Monthly Archives: April 2012

Best Writing Links from around the Web! 4/27

Enjoy these writing links and get inspired to get down to business!



– Laura


1.       Five Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Writing Sessions – The Write Session

Tips from Tina Blain, an expert in helping authors finish their projects on how to get the most fromtheir writing sessions.

2.        How to Write A Novel Without Selling Your Soul – The Creative Penn

Are you a pantser or a planner? You don’t have to sell your soul either way.

3.       Character Trait Entry: Persistent – The Bookshelf Muse

Learn what a persistent character is and how to create a successful one.

4.       Ask An Editor: Theresa Stevens’ Line Editing Series – Romance University

A wonderful series of articles on content and line editing. Watch a professional editor dissect real work.

5.       How To Build Strong Foundations Underneath Your Dreams – Courage 2 Create

Speaking the truth about your dreams is the best way to cure a writer’s block.

6.       Lighting Up Your Storytelling With Flashbulb Memories – The Artist’s Road

Use a “flashbulb memories” to write your next short story or even novel.

7.       How to Create Distinctive Character Voices – Wordplay

Are all your characters speaking like you? For great characterization you have to make sure each one has his or her own unique personality easily distinguishable from the others.

8.       15 Ways to Write Tight – Write to Done

The one thing Ernest Hemingway, Chris Brigan and other great writers have in common is that they all write tight. You can too if you follow these points.

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Book trailers… what’s your take? Plus, some ideas to make a good one!

*Note, this is a modified post that originally appeared on my company website, 30 Day Books. 30 Day Books is the publisher of Kathy Lynn Harris’s Blue Straggler and offers book marketing and self publishing advice and help for independent and traditionally published authors.*


Book trailers have become a popular way of marketing books over the last couple of years. Much like movie trailers, they aim to introduce the book to potential readers and capture their attention in a novel way (pun intended ;P) 

Much like marmite (UK), or vegemite (Oz), or [insert controversial food item here if you are from North America and have not had the fortune of encountering aforementioned yeast extract spread], people either love or hate this medium of book marketing.

Perhaps because when done well, they’re really good. And when done badly, well their… awful.


Our aim with the book trailer for Blue Straggler was that viewers of the book trailer would say YES to the following questions after watching the trailer:


– Did it grab your attention?

– Do you want to share it with someone?

– Do you want to watch it again?

– Most importantly, are you going to check out the book now?!


 We hope we pulled it off! Here it is…




Here’s a recap of the key elements we tried to keep in mind when putting it together. You might want to think about some of these points when making your effective book trailer.


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Sarah Pekkanen’s 7 Quick Fire Questions, 3 Expert Tips

SarahPekkanenThis weeks 7 Quick Fire Questions & 3 Tips (a weekly feature) is with Sarah Pekkanen, author of These Girls. Find out about this fantastic new release at the bottom of the interview!

Sarah’s dream dinner date is Ryan Gosling, what d’ya say about that?

– Laura


7 Quick Fire Questions


1. Dream dinner date  Ryan Gosling. No, a shirtless Ryan Gosling. So we couldn’t go to one of those “No shoes, no shirt, no service” places.

2. Writing routine In the car, on the couch, in the waiting room for the orthodontist, at morning, at night…. you get the idea.

3. Extrovert or Introvert Both. I crave solitude at times, but I also love being around people.



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Looking for a Critique Partner Listings, April 24th 2012


Looking for Critique Partner listings are UP! If I’ve missed you, you know what to do… add your needs, wants and member name/ URL in a comment below!

Have a fab Tuesday.

– Laura




Christian romance, Short stories

“I have written two novels and am currently writing my third. In between when I need a break I write short stories. While they are Christian based, they are catagorized that way because there is no swearing, sex out of marriage, etc. They are what friends consider warm lightheared romances that usually take place in a rural setting.

I’ve spent the last two years to see if I can write and if this is something I want to pursue. Friends and family have read my stories, and while I love them all I don’t trust them a bit! HA! So I am looking for some honest feedback. I really want to know what people think and am totally prepared for the negative while I am hopeful for the positive.

If interested please let me know and good luck to you!”


Short stories

“Hi there everybody, 

I have a shorty short that I need looked at, so if someone would be so kind as to offer their opinion, I’d appreciate it. If you need something looked at I will gladly return the favor.”



Romance/ Sci-fi/ Chick Lit

“Hi, I only just joined and am looking for a crit partner. I have experience with critiquing. I’ve critiqued for several published authors. Though the most recent has been academic – same concept though. Unless they’re mine I’m pretty good at finding typos and other errors. I’m very honest but not mean about critiquing. Erika”

@elferguson (more…)

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Writing Links from around the web, 4/16-4/20

Best Writing Links

There have been some GREAT articles on writing this week. If you are a newbie looking to get published, be sure to read number 6 from Jane Friedman. I’ll be reading the rest on my flight back to Seattle – 12 hours on a plane and I’ll need some good reading material!

Cheerio England, it’s been great. Have a fab weekend, all! – Laura

1.       Best Way to Kick-Start Creativity? Just Write. – Galley Cat

Yeah, that’s right. Stop worrying about writing the best sentence anyone has ever written. Writing is all about revision, proofreading and editing – remember this isn’t your final draft.

2.       How to Start Your Novel – The Write Practice

Don’t try to jump into conflict too soon. Take your time to introduce character and build the plot.

3.       Character Trait Entry: Brave – The Bookshelf Muse

Learn how to write about a “brave” character.

4.       You Can’t Be Published If You Don’t Play – The Artist’s Road

Have a play on words; create a terrible character; have a flawed plot; and only then will you be able to come up with a book publishers can’t wait to get their hands on.

5.       Is Your Character Talking the Talk Instead of Walking the Walk? – Word Play

Are your characters actually doing things or just sitting there talking about doing them?

6.       Writing & Publishing Terminology 101 – Jane Friedman

A glossary of terms every writer serious about getting published needs to know.

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Actively Unblock Writer’s Block with these Time Tested Techniques!

Kathleen O'MaraToday’s guest post is courtesy of Kathleen O’Mara, author of Inspiration: Write Every Day.

Find out more about the book at her website, http://www.kathleenomara.com!

In this great post, Kathleen is addressing the awful topic of Writer’s Block…


(also known as “My characters aren’t talking to me”.)


We’d love to hear your thoughts on writer’s block and how you deal with it in the comments!


Recent debate in writing circles has focused on the concept of writer’s block. The comments provoke great emotion on both sides of the argument. 

Some say there is no such thing as writer’s block; it’s only a lazy writer who will use a block as an excuse. Those who experience writer’s block describe periods of complete despair over the inability to produce written work.  Experience and reason fall somewhere between the extremes. 


Image courtesy of authorlorilotto.wordpress.com (more…)

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Interview with Terri Giuliano Long – Author of the bestselling novel In Leah’s Wake
. Balancing being a Mom, an Author & having a fulltime job!

**WARNING!! This is a GREAT interview, don’t miss it!!!**

If you haven’t heard of Terri Giuliano Long (left) and her book, In Leah’s Wake in the last year or so, you might have been living in a cave, in the Sahara or on a desert island (in which case you need to call me and we need to be friends. A desert island sounds wonderful right about now….!).

*Dreaming of island with book and drink in hand…

Snaps back to reality.*

Terri self-published her YA In Leah’s Wake in April, 2011 and by August, it ranked sixth on the Barnes & Noble Nook Top 100 list and to-date has sold nearly 100,000 copies. Without a big publisher backing her, that’s a pretty big deal!

Terri is all the proof you need that a well written, well edited and well-positioned self-published book can survive AND thrive under the new rules of publishing, persistence and a lot of hard work. In Leah’s Wake isn’t a fluke success story – Terri has consistently and tirelessly marketed the book in interesting and wonderful ways, and it has been fascinating watching her pop up everywhere I turn! Oh that, and it’s a wonderful book on all accounts 😉 

Find out more about how she did it, as well as how she balances being a Mom, author and working a fulltime job in this wonderful interview.


1. Childhood dream?

When I was four or five, I dreamed of being an actress. I spent hours alone in my room, making up stories and plays. More often than not, my stories took place in a castle in some magical, faraway land; always I could fly. I flew to all sorts of exotic places! My dream, as I now see it, was to have a voice, a means of expressing myself and connecting with others. Today, those same reasons drive me to write—to be a part of the community, sharing thoughts, feelings, beliefs, connecting through open dialogue with others. I still fly, only now I travel in planes. In very real ways, my childhood dreams have become my reality. 

2. Your biggest weakness?

I’m persistent. Persistence, combined with a healthy dose of perfectionism, drives me to go over and over my work—to tinker. I expect a lot from myself. I work hard and always put forth my best effort. That I care is good, I think, but at some point you have to let go. My father always says, what makes you good makes you bad. Our best qualities, the qualities that drive us to succeed, can also get us in trouble. You have to know where to focus your energy and when it’s time to move on; otherwise, it’s hard to accomplish your goals. This is something I continue to work on. Maybe one day I’ll get it right. (more…)

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Writing Links, best of the web 4/2-4/6

Best Writing Links

I’m in England! As we speak my father is feeding my husband smelly blue English cheeses.. I feel I must rescue him. Here are some great links from around the web this week. I hope you have a wonderful weekend – it’s nice to be home!

Writing Lessons from the Newsroom – Jeff Goins Writer

5 lessons in writing from a newsroom journalist.

3 Reasons to Write Stream of Consciousness Narrative – The Write Practice

Faulkner may have been your least favorite guy in school but stream of consciousness exercises really helps get into the head of your character.

Writers Should Struggle Against Style – Jane Friedman

Don’t be a slave to your style. Find a way to look at the world in a different way to bring more creativity to your writing.

6 Ways Bloggers Can Avoid a Visit from the Grammar Police – The Creative Penn

Blogs are not meant to be perfect pieces of writing. They are a way for a writer to get what’s on their mind out of the way – a place to unwind and relax. Occasional typos and grammatical mistakes will happen. But too many and the Grammar police will get on your case. (more…)

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7 Quick Fire Questions and 3 Tips with Melinda Morgan, author of Étude (YA) GIVEAWAY ALERT!!

Today’s Quick Fire Questions & 3 Tips are with Melinda Morgan, YA author of Étude! Étude is written for an older YA audience, has nothing to do with vampires, but builds upon the foundation of horror fantasy addressed by Ms. Meyers in her successful Twilight series. Sound like your thing? Leave a comment by this Friday 6th April and be in with a chance to win a copy of the book!

 7 Quick Fire Questions

1. Dream job/career when you were a child? 

Interestingly enough, I actually had imaginary careers in each room of my house growing up (fortunately it was a small house).  In one room I was an actress.  In other rooms I was a teacher, businesswoman, doctor, and civil engineer.  For a while, teacher and actress were tied for 1st place, but in the end, teacher won (best of both worlds – sometimes you have to be a great actor in order to be a great teacher!)

 2. Favorite TV show?

 If it’s a British mystery, I’m all in!  But this year my favorite TV show was “Downton Abbey.”  The only thing better than a British mystery is an old fashioned British romance.

 Modern Family comes in 2nd.  It’s a well-known fact that belly laughing is good exercise for the mind and the body.  I consider watching Modern Family equal to 20 minutes of exercise.


3. Favorite dish/cuisine?

 Well, that depends on what day of the week it is.  Tuesday was made for Rosa’s tacos.  Friday–Panda Express.  Saturday–barbecue.  Sunday–fried chicken.  The remaining three days?  Salads, fruits and vegetables (to make up for all the calories consumed on the other days)   

4. Beach or mountains?

 Is that a trick question?  Depends on the beach and on the mountains.  It also depends on the time of year.  Ah, here you go, how about mountains that overlook the ocean?  Perfect!  


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