Friday, November 11, 2016

A Bible?

by Marsha Ward @MarshaWard

I recently took time away from writing to put together a big project, a collection of the five books of The Owen Family Saga as a box set. It was a huge job of work.

"What work?" you may ask. "Just slap all the books into one file and you're done!"

Not so.

I had to tinker with scenes that don't exactly play well with each other over the scope of the saga. Gotta be consistent.

"Is that kid named Ezra or Harry?" I picked Harry.

"Did Rod Owen meet Julia Helm's brother before they got married?" I thought they had in The Man from Shenandoah. As I write my current writing project, it appears that I was wrong, so I had to fix that in the existing work to jibe with the upcoming story.

Now that I've written Gone for a Soldier, that passage about Rulon and Mary's relationship in The Man from Shenandoah seems off. (Rewrite passage.)

Did he or didn't he during the Mexican War? Hmm. That question may remain forever unanswered.

How to explain the bit about the wedding ring? (Rewrite passage.)

Such fun!

I wish I had started a series "bible" when I wrote The Man from Shenandoah, to keep all the facts and characters straight, but I didn't know then that the tale about the Owen Family was going to expand into a series. Creating the "bible" now is going to be quite a task, but it's one I really need to do. When I'm done, perhaps it can become something new, maybe something called The Owen Family Companion.

After all, it's been done before: "Little did Louis L'Amour realize back in 1960 when he published The Daybreakers, a novel about two brothers who came west after the Civil War, that he had begun creating what would become perhaps North America's most widely followed literary family: the Sacketts." From The Sackett Companion: The Facts Behind the Fiction.

Every author should keep handy a notebook for facts (was the dog black or brown), characters (am I reusing too many names, or do all names begin with a single letter?), items (was that letter written in pen or pencil?), and the like, whether or not he or she is writing a series. Every little thing will come in handy for checking consistency within that story.

Can oxen run?  No, but they can perambulate pretty quickly if motivated. (I asked a large animal vet.)

Did people ride in wagons when on extended journeys? Not if they had a lot of belongings and/or foodstuffs to carry.

How many stories tall is the house? What does the general store look like inside? How far away from the house should the stable/barn/pigsty be? Is the bar/saloon/pub well lit, smoky, smelly, just a "belly-up-to-the" bar, or does it have gaming tables and sit-down tables, too?

You're the author. Make it easier on yourself with a "Book Bible."

Friday, November 4, 2016

It's Not About Luck (Part 3)

by Kimberly Loth @kimberlyloth
Indie Author Hub Member

This is the final part of this series, but I really think it’s the most important. It’s about faith and passion. I know those are two different things, but they go hand in hand.

Do me a favor and watch this video before you keep reading. It’s short, just two minutes, but the rest of the story will make more sense if you watch it first.


https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2009-02-06-create?category=mormon-messages/mormon-messages-2009&lang=eng

This video is a small part of a talk that was given at a church conference several years ago. Before that day I’d never really considered writing. I’d dabbled, but nothing serious. I had no idea that day that a talk would be given that would change my life. But it did. A fire was lit inside of me. I wanted to create something incredible. I wanted to create worlds. I understand that that may make me sound arrogant, but please understand that at that moment in my life, I was at a low. I was depressed, bankrupt, and frustrated by the direction I was heading. Even my faith in God was wavering. Suddenly I had a passion and faith that I could do something with it.

The very next week, I signed up for a writing class and during that class I discovered Obsidian. The scene where Aspen meets him as a dragon on the mountain and he smashes her camera was the first thing I wrote.

Over the last several years, that passion has only grown and I rarely lost faith in what I was doing. (I think there was a time, right after my dad died, that I decided to quit. It didn’t last very long.)

I’m not saying the path was easy. But it’s been so worth it.

Find a way to create and find a passion for it. Don’t limit yourself to normal modes of creativity like writing, art, or music. Those are traditional (and awesome if you can pull them off). But I see people passionately creating all around me in many endeavors. My husband creates these amazing lessons for his students without even thinking about it half the time. I’ve always been in awe of his ability to teach. Virginia (you all know Virginia, by now, right? She’s the one who keeps me on track and does a lot so that I can focus on writing.) She somehow manages to create this system that makes it look like I’m in a thousand places at once. She’s amazing and endlessly passionate about EVERYTHING she does. (Sadly, I’m passionate about only three things—writing, my family, and travel.) There’s a woman I go to church with that I swear creates sunshine. Whenever I’m with her I can’t help but be happy. I admire her people skills. All of these things have one thing in common. Passion and faith.

Find your passion.
Then have the faith to put it out there.

~~~ 

This is Part 3 of a three-part series first posted at kimberlyloth.com.
Kimberly Loth can’t decide where she wants to settle down. She’s lived in Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Utah, California, Oregon, and South Carolina.She finally decided to make the leap and leave the U.S. behind for a few years. After living in Cairo, Egypt for 2 years, she’s decided to go to the Far East and currently calls Shenzhen, China home. She loves romantic movies, chocolate, roses, and crazy adventures.

You can find Kimberly on her website, her Author Page on Facebook, and on Twitter at @kimberlyloth

Friday, October 28, 2016

How Do You Describe a Place?

by Anna del C. Dye @AnnaDelC
Indie Author Hub Member

In the same way you describe people and feelings,  you want the place to be seen in the reader’s mind as vividly as if they were there. It also has to do with the “show don’t tell” technique that is so desirable for a good author. You want your readers to feel it, touch it, see it, taste it and smell it. Every time you can use a combination of the senses or all of them in your book, you have the best descriptions ever.

Here are some ideas that can help inspire your own descriptions:

The sea of golden waves spread before my eyes while the breeze caressed it back and forth. I knew we had been blessed with a great crop this year. (wheat)

The rumble threatened to split the earth under our feet, and the dust settled on my eyelashes. (earthquake, mine accident)

The tormented waves sent their salt-water hands to slap my ship as if that would calm her pain. (stormy sea)

The furious rain fell like wet knives over my cold body.

The cracked soil thirsted for water and relief from the sun. (desert)

The heat was magnified with fury over the massive white rocks, bright enough to blind us.

The majestic green trees spotted the forest with their beautiful leaves.

The velvety darkness seemed the perfect bed for the diamonds that lay in many intricate forms while they glistened in the night. (night sky)

Now go, and happy writings to you

~~~


Shared with us from Anna's blog.

Anna was born in the extreme South. She loves reading, but had few opportunities to do so while growing up. As a young woman, she moved North to marry Rodney Dye and has resided in Utah since then. They are the parents of three princes and a princess. With her husband and his family she has had the opportunity of traveling to many of the United States, (most of them camping!) and to four other countries. She would like to visit castles in European countries. She is fluent in both English and Spanish and understands Portuguese.

After she married, Anna was introduced to the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books that she admits to having collected. A number of years ago she was introduced to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and to J. K.Rowling's writings, which she loves. She also loves romantic music (she listens to it every day), theatrical plays that she attends at least six times a year, and cats (when they are not shedding).

Anna wears her dresses down to her ankles and likes them to be very feminine, with lace being one of her favorite trimmings. "I am afraid that I do not follow fashions," she has said. "I wear what I like."

You can find Anna on her website, her profile on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @AnnaDelC.



Friday, October 21, 2016

Finding Ideas

by Rebecca Talley  @rebeccatalley
Indie Author Hub Executive Committee Chair

I’m often asked where I find my ideas. My picture book, Grasshopper Pie, was based on an experience I had when my children tried to feed me a live grasshopper. I tweaked the experience enough to make it an interesting story and sold it to a publisher.

After I wrote Grasshopper Pie, I worried that I’d never have another idea. Wrong. Writing ideas are everywhere and now I have so many ideas I have to write them in a notebook to keep track.

Many of the stories or articles I’ve written have been based on my own experiences. A story that was recently published in the Friend magazine was based on an experience with my German neighbor when I learned to sing a song in German and shared it with her at Christmas one year.

Finding writing ideas is easy if you take the time to notice the world around you. Newspaper headlines, bits and pieces of a conversation on the subway, stories your kids share, fables, or television shows can form the basis of a writing idea.

With the invention of the internet, you can easily mine idea nuggets while you surf the web. Look for personal interest stories, new discoveries, or science articles to prick your imagination. Visit forums, check out blogs, or research certain topics to find even more ideas.

You might find ideas by reading books. Sometimes you can read a book and think about how you might change the story. Would you have a different antagonist? A different goal for the character? A different setting? Would the ending be different if you wrote it? Of course, you should never copy someone else's work, but using a previously written book can be a beginning point to creating your own unique story.

Be sure to write down all of your writing ideas no matter how ridiculous they seem. You never know when one of those ideas will be perfect for writing a story.
~~~


Rebecca grew up next to the ocean in Santa Barbara, California. She spent her youth at the beach collecting sea shells and building sandcastles. She graduated from high school and left for college, where she met and married her sweetheart, Del.

Del and Rebecca are the sometimes frazzled, but always grateful, parents of ten wildly-creative and multi-talented children and the grandparents of the most adorable little girls in the universe.

After spending nineteen years in rural Colorado with horses, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, and donkeys, Rebecca and her family moved to a suburb of Houston, Texas, where she spends most of her time in the pool trying to avoid the heat and humidity. When she isn't in the pool, she loves to date her husband, play with her kids, swim in the ocean, redecorate her house, and dance to disco music while she cleans the house.

Rebecca has always loved to write and has authored novels, stories for print and online magazines, and children's books. She now focuses on writing romance because she believes everyone deserves their happily-ever-after.

You can find Rebecca on her website, her author page on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @rebeccatalley.

Friday, October 14, 2016

It's Not About Luck (Part 2)

by Kimberly Loth @kimberlyloth
Indie Author Hub Member

So maybe this is the part where I admit that there is a little bit of luck involved. I have been very fortunate to have been able to develop an incredible support team. It’s rare for an author to become successful without a good support system. It’s why acknowledgements are usually so long.

I have four different support systems I want to talk about.

  1. My family—more specifically my husband. He gives me the support I need so I can write. When I first started out, he encouraged me to write. When I started publishing, he told everyone who would listen that I published a book. He gave me the freedom to write and didn’t give me a bad time about ignoring the family. When I decided that I wanted to write full time. He didn’t hesitate. Without a supportive husband and family, I wouldn’t be able to do this.
  2. My slave driver cheerleader, Virginia. No clue where I would be without this girl. She’s read everything I’ve ever written and loved every word. When I was writing Kissed, I would get desperate emails from her wanting the next chapter. I don’t know how I landed a Virginia or how anyone else can get one, but she’s the reason I’m where I am. Her role has changed significantly in the last couple of years and now she manages most of my marketing efforts and keeps me on track. The only reason I’m writing this blog right now is because she sent me an email that said, “I need a blog post from you.”
  3. My writing team. This has also evolved over the last few years as I transitioned from just a writer to an author. It started with critique partners. Fabulous ones, that I now count among the best of friends. Then as I started publishing, I knew I needed to expand my team. I now have editors, cover designers, formatters, narrators, and others who help make my books what they are. Without them, this wouldn’t be possible.
  4. My fans—I’m not gonna lie, this one surprised the heck out of me. I remember the first email I got from someone I didn’t know raving about the book. I cried. I just couldn’t quite believe people actually liked it. Art of any kind is deeply personal, even if it’s complete fiction. Putting it out in the world is scary. Almost without warning, I had fans. That became a catalyst for me to continue. I write, not for myself, but for my readers. I love being able to create worlds that allow people to escape from reality for a few hours. I thrive on the words of my fans. They are an enormous support system. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to write like I do.
Support is important. If you don’t have supportive people in your life, go find them. You’ll be happier and enjoy the journey a lot more.
~~~

This is Part 2 of a three-part series first posted at kimberlyloth.com.

Kimberly Loth can’t decide where she wants to settle down. She’s lived in Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Utah, California, Oregon, and South Carolina.She finally decided to make the leap and leave the U.S. behind for a few years. After living in Cairo, Egypt for 2 years, she’s decided to go to the Far East and currently calls Shenzhen, China home. She loves romantic movies, chocolate, roses, and crazy adventures.

You can find Kimberly on her website, her Author Page on Facebook, and on Twitter at @kimberlyloth

Friday, October 7, 2016

How to Write a Book Review

by Anna del C. Dye @AnnaDelC
Indie Author Hub Member

A review is a personal view of the story you have just read. Authors love reviews; they sell books. So consider writing a review every time you read a book.

Always start with something good about the story. Things like: “It is an interesting story” or “Quite fascinating reading,” even, “I couldn’t put it down,” will work well.

Always respect the creativity and the time the author took to write the book. Never say that you would have done the book this or that way. If that is how you feel, then write your own book.

You are welcome to compare books, but only in a positive way, as in: “If you read such and such a book you will love this one.” Or “It felt a bit like the book [Title] by so and so.” Never compared them as in “so and so writes better than this author.”

Remember that every author should be their own person and not a clone of another.


If two books are too similar, it could be a case of either a fan fiction book or plagiarism. Fan fiction is all right as long as the author is OK with it AND you or another person are NOT making money with the book. On the other hand, plagiarism is ILLEGAL and punishable by law. If you find that a book has been plagiarized, please get in contact with the author immediately.

Now back to reviews:

Do tell us if the story is fantasy, non-fiction, memoir or whatever genre it is. Tell us a little about the plot, though NEVER give a synopsis or tell the ending. Also tell us what age the book appeals to: if it is a children’s book or if it is young adult.

Do write what the story is about. Start with what the characters are trying to accomplish. Why? Who helps them? And who hinders them?

Do tell us about the pace of the story. Is it fast reading? Is it slow, and seems to never get where it is going? Did you get lost? Does it start slow but gets much better as it goes on? Does it have dialogue or is it written solely in a narrator’s voice? Will you pick up another book by this author?

Finish with something like, “I recommend this book to… [fantasy, crime, romance, etc. readers]” or “It will be loved by… [fantasy, crime, romance, etc. readers]” or “lovers of… [fantasy, crime, romance, etc.] will love this book”

If you didn’t like the book at all, please consider not writing a review. Readers have varied book preferences, and a book that you didn’t like may be loved by others. Hurtful or personal insults have no place in a review. If you promised a review and didn’t like the book, consider saying that the book was not your cup of tea and leave it there.

See, it is not that hard to write a book review. Overall, make sure that you are courteous to others when you give your opinion, and remember the review is just your opinion, not the world’s. Authors spend a lot of hours developing a book; if you don’t believe me, try writing one yourself.

And to all of you who are professional and courteous, we thank you for spending your time to write an informative review about our work. We love you.
~~~


Shared with us from Anna's blog.

Anna was born in the extreme South. She loves reading, but had few opportunities to do so while growing up. As a young woman, she moved North to marry Rodney Dye and has resided in Utah since then. They are the parents of three princes and a princess. With her husband and his family she has had the opportunity of traveling to many of the United States, (most of them camping!) and to four other countries. She would like to visit castles in European countries. She is fluent in both English and Spanish and understands Portuguese.

After she married, Anna was introduced to the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books that she admits to having collected. A number of years ago she was introduced to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and to J. K.Rowling's writings, which she loves. She also loves romantic music (she listens to it every day), theatrical plays that she attends at least six times a year, and cats (when they are not shedding).

Anna wears her dresses down to her ankles and likes them to be very feminine, with lace being one of her favorite trimmings. "I am afraid that I do not follow fashions," she has said. "I wear what I like."

You can find Anna on her website, her profile on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @AnnaDelC.



Friday, September 30, 2016

It's Not About Luck (Part 1)

by Kimberly Loth @kimberlyloth
Indie Author Hub Member

With several new novels out in the world, I feel like I’ve finally arrived as an author. I have a good start on three series and people in my circle are starting to take notice. A phrase I hear all the time is—“Wow, you’re so lucky that you get to follow your dreams.” That phrase is almost always followed with—“How do you do it?”

Most people ask that question because in addition to writing and publishing books, I’m also a full time middle school math teacher. I can attribute this to three things. Hard work, support, and faith. I’m going to write about them in three separate posts.

Here’s what my day typically looks like:
  •   4:30 am: Alarm goes off and I hit snooze.
  •   4:45 am: I get up, check my email and facebook notifications (most of which are book related). I take care of anything urgent and grab a cup of hot chocolate.
  •   5:00 am: Head back to my room where I don’t have any Internet reception and write for two hours.
  •   7:00 am: Get ready for work
  •   7:45 am: Eat breakfast with my husband at this cute French cafĂ© close to my work. It’s a rare time for us to sit and talk without any other distractions.
  •   8:15 am: Arrive at work, answer other emails and things that I couldn’t do in the wee hours of the morning.
  •   8:30 am: School starts. I teach math. And answer a lot of questions.
  •   Morning break/Lunch: Deal with more emails. If I have time, I work on marketing.
  •   4:00: Schools out—Time to start my marketing work. (This is complex and there’s a lot of it.)
  •   6:00: Arrive home. Make dinner and hang with my family.
  •   7:00: Watch crime dramas with my husband and teenagers. It’s my favorite part of the day because really it’s the only time I’m not working.
  •   8:30: Head to bed and read until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore, usually around 9:30
  •   And it starts all over again the next day.
I will often work on book stuff all day on Saturdays as well. About once a month my husband will force me to go do something fun on a Saturday. And I love him for it.

Sundays are my no work day. I’ll still check my emails and facebook, but that’s my day to go to church and spend time with my family. It’s my favorite day of the week.

I know some people might wonder why I bother if it’s so much work. But I wouldn’t trade this work for anything. I love every second of it. I’m passionate about my books and publishing. I do it because I love sharing my stories with the world. For so many years they were stuck only in my head and now they are out there and people are reading them and to my great surprise, people like them.  I’m curious, what is something you are willing to work your tail off for? What’s your passion?
~~~

This is Part 1 of a three-part series first posted at kimberlyloth.com.

Kimberly Loth can’t decide where she wants to settle down. She’s lived in Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Utah, California, Oregon, and South Carolina.She finally decided to make the leap and leave the U.S. behind for a few years. After living in Cairo, Egypt for 2 years, she’s decided to go to the Far East and currently calls Shenzhen, China home. She loves romantic movies, chocolate, roses, and crazy adventures.

You can find Kimberly on her website, her Author Page on Facebook, and on Twitter at @kimberlyloth