Friday Reads: Dream Boy, Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors

Anybody else feel like their to-read list is about to topple over? I’ve got two books I started and haven’t had time to finish that I’m hoping to get to today: Dream Boy by Jim Grimsley and The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors by Michele Young-Stone. We’re not even going to talk about the other dozen books waiting for their turn. This is a weird spot for me to be in, and my mom is probably laughing as she reads this. I read fast. Like seriously, freakishly fast. As in, the paper had me live-blog reading the last Harry Potter. …

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E-books and The Writer’s Minimum Viable Product

Joel Friedlander has a great blog post looking at the concept of the Minimum Viable Product for writers, and how e-books have affected that. In journalism terms, we always call it the minimum story, a necessity for any potentially time-consuming project. In both cases, it’s the lowest level you need to publish. In investigative reporting, it’s a story you know you’ll get, even if you’re hoping for a bigger scoop. In e-books and indie publishing, it can be a short story, or section of a novel. Or, as I did, a collection of short stories. The stories in Thrown Out …

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Crossing the line between promotion and spam

Now that I’ve jumped into the indie author world, book promotion is something I’ve been working on. I love social media, so that’s been a focus. But I find myself in a dilemma and want to know what you think, both readers and writers, about the line between good promotion and spam. A few times in recent weeks, I’ve found people talking up the social media promotional prowess of authors who I followed briefly before dropping because all they did was clog up my feed with promo tweets. I’m not going to name names of either the authors or the …

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Lightbulb moments for characters

Two-hour break from work, check. Coffee and bagel, check. Favorite table at the coffeeshop, check. iPad,… Oops. No iPad. OK, notebook, check. Pen,… No pen either. Great. That’s basically how yesterday’s writing session started out, following a frustrating morning at work. Fortunately, being a regular at the coffeeshop means they were willing to let me borrow a pen for a couple of hours. So I settled down with my notebook and what was supposed to be a novella outline. Originally, I planned to finishing drafting the third chapter, but my handwriting is atrocious. So rather than scribble out a couple …

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Genre vs. literary — and the gaping space between

E-Reads had a great post yesterday from Richard Curtis: “What Serious Writers Can Learn From Genre Comrades in Arms.” It was a great piece, originally written in 1990, and one that spoke particularly to me because I always wonder what’s in between those two camps. I love genre fiction. Mysteries and Nora Roberts make up 90 percent of my fiction collection. I collect vintage kids’ mystery series. I’ll occasionally dip into fantasy or sci-fi. My stories, however, don’t really fall into a genre — they don’t have that distinctive element that each genre has, whether it’s a mystery or a …

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Story Cubes Challenge – Round 8

Finally, this round is done! This one might get developed into a longer piece for another short story collection, but to finish it before the week ended, I opted to keep it simple. If you used the cubes I posted for this round to spark your own story, please leave a link in comments – I love reading other Story Cubes Challenge stories! As always, not edited so it’s rough. Prompts: Pyramid, (pad)lock, house, cane, sad face, compass rose/arrows in many directions, bug/beetle, magic wand, skyscraper Summer Getaway “Aunt Becca!” Ellie ran out of the modest Cape and down the …

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Writing Through The Story Cubes Maze

Another week, another set of Story Cubes. And another obstacle course through which I need to thread my words. I mentioned last week that some sets work better than others, and this week is definitely one of the more challenging ones. Prompts: Pyramid, padlock, house, cane, sad face, compass rose/arrows in many directions, bug/beetle, magic wand, skyscraper The pyramid, skyscraper and magic wand were the three I pulled out to start with, since they were the most challenging to work into an Exeter story. (No skyscrapers in a small town.) I finally decided this was a good time to write …

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Story Cubes Challenge – Week 7

If you read the piece I did the other day about how I write with Rory’s Story Cubes, this is the story I was working on as I wrote it. As always, these challenge entries are basically rough drafts — my editor makes sure stories go through many, many revisions before they make it into a book. 😉 Prompts: Scales (of justice), magnifying glass, thought bubble, bridge, fire, parachute, tree, key, smiley face Mysteries Past Ellie returned to the living room, coffee pot in hand. After she refilled mugs, she stopped to feed another log into the fireplace. When she …

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