Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Writing a Marketing Plan for Camp NaNoWriMo

Writing non-fiction during NaNoWriMo is not easy. Not that writing fiction is, but the real world words tend to create problems all on their own. Yeah, you guessed right – I will be tackling a non-fiction project in July. Contrary to my previous journey into non-fiction NaNoWriMo (not to be confused with NaNonFiWriMo taking place in November), I am better prepared this time.
My project is planned properly. Refreshing my memory on what a marketing plan entails, went better than I thought it would. It’s been years, literally! The contents have been thoroughly thought out and the Table of Contents already structured (and restructured) and ready for those first words to be penned.
And they will be something like “Michael’s Mystery – a story about a man investigating the truth behind serial murders, only to discover a woman could be involved whose power could destroy the future of the universe.”
Maybe a bit overly dramatic, but hey, that is what a blurb is supposed to do, right? Although in this case perhaps not dramatic enough.
Speaking of drama, I have also been looking into what goes into the making of a book trailer. Interesting concepts have come to light, and I am excited about exploring the option of making a book trailer for Michael's Mystery.
While I have watched my share of video clips on YouTube, I have by no means explored the platform for promoting my books. I have some ideas and will keep you posted on how I plan to accomplish bringing one of my books to life.
Marketing anything, books especially, is no longer the advertising campaigns they used to be not so long ago. In some ways marketing has become more personal, and to my inexperienced mind, more exciting. There are more platforms to explore and more exciting ways of doing things. And not only social media platforms. I think sometimes people get saturated with the advertising, and buy-me buy-me posts on the various sites. It could be that we forget there are people on the other end of that internet connection. People want interaction with a person not an IP address.
With Camp NaNoWriMo starting tomorrow I plan to write a marketing plan for a book, as my project. Hopefully, I will not make the same mistakes as others have, yet still manage to put a plan on the table that would get people interested in the adventures, challenges and lives of the characters that live in my fantasy world.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Book Feature: Feng Shui for Writers by MC Simon

Feng Shui For Writers book tour

Book Details


  • Title: Feng Shui For Writers
  • Series: How To Master Your Life
  • Author: M.C. Simon
  • Genre: Non-Fiction
  • Format: Paperback and Kindle
  • Length: 152 pages
  • Publication Date: June 16, 2015
  • Publisher: IML Publishing
  • Regular Price: $7.99 Kindle



Synopsis

DISCOVER HOW TO MASTER YOUR WRITING LIFE

Feng Shui For Writers How To Write Creatively Guide
FENG SHUI FOR WRITERS provides all the dots that you have to connect to control the flowing Chi for each writing category. What is harmony for a romantic novel writer is different from what is harmony for a journalist writer, and for sure very different than for the writer writing for the horror domain. To bring the Feng Shui technique into the writer's life, it is not enough to merely explain general principles and ideas; we have to dig deeper because the branches of writing are so numerous.



Find Out HOW TO:

  • Attract productivity, successful publishing and money using Feng Shui
  • Overcome writer's block with Feng Shui help
  • Organize your writing place to achieve your goals
  • Influence your writing life through colors
  • Use crystals for creative writing
  • Use lighting to Feng Shui your writing space
  • Choose the plants that will boost your creativity
  • Influence your "writer's zone" and the creative mind
  • Boost your children's creativity (yesÖ children are young writers also)
And much more.

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon IN

Excerpt

6.2 - THE WRITER'S ZONE

Feng Shui For Writers Mentoring And Coaching
To understand what a writer's zone is, you must first experience the previous state called a writer's block. Then and only then will you understand how you can face it and how you can move to the writer's zone. This zone is exactly the opposite of a writer's block; it is the optimal phase in which a writer can find himself. It is the phase in which Chi flows freely on the writer's path, the creativity is boosted and the writing productivity reaches maximum level.

Having knowledge about both states, a writer's block and a writer's zone, you can save the wasted time between these two phases.

There are some elements that influence your entering into this zone.
  • One of these is your location. Depending on where you live, you must find a writing environment that boosts your writing mood. Find a place suitable for you that you feel relaxed in and totally prepared to let the words flow.
  • Take a walk in the park or the woods, go for a drive on a long unpopulated road. Don't forget to take the camera with you and take pictures that will help you relax the next time you need to enter into the writer's zone without having to walk again. A walk in a quiet and relaxing place is a good Feng Shui method to un-clutter your mind of stress.
  • Do some brainstorming for your future book; try to prepare a good plot for your novel. Do some research on the theme that you want to write about.
  • Avoid emails, other online temptations, phones and any other distractions that are blocking the Chi flow of your creativity and productivity.
  • Listen to some music and prepare a playlist with your favorite relaxing songs. Use this list until it becomes a habit that is helping you enter into the writer's zone.
  • Breathe! Yes, breathe. Fill your lungs with fresh air until they expand to the point where they touch, take a small pause then exhale slowly. Learn to breathe again, so the good Chi also enters your body.
  • Burn some incense and use aromatic lamps for fragrance.
  • Find a writing retreat in your area. Make it a part of your writing process. This will always get you into the zone. There are two kinds of retreats: solo retreats (suitable for writers who prefer solitude far away from any distractions including other writers) and group retreats (provides a chance for face to face group brainstorming). The best writing retreats are those that include both solo and group retreats. When you go to a writing retreat, be sure that you are applying the Feng Shui principles in that place also (you can even take a Bagua map with you).
  • If your mind feels unclear in ideas, use a yellow vase where you place orange flowers. This will boost the intensity of your writing and will give you the necessary clarity.
  • Don't forget to always include the water element in your space.
  • Avoid too many electronic devices in the moments when you write because they will drain your energy, and soon you'll have to face another writer's block.
  • Hang a wooden chime near you so its movement will activate any stagnant Chi.

Previously Published Excerpts

Who Is A Writer?

3 Things You Should Do Before Using Feng Shui

About the Author

Author MC SimonWriter, translator, engineer, researcher, project manager, blogger, eternal student... these are only a few words to describe MC Simon.
She strongly believes that energy is ours to use freely, and we need only to open our hearts to regain the lost perception of our true powers. She thinks that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. For this reason, M.C. Simon has never hunted the information but rather waited for the right moment when she would be ready for the information to find her. In the same way, she knows that when someone needs her, the Universe will proceed in such a way that the meeting will take place.

Contact The Author

Amazon Author Page
MCSimonWrites.com
FengShuiForWriters.com
Facebook Fan Page
Twitter
GooglePlus
LinkedIn

Giveaway

Giving away a copy of "Feng Shui For Writers" E-book to 10 lucky winners. :)


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Thursday, 25 June 2015

Book Feature and Guest Post: Dark Innocence by Rahima Warren

Evoking a FANTASY World

When reading a fantasy set in a different (non-historical) world or time, I find it jarring if the characters’ names are old familiar ones from our everyday reality. Why would people in a strange time/place have names like Steven or Julia? Also, why would they use the same words to refer to time or distance that we do? Convenient for the writer perhaps, but too familiar for me as a reader.

TIME AND DISTANCE:
In my fantasy trilogy, The Star-Seer’s Prophecy, I tried to evoke a different world in subtle ways. For example, I avoid using our familiar measures of time. Instead of “minute,” I use “moment.” Instead of “week,” I use “quarter-moon.” Many cultures measure time by that clock in the sky, the Moon. For distance, I just referred to how many days a trip took.
And I had fun making up names and words to help evoke a different world. I used two methods for creating these new words: listening/intuition, and research.

LISTENING:
For most of my characters’ name, I start by ‘listening’ for a name, using my intuition. Sometimes, that’s it. I get it on the first try, like Zhovanya as the name of the Goddess in my trilogy. For others, I play around with the sound of the name until it fits the character. And for some, the name evolves as I get to know the character better. For example, originally Kyr’s name was Arik (which I believe relates to an old Nordic word for eagle). Somehow, I didn’t like the hard ‘k’ as the last sound of his name, so I changed it to Kyr (“keer” like “peer”), which to me sounds like the high, lonely cry of a hawk or eagle, and suits his character.
Over time, I noticed that there was a pattern in the way I was naming men vs. women, and changed a few names to fit that pattern, though there are some exceptions. You might check out the Cast of Characters (in Book Extras) on my website, and see if you can detect the pattern. I also ‘listened’ for the magical commands used by the Warrior-Mage, Rajani; for the names of magical potions; and for the sacred chants. (See the Glossary in Book Extras.)

RESEARCH:
In the case of the evil sorcerer-king called the Soul-Drinker, I found his name through researching the roots of words in the Dictionary of Word Origins by John Ayto. The Soul-Drinker’s name is Dauthaz, which comes from the Old English and Germanic roots of the word ‘death.’
This is also how I created the name of the land where the story takes place, and the terms used at the Sanctuary. The land is named Khailaz, which is a prehistoric Germanic word, ancestor of our word, ‘whole.’ Adding the suffix –itha to khailaz produced khailitha, the root of our words, ‘health’ and ‘heal.’
From this, I made up the words kailitha (divine healing energy); Kailithana (a priestess-healer); Kailithara (healing work of the Kailithana); Kailithos (one who is undergoing the Kailithara); and Kailithama (sacred chamber in which the Kailithana works with the Kailithos).
I don’t recall exactly how I tracked down the roots from which I constructed Aithané (Listener, Confessor), Phanaithos (Speaker, Divulger), or Phanaithara (Divulgence, Confession). I believe they come from Greek roots meaning to listen, and to speak.
A few other words, I just made up. For example, I derived zhan (life force energy) from Zhovanya.
Now, admittedly, I am not Tolkien, creating whole languages, and races of fantastic creatures. My focus is more on the inner world and healing ordeal of my hero, Kyr, than on detailed world-making. However, I did do my best to evoke a different place/time by creating new words and names, and avoiding overly familiar names and terms.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?
As a reader, which do you prefer: familiar names and terms; or new and different ones?
As a writer, what is your approach to evoking a different world?

Tour Notes

This week you can grab the first book in the Star-Seer’s Prophecy Trilogy for just 99 cents. That’s right Dark Innocence is marked way, way down, giving you the chance to explore this thought-provoking fantasy series for yourself. Get your copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iBooks today!

You can continue the saga with the newly released sequel Fierce Blessings.

Oh, and don’t forget to enter our giveaway for your chance to win an autographed copy of Fierce Blessings or a Star-Seer’s Prophecy t-shirt. We have a total of 4 prizes for 4 lucky winners, hooray! Enter the giveaway right here: www.novelpublicity.com/dark-innocence

About Dark Innocence: In an ancient world of blood sorcery and healing magic, the Soul-Drinker, a vicious necromancer-king, is draining the life from the souls of the people and of the earth itself. Worse yet, he has banished the land's rightful Goddess, and disrupted the Sacred Balance, sending the mortal and divine realms whirling toward destruction.
The only hope for salvation is a youth named Kyr, born and raised as one of the Soul-Drinker's blindly obedient slaves. Kyr knows only the pain, evil and cruelty of the Soul-Drinker's hell--and nothing of the Star-Seer's Prophecy that declares him to be the long-sought Liberator.
Rescued by strangers, Kyr embarks on a bewildering journey into a bizarre new life, where kindness and love are real. If he is to fulfill his destiny, he must battle his inner demons and fight to find his buried capacities for compassion and courage. Will he be able to surrender the inner ice that has been his soul's only protection in time to save the world from disaster?

Again, you can grab your copy for just 99 cents at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iBooks as part of this special event!

Monday, 22 June 2015

I am reading new words

I had the pleasure to indulge in reading some more of The Cat Who books the past few days. The fact that I should rather have been writing is a long story, which I won't bore you with.
As I was reading The Cat Who Went up the Creek, I came realise once again how rich the vocabulary of the author is. Words that I had to look up purely because they are not used some much anymore. Or perhaps not by people I know or come into contact with on a daily basis.
While I could look them up online, I went to my trusty Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus first. I have to mention here that the book is on my desk within immediate reach, along with one or two other language references. To my surprise it did not have the first word on my list. Plan B. I went in search of my 1982 edition of the Oxford Concise Dictionary in our library at home. And not only was the first word in there, all the others were too. I do like to expand my vocabulary (English is my second language) but my next thought would be where I could use my new words.
In my fantasy series, The Nations of Peace, my characters have a more formal style of speech making it an opportunity to share at least some of my new words. In my daily life, I am sad to say it would make people think that I am stuck up or pretentious to use words that they have never heard of. Nor would they be able to find their meaning due to unfamiliarity with their spelling. There are exceptions of course, but still it saddens me that so few people of my personal acquaintance read books, printed or electronic. How are we ever going to evolve as a species if our level of literacy are limited to the incomprehensible characters on mobile phone messages? I have even seen that being done by authors on Facebook. That in itself is a deadly sin in my book.
My new words (thank you, Lilian Jackson Braun) are ailurophobe, badinage, rhinitis, nonagenarian, sylvan, sepulchral, Falernum, iambic and propitious.


If you come across a word in a book that you are not familiar with, do you look it up, or do you ignore it?

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Guest Post: Writing’s not for Cissies by Richard Beynon

Writing is tough. In fact, I don’t know of any activity that is more difficult than writing. I know this is not so for every writer. There are some gifted individuals, as disparate as Joyce Carol Oates on the one hand, and Nora Roberts on the other, who write seemingly without effort, turning out vast numbers of books and, even more impressively, vast numbers of pages a day.
Nora Roberts is famous for publishing, on a quite routine basis, some ten novels a year. She is loved by her readers, and despised by the critics. Joyce Carol Oates, loved by both critics and readers, in her prime wrote forty five pages a day.
These are the outliers. Speaking for myself, and for many writers, both published and unpublished, I know that the process of developing story that is both rich and inevitable is just about as exhausting as anything can be.
And yet, we persist, because the personal rewards are so great – and the lure of professional, not to say, financial, success, as distant as it may sometimes seem, so enticing.
I’d like to dwell on one particular personal reward for a moment.
A curious phenomenon has been playing itself out in the US for some years now, which a couple of observers have started drawing attention to. On the one hand, talk therapy has been in decline for a decade or two. Woody Allen might, famously, have consulted a therapist five times a week for decades – but people like him are in a shrinking minority.
At the same time, writing schools, both academic and non-academic, writing retreats, short writing courses and online writing programmes have flourished as never before.
Everyone and her mother is writing a memoir, or thinking of writing a novel, or secretly has written not just a novel, but a trilogy!
Surely there’s a connection somewhere here? Less talk therapy, more writing. It’s merely a correlation at present, but I’m waiting for the research that shows a causal connection.
Because writing fiction is therapy, even if what we write is the airiest possible piece of romantic froth. To write it demands that we plumb our own experience, and our own feelings and, yes, even our own traumas. Romance in life is never trivial, although romance in fiction is so easily – and so wrongly – dismissed as meaningless nonsense.
Of course, that’s why writing’s difficult: because we have to drill deep to the emotions that drive the fiction. And that process of finding within ourselves the wellsprings of both joy and despair will always leave us wrung out.

Which doesn’t answer the conundrum posed by people like Roberts and Oates – but it does explain, to my satisfaction, why a morning’s brainstorm leaves me beached and panting for the rest of the day.

About the Author

Richard Beynon is an award-winning film and television scriptwriter with a long and accomplished career in the industry. He, together with novelist Jo-Anne Richards, run Allaboutwriting which teaches creative writing face to face in Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as online – and mentors writers through the process of writing fiction, non-fiction and screenplays. Richard is currently cruising the canals of England, on his narrowboat Patience. Read about it here.