NaNoWriMo is just around the corner

It's that time of year again. November is almost here. For some, this means that the holiday silly season is about to begin, but for many writers, November is an extremely important time of the year. November is NaNoWriMo.

For those who don't know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, although, it really should be international. Basically, writers commit the month of November to their writing, aiming to write a minimum of 50,000 words within one month. It may sound like a lot of words to some, but the first Harry Potter is 76,944 words.

NaNoWriMo is FREE to join, but the benefits of the program go beyond the prizes that winners get at the end of the month. The community of NaNoWriMo is huge — truly international. There are motivational posts from established writers (like Grant Faulkener, Neil Gaiman and Brandon Sanderson, just to name a few). You have access to the community forums, and there are events that are run within local regions.

To join, just go to the NaNoWriMo website and sign up. To get access to everything, you just join, but if you want to be in for the prizes at the end of November, don't forget to specify a project.

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Coffee

Author Interviews on Radio – Guest Blog from Jessie Sanders

Writing takes a community, sharing ideas, and supporting one another. So, when we get approached with an article that shares hard-earned knowledge, we couldn't be happier to pass that information.

Today's post is written by Jessica Sanders — host of Jessie's Coffee Shop on KLRNRadio.

Radio Interviews with Kitty and Fido

Hi, let me introduce myself. My name is Jessica or Jessie for short. I host an internet radio show (podcast) where I invite authors to talk — yes, verbally talk — about their books and writing style. I give each author 50 minutes, more or less, to discuss their book.Jessie's Coffee ShopNow, what do I feel makes an interview?

  1. Have your book blurb handy. You'd be amazed how many authors can't tell me their book blurb off the top of their heads.
  2. Have your social media contact information printed out and ready to reference.
  3. RELAX! Most author interviews aren't hard hitting and filled with gotcha questions (at least mine aren't).
  4. Have a bottle of water next to you.
  5. Listen to an episode of the show you've been invited to participate in.
  6. Yes, it's your episode, but leave room for comment from the host, so listeners don't wonder if the host fell asleep at the microphone.
  7. Be in a quiet environment. I can work with many things, but you sitting in the local cafe at lunch time won't make for good audio.

Now to elaborate...

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Hidden Traps - Now Available

Hidden Traps Blog Posts

Well, Hidden Traps was released earlier this week. In honor of the release, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit some of the blog post that inspired the book. Or is that blog post inspired by the book? Whichever it is, check out some of these posts.

Recent Posts

High School English: It’s Now Social Media

Things have changed so much since I was in high school. I distinctively remember being incredibly bored during English classes and challenging the teacher when she insisted that a particular Shakespearean passage was intended to reflect some ideology.

"How do you know? Did you know Shakespeare personally?"

Yeah, I was always a little too forthright for my own good.

However, in seeing what my teenage son now faces, I have found myself in a unique position to help him and other teenagers who might be in a similar position.

I don't normally write about personal things on this blog, but if you'll just bear with me for a moment, everything will become clear.

My 15-year-old son has just started NZQA Level 1. As one of his courses, he has elected to take English with Media. Gone are the days of analysing that Shakespearean text. Instead, they assess how various forms of media has influenced our written and spoken language. I must admit that I probably would have found English in high school much more interesting if I was watching movies and TV and listening to radio. But in today's world, media also includes the Internet.

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Bios: One Size Won’t Fit Me

While writers are often into their own worlds of fire-breathing dragons or sexual encounters with that dark knight, there is one topic that many writers struggle to write about: themselves. It's ironic... Here we are, words flow easily on the page when discussing some fictional character, but writing about the one person that we know the best... You have got to be kidding.

However, writing a bio is not something that a writer should shy away from. There are so many ways to spinning what might seem like a boring hum-drum life and making it sound glamorous. We're writers. We can do this, right?

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Social Media

Hidden Private Messages on Facebook

Most users of Facebook are very much aware that the site developers are constantly changing things to improve the end-user experience. However, sometimes the changes mean that things go missing or unseen.

One of the changes means that random users can send you private messages (PM), even those who are not listed on your Friends list, however, you don’t necessarily receive them. How many times has someone said they sent you a PM and you have spent hours digging through your old messages trying to find the elusive message but to no avail? How many of those message requests has Facebook filtered such that you don’t see them?

Well, here’s how you can access your missing Facebook PMs.

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Headaches of Domain Transfers… What was I thinking?

Those who have been following my personal blog, my Twitter, or this blog will know that I have been working on moving my sites to a self-hosting provider. For the past two years, my sites (personal and business) have been hosted by WordPress.com. It was a brilliant place to start: easy to use and cheap (i.e. free for the site with the option of adding a custom domain for little financial outlay). For someone just starting out and building that on-line platform, I honestly can’t think of a better place get that momentum going. But for financial business reasons, shifting to a self-hosted site was important.

Let’s face it… I was paying $60 USD per year for a single email address for Black Wolf Editorial. This was on top of the $26 USD per domain that I was paying for the domain registrations itself. (Before anyone says something about the cost of that, it’s $18 USD for the domain registration through WordPress.com and an additional $8 USD for privacy. Sorry guys, but I don’t want my home address plastered across the internet for all to see — or my phone number, private email, etc. This is all stuff that is required with registration of domains.)Read More

Billy said… Diana said…

When I critique and edit writing, there is one common flaw that comes through time and time again. Sometimes, it’s subtle and easily overlooked. But then there are times when it hits you in the face.

I’m talking about he said — she said.Read More

Books and Glasses

Fiction is NOT a Genre…

Recently, I was skimming through a fellow editor’s website (who shall remain nameless) and encountered a page where people were listing the titles of their manuscripts and their respective genres. OMG, the number of people that listed their genre as FICTION…

People, FICTION is NOT a genre. It tells us nothing about your story, except for the fact that it’s made up. And it’s not good enough to tell us the you write Young Adult or Middle-Grade either. All this tells us is who your target audience is.  Let’s face it, a science fiction story is very different to a western. (However, you could have a Western SciFi — Firefly is the perfect example of this sub-genre.) A Young Adult SciFi and a Middle-Grade SciFi, on the other hand, will contain similar elements, all related to the SciFi genre.Read More

To UK English or US English? Or to some other flavour of the beast?

Those who live outside of the USA are very familiar with the concept that there are multiple different dictionaries used for English, all depending on what version of English you are using. You heard that right, folks. There is another way to spell those favourite words.

And that was one right there: favourite. That’s how those using UK English spell it. Yanks spell it without the ‘u’: favorite.Read More

Make Goals Public and Real

Every year, some of my writing buddies get all depressed because they had set themselves some goals for last year that they failed to achieve. The Little Miss Optimist in me is forced to come in and reminded them of all the things they have achieve instead. It’s that silver-lining view, but so many forget to use it.

Sometimes it’s a knock back to see that massive goal that you had set yourself come crumbling down around your ears. However, that goal was set for a reason. Without it, you wouldn’t spend the time necessary to turn that goal into a reality. And sometimes, you might have actually achieved your goal, but just not in the way you had expected.Read More

The Cry of the Words (Flash Fiction)

This little piece of flash fiction is the perfect description on editing. All writers feel the struggle of the editing beast. It was great to see that struggle put into a written form.

The work was published here by permission from Ann Bell Feinstein.

The Cry of the Words

The words on the page cried out, each demanding to stay. None wanted to be deleted or changed in anyway. That was not what was going to happen. Changes were coming.

A deft hand was required to cut only the fluff, the tough stuff had to remain. It was the heart of the story.

To show or tell, she had to decide. There was no need to show a blank countryside. The tale was shown, a few bits told, since everything need not be detailed.

The words were hers and she would force them to paint the scene in her head.

She carved and worked each line of words until she found nothing to change. Her eyes tired and the words speaking clearly, it was time to sleep and dream of more words yet unwritten.


You can learn more about Ann’s various personal projects at http://annbellfeinstein.com

Social Media: The Dangers that Writers Never had to Think About Before

In a recent post on my personal blog, I made note of the changes that our world has seen in terms of work philosophies. However, in that post I commented about how social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, has transformed our world into something that no longer resembles the world that I grew up in. Systems such as Skype and Google Hangouts have bridged the gap between continents so that those on opposite sides of the world can do more than just talk to one another over the phone — they can now see each other, have a face-to-face conversation. It was something that was proposed in science fiction, but society as a whole never believed that such a thing could be possible. When I was a child, it wasn’t.

This new world of ours is filled with so many dangers that no one has really had to think about until now. As a mother of two teenagers, it’s my responsibility to teach my children to navigate the treacherous waters ahead of them. But how can I teach them to swim safely through the world of social media and the Internet when I’m still learning myself?Read More