a good position (book shop) for the gathering. You may obtain a list of 850 book-store owners in the United States from this link, http://j.mp/1ywevzd. Manta.com is also a good resource for finding the local book-shops around your area. Simply type in the keywords, 'book shop' & 'your city', in the search box, and the result will display the list of the local book businesses around your way, including the Barnes&Nobles, and Borders. After acquiring a list, make contact with them, and try to get the book-store owner's permission (given that you don't a book-rep that will do this for you) to include their location in an article that you are submitting to the local newspaper concerning a book-signing event. Give he or she your professional credential, and a brief summary of what your book is about.  Any free broadcast  of a local business is always good to a local business owner, so the chance that the book-store owner will say no to your newspaper-exposure-proposal is slim. Promise the book-store owner that you will attract at least 100 book buyers of your own to the event, and that you will provide the paperback books that you will be signing & selling that day. Instead of paying cash to the book-store owner for using their location, pay he or she with your books, perhaps 50 to 100 autographed copies that they could sell for their own profit them after your book-signing. Chances are, if you can attract more than 100 people to that initial book-signing, the remaining autographed books will sell.

After you've acquired a deal with a book-store owner, the next step is to contact your local news outlets. The Tribune newspaper is nationwide, and very user friendly.

You will have to write the local newspaper editor, and this is where your professionalism, as far as writing goes, will be tested. Because your writing will not bypass a newspaper editor's approval unless it is appealing. Instead of submitting a fully written proposal to them, you may also call their office and schedule a one-to-one appointment with them. Newspaper editors are known for accepting every literary-based appointments. The rest, as far as convincing the editor to print the book event in the newspaper is up to you. Chances are, if your proposal is accepted, you will not be charge for the advertisement, and the event will be categorized to the 'Local Events' section of the newspaper's print. You work may be tedious, but very worthy. If you are successful with this, many other book shops would be scheduling you for appearances.

There are other ways of promoting your book-signing event offline, for free, with CraigslistUniiverseGrouponGoodreadsBlogTalkRadioI.W.SFacebook & Twitter.

Groupon.com is a deal-of-the-day website and subscription system that features and distributes redeemable discounted gift certificates that are usable at the user's desired venues. Groupon is a great crowd sourcing program, and can attract thousand of local visitors / buyers to your venue. To use Groupon, you will first have to create a user account, and then you will want to create a Merchant Account so that you be a seller and not the buyer. You may apply for the merchant account after creating your groupon profile at, https://merchants.groupon.com. From here, you may create an event for the book-store location that you have secured, set the amount for how much you want to sell your autographed books, and then press launch. The Groupon localize system will take care of the rest and email every Groupon members within the state about your book-signing event. Even more, it allows the email recipients to buy a ticket for the event (the autographed book) directly from the email, or the landing page that Groupon will create specifically for the event. With Groupon, I can guarantee that you will gain some audience as long as the price is right.

Another very effective online tool that you can use for your book-signing promotion is Uniiverse.com. Much like the Groupon system, you can create an event, sell admission tickets, and then announce/message the physical location and a 40 words description 'TO ALL OF YOUR FACEBOOK FRIENDS, EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS, AND TWITTER FOLLOWERS' with one push of a button. I don't think I need to reiterate this point (that are capitalized) again. So if you have 30,000 twitter followers, this program will deliver your book-event message into all of their inbox, for the ones in your local area to attend. Same goes for Facebook; if you have 2,000 friends, they will all receive the message at the same time. Uniiverse is a must-use system for every author looking to bring their circles to their book events!!

Much like Groupon and Uniiverse, Craigslist.org is another crowd pleasing website for attracting the locals to your event. To use craigslist for your book-event promotion, click on the proper link for your city & state listed on the website, and then go to the 'Community' section to compose a general message concerning your book signing appearance.  You may also direct the viewers to pick up their admission ticket for the event from the Groupon (or Uniiverse) landing page that was created

Another effective way of marketing your event's ticket, the one you created on Groupon or Uniiverse for your autographed book, is to advertise them on Facebook groups and Fanpages. The Facebook Graph system is a great tool that allows any Facebook member to find results for any keyword from their homepage. For example, if you schedule book event in San Bernardino, California, all you'll have to do use the Facebook search box for the keywords, San Bernardino, California. A lot of results will pop up that you can choose from. The Facebook results with the likes results are fan-pages, and the one with the members counts are the Facebook groups for that keyword. Join and like the ones that you think will more effective for your event, and then post the link and info about your book-event on the walls, asking for the people in the community to come join you. Chance are, the event will likely spread.

Goodreads.com is also a good tool for creating a successful book event. Goodreads Events can be used to promote events like book launches, book tours, and author appearances. It can also be used to give away free copies of eBooks. And much like the Facebook graph system, the book event you create with Goodreads can automatically generate new viewers and visitors to your listing with its search tool. To get started with setting up your event on Goodreads go to, https://www.goodreads.com/event.

Blogtalkradio.com is another great avenue to announce your book event. BlogTalkRadio.com is a web-based platform that allows podcasters and talk show hosts to create live and on-demand talk format content for distribution on the web and podcast distribution channels. What this means is that you can book an online interview with one of the host and announce your book to their audiences usually for free. BlogTalkRadio hosts are mostly happy to have published authors on their station, and will accommodate your book interview. To find the best podcaster for your announcement, simply browse through the graet contents of the website. 

Indie Writers Support is also a great place to promote your book event. Hundreds of readers visit indiewritersupport.com everyday, and the book-signing event you created would be expose to each and every one of them.

There is no shame in letting people know about a book event, so don't let anyone guilt you out about you doing your own promotion.

The best time to set up your book-signing event is usually about 45 days ahead of time, so that you and the bookstore owners may attract as much visitors that you can.

There are things you can do to make your book-signing event more eventful.

  • You may sponsor a book giveaway
  • Do a book reading of the most exciting chapter in the book
  • You may partaken in designing a theme-based-atmospheric attraction for the event, one that would wow the visitors when they arrive. 
  • You may want to invite other known authors within the community to join and collaborate with you at the event.


BookWebinars.com is a new website that our website-developer, Judd Miller, is currently working on. This website will address all of the book-marketing issues addressed in this topic. The website would also be a paid-member-access only, and is expected to launch within the next three months.

At Indie Writers Support, we aim at helping writers become more successful.

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