2017 – Some of my favourite Authors whose books I read this year!

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

I have read many, many books this year! Some were written by authors I have promoted previously on my other blog, Reading Recommendations, and these books I considered to be outstanding! And, in a few cases, I read more than one book by the same author. So, without further ado, here’s a list of those authors’ names and the titles of their books I read in 2017 …

(The links below will take you to that author’s original promotion on Reading Recommendations.)

Thanks to all Authors for continuing to write so well!

Gail Anderson-DargatzThe Spawning Grounds

Tim Baker24 Minutes (to be published in 2018)

Gail BowenThe Winner’s Circle

Kevin BrennanIn No Particular Order

Sharon ButalaWhere I Live Now

Paul ButlerThe Good Doctor, The Widow’s Fire

Sally CroninSam, A Shaggy Dog Story

Tricia Drammeh

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Post-NaNoWriMo blues

I feel I owe it to myself to record my first NaNoWriMo experience.

I’m glad I took the challenge. I like competing against myself. All the support I needed I found inside me and in a few friends who knew I was doing it. In my mind, writing is a solitary business; that’s why I write. Or perhaps writing chose me because I’m a solitary person. I’m dancing on my own.

Photo by Paul Wellner Bou on Unsplash

I finished five days ahead of schedule. Up until today, I didn’t check the NaNo website. Apparently, I had to validate my writing, but I  missed to do it.  In my mind, my job was done the moment I hit 50,000 words (more accurately, 50,052, to finish the sentence). I challenged myself, I completed the challenge. End of story.

So what else did I learn except that I could write under pressure? Continue reading

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I. Did. It. 


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Who was J. R. R. Tolkien’s writing coach?

My free seminar saga – the conclusion.

But before that — I’d like to tell you I’m doing NaNoWriMo, for the first time ever, and I’m four days AHEAD of schedule. Steve Alcorn, my instructor from several Gale courses I’ve taken, convinced me I could do it. I didn’t share his optimism–I have a full time job and two teenage kids–but it turns out he believed in me more that I believed in myself. Thank you, Steve!

Ah, yes. Forgot to tell you how much I love challenges. So here I am. As of yesterday, November 21, I have 42,000 words. As of the title, I thought “Living Next Door to Elise”, but my heroine started her journey as Lucy and didn’t let me change her name. But I have the most gorgeous cover–hot and sexy and all mine.

Back to the main topic: One of the presenters spoke about the biggest mistakes preventing just-authors from becoming best-selling authors.  Mistakes 1-3 and the remedies can be found in my previous post.

So, mistake #4.

The presenter promised to give beginner authors the best piece of advice, something they should do right away. I held my breath in anticipation. It turned out to be something inapplicable to me: to hire a small army of coaches and mentors for various aspects of your book. Well, why then not throw in some more money and find someone to write you a book? (This is me asking a rhetorical question.) Continue reading

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Shock Me, Baby

I’m still writing about that webinar from the last two posts, on how to become a profitable author in less than six months, which was directly connected to some online challenge you can take. I’m really thankful I had the opportunity to listen to the session.

In my first post I explained why this approach can’t work for me, but as I said before, such events are a gold mine for tips, suggestions, and some sound advice. The idea to revamp my last novel came after one such freebie in September.

Photo by Jon Eric Marababol on Unsplash

In any case, authors, particularly rookies, make various mistakes, but according to one presenter, there are four ‘shocking’ ones (no less!) preventing them from making money out of their passion.

They don’t seem that shocking to me (the title of his presentation sounded a bit like the ads for anti-wrinkle creams: “Shocking! An 80-year old grandma looks as if she is her own granddaughter!” Never mind that now.

On to shocking mistake no.1 Continue reading

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Book cover trends: Fabio is out of fashion!

One of the guest presenters in the free online event I watched in October was a guy who’s a big gun in book cover business. He talked about what you should never put on your book cover.

No scenes. No specific details (from the book, I guess). No drop shadow ( it looks too 1980-ish. Like Fabio Lanzoni.)

So, no Fabio Lanzoni (just joking.)

My parents, cca. 1960.

No eye contact (with the reader) performs better than eye contact. Partial faces (from nose down) are better than full faces.

Other common mistakes: Too much of anything.

“Singing in the rain.” The cute one

Expressions on the faces that show (or try to show) their relationship (I wasn’t sure I noted this one down totally right, but I think I know what he wanted to say.)

Don’t do it yourself unless you know what are you doing (know about cover design).

All this makes sense.

The idea of my PhD paleographer

Then he emphasized something that I should accept sooner rather than later since I have a reputation for being a difficult customer: Let the designer do her/his job.

“I survived the Battle of Blackwater”

Sure. Providing she/he cares about your book. When my first designer (for Blind Date) sent me a couple of her suggestions, I was disappointed. She missed capturing the essence of my story even though I sent her the summary, blurbs, and notes about the characters. One (semi-sepia) image had a middle-aged couple from the times of JFK’s administration, sitting on a bench. The second should’ve represented the idea of my PhD heroine with an IQ of 150, but suggested some cheap erotica. On the third image something was wrong with the woman’s facial proportions – her nose looked like a crossover between those of Lord Valdemort from the Harry Potter movies and Tyrion Lannister after the Battle of Blackwater. One was kind of cute — “Singing in the rain” — but again, it didn’t even hint at the passion and serious emotions of my stories.

And then they say I’m difficult.

The next four were my suggestions.





Continue reading

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You are the only one who can tell this story

In the last week of October, a week before NaNoWriMo, I got an opportunity to watch a series of presentations aiming to make a profitable author out of your shy, writing-for-the-pleasure-of-it self.  It was a five day event, each day sessions were free for 24 hours, or accessible forever, if you pay. Which was only fair, because the woman who put it together did a tremendous job.

There is a challenge you can take online to become a profitable author in a few months, and this event was some sort of warming up stage before the real workout. I’m not advertising for them so I can’t get into more details.

Unfortunately, I’m sure that, despite my sometimes inhuman determination, I won’t become a five- or six-figure author any time soon.

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

The problem is that lots of the things they suggest don’t work for me. I have a full-time job, and I’m a full-time mother. I haven’t slept six hours straight since my first child was born. I don’t have much of social life. I stopped watching TV long ago…

What looks achievable in theory–and probably works for some in practice–is different in reality for most of us. So no shortcuts to financial success for me, I’m afraid. I struggle with the most basic requirement: time for writing. If I can spare 4-5 hours per week for writing (I read for about two hours every day, but reading is not negotiable) my serotonin level immediately jumps up.

I don’t attend such events hoping to get a magic formula to do the impossible. I participate (when I have time, that is) because I can still benefit from them. The presenters are experts in their fields, and they know what they’re talking about. I learned many new and interesting tips, and heard lots of sound suggestions.

One participant, for example, talked about the three biggest misconceptions that prevent us from finishing our books. Here they are:  Continue reading

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