Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Time Piece by Patricia PacJac Carroll

A Time Piece

Patricia PacJac Carroll, aspiring writer, fell into bed. With a heavy sigh, she realized that once again the day had been stolen from her. The tasks were undone, the list untouched. “Not again, where did it go?” She rolled over and shoved her face into the pillow.

Fortunately, her cry did not go unnoticed. For just in time a kindly friend, Nick, happened to be walking by and heard her plight. He rushed off to send a telegram.


“Hi Oh, time and away!”

Patricia scrambled out of a fitful sleep. “What was that?” The clock commanded it was time to get up anyway. She jumped out of bed and went to the window. Two men on horses waited on her lawn. “Don’t you know what time it is?” 

The tall one, wearing a mask over his eyes, remarked to the one with a feather in his headband. “This is the right place. She doesn’t know the time of day.”

Raccoon man turned his attention to her. “Ma’am, we’re here to help. We heard your time has been stolen by Time Bandits.”

Patricia rubbed her eyes, sure she was having a dream. After the fifth eye rub, she realized they had not disappeared. “Who are you guys?”

“I’m the Zone Ranger and this is my second hand, Pronto. We are here to help you take control of your time.”

Remembering her undone to do list, she nodded. “Hmm, I suppose I could use some lessons. I never accomplish all I want to and the day just slips away.”

“Time doesn’t slip away. You’re not watching, and it’s being stolen. The best way to help is to follow you around for a day. We’ll just stay in the background while you go about your normal routine.”

Patricia wondered how normal her day could be with a masked man in tight pants following her around. But she was a writer and use to strange characters. She did need to learn how to use time more wisely. Having talked herself into letting them help, she turned and motioned for them to come into the house. “You can put your horses in the garage. I’ll make some breakfast.”

She finished eating and opened her iPad. Halfway down the first paragraph, the gadget was ripped out of her hands. “What—”

The Zone Ranger held up the tablet. “Pronto, take a look.”

Pronto peeked underneath. “Kimo Seiko, there are at least thirty minutes hiding under here.”

Tapping his watch, he pierced her with a gaze. “You see that? Half an hour of your day was about to be stolen right out from under your nose. No wonder you don’t accomplish anything.”

“I had no idea. I guess it adds up. Okay, no more reading the news. I can listen to the radio and hear what’s going on in the world.” She cleared the dishes and then sat down in the TV room. She was on her second wave of surfing the channels when a loud noise startled her.

Pronto was behind the TV. “There are at least two hours worth back here!”

“Two hours? You mean I was going to waste two hours watching TV?” Patricia scratched her head and looked at the clock on the wall. It was already nine.

“That’s right. You would have lost the entire morning. Half your day. You have got to set Time Zones.”

“You mean like Central and Eastern?”

“No. I mean a time to write, read, and do errands. If you spent three hours in the morning on a specific project, you would be able to finish them.”

“Thanks, Zone Ranger. I—” The phone rang. She ran to get it, but instead Pronto grabbed the phone and hung it up.

Pronto shook his finger. “You can call her back during your break.”
“Break? What break?”

The Zone Ranger handed her a paper with a schedule. “You have a break at ten and another at two.”

“Wait a minute—”

“No, that is what you have been doing all along--waiting minutes. Just when do you think you’re going to write?”

“I can write anytime during the day.”

The Zone Ranger pointed to the clock face. “Do you see a number called anytime?”
“Of course not, silly.”

“But that is the time zone you have set for your writing. Instead, set a specific time, stick to it, and you will be productive.”

Pronto motioned to the Zone Ranger. “Kimo Seiko, we have another case.”

The Zone ranger nodded and then handed her a list. “Watch for these time thieves and set your time zones. Do that and you’ll be a prolific writer.”

She took the list from him.

Top Ten Time Thieves.

10. Visiting friends: Set limits and boundaries for yourself.

9. Eating: An avoidance technique of weighty proportions.

8. Reading newspapers, magazines, books: It is important to read. So set a specific time zone for it and you can read guilt free.

7. Reading what you have written: Especially things you are not currently working on. I know you think they’re good, but if you don’t get serious, you are the only one that will ever read them.

6. Video games, solitaire, free cell, word with friends: They are all expert time wasters.

5. Internet: Use for research, but be careful. It is full of rabbit trails that can take you away from your writing.

4. Emails, fb, blogs: Set a certain amount of time to go through them. Look at them only after you have written.

3. Phone calls: Turn off the phone if you have to. If it’s important, they’ll leave a message or call back.

2. TV: Need I say more?

1. Failure to set Time Zones: Specific blocks of time set aside to accomplish your writing goals.

Patricia took the information to heart, set her time zones, and guarded her time. 

Did it work? If you’re reading this article – YES!

Loving to Laugh by Tamela Hancock Murray

Loving to Laugh

by Tamela Hancock Murray
At least once a week I’m asked if romantic comedy is currently marketable. While sometimes this category seems hot and then cold, I’d say that sharp, witty, well-executed romantic comedy can find a good home no matter what the publishing season. Note that I take the adjectives I used seriously. This is not a category that most writers can whip off with little effort. Successful writers of romantic comedy are gifted with the ability to find humor in everyday situations and the talent to share that humor in an entertaining way. The writing must fly like a magic carpet. The reader is looking for a fun story.

To read the rest...

About your Novel...Don't Worry by Allen Arnold

About your Novel…Don’t Worry
By Allen Arnold

Admit it – the headline above feels unbelievable. Impossible. Naive.

At a major writer’s conference last week, I said one of the main ways for authors to overcome what held them back was to not worry about their novels or their writing careers. That comment got one of the biggest laughs of the session. Only I wasn’t kidding.

To read the rest....

Monday, September 19, 2011

Why Facebook Subscribe Button Makes My Facebook Page Obsolete -- Tony Bradley

Why Facebook Subscribe Button Makes My Facebook Page Obsolete

By Tony Bradley, PCWorld

Perhaps you've heard that Facebook has been tweaking the social network a bit? In the past few weeks Facebook has implemented a wide variety of changes--many of which mimic popular features from the rival Google+, and at least one of which leaves me with little reason to continue maintaining my Facebook Page.
Facebook finally added Subscriptions for personal profiles.

Facebook Subscriptions

What is a Facebook Subscription you may ask? By opening up Subscriptions on my personal Facebook profile, I enable anyone who chooses to subscribe to my profile to see any posts I share with "Public".

Subscribers let me use my personal Facebook profile with the public as well.When I first started using Facebook, I wanted to be able to share information and post links to my articles, but only those in my social network would be able to see those links and updates.

To read the rest, please link to....Why Facebook Subscribe Button Makes My Facebook Page Obsolete

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Your great story

"When we trust our lives to the hand and pen of an unseen but ever-present God, He will write our lives into His story and every last one of them will turn out to be a great read." -- 
Beth Moore

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Writer motivation --
Do Not Go Gentle Onto That Good Page
by James Scott Bell

Do not go gentle into that good night . . .Rage, rage against the dying of the light. – Dylan Thomas

Brett Favre, one of the best quarterbacks ever to play the game of football, was supposed to be over-the-hill at 40. But he recently finished what is probably his finest season and almost got the Minnesota Vikings to the Super Bowl. In the NFC championship game against the New Orleans Saints, he took a beating. He was on the turf constantly, sometimes under 380 pounds of beef. In the second half he got his left ankle twisted, limped off, got re-taped, and came back into the game. But for a number of turnovers by his teammates and one ill-timed interception, the Vikes would have won. It was an inspiring performance, adding to his legend.

Robert B. Parker, creator of Spenser and one of the most prolific authors of our time, died last month at the age of 77. He was supposed to be over-the-hill, too. Some critics thought he was, but most readers did not.

To read the rest, please link to Do Not Go Gentle Onto that Good Page...

Monday, September 12, 2011

What Are Average Book Sales?

What Are Average Book Sales?

by Steve Laube

We recently received the following question:
“What does the average book sell today? An industry veteran at a writers conference recently said 5,000. What??? I know it all depends….but … nowhere near 5K, right?”
My simple answer?
It’s complicated.
It depends.
Average is a difficult thing to define. And each house defines success differently. To read the rest... What Are Average Book Sales?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Writer's Life: Surviving the Fire Swamp by Beth Vogt

A Writer’s Life: Surviving the Fire Swamp
 By bethkvogt

After hanging out at the Cliffs of Insanity, I’m doing a bit of rumor control today before negativity infiltrates the Water Cooler crowd. The report is this: “We’ll never survive.”

Survive what, you ask? The journey–wherever it takes us–along the writing road.Many writers survive–even thrive. Sure, at times the Brute Squad hammers our egos, but consider a pounding an occupational hazard.

Never survive? To quote Westley, our hero from The Princess Bride, when he faced the Fire Swamp: “Nonsense.”

Many writers survive–even thrive. Sure, at times the Brute Squad hammers our egos, but consider a pounding an occupational hazard.

To read the rest, please link to....A Writer's Life: Surviving the Fire Swamp

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

From the Heart: How Do They Do It? by Linda S. Glaz

From the Heart: How Do They Do It? by Linda S. Glaz: I’m not sure how they do it. Authors who write what they don’t love. I can’t imagine sitting down at the keyboard or pad, trying to get the...

To read the rest.... How Do They Do It?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tag Lines by Ane Mulligan

Does your tag line hook?
Guest post by Ane Mulligan

In preparation for the upcoming ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers') conference, I labored over the tag line for my latest manuscript. It was not cooperating. Instead, it was stubborn and elusive, which frustrated the fire out of me.

Normally, I can pin down a tag line in five minutes. Especially for someone else.

I did what any self-respecting writer would do. I whined to my critique partners. We began a brainstorm session that finally resulted in my tag line. And it's a good one. It reflects the tone of the story.

So what goes into a tag line?

First and foremost, it should hook the agent or editor. It needs be a king-salmon-sized hook, strong enough so the agent/editor can't slip the away. After all, they're a wiggly breed.

A tag line should be short, the shorter, the better. Try to keep it under twenty words. Okay, no one will shoot you if it's twenty-one. But aim for short. One of my favorites is one I helped do for a brainstorm buddy. Will her escape be her prison? Six words that open a world of possibility.

For the first book in my current series I'm writing, the tag line is: With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel. Fifteen words that tell a story.

The tag line doesn't have to reveal the plot. It's a hook. It needs to make the agent/editor want to know more. Don't give into detail. State the backbone of the story. If possible, add a one-word description of the character's job: a crazed physicist, a driven attorney, a dyslexic librarian, a superhero wannbe, an anorexic chef. Okay maybe not that last one.

Don't worry about names. This is the one-liner you give when someone says, "What's your book about?"

One of mine is: "Her dream job has a Catch 22 and time is running out." Twelve words. The story is about a lobbyist who has to lobby for an issue that will stop her from reaching her story goal. Can you say conflict?

Here's a few from published novels:

Is there really a fountain of youth in Paradise? Blame it on the Mistletoe, Joyce Magnin

Past promises will be tested as new ones are given..., A Texan's Promise, Shelly Gray

How can she love a man she's never seen face-to-face? Playing by Heart, Deborah Raney

There's a fine line between ambitious and crazy. Swinging on a Star, Janice Thompson

Behind every broken heart lies a broken promise. Dry as Rain, Gina Holmes

Savannah expected to receive a new heart...but she didn't expect to lose her faith. The Heart of Memory, Alison Strobel

Oh, the one I struggled with? Well, I laid out the main conflict points and it sprang from there. Only mine took twelve people and twenty-four hours. But I'm happy with it. You sure you want to see it? Okay ...

An invasion of tourists, a scalawag mayor, and her son's mail order bride propel Claire onto a merry-go-round of trouble.

Thank goodness hyphenated words count as one.

Ane Mulligan writes Southern-fried fiction served with a tall, sweet iced tea. While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, she's worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that's a fancy name for a lobbyist), business manager, drama director and writer. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She's a humor columnist for ACFW's e-zine Afictionado and a syndicated blogger on V.P. and Senior Editor of the award-winning website, Novel Rocket, she's published dozens of plays and numerous articles and won several awards in contests for unpublished novels, including a three-time Genesis finalist. A past Board member of ACFW, she's mom, a grandmom, and resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband and one very large dog.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fun Fridays

Steve Laube has blessed me by featuring a fun video I made for my writer friends.

Fun Fridays

Lisa Buffaloe, one of Tamela’s clients, had some fun recreating what NOT to do during your “Writer’s Conference Appointment.” Below are all six short videos in one two minute montage with a surprise ending.

The scary thing is that I’ve actually seen the real thing of almost every one of these parodies!

To view the video, please link to....Fun Fridays

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Fastest Way To Get a Book Contract -- Guaranteed -- By Michael Hyatt


Trust me: neither publishers nor agents want to see your book manuscript. Instead, they want to see a carefully-crafted book proposal that follows a specific format. In these two eBooks (available separately or together), I share what I have discovered in more than 25 years in the publishing industry. I show you what it takes to secure a book publishing contract, whether you are writing a non-fiction book or a novel.
Two 3D eBook Covers
Please link to....

He Said. She Said. By Tamela Hancock Murray

He Said. She Said.

by Tamela Hancock Murray
A blog reader recently left an excellent comment on an earlier post:
Tamela, fiction workshop presenters taught me that the best word for “said” is “said”–that others only tend to slow down the reader’s eye. I’d appreciate a discussion on this.
While I don’t know the workshop presenters in question, what I can guess they meant is to avoid substituting creative verbs for “said” as a tag. For example:
To read the rest, please link to.... He Said. She Said

Novel Rocket: Ever Built A Platform?

Ever Built A Platform?

As a writer, you need to build a platform to support your career over the long run. That’s why it’s important to build it right.

Don’t jump! 

Many eager writers hear about the need to build a platform and, being intrepid folk, leap right into social media with little thought. But that’s the wrong approach, according to T. Suzanne Eller, a Christian Writers Guild mentor, who wrote about conquering social media recently in the Guild’s member newsletter, WordSmith.

Build it and they will come. Right?

Maybe that worked for Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, but it doesn’t work for social media. Before you start a Facebook fan or group page, start tweeting, or blogging, you need a blueprint. To create an effective social media platform that will draw your niche audience to your message, you need to answer:

To read the rest....

Novel Rocket: Ever Built A Platform?:

Novel Matters: Quieting Opposing Voices

Novel Matters: Quieting Opposing Voices:

Great vlog by Patti Hill discussing Anne Lamott's book, Bird by Bird and Quieting Opposing Voices.

To listen...