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Showing posts from January, 2015

Building Character with Kate Taylor from Star of the Team

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Hi everyone! Welcome to Building Character. I’d like to introduce you to Kate, the main character in STAR OF THE TEAM by Beverly Stowe McClure. Kate, can you tell us a little about you, please?
Hi, I’m Kate Taylor, eleven years old, and I live with my mom and older sister, Zoey. My mom’s also the coach for our basketball team, Angels.  I was all set for the new basketball season and to win a lot of games, then this new girl, Emily, showed up with an attitude, and we’ve had nothing but trouble since.
Uh oh, that doesn’t sound good. What kind of trouble? 
I have two major conflicts. The first is my tooth. It was knocked out at one of the games. The dentist replanted it but Mom’s afraid it’ll get knocked out again and won’t let me play until the tooth heals. By that time, the season will be over. Then there’s Emily. I don’t want to talk about her, but my mom seems to think she’s great at basketball. I guess she is good, but so am I, if I get the chance to prove it.
What are some of the b…

Best & Worst of What I Read in 2014

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Last week I posted one reason why it is important for writers to read a lot. So this week I thought I'd recap my 2014 reads.

According to my Goodreads shelf "Read in 2014" I read 105 books last year. I've been able to read more titles each year and I attribute that to my changing reading habits. Well, that and a bit of obsession. I do read a lot, but now you'll also often find me with my earbuds shoved in my ears and an audiobook playing. I really think that expanding the audiobook habit to when I'm cooking, driving (I play it through my stereo, I don't wear earbuds while driving - that's dangerous!), exercising has helped me add many more books to my completed shelf.

I'm not to fond of talking ill of books. Every book has an audience. I'm including these books on my worst list because I didn't enjoy them. Maybe it was the characterization. Perhaps the story was flat or difficult to follow. Whatever the reasons, they are my reasons and mig…

10 Steps to Editing Your Novel by Melanie Hooyenga

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Happy Friday! I'm really excited to have YA author, Melanie Hooyenga here to talk to us about her editing process. Ack! Editing is the bane of my existence and I'm thankful for all the tips I can get to make it a smoother process. So, click your fingers on your keyboard for a round of virtual applause to welcome Melanie to Strands of Thought! *** You did it! You finished writing an ENTIRE NOVEL! Turn off your computer, read a book—celebrate!
If you’ve ever written a full-length manuscript you know what a monumental feat it is to finally write those elusive words, The End. I’ve written five novels (plus one memoir that we don’t talk about) and typing those six little letters never gets old.
Give yourself a week off, then hunker down in your favorite chair because it’s time to work. Everyone edits differently, and what works for me may not work for you, but hopefully these tips will help you get through the dreaded phase of writing: EDITING.
1: The First Read The first time you…

Three Times A Charm with Ann T. Bugg

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Welcome to my feature, Three Times A Charm. I love to introduce readers to people involved in children’s publishing. Today we June Kramin with us. Younger readers will know her as Ann T. Bugg. June, can you share a little about yourself, please?
Ann T. Bugg is my pen name. I write women’s fiction under my name, June Kramin, and didn’t want to confuse the two genres. My nieces & nephews as well as my friends’ children have always called me Auntie Bug, so I adapted a variation of that. I’m the self-proclaimed Queen of my castle in northern Minnesota, where I live with my Knight in shining armor (who has come to my rescue more than once) and my own little Princess Valerie, who inspired me to write these tales.
Very cute story behind your pen name. Can we hear more about your children’s books?
My middle grade series is titled Before Happily Ever After. They are familiar fairy tales & folklore with a fun and exciting twist that only Valerie & Samantha can deliver. Each book brin…

Why Writers Should Read A Lot

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When asked what advice I have for beginning writers I usually include, “Read a lot.” I truly believe it’s an important step to developing your own writing voice. The funny thing is I no longer consider myself a beginning writer – I’d probably classify myself as emerging. Yet I’ve realized the advice is still valid.
Recently I’ve had a run of what I consider lackluster books. The writing is decent. The plots are fine. But in the end there isn’t enough to really make me want to talk about them to anyone. Maybe there is little or no chemistry between the characters. Usually there are no surprises.
I almost always read through to the end of these books, hoping something will happen to redeem them in the end. Then when it doesn’t I’m left feeling like it was a waste of my very precious reading time to have invested in a “formula” story. Guess what. It wasn’t a waste at all!
This is the exciting part…
As I’m reading stories that hold little of my attention, I’m mentally skimming my own wo…

Cover Reveal - Southern Fried Wiccan

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Today I'm shining the spotlight on an upcoming young adult book, SOUTHERN FRIED WICCAN by Susan Sipal. When this book piques your interest, be sure to stay in touch with Susan so you don't miss the March release date!
About the book
Cilla Swaney is thrilled to return stateside, where she can hang up her military-brat boots for good. Finally, she’ll be free to explore her own interests—magick and Wicca. But when she arrives at her grandma’s farm, Cilla discovers that life in the South isn’t quite what she expected. At least while country hopping, she never had to drink G-ma’s crazy fermented concoctions, attend church youth group, make co-op deliveries...or share her locker with a snake-loving, fire-lighting, grimoire-stealing Goth girl…
…Who later invites her to a coven that Cilla’s not sure she has the guts to attend. But then Emilio, the dark-haired hottie from her charter school, shows up and awakens her inner goddess. Finally, Cilla starts believing in her ability to conj…

Author Angela Brown - Sharing the Why

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The other day I was browsing Facebook and saw a post with my buddy Angela Brown's name in the title, so I clicked. Holy cow. I'm glad I did. She's got new covers for her new adult Shadow Jumper books and I'm so in love with them, I contacted her immediately and said something like, "Please visit my blog so I can share them with the world, too!" She graciously agreed to share the why of the new covers. A very interesting story. Take it away, Angela.
Thanks for having me here, Kai, and for the chance to share some of the background for some changes recently made to my Shadow Jumpers series.
Let me start by saying that changing the covers wasn’t an overnight whim.
This originated from me, as an author, accepting that I needed a little help (okay, a LOT) with my brand for my Shadow Jumpers series. I knew something was off so I reached out to a PR specialist for a consultation. She and I did some walk-throughs of my blog, my Facebook and my covers. One of the main…

Want to go viral? Make your message easy to share

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Frustrated that news of your book hasn’t gone viral? If you want people to share your message you have to keep it simple for them. Even if they are willing to, you should never expect them to shorten your links or read through your entire book blurb and come up with a catchy phrase to sell your book. There have been plenty of times I wanted to share info about someone’s book, but I just didn’t have the time to do the work for them. Nor did I have the understanding about their book to come up with a catchy phrase.
If you aren’t familiar with the websites that shorten urls, there are a few out there that are free and very easy to use. I use bitly.com (https://bitly.com/a/bitlinks). I like that they track the number of clicks on your link, show you when people clicked so you can get an idea of the best time to share as well as what kind of message gets the most engagement. They even allow you to create bundles so you can share links to your book series with one shortened url. I’ve even …

I Live In A Doghouse by Beverly Stowe McClure

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A big congratulations to wonderful author and my precious critique partner, Beverly Stowe McClure on the release of her newest middle grade book, I LIVE IN A DOGHOUSE.
Eleven-year-old Nick Cassidy's stepsister delights in calling him gross names. His half-sister loves for Nick to push her in the stroller, to his embarrassment. What if the guys from school see him? All Nick wants is his father to come back and take him away from this crazy family. Is it any wonder he sometimes lives in the doghouse? I LIVE IN A DOGHOUSE is the story of a boy's struggles to accept his new family while he longs for the old. When his father finally returns, will Nick's dreams come true? Or will he discover that memories sometimes are faulty, and it’s best to forget the past and treasure the present? ### Beverly, tell us what inspired I LIVE IN A DOGHOUSE.      One night when I was having trouble sleeping, a little voice whispered in my ear. This happens to me a lot. I'm not crazy, though some …

Insecure Writer's Support Group - Throwing My Hat Into Their Ring

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I have decided to join forces with this dynamic group. I've lurked on their Facebook page and through their blog posts for a few years now, but this year I thought I needed to play a more active role in their community. 

First, a little about them. Insecure Writer's Support Group was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. His awesome co-hosts for today's posting of the IWSG are Elizabeth Seckman,Lisa Buie-Collard,Chrys Fey, and Michelle Wallace!

Now to introduce myself:

I'm Kai Strand. I write fiction for kids and teens. I coordinate LIGHTNING QUICK READS, a multi-author short story blog, I'm a mother of four. A wife of one. I hate to touch raw meat, and I'm a Mozart fangirl.

On to the insecurity:

You might wonder why, after seeing the publication of nine books, I'm only now joining a group for insecure writers. It would be a valid question. I assure you that I've gained all sorts of knowledge and confidence in regards to my writing career. However, I've also…

Three Times A Charm with John S. McFarland

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Welcome to the 2015 version of Three Times A Charm. Each year I add some new questions to freshen up the interview and keep some of the old favorites. Our first guest of the year is John McFarland.
Thanks for joining us, John. Would you please tell us a little about yourself?
My first novel, an historical horror story, The Black Garden was published in 2010 to universal praise. My work has appeared in The Twilight Zone Magazine, Eldritch Tales, National Lampoon, River Styx, Tornado Alley, and in the anthology, A Treasury of American Horror Stories. I have written extensively for magazines and newspapers on historical and arts-related subjects and have been a guest lecturer in fiction at Washington University in St. Louis. I admit it, I am a lifelong Bigfoot enthusiast, or at least I have been since the age of ten when I discovered a story on them in one of my grandmother’s magazines. Annette: A Big, Hairy Mom is his first novel for young readers.
Please tell our readers about Annette: …

New Year Project

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Happy New Year!

Hope this post finds you happy and healthy with warm fuzzies about 2014 and big plans for 2015.

This year I'm joining forces with several other authors to bring you a new short story blog. LIGHTNING QUICK READS is a themed blog. Every month each author interprets the theme their own way and presents it to you in a shiny, pretty, and original short story. I can't wait to discover the differences. My first story MAY THE SMARTER VILLAIN WIN is up for your reading pleasure. I hope you'll read and enjoy. Subscribe via email while you are there and the pretty posts will show up automatically. Plus, we'd love for you like our Facebook page.

Cheers to new projects in the New Year. What new things are you tackling in 2015?