Monthly Archives: December 2012

December 24th, 2012

10 Ways Smart Phones Hurt Writers

1. Unless you have amazing self-discipline, watch out for that social media addiction
2. Zap incoming notifications into the trash can instead of becoming a slave to them
3. Up till the advent of the smart phone, it took a lot more clicks and infrastructure to check emails and surf the net; are you writing as much as you aimed to?

4. Not active but passive consumption is king with smart phones. Reading is active. Watching videos is passive.
5. Zoning out is good if it leads to reflection. At what moments in the day did you used to take time for reflection? Are you getting out your phone and checking stuff during those moments now?
6. Are you constantly switching from one thing to another rather than focusing for a period of time on one thing on your smart phone? It’s the antithesis of what we do when we read a story
7. Might people accustomed to smart phone entertainment have less patience for long strings of words that make up a story?
8. Are we losing the gift of gab? Sometimes people are glued to their smart phone when they could be talking together. How is real-life dialogue changing?
9. Now smart phones have invaded the bedroom and the dinner table, the grocery line and the office chat around the coffee machine. These are places where we used to tell each other stories. Is the story becoming irrelevant?
10. Did you notice how smart phones bring Google ever closer, meaning we don’t have to remember stuff because we can always look it up? We have access to more memory, but our own collective memory is turning to mush.

“I fear the day when technology takes over our humanity. The world will then be a generation of idiots.” – Albert Einstein

Rant over. Let’s hear your thoughts — do I worry too much?

December 20th, 2012

My Advice to Aspiring Writers

Rule number one is to find your voice, as a young writer. I think many people manage this best by keeping a journal. Trust your voice and learn to embrace it and run with it. More than anything else, your voice is what will make someone keep reading. Once you’ve got a story going, rule number two kicks in, and that’s keep your backside glued to the seat. Writing is hard work. You have to put in a lot of time, and you have to turn on your brain and think.

For the rest of the interview, please go to the Author Spotlight by Karen Pokras Toz here. Karen is author of bestsellers Nate Rocks the World, Nate Rocks the Boat, and her latest classic, Millicent Marie is Not My Name.

December 5th, 2012

Don’t you want a pre-loaded Kindle Fire for Christmas?

A Kindle Fire worth $499 empty would be a very welcome prize in itself. But this one comes crammed full of hundreds of fantastic books pre-loaded on the device. The winner of this prize won’t have to buy another book for YEARS!

Go here to find out all contest details, and to enter.
Of course, no purchase is necessary. This contest and giveaway were the brainchild of the Independent Author Network, and all the books on the Kindle Fire were penned by IAN authors.

Right now, before I tell you a little about some of those authors, let me thank Chicago author Randy Richardson for tagging me as part of the “Next Big Thing” Blog Tour, and prompting me to write this post which combines that with the IAN giveaway. Randy is the author of Cheeseland, a moving coming-of-age story about a group of Chicago boys on the verge of adulthood. This is one fantastic book, and you can read more about it here.

Martha Bourke

I wanted to let you know about some other authors who are also participating in the IAN Kindle Fire Giveaway, and their books are also pre-loaded on the Fire. There’s Martha Bourke, author of the gripping YA series Jaguar Sun and Jaguar Moon. Find Martha’s blog here. Then there’s Pandora Poikilos whose book Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out is also on the Fire. Talk about funny! More about Pandora here.

You’d be well advised also to check out Lori Gordon’s book Deadly Consequences, featuring Detective Sam Black and his partner, Alec Winters. Never know when you’re going to pick up some useful survival skills for fending off those vicious Chicago murderers. More info on Chicago Author Lori Gordon here.

Or consider Renée Pawlish, whose book Nephelim Genesis of Evil has been called “A spooky blend of Biblical intrigue and modern paranormal.” Renée has written many other books, but you’ll find Nephilim on the Fire, too. You can get the goods on Renée right here.

Read on for my answers to the “Next Big Thing Blog Tour” questions. If this was supposed to be fun, why did I find it just a tad embarrassing? Oh well, did my best. Don’t forget to enter the contest here!

The Next Big Thing …

1. What is your working title of your book?

Annie Ogden 3 (I know, very original, right? That’s why they call it a working title.)

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

Annie’s life is still unfolding, and I’m exploring the inner recesses of her mind. What’s interesting for me, as Annie Ogden’s greatest fan: it’s not a pretty sight in there.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Literary fiction. That’s when the mystery is really only in the main character’s mind.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I could imagine Reese Witherspoon playing Annie, not just because she’s blond but because she’s played such a range of characters.

5. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Three months. That was the easy part. For me, revision tends to change almost everything and takes far longer than the first draft.

Thanks for the interview!!