Thursday, May 14, 2020

Making our Stories Better


I have a habit of copying writing tips and putting them in a folder on my desktop. I have lots and lots of tips.

Which is a good thing to do.

But I also have a habit of forgetting about them after putting them in the folder.

It's a good idea to go back and review all those tips you save. You'll be surprised at what you may have forgot.

I went here and read a post about How to Start a Novel. I found a couple of their ways interesting and applied one to one of my manuscripts.

I'd changed the beginning paragraphs of this story many times and I thought I had a good beginning.

It was pretty good, but now it is so much better. The 'Why is he doing that' prompt is the one that brought about my change.

I sent the new and old version to two of my critique partners, and they both liked the new version better.

So, my manuscript has a new and better beginning, and it is all because I kept reading blog posts and I kept reading tips.

I didn't quit. I kept trying to make my story better, which is what we all should do.

We should keep striving to make our stories better.

Don't be satisfied with a so-so story. Make it the best story you can make it.













Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Book Titles - How to Choose Them

WRITING WEDNESDAY

So you are trying to come up with a great title - a title that will make everyone buy your book. Wouldn't we all like to do that.

You want it to be original, memorable, not too short and not too long and convey what your book is about.

One way is to make a list of words that come to mind when you think of your setting, time period, emotions, questions and characters in your book.

If and when you come up with a few titles, go to Amazon and do a search for your three or four possible titles. How many books show up? The fewer the better.

I've been working on a story for around 10 years. I'm glad I didn't publish it sooner, because it is so much better now than it was. It was a novella. One of my critique partners said he bet I could make it into a novel if I tried (meaning make it at least 50,000 words). I took him up on the challenge and it is now almost 52,000 words. I didn't think I could do it, but I did. I took it chapter by chapter and added to the story.  My latest title for it is, Where the Stars Grant Wishes. I searched the title on Amazon and no other books came up. Yeah!

I have a middle grade that I have been working on for about the same amount of time. I wrote a list of words (adjectives, nouns, setting, characters) It has had different titles and the one I have for it now, I'm not really satisfied with. Here are the words I came up with to describe it.

mystery - family secrets  -  ghostly presence
country cousins
treasure - treasure hunt
cave
attic
discoveries
rural country setting
takes place in the summer - 1966

A cousin comes to visit her country cousin in the summer of 1966, to help keep her cousin from missing her brother so much, who just got sent to Vietnam. The girls will soon celebrate their 12th birthday. They find an old letter from the Civil War era in the attic and it takes them on an adventure to find a hidden family treasure. No one has seen the chest since it was hid by their 13-year-old ancestor, Dudley, during the Civil War, who turns out to be a helpful ghostly presence. The story of the hidden treasure has been passed down through the generations, but no one has been able to find it. Will two persistent snoops, inspired by Nancy Drew, find it? Or will they be scared away by snakes, bats, endless passageways and a rumor that the cave is cursed?

Any suggestions for the name?


Here are some links for title generators and writing in general:

Title Generator

Great site for writing. Are you having writer's block? Lots of writing prompts and generators.

Another title generator site.

Lots of title generator sites listed here.

How do you pick your book titles?

Any ideas? Add them in the comment section.

Happy Writing!

 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Writing Wednesday



I used to put a Writing Wednesday post on my blog on a weekly basis. I think with this post, I will start it up again.

This is National Poetry Month!

A fellow blogger, Linda O'Connell,  recently blogged about the Washington University St. Louis, Humanities Dept. Poetry Prompt, for the month of April. Each day they provide you with 5 words to encourage you to write a short poem.

I've dabbled with it a couple of times. I go to the sight and look at the words for each day, if one of the prompts catches my eye, I copy the words down and write a poem.

I don't think I'm doing it right. I'm thinking they want you to write the poem on the day the prompts are put up, but that's okay --- it's got me to writing.

The April 16 prompts were: Sunlight, Ceiling, Nostalgia, Bleak and Mother

Here is my poem:


I sit and gaze out the window.
The sun hides behind stubborn clouds
and refuses to shine.
I stare at the ceiling and nostalgia
Sets in. I find myself wishing my mother
was here on this bleak day
to spread hope and sunlight to my life.
 
 

The April 13 prompts were: Star, Stairway, Memory, Hour, Light

After a few versions, here is my latest poem:


Climbing the stairway toward heaven,
A star shines its bright light before me.
But my magic hour has not yet come
For me to go, so I linger another day
And add another memory to my life.


Why don't you give it a try? 

Sometimes a little prompt is all a writer needs to kick-start their brain. 

If you like, post your poem in the comments.

Happy Writing!



Friday, April 17, 2020

Free Kindle Download of my Book



Hi all my writing friends!

I would like to announce that my newest book,

Fun Through the Seasons Volume Two 

is available for FREE  download through Sunday, April 19, 2020.

I would love it if you take this opportunity to download it and enjoy.

It is always free on kindle unlimited, but if you don't belong to it, this is a great time to get my ebook.

It is a good book for kids and adults, especially during this Pandemic when we are encouraged to stay at home and the kids are home from school.

It is filled with easy recipes, poems, fun and informative articles, and interesting facts. It also has colorful photos and illustrations.

If you download it, I would appreciate an honest review on Amazon.

click here to get the free download.  Remember it is only free through Sunday, April 19!

Reviews are one of the best gifts you can give an author.

Thanks and keep safe and healthy! 



I've sewn a few, but here I am in one of my no-sew masks. 
They're easy - get a large man's handkerchief or a piece of material
at least 16 x 16
fold in half once
then fold in half again
slide a child's ponytail elastic over both ends
push in a few inches and then fold the material on the ends toward the inside.
Put up to your face and slip the elastics over your ears. Adjust to fit.
Voila!






Tuesday, March 24, 2020

FUN ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS



I don't know about where you live, but here in West Virginia, children are home and so are a lot of parents. We've been told to stay at home if at all possible.

Spring is here and it is a good time to watch the birds. They are busy this time of year, and unlike us humans, are not quarantined!

I've got two books published titled, Fun Facts for Kids Recipes, Crafts and Fun Facts for Kids Volumes one and two.

In these books there are all kinds of activities, easy recipes and fun articles for children and their parents.

I've copied one of the articles below that you and your child might find interesting.


BUSY, BUSY BIRDS!
 

What makes a bird different than other animals? Is it their pretty colors, their eggs, their bills or their wings? It is their feathers. No other animal has feathers.
And, here are a few more fun facts about birds.
Birds are surveyors. They survey the world around them. They search and search and search. They look for just the right trees. They look for just the right bushes. They look for just the right places to build their nests and raise their family in a safe place from weather and predators. But sometimes birds pick very unusual places. They build nests under the hood of a car, in shoes left outside, inside barbecue grills, behind porch lights, under lids of propane gas tanks, in hanging planters, in bird feeders and on tops of ladders.
Birds are architects. They obtain just the right materials to build nests to cradle their next generation. What they gather with their beaks and talons depends on the size of the bird and nest. They weave together twigs, fur, hair, grasses, leaves, moss, sticky spider webs, strings, straw, mud, feathers and/or large branches.  They use artistry, design and fantastic engineering to perfectly place these materials and make a durable nest, just like a real architect who designs buildings.
Birds are hunters. They seek out seeds, worms, insects, fish and nesting materials. Larger birds, such as eagles and falcons, hunt large prey like rabbits and mice.
Birds are caterers. They bring food to their babies and serve them in their cozy nests.
Birds are teachers. They teach their babies where to look for food and how to avoid predators.
Birds are singers. They sing to announce that this is their territory and to attract a mate. In the wee hours of the morning they often sing louder and livelier than at any other time of the day. Scientists call this the dawn chorus.  I have often walked under a tree and heard what I thought were different birds and looked up to see only one talented mockingbird singing this endless string of songs. Some tweets aren’t always so sweet to our ears. Baby birds use begging calls to let their parents know they are hungry.  Doves coo sadly, owls hoot and woodpeckers hammer on trees. Rat a tat, tat, tat! Rat a tat, tat, tat!
These amazing birds entertain us with their visits and put on a merry musical show. They brighten gloomy and gray days with their songs.


BIRD HOUSE SANDWICH


Spread peanut butter and jelly on bread. Cut the slices the shape of a birdhouse (keep bread scraps). Using a straw, punch a hole in the middle for their door. Decorate with pretzel sticks. Serve with grapes and bright colored peanut M & M’s (bird eggs) and a cheese stick.


My books are both entertaining and educational. While enjoying the fun facts, easy recipes, crafts and articles, they are also learning.
 
Both of my books are available on kindle and paperback on Amazon. You can go to Amazon, click on the title and "look inside" of them here. 

I also have free downloads on my author page that go along with some of the articles in the volume one book. You can go here to download them.

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.

 

 

Monday, March 16, 2020

Re-release of Duck and Cover


I've been so busy writing and rewriting lately, that I seem to have lost track of time. In addition to working on getting my book back on Amazon, I have also been working on another historical fiction novel (this one geared more toward adults) and my picture book manuscripts.

My contract was up with my middle grade historical fiction, and I decided not to renew it.

I wanted to change the cover (I thought the children on the original cover were too young for the main characters and intended readers of the book) and make some formatting changes to the manuscript. Some of the changes may seem trivial to people, but I feel that little things can sometimes make a big difference.

Here is a small snippet from the book that I feel fits right in with the cover:

***************
   The house was so quiet, I couldn't sleep. I put my clothes on, slipped out of bed and walked outside. While I stared at the moon, a shooting star flashed across the sky.
   Is that what a Russian missile would look like? I hope I didn't ever find out. I closed my eyes tight, made a wish and went back inside and climbed into my bed. 

***************


The main character also yearns to be an astronaut and travel to the moon when he grows up, so I thought the front cover needed a moon - and a shooting star to make his wishes on.

You will now find a new cover, a few !'s marks scattered here and there in the story (which I feel were really needed), a short timeline in the back of the book and a slightly different format.


I hope you like the changes I made - I do.

You can click on the cover on the sidebar and find it on Amazon.


I'm not very good at making book trailers yet, but here is the one I made for Duck and Cover.
It takes a few seconds, but it will play.

Or . . . you can click here to view it on YouTube.  Give me a thumbs up or thumbs down or leave a comment.   Thanks!



Happy writing and reading everyone!