Saturday, July 31, 2010

Small Town Settings

The World of Book Reviews

Happy Saturday, everyone!

This morning I’m over at mystery reader Babs Hightower’s blog, writing a little about pros and cons to writing small town settings…that are based on real towns.   Hope you’ll come by for a visit. :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Creating a First Draft and Revising

Lois Winston

Yes, I’m on the road again!  :)  But looking at my schedule, after tomorrow I think I’m going to be back at my home base for a while.

Today I’m at fellow Midnight Ink writer Lois Winston’s blog, Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers, to talk a little about drafting and revising.  Hope you’ll pop over and visit!

Thursday, July 29, 2010


2010-07-27 17.01.57

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I was in Atlanta, Georgia, with my daughter and friends at the American Girl doll store.

If you’re not familiar with the American Girl line…you must not be an American resident with an almost-9 year old girl. :)

Each doll represents a different time period in American history. The dolls have their own book series, movies, accessories, outfits, and furniture that you can (if you have lots and lots of money) opt to purchase.

My daughter is only slightly interested in hearing about writing conferences and signing that I go to (she’s even gone to a couple and ended up buying up half the bookstore while I was at the signing table), but she was fascinated when she heard I was on a panel with an American Girl author at Malice Domestic.

There aren’t that many doll stores for American Girl. Usually you order everything online. So this was a special trip. The store also has a beauty parlor for the dolls where you can choose a hairstyle and the stylist does the hair right there in front of you (the dolly is in a2010-07-27 16.21.58 salon chair.)

There’s a restaurant at the store, so we booked dinner there. You have it with your dolls (they sit in booster seats…see pic at top of post.)

Then the hotel we stayed at offered a tea party for the dolls. So the girls took the dolls down to the hotel lobby for cookies and milk (and empty tea cups for the dolls.)

My daughter and her friend were in heaven.

And the whole time the other mom and I were looking at each other and saying, “These folks are marketing geniuses.”

The hook? This is all designed with an older girl in mind—the dolls are specifically marketed to the 9-12 year old range. This was a completely untapped market when the company was founded in 1984. Parents like them because each doll has a story that ties into a historical time period.

Hooks drive writers a little crazy. We’d like to write things without even thinking about hooks because hooks are frequently thrown back at writers by agents and editors as a reason for a rejection—and they represent the commercial side of the business. We’d rather not think about the commercial side when we’re being creative.

I think you can pin down your hook either before you write your book, or after you write the book. Afterwards is harder, but at least you haven’t messed up your creative mojo.

But, if you’re querying, you’re going to need to have a selling point, or hook. Here are some questions to ask yourself when you try to determine what your hook is:

Who is our intended reader? Why will they read our book instead of other books in the genre? And, two questions that are opposites: What sets our book apart? What traits does it share with other successful books in its genre?

How do you find your book’s hook when it’s time to write your query letter?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Marketing Strategies for Writers

do you write

It’s a whole new world for writers—the world of marketing. It’s usually not an area that comes naturally to us, either…we’re creative people, not salesmen. Crime writer Martin Edwards asked if I could give an overview of different marketing strategies for writers. Hope you’ll pop over to “Do You Write Under Your Own Name?” and take a look.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Conveying a Sense of Place to Our Readers

Confessions of a Mystery Novelist

How can we convey a sense of place to our readers—help them feel like they’re actually visiting the region we’re writing about--without overdoing it?

Hope you’ll join me on Margot Kinberg’s blog, Confessions of a Mystery Novelist, where I share some tips for writing your region.

Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea

Lizzy Ansingh--Tea Party--1952

People sometimes think of writers as being sensitive types.

I have to snort when I hear that. Writers can’t be sensitive types. Oh, I think that we’re naturally pretty emotional people.

But to make it in the publishing world and not completely have a breakdown, we have to develop a really, really tough skin. And lose a lot of the sensitivity.

Criticism starts early in the process: from us. We’re sometimes our own worst enemies—comparing our writing negatively to others or telling ourselves that we don’t know what we’re doing.

Then comes our first readers or critique groups. This is where we first hear that the manuscript we’ve slaved over has some problems.

Then come agents or editors or both—either we’re getting rejections from them or we’re getting editorial change requests (something wasn’t right.)

Then comes reviewers—both print and online. And readers.

All the criticism or rejection can feel pretty overwhelming, if we let it.

What I try to tell myself is that everyone is entitled to their opinion. There are plenty of great books out there that I’ve heard friends rave about that I actually didn’t enjoy—and it wasn’t the book, it was me. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood to read something serious/silly/thoughtful. Or maybe the narrative voice just didn’t resonate with me.

This past week, an article from The Morning News got a lot of buzz. The article listed some of Time Magazine’s picks for the 100 best novels from 1923 to the present day—and gave their 1-star Amazon reviews.

Here are a couple of excerpts to show that if you’re getting reader criticism (from crit groups, agents, editors, or readers), you’re not alone:

The Grapes of Wrath (1939) Author: John Steinbeck “While the story did have a great moral to go along with it, it was about dirt! Dirt and migrating. Dirt and migrating and more dirt.”

The Lord of the Rings (1954) Author: J.R.R. Tolkien “The book is not readable because of the overuse of adverbs.”

Mrs. Dalloway (1925) Author: Virginia Woolf “The only good thing to say about this “literary” drivel is that the person responsible, Virginia Woolf, has been dead for quite some time now. Let us pray to God she stays that way.”

The Sun Also Rises (1926) Author: Ernest Hemingway “Here’s the first half of the book: ‘We had dinner and a few drinks. We went to a cafe and talked and had some drinks. We ate dinner and had a few drinks. Dinner. Drinks. More dinner. More drinks. We took a cab here (or there) in Paris and had some drinks, and maybe we danced and flirted and talked s*** about somebody. More dinner. More drinks. I love you, I hate you, maybe you should come up to my room, no you can’t’… I flipped through the second half of the book a day or two later and saw the words ‘dinner’ and ‘drinks’ on nearly every page and figured it wasn’t worth the risk.”

How do you handle criticism? Any tips to share?

Hope you'll join me later today/tomorrow when I guest post on Margot Kinberg's great blog, Confessions of a Mystery Novelist.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Social Media—What’s the Point?

Hey There's a Dead Guy in the Living Room

Hi everyone! Hope you’ll pop by and join me today at Hey, There’s a Dead Guy in the Living Room where I talk a little about social media—how different forms of social media differ from each other and how we can keep track of and limit the amount of time we spend online.

And today at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, my funny mystery writing friend Deb Sharp (who guest posted here a couple of weeks ago) is sharing her recipe for Mama's Nuptial Nectar Punch—and a really interesting picture of herself in a wedding veil. :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Terry3 Here are writing links that I’ve posted to Twitter for the past week.  If you’re looking for a particular topic, just plug in your keyword into the search box at the top left-hand corner of the blog (on the black header right above my blog name…next to the Blogger symbol…the small search window is next to the magnifying glass) and the roundup with your subject will come up. To narrow your search down on the page, do a CTRL+F, type your subject, and hit enter.

I’m running Twitterific a day early this week because I’ll have a guest post on Hey, There’s a Dead Guy in the Living Room tomorrow. :)

The basic short pitch format:

The Process of Working with an Editor:

Some Writing Wisdom:

How To Give Your Blog Visitors More:

Myst. Lov. Kitchen: His and Hers No-Fuss Summer Pies @kristadavis

24 Surefire Ways to Get Your Mojo Working:

In Praise of Reading Slush:

The 5 Most Annoying Questions Freelance Writers Get Asked:

Setting as a part of world building:

What to Do If Your Blog Is Dropped from Google Search:

Everything I Need to Know About Writing I Learned From My Six Year Old:

How to think more creatively and come up with better ideas:

On revise and resubmit requests:

Middle East Graphic Novelists Push Boundaries, Challenge Taboos, and Pay a Price:

Robot is the new vampire:

The 5 stages of querying--denial:

Tips for getting headshots taken:

Uncovering Some Crime Fiction Truths: @mkinberg

How to take control of your Facebook and Twitter followers: @bubblecow

WriteOnCon - Free, Online, Lots of Industry Names:

Building a writer portfolio:

Are your characters in a rut? Try throwing an "opposite day" for them:

Novel approach: reading courses as an alternative to prison (Guardian):

Top 10 Worst Self-Publishing Mistakes—Explained!

Tips on promoting your book on Facebook with a fan page:

Time flies...or a series:

Myst. Lov. Kitchen: Cleo Coyle's Copycat Frapp and Latte Cup Giveaway! @kristadavis

Getting the most out of your time and money at a writing conference:

The imposing "write tight" rule:

On writing fantasy: a timeless style:

Seven Writing Sins: Greed: @catwoods

The Anatomy of a SHORT Synopsis – Pt 1: @chrstinef

20 Strategies to Defeat the Urge to Do Useless Tasks (and maybe fit more writing in):

The Writer’s Obsession: @RebHargreaves

Who deserves the titles of author and writer?

yWriter outlining software (video):

Not everyone breaks into publishing the traditional way. ElizabethSCraig's publication journey:

How to be the Life of the Social Media Party:

Carpal tunnel and writers:

10 Kindle Cases You Can Build For Free:

A simple tip to help you build your online community: @AlexisGrant

The top 10 memento mori (Guardian):

Writing about coincidences:

4 Great Reasons Why You Need an Editor:

Should unpublished writers blog?

How To: Write To Be Read:

The Foolproof Cure for Weak Content: 4 Ways to Get Some Perspective:

Myst. Lov. Kitchen: Potato Salad @kristadavis

8 Essential Ways to Spread Word-of-Mouth through Social Media:

Self-Publishing, Self-Promotion, and the Dunning-Kruger Effect:

A Geek’s Guide to Design-Oriented Writing: @stevenkgriffin

The Care and Feeding of Metaphors:

Do you know the real reason not to use passive voice? @p2p_editor

Freelancers--tips for writing quickly under deadline:

New Tools: Read Twitter Like a Newspaper (Writer's Digest):

Pitching: What they want to hear:

How to Back Up Your Blog and Save Content:

73 Ways To Become A Better Writer (Huff Post): @HuffingtonPost

Tips on infodumps:

How to get the most out of the SiWC conference:

5 Things No One Tells You about the Writing Life:

Interlocking dialogue:

7 Tips for Writing Interesting Newspaper Articles:

Five Essential Books for The Critic (Paris Review Daily):

Can we be just as passionate and write for the market? @alanorloff

An Agent Answers the Tough Questions about Agents and Authors:

15 tips for book cover design:

Breaking into print--yes, Virginia, there is a magic bullet:

8 New URL Shorteners for Quickly Sharing Links:

What an outline really is:

Myst. Lov. Kitchen: Pasta salad @kristadavis

How to Boost your Income and Popularity by Giving Stuff Away:

No sex, please, we're mystery writers:

Don't Marry Your Writing:

Sex in a Series:

How do I check out electronic books from the library?

Secret Emotional Triggers for Your Writing (Capitol City Writers Recap--Writer's Digest):

When you're paying too much attention to the *craft* part of writing:

"Ten Things I Don’t Want to Read About" :

Olympic Blogging: Running your race:

How to intertwine a plot and a character arc: @p2p_editor

Reversing the effects of Adventureland syndrome:

Time Mag's list of the 100 best novels--and their 1-star reviews on Amazon:

Why your character's motive matters: @KMWeiland

Has Your Writing Routine Become A Writing Rut?

Misplaced modifiers:

What to do when our writing routine gets disrupted: @JodyHedlund

Looking for ways to fit your writing into your day and family life? Some ideas:

If You Love Scrivener So Much, Why Don't You Marry It? @lizczukas

5 things your hero/heroine need to capture a reader’s emotions:

8 Things no one told me about being a writer:

Word of Mouth Beginnings: Your Proposal and Your Agent:

Marketing Your Book is In Your Hands –

Career Killers: Playing Around the Edges:

A Filter for Your Writing Well:

Top 10 Secrets of a Super Blogger:

Don't Write a Novel, Write a Story:

Resources for writers:

Query Problems: The letter itself:

7 deadly writing sins--pride:

World-Building From The Inside Out:

Twitter Does Not Sell Books. This 5-Point Plan Does (Huff Post):

Are you sure you want to reject that interview opportunity?

Elevate awareness to elevate descriptive skills: @ClarissaDraper

E-readers are on the rise thanks to older readers:

7 Social Marketing Strategy Mistakes That Cripple Your Reputation:

6 tips for writing dialogue: @elspethwrites

7 deadly writing sins--envy:

On pitching:

How to Get Things Done When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed:

Myst. Lov. Kitchen: Sneak Peek at Some Hummus @kristadavis

Four Ways E-Books Will Change Your World: (Writer's Digest)

Strengthening Your Character Arc: @HeatherMcCorkle

7 deadly writing sins--gluttony:

Beach Towels and Manuscript Revision:

On-again, off-again relationships in crime fiction: @mkinberg

Homework time--research the unfamiliar: @authorterryo

Drive a stake through your character's heart--but in a good way! @p2p_editor

How To Deal With Quirky Writing Rituals:

When Writing a Novel, Details Do It.: @CPatrickSchulze

Twitter's #dearpublisher hashtag takes off (Guardian):

The 8 Elements of a Nonfiction Book Proposal:

The elements of life changes:

When You're Not So Prepared for a Portable Office:

Writer Jealousy:

Myst. Lov. Kitchen: Cheese to Die For @kristadavis

How to Use Scene Breaks to Cut the Fat (video):

A roundup of tips for self-editing:

How can a busy mom make time for writing? @jodyhedlund

Maximizing a Writers’ Conference Part I. Writing Craft Workshop or Agent Panel? Which should I go to?

Why women find vampires hot: (CNN):

Blogging Part III: A 5-step guide to getting started: @alexisgrant

What's Involved in Pacing?

How do agents and publishers make decisions?

A comic countdown to the SCBWI Conference: @inkyelbows

Treading The Commercial Tightrope – The Writer’s Problem: @BubbleCow

Sometimes It's Okay To Judge A Book by Its Cover (Huff Post):

With Change Comes... Anger?

The Creativity Crisis (Newsweek):

How to Make Replying to Comments Easier & More Enjoyable:

Series separation anxiety:

6 Personality Types Who Will Succeed as Writers: @VictoriaMixon

The Trouble with Dialogue – Part 2: @wawriters

Why you should steal your character's shoes: @p2p_editor

Sometimes it's not about your book:

Get Over Yourself:

Growing up to be a short story writer:

Writing Nowadays–Edit Smackdown:

Minimize Time Maximize Online Presence:

9 Expert Tips For Better Writing:

Friday, July 23, 2010


Elizabeth Craig--Riley Adamsthumbnail I’m choosing “headshot” and sticking with it, since the phrase is turning into a word, apparently. Don’t you love it when language morphs? :)

I’d decided that I’d get an updated headshot every year and keep things fresh. Then maybe I can animate the pictures and we can watch me age over the years. :)

This particular picture appointment was cursed from the very start. Two days before I’d originally planned on having it done, I had a horrible haircut. Then, a week later, I got a really bad sunburn.

Finally the sunburn subsided (leaving lots of freckles in its wake) and I called myself “good enough.” I went to the portrait studio, feeling well-prepared. I’d brought the change of clothes they’d asked for, and a brush and some makeup (for covering up the darned freckles.)

The photographer took some pictures and helped me lose the deer-in-the-headlights look I usually sport in pictures. Then she asked me to change from the dress and put on one of the other outfits I’d brought.

Except…I’d only brought tops. No slacks. No skirt. :) Yes, I do have this little memory problem and the UPS truck had arrived with a package for me while I was trying to pull the outfit together. That’s my excuse, anyway.

standing thumbnail So I had to put the top over the dress, for decency’s sake. And this was totally hilarious because the top wasn’t meant to go over anything. I felt like the Michelin tire man (left). The photographer swore she couldn’t tell (although she had to tuck in bits of my dress from time to time.)

And…it’s not a headshot. So I’m not really sure what to do with it. Things I’m not sure what to do with usually end up on my website, so that’s the likely destination. :)

Tips for headshots--

Make sure you go to a photographer who will release the copyright for the pictures to you. Otherwise, you can’t use them on your website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, or as an author photo. And then, really, what’s the point?

Ask for a “business photo” for clarity’s sake. Sometimes if you ask about headshots, they think you need photos for a modeling portfolio.

Get high resolution photos on a CD, if possible. It’s much easier to load on a computer and the quality is better.

If the photo is for a book, make sure you know the publisher’s guidelines. Some won’t want you resting your head on your hands, or looking off to the side.

Bring a change of clothes to change things up (and have different looks from the same sitting.) Bring a comb or brush, etc.

And, above all, remember to bring pants. :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Every Author’s Path to Publication is Different

Breakthrough Blogs

Hi everybody! Today I’m on action and suspense writer Stephen Tremp’s Breakthrough Blogs, talking a little about my own path to publication. If you're frustrated with your progress finding an agent or editor and think that there's a certain order of events to the publication process--think again! Sometimes we end up getting published by a series of flukes and accidents... and slush piles. :)

I also wanted to mention that we’re throwing an anniversary party at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen this week—it’s a cookout! We’re offering a prize to one lucky commenter every day this week…and a grand prize of a Cuisinart ice cream maker. If it’s as hot where you are as it is where I am then an ice cream maker might come in handy. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Writing to the Market?

a million blogging monkeys

Hi everybody! Today I’m at fellow Midnight Ink author Alan Orloff’s A Million Blogging Monkeys blog with some thoughts about writing to the market. Should we do it? Does it compromise our artistic side? Hope you’ll pop over and join the discussion. :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It’s Tuesday! Where’s Elizabeth?

MLK banner

First up, I’m at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, celebrating our 1-year anniversary with a cookout. Each day we’re cooking a different course—and I’m in charge of the ribs (go figure!) :)

If your tastes run to humor today, I’ve written a post for the Midnight Ink blog—8 Things No One Told Me About Being a Writer. Hope you’ll pop by!

Update...I'm also interviewed by Sharon today. :) It was to run last week, but there was a technical difficulty. It's running now at Fresh Fiction.

Thanks, everybody!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Homework Time: by Terry Odell

nowheretohide_680 Thanks to Terry Odell for guest posting for me today! Terry’s books straddle the mystery and romance genres and you can find out more about them here.

Thanks to Elizabeth for inviting me to usurp her blog today. Although my books are considered romantic suspense, I write them like mysteries, with a little more emphasis on the relationship. If there was such a category, I'd call them mystery-romances. To be honest, I thought I was writing a mystery when I wrote my first book, "Finding Sarah."

Everyone says, "Write what you know." Well, obviously it helps to know something about your subject, but research is vital. I toyed with writing a historical romance once—I'd read a few time-travel romances that I'd enjoyed. But I realized I hated history class, and had no knowledge whatsoever of history, so I abandoned that idea…fast.

But with proper research, you can write about the unfamiliar—it's a matter of knowing what you don't know, and learning what you need to fit your manuscript.

My latest release, "Nowhere to Hide" has its roots "Finding Sarah." I thought it would be easier to write about Orlando, where I was living at the time. I'd been pestering my sister in law in Oregon to make sure I got the setting details right. Rather than keep bugging her, I decided Colleen would move to Orlando, where I was more comfortable with the locale. After all, she was going to live in my neighborhood, so if I wanted to know what something looked like, all I had to do was open my front door.

Some things were easier—I knew what plants grew, I knew what the climate felt like, I knew that from my house you can hear the roller coasters at Universal Studios, and I could scope out various locations on my own.

Others things were harder. Why? Because I'd decided that Colleen was going to meet up with an Orlando deputy sheriff. Why? Because 'only trouble is interesting' and to give Colleen a reason to move across country, I'd decided she'd had a bad experience on the job as a cop in Oregon. So, who's the last person she'd want to have to deal with? Another cop.

But all of a sudden I couldn't get away with making too much stuff up. After all, there was a chance, remote though it might be, that a real member of the Orange County Sheriff's Office might read the book. I didn't want them laughing at me.

First, the procedure details had to be right. Back in the small Oregon town I'd made up, I had a small police force, and everyone did everything. But in the large Orange County system, there's a much bigger division of labor. I had to figure out how I could get my hero to show up where I needed him, and do what I needed him to do without breaking the rules. One thing I learned is that just about everything the cops do is based on making sure it will stand up in court. I couldn't have my hero be a lousy cop.

I enrolled in the Civilian Police Academy and developed some contacts. One, a former SWAT commander taught fitness classes at the Y where I worked out (and you'll see scenes set there in the book), and he was kind enough to offer advice and give me a tour of the building. Another contact was a homicide detective, who was always willing to answer my questions—and some of them are so basic, you hate to bother someone, but if my hero was going to work in the building, I needed to know things like, "Are there vending machines?" and "How would he get a fax," not to mention, "What color are the walls and carpets?"

Of course, there's always a lag between writing and publication, and for this book, it was several years, and a new publisher. I'd set a rather pivotal scene in a local Thai restaurant (didn't mind doing the research for that one, and neither did my husband). Readers who go in search of it will find the shopping center where it used to be, but alas, it closed its doors. Since then, two other restaurants have tried to make a go of it there, but there must be trouble with that location. I hope it wasn't me.

And, I decided that my future books were going to be set in made-up locations, with made up organizations. Preferably close to home, and based on the way things really work, but it's much easier to create your own procedures when you need something to work for the plot. Because in real life, there are rules.

Terry Odell recently moved from Orlando to the mountains of Colorado where she's got brand new settings to explore. Writing to the sounds of wildlife instead of roller coasters has proved inspiring. You can visit her at her website. She also loves people to drop by her blog, Terry's Place.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Terry3 Here are writing links that I’ve posted to Twitter for the past week. If you’re looking for a particular topic, just plug in your keyword into the search box at the top left-hand corner of the blog (on the black header right above my blog name…next to the Blogger symbol…the small search window is next to the magnifying glass) and the roundup with your subject will come up. To narrow your search down on the page, do a CTRL+F, type your subject, and hit enter.

How to Protect Your Intellectual Property Online:

Book Are Not Babies: Should You Post Bad Reviews? @RoniGriffin

Permission Not to Write:

How to read a publishing contract (16):

Which of ElizabethSCraig's tweets have been most retweeted since June 1?

Christian Fantasy: More than Tolkien and Lewis:

Better blog design:

What We Can Learn From Literary One-Hit Wonders:

Before you submit:

In Praise of Harsh Words:

Getting Book Reviews:

Writers on Writing: X#$!%^&!!

When Inspiration Goes Bad:

How do you know when a story is finished?

6 reasons a premise sentence strengthens your story:

To Prologue or Not to Prologue?

Understanding screenwriting:

How to Beat Writer’s Block By A. Blocked Writer:

Myst. Lov. Kitchen: It's Hot! Cool Off With A Granita @kristadavis

When Publishers Do Bad Things:

Declutter Your Desktop In 6 Steps:

Silencing Your Inner Editor:

How to shoot yourself in the foot:

Where will bookstores be five years from now?

On the Ancient and Secret Art of Formatting:

Does your manuscript have a problem that you're ignoring?

Getting personal--the basics of essay writing:

More on working with an agent:

Tips For Editing Your Own Novel: @BubbleCow

Cross Training for Writers:

Yet More Ways to Blow a Title:

The author background check: Cautionary notes:

Best Articles This Week for Writers 7/16/10 (nice roundup): @4kidlit

Breaking the Rules: Using Present Tense in Fiction: @Christi_Craig

What teenagers don't want from your books...Writing, Publishing, and the Teenager Pt. 2:

"Why the hell won't they review my book?!!!"

Do you know an inner character arc from an outer one? @p2p_editor

Can male writers create believable female characters?

How to Get an ISBN for Your Ebook:

A Primer in Pitching From Agent Scott Eagan:

An agent explains the stuff you pay for as an author:

How to Massively Improve Reader Participation on Your Blog:

10 Steps To Turning Your Blog Into A Bestseller:

Keys to writing a successful personal growth book:

Myst. Lov. Kitchen: Cleo Coyle's Cool & Creamy Peppercorn & Pecorino Dressing @kristadavis

Should You Warn Readers When You’re Taking a Vacation from Blogging?

18 things I've learned about book marketing from being in the trenches: @HartJohnson

Track Changes Have I Loved: @lizczukas

Tone-Deaf Writing:

The Lasting Appeal of Urban Fantasy:

25 novels you can read on the beach without embarrassing yourself (Huff Post):

When to use a flashback:

Are you your own dream zapper? @TMFproject

Publicity Tips for Authors: Have an Interesting Back-Story! @GalleyCat

They're just not that into me--the art of rejection:

Bait and switch tactics for writers:

An Agency Intern on Prologue Woes:

Real life vs imaginary characters:

2 Concrete Ways to Keep Your Writing Career Moving Forward (Writer's Digest):

Roll Up for the Writing Roller Coaster!

Myst. Lov. Kitchen: Mexican Cornbread Casserole @kristadavis

Career Killers: Sloppiness:

Nine Tips for Helping Your Publicist Do a Great Job:

Guidelines for a Writer’s Critique Group: @SylviaDSmith

Everything I know about writing I learned from watching Zombieland: @WritingAgain

Tapping Your Muse: How to Find Ideas for Writing:

Are you an outliner or a pantster? The case for and against both approaches: @PauloCamposInk

The world's changed, move on: @annerooney

5 Must Have Online Writing Tools for Freelancers:

Using setting and description creatively:

A writer's tool for organizing--One Note:

The Art of Query Wars: @Christina_Lee04

"Delicious and Suspicious" hit #29 on Bookscan's mystery list & 15 on B&N's, making it a nat'l bestseller.Thanks so much to my readers! :)

Are You Using Your Avatar Correctly to Promote Your Business?

What teenagers want from your books:

The birth of a character:

How to Master Setting in Novels:

For writers who have clutter: 7 Ways To Stay Grounded by Staying Organized--

Blog Update & 15 Aspects That Might Need Your Attention:

All or nothing thinking--is it killing your writing goals?

Who are we writing for?

Move Over Gutenberg: Will E-Books Spell the End of Paper And Ink? (Huff Post):

How To Live A Better Story: @simplemom

In The Harry Potter Era, An American Fantasy (Huff Post):

Myst. Lov. Kitchen: Don't Mess with Texas @kristadavis

What SF/F Stories should become Lego Construction Sets?

Fresh details surface about fourth book in Stieg Larsson's Millennium series (Guardian):

You can't kill the undead--why paranormal romance isn't going anywhere:

Rules for writers? How about--whatever works? @AuthorGuy

Twitter For Blackberry Embraces…Facebook?!

Time for SF and Fantasy to split?

What happens after you’ve typed THE END … : @wordrunner

In world-building, the devil's in the details: @WritingAgain

Success: What Price Does Your Character Pay?

Narrative lessons from improv: @hartjohnson

We still need libraries in the digital age (Guardian):

Creative by not cliched: @JodyHedlund

How to Create an Engaging and Effective Bio Page:

Writing from the inside-out: @CassandraFrear

Buying a book is an investment in your writing career (Huff Post):

10 rules for writers (LA Times):

Blogging for Writing Discipline:

The Trouble with Dialogue – Part 1:

"I Write Like" Program Compares Your Writing to Famous Authors: @GalleyCat

Revising Tensely:

What do you do when you feel like your platform has stopped growing?

11 Important Elements in a Novel or Memoir:

5 Mistakes New Freelancers Make – Tips for Successful Writing:

How to be a wacky, eccentric writer:

Want More Blog Readers? Try Expanding Your Internet Universe:

Can You Submit the Same Piece to Different Contests? (Writer's Digest):

In Defense of Informal Language: @litdrift

8 tips for dealing with an AWOL muse: @authorterryo

First draft 15: How to deal...or not:

For Writer Insecurity: Strategies to Help Build Your Self Esteem:

How to submit a revised draft to an agent:

5 Easy but Great Post Ideas You Can Write Today:

Myst. Lov. Kitchen: Let's all Veg Out Part 2 @kristadavis

Living on a Writer’s Salary – 5 Money Tips for Writers:

Making Your Character Their Own Person: @HeatherMcCorkle

The Top 50 PC Applications for Freelancers:

3 ways relationships can reveal your characters: @p2p_editor

An Agent Answers: Is There Still Room in Urban Fantasy?

Working Class Heroes:

The name game:

Whatever Works:

Romance readers--do you hide what you're reading?

One Space Rule:

Keeping It More Real (in fantasy):

Keeping track of your story's details with style sheets:

Fictional (Fantasy) Cities:

On Writing Fantasy: The Quest for Originality:

Launching your blog? Tips for getting more readers:

Writing an icon:

Beware of blurbs (Salon):

A Writer’s Top Five Tools and Why They Make the List: @WriteChicBlog

Slap dash endings:

Like oil and water--when characters in crime fiction have to deal with people they don't like: @mkinberg

Writing Short:

For the worn out writer: 21 Easy Ways to Boost and Replenish Your Energy:

The Force that Powers Persuasive Blog Content (And 3 Ways to Intensify It):

Myst. Lov. Kitchen: Caprese on a Stick @kristadavis

The Observer and the Observed: Character Descriptions Revisited:

Twitterific--ElizabethSCraig's tweets from the past week:

3 Ways To Breathe Life Into Your Fiction:

Show, don't tell:

Thinking long term about our writing career:

How to Write When You’re Scared Spitless:

Head hopping:

Balancing "I'm just a hack" with "I am an Artist":

14 Tips For Effective Characterization:

12 Ways to Create a Mailing List that Will Sell Books:

Tips for working on a project with multiple POVs:

"Do I need an agent?" :

Nap Your Novel Into Existence:

Becoming a Lean Mean Sales Machine:

Paris: A Moveable Feast That Haunts (Huff Post) :

Style basics for writers (a checklist for revision):

How to Setup Google Calendar on Your iPhone 4:

Conference etiquette:

Knowing Your Process – The How:

Project! The Art of Voice in Fiction:

RANT on Revenge:

Myst. Lov. Kitchen: Welcome Guest Blogger - Karen E. Olson @kristadavis

You and Your Publisher: New Best Friends? Not!

3 ways to get unstuck:

Learn to savor the moments in writing: @jimchines

Hope you’ll join me tomorrow when Terry Odell blogs about “Homework Time” for writers.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Top Retweets

Twitter1Tomorrow I’m running my Twitterific post, as usual, but I thought I’d run a post that has my top retweets listed.

For non—Twitterers, followers retweet tweets that they find interesting to their followers, who sometimes retweet the link to their followers. Clear as mud, right? :) Basically, the link or the tweet goes viral.

And it’s interesting to me when it happens—some posts are clearly excellent and they get retweeted right away. Some of the links that have a lot of retweets really surprise me.

These are the links that my Twitter followers have found most interesting since June 1:

Writing Proposals - A Great Way To Get A Grasp On A Book:

A Collection of Favorite Tweets For Writers This Week (May 24 to May 30, 2010):

21 Tips for Writers of All Ilks--

10 things (not) to do before you write:

Best Articles This Week for Writers--

10 Lies Agents & Editors Tell You. And Why.

An Author’s Plan for Social Media-- 21 tips:

The thing about literary agents...

An agent on developing the one-sentence summary:

Writer's block? Or is it more of a writer's hesitation?

Top Ten Signs of a Writer--

So, What’s Really Killing Fiction?

For a writer, no time is ever wasted--

5 Elements that Make Fantasy Fiction Feel Real :

Authors Take Note: Yet Another "How Not to Get Published" Story:

Where Do Writers Write? (Huff Post):

The cycle of blogging--how life is different at 10 followers vs. 1000 followers:

Nice collection of self-editing links :

Writing Tutorial: The Synopsis.

Writers and Twitter: Yes, it’s a Good Thing!

Enough with the Eyebrows: Showing Emotion--

Listen up: writing project asks authors to eavesdrop and tell (Guardian):

So, you want to write Science Fiction and/or Fantasy?

Your Online Persona – Writers, Stay Consistent:

25 Ways to Make Social Media Work For You--

An agent explains the stuff you pay for as an author:

How to Massively Improve Reader Participation on Your Blog:

"I Write Like" Program Compares Your Writing to Famous Authors:

How to be a wacky, eccentric writer:

3 ways relationships can reveal your characters:

For the worn out writer: 21 Easy Ways to Boost and Replenish Your Energy:

Beware of Book Publishing Spam:

Busted!—Stephenie Meyer caught doing something right:

"10 Things My Creative Writing MFA Taught Me NOT To Do" (Writer's Digest):

An agent explains what happens when an agency can't sell your book:

How to pick the right point of view for your novel:

Does Twitter Sell Books? Yes, It Does (Huff Post):

5 Reasons Why You Should Respond to Every Comment:

Fun with Oblivious Bad Writers:

What can ‘Family Guy’ teach you about self-publishing?

An editor explains why the 1st page of your ms. is so important:

When Hiring a Publicist (Huff Post):

5 ways to drive your spouse crazy with your writing:

Why smart characters make dumb mistakes:

Dude, you write books? The 3 classic reactions:

20 Warning Signs That Your Blog Content Sucks:

Why I Don't Care About Grammar (and Why You Should Stop Worrying)--Writer's Digest:

Hooking the reader: how Rowling and others pulled it off--

Tips for writing realistic sex scenes:

The 3 main reasons why published authors are struggling right now:

The Secret to Getting Published--

What I learned from the query process--

40 Twitter Hashtags for Writers:

Write what you love, not what the market wants:

If It Hurts, You're Doing Something Right: 3 Ideas About the Pain of Writing--

A day in the life of a writer:

Hope you’ll check back in tomorrow when I run my usual linkfest, Twitterific. :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Paying Attention to a Problem

blog120 I went, reluctantly, to Walmart this morning. It’s possibly my most un-favorite place on Earth, but there are some things I’ve just got to get there.

One of those things is sunflower seeds for the birdfeeders in our back yard. I can get one huge bag there and it’ll last for nearly a season.

Usually I get a 30ish pound bag but today I got greedy and pulled out—with some difficulty—a 50 pound bag. I could barely move it off the shelf! Finally I just shoved it onto the bottom of the shopping buggy and proceeded to checkout.

I noticed there was a sort of dragging sound going on as I pushed the cart. I figured this meant the bag was dragging on the floor, but I chose to ignore that fact—I really wasn’t sure if I could move the bag into a better position and I sure couldn’t put it inside the cart. Maybe at the registers, someone could give me a hand with it.

Finally a man stopped me. “Ma’am. The bag is going to break open and that seed is going to fly all over creation.” I looked over at checkout—just 25 yards away. He repeated sternly, “Ma’am, it’s going to break. And they’re going to make you pay for it and it’s going to be all over the store.”

Oh. Well there was that. He helped me move the bag a little.

I bring this up because this same sort of thing happened last week to me with my manuscript. I’m a fan of just bolting through the first draft and fix the mess later.

But something was wrong. I couldn’t put my finger on it and didn’t really want to analyze the dragging sound coming from the text because I was in a hurry to get the draft done.

Then I stopped myself and thought about the manuscript as a whole—the individual characters and the plot itself (without flipping through the story, which makes me want to do a major edit.)

Finally I figured it out. The murder victim was a problem. Something wasn’t right. And after I shoved some things around in the story for a few minutes, she was much better. For one thing, I realized she wasn’t the right age. She needed to be younger. For another, I realized that there was an angle with her relationship with her daughter that needed to be played up more—the motivation for her actions didn’t ring true and it was trickling through the plot.

Figuring out the problem? Ten minutes. Fixing the age of the character and creating some motivation for a relationship issue? Ten minutes. And now I don’t have to worry about the problem getting worse as I head out to checkout with my manuscript.

Have you done a manuscript check-up lately?

Please come back by Hart Johnson’s Confessions of a Watery Tart for a review of Delicious and Suspicious. Thanks Hart!

I also wanted to give a shout-out to Michele Emrath who so kindly featured my book on her blog, Southern City Mysteries today. Thanks!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

18 Things I’ve Learned About Book Marketing

Confessions of a Watery Tart For most of us, promo is the least favorite part of the writing process, even ranking under revision and agent pitches. For me, there’s really nothing that comes naturally about selling—so I’ve had to work at it. Publishers expect it, and with the competitive nature of the book market today, it’s really a necessity if you want to keep your books on the shelf.

I’ve promoted books from tiny publishers to very large ones. For a list of tips, please pop over to Hart Johnson’s blog, Confessions of a Watery Tart. :) Yes, the tour rolls on!

I'll also have an interview up on Fresh Fiction today, where Sharon Galligar Chance interviewed me for Sharon's Cozy Corner there.

And I had some exciting news from my editor yesterday. Delicious and Suspicious hit #29 on Bookscan’s mystery list, #31 Borders Group (BGI) Mystery list and #15 for the Barnes and Noble Mystery List, making the book a national bestseller. Thanks so much for all the support I’ve gotten here and at the bookstore, y’all!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

On a Writer’s Memory

010 The inspiration of this post comes from the fact that I got up this morning and looked at my calendar, thinking, “Okay. It’s Wednesday.  Where am I blog touring today?”

And today was a day I hadn’t scheduled a tour stop. :)

My calendar is in the picture. It’s a disaster area.  It has to-do lists and the entire agenda for the family—whether it’s the kids’ scouting stuff, dental appointments,  manuscript deadlines, the dog’s heartworm pill reminder—whatever.

I’d like to say that my memory has gotten bad because of all the things I’ve stuffed inside my head to remember and do. But this really wouldn’t be true—I was born with a defective memory. (Thanks, Daddy!) :)

And a couple of you know that when I screw up and forget something, it’s in pretty spectacular fashion.  And you can’t drop hints that I’ve forgotten something—I don’t pick up on tips…I’m really completely oblivious.  No, you need to tell me outright so I can make some kind of reparations.

These are some of my lines of defense to prevent memory-fail on my part:

Calendar.   I have to check it several times a day.  And I have to figure out what day of the week it is—in the summer, it’s hard to tell.

Phone.  This is for really big reminders of extremely important things.  Because the phone scares me to death when calendar alarms go off.

Computer.  I have Google calendar reminders and Outlook reminders.  I pretty much do what my computer tells me to do every day.

To do lists.  Everything goes on these lists—from vacuuming, to phone calls I need to make, to grooming appointments for the dog. The list is updated every day and prioritized.

Other people.  I usually ask blog hosts, etc., to give me a reminder a week out if possible.  It makes me feel more secure that I won’t forget.

Manuscript-related.  I have reminders each morning for where I need to pick up the story from the day before.  This way I won’t reread material I wrote the previous day (and try to edit it instead of moving forward with my writing.)

Series bibles.  I do have cheat-sheets since I have a couple of series I’m working on.  These cheat sheets remind me what secondary characters look like, their backgrounds, etc.

Talking points for interviews.  These keep me from rambling and keep me on task for talking about my book or my writing process.  I do the same thing for any workshops or panels I do.

Children.  They’re good to remember that they haven’t had lunch yet. :)  And that I promised to take them somewhere.

Friends.  I’ve confided in them that I have memory issues and to remind me of things we’re supposed to do.  My good friends know that hints are totally lost on me…they have to say, “Elizabeth?  I’m at the deli right now.  Are you on your way over?  Because we’re supposed to be having lunch.”  Nebulous statements like “Wow. I could really use a sandwich right now…oh look! I’m right here at a deli.  Think I’ll go in…” will not make any kind of an impact on me at all. 

So I’m curious.  How do y’all keep from dropping the ball?  I can always use new arsenal in my battle against memory loss. :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Got an Uncooperative Muse? Working Around Her

Terry's Place Hope y’all will pop over and visit me at Terry’s Place where I’m posting on working around an uncooperative muse.

I was also interviewed for a Memphis food blog, Hungry Memphis, about Delicious and Suspicious if you’re interested at taking a peek. :)

Starting Out With Your Blog

blog75 Lately, I’ve gotten a few emails asking me the best way to launch a blog.

I think there must be a lot of different ways to do it and I’m not sure mine is the best approach. In fact, my blog had been launched for about five months before I decided to try and accelerate growth in number of readers.

Here’s what I did: First of all, I joined Dani's Blog Book Tour, which is a free class run through Yahoo Groups. You may not have the time for this (and she's just started a brand new class...a week ago, I think), but I think her site and the sites she links to are very helpful: My blog design is roughly laid out in a style that she had recommended. One important part of blogs is a follower function--it helps people feel they belong to your blog and it's a spot for them to regularly visit. I have the Google follower widget on there (easy enough to install) and the Networked Blogs (Facebook) follower widget (harder to install, but still doable.) The next thing I did was to visit blogs of other authors. I located many of those authors from the blogrolls of high-volume writing blogs I'd found online--places with lots of hits each day. I was looking for blogs to follow that posted regularly (usually at least 1-3 days a week), had loyal followers, and focused on topics that were important to writers or readers. When the blogs posted updates, I'd read them and comment.

After a while, I had a lot of regular commenters and also a lot of online friends. It does get time consuming to visit everyone. What I decided to do was to add all the blogs I followed to a Google Reader via RSS feeds. Then I organized my friends' feeds by days of the week: I have a MWF folder and a T/Th folder, etc. With this method, I hoped I could ensure I visited everyone at least once or twice a week and keep up my online friendships.

If you're not on Facebook, I'd have to recommend that you look at joining up. You can set up a feed from your blog to your Facebook profile page--I do get lots of readers through Networked Blogs. How do you find writers on Facebook? Try going to the Facebook page of one of the writers whose blog you follow. Then go to their friends page and start following their friends. Nearly all of my friends on Facebook are writers (I’m on Facebook at Elizabeth Spann Craig Author).

In addition, I'd recommend tweeting your posts--with catchy headlines. It’s better not to over-promote on Twitter—you can keep from doing that by tweeting especially good posts of your blogging friends, too. It’s all about sharing content on Twitter.

If you only post a couple of days a week, I'd try to post that fact in the sidebar: Posting Schedule: Tuesdays and Thursdays...please pop by! That way people know when to expect a new post from you.

I'd also recommend doing a few guest posts and link back to your own blog...after you get your feet wet and get the blog up and running for a while.

Do y’all have any tips for blog launching or reader-building?

Yes, I’m on the road again—virtually. Got to love blog touring—and it’s so easy on my minivan! :) Today I'm also at the Write Chic blog, with the top 5 writing tools and why they make my list. Hope you’ll catch up with me tomorrow at Terry’s Place where I’m covering “Working Around Absent Muses—Tips for Completing Your Manuscript.”

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Terry3 Here are writing links that I’ve posted to Twitter for the past week. If you’re looking for a particular topic, just plug in your keyword into the search box at the top left-hand corner of the blog (on the black header right above my blog name…next to the Blogger symbol…the small search window is next to the magnifying glass) and the roundup with your subject will come up. To narrow your search down on the page, do a CTRL+F, type your subject, and hit enter.

Don't forget to revise your characters too: @p2p_editor

12 Secrets to Selling More Books at Events:

How To Make Money on Ebooks (JA Konrath):

Enter the werewolf: @TeresaFrohock

The Second Book Conundrum: Selling It, Writing It, Publishing It: @pubperspectives

Ask a Lawyer: Should Co-Authors Have a Contract With Each Other? @GalleyCat

The Power of Weather in Your Story: @RoniGriffin

Notes from the underground: A fresh breed of literary magazines (Independent): @TheIndyArts

Do I have a story?

How to read a publishing contract (15):

5 Things to Celebrate About Finishing Your First Draft: @VictoriaMixon

Touring in a virtual world: @blogbooktours

Writing: accents and voices: @ClarissaDraper

A nice roundup of links for writers: @4kidlit

Bending the rules of dialect:

Blog commenters with bad manners:

Are your characters falling through gaps in your writing? @p2p_editor

Top 10 pubs in literature (Guardian):

Children’s Book Writing – Getting Your Feet Wet

The Success of Paranormals: Why is the Genre Taking a Big Bite of Publishing Sales?

The Artist as a Brand, a Company, a Salesman:

What's with steampunk? @intlifemag

If you've found a publisher while agent-free, should you still continue to look for an agent? Yes.

Cowgirl Up! The Courage to Lose Control:

A Secret Black Belt Technique for Writing Knock-out Posts:

An Artist Who Meditates Is Simply An Artist Who Avoids: Why Good Writing Doesn’t Come From Peace: @litdrift

7 Ways to Stay Motivated in Tough Times: @camillelaguire

Making Writing Easy: Practical Tools:

Nailing your character:

Worldbuilding, part 5--where it all comes together: @Tessasblurb via @clarissadraper

Worldbuilding, part 4: where you learn to speak your own language: @Tessasblurb via @clarissadraper

Worldbuilding, part 3--your world's history: @Tessasblurb via @ClarissaDraper

Recovering from Rejection: @MuseInks

Worldbuilding, part 2--research: @Tessasblurb via @ClarissaDraper

Freelance Writing Help – When You’re Between Assignments:

Worldbuilding, part 1-- your big idea: @Tessasblurb

Worldbuilding, part 1-- research: @Tessasblurb

What You Need To Know About Marketing With Content:

Using parallelism to make your writing more memorable: @danielckoontz

Amazon Sales Obsession:

Do you have all the pieces in place to complete a book? @TheNewAuthor

What to do with your blog during the slow summer season:

The 70 Percent Solution? (Kindle royalties):

Capturing ideas without suffocating the creative process: @jammer0501

Beware of Book Publishing Spam: @victoriastrauss

Critique group rules to follow:

4 Proven Steps to Facebook Page Success:

The 10 Most Important Parts of a Proposal:

ARM your characters for confrontation: @juliemusil

Writing a murder mystery? 13 things to remember, from ElizabethSCraig: @RoniGriffin

Anonymous Blogging 101: a Quick and Dirty Primer:

Shared Vision--on Head-Hopping: @AuthorGuy

The Difference Between Sales and Fans:

What are the benefits and risks for a Christian writer who wants to tackle a non-heroic main character?

20 Quick Tips For Better Time Management:

Myst. Lov. Kitchen: 5 Ways to Use Your Grilling Leftovers by Cleo Coyle @kristadavis

How to Handle a Telephone Interview:

How *NOT* To Lose Control Of Your Facebook Fan Page:

Kindle sales and the 70% Option:

Writing a Picture Book Query: @gracefuldoe

Backstory: how to tell whether it's helping or hindering your writing. Tips from @writeabook: RT@inkyelbows

An Agent on the Latest Trends in Query Letters and Sample Pages:

Ten of the best pianos in literature (Guardian):

Helpful link roundup for memoir writers: @jesakalong

Make the Most Out of Social Media:

Villains are heroes, too: @p2p_editor

Publishing -- Learning at the Bookstore:

Procrastinate? Me? 12 things *some* writers might do to put off writing: @elspethwrites

How authors can participate in marketing, even when they don't like selling: @JodyHedlund

Busted!—Stephenie Meyer caught doing something right:

Words reveal their power when given voice: (Guardian)

Words and phrases that might come in handy for your book's courtroom scene: @AngelaAckerman

9 tips for attending writing conferences: @authorterryo

The writer in the mirror:

Creating a casting book for your characters: @sherrinda

Fish and chips, grits, bratwurst: How writing abt. regional foods adds color to our books:

The YA balancing act:

An author's plan for social media: @hopeclark

Jealousy and writing:

50 Things to Love about Life That Are Free: via @merylkevans

Myst. Lov. Kitchen: Bacon-Wrapped, Cream Cheese-Stuffed, Jalapenos @kristadavis

Why one writer chose to self-publish:

Proofreading your way to error-free blog posts:

Three Paths To a Story:

Memorable introductions:

An editor on paragraphs:

20 Questions to Ask a Hero: @PauloCamposInk

Benefits of reading:

How to Write Your Novel's Hook:

One blog's top 10 posts (nice selection):

Inbound Marketing Rocks! Now what?

57 Power Words for Writing Brilliant Headlines: via @merylkevans

Why short is sweet for readers:

Five New Tools for the Writer:

Two ways William Sleator sabotaged the characters in "The Last Universe": @p2p_editor

Who buys books, and why?

6 top TV talk show interview mistakes:

Shakespeare on Twitter? Which social medium would authors from the past have embraced?

Writing Series for Immediacy: Life-Arcs and Props:

There are days when writing is a joy. Then...there are "mug days": @elspethwrites

The No. 1 Most Important Factor for Writers Considering the Self-Pub Option:

Tracking ideas online while writing your book:

It's Not the Length of Your Book, it's What You Do With It:

Tips on writing backstory:

Struggles along the writer's path:

Networking Tips for Conferences:

To Kill a Mockingbird: the backlash (Guardian):

Google Voice for Writers:

The ups and downs of prologues:

6 Tips on How to Build a Platform and Sell Books:

Collaboration: How to Bring Back that Brand New Blog Feeling Again:

Slashing the fluff in your manuscript:

Blogging Outside the Box: Approaching Your Blog with Creative Spirit:

The Cost of Writing:

58 Habits That Will Help You Succeed:

Has Horror Been Eclipsed?

Freelance Writing Rights Part 2:

TWAP: Twitter Writer Acronym Primer: @MuseInks

Writing Action:

4 Ways Social Media Is Changing Your Relationships:

The Full-Time SF Novelist: Probably Not as Endangered as You Think:

The 7 Essential Steps to Creating Your Blog Content Masterpiece:

"10 Things My Creative Writing MFA Taught Me NOT To Do" (Writer's Digest):

7 Tools to Automate Your Social Media Management:

Secrets To Successfully Marketing Fiction:

The Joy of Unread Books:

Supersize Your Kindle!

An agent on the unsympathetic protagonist:

WS Merwin is America's new poet laureate – at 82 (Guardian):

Why Lee Siegel is wrong to declare the novel dead (Guardian):

On setting goals:

Surviving the deadline crunch:

The Sound of Prose - Part I:

Creating character portraits:

‘I Didn’t Think It Would Happen to Me’: WordPress Security:

What Writers Do:

Create a Custom List of Tweets with TwitBlend:

The Anatomy of a Query Letter: @chrstinef

Word of mouth--the overlooked marketing strategy:

Writing for Children: Boys vs. Girls:

An agent explains what happens when an agency can't sell your book:

Creating high stakes in your novel:

Shakespeare's typos? Historical and modern writing bloopers:

Color Wheel Characters: @wendypmiller

201 Ways to Arouse Your Creativity:

Resource roundup--curing writer's block:

How stress can add a layer of tension to crime novels: @mkinberg

Queries--really not that complicated:

Creating tension:

An agent on what to title your book:

How to Make Money With Your Author Blog:

One author's autographing policy (if you're looking to develop one):

Taking honesty to a new level (in your writing):

Twitter: How to Unfollow All Followers At Once:

Revision Ain’t For Sissies Part 1 – The Art of the Opening Scene:

Show Don’t Tell, And Other Myths:

Creating a blog signature: @ClarissaDraper

How NOT to Query: A Guide:

Discover 10 Ways Images Improve Your Marketing Content:

The Case Against Reading Fees:

Writing eBooks – 10 Tips to Make eBook Writing Easier:

Tough tomes: are challenging books worth the effort? (Guardian):

5 ways to put more ‘soul’ into your writing:

Twitter: Save Time Deleting All DMs with DM Deleter:

Advantages and disadvantages of using a pen name:

Independence Day: 15 Feisty Small Presses And The Books You're Going To Want From Them (Huff Post):

Freelance Writing Rights:

2 important things you need in order to become published, and the part luck plays in them:

Plan, Central Question, Central Action (part 3):

50 Procrastination Techniques for Aspiring Writers:

Lessons learned while walking in an agent's shoes:

Does branding make sense?

Writing Your Hero's Death:

Is There Anything Wrong with Emotion? Learning to be less-sensitive:

Using beta readers? Tips for writer and reader:

Mini-Conflicts Help Characters Stand Out:

Author's Book Title Inadvertantly Becomes Facebook Fan Page Phenom @GalleyCat:

The Pros and Cons of Four Major Blogging Platforms:

Literary Scandal: The Agent Who Disappeared (Daily Beast):

The Hero’s Journey Part 12 – Return with the Elixir: @JustusRStone

Out-of-Style Style:

Literary storm rages as critic Lee Siegel pronounces the American novel dead:

Nice roundup of this week's tweets for writers: @4KidLit

"Web site" vs. "website":

Celebrities Poking Fun at Celebrity Books (ABC News):

15-Year-Old Writer Counts 6.5 Million Reads: @GalleyCat

Kevin Muldoon10 Beautiful Blogger Templates – Part 2:

How to pick the right point of view for your novel: @p2p_editor

Dealing with the deadline crunch:

Why perfectionism is for losers:

Are Children's Publishers Destroying Rainforests?

I Got Your Writer’s Block Right Here:

Tips for being an Olympic quality blogger:

Why your characters shouldn't have all that money, and how to take it away from them: @p2p_editor

Little truths one writer has learned:

An agent answers, "What exactly is YA?" :

Which idea should I write first? Some tips for narrowing it down:

How setting is important to your story:

Point of View Demystified:

The importance of beta readers for beginning writers:

Blog Reading and Sharing: Power Tips for Google Reader:

Should stories be soapboxes?

Using Microsoft Word Versus PowerPoint for Ebook Creation:

You're never too old to start writing (Guardian):

Children's picture books and plot:

Be sure to check out an agent's submission requirements online:

Grammar Guide: Problem Pronouns - Who, That, Which:

Build a Setting that Pulls Its Own Weight (and then some):

Changes rules of punctuation:

Unplug to nourish your creativity:

The paperback book massacre: @S0BeUrself

Seven Powerful Ways To Find New Readers For Your Blog:

The Benefits of Mentoring: A Tribute to Mentors:

Professionalism as a writer:

Why You’re Not Going to Make It as a Writer, in 8 Parts: @VictoriaMixon

The iPad: Not the Writing Tool I'd Hoped For:

The 12 Best Books of Summer (Daily Beast):

4th of July mysteries: @JanetRudolph

How To: Change Your Twitter Name Without Losing Followers:

Ten of the best beaches in literature (Guardian):

A writer looks into submitting to big publishers vs small publishers:

Monotasking: Focus on One Thing at a Time:

Does Twitter Sell Books? Yes, It Does (Huff Post):

5 Reasons Why You Should Respond to Every Comment:

20 Questions to Ask About Symbolism and Theme: @PauloCamposInk

On semicolons:

Getting the most out of a rewrite: Tips for authors:

In praise of a writing journal:

Magic in the Society You've Created: @HarleyDPalmer

How to Create Effective Scenes and Chapters in Your Novel: @melissadonovan

6 Cool Startpages That Can Make You More Productive:

Why e-books will never replace real books (Slate):

An editor on the two factors that contribute to successful book sales:

The Basics of Fiction:

Revision Series - Part 2: Writing with Betas, which is like swimming with dolphins:

The Importance of the First Line: @ljboldyrev

How To Incorporate Twitter Into Your Event: