Thursday, October 8, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 120 - Craft Talk Thursday

Neil Gaiman on Writing and the Arts 

This is a great speech! Some of the best advice you'll ever hear on finding your purpose and then walking in it. 

Whatever you want to do, whoever you want to be, you will be inspired. 

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 119 -- What's New Wednesday

What's New Wednesday -- A New Writing Tool

So, I came across an article on writing tools for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I found out about this new tool because I love hearing about new tools. 

This one is called Storyist.

If it looks familiar, it should. It's a WHOLE lot like SCRIVENER which is my personal favorite. What made me give this one a second look is the outlining tool and the character tracking tool. 

The outline looks more like the standard outline we've become accustomed to using in school and work. And the character tool looks really neat because it show's pictures. Scrivener may do that as well but I don't think the interface looks the same on that feature. 

Also, I have Final Draft and their Screenwriting tool looks as if it operates a lot like Final Draft, providing automated formatting and prompts. Another feature which may be on Scrivener but I've never used it. The storyboarding feature using notecards is what keeps me using Scrivener. I find it easier to think about my plots that way for some reason. 

Anyway, if you're looking for a Scrivener-esque tool and you're not down with Scrivener then check out Storyist. It's available on Mac for the low low price of $59! 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 117 - Rebranding: The Trouble with Amazon...

Those who have been following my blog for the past few months know that I have rebranded my series with new covers, new titles, and new proofreading from a new editor. The reason I rebranded was to give the series the best chance for survival -- my other covers and titles were very self indulgent and while they made me happy, they were not created with the audience in mind.

Time to make a change before I finished books 4 and 5.

On Amazon's site, they tell you to upload new files. They also say that your files will automatically update. In my mind this meant that no matter who had previously purchased my book, they would get all updates and changes, the updated manuscript, the updated cover, etc.


I checked the books on my Kindle last week, just because I had five minutes of free space to think finally and I found out it was not so. The books had not been updated. They didn't have the new manuscripts and even when I deleted and reloaded the books and the new covers appeared, the old manuscript was still on the interior. Talk about frustrated!

So, I've been embroiled in business drama the past few days with Amazon over my rebranding and updates to my books and I thought I would share for the good of the order.

Lessons Learned.
  1. When you make updates to your Amazon manuscript, correct typos, etc, -- they will show up in newly purchased books they DO NOT automatically show up in previously purchased books--even if you have Automatic Updates activated. 
  2. Automatic updates DO NOT WORK -- 
  3. Amazon said they are trying to fix the problem. But based on the response to one of my emails I believe they can allow Automatic Updates but they choose only to do so under approved situations because they don't want to impact the customer experience (i.e., mess up their bookmarks, highlights, etc.). 
  4. The only way to get your manuscript updated in previous purchases is to do the following: 
    • Make actual grammatical changes, fix typos, etc.; 
    • Be prepared to Amazon provide 5-10 examples of the typos, grammatical issues you corrected; 
    • Contact Amazon customer service through the help menu and tell them you would like to update the manuscript; 
    • They will review and make changes within 3-5 days if they deem them necessary. Again, if you depend on Automatic Updates--it will not work. 
    • They offer one of three possible solutions: 
      • "Corrections to distracting errors. If we find only minor
        corrections,  we won't notify customers by e-mail, but we'll activate their
        ability to update the content through the “Manage Your Content and Devices” page

        Corrections to destructive or critical errors. If we find
        major corrections, we'll alert the customers who already own your book via
        email. These customers have the option to use the “Manage Your Content and
        Devices” page on to receive your book updates.

        Corrections to critical errors needed. If we find more major corrections are needed, we will
        temporarily remove your book from sale. We’ll notify you of the issues we found
        so you can fix them. Once the improvements are made, just let us know and we’ll
        email customers just like we do for major corrections.
  5. If you change book covers and titles alone and make no updates to the manuscript (even if you change the title page) Amazon WILL NOT change/update an previously sold books with the new covers or the new title pages. They will be available for new purchases. The old purchases WILL NOT get updated even if you ask--there must be corrected grammatical errors. 
I'm going to post this on the KDP board so authors will know but I hope this helps someone avoid these issues.

Follow me on Twitter: 

Monday, October 5, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 115 -- Motivation Monday

Motivation Monday -- Author Spotlight

So, I fell in love with an author this weekend...sort of. She's my new author She-Ro. 

I was watching a 6 hour long seminar on Romance Fiction and this author was a featured panelist. I soaked in every word she said. She's feisty and open and honest and blunt. She could be a heroine in a J.J. McCall novel -- pretty kick ass, blunt, and all about the art of writing and the business of selling books. 

This made me hunt her down in every form I could -- I bought books. I read web interviews, blog interviews, youtube videos, you name it, I tried to hunt it down. 

This video is one that every indie author should watch. Not just because she's a NY Times Bestselling Indie Author but because it's clear she LOVES writing and understands the business. My biggest lesson learned from her this weekend is patience! Patience with the process. Patience in building up your backlist. Get ahead of the game and you have a better chance of staying ahead. 

If this doesn't motivate you, you can't be motivated. Watch and learn. 

Follow me on Twitter: 

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 114 -- Good News & Bad News

Anything Sunday

In under the wire. Trying to get back on schedule and this is going to go in just before 5:42.

So, I have good news.

Bad News:  I have decided to postpone the publication of Book #4--Joint Deception. I will keep you updated on the publication date but there is a good REALLY reason.

I don't want readers to have to wait a year between books 4 & 5. So, I will publish 4 & 5 really really close together. The reason is the ending for Book 4. It would be torturous to do it any other way.

Good News: I've got the concept for Book 5--including the beginning, middle, and ending, the title (FINALLY), and I'm ordering the cover today! I will do a cover reveal in two weeks when it's finished. And both books should be out by May/June. But tuned for updates.

Follow me on Twitter: 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 113 -- Hot Links Saturday

Hot Links Saturday -- Top 5 Publishing Links 

The Traditional Publishing Industry is Killing Books

For those who think of Traditional Publishing as a 5-headed monster, you will love this article. It talks about the lack of diversity, underpaid authors, overly strict adherence to genre and a host of other issues. I probably fall in the center on this issue--there are good and bad things, alike. But this is an interesting read. 
Yep. I would agree. I've yet to see an Amazon bestseller. BUT -- I do like their business model for authors. They just need the right book. 
Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. 

Writers: You Must Finish Your Book

And Yes. 

The Library Market: What Indie Authors Need to Know

Very interesting article. I've had some success in this area with my YA novels. Definitely a must read for indie authors. 

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365 Day Blogathon - Day 111 -- Fiction Friday -- The Sunday Times 50 Best Crime and Thriller Books

The Sunday Times 50 Best Crime and Thriller Books

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 110 -- Craft Talk Thursday

Thought I'd share one of my favorite videos on craft. This is author Anne Rice and she gives some of the best advice on writing from any author I've seen. I'd love to take a masterclass or workshop from her. 

If you haven't see this yet, it's a must watch. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon -- Day 109 -- What's New Wednesday

Anyone who saw this before today and didn't tell me is on my list. I now own all of Apples' products except an iMac, Apple TV and these: Apple iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.

Having read Steve Jobs' biography twice, I cannot help but think he's turning over in  his grave now BUT man does that iPad Pro and Apple Pencil look like total and complete awesomeness for writers.

Check this out.

Follow me on Twitter: 

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 108 -- Ad Talk Tuesday

Marketing Talk 

Keeping it short today because I'm pooped and I got my copy of Writer's Digest so I want to read. For the next 4 days I'll be in a writing frenzy trying to get this romance finished so I can get back to Book 4. I figured out the plot and am now dying to write it. 

Marketing News 

Publisher's Weekly published a great article about Book Marketing which is a must read so I'm sharing it here. Marketing has certainly evolved since I got into the biz and this article kind of discusses that evolution and introduces some new tools. 

Book Marketing 201 Marketing self-published books requires leveraging both new tools and tried-and-true strategies

A New Tool

Book Grabbr

So, this tool sounds like Bublish. You share your book on social networks...and those who grab your books share it...and they share it...and so on and so on. Whereas most services only track the initial click/share, Book Grabbr seems to track the entire pyramid.  How much is that worth to an author? I don't know. I mean, if there were some guaranteed readers it might be worth it but it sounds like once your book is in the tool, you're on your own. Also, it sounds a lot more expensive than most tools and it requires you to share your entire book on social media. I don't know how many authors have bought into this but it maybe worth the money for some people. As for me, $25 a month for ANOTHER tool is more than I'm willing to bite off each month but for those of you interested--check out the link and the video on the landing page.

Until tomorrow.

Follow me on Twitter: 

Monday, September 28, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 107 -- Motivation Monday

Motivation Monday -- An Author's Story 
I decided to post a video today from NY Times and USA Today Bestselling author Cassia Leo -- from practically homeless to best seller. Definitely a video worth watching!

Behind the Cover: Cassia Leo
She was almost homeless, but best-selling author Cassia Leo had nowhere to go but up after countless obstacles. Watch her story:
Posted by Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing on Friday, May 15, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 106 -- Anything Goes Sunday - #MdC3Con


Sorry I'm late but talk about pooped! I attended the Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity (C3) conference for readers and authors the first time this year.

What a well put together event (some of the organizers to the right).

This was my first year attending this event in Hunt Valley, Maryland, but it was fantastic. Three full days of great workshops, discussions about books and writing, and keynote speeches from fantastic authors such as Heather Graham, F. Paul Wilson, and Andy Straka...and yours truly.  I was truly amazed at how gracious and welcoming all the authors were. Heather Graham was as down to earth was so down to earth and friendly with EVERYONE...if I had not been the introvert that I am I would've spent more time picking her brilliant brain.

They held sessions on everything from writing national intelligence and law enforcement realistically, writing diverse characters, writing in mixed genre, writing humor in murder mysteries, and just a host of other seminars. You can find the full schedule on the link below. There was something for everyone. And as an author, what I loved about this the most is that all exhibiting authors are asked to participate in panels. It's not just the star authors. So everyone gets exposure to discuss their work. Everyone gets to talk to readers and share their knowledge, no matter what level you are within your career.

All the meals were included in the fee so we ate heartily...and a lot. And I love the set up of the conference because it encourages everyone to get together to talk.

Heather Graham's keynote speech was was everyone else's but I was particular to her insights and observations about the industry since she's been in the game for so long. Great success and longevity. She held a workshop and gave away free books at the end. I snapped up one and will be curling up with it this week. Can't wait.

Mostly, I came away feeling as if I learned a lot about writing process and the industry in general. The sessions were all informative and encouraged a very rich dialogue from both the audience and the speakers so they felt less like panel discussions and more like roundtables.

I highly recommend this event to readers and writers alike.

Next year, the event will be held on September 30 - October 2, 2016! If you'd like to sign up to be an exhibiting author or attend as a reader or writer, sign up here.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 105 -- Hot Links Saturday

Hot Links Saturday - Top 5 Publishing Stories 

German author will self-publish the English version of her latest Mirrorworld novel, The Golden Yarn, after refusing changes suggested by her American publisher

There's some awesomeness in this. Much has been said about what self publishing does for indie authors. Well, self publishing is even giving traditionally published authors flexibility and a new level of freedom. Don't like your editor's changes? Put it out yourself. Check out this story. Interesting indeed! 

No ebook sales are NOT falling, despite what publishers say 

Nun said. But it's an interesting read from Fortune. 

And from the Huffington Post...

11 Simple Reasons the Ebook Doomsayers are Wrong

I still love print books...but it's easier for me to read with a backlit Kindle. Because I'm blind. 

7 Ways to Write a Better Selling Book 

Good tips. Not much new but good reinforcement. 

Some interesting tips on Facebook, Thunderclap, and other activities. Definitely worth reading!


Friday, September 25, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 104 -- Best of S.D. Skye -- Out of Order, Perfect Order

This is one of those pieces of advice that I preach but have to remind myself to follow. Right now, I'm working on Book 2 in my J.J. McCall Series. No kidding, every single day a new idea for a scene pops into my head, but they are scenes for the end of the book. I'm roughly in the middle. So, what happens is my ideas fill up my head while I hurry to catch up the story so I can write these GREAT scenes.

And then it inevitably occurs to me...why are you waiting? Why are you so focused on writing this book in order?

There is no rule that says you have to write a novel in any kind of order. You should write each scene as it comes to you. Keep in mind that scenes can be shifted around. If you're like me and use Scrivener, your novel is built in scenes and shifting a scene from one place to another requires little more than two mouse clicks.

So, go ahead and write OUT OF ORDER keeping in mind, that you can write nothing that can't be fixed later...and it all adds to the ultimate page/word count. Moreover, getting those great scenes out of your head will make more room for ideas in the scenes you've yet to write.

I started writing the book out of order and quickly got 5,000 words out of my head. I see smooth sailing from here!

Follow me on Twitter: 
Like me on Facebook: 

S.D. Skye 's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 103 -- Best of S.D. Skye - Embrace Your Crap!

I'm a perfectionist to a fault. I absolutely HATE to make mistakes. From my elementary school days, I wanted to be right the first time. I wanted to earn straight A's in school. B's were depressing. C's unheard of. And I worked really hard to sustain my perfectionism over the years. I've carried that "do it right or die trying" work ethic with me through every assignment, through every degree, through every job, and every undertaking, even into writing.

When I wrote my first book, I was fortnately too stupid, inexperienced, and naive to know that I was writing crap. This blissful ignorance allowed me to finish my first draft in 4 months.

When I was done, you would have thought I'd written the next American classic.

And then came the critiques. O-M-G! You don't know pain until someone hates  your book. And I went through about 30 hours of labor giving birth to my son. That was nothing to compared to the piercing stab in the heart I felt when someone body had the audacity to "diss" my masterpiece.

I never let the criticism stop me from writing or discourage me from my goal of "authordom" but it shifted my perfectionism into 5th gear.

I refused to make a "mistake." So what happened, I finished my first book (which actually was  acquired by a big six publisher), and then went on to write the sequel.

I wrote. Hit a road block. Wrote. Hit a road block. Wrote. Hit a road block....and so on. What a God-awful cycle of uselessness.

Couldn't finish that book for the life of me. I was over two months in and not even close to finishing. With my first book, I was over the half-way mark at that same point.

So, I did what every writer does at this point. Drowned my sorrows in two pints of Ben & Jerry's and a fifth of Grey Goose. Then I took some time to read. Someone, I think Terry McMillan, had actually mentioned the book on her Facebook fan page. She told us aspiring authors to read Ann Lamott's Bird by Bird. A few other writers had recommended it as well, so I decided I'd just read a book on craft.

One chapter in that book saved my entire writing career. "Sh!tty First Drafts."

I started reading and I couldn't believe Ann had given me, Miss Perfectionist, permission to suck! Me? Suck? Really? And it's, like...okay?


Her message was pretty basic, write sh!t so you can finish your first draft. Then go back and clean it up.

I felt liberated. Freed. It didn't have to perfect on the first go 'round. And I have to tell you. I've learned more lessons on the writing craft from my rewrites than I EVER learned from writing a first draft.

So, now I offer the same advice to you. Embrace your crap! It's okay to write a sh!tty first draft. And it's actually, it's okay to write a sh!tty second draft. As I learned while writing my latest release, your 5th and 6th drafts can be pretty crappy too (although they should be better than the first). The point, my darlings, is to get the FINAL draft right...and learn everything you can to become a better writer along the way.

Have you learned to embrace your crap?

Follow me on Twitter: 
Like me on Facebook: 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365 Day Blogathon Day 102 -- Repost: 3 Must Read Books on Writer Thrillers and Suspense Novels

Due to my hectic schedule this week, I'm re-running some of the most popular blogs on the site which may be old to some and new to others.

As for the GREAT JJ Giveaway, I think I'm going to go ahead and award to the FIRST person to leave a comment on the blog due to the "overwhelming" response (not). I'm guessing everyone who visits my blog already owns all the JJ Novels and don't need autographed copies and previews of the next two...except one LUCKY reader.

So, congratulation Jim Wyatt! You are the GREAT JJ GIVEAWAY inner. More details to come via email. 

Now on to the

Although I'm not new to the publishing world, I am very much new to the suspense/thriller genre. Just after I finished writing The Bigot List: A J.J. McCall Novel and started getting feedback from the Beta readers, I realized I might have some major revisions. While the readers said they "love, love, love" the story and couldn't wait for the next installment (and one of the Beta readers didn't know me), an agent had a less than pleasing reaction. He said that it was well written but it didn't have the same feel that other books of this ilk usually have. And so I really took some time to chew on his comments.

Fact of the matter is, I'd never written one. And understand that as someone who works in the law enforcement business, it is very difficult to read some thrillers, not because they aren't wonderful, entertaining books that shouldn't be on the NY Times Bestseller list, but because of the "eye-roll" factor. I can't tell you how many times it makes my eye-roll when people write FBI and CIA characters who operate so much differently from the people you've worked side by side with for almost 20 years. I can't control the "eye-roll" and it's hard to find books that don't make that happen. So, I can't say I'm a carnivorous consumer of the genre. But when I do find one that I like...I really like it. I just couldn't always figure out the why?

Why did the book draw me in? Why did I keep turning the pages? Why did I stay up until three am when I knew I had to get up at 5? Whyyyyy?

I'd written romantic comedies and romance novels that were page-turners but the stories were far less complex, involved fewer characters and they were written in first-person. If a reader empathizes and connects with the character, it's not hard to figure out why they want to find out what happened to them.

In this case, I couldn't write the book in first-person to get that connection so I had to figure out another way to make the story work. At first I was determined to "figure it out" on my own, doing several blind revisions based on the less than an ounce of knowledge I had about writing these kinds of novels.


After that didn't work, I decided to get some help from the experts. I bought just about every book on writing mysteries, thrillers, and suspense novels that I could find and read all of them within a few days. Maybe a week. What I didn't know about the craft could fill Yankee Stadium. LOL  I had no idea how clueless I really was. Sometimes, you can't (and shouldn't) just wing it. Sometimes you need a little guidance to lead you in the right direction. Here are the books that gave me the most effective advice.

This was a really good book. I thought it might be a little dry and tough to choke down but I was very wrong. Entertaining and informative (or the other way around), this is well worth the money. It really hammered home the idea of ensuring each scene has some conflict. If everything is going your main character's way, there is no suspense. No, for the better part of your story, things my not go well. Even if there are small victories, the big ones must not be one until the end.

If there was one book that kind of hammers home the lessons of the above AND goes more into detail about the chapter and book structure AND characterization, this is probably it. I would recommend this book if your book buying budget is tight and you could only buy one. The tone is entertaining. The voice isn't preachy. It's a really nice easy read and I finished it in about a day. this isn't EXACTLY a book on the thriller writing craft per se. This is actually a book on writing screenplays if you didn't know. But what I loved about this is that he gives a great lesson how to make your unlikable heroes and heroines likeable. For example, why do we love bad guys like in the Oceans movies? Okay besides George Clooney. And Brad Pitt. And, well, need I go on? But the point is that these are people who steal for a living. So why do we connect with the characters, particularly Ocean, who has orchestrated this whole deal. Midway into the movie we find out he has a more noble mission--to save the wife he loves from a man who doesn't really love her so that he can love her. From that point on you're  totally rooting for the success of the heist--a crime. Save.The.Cat.

So these are my must-reads on craft. I bought a few others but these are the ones that really stood out as helping me make the best revisions.

What books on craft have helped you write/revise your story?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon -- Day 101 -- Best of S.D. Skye -- Make it WORSE

Due to my hectic schedule this week, I'm re-running some of the most popular blogs on the site which may be old to some and new to others.

Don't forget the GREAT JJ BOOK GIVEAWAY!! Full details here. 

Just leave a comment on days 100-107 to enter (up to one comment per day). Win ALL 5 BOOKS OF THE JJ MCCALL SPY CATCHER SERIES. This includes the current 3 books AND Advanced Reader Copies at the last two books. You'll know how the series ends before EVERYBODY! Junior will draw the name and I will announce the winner on the site on Day 108.

This blog, with 3,000 views less than yesterday's, has the 2nd highest number of reads. Enjoy! 

Best Writing Advice #1

A  few years ago, when editing my first novel, I bought a book called Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyons. I didn't have a lot of money to spring for a freelance editor at the time so I tried to do as much as I could myself. But as a newbie to writing fiction, what I didn't and still don't know about writing could fill FedEx Field. So, I bought just about every book on the market because perfectionist that I am, I didn't want to miss anything. (Yeah, I was so naive). This one remains among my favorites and I refer to it often.

Anyway, one piece of advice in this book gave me a big "Aha" moment, probably one of the biggest in my writing career, and stuck with me like superglue. This single piece of advice has helped me  consistently craft page-turning novels.


When you're faced with the choice between keeping your character in a "safe space" and intensifying the drama--intensify the drama. Ratchet up the pain! And look for places to do that scene by scene. And this works for any genre, not just suspense and thrillers.

I have a tendency to impose my own fears on my characters. You ever do that? When writing scenes you can physically feel the twinge, the discomfort. So instead of pushing through that pain and doing what I call "writing up" you "write-down" to make yourself AND the character more comfortable. Or even worse, you resist the ratchet in order to make the reaction more "realistic." Screw comfort and realism.They only make the book less exciting and less enjoyable for the reader, or as Ms. Lyons calls it--Flatline.

Don't let your stories flatline, rather take it to the next level. The worse you make it on your characters, the better you make it on your readers.

The practical lesson.

So, in this scene I was crafting for my very first novel, my character, a woman in emotional turmoil over a bad relationship break up a few days before, walks by a bedroom and sees a freshly showered naked Adonis toweling himself off; he's her client. I could write her walking by the room, all aflutter, containing her desire as she should--playing it safe. OR she could step into the room and see what happens. Well, at first I had her walking by the room all aflutter--boooring. But after reading Ms. Lyons' book, she walks in the room--and they go all the way. And this extreme action is the ONE scene about which I get the most "angry reader" emails.  

How could she do that?! 
I couldn't believe it! 

The reader bought into her turmoil, they bought into her drastic decision, and they kept reading to see how it would end. Then they got so emotional they wrote me an email.

My work is done.


Stay-tuned.  More to come.

Follow me on Twitter: 
Like me on Facebook: 

Monday, September 21, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 100 -- Best of S.D. Skye -- Excite Your...Self?

Due to my hectic schedule this week, I'm re-running some of the most popular blogs on the site which may be old to some and new to others. 

Don't forget the GREAT JJ BOOK GIVEAWAY!! Full details here. 

Just leave a comment on days 100-107 to enter (up to one comment per day). Win ALL 5 BOOKS OF THE JJ MCCALL SPY CATCHER SERIES. This includes the current 3 books AND Advanced Reader Copies at the last two books. You'll know how the series ends before EVERYBODY! Junior will draw the name and I will announce the winner on the site on Day 108. 

Now, here's the most popular I read the title, it's probably due to "mistaken identity." :)

Yes, that's right. Excite yourself.

Okay, let me explain. After writing the first book in my J.J. McCall Series, some of the scenes left me a little flat. I mean, they were okay and certainly fit the story but I found myself wanting to put down my own story. And I figured if I wanted to put it down and stop reading, so would the reader. What do you do when you're less than thrilled about your own writing?

About this time, a video of an Ann Rice interview was circulating on the web (it's on YouTube) and she offered one of the best pieces of advice I've ever read from another author. Or maybe it was just timely. Anyway, she essentially suggested that we should read the scene and ask ourselves "What can I write to keep myself interested? What could I write to excite myself?" It sounds simple, but it's not when you're in the midst of your muck. Writers are not so different from readers, right? As a matter of fact, we ARE readers (or better be). If you write a twist or hook or make your character do something that keeps YOU from putting your book down, 9 times out of 10, it will do the same for the reader.

So when you get stuck on a lackluster or seemingly boring scene, think about what would make it more interesting for you...and then EXCITE YOURSELF!!

Follow me on Twitter: 
Like me on Facebook: 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 99 -- Novel Spaces

Does your writing space matter? 

I'm not a persnickety writer by any stretch
of the imagination but I think the older I get the more it matters.

I've had a tough time settling my mind down from the 9 to 5 work lately. I mean, struggled like no other time in my writing life. I used to be able to shut it all off an get lost. But now it's harder to de-stimulate my brain. Friday I came home sat at in my living room for 3 or 4 hours without touching the remote control. Before I realized the TV wasn't on, the room was dark and it was bedtime. And my brain was just then quieting down so I could think like a semi-sane person. 

I decided to take advantage of my developments "dumpster days" (when they park two big dumpsters so we can get rid of our junk) and I cleaned out my 4th bedroom.

With an achy back, two sore knees, wrists, hands, and $400 spent at IKEA, Junior and I spent today turning the former storage room into what we call the "executive suite" (quiet room). 

The idea was to create the only room in my house without a television. A place to go, write, think, relax, nap, etc. For me, I suspect I'll be doing a lot of writing in there, especially on rainy days. It's on the top floor and you can hear the rain tap on the room. Now that I think about it, there will probably be a lot of napping. 

I'll share pictures when it's all finished. Nothing fancy. We bought a couple of side tables, a laptop desk, two cheap TV/bookstands, a couple of lamps, and spacious futon so that the room can double as a second guest bedroom (only when absolutely necessary--like most introverts, I don't host a lot of guests). 

I can't wait to see if it helps. If not, it should be a great place to sit. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 98 -- Hot Links Saturday

Hot Links Saturday -- Week's Top 5 Publishing Links

What I learned from Self Publishing

Very good article that says a lot of the same stuff other articles do but we need constant reminders. And YES to everything said. 

Lessons on Self Publishing from a NY Times Bestseller

More YES to it all. Interesting story...sounds a lot like mine minus the NY Bestseller part. :) (We must keep our senses of humor about these things.) 

What Your Favorite Book Genre Says About Your Personality 

Don't know if reading and writing both apply, but interesting insights, nonetheless. Mystery/Thriller and Romance for me...probably some truth. Although I wonder what it says about me that I read and write in both genres. I think it says I'm nuts. 

How do you determine how much an ebook should cost?

Interesting insights. Worth the read. 

Dear Self Published Author, Please do not Publish Four Books a Year 

Can I just call bullshit on this right now? So as not to leave any doubt about where I stand on the issue. I'd like to write an article titled "Stay in Your Lane and Quit Worrying about What or How Often Other Authors Write." How about that???  

What I can't stand in this industry are these over-privileged literary snobs who look down from their lofty perches on high and crap on other authors' work. If you don't like it, don't read it. Don't tell them how to time their publishing or put food on the table in their homes. 

If you CAN write four books a year,  by golly you should. If you have the machine to self-publish four books a year--go for it.  I would go nuts taking 2 or 3 years to finish one book. Two books a year is what it takes to keep me in a good writing rhythm and allows me to release my creativity and continuously get interested in new ideas. But if I was doing it full time, 4 would not be out of the question...because I have that kind of work ethic. Four of my hours working on a book are very different from 4 of another author's hours, and the author of this article doesn't take that into account. We are not the same. We have different rhythms, different work ethic, different talent levels. 

Those who can should. Those who can't shouldn't.  

Dear Self Published Author -- Do YOU!