How Impulsiveness Can Boost Your Creativity: A Guest Post by Linda Craig


Have you ever felt the random urge to dump a milk carton over your head? Or to break into song in the middle of the office? Do you have strong opinions about, well, everything? Are you also a writer? Then today’s guest post will prove interesting to you. Linda, Craig, freelance writer, has provided a delightful article about impulsiveness and how it can boost your creativity. Please enjoy!

When you think about your favorite writers, you’ll notice they have something in common: they manage to evoke strong emotions in the reader. An author wouldn’t be capable of achieving that effect if he didn’t experience impulses himself. Someone with cold, distant personality could never write a powerful novel.

Creative writing is closely intertwined with sense, awareness, pleasure, and emotional reactions. According to psychologists, writing can be an impulse itself. This condition, known as hypergraphia, is characterized by an intense urge to write. This drive is different from the usual emotions all people experience every day. A writer recognizes this desire that doesn’t allow him to do anything else. Impulsiveness tortures him, but he feels desperate when he loses it.

Turn Impulse to Inspiration!

You can turn every negative personality trait into a positive one. Are you getting frustrated when you’re watching the news? You are very opinionated about the moral values of the new generation? According to the silver lining theory, negative attributes can boost your performance.

When you get emotional, nervous, or even aggressive, try not to direct those impulses towards other people. This doesn’t mean that you should numb your feelings down. You already have a canal – writing! Use that internal hurricane to drive your writing practice. You can turn the situation into a chapter of your book, or you can save it as an idea for a new project.

How to Boost Creativity through Impulsiveness

  1. Cherish the gift!

Dostoevsky, Hemingway, Camus, Remarque… all great writers had strong impulses. When emotions urge you to write, you should not fight them. Suppressing them will result with more frustration, anger and despair. Writing is the only thing that can heal you. Identify your feelings and express them in words. They don’t fit into your current project? No problem; write a blog or a personal diary.

  1. Don’t try to put the impulse under a schedule

You created a daily to-do list that instructs you to sleep 8 hours per day and write from 9 to 5? That scheme never works for authors. You cannot schedule emotions and inspiration. The point of getting more creative is to learn how to follow your instincts. You wake up in the middle of the night with a strong urge to write something about the dream you had? Who cares about the schedule? Write!

  1. Turn everything into writing

Writers are not spared from problems. They are often challenged by their partners, critics, readers, and everyone else in their surroundings. Hemingway witnessed a terrible war that revolutionized his understanding of life and humanity. His masterpieces deal with the aftermath. Great authors know how to create something beautiful out of their frustration.

As every other human being, you are allowed to suffer. However, you shouldn’t allow depression to drive you away from the work. Process your feelings and use them for the greater good. Impulsiveness can drive you towards a powerful creation.

Step away from your stiff schedule and learn how to appreciate impulsiveness as your writing muse.

LindaA brief bio: Linda Craig has a master’s degree in literature. She is currently working at assignment writing service Assignment Masters as a freelance blogger.

Follow the link to read more of her articles.

I want to thank Linda again for sharing her content on my blog. I look forward to future guest posts here on Lit Chic. See you all again on Friday!


The Art of Procrastination – A Writer’s Guide: A Guest Post by Rayne Hall


The weekend is almost here! Can’t wait! I’ve got plans to spend time with my best friend from college, catch up on my shows, clean the toilets, wash my dog, scratch my nose, stare at the ceiling–just about anything to put off editing my novel. Chores and errands are just a few of many ways to put off a writing/editing project. Today’s guest blogger, Rayne Hall, shares 20 more ways a writer can put off their writing. Enjoy!

  1. Read this blog before you start today’s writing session.
  1. Nobody can procrastinate all the time. Take a break now and then and write something. Then return to procrastination with renewed vigor.
  1. Don’t waste your procrastination on unimportant matters.
  1. Tidy your desk. You’ll write much better once the clutter has gone.
  1. Prepare your writing session so you won’t be distracted once you start. Have everything ready: glass of water, cup of coffee, cupcakes, carrots, the right music playing, comfortable themed clothing, to-do list, dictionary, thesaurus, different colored gel pens, how-to-write books, reference books, pictures for inspiration, incense, matches, good-luck charm, statue of writing deity or patron saint.
  1. Let out the cat, feed the baby, groom the dog and do whatever else needs doing to guarantee that your writing session will not be disrupted.
  1. Twitter is a useful procrastination tool. Have you checked your tweets yet today? It’ll only take a moment. Do it now, so you won’t need to interrupt your writing later.
  1. Don’t underestimate the value of other social media networks. Even if you don’t plan to use them, they’re worth checking out. Just take a quick look at Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Vimeo, Tumbler, StumbleUpon, FourSquare, Reddit, Wattpad, Flickr, DeviantArt, Delicious, Instagram, GoodReads and BookLikes. Create any accounts you don’t yet have.
  1. Time spent on social media is never wasted. You’re networking, which practically counts as writing.
  1. Your blog is overdue. Come on, it won’t take you long to dash off 300 words for your blog. Get it out of the way before you start working on your novel.
  1. Let sales statistics for your published books boost your writing motivation. Quickly check today’s sales on Amazon, Smashwords, Apple, Barnes&Noble and Draft2Digital, worry or rejoice as appropriate, and to get a true picture, ask other authors how their sales are doing.
  1. While you’re at it, see if your published books have entered any bestseller lists today. If yes, spread the word.
  1. Unless you check your email now, you won’t know if a publisher has accepted your novel.
  1. You’ve been sitting at your desk too long. Do some light aerobics to loosen up.
  1. Oh, rats. Your coffee has gone cold. Get a fresh cup.
  1. Comment on this article before you start writing. It’s only common courtesy.
  1. Read and reply to the comments other people have left. It’ll only take a second, honest, or maybe two if required to sign in or up.
  1. Share this with at least three people before you start writing. The convenient share buttons at the bottom of the page save you time.
  1. If you’ve read this far, you qualify for membership in the Procrastinating Writers Club. Tweet me @RayneHall and I’ll put you on the #shoutout list. Do it now, while you’re logged into Twitter.
  1. Make a firm resolution that tomorrow you will really write.

71V+XAmii0L__UX250_Rayne Hall has published more than fifty books in several languages under several pen names with several publishers in several genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction.  She is the author of the bestselling Writer’s Craft series and editor of the Ten Tales short story anthologies.

She is a trained publishing manager, holds a masters degree in Creative Writing, and has worked in the publishing industry for over thirty years.

Having lived in Germany, China, Mongolia and Nepal, she has now settled in a small dilapidated town of former Victorian grandeur on the south coast of England where she enjoys reading, gardening and long walks along the seashore. She shares her home with a black cat  adopted from the cat shelter. Sulu likes to lie on the desk and snuggle into Rayne’s arms when she’s writing.

You can follow here on Twitter where she posts advice for writers, funny cartoons and cute pictures of her cat.

7 Essential e-Publishing Tips: A Guest Post by Author M.J. Moores


What day is it? C’mon! Say it! Say it! It’s Hump Day! Whoo-hoo! And I have a treat to get you through the mid-week hump, a guest post by author, editor M.J. Moores, OCT. Today, she’s going to share with you 7 essential e-publishing tips. Take it from here, M.J.!

It’s hard to imagine being an author today and not having an e-version of your book available for sale. In fact, with ½ of all books sold (on a yearly basis since 2012) being eBooks, that’s a market you don’t want to be left out of. However, I still come across many self-published authors who haven’t taken that next step. And whether you’re just starting into the e-publishing game or you’ve been making your way alone through the quagmire here are 7 essential tips to consider.

ONE – Get to know the players.

Kindle generally claims ½ of all eBook sales and the other half go to a variety of mid-sized and small niche markets: Apple’s iBook, Barnes & Noble’s nook, Google Books, Kobo and many more. Depending on your prowess and comfort with being a small business owner and managing your books, there are 3 standard options to consider: Just going with 1 platform (e.g. Kindle Unlimited); going with 2 or 3 distribution platforms (Kindle Direct & Smashwords or Draft2Digital); or going direct with as many companies as you can (Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Google Books, etc.) and then finding 1 or 2 multi-platform distributors to get your book into the smaller niche markets. No one option is the right one and none of them are wrong.

TWO – Do your market research.

Check out what demographic buys where, to hit your optimal sales figures. If you’re writing for the teen or YA market (we all know that adults love YA just as much as teens!) then putting in the time and effort to have a solid presence on WattPad could be a substantial benefit to your e-industry. You need to realize that getting into this business on a wing-and-a-prayer may work some of the time, but more often than not first-timers get discouraged and frustrated when their expectations do not become a reality.

THREE – Make sure your eBook is as nicely formatted as your print book (if you have one).

The ease with which anyone can publish online today often leads to hasty uploads to the marketplace. Either do your research and study the style guide for your chosen distributor(s) or hire a professional to simplify the process. There are a number of authors who offer services like editing and formatting at discounted prices to supplement their income. Chat in writing forums online or ask around at a local writers meeting to see who might “know someone” to help you out. You want your readers to have the best possible experience with your text so that it disappears from the screen and simply becomes alive in the mind.

FOUR – Get yourself a nice cover image.

If you happen to be a graphic artist and you’d like to build a book cover using a design program you’re comfortable with, go for it. You can easily find the dimensions for the cover that your preferred distributor uses and then get creative. If you happen to dabble with graphic design or you’re using a cover page template provided by your distributor (or a 3rd party) then you’ll need to do your research. There are proven complimentary visual elements of style that are necessary for you to understand about the art of cover art and how that differs from print to digital imaging the size of an icon or postage stamp. You also need to know what your target market likes. If your cover looks amateur and doesn’t accurately represent your niche genre then you’re trying to hit a home-run with a Nerf baseball bat at Fenway.

FIVE – Make sure the price is right.

Yes, you have your print book listed at $16.99 but that doesn’t mean you automatically list your eBook for that price. For print you have to consider the cost of physically creating and then shipping your book to your reader. On a 350 page book you’re looking at costs between $8-$12 on average. Immediately take that away from your $16.99 price tag – eBooks are published with the click of a button and sold with one too. Suddenly your book is sitting around $4.99-$6.99 – much more comfortable numbers… but are they your numbers? The facts are that most eBooks gain their highest sales (depending on your genre of course) around the $2.99-$3.99 price bracket. If you’re a relative unknown in your publishing market then the better bet is to start on the lower end. If you’re well-known then go with the mid-range pricing since you already have a solid readership. And if you happen to be Stephen King, go for broke and sit at the high end as you continue to rake in the cash for your literary offerings 😉

SIX – Work the system.

Whatever e-publishing platform (or distributor) you happen to go with, they will have a means by which you can place your book on sale, do a limited time discount, participate in %-off days or other promotional opportunities. Bottom line – if someone thinks they’re getting a good deal, they’re more likely to buy. This goes across the board with print publishing too, but take advantage of sites where you can list your book for free (because it’s discounted or naturally sits at a certain price range) as there are always bibliophiles on the hunt for a great buy.

SEVEN – Give it away for FREE.

Yes, this is a controversial topic in-and-of itself but hear me out. There are three ways to do this and I’ll guarantee you’ll like at least one of them 😉 The first and most widely practiced is having a “free day” or days for your full-length book. Why go free? The general rule of thumb is that for every 30 books sold you’ll gain 3 reviews. If your book is downloaded 300 times on its free day, then you’re looking at a potential 30 reviews to help hype up and sell more books for a profit. However, there are other ways to get reviews (reaching out to book bloggers one-by-one or paying review services like NetGalley or ChooseyBookworm to make your book available to their network of reader-reviews – this is not the same as paying for reviews, which you should never do) which leads me to option two; free teasers. By making prequel chapters available for free or writing ‘extra’ material that can act as a reference or introductory text of some kind you are providing a hook for potential readers to get to know you, your style and content. Options three is making use of giveaways during your pre-launch and launch days to help spread the word about your new book. Who doesn’t like winning something for free? Goodreads is a great platform to help with this or you could go solo and work with Rafflecopter and run your own giveaway.

Getting into the eBook game might strike you as anything from exciting to nauseating depending on how self-assured you are when branching out and trying something new. Just remember, the writing and publishing community (both on and off line) is here to help you. Yes, we’re all in competition for that almighty buck but ultimately we know that if we can help you succeed there’s a chance for us out there too.

picM.J. Moores began her career as an English teacher in Ontario, Canada. Her love of storytelling and passion for writing has stayed with her since the age of nine. M. J. relishes tales of adventure and journeys of self-realization. She enjoys writing in a variety of genres but speculative fiction remains her all time favourite. M.J. is a regular contributor to Authors Publish Magazine and she runs an Emerging Writers website called Infinite Pathways where she offers editing services and platform building opportunities. Her debut novel Time’s Tempest is currently available in print and e-format.The 2nd book in the series will be coming out early in September!

Connect with MJ on her website, her blog, or on Facebook.

Happy Hump Day, everyone!

The Right to Write: A Guest Post by Kimberly A. McKenzie-Klemm


Happy Monday, everyone! Is there really such a thing as a “happy” Monday? Regardless, this post by Kimberly A. McKenzie-Klemm is sure to brighten your day. Please enjoy her thoughts on the right to write.

Take it from here, Kimberly!


Fight for your right to write!

With the writing industry asking questions about Indie authorship, self-publishing, and on-line social media use, I think we (as writers) should consider our answer about why we have the right to write. As a relatively new novel author, a few friends of mine told me that it was “nice” that I had finished my first book but that having a book in print did not mean that anyone would read my work. Possibly, this is the most discouraging type of comment a new book author could have in response to achieving publication. Many reasons exist for traditional publishers and academicians going into battle with the current state of the writing community. Among those reasons are variations on the theme that writers should be carefully “chosen” by those placed in industry and scholarly pursuits to validate that the writing is “worthy” of a readership. It is a difficult endeavor to find support for better books written by relatively “unheard of” new writers without large marketing budgets.

On another note, there are people (not writers) whom assume it is the case that if someone understands the language and can put sentences together that individual could write as well as anyone else and that is all a writer’s craft is worth. I find that it is important, as a writer, to establish the reasons that writing is valid, professional, and print-worthy. I have found three personal characteristics that writers can cling to when facing up to their own validity:

1.  It has been said many times that “Writers write”. True to the nature of a writer’s craft, a writer’s style, voice, and ease with different formats will develop strength over time. If a writer is a serious writer, not just someone “trying to write” for a time, a writer will endure in the act of writing.

2.  Writers do not work in a vacuum. If a writer cannot speak about his or her work, defend his or her words, or is ashamed to release in public written works, then a writer has not established validity under personal commitment to the actual products of the writer’s pen.

3.  Writers work on their written words. A valid writer does not toss off sentences without putting it effort over the style, format, and revising and editing needed to showcase the intentions of the writing to the best of a writers capabilities and choices. Writers that do not have knowledge about the writing craft and art of the pen cannot validate their choices on the pages.

Other ideas over the right to write exist in the writing industry, but writing takes self-reliance to some degree and it is important for writers to have some form of personal viability to stand up against detractors from the writing craft.  I find that doubt about the “reality” of writing disappears with every word on every page. Writers will not fail to remain as long as reading and writing continues to be a part of the civilized world.

Slide1Kimberly A, McKenzie-Klemm was born in 1970 on Williams Air Force base in Arizona to Robert Klemm and Casandra McKenzie. The passion for writing has been with her life-long and she has been employed in the technical writing field across industries for ten years. Starting in poetry in her early twenties, Kimberly has written and published short stories and poems and authored three books: The Rest Room, The Dream of Keriye and Growing Past. She holds a B.S. in Business Management.

Please check out Kimberly’s website!

Happy Monday, all!

The Choosing and Feeding of Betas: A Guest Post by Amie Gibbons


Happy Hump Day, everyone! And to help me get over the mid-week hump, Amie Gibbons has provided me a guest post about beta readers that I know you will find extremely helpful, and fun!

The Choosing and Feeding of Betas:

Beta Readers are perhaps the most important part of the editing process. I’m going to say this up front because I’ve made this mistake. Be nice to your betas! They take time out of their busy lives to read your stuff and try to fix it up. Even if it’s a bad review, be nice. If it’s horrible and they just aren’t the right person to be critiquing your work for whatever reason (and that’s a judgment call on your part) you’ve still got to say thanks for your time.

First, I’m going to define what I mean by beta (because I’m a lawyer and that’s just how we roll. A beta is someone who reads the book after it’s done. This isn’t someone who reads through your slightly polished 3rd draft who’s there to catch the grammar mistakes and suggest ways of restructuring a sentence (Though some of them do this, I think of those as Alpha Readers.)

And for the love of the writing gods, Alphas and Betas are not there to read your rough draft. Please never ask someone to critique a rough draft again. For their sanity and yours. (I did that for my brother in law once upon a time and he has not asked me to look at anything of his since.) For more on this: Alpha vs. Beta Readers.

Betas are the people who come in once you’ve done 10 drafts or 20. Once you’ve caught all the spelling and grammar stuff you can, once you’ve worked out the plot holes, steamed up the sex scene, drove the message home (wow, those two shouldn’t be next to each other on the list, and rounded out your characters.

Betas are readers!

They are the people that come in once you think the book is at publishable quality, and give it that last look. They’re basically reviewers.  Does your writing style work, do the characters, does something feel contrived, does the plot move too slow or too fast, is there a gaping plot hole you didn’t catch. They aren’t there to line edit (again, some do at this stage and that’s okay, take the extra pair of eyes) because that’s what Alphas and Editors are for. They are there to tell you if the story works.

They’re going to give you feedback and you’re going to say thank-you. If it was bad, rant to your friends and family and let them coddle your hurt feelings. You get to be hurt, you get to have a drink, down chocolate, maybe cry a little. What you don’t get to do is take it out on your betas.

They don’t like your style/genre/voice/message and they tore your book apart because of it?  Fine, don’t use them again because they aren’t your target audience. Don’t argue (you can nicely ask them to expand and explain so you can fix it), don’t yell at them (even hiding behind the safety of your keyboard) and do say thank-you for taking the time.

This is what I meant when I said feed your betas. That’s the thank-you. You don’t have to “feed them” by giving them more of your work if it’s not their thing. And they probably don’t want to see more if it’s not their thing.

I have one person in my writing group whom we all know can’t read my stuff because she doesn’t like cursing.  Upon seeing a passage of mine, she said it’d be great if I took out the swear words. Yeah, that’s not happening. So if she did critique my stuff, she’d be flagging those down as she went. That’s what I mean by not your target.  Someone who doesn’t believe in sex outside marriage shouldn’t be reading steamy romance novels. Don’t like violence, there goes many bestseller action adventures. Think stories about magic/science that may as well be magic are invoking the devil? That’s tossing out sci-fi and fantasy.

I don’t like excessive gore and violence. So guess what big summer blockbuster I absolutely hated! Would have walked out if I wasn’t taking a friend for his birthday and it was his choice of movie loathhhhhhhed. Mad Max.

I ripped it to shreds. I wanted it scrubbed out of my brain because it was physically painful to sit through that piece of trash. If I went on a rant as to why, we’d be here for another 1000 words. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t their target. I hated it for every reason their target audience loved it.

Genre, subgenre, or type of writing is important when you’re beta hunting. If they like mysteries and urban fantasy, they might like paranormal romance. Then again, they may hate every book in their chosen genres that have romance and stay away from those (clears throat, my mom). Romance readers may hate paranormal romance because it’s usually more gory and action packed.

There are differences within a genre and you first have to find someone who likes your type. A lot of guys don’t like my writing because it’s usually 1st person POV in the head of a woman, it’s too “girly” for them. Doesn’t matter how much stuff I blow up in the book (I love blowing stuff up, *maniacal laugh*) it is still the world through female eyes and that makes it hard for some guys to connect to it.

That’s okay.  Accept right now that your book is not for everyone. You have a target audience, figure out who they are and, well, target them. (Yes, I’m picturing betas in my crosshairs right now 🙂

Now, if the person has some experience in your genre (or even if they don’t) and they critiqued your writing, said it wasn’t quite there, not good descriptions, didn’t have a voice; or if they critiqued the structure/characters like it was too slow, they couldn’t connect to the characters, something didn’t make sense in the plot. Those are things you want to consider listening to.

Now, how do you know when to listen to a beta and when not to? You’ve just got to learn for yourself what makes a good and bad beta for your work and then, yep, there’s that judgment call we talked about. You have to build a relationship with betas, to get a sense of who they are and what they like. That means you’re going to end up using a few who hate your work and trash it. It’s the whole you’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs idea.

Wine, chocolate, snuggle with your honey, and move on.

You figure out which betas to listen to first of all by what they say about the work as a piece in your genre. If they normally don’t read that genre/type, red flag. You can tell this pretty easily because they’ll usually tell you.  But sometimes they’ll… er, forget 🙂

If they are giving you advice about your book, saying the genre doesn’t have that, and you know it does because you’ve read it (or think the genre could use a little expanding) probably don’t listen to them. If someone’s saying there’s no room for romance in a mystery/suspense novel, I guess they’ve never heard of a little known author named Lisa Jackson. If, however, someone says the romance doesn’t ring true because it happens so fast with no build up, you may want to listen.

Another big red flag to look out for and to use to rule out betas is if someone fundamentally disagrees with some ideology you are (or they think you are) promoting in your book.

I had one guy trash a short story because the MC had a gun on her. He couldn’t figure out why a “normal girl” would just happen to have a gun on her at all times because “only cops and criminals” did that. Hahahahaha. Someone who’s fundamentally anti-gun probably won’t like my books because my characters are usually armed (shout out to Oleg Volk, my gun expert), either with guns or magic.

Somebody who’s homophobic isn’t going to like my character who’s gay and lives with his bf. And if a character is bi?  Ohhhhh, gods save you. (Random aside, why do homophobes, or even people who claim they’re not, have a bigger issue with bi than with gay people?  What is that? Then we could go into why do they have a problem with gay people to begin with and we’d never get out of here 🙂

Yes, there are people out there who will tell you you are terrible at something because they don’t like your views (I have a Professor who’s getting written into a book and killed off for this 😉 and they want to shut you up before you can get your views out there.

You also figure out what betas to listen to by numbers.  One big reason you can’t just have one or two betas.  You’ve got to have enough people who can critique your stuff in your genre that you can compare their answers. If one person said the characters were flat and another said they were so well rounded she’s using what you did to flesh out her own characters, I say average them out. If someone says it’s too slow and another says it’s too fast, again, probably average them out.

But if you have a few saying basically the same thing isn’t working, it’s probably a good idea to listen.

In the end, it’s your book, it’s your baby. And books don’t get written by committee.  It’s your call. All the betas are doing is telling you what they as an individual reader thinks. Other readers may feel differently.

So, to summarize, you want to find multiple betas in your genre, who like and/or understand your voice, and who won’t hate the whole thing just because there’s something in there they are fundamentally against.

For a few awesome posts on beta readers, critique groups, reviews, when to listen to them and when not to, check out:

The Catching and Feeding of Betas (From which I stole the name of this post 🙂

The Demon Up Close, Novel Workshop Addendum

Don’t fear the one star

The better angels of our writing

Happy Writing!


Meet Amie Gibbons!

Amie GIbbons: Is a lawyer and urban fantasy writer/author wannabe. She started writing in college, produced four books and many stories, all at various stages of completeness and needing to be edited. She took an unplanned hiatus from writing when she went to law school and all of her brain power got consumed by cases, statutes, exams, and partying (if you think law students are boring and don’t know how to throw a good party, you’ve never met a law student in Nashville). She’s finally writing again!

Check out her blog or follow her on Twitter.

Happy Hump Day!

Industry Sins: A Guest Post by K.D. Rose


It’s been less than two days since I made my request for guest bloggers, and already I’ve had an overwhelming number of responses! I want to start off by thanking everyone who answered the call. I will do my best to respond to you all in a timely manner and plan your post dates.


Meet K.D. Rose

My first guest blogger is a real hoot. Meet K.D. Rose, poet and author of currently published works, Heavy Bags of Soul, Inside Sorrow, I AM, Erasing: Shadows, Anger’s Children, A Taste for Mystery, and her newest release, The Brevity of Twit.

Her poetry has been published in Candlelit Journal, the Voices Project, and showcased in the Tophat Raven Art and Literary Magazine. K.D.’s book, Inside Sorrow won the Readers Favorite 2013 international Silver Medal for Poetry. With fellow authors around the globe, KD was also a founding member of the e-magazine, INNOVATE. Check it out!

K.D. has an eclectic mind and loves language, physics, philosophy, photography, design, art, writing, symbolism, semiotics, spirituality, and Dr. Who. KD Rose is an avid supporter of music, the arts, cutting edge science, technology, and creativity in all forms. K.D also has a chronic illness but doesn’t let it get her down. K.D. considers herself a “Spoonie” on the lam.

Today, she’ll be discussing innovative e-readers. Take it from here, K.D. Rose!

I am a small-time author. By that I mean no best seller lists, small sales, etc. On the other hand I am also an immensely curious, well-studied, and eternally optimistic human being. Through-out my journey, both as an indie author and with publishers, I’ve noticed something. Indie and small-press authors should relate. What I noticed is how difficult it can be to publish e-books that consist of anything other than generic words in a generic font and .. and well, that’s it.

Generic words with a generic font are all we can seem to generate. By we, I refer to book distributors, meaning the big players of Amazon, and Barnes & Noble as well as the small presses. Then there’s Apple. The lone wolf of the technology world has some multi-touch books that have enhancements if you have an iPad. But Apple is rather useless to authors and publishing houses that do not have the time or money to put out complicated formats. These enhancements are not an innate part of the publishing process. Take it from an e-author. Even fonts are not up for discussion.

To make a living, authors and publishers need to be distributed by Amazon and other retailers who cannot yet accommodate these enhancements. Once an author has gone through the excruciating process of learning that his or her e-book must be formatted technically in multiple ways for multiple distributors, there’s relatively little money or energy left to fight for more.

However, I like to stay on the edge. And by edge I mean bleeding edge. You’ve heard of the cutting edge? Well the bleeding edge is where you’re so far ahead so people just look at you like you’re crazy. The concepts haven’t entered their mind yet. And it is so very important for concepts to enter minds—because how else do we create? We have to envision before we can create.

Yes, I want Dean Kamen’s clean water for the world!

Yes, I want Bill Gates’ next generation toilets in every third world country!

The point is, there are always pioneers, and as an author, I say that those pioneers need to get busy with books and more important; the industry should welcome these things with open arms. We know that e-books are “in” now and print books are still viable, but industry-wide enhancement of e-books is a murky, disturbed thought because it would require a way to bring together so many different types of formatting issues.

Here’s a few of the things I can’t do for large distribution:

  • I can’t use a smart pen to write on pages that my readers will see;
  • I can’t embed pictures easily into my e-book (or have them remain properly placed);
  • I can’t easily put links in my e-book for the readers to go other places related to the book;
  • I can’t place a video onto the page of my e-book for my reader to see.

Now, I can do all these things individually:

  • I can use my smart pen on my computer documents;
  • I can make a soundtrack to my book and share it using social media;
  • I can put a link in my book to go to a website where more links are available;
  • I can go to a vanity press and make a beautiful book full of pictures.

None of this helps an author. As an author my needs are simple. I need to be published and I need people to buy my books. However, as an author and someone who loves advances in every discipline, I want more. I conceive of more. I also know that in a few years, others will want more. Those babies playing with baby smart phones today are your e-book customers of tomorrow. They will expect more. The kids using smart-phones right now expect more. Now.

Here’s what I envision as de facto parts of an e-book:

  • An e-book that I can open and see pictures on any page. Pictures of characters, pictures of scenes, whatever, seamlessly integrated into my story;
  • An e-book where I can open a page and there is a video where all I have to do is click to see the video, because the video was important to the scene;
  • an e-book where I open up the page and see drawings by hand that the author wanted to show me, in between the print;
  • Multiple fonts used when needed for part of the story that I, as a reader, can enjoy; I envision buttons where all I have to do is click, as a reader, to hear the music the author is talking about to set any scene;
  • Multiple colors on text, not even used sparingly, as part of telling a story that I, as the reader need to see to ‘get it’;
  • A button on the e-book that will let me hear the book as an audio book if I so choose, rather than reading it;
  • A button on the e-book that will convert the format immediately to whatever mobile phone I happen to have so I can read it on there instead (because now I am out the door somewhere and don’t want to lug anything else). Or the other way around, because now I’m home and I want to read on something larger; I envision all these things available as an innate part of the publishing process.

Here are a few that distributors’ should care about:

  • Links that take me, as a reader, directly to the distributor site to buy the next book in the series, or any other book by that author;
  • Links that take me to an excerpt of that authors next book or any of that author’s books, which I can then click and buy if I choose.
  • Links that allow me to share a message of how good the book was on multiple social media accounts.

I’m sure there’s more. In fact, I am positive there is more because I am not a baby with a smartphone or a kid getting bored with e-books or reading in general because there is so much more at my fingertips on other devices. What do you envision? What can we make happen? Most important: when can we make it happen as a general industry practice?

I leave you with questions.

In the infamous words of Porky Pig, “That’s all folks!” Be sure to check out K.D.’s blog, website, and or connect with her on Twitter, Tumbler, Google +, InstagramLinkedin, Goodreads, and Facebook. And be sure to stay tuned for more awesome guest blogs!

Guest Blog – No Magic Pasties of Protection! And How to Avoid Rusty Blades, by Charles E. Yallowitz


Whoo-hoo! It’s Friday! And I have a treat for you–a guest post by Charles E. Yallowitz, author behind the Legends of Windemere epic fantasy series. Book 7: Sleeper of the Wildwood Fugue is now available on Amazon, along with his newest release, Ichabod Brooks & the City of Beasts, a short 27-page short story for only $0.99!

For those of you who don’t know Charles, he’s a writer, father, and all around funny guy, who happens to enjoy D&D, fantasy films/books, and foods that would make my stomach turn. He’s an awesome person who is very supportive of other Indie authors. If you’re not connected, do so on Twitter and WordPress.

Okay, now that introductions and promos are out of the way, let’s move on to the post. Today, Charles will be discussing weapons and armor–primarily women’s armor–and the impracticality of them in fantasy fiction. As a proud feminist and fantasy writer myself, this post was right up my alley. I know you’ll enjoy it too. Without further ado, here’s Charles:

Thank you, Kylie. I think one of the issues with fantasy can be summed up with this video from Collegehumor on Youtube:

I shouldn’t even have to say this, but people don’t always think in practicality when it comes to character protection. NEVER give a female warrior a chainmail bikini as armor. A bizarre medieval beauty pageant? Maybe. Warrior woman version of lingerie or a specific fetish for your world? Go right ahead. But actual bikini armor is ridiculous and you might as well put her in a dress or naked for all the help a metal studded thong will do. Remember that the key point of armor is protection and not to look sexy. Maybe you can get away with sexy leather armor, but you don’t mess around once you go chainmail or higher on the protection food chain. A bare midriff with platemail is a way of saying ‘this character will be stabbed in the stomach’. Oh and no magic tassels or pasties of protection for EITHER gender!

Remember mobility with armor too. No high-flying stunts in platemail unless it’s magically enchanted to specifically allow for that. If you want a character to be flexible and agile then you need leather or something that is bendable. Know the limitations that come with your armor or you’re going to lose the reader.

That small rant brings me to a small point of fantasy that doesn’t get much attention: Gear Maintenance. I’m only going to go over a few points here that can be seen as pet peeves, but they really are important.

Dents and Dings

As I said, armor and shields are designed to protect. That means they’re taking hits and getting damaged. If your hero has armor on and isn’t getting hit then you’re doing combat wrong. Even without some protection this situation is rather iffy. After a while, the polish wears off and the armor should look like it’s seen better days. Shields can be broken and replaced if hit too often or too hard. For example, I have a character who uses a wooden buckler and he’s already gone through a few of them over the course of a book. These things were designed to take hits and get some wear and tear, so put that into your story.

Here is a quick list of what can happen to armor and shields: dents, dings, cuts, holes, punctures, splintering, slashes, gashes, tears, and whatever else is a type of damage to a surface.

What do you do when the armor is dented or the shield is broken? There’s a person in fantasy settings that is used specifically for this. He or she is called a blacksmith and all you have to do is have a character say ‘I’m going to the blacksmith to get my armor fixed’ or ‘I’m going to the blacksmith to buy a new shield’. You don’t even have to write the scene. Have the warrior leave, focus on the others for a bit, and then have him/her return with repaired gear. A simple ‘look at my new stuff’ line and you’re golden.

Clean Your Sword

Whetstone (Yahoo Image Search)

Whetstone (Yahoo Image Search)

The above picture is a whetstone, which is used to sharpen a blade that is going dull or is nicked from use. Swords get nicks and gouges in their blades when striking anything. If it is not taken care of then the weapon will shatter at the worst possible moment. That moment would be in battle when you prefer to keep your vitals non-punctured. A whetstone and sword oil is very easy to include. After a battle, have your warriors sitting around a campfire and write ONE sentence about them sharpening their blade. Examine it for nicks and issues then you’ve done your part. The hero’s blade has now been fixed and maintained to add a little more reality to them. You can always overlook this by having time pass, but there is one thing that irks me. I’m probably guilty of it too without realizing it.

CLEAN YOUR BLADE! There’s a scene in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe where Aslan tells Peter to clean his blade after killing a wolf. The comedy of the scene in the movie is that the blade was already immaculate, but it’s Disney so shut up. I’ve read and seen a lot of scenes where the hero stabs someone with their sword. Then they sheathe the blade without cleaning it. I always want to yell ‘No! Clean your blade! Use a rag, your glove, the face of your slain enemy! Anything!’ The reasons for this is simple. Blades can rust and dried blood is disgusting. Even worse is the idea that the sheathe is now coated in blood, which will erode the blade. Easy way to fix this is to have your character carry a rag and clean it. You don’t even have to do it a lot. Set up the habit in the beginning of the story and then people will assume that the hero does it later on, so you don’t have to write it.

Those are some helpful armor and maintenance tips. Hopefully they help and remember . . . chicks in chainmail only work for a calendar spread. In battle, they’re about as useful as curvy scarecrows.