Ten of the Best Writing Quotes from F. Scott Fitzgerald

Scott Fitzgerald was probably best known as the chronicler of the jazz age. Though he wasn’t considered a great success during his lifetime, now he is touted as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. A member of the “Lost Generation” of the 1920s, Fitzgerald published four novels: This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby (his most successful and well known), and Tender Is the Night. His fifth, unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon, was published posthumously and recently made into a mini-series by Amazon. He also wrote four collections of short stories and published an additional one hundred sixty-four short stories in magazines. (He was also the inspiration for the name of my heroine in the Scotti Fitzgerald Mysteries.)

“Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person.”

“Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.”

 

“Mostly, we authors must repeat ourselves – that’s the truth. We have two or three great and moving experiences in our lives – experiences so great and moving that it doesn’t seem at the time anyone else has been so caught up and so pounded and dazzled and astonished and beaten and broken and rescued and illuminated and rewarded and humbled in just that way ever before. Then we learn our trade, well or less well, and we tell our two or three stories – each time in a new disguise – maybe ten times, maybe a hundred, as long as people will listen.”

“What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story.”

 

“You’ve got to sell your heart, your strongest reactions, not the little minor things that only touch you lightly, the little experiences that you might tell at dinner. This is especially true when you begin to write, when you have not yet developed the tricks of interesting people on paper, when you have none of the technique which it takes time to learn. When, in short, you have only your emotions to sell.”

“Life is a comedy for those who think and a tragedy for those who feel. Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.”

“Often I think writing is a sheer paring away of oneself leaving always something thinner, barer, more meagre.”

“Character is plot, plot is character.”

 

“The history of my life is the history of the struggle between an overwhelming urge to write and a combination of circumstances bent on keeping me from it.”

“Every author ought to write every book as if he were going to be beheaded the day he finished it.”

What’s your favorite quote or story from F. Scott Fitzgerald? Feel free to share them in the comments.

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Things you didn’t know about the nectar of the gods…

In case you are confused, I’m talking about coffee. That glorious, dark, rich liquid that wakes us in the morning, picks us up in the afternoon and seemingly kicks our brains into high gear at any time. At least, for writers…

Did you know that…

  • According the the USDA (from 2016-2017) worldwide demand for coffee is expected to be 156 million bags. Which is about 10 million tons of coffee beans. No shock but most of that coffee consumption will be in Europe and the US. Like, how many barristas does it take to make that much coffee?
  • Brazil is actually the coffee capital of the world, Viet Nam is #2, and Columbia is #3 – who’d a thunk? Sorry Juan Valdez but the truth hurts.
  • According to historians, coffee showed up in Ethiopia, circa 850 A.D. However, it took a little time to catch on – it wasn’t until 1100 that the black gold was popularized in Asia. However, it wasn’t until 1515, that Europe got a taste of this magical nectar.
  • Attention barristas – the first ever café opened in Constantinople in 1475. I wonder how you say latte in turkish? By 1675, England had over 3,000 cafes offering our beloved café au lait.
  • There are two types of coffee plants harvested for coffee production: Arabica and Robusta. The Arabica plant originated in the Middle East and the Robusta from the Congo. Arabica beans are known for their premium quality and 75% of the world’s commercially produced coffee comes from them. On the other hand, Robusta coffee beans are hardier than Arabicas AND contain 50% more caffeine.
  • Throughout history, coffee was officially banned three times. The first time in Mecca in the 16th century, though no one seems to know why. The second in England when Charles II banned the drink and coffee houses because he suspected coffeehouses offered a perfect opportunity for plotting sedition and treason among the population. The third time took place in Germany in 1677. Frederick the Great prohibited his people to drink coffee because he was worried about money leaving his country for imported goods rather than being spent on his own country’s goods, such as beer and ale. Ironically, despite his ban, he continued drinking coffee himself.
  • Coffee grinds are a fabulous and cheap fertilizer for your garden. Coffee grinds are rich in nitrogen, an element that all plants need to grow and especially seedlings and young plants. Many Starbucks still offer home gardeners bags of used coffee grounds free just for the asking.
  • Coffee grounds are also helpful in repelling snails and other hard-shell insects from your garden – they hate the taste.
  • World famous spas offer coffee grind wraps, facials, and skin treatments to reduce the look of cellulite, loss of skin elasticity, and under eye bags – and to promote improved skin firmness.
  • Coffee grounds can also be used as an all natural dye or stain for fabric or wood.
  • Coffee grounds also make an excellent drink that can be consumed hot or cold with milk or without – and even the beans can be covered in chocolate and eaten.

What’s your favorite use for coffee? Have any secret recipes or tips on coffee? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

Politics, mob rule and social media—what I’ve learned

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So in the last few weeks I’ve been paying attention to politics on Facebook. I’d been very intentionally ignoring it up til then because we were miles away from the actual election and I don’t need to decide what I believe in since I already know.

So one day, a few weeks ago, I started to actually look at the political stuff in my feed, scan the articles, read some of the comments and move on. It was intense. I mean, I’ve been a political junkie on and off for many years but things were more intense than I’d seen them since people in Florida were counting chads.

As is my habit, I made a general statement/observation about a certain set of supporters of a certain candidate. To me it was light, somewhat humorous and meant to illicit a laugh. Instead I was attacked. This not only stunned me but made me reexamine my statement to see if it’d been really inflammatory. Nope. Still seemed relatively mild to me. And then from there, I was hooked and frankly until the last couple of days, haven’t come up for air.

So after my foray into the depths of the political trenches I’ve learned the following:

  1. Some of your friends are willing to toss you aside for a stranger who makes promises they can’t keep.
  2. People can become so invested in someone they are willing to call you every and any name in the book including skank, whore, bitch, and worse.
  3. The anonymity of the Internet emboldens people to spew hatred, vitriol and insanity everywhere they travel.
  4. Some people will believe absolutely anything despite a mountain of facts that categorically disprove that belief.
  5. There is no low too low for some people.
  6. Logic often has no place in politics and frequently is the first victim to be thrown under the bus.
  7. Some people are more than happy to ruin others’ lives simply because the do not agree with them.
  8. Free speech is relegated, apparently, to only the chosen few.
  9. Fairness, objectivity, and truth is a matter of opinion.
  10. You cannot convince an angry person of anything.
  11. To some, winning justifies any tactic, no matter how abhorrent, despicable and dirty.
  12. Many people don’t actually do any research on the candidate they champion and when that is pointed out, you better be wearing full body armor.
  13. There are a lot of angry people out there who are misdirecting their anger at total strangers on the Internet.
  14. I long for the days when cute cat videos were the most popular thing on the Internet.
  15. Apparently anybody can run for president these days and people will treat them like they know what they’re talking about. Hey – maybe I should run.
  16. I trust my dog more than most politicians.
  17. Going to a political rally is a lot more dangerous than it used to be.
  18. Orange has become a really popular color – not with me, I look terrible in orange.
  19. According to the polls, the presumed candidates for the November election are two of the most disapproved of people in America.
  20. So far, nobody has attacked any candidates’ pets, but give it time.

How about you? Enjoying the current political happenings? Have you been trolled, flamed, attacked or is it just a barrel of laughs as far as your concerned? Learned anything or is just politics as usual? Feel free to observe, vent or yammer in the comments.

 

Peace out, Writer Chick

Book Marketing Trends for Authors and Other Good Reads This Week

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I’m afraid I haven’t had much time to devote to blogging lately because I’m trying to finish a first draft of my novel. More on that later. In the meantime, following are some awesome reads for the Indie’s among us. Enjoy and have a great week.

7 Book Marketing Trends Authors Can’t Afford to Ignore. Kimberley Grabas offers some solid marketing strategies, with lots of actionable tips.

Why do we write? Lisa Kron offers a very interesting perspective on the impact that writing, even entertainment writing, can have.

Self Publishing Notebook. Jonathan Kile offers an interesting a funny perspective on indie writing and publishing.

Vetting Vendors: Public Relations Professionals. Naomi Blackburn has some advice on how to hire a PR pro that won’t ruin your PR.

Scene Structure: Understanding the Truth about Character Arcs. CS Larkin gives us a great nuts and bolts post on character arcs.

And just for fun, check out this Content Idea Generator. Who knows, it might be your next brilliant idea.

From conquering fear to business models that don’t react – best reads of the week

It’s been a while since I’ve done a link post – and I think I want to get that back in on this blog. The holidays and general craziness is over for now, so time to get back to basics. Following are some super reads that I wanted to share.

Overcoming Fear by Jo Eberhardt. This has to be one of the best things I’ve ever read on overcoming our own doubts about ourselves. I actually cried as I read this heartfelt and often funny story. Do yourself a favor and read it – it will make your day, put a little bounce in your step and lift your head just a little higher.

THE E-PUBLISHING REVOLUTION IS DEFINITELY NOT OVER (Regardless of what you’ve heard)
Literary Agent Laurie McLean, is pretty sure the ePub revolution is not over and that Indies still have some serious say in the world of books.

75 New Year’s Resolutions for Writers. Yup that’s right WiseInk has 75 resolutions from which to choose that you could conquer this year. I have to admit, there were quite a few I think I’m going for.

9 Ways To Make Your Author Resource Box Sizzle by Publicist Joan Stewart. You know she has some great examples of the mini bios that authors can do for various platforms. Some of them really quite good.

Business Musings: The Reactive Business Model by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. It’s a long read and there was a lot of ‘back story’ to get to the point but when she gets there, it’s worth the trip. And I couldn’t agree more with her.

As a little bit of further inspiration, I tossed in this trailer for a movie called, “Joy,” which I just saw this afternoon. If you are someone with a dream, I highly recommend the film. One of the most inspirational stories I’ve seen in a long time.

Have a great week.

Annie

Marketing – let me count the ways. Great links to help you market your books

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Did I just hear a mass wince? Yup, I’m sure I did, or maybe it was just me. Writing a novel is nothing compared to having to then market it. From the ‘deer in the headlights syndrome’ of just not having a clue – to the ‘it just makes me feel so icky to self promote’ whiners, none of us seem to like marketing very much. But if you’re in it for the long haul and have any hope of making it as an author, marketing is something in which you must become proficient.
Following are links to some kick-ass articles about book marketing. If you have a book you need to market, you need to read these posts.

Can You Promote a Book without Making Yourself Miserable? Jane Friedman gives us some decidedly authentic and down to earth advice about book marketing that may surprise you.

Standing Out on the Crowded Shelf—How to Help Your Fiction Find an Audience
Sage advice on what you can do to find your audience and get your books into the readers who want them.

Marketing Your Book on Social Media? How to Avoid Scams
Anne R. Allen warns about the the pitfalls of those feeding off authors with marketing scams.

A 12-Month Strategic Plan for Marketing Your Book before Release
CS Lakin writes a great nuts and bolts post about marketing your book, 12 months before release.

The 6 Most Common Marketing Mistakes Made by Authors
Another great post from Writer Unboxed about common marketing mistakes made by authors. No more excuses after you’ve read this.

In the meantime, I’ve managed to slog through week 2 of NaNo, clocking in a total of 34,993 words so far. I’m pretty sure I’ll meet the NaNo target of 50K – but that won’t produce a finished first draft. So, I’ll persist and hope I reach my target of 75K. The good news is that I have now developed some awesome callouses on my fingertips which makes the typing go a little faster.

Have a great week.

Annie

Time to get your mojo on for Nano and other cool links

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It’s October and that means  you have a few weeks to prepare for National Novel Writing Month. I’m jumping in. I hope some of you are too. If you are, let’s be writing buddies and keep each other motivated.
Ready, Set, NaNoWriMo! – How to Prepare for NaNoWriMo by Gary McLaren. Good nuts and bolts on what you can do to prepare for NaNo.

How CSI Gets it Wrong. Great post by an expert witness in forensic pathology that dispels rampant myths about crime scenes and forensics. Don’t forget to sign up and get the free download of crime writing tips. Excellent!

New Laser Turntable Plays Your Records Without Even Touching Them 

If you’re a big fan of vinyl but worry about damaging your collection, this may be an interesting solution. Kind of cool when tradition and modern tech come together.

JetBlue Book Vending Machines Dispense Free Kids’ Books in D.C. Neighborhood

Wow, if this isn’t a nod to getting kids to read, I don’t know what is. Kudos to Jet Blue for encouraging kids to read.

Person Asks Online For Advice On How To Deal With Grief. This Reply Is Incredible.

Be prepared to tear up on this one. This post I believe went viral a few weeks ago. But there is a good reason that it did. You rarely see such a heartfelt example of empathy and understanding on the Internet.

Have a great weekend everybody.

Annie

Ruth Harris Offers the Best Writer Reference Post Ever and Other Cool Stuff this Holiday Weekend

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Depressed? Anxious? Stressed? A Must-have Guide to Must-lists For Writers
Get Instant Relief Without Dangerous Drugs, Messy Creams Or Exhausting Exercise! By Ruth Harris. I have to say this is the best reference post for writers I’ve seen in a long time – possibly ever. Personally, I copied the whole thing to a Word file and now have it and the links at my fingertips. Thanks Ruth!

Crime and Science Radio Returns With Some Great Shows This Fall. Awesome, online radio show dedicated to crime talk. Great find for mystery and crime writers.

Agatha Christie was actually a poison master. From the Daily Beast. Did you know that Agatha Christie was a poison expert? I didn’t. Fascinating.

Compact Camper Is Perfect For Traveling. Awesome compact camper that will blow your mind. Especially good methinks for holiday weekends such as this.

Just for fun drop by this site and cartoon yourself.For free.

Have a fun and safe holiday weekend everybody.

Annie

Who Won the Hugos, Why it Matters & Other Good Stuff

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Who won science fiction’s Hugo Awards and why it matters. By Amy Wallace. A very long and detailed article about the controversy leading up to the Hugos and the results. For me, it provided some clarity on what all the ‘debating’ has been about over these last several months. Good read, but it’s a long read, so get comfy.

Simple Promo Tip: Nailing Your Email Subject Line by Sharon Bially. Nice, straightforward advice on email marketing for authors.

The Holy Grail for Authors. 5 Reasons to Self Publish by Sheri McInnis. Trad published author is going indie – she tells us why.

Six Magic Phrases You Can Use to Sell More Books by Sandra Beckwith. Yes, yes, and yes.

Best Colors for Book Covers. Is a great little gem that discusses basic design, color choices and images for book covers. Highly recommend. 😀

Meanwhile, I’m on track to make my August 30th deadline. Stay tuned.

Annie

Kindle Unlimited Gets a Big Thumbs Up from Howey and other Good Stuff

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Kindle Unlimited Scores a Knockout by Hugh Howey. Hugh weighs in on Kindle Unlimited with what I believe is sound reasoning. But the highlight is the comments – some will make you laugh, some will make you scratch your head and others will make you go, what????

Why Social Media is Still Your Best Path to Book Visibility by Anne R. Allen. Anne provides good solid reasons why social media is still the best way for authors to gain visibility.

How to Get the Perfect Author Photo by Bill Ferris. It’s a little tongue in cheek but there are a few viable tips hidden in there.

Self-Editing Basics: 10 Simple Ways to Edit Your Own Book by Blake Atwood. A good nuts and bolts article on self-editing.

And just for fun and avid readers, the Top 100 downloads from the Gutenberg Project (free)

Have a great week everybody.

Annie