Tag Archives: Caster’s Unfriendly Ghost

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Making the Most of Twitter

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ A list of handy Twitter tips

Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…

TWoMinuteTip

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

 

Tips to get noticed, get retweets, gain followers, or to simply make your Twitter life easier:

  • Although Twitter allows 140 characters, it’s best to not use them all. Shorter tweets are more effective.
  • As everyone knows by now, tweets with images get more notice
  • Ask people to retweet you. The most effective way is to simply add: Please Retweet
  • Use no more than TWO hashtags. More looks spammy
  • Size matters… Images that are smaller than 440 x 222 will not show up in your timeline, only a link to the image does. The max image size is 3MB
  • If you do not want people to tag you without your permission, you can go to your Twitter Privacy settings and specify the tagging you wish to allow. You can remove tags by going to the … ‘more’ beneath a tweet and select ‘remove tag from photo’
  • Use #tweetchat to set up chats by using an exclusive hashtag. I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m going to. Worth a shot, right? http://tweetchat.com/
  • This is more than just a Twitter tip. I’m not sure I understand exactly, but from what I’ve read, it’s worth checking into. It is a service that you can use to trigger actions throughout various web/social media services. It’s more than just linking Facebook and Twitter. There seems to be a number of amazing things you can do with it. IFTTT http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2424077,00.asp
  • Did you know Twitter backs up everything you tweet? In settings there is a “Request your archive” option. You will receive an email containing a link to download a ZIP file of your tweets.
  • Track the clicks you get on links you share. Many sites provide this service, for example, Clicktotweet provides full analytics on clicks from your followers. You can also click the Gear icon on Twitter.com and select “Twitter Ads” for a quick look at how many people clicked the links in your recent tweets.
  • To share an image of a tweet on other social media outlets, or blogs, etc, use the ‘embed’ feature. Click on … more and choose ‘embed’ to get the code.   
  • Direct link to FB post or Tweet –  Click the ‘more’ and an option to ‘copy link to tweet’ will come up.
  • Retweet for others frequently. The more you do, the more others are likely to RT you.
  • If you wish to add an image to a composed tweet so that, when others share the tweet (copy and paste the content, not share a link), an image will appear, you’ll want to use Hoosuite. (A tip…I always try to keep all my links somewhere to refer to. Once you have an image link, you can use it over and over again.) Send out a tweet containing the image. Go to Hootsuite and find the tweet in your feed. Below the tweet, find the ‘retweet’ option and click on the drop down arrow. An option will come up to ‘edit.’ Choose that option and your tweet will appear in a box at the top of the page. The very last link in that box should be your image link. Copy that and insert it into a tweet and the image should show up.
  • Find and gain more followers by using http://twiends.com/home
  • Tweet the same content multiple times. The lifespan of a tweet is about 18 minutes. To increase the likelihood of a tweet being seen, tweet out the same tweet multiple times in one day. I wouldn’t do this to several tweets, but if there is something in particular you want to be seen, focus on tweeting it several times. This is when Buffer and Hootsuite will come in handy. You’ll need to make some minor tweaks so you won’t get a message that you’ve already sent that tweet. 
  • Add questions in your retweets and/or tweets to increase engagement and visibility. You can also create polls for more interaction. 
  • I’ll end with a list of the most retweetable words:

You

Twitter

Please

ReTweet

Post

Blog

Social

Free

Media

Help

Please retweet

Great

Social Media

10

Follow

How to

Top

Blog post

Check out

New blog post

(words to avoid, for some reason, ‘Game’, ‘going’, ‘haha’ and ‘lol’)

Until next time…Happy Tweeting!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

ONLY 99 cents!! 

(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)

2 minute writing tip final

 

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

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16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

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8 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor, Tuesday Two-Minute Tips

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – The Backstory Conundrum

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ How and when to share backstory 

Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…

TWoMinuteTip

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

The age old question…how much backstory is too much? The answer… in your opening pages, pretty much ANY backstory is too much. Readers want to be dropped into the middle of the action. They don’t want to know about what a rough week your protagonist has had (we’ll call him Jonathan). How when Jonathan was a child, he  dreamed of being a fireman or an astronaut. But boy did things take a wrong turn. Stuck in a crappy job as an insurance adjuster. He hadn’t wanted to take the position, but his father had recommended him and he had little choice. After all, his father had pretty much controlled him his entire life. A dead-end job and a crappy relationship. Although, he didn’t have to worry about that anymore. His girlfriend had dumped him. They’d been together since college, since the time they met at that party. It had been an immediate attraction. They’d begun dating and hadn’t been apart since. Until two days ago when she told him it was over. That she was seeing someone else. Oh well, they’d drifted apart. It was inevitable. Better that it happened now, instead of when they were married with kids. But, would he ever find the right person? Was there truly one soul mate out there for everyone? If so, he might never meet the person he was meant to be with. Heck, he might not survive the night. Jonathan took a deep, trembling breath and stared at the man aiming a gun at his chest.

What????? He has a gun aimed at his chest and we had to read all that prattle about his job and relationship and past? Nooo….let’s open with the guy holding the gun on him. If any of that other stuff is important, you can trickle it in later. When the situation calls for it.

Many authors, especially beginners, want readers to know everything about their characters up front. It’s not necessary. In fact, it’s boring. You want to engage readers in the here and now. If you want to briefly establish your character in their normal world before the inciting incident, that’s fine. But ‘briefly’ is the key word. And, establishing the character in their normal world is different than explaining about their childhood, letting us know how they met every character in the scene, how they got their job, how they ended up moving to their current location, what happened in the days preceding, etc.

A few examples of my openings (not that they are the BEST examples, but they are the only examples I can use without getting into trouble:)And, unfortunately, neither of them have riveting opening lines, but that’s something I can’t always pull off. Sigh…)

From Devil’s Promenade:

I peered through the snow-dusted windshield at the large house looming in the evening dusk, and an unwarranted shiver of foreboding washed over my flesh.

From behind the wheel, my driver, Rita, made a sound that was somewhere between a squeak of trepidation and a sigh of admiration. “It’s huge. And gorgeous, but kind of creepy, don’t you think?” Her eyes were big and round behind the lenses of her black cat-eye frames.

“It is indeed.” The sprawling structure was a combination of Southern plantation and Greek revival architecture; painted white and trimmed in a darker colored molding—perhaps forest green. The exact color was difficult to make out in the descending dusk. Narrow, darkened floor-to-ceiling windows peeked from between a portico of six Doric columns. Hanging by chains above the porch, a wooden board flapped in the icy wind. Spook Light Bed and Breakfast. The sign should have been welcoming, yet apprehension clawed at my heart.

Might as well get over that silliness. This would be my home for the next two weeks while I learned all I could about the Hornet Spook Light. The phenomenon, also known as the Tri-State Spook Light, Joplin Spook Light, Devil’s Jack-O-Lantern, and a few other nicknames, had supposedly been spotted multiple times over the last few centuries in this area, at the border of Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas. I was here to do research for my book—The Myth of Otherworldly Occurrences. I chuckled and rolled my eyes. The only thing otherworldly about this place was its location thousands of miles from my warm, sunny home in Florida.

I gave a brief reason for her being there, but I didn’t say that her fiancé had jilted her for her sister, that she’s always wanted to be a writer, that she actually wanted to write novels, but had ended up writing non-fiction. That the flight to Oklahoma was smooth, except for the annoying man who sat next to her and talked loudly on his phone the entire time and smelled of garlic, that she didn’t have many friends, that she’d written several books already about various supposed supernatural phenomenons, that she was in the business of debunking them, what kind of childhood she had, etc, etc. Some, but not all, of those facts are sprinkled in later. Readers don’t want to know them just yet.

From Without Mercy:

China Beckett darted a glance across the bank lobby toward the front door. What were the odds she could escape undetected?

Not good, she decided. Even if she managed to slip out without being seen, her absence would be noticed. And Sophie would have an aneurysm.

Did she want to be a lousy employee or a lousy mother?

The choice was simple. She rose from her desk and headed past the teller line toward Sophie’s office.

“Everything okay?” China’s best friend, Vanessa Hanson, said from behind her desk.

This establishes China in her normal world, and in just a few pages, it explodes, almost literally. I didn’t go into detail about how she came to be a single mother, how she got the job at the bank, how long she’s been there, what she liked and didn’t like about it, how she’d met Vanessa, what had happened in the days leading up to now, etc. Again, I sprinkle that in as needed, much of it in dialogue. Which brings me to another point, you don’t have to provide details about characters’ history and/or traits in narrative. You can do that in dialogue, which readers often find more engaging. You don’t want to do it in an obvious way, unnatural way, such as, “China, you know your daughter Emma, whose father died while you were pregnant with her? Her asthma is really bad, isn’t it?” 🙂  Reveal it in a more natural and logical way.

But, getting back to backstory. It’s difficult to strike the perfect balance, and I certainly don’t succeed all the time, or even most of the time. The trick is to be aware and try to only share the details that matter at that moment. Save the rest for later, if it’s needed at all.

Try this…go through your story and highlight any section that is not in real time. If your story is riddled with highlights, and if the highlights are in the early pages, you might want to trim and/or move those paragraphs around.

Until next time…Happy Writing!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

ONLY 99 cents!! 

(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)

2 minute writing tip final

 

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

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16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

9 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor, Tuesday Two-Minute Tips

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – White Space is Your Friend

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ A technique to keep readers engaged

Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…

TWoMinuteTip

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

Readers are impatient, as they should be. Everyone is so busy these days, they want to use their time wisely. Long narrative passages with long paragraphs and no dialogue can turn a reader off quickly. 

This also goes along with ‘showing’ instead of ‘telling.’ Below, I’m using examples from my novella, Devil’s Promenade, showing two different versions of the same partial scene:

Example 1:

That morning at breakfast, I found a newspaper that contained an article about a woman who’d died near the Bed and Breakfast. She was an attractive woman but she gave off an unpleasant vibe in the photo that accompanied the article. As it turned out, the housekeeper at the inn, Jean, knew her. Her name was Eleanor Chaney. The article mentioned that the woman had drowned in nearby Spring River, and her body was found close to Devil’s Promenade. The name of the location confused me. I thought the area itself was called Devil’s Promenade, but as it turns out, that is also the name of a bridge that goes over Spring River. Jean seemed to think Eleanor’s death might not have been an accident. The dead woman grew up in the area and swam in the river often. Yet, she’d gone out, alone, at night. Then somehow drowned. Jean was right. It didn’t add up. I asked Jean if she thought it was suicide, or murder. But according to Jean, while Eleanor was unhappy, she wasn’t suicidal. But then, people never think those they care about could possibly commit suicide. Apparently, the police didn’t find anything suspicious, since they didn’t investigate it as a murder. Shockingly, Jean also informed me that the victim, Eleanor Chaney, was Declan Rush’s sister.

Example 2:

“Something catch your fancy?”

I started at Jean’s voice. My hand that held the coffee cup shook. “Sorry to be so jumpy. No, just engrossed in the news.” Should I ask her about the death? Maybe not just yet, not on my first morning. I didn’t want to seem like a nosy reporter, or that I was pumping her for information. She most likely knew the woman. This was a small town. Most people in the area probably knew one another.

Jean took the decision out of my hands when she eyed the paper. She wiped tears from her eyes with her fingertips. “Poor dear. God rest her soul.”

“Did you know her?”

“Yes of course. Eleanor Chaney. We were real close.”

I looked back down at the paper. A photo of the woman accompanied the article. She was attractive, but her expression showed an unpleasant emotion—anger, disapproval? Without it, she would have been much prettier. “She drowned in Spring River,” I said. “They said her body was found near Devil’s Promenade? I thought this area was called Devil’s Promenade.”

“It is. But it’s also the name of a bridge that goes over Spring River.”

The name made the death…the whole thing…even worse, somehow. “So tragic.”

“Yeah. They say it was an accident but …” She heaved a deep breath. “I don’t know. I wonder how that could be. She grew up swimmin’ in that river. And I don’t believe she’d go in the water alone, at night.”

A quiver ran through me. “Do you think it was suicide? Murder?”

Jean lowered onto a chair next to me and picked up the newspaper. She ran a finger lovingly over the picture, a sad smile on her wrinkled face. “Eleanor was not one of the happiest people I’ve ever known, but she thought too much of herself to commit suicide. I don’t buy that she’d take her own life.”

“So you think someone killed her?”

“I don’t know. The thought makes my skin crawl. This is a small town. Everyone knows each other. Eleanor wasn’t exactly well loved. And, her family history caused some hard feelings around here, but I don’t know anyone who hated her. Leastwise not enough to want her dead.”

Was Jean right? Had the woman been murdered? Surely if that were true, there would have been evidence pointing to foul play. “Well, either way, accident, murder, or suicide, it’s very sad.”

“Yes. And poor Mr. Rush. He’s beside himself.”

“Mr. Rush? He knew her too?” Was she his girlfriend? Not his wife, their last names were different. But then, not all women took their husband’s names…

“Knew her? Well, I’ll say. She was his sister.”

Which did you find yourself wanting to skip and which one kept you reading? When you’re editing/revising, skim your manuscript and if you see areas with little or no white space, take a closer look and see if you can revise to make them more engaging.

Until next time…Happy Writing!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

ONLY 99 cents!! 

(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)

2 minute writing tip final

 

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

16 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor, Tuesday Two-Minute Tips

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Ten Writing Tips from Famous Authors

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ A collection of some of my favorite writing advice

Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…

TWoMinuteTip

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

Today I’m sharing tips from people who know a little something about writing. Not only are these valuable tips, but being reminded that even the most successful authors suffer from some of the same issues I do gives me the encouragement to forge on.

  1. Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die.– Anne Enright 

I love this one because it makes you stop and think about whether you want to waste time writing to a trend and/or forcing yourself to write something that doesn’t speak to you, doesn’t inspire you. I say, you do not.

  1. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.– Neil Gaiman 

This doesn’t count your editors…you should always listen to us. 😉

  1. Write drunk, edit sober.– Ernest Hemingway

Although I think several writers take this literally, to me it means to write with abandon, lose your inhibitions, write freely and just get the story down. 

  1. Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.– Mark Twain

Yes, using ‘very’ is one of my pet peeves. It’s okay in dialogue, and perhaps used sparingly, but it’s ineffectual and weak. If you’re using it, you could probably substitute the following word for something stronger.

  1.  “The first draft of everything is shit.” – Ernest Hemingway

This doesn’t apply to all you perfectionists who have to get every scene just right before moving on. But, for those of us who need to just finish the damn book so we can begin revising, this is critical. If Ernest Hemingway wrote shit, then we’re not too good to write shit, correct? 

  1. “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” – Anton Chekhov 

LOVE this. It’s an excellent way to remind yourself to ‘show’ instead of ‘tell.’

  1. “Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.” Elmore Leonard

Thank you!!! The overuse of exclamation points in fiction drive me nuts. Readers will know they’re experiencing an intense moment by the emotion, dialogue, and action. Don’t hit them over the head with exclamation points.

  1. “If you tell the reader that Bull Beezley is a brutal-faced, loose-lipped bully, with snake’s blood in his veins, the reader’s reaction may be, ‘Oh, yeah!’ But if you show the reader Bull Beezley raking the bloodied flanks of his weary, sweat-encrusted pony, and flogging the tottering, red-eyed animal with a quirt, or have him booting in the protruding ribs of a starved mongrel and, boy, the reader believes!” – Fred East

Another fabulous tip for showing vs telling. This one deals with character rather than setting, and showing vs telling is important enough to get two mentions. 🙂

  1. “You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burnt socks lying in the road.” ― Richard Price

To me this means a few things, make it personal. Make us care about something because of the characters involved. Also, show us little vivid details to really bring the scene to life.

10. “Good writing is often about letting go of fear and affectation.” Stephen King

YES. I often let fear stop me, but I need to remind myself not to. Also, the simplest, most direct and natural way you can convey a story is the right way. That’s your voice.

What are some of your favorite tips from famous authors?

Until next time…Happy Writing!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

ONLY 99 cents!! 

(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)

2 minute writing tip final

 

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

16 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor, Tuesday Two-Minute Tips

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Quick Characterization Tips

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ A few things to remember when creating characters…

Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…

TWoMinuteTip

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

Characterization is not my strength. I’m more of a plot-driven writer, but I realize that the two are equally important. (Some feel that characterization is the most important, but without a strong plot, I’m not going to give a rat’s behind about your character, regardless of how interesting they might be) So, I am trying to remind myself of ways to make my characters more real, more vivid. Characterization is much more than physical description, and even background or favorite foods and music. Of course, there are a multitude of things you can do to flesh out your characters–character profiles, interviews, charts, etc. I’m not going into that much detail, but I do have a few suggestions (things that I need to remember myself)…

  1. Give your characters, mainly your MC (Main Character aka Protagonist) and your villain, a quirk, a certain way of speaking, etc. Maybe give them a catch phrase or a habit like chewing on a straw. Also, give them strange little quirks, such as an aversion to slimy foods or a fear of birds or have them like something that others would find odd, such as the taste of castor oil or give them an irrational hatred of something (such as, for me, I can’t STAND the Muppets). Little things like this can make your character more alive in your own mind, and therefore,  you will more likely project them in a more vivid way in your story.
  2. This has been drilled into our heads over and over, but it bears repeating. Give your MC flaws and your villain at least one admirable quality. I have difficult giving my characters flaws that are still relatable/understandable/sympathetic. I find it easier to give my villains a positive trait. Weird, right? I’ve often been told that readers found it easier to relate to my villains than my protagonists. NOT a good thing. I am working on changing that though. 🙂

What do you think? What are some elements of character you feel are important?

Until next time…happy writing!

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NEW RELEASE – Now Available 

(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)

2 minute writing tip final

 

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*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

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16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

22 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor, Tuesday Two-Minute Tips

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – How to Give Your Sentences More Punch

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Backload your sentences with powerful words to give them more impact

Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…

TWoMinuteTip

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

One of the tricks to adding more tension, more impact and punch to your writing is to use the powerful words toward the end of sentences, and especially to paragraphs and scenes.

Here are a few examples from some of my books:

Caster’s Unfriendly Ghost:

“Not only will I continue to screw with you, even on the job, but I’ll appear to Emily, tell her about our little scheme. What do you think she’ll think of you then?”

“You’re bluffing. You wouldn’t hurt her like that.”

Joey shook his head and closed his eyes. When he opened them, they were suspiciously damp. “I don’t want to. But I’ll do anything to keep her from making the biggest mistake of her life.”

Caster let out a resigned sigh and shook his head. “Nah, getting mixed up with the two of us was the biggest mistake of her life.”

Weaker:

Caster let out a resigned sigh and shook his head. “Nah, the biggest mistake of her life was getting mixed up with the two of us.”

Without Mercy:

Did you hear about that?” Stacy asked. “A couple gunned down in a Java Hut. Apparently a sniper. No one knows why. They still haven’t caught the guy.”

The others joined in on the discussion, but China remained silent. The waitress, a perky blonde wearing black shorts and a tight white shirt, brought over another pitcher of beer. “Guy over in the corner sent this to you.”

China’s gaze followed where the girl pointed, and the knot in her stomach froze. Royce. She hadn’t noticed him before, because his table was nestled in a dark corner. He smiled and lifted his glass in a silent salute. Her jaw tightened, and she clenched her glass so hard she thought it would shatter.

Weaker:

Her jaw tightened, and she nearly shattered the glass in her fist.

Lady in the Mist:

I shrugged as though my interest were casual curiosity. From his reaction, Sebastian did know her—and either didn’t like her, or liked her a great deal. “Just curious. I heard she broke up with Drew, then left town. That it’s possible she’s missing?”

“She’s missing, all right.” The words came out strained. “Maybe dead.”

A chill raced over my skin. “Dead?”

The anger in his eyes faded, replaced with something that looked suspiciously like pain. “I don’t know.”

Weaker:

The anger in his eyes faded, and something that looked suspiciously like pain replaced it. “I don’t know.”

It’s actually very simple, and we probably do it instinctively, for the most part. But, it doesn’t hurt to be aware as you’re making a pass through your manuscript,. Try to arrange wording for the most pizzazz.  Just think of it as ‘saving the best for last.’ 🙂

Until next time…happy writing!

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

NEW RELEASE – Now Available 

(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)

2 minute writing tip final

 

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

7 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor, Tuesday Two-Minute Tips

8 Alicia Dean Wild Rose Press Ebooks – 99 Cents Each!!!

 TWRP salecom_MTAxOTM2NDEyMDkz

End of Lonely Street ~

“…In this short story Alicia Dean captures what it feels like to be a fan of Elvis while also giving you a well written romance…” ~ Amazon Review

EndofLonelyStreet_w9180_FINAL

Click here to purchase from Amazon

Click here to purchase from Barnes and Noble

Caster’s Unfriendly Ghost ~

“…a delightful story full of wit and poignancy…” ~ Amazon Review

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Click here to purchase from Amazon

Click here to purchase from Barnes and Noble

A Knight Before Christmas ~ 

…With mystery, suspense, a few surprises, and a lot of love–both familial and romantic–A Knight Before Christmas captivates… ~ Long and Short Romance Reviews

3. A Knight Before Christmas 10.19.10

Click here to purchase from Amazon

Click here to purchase from Barnes and Noble

Truly Madly ~

…this one had all the elements of suspense that kept me guessing, as well as reading, until the very end… ~ Amazon Review

5. Truly, Madly 6.6.11

Click here to purchase from Amazon

Click here to purchase from Barnes and Noble

Nothing to Fear ~

…kept me glued to it until the end…couldnt wait to get back to it… ~ Amazon Review

4. Nothing To Fear 2.17.11

Click here to purchase from Amazon

Click here to purchase from Barnes and Noble

Poetic Injustice ~

An ambitious detective investigating the murder of a high profile celebrity judge is distracted by the sexy, bad boy ME, who is exactly the kind of man she’s sworn to avoid like the plague.

6. Poetic Injustice 6.7.11

Click here to purchase from Amazon

Click here to purchase from Barnes and Noble

Tears of the Wounded ~

Can their love survive a hostile teenager and a madman bent on revenge?

TEARS_OF_THE_WOUNDED cover

Click here to purchase from Amazon

Click here to purchase from Barnes and Noble

Thicker than Water ~

…Thicker than Water’ is a fast-paced romantic read – perfect as the nights draw in. I enjoyed snuggling down and getting lost in the fantasy – what girl doesn’t dream, after all, of her own Jake Devlin?… ~ Amazon Review

THICKERTHANWATER

Click here to purchase from Amazon

Click here to purchase from Barnes and Noble

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Filed under Entertainment, For Writers

A Fun Halloween Scavenger Hunt with AWESOME Prizes!!!

From October 6th through the 23rd, over 30 authors are hosting a Halloween Scavenger Hunt.  Participants visit each site to find a Halloween graphic.  The more sites you visit, the more chances to win. There are over 60 prizes, multiple winners each day. On October 6th, visit Sloan McBride’s blog Sloan McBride where you get all the information, including links to the authors’ pages, and a link to a sheet to type all the answers. It should be wicked fun!  

(Check the pages on my site to find the Halloween graphic and enter through Sloan’s site. SEE, so much fun!)

And while I have your attention, I’d like to share my latest release – a Halloween short story from The Wild Rose Press: Caster’s Unfriendly Ghost:

 

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BLURB:

A year after her husband’s death, Emily Tillman is ready to start dating again, and hopefully, find what she’s always wanted—marriage and children. But the man who broke her heart five years ago is back. And he’s anything but the marrying kind. 

Confirmed bachelor Reese Caster is perfectly content with his life—and he’s finally over Emily, the one woman who almost made him commit. Now, his world is rocked when her dead husband shows up, demanding that Reese pursue Emily to keep her out of the clutches of her latest suitor—a jerk who is only after her money. 

Being around Emily again has made Reese reconsider his bachelor life style. But now that the threat of the other man is gone, the pesky ghost wants Reese to break things off. Can he and Emily find the love they were denied, or will the ghost of her dead husband destroy their chances? 

EXCERPT: 

“Emily is the kind of woman you have to take things slowly with.”

“Sure, if this was real. But you have to step it up, turn on the charm. You need to show you care, that you know her, buy her things that she loves. Her favorite flowers are white roses, she loves dark chocolate, and her favorite wine is Merlot. You need to move in on her, hard.”

Caster gave a humorless laugh and shook his head. “Do you hear yourself? You were her husband, for God’s sake. Have some respect.”

Joey’s face flushed. “I do respect her. That’s why I don’t want this asshole putting one over on her. She deserves to find someone who will truly love her and give her the things I couldn’t.”

A note of pain in his voice almost made Caster feel sorry for him. But not as sorry as he felt for the family who lost a loved one less than half an hour ago. “Listen, I’ve performed back to back surgeries today, and had my night capped off by an emergency surgery that ended with a young girl’s death. So, you’ll understand why I’m not in the mood for this right now.”

“I’m sorry, but there’s nothing I can do about that. My concern is with Emily. And I need you to follow through with your end of the deal.”

“Deal, my ass. You blackmailed me into going along with this bullshit. Well, I’m out. I’ll finish the haunted forest thing, but no more of this romancing Emily crap. I can’t use her like that, I can’t break her heart again.”

“Break her heart? You sound pretty sure she’ll fall for you. My, my. Someone’s full of himself.”

Caster stood and stalked to the door. “Look, I don’t know if she will or not, I just know I can’t do this any longer. You can destroy everything I own, keep me up every night for the rest of my life, but I’m done.”

He put his hand on the door, but Joey’s voice stopped him. “I’ll tell her.”

Caster paused and turned to face him. “You’ll what?”

“Not only will I continue to screw with you, even on the job, but I’ll appear to Emily, tell her about our little scheme. What do you think she’ll think of you then?”

“You’re bluffing. You wouldn’t hurt her like that.”

Joey shook his head and closed his eyes. When he opened them, they were suspiciously damp. “I don’t want to. But I’ll do anything to keep her from making the biggest mistake of her life.”

Caster let out a resigned sigh and shook his head. “Nah, getting mixed up with the two of us was the biggest mistake of her life.”

Kindle: 

http://www.amazon.com/Casters-Unfriendly-Ghost-Hauntings-Garden-ebook/dp/B00NQMV4NQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412516933&sr=8-1&keywords=caster%27s+unfriendly+ghost

Nook: 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/casters-unfriendly-ghost-alicia-dean/1120455662?ean=2940150463943

Wild Rose Press:

http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=242_177_139&products_id=5840

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Elvis Presley – Ramblings of a Lifelong Fan – Part 6 – A Mention or Two in My Books

As I’ve stated previously, nearly each of my published work contains a mention of Elvis, even if only briefly. Below are a few samples from a handful of books…

 

THICKERTHANWATER

Available now, but will be released on August 14th as part of a boxed set with other Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll Stories by other authors

Thicker Than Water – Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll

Jake fell silent and flipped on the radio. “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis was playing. She glanced at him from the corner of her eye. Did he remember how much she liked Elvis? How he’d teased her unmercifully about it? Nothing showed on his face, but he must remember. Or had he shoved every memory of their time together out of his mind?

 

2. Heart of the Witch 12.1.09

Available at Amazon

Heart of the Witch:

Ravyn crossed her arms and leaned back in her chair, purposely keeping her gaze above chest level so she wouldn’t see the way the tool belt slanted across his lean hips. “What do you want to know about me? I make candles and jewelry. I have one sister and a mother. I live alone. No pets. I like long walks in the rain and old music . . . you know, Otis Redding, The Platters, Elvis Presley. Anything else?”

He gave a satisfied smile. “See? Was that so hard? My turn. I work construction, and I have two sisters and two parents. One dog, a golden retriever named Dog. I don’t like long walks anywhere, and I’m not crazy about oldies. Not crazy about Elvis’s music, although the later stuff was pretty good. I like his movies, though.”

 

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Caster’s Unfriendly Ghost (Coming this Fall)

“But one of my foster moms, Della, was different. She was good to me. She loved me. Really loved me. She was an excellent cook, and my favorite thing she made was peach pancakes. We’d sit together in the kitchen in the early morning hours before anyone else was awake, and we’d talk about…everything. She was the first person in my life who made me feel important. Who really seemed to care about me.” She paused. Bittersweet memories assailed her. Della’s comforting hugs. Her special smile. Listening to Elvis Presley music with her and watching her sweet face as she seemed transported to another time. Then, the night her husband came home from the hospital, looking ten years older…

 

Death Notice Cover

 Available at Amazon

Death Notice – Northland Crime Chronicles Book 1

“Suspicious Minds” by Elvis came on the radio and I turned it up, feeling my spirits lift. I had inadvertently become an Elvis fan in college while doing a paper on the impact of celebrities on society. Whether or not one appreciated Elvis’ talent, there was no denying he was a phenomenon, the likes of which had never been seen before and would probably never be seen again. Not only did I find I loved his music, I’d discovered why he had the impact he had. He had this boyish, southern charm, but at the same time, a deeply embedded raw sexuality that was powerful and intoxicating. It was fortunate that he only used that power for entertainment. If he’d been a terrorist or a cult leader, he could have easily taken over the world. I was only six when he died, a few years younger than his daughter. Had I been ten years older, I was certain I’d have been a part of the frenzied, screaming masses, fainting and tossing my panties up on stage.

 

LibertyAwakened

Available at Amazon

Liberty Awakened – Isle of Fangs Book 1

Though the music coming from the party was muted, she recognized an Elvis Presley song, “One Night.” She grinned at Eli. “You like Elvis Presley? Isn’t he a little before your time?”

His lips twitched with amusement and he shrugged. “You might say I’m an old soul.”

 

9. SOUL SEDUCER 6.4.12

Available at Amazon

Soul Seducer (The hero is a Grim Reaper)

He hesitated, clearing his throat before speaking. “I’ve observed a lot of people over the centuries.” He stared past her shoulder. “I remember one time you came out here, your Walkman hanging from your ear. You stood right over there. All by yourself. Dancing.”

A heated flush rose to her face. “You saw that?” She laughed to cover her embarrassment. “I was listening to Elvis Presley music. It made me feel better somehow. I guess that makes me a dork.”

He shook his head. “No. Your goofy dance made you a dork.”

“Hey!” she said with mock indignation. Then she shrugged. “It was kind of goofy.”

“Elvis, though. Not a bad choice. He was a talented guy. Nice guy.”

“You knew him?” A horrifying thought struck her. “Did you…”

“No. No, I didn’t take him. I took someone at one of his concerts. Afterward, I was curious. I followed Elvis around for a few days. I was awed by the effect he had on people. They were so drawn to him.”

“I can see why.” She cocked her head. “I bet you’ve met a lot of famous people. I never really thought about that. You can go anywhere, can’t you?”

 

EndofLonelyStreet_w9180_FINAL

 End of Lonely Street (Coming January 7, 2015)

Mapleton, Tennessee, November, 1957

Toby Lawson closed her eyes and shut out all sounds of the diner, except for Elvis Presley’s voice. He was crooning about how she was the only one for him…no matter where he went or what he did… he’d spend his whole life loving her…

Rough hands landed on her waist and shattered the fantasy. She caught a whiff of hair tonic and too much cologne, and she snapped her eyes open. Wes Markham’s hateful face replaced the image of Elvis’ beautiful, crooked smile and smoldering blue eyes.

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