Gaming Amazon for Kindle Success and Other Captivating Reads…

Confessions from the Underground World of Kindle eBooks, Part 1. An ‘anonymous’ interview with a supposed best-selling Kindle author who has a formula to game the system and make a ton of money. Smacks of cautionary tale to me. Note: There is a part 2 & 3 at the same blog if you are interested in following up on what happened.

Women Crime Writers of the 40s and 50s by Sarah Weinman. Is a fascinating article about women crime writers but not just in the 40s and 50s. Believe it or not we’ve been around almost from the beginning of the genre.

The Power of Fiction – by Jo Eberhardt. Jo discusses whether we as writers have the power to change the world, or at least one person’s world. She makes a compelling case for the yes column.

10 terms coined by Ernest Hemingway by Angela Yung. Just for fun, ten still used phrases that we use thanks to Papa Ernie.

With Lower Prices and 12X More Titles Per Year, Famous Authors Fear Amazon Bestselling authors make roundabout arguments that it’s in readers’ interest for big publishers to collude on high prices. Interesting….

Have a great week everybody.


What you never knew about Nancy Drew and other juicy reads this week

nancy drew

The Original Ghostwriter Behind Nancy Drew Was One of The Most Interesting YA Writers of All Time from Slate. Did you know that the Nancy Drew books were written by ghostwriters? Not one, but several? Fascinating article by the very first ghost writer of the Nancy Drew books.

In Our CyberVillage: So Much Anger by Porter Anderson. Really insightful article about the mob mentality and vehemance with which one can find themselves under attack in the cyber world. And also touches on IRL (in real life) issues.

How to win a twitter pitch by Bill Ferris. Who says, “You too can launch your publishing career by tweeting.”

How to Use Song Lyrics in Your Book by Kathryn Goldman. Entertainment attorney Goldman gives you the lowdown on how and if you can use song lyrics in your novel. And there’s a cool infographic too.

Why Jamie McGuire Returned to Self Publishing. Indie author Jamie McGuire hit it big with her self-pubbed books, landed a publisher, and is returning to indieville. Interesting read.

Have a great week everybody.

Writer Chick

“The great self-publishing purge of 2015” and Other Stuff happening around the neighborhood

Scribd Starts to Banish Indie Authors from its Catalog by Michael Kozlowski. Who knows what this will mean for indie authors – but the ‘great self-publishing purge of 2015’ may be something we talk about for years to come. Or not.

Amazon Review Policy Under Fire: Indie Authors Call For Change In ‘Big Brother’ Policing. Looks like some authors/readers are fighting back and petitioning Amazon to change it’s policy on reviews. I hope they do.

Estate Planning Basics for the Self-Published Writer by Kathryn Goldman
Very straightforward and sound advice on how to handle your intellectual property as part of your estate.

Why Readers, Scientifically, Are the Best People to Fall in Love With by Lauren Martin. When I first saw this title I thought it was probably a silly, funny post but in reading it I actually saw it made some good points. Oddly, as a writer I never put ‘reader’ in the list of attributes I might want in a mate. How different things might have been if I had.

Everything is awful and I’m not okay: Questions to ask before giving up. This was posted by a friend in my Facebook feed. It’s a printable PDF file with a list of questions you might want to ask yourself if you’re feeling blue. Very common sense and it’s worth a look.

Have a great week everybody.

Writer Chick

Indie Authors “Owning It” and Other Groovy Stuff this Week

harley davidson

Found a few real nuggets this week – read them, bookmark them and refer to them often.

For Indie Writers: You have the control. Own it. By Elizabeth Hunter. Ms. Hunter makes the very good point that indie authors are not just authors but also publishers and instead of complaining we should own it. I’m with her. It’s your party, you decide the menu, the party favors, the guest list and everything else. Own it. Enjoy it. Do it.

I miss the blogosphere by Nathan Bransford. A sweet post that made me long for the good old days of blogging too. Before it was a social media ‘tool’

The complete list of creative distractions and defenses against them by Dan Blank A humorous and accurate list of how we allow ourselves to get distracted from our work.

Indie Authors Should Think Twice About Kickstarter by Michael Kozlowski. A short but profound cautionary tale about Indie’s going the Kickstarter route.

And last but not least, for Raymond Chandler fans –The Long Goodbye audio book at Audible

Have a great week everybody. 😀


Eight things a writer shouldn’t tell their friends or family


Writers are weird ducks – at least as far as ‘normal’ people are concerned. Our brains are a never-ending source of people, places, ideas, stories, worlds, languages, dialects and facts – many of which don’t actually exist. Except in our heads.

And we love to research. We collect strange, trivial facts like little boys collect bugs – can’t get enough of them. And given that we spend an extraordinary amount of time alone (in our heads) we’re not particularly good at social intercourse. Read – we lack filters.

But we’re creative. And creative is fun. And we want to share the fun. Especially since we spend so much time in our heads in our little rooms making stuff up.

So it might not occur to you that some things you just don’t want to share with your friends or significant others. Like:

1. The fact that you know at least 50 different ways to kill someone. Poisons, weapons, hand to hand combat, choke holds, garrotes, tools of torture, lethal herbs, how to mimic real life heart attacks – you know them all and find them fascinating. Sure, you need to know these things because you write murder mysteries. But do you think that cute guy or gal you just started dating wants to know that you could kill them 50 different ways?
2. That they are an inspiration for a character. Now you may think this will flatter them or make them feel special. However, given human nature, chances are they will search your stories for anything that even remotely sounds like them. Or they’ll criticize you for depicting them as a bitch or a jerk or stupid or somehow incorrect and unflattering. And God help you if you break up – a lawsuit could be in the offing.
3. That ten minutes into the movie you’re watching you know who did it or how the story will end. You’re a writer, you recognize plot points, inciting incidents, red herrings and every other writer device employed to create a story. And you’re okay with that because you enjoy seeing how other writers use those devices to craft a story. Your girlfriend/boyfriend, mom, sister, friend however, is not a writer. They don’t want to know the ending. They want to be surprised. So don’t ruin it for them.
4. That basically you think for a living. Let’s face it, we write and we write a lot but before we write, we think. While we’re writing, we think. We just think all the time – working out plots, character arcs, playing what if… Whatever. And the truth is a lot more thinking hours are logged in than anything else. This will surprise and likely disappoint your non-writer friends. Because they can think and nobody pays them for it. And let’s face it, we already have to deal with people who think that writing is the same as talking and since they can talk, writing really shouldn’t be a job, right? Imagine the response to the thinking angle. Although there’s boundless evidence that many people don’t or can’t think – everyone believes they are thinkers – and brilliant ones at that.
5. That you talk to your characters – regularly. Come on, admit it. We all do it. We all talk to our characters almost as much as we talk to the ‘real’ people in our lives. It’s part of the process. But strictly speaking, talking to imaginary people likely classifies as one type of mental illness or another. And those meds are expensive. And though  you get a lot of alone time in a little room, they usually won’t let you have writing implements.
6. That the character you created that they adore was once a clown with a gambling problem and a criminal record. It doesn’t matter that the character is currently a super hero who uses laughter to do good in the world. If you tell them about previous incarnations it’ll ruin it for them. They’ll never see the character the same way again. Ditto for first drafts.
7. Any idea you have for a book. Sure, there might be a few writer friends or beta readers you can run an idea by. But the average lay person will inevitably turn that conversation into an idea they always had for a book. They will then proceed to tell you all about their idea and offer it to you because they’ll never get around to writing it themselves. And heck fire, they’ll split the profits with you too. In the alternative, it may be such a good idea that your friend blabs it around and next thing you know, somebody else has written the book. Keep ideas to yourself.
8. How many books you sell/money you make. Unless you’re a NYT bestseller (in which case they’ll already assume you are a bagillionaire) keep your sales data and financial gain or loss to yourself. It only opens the door to criticism and suggestions of finding a real job or worse, advice on how you could do better.

If you keep these things to yourself you may pull off living up to the carefully crafted image of the mysterious, interesting writer that you’ve spent years creating. If you don’t ,you’ll just be Arnie’s and Mabel’s kid who lives in their basement and refuses to get a real job.

How about you? Have you told friends or family too much about your writerliness? Were they shocked, disappointed, sad? Did they point their finger at you and laugh? What do you keep to yourself as a writer? Speak your mind in the comments below.

Writer Chick

copyright 2015

Writing by Committe & Other Informative Reads


Writing by Committee by Kristine Kathryn Rusch – One kick-ass article about why no good can ever come from writing by committee. Must read!! I love this chick.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby Home for Sale  The home where F. Scott Fitzgerald is believed to have written the Great Gatsby is for sale. It’s a looker and you can imagine what a cool setting it could be for a retro book, eh?

Six Writing Techniques I learned at Story Masters by David Bruns. Is a nice little synopsis of some very usable tips for writing your novel. Good read.

Why you should never comment on a negative review of your book . At Thought Scratchings. A funny and yet ever so correct view of why you just need to step away from the review page if a reader doesn’t like your book.

10 Tips for Choosing the Right Book Title. Anne R. Allen gives you some good, sensible tips on how to choose a title that works.

Have a great Monday everybody.


Internet Truisms

computer head

I’ve been playing in cyberspace for several years now. In fact, if I had to stop playing on the Internet it would make me sad and I’d probably need a 12-step program to help me through it. But in my travels I have observed there seem to be certain truisms on the Internet. The following is my list; raise your hand if you recognize any:

  1. Always post the most flattering pic of yourself for your profile – even if it’s 20 years old. Unlike the real world, this is perfectly acceptable. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone who has ever signed up for an online dating service. Yikes.
  2. No matter what term you use for image searches, you will always get at least one naked picture in the search results. Apparently naked goes with everything.
  3. Anybody who says they handle their social media posting in under an hour a day is lying. I don’t care what you say; I don’t believe anyone handles their social media in under an hour. Not if they’re actually participating in social media.
  4. Nothing ever goes away on the Internet – if it was posted it’s out there somewhere. The good news is that we still have hope of finding that funny cat picture that seems to have disappeared.
  5. If you have a web site you’re automatically an expert in something. Unlike the old days when you had to have a brick and mortar store, for very little money and a little bit of skill you can put up your store on the Internet and become an expert. Actually, I’ve even seen marketing ‘experts’ advice people to act like an expert and people will believe it.
  6. You’re nobody if you don’t show up on page one of the search results. Kind of interesting that our self esteem and confidence in our products and services is based on some secret algorithm that we have no way of controlling.
  7. Information is king on the Internet. Ditto with information products. Even if you are selling information about information, are blogging about blogging, or writing about writing – somebody will buy it
  8. Half the trolls on the Internet are 14, live in their parents’ basement and rarely go outside or have contact with other human beings. At the very least, this gives one some perspective, right?
  9. If you say it enough times on the Internet, it’s true. (See #5) This to me is one of the most powerful and yet mystical truths. A person can make the most outrageous statement on the Internet, with absolutely no proof or supporting facts and if they can get it circulating and enough people reading it, suddenly it becomes true. Scary much.

In your Internet travels, what truisms have you stumbled across? So did I miss any Internet truisms? Any you care to add to the list?

All your many hats as a writer – oh yeah, a lot of them … and other good stuff


Some good stuff out there to read this week, enjoy.

The 3+ Hats Every Indie Author Must Wear by Nina Amir  You think as an indie author (or any kind of author) you only have to wear your writer hat? Think again. And I’m going to go hat shopping later.

Debunking the Discovery Problem by Joe Wikert discusses how content efficiency may solve the discovery problem for indie authors and publishers.

Book Design: How Changing Covers Can Transform Self-published Book Sales by Scarlett Rugers. Your book may be great but the cover may be tanking sales or preventing them. Very insightful article on the value of a great and appropriate book cover.

Character Cue – Whose Line is it anyway? by Katrina Kittle–  Shows us that keeping the voice of your protag strong (and not losing it )during narrative passages can and should be done.

The mystery of the literary litterbug is solved. Really? He couldn’t think of what to do with the books other than toss them out the window?

Nine Things You Never Knew About Writers


Writers are interesting characters. Often depicted as staring off in the distance and absent-minded, unaware of their surroundings, actually writers are some of the sharpest knives in the drawer. But make no mistake we have our peculiarities. We do things that others might not readily understand. But there is a method to our madness – after all, we’re in the business of creating whole new universes, living breathing people, plotting crimes and pondering how to get away with murder. That takes a certain set of skills.

So, if you have a friend who’s a writer or a writer in the family, the following list may interest you.

1. A writer is always writing. No matter what you see a writer doing, she is writing. She could be playing computer games, appearing to goof off. Shopping for groceries. Dropping her kids off at school. Doesn’t matter, she’s writing. Often the best writing occurs away from the computer, the notepad, or laptop. And performing mindless or routine acts often help her to find solutions she needs for a story magically come to life.

2. A writer is taking notes. You could be sitting across from her in Starbucks and engaged in a great conversation about the latest gossip, gardening techniques or God forbid politics, but she’s taking notes. She’s remembering the smell of the place, the sounds of coffee cups, espresso machines, and hum of voices; she’s noticing the color of the walls and what people are wearing. She’s making a mental note that the guy in the pink running suit would be a perfect model for her over-cautious banker in the story she’s writing. She’s listening to how you speak, your word choices, even your voice inflection and noting it down.

3. It’s a big deal to her when a writer finishes something. A story, a chapter, an outline, a whole book. She comes out of her writing space and announces that she’s just finished the first draft of her novel. A pat on the head doesn’t cut it. A high five or ‘You go girl!’ is much better. Though she works in silence and often behind closed doors, she needs praise for reaching her goals. Just like you need praise when you tell the story about slam-dunking your presentation at the office.

4. Everything is a story or a potential story to a writer. You may go to the grocery store and come home and think nothing about it. A writer goes to the grocery store and sees the subtle politics between the cashiers and bag boys. She notices what other people have in their carts and imagines possible menus from what she see. She listens in on the retired couple arguing about fat content and cholesterol. A smell, a sight, a sound can all become stories from a writer’s point of view.

5. A writer talks to her characters. Not like people talk to the little voices in their heads. Well, maybe a little bit like that. But a writer creates a character with the goal of creating a living, breathing person. Sometimes she needs to consult with the characters, read their dialogue out loud – heck even argue about how it’s the wrong point in the story for them to jump off the bridge. It’s not a mental affliction, just the process. She’s okay, really. No need to knock on the office door. She may also talk to herself but it’s pretty much the same, leave her be.

6. A writer always has more than one idea. A writer has a head jam-packed full of ideas and everywhere she turns, more ideas come to her. It’s how her mind works. This is good to know if you ask a writer for an idea about something. Be prepared, she won’t give you one idea, she’ll give you thirty.

7. If a writer is doing something weird it’s for her story. A writer deals in words, she envisions her character doing something but she can’t quite figure out how to describe it. Or perhaps she hasn’t experienced this thing – so she’ll act it out. The other night I was trying to figure out if my character could manage to get to her feet from a sitting position, if her legs were wrapped in duct tape from ankles to knees. There was only one way to figure it out. Turns out she couldn’t.

8. A writer likes being alone and likes her own company. This is not an anti-social thing. Some writers are gregarious, some are shy. But all writers are comfortable in their own skin and rarely bemoan time alone. In fact, it’s often the best time to write. To think. To create. If she wants to be alone she isn’t rejecting you, she just wants to write, or plot or do research. She’ll come find you when she’s done.

9. Writers write for you. Yes, that’s correct. Writers write to please you, to entertain you, to make you laugh, make you cry, inspire you, help you, provide an adventure. She is nothing without you except a somewhat anal individual with too much love for words.

This list of course, is by no means complete but the above may give you some insight into your writer friends. As always, feel free to add to the list in the comments below.

Writer Chick
Copyright 2014

Miscellaneous – Theme Friday


File me under ‘miscellaneous’ – a vast assortment of burps and hiccups – grace and gawk. Neither here nor there. Neither this nor that. Gossamer wings paired with path-worn sneakers. Part Mother Earth and part Blogging Whore.

New Age. Old fashioned. Free thinker. Conservative voter. No category. No mold. A cacophony of contradictions. A long list of mistakes. A short list of accomplishments. A grocery sack filled with lists of things to do; scratched like chicken tracks on anything that would hold ink, lead and words.

No tab ready made for my file folder – bulging with ideas, half-executed plans and what ifs. No signature fashion statement, nor scent nor hairstyle.

Yeah – file me under miscellaneous.

copyright 2009

What does Christine have filed under miscellaneous?