Tag Archives: Writing Tips

Thanks to Book Blog Hosts

I want to give a special thanks to Love Bites & Silk Ties for arranging my recent Double Audio Book Tour for The CEO and the Cowboy and For Ruby’s Love. They offer a variety of promotional packages for authors. Love Bites and Silk Tieshttp://lovebitessilkties.blogspot.co.uk/

I also want to thank the following blogs for hosting me during the tour. If you’re a reader, these blogs offer looks at some wonderful books that you might not run into otherwise. If you’re an author, these are potential places for promotion that you should check out.

A Good Book Can Change Your View For Life – http://twinkle-sugandha.blogspot.com/

Always Behind a Book – https://www.facebook.com/AlwaysBehindABook/

Amber Daulton Blog – http://amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com/

Archaeolibrarian – I dig good books – http://archaeolibrarianologist.blogspot.de/

Books A to Z – https://booksaz.wordpress.com/

Books are my friends, come see why – http://booksaremyfriendscomeseewhy.blogspot.com/

BookSkater – http://bookskater.com/

C. R. Moss – http://crmoss.blogspot.com/

Danielle’s Domain – http://daniellesdomainreviews.blogspot.com/

Eskimo Princess Book Reviews – http://eskimoprincess.blogspot.com/

For the Love of Men – http://www.fortheloveofmen.co.uk/

In the Pages of a Good Book – http://www.inthepagesofagoodbook.com/

Liz’s Reading Life – http://lizjosette.blogspot.com/

London’s Scribbles – http://londonsj.blogspot.com/

Manlove Romances in Small Packages – https://iyanajennaauthor.wordpress.com/

Michaela Rhua Blog – http://michaelarhuaauthor.blogspot.co.uk/

Molly Ann Wishlade – https://misswishlade.wordpress.com/

Once Upon an Alpha – http://onceuponanalpha.com/

Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock – https://pratr.wordpress.com/

Sexy Romance Novels – http://sexyromancenovels.com/

Sweet-n-Sassy Book A Holics – http://sweet-n-sassy-book-a-holics.blogspot.com/

The Pleasure of Reading Today – http://thepleasureofreadingtoday.blogspot.com/

The Star Angels Reviews – http://www.starangelsreviews.com/

This Mom Loves Alphas – https://www.facebook.com/thismomlovesalphas/

Traci Hayden – http://tracihayden.blogspot.ca/

TTC  Books and More – http://www.ttcbooksandmore.com/

United Indie Book Blog – http://unitedindiebookblog.blogspot.com/

We Read With A Glass Of Wine – http://wereadwithaglassofwine.blogspot.com/

Whispered Thoughts – http://jmhoward2007.blogspot.com/

Wild and Dirty Book Blog – http://wildanddirty.blogspot.com/


Gordon Kessler with StoryMasters

StoryMasters POD Front Cover Black 9-2-2015 XI’m welcoming a special guest today and a long-time writing friend, Gordon Kessler. He is currently promoting his newest writing help book for novice to seasoned authors, STORYMASTERS – Advanced Notions in Novel Writing.

I could go on and on about this talented writer, but I will let him share some of his history himself.

When I started writing novels back twenty-five years ago, I didn’t know how to even begin or where to turn for advice.  I was lucky, after going to a writers conference or two, I soon found a mentor in a writer named Mike McQuay, author of Escape from New York, Richter Ten (developed from a short treatment by Arthur C. Clarke), and some thirty other novels.

JezebelBefore long, I had started a “free university” class in Wichita, Kansas, passing on everything I knew to fellow wordsmith wannabes—and I eventually taught a few community college classes. I queried publishers on my first completed manuscript, JEZEBEL, and I got my first book deal on the second submission back in 1992. The World was mine … nyah, ah, a-ah! Well, not quite. Let’s just say a whole lot has happened since then.

Book deals fell through, big name NYC agents came and went … and so did my beloved mentor. Mike McQuay died in 1996. Soon after, lost and seeking some kind of an anchor for my writer’s soul, I helped form the Kansas Writers Association, and was their first president.

Then along came Leonard Bishop, a wonderful writer and well-known writing instructor, to help fill the void Mike had left. The author of Dare to Be a Great Writer as well as a number of critically claimed novels (one made into a TV movie of the week), Leonard was an amazing man. I enjoyed his friendship and guidance for over five years, until, on a very sad day in 2002, he too passed.

Mike and Leonard were polar opposites in both their styles and in many of their writing techniques—still both had found their own ways of very effectively entertaining their audiences. I consider myself super fortunate to get such a broad range of understanding from two of the most wonderful writing mentors available, and these relationships helped me tremendously with my own career.

With everything I’d learned from my cherished mentors, and in leading writers organizations, attending dozens of conferences—actually heading up a few along the way—developing relationships with those in the publishing industry (including bestselling authors and big-five publishing house editors), reading hundreds of writing books and magazines, teaching novel-writing classes, studying and getting a degree in English composition with a focus in creative writing, I began writing NOVEL WRITING MADE SIMPLE in 2004. Primarily to keep me on track by gathering all I’d learned into one place one snippet at a time, I organized it into a textbook for my writing.

Indie Publishing

Lots of stories in between of the ups and downs in my writing career, but I won’t bore you anymore about that.  I found my soul’s anchor and some success in “indie publishing” my own novels and books on writing, putting out seventeen titles in eBooks, many of those in print (POD), and a few in audiobooks, as well. Of course besides editing expertise incumbent to my English degree, I’ve picked up a few other important skills along the way, including a professional understanding of eBook and print-book formatting, book-cover design and online book publishing platforms. This leads nicely into my passion for helping fellow writers—paying it forward. I’ve found great reward in assisting hundreds of other writers to hone their skills and become both “indie” as well as traditionally published.

StoryMasters POD Front Cover Black 9-2-2015 XStoryMasters, my latest book on writing, could be considered the eighth edition of Novel Writing Made Simple, as I used my old reliable novel-writing text for the basis of the new work. However, StoryMasters is a considerable rethinking and revision of the older text, updated and added to with an in-depth look at suspense, new thoughts on subtext, and visiting new areas like “free indirect discourse,” “full reader empathy and emersion” (FREE), and “story storming”. I hope you take a peek—it’s guaranteed to give even the seasoned storyteller a new way to look at a number of fiction-writing notions.


BUY LINK: Amazon

Website & Blog: http://GordonKessler.com

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Thriller Novelist, Writing Coach, Editor & Cover Designer l Author of Novel Writing Made Simple

BRAINSTORM, DEAD RECKONING & JEZEBEL l “The E Z Knight Reports” Action/Adventure Series

Indie Writers Alliance Website: www.IndieWritersAlliance.com & Blog: http://WritersMatrix.com/Wordpress

Promotion: When is enough, enough?

rubbish-button2Writing a book is hard work, every author knows that. After that grueling process, you need to figure out the whole “promotion” thing. It’s not enough to have the book published in some form and have it listed on one or many of the book selling sites. There is too much competition out there for similar books. You, the author, need to determine how best to Promo, Promo, and then Promo some more.

I’ve been preparing to present a program for a local writers’ organization this weekend on Social Media, in other words learning all about promotion. The task of just learning about it all was daunting. And I quickly realized how many things I’ve been doing wrong or not at all. (heavy sigh here)

The basic elements of an Author’s Promotion Platform should at least include some, in truth, a lot of the following:

  1. Website with a blog, or a blog site
  2. Brief bio to use whenever your name appears online
  3. Press kit
  4. Social media accounts: Facebook fan page, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest
  5. Social book cataloging sites for mix with readers: GoodReads, Shelfari, LibraryThing
  6. E-newsletter
  7. Contributing to other blogs
  8. Public appearances: book signings, speaking engagements, readings, interviews

Does that all seem daunting? Yes. So you need to do the best you can, choose the promotion ways that you can be the most comfortable with. I’m still working on fine-tuning my Author Promotion Platform. At the moment, because I write/publish under three pen names, I have 4 websites, 3 Facebooks, 3 Twitters, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Plus I’m loosely on GoodReads and Shelfari.

This promotion stuff takes a lot of time away from actually writing. Carefully consider what works best for you and will allow you to continue your real purpose: writing and selling your work.

Stop by and leave a comment on works best for you…or what doesn’t work for you.

Timeless Love cover-Amazon    CowboyDreamin_highres-1        abigailsearl200X300-72dpi        2940016324050_p0_v1_s260x420         trialbypartnership_full

By Starla Criser

aka Starla Kaye and S.K. Fero

Sharing Writing Tips and Pinterest Ideas

Whether you’re still in the initial spark stage of a writing idea or have already cranked out a number of stories, my humble From Rubbish to Publish site offers a lot of possibly helpful advice. I’ve just gone through and updated links and added some new items.

From Rubbish to Publish

I also have quite a few items on my Pinterest boards that might be of interest. Possible boards of interest include Fun Office Stuff, Houses-General, Rooms-Favorite, Characters-Female, Characters-Clothes-Women, Characters-Male, Cowboys, oh my!, Cowgirl Up!, Characters-Clothes-Male, Characters-Older Women, Characters-Older Men, and Writing Info. But there are many other boards (I’m kind of addicted to Pinterest).

Cowboy quilt  My Pinterest

Wearing a cowboy hat properly

detail_2436_sheriffandthemayor_detailBeing in love with cowboys or the cowboy mystique isn’t unusual. I’m one of those people and I write about them, a lot. There is just something about a man in worn jeans, muscles hardened by real labor. Scuffed boots and cowboy hats also earn a cowboy lover’s attention.

Let’s focus on the cowboy hat today, more specifically how to wear a cowboy hat properly. For one thing, most “real” cowboys wear their hats down farther on their forehead. This is to help block the sun from their eyes.

Here are some helpful links on wearing cowboy hats:

Different cowboy hats shapes and sizes: http://bit.ly/16SOWbE Original cowboy hats were customized in various ways to fit the needs and preferences of the wearer.

How to wear a cowboy hat properly, with pictures http://bit.ly/14PUxyT

How to wear a cowboy hat properly http://bit.ly/128Myfh Pick the right size.

How to choose the right crown for a cowboy hat http://bit.ly/1dby8iQ Cowboy hats attract attention, and the key to drawing flattering glances is picking hats with crowns that balance out a person’s facial characteristics.

How to choose a Western style hat for your face http://bit.ly/16qcl64 Cowboy hats tend to have exaggerated proportions that can attract attention to features like very thin faces, jowly chins and broad foreheads.

How to crease a cowboy hat http://bit.ly/143iLpq There are basically two different types of cowboy hat creases: a roll and a hard crease.

How to shape a felt cowboy hat bull rider style http://bit.ly/1dbyDJZ The bull-rider crease is a style that gives the hat an almost flat top.

The cowboy hat guide: Wearing and Etiquette http://bit.ly/1a9AYFy

Families: Creating Character Backgrounds for Series Books

hisladyashlynn200X300_72dpi   I recently went to a family reunion and met around sixty people I’ve never seen or heard of before. That’s always interesting. And I learned a lot of quirky details about the long-dead relatives that make the family unique.

For example the spelling of our last name changed constantly, which makes tracing family genealogy tricky. Sometimes there were two “l”s and sometimes there was only one “l.” Even a pair of twin brothers did that, with one using one “l” and the other using two “l”s. What’s that about?

Also, I knew my current family is stubborn (of course not me, lol), but the older generations took that trait to extremes. Remember the Hatfield vs. McCoy feud? My family was part of the bloodiest feud in Kentucky history for three years in the late 1800’s. The state militia was even called three times to the town where most of the feud took place. At one point they nearly killed off all of both families.

I have never used these interesting little details in stories that I have written, mainly because I didn’t know about them until now. But I’m trying to figure out how to use some quirky family details that I learned in upcoming books. Have you ever thought about what little odd details are in your family? Some that might help build an interesting character?

As a writer of multiple book series, I create in-depth character/family backgrounds that I refer to as I write each story. Pieces of those backgrounds eventually get woven into the series. It would be easier on me, the author, to simply dump all of the information explaining the family history right at the beginning. But a reader wouldn’t appreciate it, and they wouldn’t be able to tie certain details learned too early into later story developments. Information should be revealed in the appropriate places at the right time.

I am currently writing the second book in my Regency series for Blushing Books, Abigail’s Earl. But I still haven’t come up with a good name for the series. Basically each of the five books involve the Duke of Claymore’s grown children.

The Duke of Claymore had a complicated relationship history involving two women he married (at different times, both now dead) and the true love of his life (his English mistress, who was framed and sent to America, eventually giving him three children), who refused to marry him. All of his grown children are in England at this point. The three American-born ones struggle with fitting in and being tolerated let alone accepted.

His Lady Ashlynn was the first book in the series.


Lady Ashlynn Remington is the youngest of twin sisters born to her English father’s American mistress. She is also the most headstrong of his three daughters and two sons. She resisted coming with him to England, disliking the English ways and especially displeased with English nobility. She is determined to return to America and the man she’d hoped to marry. Her father, though, is equally determined to keep her here. When she meets a handsome, powerful duke at one of the balls, she is attracted and resistant at the same time. But he promptly asks for her hand in marriage and, against her desires, her father eagerly accepts. She won’t give up her plans so easily…

Twice married, widowed, and still without an heir, Blaine Wellingsworth, the Duke of Ashcroft, knows from the their introduction that the spirited Lady Ashlynn will be his next bride. Never has he been so drawn to a woman. He will not take “no” for an answer. It might take some doing, patience, and even a well-applied hand, but she will be his wife. And this passionate young woman will learn to love him as much as he does her.

Amazon Buy Link

Blushing Books Buy Link



Dreaming Up a Story Line

How do you start a new story? If you’re an author, I know that each of us works in different ways. Today I’m sharing some of my process of beginning a new story at the Decadent 1 Night Stand Blog. If you’re a reader and not a writer, you might find the process interesting.

CONTEST: I love doing contests and giving away one of the many little fun items I collect over the year especially for this opportunity. Leave a comment about your favorite Decadent series to write for or to read. Or comment about a story line or series that you would like to see in Decadent’s house. One randomly chosen winner will win a fun gift I found in San Antonio: Texas Bandana and 33 Ways to use It (complete with a bandana). The contest ends April 14.

Author Website: Starla Kaye

Blog Site:  Decadent 1 Night Stand

Texas bandana

Let’s Talk About Hair

When you are describing your characters’ hair what are some of the things you think about?  Hair color, style, length? What about beards and chest hair for men?

I am a very visual person. As I create my basic story details, including character information, I find some kind of picture for each main character involved to refer back to occasionally. Sometimes I find pictures for the main side characters, too. Then I keep a running list of the physical traits that I actually used in the story. I don’t want to say she had blue eyes now and then brown later on. The same goes for hair descriptions. I don’t want to say he has a buzz cut and then later on he has hair long enough to be tied back.

I have gathered together some Internet sources that I find useful and wanted to share them. If you have others that you find particularly interesting or helpful, please share them in a comment.

Hairstyles – Women

Hairstyle History from the Costume Gallery

History of Hair

History of Classic Hair Styles

Vintage Styles-How to Style Techniques

Classic Chignon Hair Styles

Hair Styles Gallery

Find a hairstyle that suits you

Hair Color

The History of Hair Color

Hair Color Chart


Hairstyles – Men

Mens Vintage Hairstyles from the Days of Silent Screen

Mens Celebrity Hairstyles and Haircuts

Todays Metrosexual Men

Male Hairstyles

Beards – Men

Designer Stubble

All about Beards

Expanded Beard Type Chart

Chest Hair – Men

Male Chest Hair

Hairy chest stock photos and images

PROMOTION: Making Your Writer’s Blog Stand Out

After you have gone to the trouble of creating a blog (blog page, blog site, whatever you want to call it), you want people to read it. There are a number of things you can do to get your blog spotted by the search engines. And unless you are writing these blog posts purely for yourself, you want to be picked up by the search engines and RSS feeds.

The article I am presenting this time, Creating a Writer’s Blog, focuses on what elements make up a good blog design and good blog posts. I also strongly recommend that you look at a number of writer’s blogs, particularly of writers in your genre. See what they include on their pages. Determine whether those elements appeal to you or if there are some you don’t want on your page.

A few blogs that you might find interesting include Gordon Kessler’s Writers Matrix, Mary Martinez’s Blog, and Jenny Crusie’s Blog.


PROMOTION: What Makes a Good Writer’s Website

There are millions of websites, including thousands of writer’s websites available to see all over the Internet. How do you make yours stand out?

Whether you design the website yourself or have someone else design it, you need to know what makes up a good writer’s website. An important step in this process is looking and analyzing other writers’ websites, particularly writers from your genre. Do not just look at one website. Look at a number of them. Determine what strikes you as good elements or elements you would like to have on your website.

My article this time, Creating a Writer’s Website,  includes elements that I consider important to every writer’s website, plus some options to consider adding, some general tips and some Do Nots, and a little bit about promoting the website.

Creating Stories from “What Ifs”

One of my favorite things to do is play “What if?” It is a great game, a great tool for writers. Most writers have such great imaginations to begin with and letting it run free from time to time only helps hone our writing skills. And it can help a writer come up with a story idea.

I do this with people I see in various situations. What if he/she did…?

I do this while sitting somewhere, while walking someplace, or while driving in different locations. What if this was happening here? What if this was a hundred years ago, two hundered years ago?

I do this when I read something in the newspaper or a magazine. What if instead…?

I also do this when I look back at photographs I have taken on various vacations.

Here are a few photos that entice me to let my mind play the “What if?” game.

Submission Elements: The Pitch

This isn’t necessarily part of the submission process, yet having a quick one sentence to one-two paragraph pitch about your writing project is essential. Preparing a simple summary pitch for the project can be even harder than paring your work down to the several paragraph blurb. Once you master how to dig out the absolute important matters to get across, you will be ready for any quick promotional effort. This can be well worth your time and few minutes of anxiety.

For the full article look under the Writers Tools, under The Finished Product on this website, or use this direct link to The Pitch.