Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Audio Books

Aven Shore
The Audio edition of my most recent novel, Virtues of the Vicious, is now available with the excellent Narrator is Aven Shore.

I get a lot of questions about audio book production from other authors I know. I always point them to www.ACX.com. ACX is an Amazon company that produces audio books for Amazon, Audible and iTunes.

The ACX website has a ton of resources and guidance including the new ACX University.

What's ACX University?
ACX University was established in 2013 to bring free audiobook production education to a community of new producers. Since then, we've grown from classrooms at Audible to an annual series of weekly webcasts for producers and authors to share knowledge of successful audiobook production and distribution.

What's the cost to participate?
Free! ACX University is available to all.

When and where can I watch?
Videos are available on a YouTube channel. Subscribe to the channel or follow on Facebook to keep up with the latest audiobook news.

What's the catch?
No catch! At ACX, they are committed to providing authors, publishers, narrators, and producers with best-in-class training and education to make great audiobooks.

The digital market for books continues to grow. I currently sell more audio editions than paper editions. It's a great feature if you want to read the book yourself or work with a producer.

--Get reading!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Reading: Specops

Last week I read Specops, Expeditionary Force Book 2 by Craig Alason.

Here is the description from Amazon:

The sequel to 'Columbus Day'. Colonel Joe Bishop made a promise and he's going to keep it; taking the captured alien starship Flying Dutchman back out. He doesn't agree when the UN decides to send almost 70 elite Special Operations troops, hotshot pilots and scientists with him; the mission is a fool's errand he doesn't expect to ever return. At least, this time, the Earth is safe, right?

Not so much.

--I am enjoying this series! Skippy!

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Fast Friday Interviews: Alaina Stanford

Alaina Stanford

Tell me about yourself, Alaina?

 I'm a Star Trek and a Star Wars freak. I've watched Pride and Prejudice 8 times and You've Got Mail way more than that. I have seven kids and a golden retriever named Jack. I don't watch horror movies, I'm too much of a wimp. I grew up on Grims fairy tales, Stephen King and J.R.R. Tolkien, plus, of course, Star Trek/Star Wars movies and books. I was so shy in high school that I had to force myself to keep my eyes off the floor and set a goal to say hello to at least one person every day. I always wanted to be a flight attendant, but I'm a nervous passenger. I write in multiple genres, but all my books are romantic adventures. Oh, and my hair color changes with the seasons.

Tell me about your current Book: 

Order of Succession, A Science Fiction Romance

When the party planet of Chelyana is invaded by a hostile race, the fate of her people is suddenly thrust into Kaelyn's hands. She races across the galaxy in a small starfighter, toward the only man powerful enough to save her planet, her fiancĂ©, Chord. There’s only one problem, Kaelyn's pilot is the love of her life…

What are you working on now? 

Book 5 of my Archangel Series, Angel From Hell

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

In my living room during the day when the kids are at school.

What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing? 

Never give up, never surrender. (Did I mention I'm also a Galaxy Quest fan?) Oh and hire a good editor.

What is your favorite Website?  

My mind is a complete blank. I guess I don't have one or I have too many to narrow the choice down. I'm sure it has something to do with clothes, shoes or writing, maybe music or movies, yes movies or furniture, no movies, probably movies. What was the question again?


Email: 11alaina11@gmail.com
Blog:   https://www.authoralainastanford.com/blog/

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Quotes of the Week

And as imagination bodies forth the forms of things unknown, the poet's pen turns them to shapes...
—William Shakespeare

Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.
—Stephen Fry

Don’t get it right, just get it written.
—James Thurber

Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.
—Stephen King

Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.
—Pablo Picasso

Imagination is like a muscle. I found out that the more I wrote, the bigger it got.
—Philip JosĂ© Farmer

A well-composed book is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a world that we cannot enter in any other way.
—Caroline Gordon

I write to be the characters that I am not.
—Joss Whedon

There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they'll take you.
—Beatrix Potter

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Very

Today is another simple tip that will improve your writing.

After I finish a novel, one of my reviews is for the word "very".  The word is easy to replace and improve the book.

The list on the right is a set of examples to illustrate the concept.

When I am rolling in my first draft mode, I end up using "very" way more than I even realize. Very often, er, ummm.. frequent...

It is funny how once I became sensitive to the word I even notice it in books I read.

--Very cool!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Reading: Columbus Day

Last week I read Columbus Day, Expeditionary Force Book 1 by Craig Alanson.

Here is the description from Amazon:

We were fighting on the wrong side, of a war we couldn't win. And that was the good news.
The Ruhar hit us on Columbus Day. There we were, innocently drifting along the cosmos on our little blue marble, like the native Americans in 1492. Over the horizon come ships of a technologically advanced, aggressive culture, and BAM! There go the good old days, when humans only got killed by each other. So, Columbus Day. It fits.

When the morning sky twinkled again, this time with Kristang starships jumping in to hammer the Ruhar, we thought we were saved. The UN Expeditionary Force hitched a ride on Kristang ships to fight the Ruhar, wherever our new allies thought we could be useful. So, I went from fighting with the US Army in Nigeria, to fighting in space. It was lies, all of it. We shouldn't even be fighting the Ruhar, they aren't our enemy, our allies are.

I'd better start at the beginning....

--I really enjoyed this. Reading book 2 this week!

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Fast Friday Interviews: Tabitha Caplinger

Tabitha Caplinger

Tell me about yourself, Tabitha?

Hi! I’m Tabitha, but I guess you figured that out already. I love coffee and tacos and tv. I really love tv. I have a husband and two daughters, both of which are super sassy like their mom. I spend most of my time binge-watching or talking about Jesus.(I’m also a pastor which is the Jesus part and I covered the tv obsession already.) Weird fact, I took fencing classes in college and I don’t run. I can run, but I don’t. If you see me running, you should run too because a wild animal or hoard of zombies are chasing me.

Tell me about your current Book: 

I have a ya trilogy, The Chronicle of the Three, out in the world. Well, the first two parts of it are out in the world, the third installment is coming soon.

When she finds out demons are real and she is one of the few humans who can see then, Zoe Andrews must join her Aunt Claire and the other chosen to stop the Destroyer from gathering the darkness, or else the apocalypse begins and we all become demon food.

TCO3:Bloodline (AKA Book 1)

Zoe thought the loss of her parents would be the most difficult thing she'd ever have to endure. When she began seeing things she couldn't explain in her new home of Torchcreek, Virginia, she was sure the grief was driving her mad. Instead Zoe discovers she is part of an ancient bloodline, one destined to prevent the powers of darkness from condemning the world. But Zoe, the daughter of the three, isn't just another descendant-she's the key to humanity's salvation. In this first installment of the supernatural fantasy trilogy The Chronicle of the Three, Zoe Andrews learns that not all shadows are harmless interceptions of light. Some are a more sinister darkness that wants to torment the soul.

TCO3: Armor-Bearer (AKA Book 2)

Darkness creeps around every corner as demons gather in the small town of Torch Creek, Virginia. The Destroyer has arrived, and the Reaping is coming closer by the day. Zoe knows it’s her duty as the Daughter of the Three to hold back the shadows, but she doesn't know how—and time is running out. Zoe and her friends turn to the ancient text of The Chronicle for help. Are they strong enough to withstand an enemy who exploits their deepest fears and doubts? Will they find the answers they're looking for before all of Hell is unleashed? Zoe’s journey as the prophecy’s promised Daughter continues in this second installment of the fantasy trilogy, The Chronicle of the Three.

What are you working on now?

Final edits are about to begin on the third installment of this spunky little TCO3 Trilogy. But in the meantime I just started a new project which I think will be sci-fi/dystopian. I think. There are aliens and a group of outcasts, who might turn rebellious, who live in the mountains. Someone died already and I’m trying to work in a pet falcon. That’s really all I got so far.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

I usually write at home, curled up in my comfy chair with a hot cup of coffee. I like to be alone when I write. I would get too easily distracted outside or at a coffee shop.

What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?

Book Marketing sucks. I know it is a necessary evil but I hate it. That’s not really a favorite lesson but it’s been a valuable one. I wish I had known the marketing part of things before I started writing so I could have been more ahead of the game there. I think knowing some of what I know now, back then would have saved me a little frustration at least.

What is your favorite Website?



Email: elevategirlsusa@gmail.com
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Tabitha-Caplinger/e/B0147IV3IS/
Blog: tabithacaplinger.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TabCaplinger/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Tab_Caplinger
Instagram: https://instagram.com/Tab_Caplinger

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Quotes of the Week

“The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.”
― Confucius

There were times when I was afraid I would never sell another book, but I never doubted I'd write another book.
—George R.R. Martin

If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die.
—Mik Everett

Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol.
—Steve Martin

Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.
—Cyril Connolly

I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't, I would die.
—Isaac Asimov

Some moments are nice, some are nicer, some are even worth
writing about.
—Charles Bukowski

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
—Thomas Jefferson

My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.
—Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tuesday Tips: When Life Happens

Every now and the something happens. I call this kind of thing The Monkey Wrench.

Last week my wife broke her leg. She was walking down the stairs carrying a laundry basket and stepped on a pile of magazines (she had left there). She only fell three steps but she badly broke her fibula and dislocated her ankle.

The good new was that the EMTs were there in only three minutes after I dialed 911. The bad news was it was broke bad. Surgery was required. Recovery will be slower than a simple break.

Family first, writing second.

This happened on October 1st, our wedding anniversary. Today is October 17th. This may be my longest hiatus from writing since 2014.

So what have I learned?

  • Monkey Wrenches happen.
  • Don't sweat it. Worrying about it won't help.
  • Stay organized. This allows you to pick up where you left off easier.
  • Forgive the Monkey Wrench. Because it's not IF shit happens, it's WHEN shit happens.
  • Family First. Let the Monkey Wrench bring you closer to those you love. Not become a wedge.

As far as Monkey Wrenches go, this is a minor one (Sorry, Brenda.)  Remember that time when Steven King was out for a walk and got hit by a guy in a van? Now that is a MAJOR Monkey Wrench. I just have to do all the cooking, shopping, cleaning, laundry, home maintenance stuff and caring for my poor, pitiful, frustrated wife. It takes more time than you think! It sure make me appreciate all she does for me.

Be prepared against Monkey Wrenches:
  • BACKUPS! Computer issues are the most common Monkey Wrench.
    • Hard drive failure
    • Loss or stolen laptops
    • FIRE!
  • Stay organized.
    • Outlines that will keep me on track
    • Notes consolidated in one place
  • Stay flexible.
    • “The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.” --Confucius

--REMEMBER: Never leave a stack of magazines on the stairs to take up later...  

Monday, October 16, 2017

Reading: The Collapsing Empire

Last week I read The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi.

Here is the description from Amazon:

Our universe is ruled by physics, and faster-than-light travel is not possible - until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transports us to other worlds, around other stars.

Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It's a hedge against interstellar war - and a system of control for the rulers of the empire.

The Flow is eternal - but it is not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well, cutting off worlds from the rest of humanity. When it's discovered that The Flow is moving, possibly cutting off all human worlds from faster-than-light travel forever, three individuals - a scientist, a starship captain, and the empress of the Interdependency - are in a race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.

--Book one of a series. I liked it.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Fast Friday Interviews: Adam Martin

Adam Martin

Tell me about yourself?

I'm a Fire Horse, according to Chinese astrology, born Dec 2, 1966. Each sign has a 60 year window. So, the next batch will be born in 2026. Since, I wasn't born in China, nor a Chinese citizen, I'm not sure if I lost all those benefits, whatever they may be.

Tell me about your current Book: Xenoman

When ex-pole dancer/model Trianne is abducted in the Klownburger parking lot, Xeno, her ex co-worker from The Shoki Pao dance club, is hired by secret service agency Intellegella to locate her with the black box, a new experimental device used to detect missing persons via synthetic sensory perception. Xeno's mission is to locate Trianne and bring her back to Intellegella rehab,  before she suffers the effects of Black Magic abuse, a designer drug that results in spontaneous human combustion, just like the tabloids tell it in the supermarket. It's all true . . . including the alien conspiracy . . . and the coming of artificial humans . . .

There's even a character named Tab Lloyd . . .

What are you working on now?

I'm working on a cautionary tale about the video game industry. The idea of kids wearing those video game helmets at the expense of looking at a real tree is just plain wrong, and it looks creepy.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

I go to the civic center. It has a nice open atmosphere, and there's places to take walks, and there's a couple coffee shops with big vinyl booths that I enjoy. I also like to write in my folks kitchen, and there's a couple of upper scale Del Taco's and Mc Donald's that I kind of like. I rarely write in my condo. It feels like being in a gray tomb. I never go to Starbucks. It's full of rickety little kid's furniture, and they're cramped and expensive.

What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?

Writing isn't lonely. There's a confusion. You don't have to be a writer to be lonely, and you don't have to be lonely to be a writer. The two have nothing to do with each other. They're two separate problems, and you have to solve them over time as such. The reason I continued writing is that I like the conversation that goes with people that think farther out than just the veneerof  posting Dancing With the Stars videos on Facebook, and boring the hell out of everyone with their Morning Cup of Joe posts, pictures of their dog, their cat, then their dog again, then the "Here's-me-drunk-at-a-bar-in-(your south of the border country here)" post.

What is your favorite Website?

I read the free version of  The National Enquirer online, just to catch up on what I'm missing with the print version at Wal Mart. When I go to Wal Mart, I always read the print version in ten minutes and put it back without buying it. I catch up on news with Yahoo and Google. I don't need to see someone speak it on TV. I just need to know what happened in print. I like Metacritic for movie reviews, etc.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Quotes of the Week

If you know from whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations on where you can go.
—James Baldwin

Writing for me is a kind of compulsion, so I don't think anyone could have made me do it, or prevented me from doing it.
—Joanne Rowling

The road to Hell is paved with adverbs.
—Stephen King

Forget what you think about it and tell what you feel about it.
—Stephen Crane

Read widely...and sometimes while immersed in the multitude voices of others, you just might find your own.
—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Dialogue has to create a life. It has to be self-sustaining. Conversation is definitely not dialogue.
—Sam Shepard

Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
—Leonard Cohen

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Come and Visit!

I will be appearing at Great Writers, Right Here 2017 – a local author fair, hosted by the Fauquier County Public Library on Friday, October 13 from 6 – 8 p.m!

Come and visit! Bring coffee and chat! Or just point and laugh!

Great Writers, Right Here will bring together local published authors and readers who will have the opportunity to stroll from table to table and meet the authors. I will share and discuss my work with the community and sign and sell books.

There will be over 40 authors are participating in this celebration of local talent. In response to the increased interest, this year’s event will be held at the Family Life Center, First Baptist Church, 39 Alexandria Pike, Old Town Warrenton. This is located across the street from the Warrenton central library.

When: Friday, October 13, 2017, 6-8 p.m.
Where: Family Life Center, First Baptist Church, 39 Alexandria Pike, Warrenton VA 20186

--Admission is free. Door prizes will be awarded.

Just leaving this here...

Monday, October 9, 2017

Reading: My life as a White Trash Zombie

Last week I read My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland.

Here is the description from Amazon:

Teenage delinquent Angel Crawford lives with her redneck father in the swamps of southern Louisiana. She's a high school dropout, addicted to drugs and alcohol, and has a police record a mile long. But when she's made into a zombie after a car crash, her addictions disappear, except for her all-consuming need to stay "alive".

--This book was a lot of fun. Recommended.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Meet the Author: Book Signing!

I will be appearing at Great Writers, Right Here 2017 – a local author fair, hosted by the Fauquier County Public Library on Friday, October 13 from 6 – 8 p.m!

Come and visit! Bring coffee and chat! Or just point and laugh!

Great Writers, Right Here will bring together local published authors and readers who will have the opportunity to stroll from table to table and meet the authors. I will share and discuss my work with the community and sign and sell books.

There will be over 40 authors are participating in this celebration of local talent. In response to the increased interest, this year’s event will be held at the Family Life Center, First Baptist Church, 39 Alexandria Pike, Old Town Warrenton. This is located across the street from the Warrenton central library.

When: Friday, October 13, 2017, 6-8 p.m.
Where: Family Life Center, First Baptist Church, 39 Alexandria Pike, Warrenton VA 20186

--Admission is free. Door prizes will be awarded.

Always need more bacon!

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Fast Friday Interviews: Robyn Bennis

Robyn Bennis

Tell me about yourself, Robyn.

I grew up in Florida, where I was co-raised by my grandparents and a biker gang. No, really. Buy me a drink, prove you’re not wearing a wire, and I can tell you some great stories. I moved to Boston for my first biotech job, where I stayed with gay furries for a year. I then moved to San Diego and worked down the street from Mitt Romney. From there, I went to the San Francisco Bay Area, where I learned more than I ever wanted to know about venture capital—which, for the record, is an infinitely weirder and more absurd world than that of biker gangs or furries.

Tell me about your current Book:

When a vast army conducts a surprise attack, a nation’s first female airship captain must bring her unwieldy ship under control and gain the respect of her yet more unwieldy crew, or else they’re all totally boned.

Think Stargate SG-1 on an airship. Or Red Dwarf on an airship. Oh, or Firefly on an airship! Or Stargate meets Red Dwarf meets Firefly meets Battlestar Galactica on an airship! Ahem. Sorry, someone gave me an Amazon gift card recently and I’ve been using it to rewatch my favorite shows.

In all sincerity, if you like witty dialogue, hard fantasy, military fiction, and fart jokes, you’re going to love The Guns Above. Also, if you don’t read it, I’ll send roving bands of bikers, furries, and/or venture capitalists out to find you.

What are you working on now?

Right now, I’m working on the sequel to The Guns Above, to be released next spring. Once that’s on its way to print, I’ll be writing a supernatural fantasy about a woman who speaks to the devil. It’s semi-autobiographical.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

Anyplace that has good coffee and tables that don’t wobble. I therefore write mostly in coffee shops, but I won’t kick a donut shop out of bed.

What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?

My favorite lesson? That there’s no right way to conduct the business side of it. There are wrong ways, certainly, but there’s no single right way. I’ve seen writers successfully build a following via social media, events, reviews, blogging, and even word of mouth. It’s not about finding the right way, it’s about finding your right way.

What is your favorite Website?

Based on the frequency with which I access it, that would have to be www.sadtrombone.com. It’s the perfect link for any occasion that involves epic fail. And let’s face it, epic fail is on the rise these days.


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Guns-Above-Signal-Airship/dp/0765388766/
Blog: http://www.robynbennis.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robynbenniswriteringpun/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/according2robyn
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26123536-the-guns-above

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Quotes of the Week

Sometimes good things fall apart, so better things can come together.
—Marilyn Monroe

The time to begin writing a story is when you have finished it to your satisfaction.
—Mark Twain

The best stories don’t come from good vs. bad but from good vs. good.
—Leo Tolstoy

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
—Albert Einstein

Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.
—Isabell Allende

Let the readers do some of the work themselves.
—Fyodor Dostoevsky

If you’re a writer, you sit down and damn well decide to have an idea. That’s the way to get an idea.
—Andy Rooney

If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story.
—Terry Pratchett

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Socialize

One thing that has helped me almost more than anything else is hanging out with other writers.

Here is a simple list of the various ways:

  • Take a class about writing.
  • Join a writers critique group.
  • Use meetup.com and find groups of working writers.
  • Meet aspiring writers.
  • Drink lots of coffee.
  • Do NANOWRIMO meetups.
  • Go to lit conferences.
  • Join FB groups.

I attend one group of writers that meets monthly. They call themselves a group of drinkers with a writing problem. They just meet and eat and drink and talk about writing. It's fun and social and not only do I enjoy the interaction and learn something now and then, I can study all kinds of people.

Another group I know talks exclusively about screenplays. Another is all about editing. Another is dedicated to the genres I love.

I get energized by interacting and talking with other authors. Some of them are introverts and it may be the only outside human interaction they ever get!

All work and no play makes Marty a dull boy.

Get out there and talk to other writers about the craft and the business of writing. It will make you a better writer.

--It will also make you a happier person.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Reading: To Fire Called

Last week I read To Fire Called by Nathan Lowell.

I love these characters and this series.

Here is the description from Amazon:

A dead ship returns to the Deep Dark with a live crew.

Captain Ishmael Wang finally gets the Chernyakova out of the yard and embarks on a voyage into the Toe-Holds where the Confederated Planets Joint Committee on Trade has no authority. Where the law is whatever you say it is as long as you can enforce it.

Where he learns that some will do anything to hide their secrets and everybody has a secret.

--This is a great series. I will keep buying them as long as he writes him.