What amount of research goes into writing fiction? Don’t we just make it all up anyway? #AmWriting #AmReading

What amount of research goes into writing fiction? Don’t we just make it all up anyway? #AmWriting #AmReading

Research is crucial, no matter the subject matter of your novel. Someone will always notice if you get it wrong. The challenging bit is avoiding going down a research rabbit hole!

D.E. Haggerty

Readers (and friends and acquaintances and strangers you meet during tennis matches) often have ‘funny’ ideas about what it’s like to be a fiction writer. These ideas are mostly so far off base it isn’t even funny (No, actually, I don’t spend the entire day staring at my screen trying to think up things to do!). Take researching a novel as an example. Most readers understand that writing historical fiction involves hours and hours of researching. But what about chick lit or other guilty pleasure type novels? Surely, no research or perhaps only a bit of research is required to write one of those? Um, no. I think most readers would be shocked by the amount of research writers put into their writing. (Of course, there are always exceptions. I, for one, almost never read a novel with a hero or heroine who is a lawyer as most writers have…

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Are e-books stupid? Should e-books be classed as ‘real books’? Director of @BloodHoundBook @BetsyReavley is in the hot seat with #TWG

Are e-books stupid? Should e-books be classed as ‘real books’? Director of @BloodHoundBook @BetsyReavley is in the hot seat with #TWG

I do both eBook and print books (whether on the traditional or indie side of the house), and eBook sales have always outstripped hard copy sales. How about you, readers? What’s your preference (if any)? Fellow authors, please chime in about your experience as well.

The Writing Garnet

E-book or not to e-book?
Last month, the head of one of the world’s biggest publishers, spoke to the media about e-books. Whilst I would usually celebrate anything from the book world making the media, I remember being quite flabbergasted by what I had read in said article. I am sure a lot of people read the article in question – it had quite a lot of shares on social media at the time! The comment which left a lot of people, including myself, reeling, was the quote ‘e-books are stupid’. Pardon? I am fully aware that people prefer one format over another, after all, we cannot all like the same things. Some readers may prefer to read hardbacks or paperbacks instead of reading e-books, or visa versa. Personally, I don’t see the problem with that, I am just thankful that we actually have a choice. Think about it – many years ago, the only…

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Should You Make That Comment or Not?

Food for thought here. My caveat on item #3 is that when confronting things like racist remarks, I don’t think there’s much (if any) need to question your perceptions first.

A Writer's Path

[Note from Ryan: While this post isn’t directly about writing much, I think much of what is discussed can be applied to writing. For example, book reviews for other authors and interacting with readers. I enjoyed Stephanie’s article and I think you all will to. Enjoy!]

by Stephanie O’Brien

I recently had an interesting experience on DeviantArt, and it reminded me of an important principle that applies to both your creative career and your life in general.

I was reading one of Zarla’s “Momplates” comics, and I thought about making a comment. I typed something I thought was fitting and funny… and then paused.

I found myself asking, Should I post this? Does it add enough to the conversation, or is it just more internet noise? She already gets a lot of comments on her art.

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How *Not* to Approach a Reviewer (Or, At Least This One)

prohibited-98614_640Yesterday, I received this e-mail via my contact form (pertinent details redacted, because I’m just not going to give them the kind of publicity they want):

Thank you for being an avid reader and book reviewer. We would appreciate it if you could review the work of [Author] most recent work, [Title]! The book takes a real look inside the life of one woman at an unseeingly low place and follows her journey to triumph; it can be read for free on Kindle Unlimited.

Thank you in advance for your support.
C. Dash

[Company Name]

Prologue for [Title]…

Throughout many civilizations, women have endured much in silence. They dare not utter a word about their hardship, discomfort, or even abuse. After all, many would argue that women have no voice as they are inferior beings. Therefore, with lips pressed tight, many women scream within and breathe when told. They stifle tears in the darkness – prisoners by memories they dare not share. So, these women – our mothers, our daughters, and our sisters – walk among us daily. They smile politely when spoken to, parading the outside pages of their existence – those happier moments. Inside however, between the pages, are the darkest lines – lines that should shame society, but rather shames she who endures.

So, there are a few things wrong here before I get to the cherry on top of the sundae.

Ask, don’t assume.  I don’t accept all requests for review.  I have a large stack of books to review.  I accept new ones very occasionally, and it needs to be subject matter in which I am interested.  This e-mail assumed that I would review the work (“Thank you in advance for your support.”)  Also, they didn’t greet me by name, which brings me to my next point.

Personalize it, people.  At least use my name in your salutation.  Give me some indication of why you think I would be a good reviewer for your work. This is obviously a scattershot e-mail going to a bunch of bloggers without any thought as to who would be a good fit.

Give me a choice.  I don’t use a Kindle.  I’m not a member of Kindle Unlimited.  Ergo, telling me I can read the book for free using Kindle Unlimited guarantees I’m not going to read it.  Where is my option to receive a paperback?  To use the eReader of my own choosing?  Nowhere.  Again, the person assumed that I was a member of Kindle Unlimited and would just hop right on it.

When the grammar in your sample sucks, I’m not going to review your book.  Enough said.

And now, the promised cherry on the sundae.  When I wrote back to the contact to explain that I was not presently accepting very many books for review and that I was going to pass, but wished them the best in finding the right reviewer for their work?  It turned out to be a fake e-mail.  I got a bounce notice.  So, my guess is that “C. Dash” is the author trying to look as though they are not self-promoting.  And you know what?  If they were the author, I wouldn’t care.  I review independent books all the time.  What I do care about is that they didn’t bother to give me a genuine way to contact them.

My suspicion is that they were essentially doing a drive-by of every reviewer they could find, without bothering to look at the kind of books people review and whether they were asking someone who would be a good fit for their genre.  They clearly presume that “everyone” is using Kindle Unlimited, which is a mistake.  This kind of “churn and burn” shows a complete lack of forethought and planning, from where I sit.  It’s not the way to interest reviewers (at least, not this one), and it’s not the kind of way to get the word of mouth that you want.  And then, to not leave a legitimate e-mail address so that, perhaps, I could politely pass on the opportunity or even to ask whether it was okay to give the opportunity to a reviewer who might be better suited?  Highly unprofessional and unacceptable.

I’m In Another Library!

25908261One of the advantages of having broad distribution of my eBooks and paperbacks is that libraries are able to acquire either one.  I’m grateful to report that the Nashville (Tenn.) Public Library has added In The Eye of The Beholder to their offerings.

I also have books available via the Hawaii Public Library, Portland (Ore.) Public Library, and San Jose (Calif.) City Library systems.  As a long-time library user, this delights me.

Want your own copy of In The Eye of The Beholder?  Here are the links to purchase, as well as the book blurb:

When French equestrian Claire Delacroix loses her fiancé in a tragic accident, she comes to live at the Paris Opera during its 1890s heyday. Life is not easy for a woman in fin de siècle France, where her rights are determined by a male guardian. Claire, both intelligent and independent, chafes under the strictures of her time.

Whilst working at the opera, she meets a mysterious, masked stranger: Erik. Is it possible that the two of them will heal the pain of each other’s past?

Updated for 2015 with glossaries of equestrian terms and French words used in the text.

Amazon (click through on this link and it will automatically update for your country)

Barnes & Noble

Chapters Indigo (Canada)

FNAC (France)

Kobo (If you are part of the Super Points program, you can choose this title for 2400 points)


Smashwords (available through March 10 at 50% off with coupon RAE50)