Tag Archives: authors

The 2nd Blog of Christmas

Author Sarah LaneIt’s the second day sharing stories with you from various writers’ blogs. My guest today is author, Sarah Lane, and she is going to read to you…what a treat!

Sarah Lane is the author of The God of My Art, the story of a young woman’s journey to become an artist and a quarter finalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Lane’s short fiction and poetry have also featured in a number of literary magazines, including The Antigonish Review, Roar Magazine, and Quills: Canadian Poetry Magazine.

Lane’s upcoming young adult novel is a psychological read about a cerebral seventeen-year old who struggles to learn salsa dancing only to be shown up by her doppelgänger. (You can sign up on her website to be notified when it comes out).

Sarah Lane hopes you will enjoy listening to this reading from her young adult crossover novel The God of My Art. This chapter is taken from near the end of the book, when Helene visits her mother over the winter holidays. Watch the video here.

TO READ the 1st Blog of Christmas CLICK HERE

Head to the 3rd Blog of Christmas from Keith R. Baker HERE

 

On the First Blog of Christmas

Join me and 11 other authors and bloggers on our Christmas blog hop! A gift that keeps on giving…better than a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re gonna get!

Our first illustrious writer is Ellen Chauvet! Check back each day for a different post from our 12 Blogs of Christmas contributors or click SUBSCRIBE to this blog to receive an update each time one is posted. ENJOY!
EllenChauvet_2015-2049-Edit-Edit-5

Ellen Chauvet lives in Vancouver, Canada, where long months of rain are particularly conducive to writing dark stories.

Visit Ellen Here

or Read her BLOG 

A Visit From St. Nick

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
Composed by Clement C. Moore

When Martin Crosbie invited me to participate in the 12 blogs of Christmas I immediately said yes. I’ve always treasured Christmas and the opportunity to share my love of Clement Moore’s ‘A Visit from St. Nick’ poem appealed to me. After several hours of research, the following is what I gleaned…READ MORE

Go To 2nd Blog of Christmas

My TOP 8 Writing Tips for Newbies

Here’s a quick Top 8 list of things to help you write anything!

  1. Don’t have any distractions (tv, kids etc.) This means turn off your email, close all windows (on your computer, dummy, not the ones in your house, although that might be a good idea too.) It does, after all, get noisy out there sometimes. Come to think of it, that effin bird out there is making an awful racket, and WHAT’S WITH THE LAWNMOWER — it’s October, for crying out loud! Perhaps I will just close my window…

…sorry about that, had to go out and ask my neighbour if he could mow his lawn a little later and we got to talking about composting. Now, back to the list. Hey, what’s that buzzing sound? Oh, it’s my cell phone — I have it on vibrate so as not to get distracted.

2. Have your phone on vibrate…damn! You know, maybe I should answer it…just this once. After all, it must be important or they wouldn’t keep trying to call me back. Or perhaps they think I am a bit slow and it takes me a while to figure out my effin phone is trying to get my attention…oh, screw it, I’d better answer, it’s going off again…

…Well, that was an interesting call about why I need to switch my service provider. I told her when they can figure out how to filter spam phone calls — especially when I am writing a blog post or when I am in desperate need for the bathroom, then they got me for life! When I was in the afore-mentioned bathroom, I noticed my toenails were getting a little long so I got out the trimmers; and of course, then I noticed my legs hadn’t been shaved in a while.

3. Schedule a specific time each day to write. Even if it is late at night, or early in the morning before work, make a plan to write at a scheduled time and DO NOT do any other activities during this time.  I have this friend whose husband used to get up at 6 am to write before work. I wonder how he is doing on his book. You know, I really should check online to see if he is on Amazon yet. I bet his book would be really interesting after all that work he put in…

4. Do NOT get tempted to look anything up on the internet unless it directly relates to what you are writing about. I just spent over $50 and I do not remember exactly what I bought, but it definitely was not my friend’s husband’s book. He wasn’t on Amazon. I should shoot him an email to tell him I checked…Ah, no! Almost fell for that one! Just keep writing, just keep writing…

5. KEEP WRITING! It is best to keep a document on your desktop to add any ideas to throughout the day so you can expand upon them during your scheduled writing time. Just highlight or delete as you use the content. Ooh, just remembered I had a list somewhere about staying on topic and pruning your work for efficacy and clarity. Hmm, it’s here somewhere…

6. Stay organized. Just spent an hour browsing through files and getting lost in the mountain of images, photos and documents that do not seem to follow any sort of chronological order, or aren’t arranged in any way which could conceivably be called ‘organized’. Now I am very despondent. Perhaps a snack to make me feel better.

7. Okay, no snacking until you finish. You should set a goal (say 500 words or an hour of writing if it’s a blog — longer if you are working on a novel), and have a favourite snack or bevvy on hand for when you complete. Oh, just remembered, I ate the last of the Goldfish crackers with my red wine last night — a poor writer’s wine and cheese party. Anyway, I’ll just pop out and get some nibbles. You know, for when I get around to finishing this…

Smells Like Success!

Smells invoke memories…and produce emotions…and affect our bodies, minds and spirits. I’ve always believed this and it took colourful wax and a guy with a penchant for sniffing stuff to help me remember how important our senses are to help us connect! Our senses can create such powerful memories and reactions that using senses in writing will strengthen a story and round out characters, and help you plug back into your creativity. Allowing your senses to guide you in any business venture might produce effective results.

Our sense of smell might be our most powerful, and scents that take us back to childhood are particularly emotionally charged. As children we are influenced by our environment and our reactions are more honest. When something takes us back to those moments when we were more open and vulnerable, it connects us with our real selves–our more creative selves.

When I am writing about a character and describe a scent or how a character reacts to a scent, it helps to create a deeper connection for the reader. It makes the “character” more real.

Try it for yourself: try and connect with the younger, more creative you–you will relax and find answers. And if you are writing about a character, help the character connect with his past and you’ll find that the character will guide you and surprise you with how he reacts to the imaginary world you are building around him.

What smell brings your childhood memories flooding back? How does connecting with your childhood help you create in business and in your writing projects?

To watch the inspirational video that will get you sniffing a box of crayons: https://youtu.be/p5kMHXuO_kg

How Much Are You Worth?

When you ask an editor how much they charge, you might get a mumbled response. This isn’t because they have a mouth full of peanut butter (though, they might) or the mention of remuneration causes them to have a mild stroke (though, this is possible); it is difficult to price a job without assessing the work (the size and scope and level) deadline, current workload, and the all-important budget.

Editors want to do a quality job for you at the best price possible. After all, we want referrals — that is how we afford all that peanut butter.
When I am asked directly what I would charge to edit something (document, résumé, website, ad copy, novel, article), I usually suggest they send a sample of the work or meet for a chat. That way I can assess their needs: whether any writing or research is actually required, or a structural edit, or just light proofreading. Quoting on a job as a whole can be the best course, as long as the estimated hours are included in the contract and all parties understand that if the work goes over that time, the quote must be revisited. This way, the expected cost is known up front and the editor can schedule the necessary hours.
If I give an hourly rate, some people balk at it. I remind them that quality editors work quickly, racking up fewer hours than those who charge less per hour.

Some wonderful posts to help us out:

Do you know of any other helpful sites? Please share in the comments below…

Lay Vs. Lie: Let’s Lay This Matter to Rest!

Re-blogged from ESL Library.com –>> http://bit.ly/1jFmnrQ
By Tanya Trusler

You may want to lie down to read this @lancearmstrong!

All languages have their confusing words…words that sound the same, look the same, or have the same meaning. Especially confusing are words that have similar forms (for example, in different verb tenses) but are not used in exactly the same way (the present and past tense of “read,” with two different pronunciations, comes to mind). In my opinion, the irregular verbs “lay” and “lie” rank at the top of the list in terms of confusing forms and usage.These words are a particular pet peeve of mine…because I can never keep them straight! I have probably looked these two words up more often while teaching and editing than any other words in the English language. I hope that by writing out the rules here that we will sort them out, together, once and for all! Continue reading Lay Vs. Lie: Let’s Lay This Matter to Rest!

It’s ALIVE! Bwahahahaha!

When creating characters for a novel, a writer has a great responsibility to them; they can be almost as real to a writer as the actual living and breathing human beings in the writer’s life. They ghost through rooms and scenery constructed in the imagination, and demand to be heard at the most inopportune moments. Continue reading It’s ALIVE! Bwahahahaha!

Apostrophe (’) Atrocities Appall Aware Authors

If you’re sick and tired of blog posts about apostrophes, well too bad…here’s another one! Until we learn our lesson and stop making the same mistakes over and over again, we’re doomed to endure constant lecturing. Even I make mistakes sometimes (I know…shocking!), so please tell me if you spot an error, ’cause — damn it, I have to learn!

I don’t know about you, but I am constantly amazed at the amount of apostrophe errors out there. Why is it we, as an English-speaking and writing culture, can’t get it right? I see mistakes painted on the sides of vehicles, plastered on signs, emblazoned on book covers and sprinkled through articles. Some examples:

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Do NOT get a tattoo here unless the owner’s name is Tattoo. Even then, bad idea!

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This person sadly ignored the blatant signs that Tattoo, though a business owner, did not possess the necessary English skills to craft an eloquent indelible message. I say tattoo artists should stick to images.

Dont Look Back Bob Dylan

This may have been a design choice…but it was a bad one!

Ribs Ontario

Oooh, wait a minute…I think they’re telling us the Best Rib is actually in town. Well, I’d like to meat him (see what I did there?)

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This is completely understandable — the sign printer obviously ran out of apostrophes.

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Their price for perfection is having to fire the proofreader.

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At least they reword the invitation underneath as they know something is wrong in the first sentence but aren’t sure what it is, so they kindly clarify things for the reader. And what’s with the time? Another pet peeve — there should be a colon between 9 and 30 and a space before am!!!! I also hate overuse of exclamation marks, but sometimes…I tell ya!

So, I have some questions for you. Should we point out these egregious errors to the perpetrator? Or, is it not our place to be the punctuation police? And who is to blame: the business owner, the copy writer, the proofreader, the printer, the sign installer, the first person to see the printed copy? I imagine the text passes through multiple stages and past several people before being presented to the public. Just carelessness then, I suppose.

The only way we will learn as a society is to keep reminding people the correct way to punctuate, and point out the errors so they aren’t made again. Appalling apostrophe application should not be tolerated. So let’s go over the rules again…

Only use apostrophes for:

  1. Contractions. When squishing two words together, the apostrophe is like a bookmark for the missing letters. For example:  “I’d (I would) love to attend the party, but I don’t (do not ) like boring conversation or frozen sausage rolls passed off as hors d’oevres.” ( I had to look up hors d’oevres French: outside of the main course).
  2. Possessives. To show who owns what. For example: “My parents do not make a habit of throwing boring parties. Mother’s quiche is often spoken of the next day and her guests’ palates are discerning, I assure you. I insist you attend Thursday’s party.”
  3. Abbreviations. For example: “Well, excuse me! I would hate to upset you ’cause your parents are terrible hosts! They haven’t thrown a good party since the ’70s!” (note there is NO apostrophe required after ’70 as it is a plural word — 1970s, nineteen seventies).

Now there are odd rules, and exceptions, and even preferential treatment for apostrophes. It is interesting to note that the creator of Mother’s Day wanted the apostrophe inserted before the ‘r’ although there are three usage camps (Mother’s Day, Mothers’ Day and Mothers Day). So, my final piece of advice is to look it up if in doubt, or ask a superlative editor like me…or is it myself?

Leave your comments or questions below, and PLEASE point out any errors, because we all need reminding sometimes!

My TOP 8 Writing Tips for Newbies

Here’s a quick Top 8 list of things to help you write anything!


 

  1. Don’t have any distractions (tv, kids etc). This means turn off your email, close all windows (on your computer, dummy, not the ones in your house, although that might be a good idea too.) Okay, scratch the dummy part. You can close all your windows if you want. It does after all get noisy out there sometimes. Come to think of it, that effin bird out there is making an awful racket. Perhaps I will just close mine…sorry about that, had to go out and ask my neighbour to mow his lawn after I’d finished writing this and we got to talking about bedding plants. Now, back to the list. Hey, what’s that buzzing sound? Oh, it’s my cell phone — I have it on vibrate so as not to get distracted.
  2. It is a good idea to have your phone on vibrate…damn! Who is so insistent that they phone right after not getting answered the first time? Do they think I am a bit slow and it takes me a while to figure out my effin phone is trying to get my attention…oh, fuck it, I better answer, it’s going off again… Well, that was an interesting call about why I need to switch my cell service provider. I told her when they can figure out how to schedule the phone calls so they do not occur when I am writing a blog post or when I am in desperate need for the bathroom, they got me for life! When I was in the afore-mentioned bathroom, I noticed my toenails were getting a little long so I got out the trimmers; and of course, then I noticed my legs hadn’t been shaved in a while. Wish I had more time to…
  3. Schedule a specific time each day to write. Even if it is late at night, or early in the morning before work. I have this friend whose husband used to get up at 6 am to write before work. I wonder how he is doing on his book. You know, I really should check online to see if he is on Amazon yet. I bet his book would be really interesting after all that work he put in…
  4. Do NOT get tempted to look anything up on the internet unless it directly relates to what you are writing about. I just spent over $50 and I do not remember exactly what I bought, but it definitely was not my friend’s husband’s book. He wasn’t on Amazon. I should shoot him an email to tell him I checked…Ah, no! Almost fell for that one! Just keep writing, just keep writing…
  5. KEEP WRITING — It is best to keep a document on your desktop to add any ideas to throughout the day so you can expand upon them during your scheduled writing time. Just highlight or delete as you use the content. Ooh, just remembered I had a list somewhere about staying on topic and pruning your work for efficacy and clarity. Hmm, it’s here somewhere…
  6. Stay organized. Just spent an hour browsing through files and getting lost in the mountain of images, photos and documents that do not seem to follow any sort of chronological order, or aren’t arranged in any conceivably organized way. Now I am very despondent. Perhaps a snack to make me feel better.
  7. Okay, no snacking until you finish. You should set a goal (say 500 words or 30 mins or writing if its a blog, or longer if you are working on a novel), and have a favourite snack or bevvy on hand for when you complete. Oh, just remembered, I ate the last of the Goldfish crackers with my red wine last night (thanks, Mandy, for that suggestion — delicious! Just like I had my own wine and cheese party) Anyway, I’ll just pop out and get some nibbles. You know, for when I finish this.

It’s ON, Baby! Blog Blitz Challenge!

Blogging Blitz

I attended social media seminars, watched tutorials on how to build websites (gave up on that torture for a while), perused posts of popular bloggers, and studied how to market myself (I am, after all, trying to sell a book and garner more writing/editing/social media clients). I have come to the conclusion that it is time to stop procrastinating with questions about how to blog and build a support system, and learn by doing. So, at the suggestion of many other bloggers, I set myself a challenge. But that wasn’t good enough for me. I also had to drag my sister into it as well. Misery loves company, and so do social experiments. Helen is also a work-from-home entrepreneur who finds little time for self-promotion and sharing stories and information on her website. The answer – bully her into it!

We challenged each other to a blog blitz for the month of July. You may join us if you wish! Here are the criteria:

  1. Starting July 1st (Canada Day) post 100-500 words about Canada Day. It can be a past memory, a funny story, or tips on how to BBQ the perfect wiener. Include picture and share on your social media channels.
  2. Note your followers and visits per day, and watch through the month. Notice when they peak and which posts are working best for you.
  3. Every other day in July, post 100-500 words on any subject you wish. You can share personal stories, but alternate with helpful tips about your specific business or hobby. Don’t forget to share on your social media!
  4. Directly after you publish each post, visit 2-5 other websites that relate to you or your business and comment, like, or share one of their posts. If they have a “Follow Me” button, make sure to click it if you find their content interesting or relevant.
  5. Make sure you respond to all comments and emails from followers. If someone liked your post, or followed you, make sure to visit their blog or website.
  6. Include invitations on each post. “Comment below”, “Share a link”, “Ask me a question”.
  7. If a reader does ask a question, try and answer question through another post.
  8. Use catchy titles. Some examples:
    • I was a Stripper Mom (Post was about me accidentally exposing myself after breastfeeding)
    • Before You Publish, Edit That Shit! (People get edgy when you swear at them, and might click just so they can reciprocate in kind)
    • Why I Don’t Worry About the End of the World (Fake Post – STOP clicking it! – but who wouldn’t want to know what you have to say?– Hey, I may have to actually do a post about this now!)
    • What Type of Omelette Are You? ( Helen and I spoke at length about how popular those info-gathering, time-swallowing, soul-sucking posts are, so why not jump on the bandwagon of insanity? Ooooh, another great post title!)

This posting challenge should only take an hour a day, and once you are more practiced, should take less time. This challenge is not about breaking your spirit and filling you with self-doubt and denial, causing you to collapse in a puddle of tears (but if this does happen, please post pics); it is about empowering each other to celebrate accomplishments and learn from mistakes.

If you are techy at all, try and make a short video or podcast, adding it to Youtube and sharing it on social media. If you share a video/audio post, BONUS POINTS to you! That means you can skip a post day and wallow in your brilliant success.

Please share your stories, advice, successes and failures (Helen and I love a good laugh, and it would sooo boost our self-esteem). And please visit Helen’s site too and see what she’s got going on: www.armyofevilrobots.com 

Now, do YOU accept this challenge?