Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas – #Collaborations – Kim Blades and Robbie Cheadle, John W. Howell and Gwen Plano, Jane Risdon and Christina Jones

Check out what’s new on the shelves of Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore from this post on Sally Cronin’s blog.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Time for more book gift ideas for family and friends this Christmas and I wanted to revisit some of the books that have been co-written including the recently published poetry collection Open a New Door, now in print, by Kim Blades and Robbie Cheadle.

About the collection

Open a New Door is a poetic peep into the lives of the poets, Kim Blades and Robbie Cheadle, both of whom live in South Africa.

The book is divided into four categories: God bless Africa, God bless my family and friends, God bless me and God bless corporates and work. Each part is sub-divided into the good, the bad and the ugly of the two poets’ experiences, presented in rhyming verse, free-style, haiku and tanka, in each of these categories and include colourful depictions of their thoughts and emotions.

The purpose of this book of poetry is encapsulated in the…

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Keeping a Writer’s Notebook – Do You? You should! – Part 3

This is the third post in my series on keeping a writers notebook. I can’t emphasize enough how important this tool is for cataloging and organizing ideas. I take most of my ideas for this tool from the book, The Writer’s Notebook by Ralph Fletcher. This book helps you organize your notebook and use the information you record for various purposes.

If you want to read Part 1 or Part 2 of this series, just click on the links.

InterestingKeep Lists of Interesting Words

Did you ever come across a word while playing Words with Friends or while thumbing through a magazine article or the vocabulary quiz in Reader’s Digest and think that it was an interesting word that you’d like to use some time?

I started keeping lists of words and their definitions some time ago and try to weave them into my writing.

Here are some examples:

  • Instead of chew, use masticate. Your reader will take a second look at your writing if your main character insists on masticating for 30 seconds after each bite of dinner
  • Instead of walking, a character can saunter or amble.
  • Why run when you can scuttle or lope
  • Wonky or Catty Wompass sound much more interesting than turned or twisted toward one side. I picked these gems up in Texas.
  • Quixotic is a great word when you want to say someone is not sensible about practical matters
  • Use the word misanthrope when you want to describe someone who dislikes people in general
  • Something is jejune if it is lacking interest or significance or impact
  • If your character likes to wander aimlessly in search of pleasure, you can say they gallivant
  • If something is determined by chance or impulse rather than by necessity, then you can say it is capricious

Goals setting for year resolution and new projectSet Goals in Your Notebook

I use my notebook this way. I actually start at the back page and move forward with goals. I used to carry a separate notebook just for goals, but that got to be a pain. Your goals can include both short and long-term goals like:

  • Edit chapter 10 of new book
  • Complete editing new book
  • Contract cover design
  • Design social media ads
  • Write screenplay
  • Sell 1 million books
  • Become rich and famous

You can use whatever system you prefer to list goals, but when you see them in writing and can check them off as you finish them, they become more tangible.

Memories or time conceptRecord Your Memories

In my Frank Rozzani Detective Novels, much of my character’s backstory matches my own in terms of growing up in an Italian neighborhood in Upstate New York in my grandmother’s two family house. I captured a lot of my memories from my childhood using my five senses to describe them. Here are some examples:

  • The house constantly smelled like garlic and tomatoes
  • The sound of ambulances speeding to the nearby hospital often woke me at night
  • The sight of the two story house brought forth feelings of family and the large parties that we had there (my grandmother had nine children)
  • The walls looked like melted wax on the side of candles. They were designed by a special technique where burlap bags were put over wet plaster and beaten. I remember the feel of the walls from touching them.
  • I remember the taste of warm Italian bread, olive oil and fresh tomatoes and onions from the garden.

Author Inspiration and Last Week’s Writing Links

Check out this post from Staci Troilo’s blog with Author Inspiration and Last Week’s Writing Links

Staci Troilo

Ciao, amici!I have to apologize for the links this week. My computer is broken and in the shop for repairs. (I don’t want to talk about it.) Consequently, collecting links and assembling posts has been a challenge. Hopefully, I’ll have it back next week. But they’re saying 7-10 days, so I’m not optimistic.

Anyway, this is week two of Advent, and the theme is faith. This writing quote by E. B. White fits the theme perfectly.

Writing is an act of faith,
not a trick of grammar.

You know me… I’m an editor, and I love grammar. But there’s so much more to writing than making sure you use a comma correctly. That’s why I love this quote. It’s a nice reminder that mechanics is only part of the process. Equally important, maybe even more so, is that fire deep inside that inspires your story.

And now, last week’s…

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My Own Way*

Check out this post from the Confessions of a Mystery Novelist blog on the topics of sleuths as managers in crime fiction.

Confessions of a Mystery Novelist...

When we think about what it takes to be a sleuth, management skills probably don’t come first to mind. But plenty of sleuths work regularly with others. And those sleuths are frequently in positions where they supervise others. So, management is an important part of their jobs.

Each manager has a slightly different style, and some people respond better to a given style than others do. It’s interesting to see how sleuths’ personalities come out in the way they manage, and how others react to those personalities. It’s also interesting to see how management skills develop over time.

Reginald Hill’s Andy Dalziel has a singular approach to managing. He is a tough, no-nonsense leader who expects his team to do their jobs well. Fans know that he does not suffer fools gladly, and he’s quite plain-spoken when he has a criticism. He’s not much of a one for being too…

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How Starting a Blog will Transform your Writing Journey

Check out this post from the Uninspired Writers blog that tells us How Starting a Blog will Transform your Writing Journey

Uninspired Writers

Morning writers, I hope you’re all having a great week.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time chatting to some wonderful writers, and as always my heart swells with love for the online writing community. It got me thinking about this blog, and all it’s done for me and my writing journey. And I decided I’d share the way a blog could transform your writing journey too, if you don’t already have one.

1. It holds you accountable
When I started my blog I committed to writing weekly posts, based on things I’d done/learned in that week. And so, I had to make sure I was always doing something, be it writing, researching, plotting or editing. Knowing I had to update my blog at the end of the week held me accountable, and helped me make sure I stayed on track. Setting up a blog could be the same for…

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Keeping a Writer’s Notebook – Do You? You should! – Part 2

This is the second post in my series on keeping a writers notebook. I can’t emphasize enough how important this tool is for cataloging and organizing ideas. I take most of my ideas for this tool from the book, The Writer’s Notebook by Ralph Fletcher. This book helps you organize your notebook and use the information you record for various purposes.

If you want to read Part 1 of this series, you can click HERE.


Your Notebook is Like an Incubator

Think of your writer’s notebook as a place where the seeds of ideas are stored and nurtured until they can hatch into full-fledged stories. Once you’ve recorded an idea, your mind will return to it and may collect other observations and partial ideas that will help nourish the original thought into a complete story or book idea.

These seeds can be partial sentences or even a single word. They are designed to get you thinking and helping them grow until they are ready to survive on their own.

Brick BuildingCreate Mind Pictures

Mind pictures are descriptions of things that you experience as realized through your five senses. If you walk by a building, try describing how it appears using these senses:

  • The brick of the building was a deep red speckled with the white scars realized from harsh winters and intense sunlight of summer. (Sight)
  • The floors of the building creaked like an old man’s knees might groan when standing up from a favorite chair. (Sound)
  • There was the odor of chalk dust and crayons lingering in the air within the long closed brick school building. (Smell)
  • The brick felt rough as if it had experienced many years of students tramping through the building, each leaving their mark. This was contrasted with the smooth feel of the blackboards and desks that had been written upon repeatedly yet maintained their slick exterior. (Touch)
  • Deeply inhaling the air in the building resulted in a mixture of dust, mildew and floor wax passing through my sinuses and on my tongue. (Taste – this one may be difficult)

local search targeting

Bits of Conversation

As I travel around the country, I try to notice the things that people say in different areas. This helps with portraying accurate local dialog in your work when you work in particular settings. It also helps you to pick up local sayings and colorful phrases that can entertain your readers.

Here are some unique words I’ve picked up from states that I’ve traveled to over the past five years:

  • Colorado: buck — a brace for cutting firewood
  • Florida: scaper — rascal or critter
  • Georgia: burk — vomit
  • Iowa: kittenball — softball
  • Massachusetts: diddledees — pine needles
  • Michigan: sewing needle — dragonfly
  • Minnesota: ish — expression of disgust
  • New Mexico: colchon — mattress

Books and Free Downloads About the Business of Self-Publishing – Guest Post by Jaq D Hawkins…

Check out this post from The Story Reading Ape blog with Books and Free Downloads About the Business of Self-Publishing in this Guest Post by Jaq D Hawkins

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Writers are always looking for information on marketing these days whether they are self-published or have chosen the traditional publishing route. As even the big publishers encourage the authors themselves to take a big share of the publicity burden, we are all getting thrown into the same pool to sink or swim.

With that in mind, I came across a book recently with a title that promised information on how to publish and market a specific genre of book. I got a sample and had a look first at the table of contents. What I saw there inspired me to write this article, shedding a little light on a phenomena that I’ve been noticing across different media for some time now.

There are many books, articles and blog posts that give good advice on various aspects of publishing and marketing. The thing is, most of them are telling us the…

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