Monday, August 18, 2014

Crunch Time

It's crunch time! I've got a deadline this week for volume one of my book, so I'm taking the week off to wrap it up.

I hope you'll join me next week when Susan Sundwall stops by to discuss her latest book. Looking forward to having her visit. :)

How do you manage your time around a deadline?
Have a great week,


Photo credit: Stock Exchange

Monday, August 11, 2014

August Inspiration and Links

In good writing, words become one with things.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do you agree with Mr. Emerson? I do, and believe that we paint pictures large and small for our readers. Not an easy task always, but one that satisfies our need to communicate with others.  

Here are a few resources that might help your words become a grand image and inspiration for your readers:

Feeling unproductive and uninspired? Carol Tice offers advice for freelancers in this post, 5 Super Easy Ways Freelance Writers Can Stand Out.

Here's another "5" post from Brian Klems that might offer a boost - 5 Writing Lessons Inspired by Famous Writers.

Do you know the differences between writing for the middle grade and young adult audiences? Brian Klems breaks it down in The Key Differences Between Middle Grade vs.Young Adult
Need a break from the routine? Check out Jean Fischer's Fun Friday - 6 Quizzes for Writers. Interesting stuff!

Have you or anyone you know self published a book? The 2nd Annual Writer's Digest Self Published eBook Awards offers a grand prize of $3000 cash. Hurry, deadline to enter is September 2, 2014.

Are you a poet? Writer's Digest has a contest for you too. Their Poetry Award contest offers a $1000 grand prize. Early registration deadline is October 1, 2014, regular deadline is October 31.  Click here for details.

What do you think of Emerson's quote? Do you have any links or tips to share? What are you writing this week?

Happy writing,

Photo credit: Stock Exchange

Monday, August 4, 2014

Do You Judge?

Do you judge a book by its cover? 

A blog or website by the graphics and layout?

A book cover, blog or website home page are often our initial point of contact. Although we know better than to judge on appearance only, it's tempting to do so sometimes.

What draws or brings us to a cover or site? 

A familiar writer or author? Catchy title? Bold image? Beautiful illustrations? Interesting subject? Striking scenery?  A recommendation? Research? Curiosity?

The answer varies of course, as all of the above may have applied at some point. We've different tastes and interests, and what draws one may not draw another. Our views are subjective, and we associate topics with life experience, expectations, and worldview. When images and impressions are contrary to expectations they can put us off or intrigue us.

With this in mind, how do we know what will draw readers? Design choices are endless, and especially difficult for the artistically challenged.  How does a writer choose images for a blog or site, or the right words for a post title, or an author choose a cover (when they have a say in the selection)? We only get one chance to make a first impression. How can we put our best foot forward? 

It helps to consider the following:
  • Content
  • Target audience 

Then ask:
  • Is the image clean and crisp?
  • Is it pleasing to the eye?
  • How is the flow of the cover or site, is it too busy or cluttered?
  • If a title, what keywords can be utilized to grab readers' attention?

  • Enlist help from a graphic designer or artist.
  • Ask for input from friends, family, and colleagues.
  • View covers, images, or titles for similar books, topics, or sites - don't copy, just observe what works, what doesn't.

Consider also this advice from graphic designer David Lange. When asked what first came to mind in regard to a good cover he replied, "Having a strong, compelling image or graphic."
(Yes, he is my son, and here is his website. Shameless plug over. :)

As I wandered around two bookstores this weekend, I drank in the images on the shelves. It struck me again how although ultimately content is key, the first visual impression can make or break the public's interest. We cannot please all the people all the time, but we can observe, do our research, and make smart, polished choices. You never know who you might impress.

Have you judged a book by its cover lately? A blog or site by its design? What draws you to a cover?

Happy writing,


The cover above is for my next book, due out this fall. :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Plethora of Pictures with Jody Hedlund

Behind the Scenes of Captured by Love Blog Tour

Please join me in welcoming author Jody Hedlund! She's visiting as part of her blog tour for her latest book, Captured by Love.

Jody's giving away a paperback copy, so check out the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

A Plethora of Pictures for Captured by Love

I admit, I am a Pinterest addict! Okay, so maybe not an addict, but this Pin is very true of me.


One of the things I like to do the most on Pinterest is create novel boards for each of my novels. What are novel boards?

Basically, they're boards that summarize the characters and events in a novel via pictures and  snippets below each picture.

Novel boards are a great way to give readers a glimpse of the story before they read the book. I use pictures to briefly tell the sequence of the story and give the readers some ideas of what takes place in the book (I try not to have spoilers!). The pins are a way to hopefully intrigue a reader, to get them interested, even excited about the story.

The novel boards can also be a place readers can go after finishing the book. Often if a book really resonates with a reader, they'll search out the author's website and want to learn a little more about the author and the book. The boards of pictures can give more insight into the research, setting, and characters.

Of course my novel boards aren't perfect. It's not always easy to find pins to match the story. And it's also challenging to get them in story order (since Pinterest still doesn't allow you to reposition pins on individual boards once you've pinned them).

But I'm also learning that with each book I write, (while I'm in first draft mode), to bookmark pictures and even pin some onto one of my Secret Boards, so that I have them closer to the book release when I begin putting the board together.

All that to say, I invite you to stop by my Captured by Love Novel Board and take a look at all the various pictures that will hopefully bring the story to life in a different way for you.

To whet your appetite, here are some of the pictures that I picked to represent my story.

The story opens on a foggy morning in the spring of 1814. After a long isolated winter, the residents of Michilimackinac Island are starving. Angelique is sneaking food to her friend Miriam when she's confronted by a British soldier who demands that she hand over her early morning catch of fish.


(Photo credit: Flickr Mike the GForcers)

The long winter has just ended and spring is starting to bloom. A wide variety of lilacs grow in Mackinac Island. Angelique and Miriam both love this fragrant flower.


(Photo credit: Flickr knitting iris)

When the British forced many of the American men to leave the island, the farms and fields fell into disrepair. Miriam's farm is overgrown with weeds and has remained unplanted since her son Jean left to fight with the American forces.


(Photo credit: Flickr Leon Reed)

Angelique has helped keep Miriam and other residents from starving during the winter by fishing. Her canoe (like most canoes at the time) was a birchbark canoe. 

(Photo credit: Flickr Shannon Mills)

Additional British troops have landed on the island in preparation for an inevitable battle with the Americans who want to retake the island.


(Photo credit: Flickr Gary Strong) 

Native Americans are arriving on the island too. As allies with the British, they've come to receive their annual "gifts" from the British as well to aid them in battle in a potential American invasion of the island.

(Photo credit: Flickr ryanophilly)

These are just a few of the pictures on my Pinterest board for Captured by Love. Make sure you head over soon to check out the rest!

Well, that's all, dear friends! We've come to the end of the behind-the-scenes tour of Captured by Love. I hope you've enjoyed learning more about the making of the book. And now if you haven't already read it, pick up a copy and enjoy!

Do you enjoy seeing pictures of things in novels? Does it help bring the novel to life? Or would you rather leave the story to your imagination?