Independent Authors Network

IANIf you look in the column to your right you will see a new badge in my sidebar proudly proclaiming that I am now a member of the Independent Authors Network.

For a one time fee of $40 (I used a referral code to get 20% off – mine is  IAN-2014-128) I now have an author page up that can list up to seven of my books, trailers and links plus a 21 day Tweet welcome to their massive 119k strong Twitter following.

The page is maintained by IAN.  For a Bronze membership ($25) you get a similar package without the Tweet salute. You can also go bigger and get Gold and Platinum packages which I think I will do when I have my books better organized and republished.

The whole point of IAN is to allow authors to cope with the necessary evil of promotion in an affordable way – something I’ve been looking for.

Check out my page here, or click the IAN button in the sidebar.

Here’s the list of other IAN authors you can browse.

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My Goal: Healthier Living

Yogurt Muncher

Even my son is getting into healthier eating!

Since last year I have been running full tilt trying to keep up and I can really feel my energy flagging some days.  I used to grab a sugary snack to pep up or chug some cold coffee but it doesn’t do much to recharge me beyond just a quick burst.

I quickly realized that if I’m here for the long haul I better get some new, more sustainable habits.  Enter Yoplait Greek Yogurt :)  It satisfies my sweet cravings and the high protein sticks with me.

I’ve been having one for breakfast and one as an afternoon snack and that seems about perfect for me.  Just in time too – the sweet and creamy, healthy snack makes even the ice cream man not so tempting!

JJ3And now trying Yoplait Greek is a better deal than ever – :Dandilyon Fluff readers can get one Yoplait Blended Cup for FREE when you buy one Yoplait Greek 100 Calorie Yogurt Cup. Please click this link for coupon, available while supplies last. 

For a limited time, save even more on Yoplait Greek Yogurt:

Print-at-home coupon

  • Buy One Yoplait Greek 100 Yogurt Cup and Get One Yoplait Blended Yogurt Cup for Free
  • Click here to access coupon
  • **Void in Tennessee. Available while supplies last.

In-Store Savings, available at Publix

  • Yoplait Greek 100 on sale 10/$10 from 3/13 – 3/19

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Show; Don’t tell

Angela: Amy Eye is our contributing blogger of the night with an excellent tutorial on an often overlooked subject. Any is a professional formatter and editor at The Eyes for Editing and the author of several soon-to-be-released children’s books, including Sable.

JJIf you have been writing for any amount of time and spent any of that time with a critique group or an editor, I’m sure you have heard the phrase “Show; don’t tell.”

But I bet there are some of you out there who are still a bit fuzzy on what in the heck that means. How do you show anything in a book without pictures?

We aren’t watching a movie. How are we supposed to show something with mere words? That, my friends, is what I am here to tell you today.

When we write a book, we want the story to play like a movie in our reader’s head. We want them to feel the tension, mourn loss, gasp with excitement, and envy the romance. But how do we do that?

We immerse the reader in the world with the words we choose in the manuscript. Let me give you an example…

Johnny was thrilled it was his birthday. He could hardly contain the happiness at seeing his friends and family all there to celebrate his big day with him. When his cake came out of the room, his best friend, who had moved away last year, carried the cake in. Johnny couldn’t believe his eyes.

OR

Johnny bounced up and down in his seat. He jabbered to anyone who would listen about the balloons, the presents, and the guests who had attended. As the cake’s candles emerged from the darkened kitchen, Johnny grasped the edge of the table to hold himself in his seat. His best friend, Jacob, who had moved away, held the cake below a smile brighter than the dancing flames below his face.

The previous two paragraphs are an example of showing verses telling. Can you tell the two apart? Which one tells you more about what is going on and which is showing you the scene, letting you gather the information yourself based on what you have read? Go ahead – reread them. I’ll wait.

Now, by this time, I gathered that you noticed it was the second paragraph that was showing more. We got to see the scene better, we felt his happiness, could sense it. The narrator didn’t just tell us what was going on “Johnny was thrilled it was his birthday.” The scene showed that one line throughout the entire scene by everything that was going on.

Both paragraphs convey the same message, but the second was more visual because it showed how Johnny was acting, the scene around him, and a bit of the tone of the party.

Many people worry that showing verses telling takes too many words. There are 54 words in my first example, and 70 in my second. So is the showing paragraph longer? Yup – but as I haven’t worried about pruning things down, we could probably lose a few of the extra words in there too. So overall, we are sitting on a passage that is close to the same length. And it’s definitely a better idea to throw in a few more words to make it a much better reading experience for your readers than to try to keep yourself to a word count and have a book where the readers are blind to your scenes. We will talk about ways to cut word counts down in a later blog post. :)

What’s another way to keep with the “Show; don’t tell” message? Abstract words. Words that can mean so many things to so many people. What types of words are these? Here are a few words I want you to think about for a minute.

Big Small Large Tall Short Heavy

Pretty common words right? How can anyone POSSIBLY not know what they mean? How can they get confused? Big means it’s big, right?

Of course it does. But it’s all subjective. What seems large to a cat, will seem small to the horse. What seems gargantuan to a child can be small to an adult. Here’s an example. As I was growing up, my grandma seemed like one of the biggest people in the world. Her arms embraced me when I was sad, and, boy, when I had to look up into her face when she was angry… I had never seen anyone bigger in my life. As I grew up, I quickly stretched taller than her mere 5 foot 2 inches, and suddenly, I was looking DOWN on her. She was no longer “big” – she was just the woman I still wasn’t going to anger. But her physical stature was completely different to me, even though she hadn’t changed at all.

The same goes with the rest of these words above, and all other vague words. Will they do in a pinch if the

“perfect” word isn’t there? Sure. But it’s not very concrete. Try to change these vague words with something a little more identifiable. Let me be cliché for just a moment here and give you an example.

His palms were big. (It’s big, right?) His palms were the size of hubcaps. (Now that is HUGE.) His palms were the size of dinner plates. (That’s still pretty big.)

So if we say his palms were big, how big were they? Different people could interpret “big” to mean different things, and the examples above show us how to convey what our image of big was – it gives them concrete information to go off of.

Play around in your manuscript. Where have you been cutting the scenes of your “movie” and not showing the readers what was really happening? Where could you be a bit more descriptive and less vague? Use these tips to really pack a punch with your visuals.

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A Poetic Tail and a Plea

From Angela: In keeping with the National Poetry Month theme we have noted children’s author and artist Robin Wiesneth to share some verse with verve. She also does a lot of work to help alleviate the unwanted animal population by helping worthy organizations find homes for them, so after you read her poetry and visit her site, come back and share so Juno and Jarvis (bottom of the post) have a better chance of finding their forever home.

Robin WiesnethHi, Robin here!

You may know me from my hilarious but rarely updated blog “ABrushwithHumor” or my Facebook page of the same name. I have a passion for shelter pets and paint a lot of them (to clarify – I don’t actually paint the animals, I paint pictures of them).

Recently I’ve ventured into children’s picture books and I’m having a blast. This poem is about my first book: Tails of Imagination poem

Like what you see? Shipping is FREE!

Drop by my web site at Tailsofimagination and check it out!

Juno and Jarvis are four-month-old Hound/Pointer pups. Juno is an adorable sweetheart with a little overbite and Jarvis is a little snuggle buddy who had a slight spinal injury, which made his back legs a little wobbly. They are looking for someone with a huge heart to take them home forever. These adorable pups are available for adoption to an approved family. For more info call Alaqua Animal Refuge at (850) 880-6399, visit them at 914 Whitfield Rd, Freeport or find them online at alaquaanimalrefuge.org

Juno and Jarvis are four-month-old Hound/Pointer pups looking for someone with a huge heart to give them a forever home. These adorable pups are available for adoption to an approved family.
For more info call Alaqua Animal Refuge at (850) 880-6399, visit them at 914 Whitfield Rd, Freeport or find them online at alaquaanimalrefuge.org.

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Tagged! Interview

I have just been tagged in a blog game by Susan Walsh Whistler, a writer and essayist from Canada’s East Coast and co-creator of the children’s book, The Great Crow Party. You can read more about Susan and her work at susanwhistler.com.

The idea is to get to know each other with miniature, impromptu interviews and then tag two others to play.  It’s been a busy week for me, so I never did get around to asking anyone else to play so this will be a surprise to all of us.  I like this idea – kind of like being interviewed on my own blog.

Susan WhistlerSusan: You’re an American living in Australia. Has the change in setting resulted in any new inspirations or ideas for you?

Camera profile BW eyesAngela: I think I may need to update my biography somewhere!  I did live in Australia with my husband, a native, for just over a year and I found the time to be extremely beneficial to my writing.  I published my first book, End of Mae, while living over there followed quickly by No Money Marketing. I couldn’t work while waiting for my visa so I busied myself with books and blogging, for the most part.  We live in the US now.

Susan WhistlerSusan: Many writers with a journalism background find it difficult to move into fiction. Do you find operating in different genres a challenge?

Camera profile BW eyesAngela: Not at all – they are codependent.  Fiction and nonfiction are two side of the same coin.  We have to find the best angles in the truth to showcase it and make it interesting.  By the same token, if our fiction doesn’t have its roots in truth it will be unbelievable and therefore unpalatable to readers.  I think genres and classifications limit us.  How can we discover new things when we spend so much time trying to pigeonhole art? 

Susan WhistlerSusan: Do you think self-publishing and internet marketing has changed the playing field for writers, and will it eventually overshadow traditional book publishing?

Camera profile BW eyesAngela: I believe it will, but not in a negative way.  Just as the printing press revolutionized literacy and the internet changed the way we get news, I think the putting the power of publishing into the hands of every writer will allow us to further break down the barriers that keep talented writers from being published, confined to scribbling their unread stories down on notebook paper to rot.  How many Tolkiens are out there right now, waiting to be discovered?  Self publishing also allows for a lot of unprofessional work to be put out –  but I think things will level out as the readers decide who is worth keeping.

Susan WhistlerSusan: Your writing crosses over several genres. What is your favourite to work in and why?

Camera profile BW eyesAngela: Being a polygenre author means you never have to play favorites or stick to preconceived notions, so I don’t mind dodging this question ;p  I’m a fickle writer and in a day I will write ad copy, news stories, fiction, a blog post or two and many, many emails and messages.  My favorite is whatever is beneath my tapping fingers at that time.

As far as tagging two bloggers, I’m going to break the rules a little bit and tag four: Crystal Bozeman Clifton, Amy Eye, Frank Smith and Robin Wiesneth.  Not all of them have blogs, so if they choose to participate I’ll share them here.

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Dynamic Duo: Meg Mims & Eleanor Cawood Jones

JJ one1Listen in and welcome to another afternoon of Journal Jabber and today I’m going to have a two for one special as we have a double chat going on with authors Meg Mims and Eleanor Cawood Jones.

jj three 3Mims is the author of several books, including  Double Crossing and Double or Nothing, a historical mystery set in the American West; Santa PawsSanta Claws and The Key to Love.  Jones is the author of A Baker’s Dozen and Death is Coming to Town.

Today’s show has been generously sponsored by The Eyes for Editing.

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Poetry to Music

IMG_20140412_210458In keeping with the month long celebration of all things poetry I found myself at the “A German Spring Celebration,” a performance of Robert Schumann’s “Spring” Symphony along with Felix Mendelssohn’s “Overture to the Beautiful Melusine,” Mendelssohn’s musical depiction of the story of the “Little Mermaid” and finishing with Beethoven’s majestic “Choral Fantasy.” Yes, I just copied this off the program… and how does this relate to poetry?

Just have a look at the program for the answer:

DSCF7502

 

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End of Mae: 20th Review

Book Pile 20Today End of Mae passed a milestone – the 20th review!

First published in 2011, I can safely promise I’m not buying reviews. If I were, I’d be a lot farther ahead. Since I’m trying to keep the theme of poetry going in celebration of the month, here’s a verse to unveil the magic, oft sought after 20th review.

If you like twisted tales by Poe

Read this tale, just barely begun.

Spare a moment to share your thoughts

and be review number twenty-one!

Mae Review 4-2014

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Eye Review: Robot Haiku

From Angela: The “Eye” in “Eye Review” stands for my favorite verbal vamp, Amy Eye, authoress and editor extraordinaire of The Eyes for Editing.  Here’s what she has to say about Robot Haiku by Ray Salemi. 

Robot HaikuKeep a box of tissues next to you when you read this marvelous little book!!

I can’t remember laughing so hard from reading anything for a very long time. Salemi is someone I would love to have around every day, his sense of humor is fantastic!! I have repeated some of these so many times already that my kids know a few of these hilarious haikus.

If you do not have a sense of humor, do not bother picking up this book. If you are looking for something to lighten your mood, take your mind off the crap of the day, or just wanting to read something new and original, get yourself a copy of this. You will not regret it. (Five Stars – all the way!)

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Breakfast at Home

082Breakfast at home on Saturday morning… we get the coffee brewing and my teenage boys squabble over who is being “a cereal pig.” Fortunately, Publix is having so many coupons and savings right now we can all have our fill of our favorite cereals.

Check out these savings:

In-Store Savings

Find these offers in-store 4/3/14 – 4/9/14, available at Publix. (Offers vary by market, please reference Publix weekly grocery flyer for details.)

  • BOGO on General Mills Cereals Lucky Charms, Chocolate Lucky Charms, Golden Grahams, Cookie Crisp, Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs, or Hershey’s Cookies n’ Cream (10.9 to 16-oz box).
  • BOGO on Pillsbury Toaster Strudel PastriesOr Scrambles Pastries (assortedvarieties, 10 to 11.5oz box)
  • BOGO on Yoplait Go-Gurt Portable Yogurt(assorted varieties, 8-pk. 2.25-oz tube)
  • 2 / $5Nature Valley Granola Bars, Soft-Baked Oatmeal Squares (6 to 8.94-oz box); or Cascadian Farm Granola Bars (assorted varieties, 7.1 or 7.4 oz box)
  • 20 / $10Yoplait Yogurt(assorted varieties, 4 or 6-oz cup)

Printable Coupons

Enjoy more savings on your favorite breakfast brands. Visit www.ReadyPlanSave.com to clip and print your coupons. Available while supplies last.

  • $1 off any 2 Big G Cereals
  • $0.50 off 1 Reese’s Puff cereal
  • $0.50 off 1 any Lucky Charms cereal
  • $0.50 off 1 Nature Valley Breakfast Biscuits
  • $0.50 off 1 Nature Valley Greek Protein bars
  • $0.40 off 6 Yoplait Core Cup

Disclosure: The information and free cereal have been provided by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op

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