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Friday, July 29, 2016

My Love of BookBub and My Book Cave, Plus Two Great Book Descriptions Ending with a Zinger

I love BookBub and My Book Cave from a purely maniacal reader standpoint as well as the always-searching-for-a-good-read, studying-her-craft author. Besides, what better research can an author do than read?

Now from my authorial vantage point, I collect manifold examples of the best (IMHO) I can find in the context of writing on every level: first lines, loglines, online descriptions, character names, places of interest, relationship articles, magazine models who seem to have a story to tell, fantastic quotes as themes, wonderfully emotive quotes as writing prompts, great cover art, yada, yada, yada.

So, in recent My Book Cave offerings, I found two brilliant book descriptions that ended with a zinger. Now I've seen great ones in BookBub's newsletters too and elsewhere, and this "zinger" version isn't the only type I adore. However, these two came almost back-to-back, if memory serves. And I just have to share them with you. If you click on their links fast enough, they both may still be free. I love both covers too.

After the Cure

After the Cure
By Deirdre Gould
Eight years ago a plague turned most humans into cannibalistic animals. Six years ago, a cure was found, and the Infected woke up. And they remembered. Everything.
AMAZON LINK: https://www.amazon.com/After-Cure-Deirdre-Gould-ebook/dp/B00ERVTFCM?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Crossfire

Crossfire
By Andrea Domanski
Once a normal teenage girl, now a modern-day Amazon warrior. Add in a bunch of kick-butt preternaturals, gods, and demigods, along with a secret government agency formed to keep them all in check, and what have you got? The worst birthday ever!

AMAZON LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Crossfire-Book-1-Omega-Group-ebook/dp/B00IOU4NR4/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1469821051&sr=1-6&keywords=crossfire#nav-subnav
Enjoy!

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)


What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you give someone a book, you don’t give him just paper, ink, and glue.  You give him the possibility of a whole new life. Christopher Morley
The best inheritance you can leave your kids is an example of how to live a full and meaningful life. Dan Zadra

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Plotting a Series

For those authors more in the beginning stages of creating their books, I understand what you're going through. I've been a hybrid planner for many years, part seat-of-my-pants and part plotter (knowing two things: as many as seven main plot points and up to sixty possible scenes). That's worked for me the three times I completed NaNoWriMo. But that resulted in three stand-alone novels in draft form, not Books 1 through 3 of the same series.

A series is a different animal. It takes forethought, much more so than for a single novel. To write a series, I needed a setup and a cast that I would enjoy working within and with for years. Also the wherewithal to add new characters. I needed an overarcing storyline that ran through each of the books (like murder mysteries solve the murder in each book, except I'm not writing murder mysteries), yet each book within the series was a self-contained unit. It's a major undertaking. You don't want to end up in the middle of Book 2 with no way out for your characters and no plausible plotline while staying true to the setup given in Book 1. Contemplating a viable series was daunting.

So I've written books to help me in plotting a single book, which I would apply to preparing my series, projecting even three books into the future. My latest publication was the BUILD-A-BOOK Storytelling Checklist which contains 110 items to make note of when plotting a book. I took gems amassed from myriad books on plotting, then took the best of the best and arranged them chronologically. My other releases that help me in plotting are my four volumes of quotations. To me, they represent writing prompts. When I'm stuck in the plotting process, one of the things that can help me the fastest is to read a few pages of quotes. Invariably I'll hit upon a theme, about which I can talk/write forever (spanning three or more books even, I hope), or I'll find a few quotes that evoke a rush of emotions. Then I play around with those themes and emotions, brainstorming and/or mindmapping to see where it leads me.

Invariably I have to let it simmer on the back burner of my mind. Then, in the shower, unloading the dishwasher, mowing the lawn or whatever mundane chore I'm doing, I'll have a moment of inspiration where it all falls together. It's wonderful when that happens.

At this magical moment, I have to immediately write everything down. Usually as a letter to myself, stream of consciousness fashion, just getting it on paper or into my laptop before I forget a thing. Afterward, I work through the Snowflake software, from a logline to a fully fleshed-out plot and scenes list.

Anyway, that's my process. And I've started Book One of my proposed series in my daily hour or two of downtime, with future books in this series becoming more and more apparent. I'm proof positive that the muse visits those while writing (not just waiting).

Hope this helps someone else get over the plotting hump. Take whatever resonates and toss the rest. Happy plotting!

Denise Barker
Author, Blogger, Freelance Copy Editor
LivingTheDreamPublishing@gmail.com

Friday, July 8, 2016

Developmental Editing for $500 (up to 75K WC) for July and August 2016

For July and August 2016 only, I'm offering big-picture editing (developmental editing aka DE) for $500 per MS of less than or equal to 75K WC (per Microsoft Word's tally).

In September 2016, my price returns to $1,000 for 75K WC MS (pro rata for MSs above 75K WC). All fees are to be prepaid in full via PayPal. I'll share my PayPal info as needed.

This differs from the jot and tittle detailed work that I do as a copy editor (grammar and spelling police stuff). For DE, I look to see that your main characters are believable, empathetic, so your reader can identify with said characters. I check your plot for holes. I watch for too much or not enough dialogue (which is considered action), narration, introspection, other action or too much of one character and not enough of another (say, one who dies at the end but nobody cares because we didn't connect with him throughout the novel). Overall I see if your narrator is credible and if your storyline is believable (not a melodramatic tale that won't keep your reader involved). If you are interested, send me your first five pages of your MS to LivingTheDreamPublishing@gmail.com, as I reserve the right to refuse some MSs due to certain subject matters (like spousal/child abuse, etc.) and to confirm my availability. Thanks for considering me.

Hope everybody in the States had a safe and fun Fourth. 


"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)


What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you give someone a book, you don’t give him just paper, ink, and glue.  You give him the possibility of a whole new life. Christopher Morley
The best inheritance you can leave your kids is an example of how to live a full and meaningful life. Dan Zadra


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: J. C. Staudt's Driftmetal, Segment One

I'm a relatively new reader of the steampunk/diesel punk genre, and I loved this first book of this series set on shattered bits remaining of the planet Esperon. Author J. C. Staudt has two other series as well (each set in different worlds), which I'm looking forward to reading also. His snide humor is present throughout Driftmetal, and several times I found myself laughing out loud while reading (which I rarely do).

This book was easy to read and went by too fast. Amazon does list it as 166 pages, but I find my own books' page counts are sometimes short of my Microsoft word count. And, as book one of five in this series to date, I can look forward to having more to read in this world.

I loved the main character in Driftmetal, a pirate of sorts, Mulroney Jakes aka Mull, who prefers to think of himself as a "commodities appropriation and merchandising specialist." Granted, he doesn't always have the purest of motives, but, to me, as someone who is all too responsible, I found him altogether refreshing. Plus I can appreciate his reactions to his family's antics and am living vicariously through his derring-do deeds.

There may be the beginning of a love story with Mull and a female captain in this book, which I would have enjoyed seeing more fleshed out in this first installment. And what is Mull's middle name? He learns of it herein and mentions not even knowing that he had one. I'm curious ...

Anyway, if you're a fan of the Alliance-hating Mal Reynolds in Firefly or the irreverent Captain Jason Nesmith in Galaxy Quest, I think you'll enjoy this story too.

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)


What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you give someone a book, you don’t give him just paper, ink, and glue.  You give him the possibility of a whole new life. Christopher Morley
The best inheritance you can leave your kids is an example of how to live a full and meaningful life. Dan Zadra

Monday, February 15, 2016

Five Regrets to Avoid Over Your Lifetime

I found this courtesy of StumbleUpon. For the full article, click here: http://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/5-surprising-life-regrets-that-you-can-easily-avoid.html. You may need to sign up to review more than once.

However, for the recap, I'm providing this handy list:

  • Too much effort in pleasing others [especially when to the exclusion of self]
  • Too much pointless worry [when does your worry ever manifest itself?]
  • Too much acquiring of stuff [the important things cost nothing]
  • Too little taking care of your physical health [our health is actually our first wealth]
  • Too little travel [does armchair researching of faraway places count?]

I happen to agree with all, especially the first two bullet points and the fourth.

Don't wait until the final days of your life to address these issues. We should all hope to die peacefully in bed while asleep (or however you envision it) and with no regrets, no forgiveness due anyone (including ourselves), and with overflowing love filling our hearts, minds, and souls.

God bless us, one and all.

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)


What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you give someone a book, you don’t give him just paper, ink, and glue.  You give him the possibility of a whole new life. Christopher Morley
The best inheritance you can leave your kids is an example of how to live a full and meaningful life. Dan Zadra

Monday, February 1, 2016

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Jodi Taylor's Just One Damned Thing after Another, Part Two

In case my previous post didn't incite you to check out this book, here are some tempting quotations from that wonderful start to the series (that I've Americanized from her British English spellings), just to show you this author's wit and talent:
[This] day I got away from that invention of the devil—family. 
[A] woman in a smartly tailored suit. She looked elegant, dignified, and judgmental. 
Thinking carefully is something that happens to other people. 
She was unpopular, self-important, and lacking the sense of humor gene. 
I hadn’t realized how closely together we would live and work. … Now we moved into the physical part of our training. Apparently, up until now, we’d had it easy. … I suspect there are married couples who have less intimate physical contact than we did.
I started to make plans. Not to cheat exactly, because that would be wrong, wouldn’t it? More like dealing with the situation on my own terms.
How did you find the East Gate?
I was looking for the South Gate.
I can’t seem to find your name on the transport list.
Bloody hellfire, sir. Does that mean I didn’t have to do this?

“Miss Black, there are two Ps in oppressed and only one N in minority. You are neither. Delete [that]." 
I saved Sussman’s life when he told Kal her bum looked big in a bustle.
He looked tired. I looked at the clock. It was so late it was early. 
The reason I can’t deal with sympathy is because I never bloody get any. 
You’re more generous than I think I would be.
Yes, well, he’s dead, and I’m not. If it was the other way around, I’d probably be a bit miffed. 
Half of me looked forward to seeing what she had done, half of me didn’t want to go out and mix with people just yet, and half of me (presumably the half that can’t add up) didn’t want to see her because I knew she would blame me for Sussman. 
Dieter and Markham … squared up to each other. Given their respective sizes, it was rather like a chipmunk hurling itself at Mount Everest. 
My fist, traveling at the combined speeds of rage and retribution, impacted hard on her nose. 
Directly or indirectly, I was responsible for everyone currently in sick bay. That had to be some sort of record. 
"You’ve seen this unit go through historians like laxatives through a short grandmother."
Others came to help. I’ve never been undressed by so many people. 
He was calm and soothing and had a reasonable explanation for everything. No woman should have to put up with that. 
The building … was just like us—noisy and gloriously tasteless. 
We had them on speed-dial. They had us on their blacklist.
In the distance, I could hear shouting. And screaming. Familiar sounds. St. Mary’s [staff] thundered past on their way to make a crisis considerably worse. It was nice to be home. 
See what you're missing?

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)


What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you give someone a book, you don’t give him just paper, ink, and glue.  You give him the possibility of a whole new life. Christopher Morley
The best inheritance you can leave your kids is an example of how to live a full and meaningful life. Dan Zadra

Friday, January 22, 2016

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Jodi Taylor's Just One Damned Thing after Another

This is Book One of her series entitled The Chronicles of St. Mary's. It's simply wonderful. This UK author has a wicked sense of humor and obviously a love of ancient world history. As an American, just reading her British idioms transports me to another place, while the main character, Alex, takes me to some more. Love her and the other creative rule-breakers who work for St. Mary's. Except for the bad guys of course.

If you like your sci-fi/fantasy/time travel stories with comedy, tragedy, adventure, romance and a smattering of history lessons, this one's got it all. Even work intrigue. I read it in one sitting. What fun! There are seven books in the series, counting this first one plus the one due out May 5, 2016, which you can preorder now on Amazon.

Can't wait to read the rest of them. Enjoy! 

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)


What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you give someone a book, you don’t give him just paper, ink, and glue.  You give him the possibility of a whole new life. Christopher Morley
The best inheritance you can leave your kids is an example of how to live a full and meaningful life. Dan Zadra