"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Captivate Your Readers

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

I just finished Captivate Your Readers. I was able to read this book as a "beta reader" and was immediately struck by how helpful this could be for writers at all levels. While compellingly useful for beginners, I found helpful nuggets for the more experienced author as well.

This third guide to writing compelling fiction by respected editor and award-winning author Jodie Renner provides concrete advice for captivating readers and immersing them in your story world. It’s all about engaging readers through the use of techniques such as deep point of view, showing instead of telling, avoiding author intrusions, and basically stepping back and letting the characters tell the story.

Today’s readers want to lose themselves in an absorbing story. Renner shows you how to provide the immediacy and emotional involvement readers crave in fiction, and she does it in her usual highly accessible, reader-friendly style, with plenty of concrete tips and examples.

Chapters include:
• 12 Essential Steps from Story Idea to Publish-Ready Novel
• Checklist for Creating Fiction Readers Can’t Put Down
• 33 Must-Do’s for Writing a Winning Short Story
• Create a Complex, Charismatic Main Character
• Character Descriptions – Learn From the Pros
• Those Critical First Five Pages
• Introduction to Point of View in Fiction
• Engage Your Readers with Deep Point of View
• How to Avoid Head-Hopping
• Let the Characters Tell the Story
• 10 Ways to Add Depth to Your Scenes
• How to Keep Your Dialogue Real and Riveting
• Tips for Showing instead of Telling
• How to Avoid Annoying Author Intrusions

Have you read any of Renner's books? What helps you "captivate your readers"?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Seuss Birthday!

I've always been a Dr. Seuss fan, and this week I get the chance to share my enjoyment with several elementary classes. Super excited!

Who were your favorite authors when you were in elementary?

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Vow

I just finished a disappointing read from one of my favorite authors. In her defense, the book is advertised as a novella, but is meant to be a prequel to an upcoming release and not a stand-alone tale. I'm not a fan of prequels, and this one didn't improve my opinion. I'd probably give it three out of five stars.

While I enjoyed the authors description of setting and wanted to love the heroine, I was a bit confused about the possible love interest. I usually fall for him right along with the heroine, but this time I kept wondering if he was meant to be a bad guy, or even an important one at all.

This publication marks the beginning of Hedlund's foray into YA. While I didn't care for this short story, it wasn't enough to turn me away from reading her future works. I'm still anticipating her upcoming release of An Uncertain Choice in March. It will be a continuation about four years after "The Vow" takes place.

I'm curious to see how the character will have matured, and am hopeful that I'll lose myself in that book as I have in all of this author's previous publications.

Synopsis: In this ebook historical romance novella by Jody Hedlund, young Rosemarie finds herself drawn to Thomas, the son of the nearby baron. But just as her feelings begin to grow, a man carrying the Plague interrupts their hunting party. While in forced isolation, Rosemarie begins to contemplate her future—could it include Thomas? Could he be the perfect man to one day rule beside her and oversee her parents’ lands? Then Rosemarie is summoned back to her castle in haste. The disease has spread, and her family is threatened. And the secret she discovers when she returns could change her future forever. – Goodreads  
How do you feel about prequels?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Creativity, Inc.

I recently finished reading Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull. I highly recommend this book to anyone in the creative or business industry. I also encourage ANYONE in a leadership position of any kind to read this.

The philosophy and ideas presented by Catmull give you a glimpse into the success of Pixar. He also shares stories of the involvement and leadership styles of both Steve Jobs and John Lassiter. Equal parts of memoir, management theory, and creative encouragement, this book offers something for almost everyone.

It's my favorite read so far this year!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Marvel Comics: Buy One, Get One Free!

For a limited time, Marvel is offering a "Buy one, get one free promotion. For more details, visit here.

Who is your favorite MARVEL hero? Favorite villain?

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Great and Powerful "A to Z" Theme Reveal Blogfest!

Sign-ups for the 2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge are already under way (see previous post or click the link below for more information). If you have done it before, you know how much fun it can be, and if you have not, this is your chance to give it a try! You can sign up to participate here.

One of the most burning questions participants ask themselves every year is: "Should I have a theme?" Themes are not mandatory, but definitely fun. They let your visitors know what to expect, and help you create posts that line neatly up from A to Z. They also have an added bonus: They let you participate in a whole separate blogfest! Two years ago A to Z participant Mina Lobo started the "Theme Reveal," and sponsors thought it was such a great idea that they made it tradition. This year's theme reveal day will be on March 23, 2015.

To join the more than 200 people already signed up for this event, or to learn more, visit here.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

2015 A to Z Challenge

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at http://tossingitout.blogspot.com, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April - except Sundays. And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A,” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on.

You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends. For more details and its history, go HERE

There are already more than 600 participants signed up. Have you ever participated in this challenge before? Will you be participating this year?

Are you ready for the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2015 edition?