Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tuesday Tips: TOOLS - Grammarly

I have said it before and I will say it again and again. You could have the greatest story ever written, but if the spelling, grammar and punctuation suck, you will get bad reviews and no sales.

I confess, my skills in this arena are weak.

Grammar Nazi's are out there. You really want to find one to be your professional editor. Seriously. They will polish your book to it's best look. The last thing you want is a reader stubbing their toe on commas and There, They're, Their violations.

I use MS Word for final drafts. It's the format that my editor prefers and making her life easier is one of my goals in life. One of the things that makes it WAY easier, is a tool called Grammarly.

I have the full version that includes a plug-in for MS Word, Firefox and Windows.

This tool fixes way more than the simple spelling and grammar checks in Word. You can even try it for free on the web at www.grammarly.com.

I can run this tool before sending my work to my editor. It allows her to focus deeper. It allows her to work faster. Plus I don't end up feeling like a jughead!

--I highly recommend this tool.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Reading: 1984

This week I am reading 1984 by George Orwell.

Here is the description from Amazon:

Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, his dystopian vision of a government that will do anything to control the narrative is timelier than ever...

“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

Winston Smith toes the Party line, rewriting history to satisfy the demands of the Ministry of Truth. With each lie he writes, Winston grows to hate the Party that seeks power for its own sake and persecutes those who dare to commit thoughtcrimes. But as he starts to think for himself, Winston can’t escape the fact that Big Brother is always watching...

A startling and haunting vision of the world, 1984 is so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the influence of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.

Please note: This is a cautionary tale, NOT a guide book!
--I am jumping on the bandwagon. I have not read it since 1977!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Fast Friday Indie Interviews: Geetanjali Mukherjee

Geetanjali Mukherjee

Tell me about yourself, Geetanjali?

I have wanted to be a writer even since I was little and dreamed of seeing my books on the shelves of my local bookstore; but I only started writing seriously recently. So far I have published a few different non-fiction books – including a short biography of Hitler’s architect, the history of the negotiation of an international agreement on cluster munitions and a book on study skills based on scientific research. I am hoping to turn to fiction shortly, having written a draft of my first novel during Nanowrimo in 2015. I am currently based in sunny Singapore, and am lucky enough to write at a desk facing the sea.

Tell me about your current Book:

When a young boy and girl get back their grades, and realize that ack! they received that dreaded C-, and think they will never be able to improve their grades, or pursue the career of their dreams. Until, they come across a secret book full of incredible knowledge that can help them magically learn their lessons much faster, and opens them up to following any career path they choose. But will they be able to apply the lessons in time, or get waylaid by the obstacles in their path?
Do you wish you could get better grades? Do you struggle with certain subjects and believe that maybe you're not cut out for them? Do you want to spend less time studying and still get good grades?

Anyone Can Get An A+ is a conversational, down-to-earth guide for high school and college students on how to maximize their learning and get the grades they want. This book draws on research from the fields of psychology and neuroscience, and gives students practical advice that they can implement right away, to overcome procrastination, make the most of their study time and improve their grades significantly.

Who this book is for:

College students who want to learn how to juggle classes, extra-curricular activities, other activities and also have room for a social life, High school students struggling with the pressure to get good grades to get into college, pass standardized tests and be eligible for scholarships, Parents who are worried about how to help their children get better grades without overburdening them, Teachers who want to understand how to help their students learn more deeply while enjoying their lessons, Counselors and tutors who work directly with students, to better help motivate and inspire students to do their best, Anyone Can Get An A+ contains 39 tips on various aspects of studying and preparing for exams.

In this book, you will learn:
  • How best to prepare for exams
  • What is the top mistake most students make when doing exam preparation and how to avoid it
  • How to overcome procrastination and use your study time wisely
  • How to break down larger assignments into smaller chunks
  • How to write a paper painlessly
  • How to use small segments of time effectively
  • How to get help to understand difficult material
  • How to do well in a subject even if you hate it
  • How to improve your grades in quantitative subjects like mathematics
  • How to organize your time and study schedule
  • How to keep track of all your deadlines and school-related paperwork

What are you working on now?

I am revising one of my earlier books actually, with some updated research, and a new structure. For some reason I thought this would be a quick project, but it has dragged on for a while. I am also working on a book of humorous essays, based on my experiences as a foreign student in the UK.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

I don’t have one favorite place, it differs. My absolute favorite would be in a quiet, shaded picturesque English country garden, or a beautiful, old-worldly library with ornate desks and secret nooks. Since I don’t usually have access to either of these, I usually do well in a quiet environment, usually with a cup of coffee - it can be my living room, or my bed, or sometimes in one of the many local libraries nearby. Depending on the project, I sometimes write first drafts in a coffee shop, with a deliciously high calorie coffee drink.

What is your favorite Website?

I love interviews with creative professionals from all walks of life, and 99U is one of my favorite websites for inspiration - I love their insights into the working process of successful designers, architects, painters and a wide range of perspectives I would otherwise not come across. I also love reading the blogs of an eclectic group of indie authors, who inspire me to keep working on this crazy, but fulfilling path. I also love to listen to podcasts on a wide range of topics, so perhaps I should say iTunes?


Email: geetanjalimukherjee.author@gmail.com
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Geetanjali-Mukherjee/e/B00IJNQ0V8
Blog: http://geetanjalimukherjee.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/geetumuk
Twitter: http://twitter.com/geetumuk
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/geetumuk/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/geetumuk/

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Quotes of the Week

Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist, but the ability to start over.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald

Be grateful for every word you can cut.
—William Zinsser

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go.
—T.S Eliot

Never make the mistake of assuming the audience is any less intelligent than you are.
—Rod Serling

But with writers, there's nothing wrong with melancholy. It's an important color in writing.
—Paul McCartney

Rejections... teach a writer to rely on his own judgement and to say in his heart of hearts, To hell with you.
—Saul Bellow

During a creative period I write every day; a novel should not be interrupted.
—Fran├žois Mauriac

To find joy in work is to find the fountain of youth.
—Pearl S. Buck

Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader—not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon...
—EL Doctorow

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Before the Outline

Before I get down to serious Outlining, I do serious brainstorming. Serious Marty is serious.

I assemble lists of three things:

  • Characters
  • Settings
  • Plot

It's a fun, creative and kind of random. If you watch the vid I posted last Saturday you can see Brandon Sanderson talking about the Venn diagram that builds an exciting story.

Many authors do this naturally without even thinking about it. Being a massive planner I like using the construct to hone the conflict to a wicked edge.

I build the setting first. It's made up of your standard list:

  • Where does it take place?
  • When is it happening?
  • What is going on there?
  • What places can we create?

Characters usually come next:

  • Create a diverse cast of people.
  • Give them full lives, dreams goals, strengths, weaknesses.
  • What secrets do they hold?
  • Find photos of people that fit them (I use IMDB)
  • Where do they fit in the setting you have created?

Finally the Plot list:

  • Where would the Monkey Wrench go?
  • Who is the protagonist"
  • Who (or what) is the antagonist?
  • What are the goals?
  • What are the obstacles?
  • What is the red herring? 
  • Then add a bit of entropy.

Mash all this together in your Venn diagram and the story emerges in high fidelity. Well, that the hope anyway. If it was easy everyone would do it.

--I do all this on paper. But for this I use a pencil.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Reading: Abaddon's Gate

Last wee I read Abaddon's Gate by James S.A. Corey.

Here is the description from Amazon:

For generations, the solar system -- Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt -- was humanity's great frontier. Until now. The alien artifact working through its program under the clouds of Venus has appeared in Uranus's orbit, where it has built a massive gate that leads to a starless dark.

Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are part of a vast flotilla of scientific and military ships going out to examine the artifact. But behind the scenes, a complex plot is unfolding, with the destruction of Holden at its core. As the emissaries of the human race try to find whether the gate is an opportunity or a threat, the greatest danger is the one they brought with them. 

I really enjoyed this trilogy. The series on the Syfy channel is really good as well. At the time of this writing, Season 2 is about to start in a couple weeks.

--I highly recommend these books. I really love the characters. 


Friday, January 20, 2017

Fast Friday Indie Interviews: J.D. Cunegan

J.D. Cunegan

Tell me about yourself, J.D.?

Behind the Badge is the third novel I’ve published (self-published through CreateSpace and Amazon’s KDP program), joining Bounty and Blood Ties (which are the first two novels in the Jill Andersen mystery series; Behind the Badge is the series’ third installment. I’ve also published the short story Boundless, a Kindle exclusive that serves as a prequel to Bounty. I am a 2006 graduate of Old Dominion University (Norfolk, Va.), where I earned a B.S. degree in Communication. My writing background includes novels, short stories, journalism, and media relations.

Tell me about your current Book:

When a 17-year-old boy is murdered on the outskirts of downtown Baltimore, homicide detective Jill Andersen figures this is a garden-variety homicide – until she discovers those who have the same badge she does are what’s standing in the way of justice.

For Jill Andersen, being part of the Baltimore Police Department has always been both a tremendous honor and a serious responsibility. Her father, before his fall from grace, had instilled in her a great respect for police and the work they do day-to-day. But when a teenage boy winds up dead on the outskirts of downtown Baltimore, Jill finds herself once again faced with those who would abuse their badges to fulfill personal agendas and uphold biases.

Jill still has a job to do, but she soon finds that not everyone is in her corner. For the first time in almost four years working Homicide, Jill finds herself at odds with people who claim to be on her side. From other cops to suits downtown all the way to the Mayor’s office, it becomes increasingly clear that Jill will need to rely on more than just her badge if she’s to solve this case.

But even if she finds justice, what’s the price?

Behind the Badge, the gripping, hard-hitting third novel in the Jill Andersen series (Bounty, Blood Ties), gives readers another taste of author J.D. Cunegan’s comic book-inspired brand of fast-paced prose, with chapters that fly by and plot twists that will leave readers constantly guessing and waiting for more.

What are you working on now?

My latest novel, Behind the Badge, is now available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon! Also find my first two novels, Bounty and Blood Ties, and the digital short Boundless on Amazon. Coming in mid-2017: Notna and Behind the Mask.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

Ideally, in the solitude of my room. I can write pretty much anywhere, but my best work happens when I’m in my room, surrounded by all of my other belongings.

What is your favorite Website?

Tumblr, because it lets me connect with like-minded people and sometimes inspires my work.


Email: bounty_email@yahoo.com
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/J.D.-Cunegan/e/B00YNTP4S2/
Blog: https://jdcuneganbooks.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JDCunegan
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JD_Cunegan
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14050436.J_D_Cunegan

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Quotes of the Week

Have something to say and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret to style.
—Matthew Arnold

We work in the dark—we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.
 —Henry James

Write. Write every day, even if it is only a page or two. The more you write, the better you’ll get.
 —George R.R. Martin

One should be able to return to the first sentence of a novel and find the resonances of the entire work.
—Gloria Naylor

I rewrote the ending of Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, 39 times before I was satisfied ...
—Ernest Hemingway

Editors are extremely fallible people. Don't put much trust in them.
—Maxwell Perkins

Characters make their own plot. The dimensions of the characters determine the action of the novel.
—Harper Lee

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Have a Nice Spot

One of the most important things is having a good place to work. Some people go to coffee shops. It's too noisy for me. Even the library can be too distracting. Some people write at their kitchen tables. Some write while on the sofa or their bed or the floor.

Make sure your chair is super comfy so you can work for HOURS! Remove your obstacles.  But don't make the mistake of waiting for your den to be perfect. Perfection kills a lot of novels.

Here is my den:

What makes this space work?

My recliner sees a lot of writing as well.

 --I'm Blogging from my recline now!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Reading: 11-22-63

This week I am reading 11-22-63 by Stephen King.

Here is the description from Amazon:

Dallas, 11/22/63: Three shots ring out.

President John F. Kennedy is dead.

Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in a Maine town. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away...but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke... Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten...and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.

--I almost didn't post this because I have not finished the book yet. It's almost 900 pages. I'll post again to let you know how I liked it!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Fast Friday Indie Interviews: L.M. Nelson

L.M. Nelson

Tell me about yourself:

L.M. Nelson is certified teacher and CPR/First Aid instructor.  She enjoys poetry, music, photography, gardening, reading, and nature walks.  Aside from her debut novel, Scrubs, she has written several poems, some of which have been selected for literary magazines and published in a poetry collection entitled World Treasury of Great Poems, Vol. II.  She co-wrote the article, ‘Gifted and Talented Education at the Close of the Decade of the Brain’, which was published in the educational journalPerspectives: Idaho Association of School Administrators, Vol. XVI, No. 1.
L.M. Nelson grew up in California and the Pacific Northwest, but currently resides in South Central Texas with her husband and two children.  She is a member of the Texas Association of Authors, the Texas Authors Institute, San Antonio Writer’s Guild, and Romance Writers of Ameri

Tell me about your current book:

Sand & Sutures, the second book in the Scrubs series, follows Randy Hanson, Jim Ryan, and Bruce Buckman into their residency, where they continue their specialized medical training.  As they work to establish their reputations as physicians, they struggle to find balance between their careers and their responsibilities as husbands and fathers.  Throughout this journey, they celebrate successes, encounter unexpected hurdles, and help each other navigate through some of life’s most difficult challenges.

You will absolutely love the characters in Sand & Sutures.  Join them on their journey and discover why a physician’s life isn’t always beer and pretzels. 

What are you working on now?

Currently, I am finishing revisions and editing on the third and fourth books in the Scrubs series.  I also have two other works in progress also.  A Young Adult fantasy book and an adult crime novel.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

I prefer to be alone when I write.  I have less distractions and it’s easier for me to concentrate that way.  During cooler months, it’s nice to write outside, but most of the time, I write while on the comfort of my own couch.

What is your favorite website?

Don’t know that I have a favorite.  I browse around a lot.


e-mail: authorlmnelson@yahoo.com
website: https://lmnelsonscorner.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorlmnelson
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorlmnelson
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/l-m-nelson-610839a4
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14100489.L_M_Nelson
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/L.-M.-Nelson/e/B00ZO1ZZ6Y
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/lmnelson
Circle of Books: http://circleofbooks.com/l-m-nelson/
Texas Authors: http://books.txauthors.com/category-s/2208.htm

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Quotes of the Week

It's impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously you might as well not have lived at all.
—J.K. Rowling

There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.
—Alfred Hitchcock

Writing fiction is the act of weaving a series of lies to arrive at a greater truth.
—Khaled Hosseini

A writer is someone who has taught his mind to misbehave.
—Oscar Wilde

The problem with fiction, it has to be plausible. That's not true with non-fiction.
—Thomas Wolfe

The first draft is nothing more than a starting point, so be wrong as fast as you can.
—Andrew Stanton


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Technology

This tip is more than a strong recommendation to back up you work.

#1 Back it up!

Stop what you are doing and back up all your work. Not just the current projects, ALL of them. Copy them to the cloud, a thumbdrive, email them to yourself and make DVDs. Use automated backups, turn on autosave. Don't forget offsite backups. I have heard horror stories of house fires.

Use technology to secure your files.

#2 Information Resources!

Technology is more than just Google. Google is awesome and I use it to find references and tools. I Bookmark and organize websites that I find useful. I create catagories. Create a writing resource library of your own. It will save you a ton of time, provide inspiration, and answer all your questions. From anywhere you are writing! The beach, your office, a library or any coffeeshop.

#3 Hardware

There are lots of devices I have discovered that are important. I might as well just make a list:
  • Desktop computers with multiple monitors
  • Laptops, Tablets and Advances Phones
  • A good Printer/Scanner/Copier
  • A fax machine. (yes and actual FAX)
  • External hard drives for backups
  • Thumb drives
  • Mobile hot spot
  • Computer camera and mic for teleconferencing
  • A white board (low tech, but so useful)
  • A writers room with excellent lighting, desk, and chair.
  • Quality digital camera (for location scouting)
  • A great stereo
  • An excellent coffee maker!
Several of these can be rolled up into a quality cell phone. Once again, be careful about too many eggs in one basket.

#4 Software

This category will be discussed in greater detail. Here is a list of software tools I use often:
  • Scrivener, my absolute favorite
  • MS Word
  • Grammarly
  • GIMP
  • MS Excel
--Email me things I should add!

Monday, January 9, 2017


I am super happy with our new anthology: Reliquary

Every aspect of this collection has enjoyed great attention to detail. The stories have a common theme. Each story contains a relic of some kind. They represent a wide variety of speculative fiction.

The short story I wrote for Reliquary, No Help in the Truth, is my first published work that is NOT science fiction.

I have to also mention the art design theme of this book, both interior and exterior. Huge thanks go to John Dwight for all his work on this project!

I will appear in a couple more anthologies this year. It has been a pleasure writing short fiction and other genres.

--Check out Reliquary!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

New Release: Reliquary

I have a short story in the new anthology: Reliquary

This is a collection of speculative fiction stories by a group of talented new authors.

My dark story of ritual murder is called: No Help In The Truth

It's an excellent collection for a snowy weekend to read in front of the fire with an adult beverage.


Friday, January 6, 2017

Fast Friday Indie Interviews: Christina Harlin

Christina Harlin

Tell me about yourself, Christina?

Well, okay . . .  cue music, Martin!

Rifftrax and Netflix and cooking spaghetti.
Hitchcock and Bergman and Wyler and Petty.
Old Monty Python, the albums of Sting:
These are a few of my favorite things.

Computer gaming and Bioware romance
Friday night pizza and ratty old sweatpants
Star Wars and Buffy and Lord of the Rings
These are a few my favorite things . . .

Plenty more to add . . .
I simply keep doing my favorite things
So I never feel too bad!

Lonely asylums and creepy old mansions,
Writing a book full of ghost-hunting action,
Scaring myself like I am Stephen King!
These are a few of my favorite things.

Tormenting characters, finishing chapters,
Prescriptions for codeine and muscle relaxers
Getting good news when my telephone rings:
These are a few of my favorite things . . .

Bit perverted,
Sometimes costume-clad.
I simply keep doing my favorite things
So I never feeeeeeeeeeeel toooo baaaaaad!

Tell me about your current Book:

Question: What happens in my latest book, Preta?
a.    When a hunger demon is summoned to punish the visitors at a secluded mountain estate, telepath Rosemary must banish the thing from Earth, or else over thirty people could die, driven so mad with hunger that they will eat anything.

b.    When healer Kaye is badly bitten by a preta, her lover Stefan must rouse her to use her healing powers on herself, or she could die in his arms.

c.    When Sally Friend meets a big bad wolf, she must get him alone in his mountainside cabin, or else she’ll never get see what, uh, big fangs he has.

d.    All of the above.

Answer:  Ha!  Spoilers, much?  I’m not telling you!

Preta is the fourth book in my Othernaturals series, all of which are about the paranormal adventures of the ghost-hunting team from the fictional web show Othernaturals.  The team includes: the producer and telepath Rosemary; director and ghost-spotter Greg; Stefan, the medium, and his resident ghost Brentley;  Kaye, the healer; young psychic vampire Sally; animal empath Judge; and Andrew, the talented psychic who joined the show in order to restore his destroyed reputation.  Keeping the stories humorous, sexy, and simmering with chemistry is important to me, even while trying to give my readers their share of hair-raising scares.  My hope is that readers will find reading the Othernaturals books both frightening and fun.
Preta is definitely the most fast-paced book in the series thus far, taking place over 36 frantic hours during which the team is trapped in a mountainside mansion with an ever-growing group of ravenous houseguests.  The book is my nod to the zombie horror genre (a guilty pleasure of mine), without having real zombies smelling the place up.

Here is the synopsis from the back cover, with a little editing per your instructions:
They are isolated in the mountains, the hunger is growing, and they are running out of time.
Rosemary Sharpe leads her Othernaturals team to the mansion in the Rocky Mountains where her rock-star grandfather and his friends once gathered. Among the musicians and artists who still commune there are a wolfish groundskeeper, whose animal magnetism is irresistible to psychic vampire Sally Friend, and an unwelcome intruder from Rosemary's own carefully guarded past.

The Othernaturals have come to help a former freedom rocker who has fallen under a hunger hex. In the secluded mountainside mansion, however, they find not one hexed woman but an infection spreading out of control, sending the houseguests into a ravenous frenzy. The victims are becoming the "preta," warped by a vengeful entity targeting anyone who has led a life of greed.  One by one, avenues of escape disappear, and the house falls further into madness.

Whether the infection's spread is natural or paranormal, someone seems determined to keep the Othernaturals trapped on the mountain until all souls have been judged - and in the world of the preta, the guilty are punished, but the innocent are eaten.

Preta* is the fourth book of paranormal investigations by the gifted cast of the web show Othernaturals.

“Experts” in a field relating to this kind of thing say, “Failure to read Preta ASAP will lead to Social Outcast Syndrome!”  Don’t be a victim of this terrible affliction!  Read Preta now!

What are you working on now? 

A Fast Friday Indie Interview!  Plus, each week I write two to three essays about specific movies for my film blog, The Movie Orphan.  I’m also working on the fifth book in the Othernaturals Series.  Next time out, the team must cope with death-omen doppelgangers called Fetches!

Where is your favorite place to be when you write? 

I’ve worked at the same battered, warped desk since 1992.  Computers atop it have come and gone, but that old desk knows what it’s there for. I put Pandora on my headphones and go to work.  I set a definite amount of time during which I must work – yes, even on, especially on, the days I don’t feel like it.  I tell myself, “Chris, you’re going to write for an hour.”  Though it doesn’t happen every day, it’s a great pleasure to look at the clock and realize nearly three hours have passed without my noticing.

What is your favorite Website?

Recently, a friend absolutely destroyed my free time by introducing me to Sporcle.com, a site that has hundreds of trivia quizzes in dozens of categories.  The subject matter ranges from general nonsense to serious historical and geographical topics.  User-friendly, addictive and quite educational (assuming one is doing the smart quizzes; I don’t always), Sporcle.com is a mighty, time-sucking black hole.  I go on to do “just one” simple quiz about matching characters to their novels, and two hours later I’m taking quizzes about members of 1970s bands or a logic puzzle about famous movie villains. Super fun, but don’t go near it if you want to accomplish anything that day.


Blog:   www.themovieorphan.com  (Although this is a site at which I write movies, obviously.)
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1391999.Christina_Harlin;

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Quotes of the week

I don't try to guess what a million people will like. It's hard enough to know what I like.
—John Houston

Write. Write every day, even if it is only a page or two. The more you write, the better you’ll get.
—George R.R. Martin

Respect your characters, even the minor ones. In art, as in life, everyone is the hero of their own particular story.
—Sarah Waters

The thing that makes you exceptional, if you are at all, is inevitably that which must also make you lonely.
—Lorraine Hansberry

The third act must build in tempo and action until the last event, and then—that’s it. Don’t hang around.
—Billy Wilder

You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call 'failure' is not falling down, but the staying down.
—Mary Pickford

I don't believe in writer's block or waiting for inspiration. If you're a writer, you sit down and write.
—Elmore Leonard

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Picking Names

I know some authors that have a really hard time picking names for their characters. I have several methods to select names.

Random Name Generators:

There are several websites that can be used by authors for names. Some of them are even based on various cultures, times, and ethnic backgrounds.

Baby Name Books/Websites:

Some of these sources will even give you the history of a name. They provide years when the name was popular.

Phone books:

Get your hands on a thick city phone book and open to a random page.

Real People:

I have named characters after people I know. With Permission (usually). People love being the Red Shirts in my books. Every now and then the characters refuse to die and develop into heroes.


Get out of your chair and take a walk. I enjoy beautiful, historic cemeteries in Virginia. There is even a website used by researchers called Find a Grave.

--The name of a character is just the beginning of a full profile of your characters.