Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Follow Your Passion No Matter How Weird

Check out my newest fan.

The man behind the mask is Steve Vaughn, aka, the Dark Stilter. He was getting into his gear next to my table where I sold books at a comic con this past weekend.


As you can see, he doesn't use a ladder,but simply balances one leg at a time to put on the stilts. He has about 60 different silicone heads and an assortment of costumes that he changes several times a day.


Steve has a remarkable ability to scare and charm people at the same time. He'll goof on adults, but is very gentle with children.


Those who are leery at first are soon shaking his hand and posing for pictures. Out of costume he's not scary at all, but a perfectly nice guy. Steve practices his monster trade and is in great demand at conventions, haunted houses, festivals, and wherever else 8 foot tall freaks are in demand.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY
Find your passion, no matter how weird, and run with it. You may be able to make a living like Steve someday.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Today is Bad Poetry Day

A haiku in honor of Bad Poetry Day

Title: Dawn of the Evil Shoe

Aglets are angry
A tongue speaks but no one hears
The sole lost its soul

Monday, August 15, 2016

Tricube Poetry





I learned a new poetry technique called Tricube at my writers' group this weekend. Three stanzas, each with three lines, each with three syllables. Here's mine:










Big fat cat
Belly drags
On the ground.


Diet time.
No more snacks.
Just cat food.


Fear fills me.
Cat's glare hints
Revenge planned.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Book Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Jason Dessen is an ordinary college physics professor and happily married family man until one very bad day. He’s kidnapped and then rendered unconscious by a mysterious hooded attacker who seems to know the most intimate details of his life. Then Jason wakes up, surrounded by strangers who claim to know him, but his life has been mysteriously altered and his wife and son are gone.

Crouch has written an imaginative novel encompassing quantum physics and how it affects the choices a person makes in life. At times sweetly romantic for a science fiction story, Dark Matter explores how even minor decisions serve to eventually define the person we become. Jason is literally offered an infinite number of escape paths, but only a finite number of choices. One wrong decision can separate him from his family forever.   

The novel is written in Jason’s first person perspective. I don’t have a problem with first person, but the author uses a flat writing technique with short choppy paragraphs that are oddly jarring.
“I watch my blood pressure rise on the monitor.
I don’t want to set off the alarm again.
Closing my eyes, I breathe in.
Let it out.
Take another shot of oxygen.
My levels recede.”
The style permeates the book and doesn’t sound like a real person speaking or any kind of plausible internal dialog. People. Don’t. Think. That. Way.

While Jason is likable, the weakest parts in Dark Matter concern secondary characters. The villain in the alternate world attempts to keep Jason from returning to his ‘real’ life, but his motivation is irrational. Other than the fact that the story needs a protagonist, I didn’t see a logical reason for him to be so determined to separate Jason from his family. He’s rotten, but pointless.  So is the woman who plays an important role in Jason’s escape attempt. She disappears halfway through the story. You learn little about her, her character is barely developed.  Considering her pivotal role, nothing about her stands out. She’s more like a tool for Jason to use rather than a real person.

All told, Dark Matter is an interesting read that goes quickly, and explores questions about reality and choice not usual in science fiction.  I’ve read that Crouch is writing the screenplay and actually think a movie will minimize the flaws and improve on the book.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.





Saturday, August 13, 2016

Moon, Mist & Magic Facebook Party Winners Announced

Thanks to everyone who dropped by to the Moon, Mist & Magic Facebook party. My list of winners is below. A complete list of all the winners is on the MM&M Facebook party site.

Sarah Fisher: Amazon GC
Miranda Bly: ebook
Kim Brown: ebook
Patricia Way: ebook
Marie Helfrich Shovlin: ebook

Thursday, August 11, 2016

You're Invited to a Facebook Party

What?
 Facebook Party to celebrate the launch of Moon, Mist & Magic!

Where?

When?
Friday, August 12, 6-8:45 pm EDT




All are invited to celebrate the launch of our new paranormal anthology, Moon, Mist & Magic with a Facebook party. Come meet the five authors and learn about the World Wildlife Fund. (We're donating all royalties.) We have giveaways galore, and every visitor who leaves a comment will be automatically registered to win the Kindle Fire grand prize. 


Here's the party schedule. Hope to 'see' you there.

(Friday, August 12: ALL TIMES EASTERN)

6:00 ~ Kickoff & Welcome
6:15 ~ Abigail Owen
6:45 ~ J.C. McKenzie
7:15 ~ L.A. Kelley
7:45 ~ Sharon Saracino
8:15 ~ Maureen L. Bonatch
8:45 ~ Thanks & Farewell


Get ready to be enchanted by mythical beasts, magical creatures, and moonlit night. Enjoy your favorite author, or discover someone new, in these five fantastic tales of paranormal romance woven with moon, mist, and magic...

Monday, August 8, 2016

What is an Author Service?

Abigail Owen, co-owner of Authors on a Dime, talks about the benefits of using an author service.

What is an author service?
An author is really the owner of a small business with an employee of one. A lot drudge work is involved in producing and marketing a book, but an author service can eliminate some of that so a client has more time to write. A variety of functions are available such as brainstorming, editing, self-publishing assistance, development of social media platforms, and publication graphics. A good service can also be tailored to any level of writing from novice to published author.

What should a writer look for when deciding on an author service?
You want to find the best service for you, so it’s important to set a budget and priorities. Authors on a Dime is an all-purpose agency, with a broad spectrum of services in areas such as proofreading, webdesign, graphics, and social media, but other companies may have a narrow platform. To choose a cover designer, for example, examine the artist’s portfolio (examples of that designer's work). Choosing an editing service is more difficult. How can you determine the quality of work? A good method is to see if they offer a free sample. We edit for free the first chapter (or 10 pages, whichever is longer) giving an author a good feel for the level of expertise.

Last but not least, compare prices. Does the agency have an all-in-one package or can you pick and choose what works for you? Our services have a tiered level, giving authors a variety of options.

So it’s not just editing?
No, an author service can encompass many different aspects of publication.  For example:

Beta Reading - Instead of editing, this is reading for content with focus on plot, conflict, character development, etc. Sentence structure and grammar are addressed in so far as they affect the story’s flow.

Copy Editing / Proofreading - The editor tightens up the mechanics, with attention paid to wrong words, misused punctuation, and grammar to eliminate errors and make the manuscript shine.

Blurb - A blurb is the description on the book jacket or Amazon page used to attract a reader’s attention. Many writers find them difficult, and a second set of eyes is often helpful.

Synopsis - Torture to many authors, the synopsis is a short (1-3 pages) description of all the major plot points and characters in the book. Most editors and agents require them with manuscript submissions. Marketing departments often use them to determine book cover designs.

Graphics - It’s not just book covers, but banners or social media posts to incorporate cover elements and build an author platform.

Brainstorming or Consulting - Sometimes you just need to ping an idea off someone.


Developing a Social Media Presence - A lot of sites are out there. Which ones will work the best for you? An author service can present options.

Self-Publishing - Agencies like ours can walk a client through the process, including editing, book cover, blurb, formatting for ebook and/or print, and even publish the book via Amazon, Smashwords, and/or Create Space.

How should an author select an agency?
Ask around for references. Check out services online. Visit our website at Authors on a Dime and compare our services to others. Try our10 page free editing sample. Can’t even get started on that novel? We also offer a free online workshop for NaNoWriMo participants. We naturally hope authors will choose us for publication needs, but the most important point is to find a comfortable fit with an agency who matches your style, needs, and budget.

Abigail Owen is the co-owner of Authors on a Dime, a boutique author services agency. Employees’ credentials include MBAs, Masters in English, and 20+ years in web design, project management, business analysis, and editing.