So You Want to Write a Novel: Five Writing Mistakes, According to Grammarly

Grammarly, a platform that helps writers edit, has taken NaNoWriMo to a new level the past two years with its novel writing group @Grammowrimo. Last November, Grammarly worked with 500 writers to produce a 40,000 word novel. In addition to publishing a novel, they’ve compiled a list of the top five common writing mistakes. See their infographic below for tips on how to improve your own writing: Continue reading

An Interview with Kyle Prue, Author of The Sparks

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Kyle Prue is the author of The Sparks, book one of the Feud Trilogy. Here’s the official description:

Could you forgive your sworn enemy if it meant saving your family, legacy and beloved city from the hands of an evil power? The Vapros, the Taurlum, and the Celerius: three dynasties bound by an ancient promise, and given superhuman abilities to protect the city of Altryon from the dangerous world beyond its walls. Centuries of fighting, however, have turned the families against each other. A powerful emperor now rules and each family has suffered heavy casualties in the feud. Sixteen-year-old Neil Vapros desperately wants to become an assassin in order to impress his overly critical father. Despite a failed mission, Neil learns that a new sinister threat has awakened. This mysterious new power will shatter the established order and threaten not only the very lives of these powerful families, but also the once great city of Altryon.

Read on for Prue’s interview, as well as an excerpt from the book. Continue reading

Working as a Freelance Writer

There’s been a lot of chatter lately about how writers earn a living. The Write Life has an excellent post, “Talking About Money: Why Writers Need to Be More Honest About How We Earn,” which covers Ann Bauer’s Salon essay on being sponsored by her husband, as well as how other writers earn a living and how much they make.

A lot of stories pop up of writers who are able to quit their day jobs and work on their passion full time. But being a full time writer/freelancer is incredibly hard. I did it for a while, but couldn’t handle the feast or famine lifestyle, so I took a full time job and now write on the side.

Below is a list of articles (in no particular order) I’ve bookmarked over the years that pertain to freelancing. I’m happy for those who have found a way to do this full time, but for others who may be struggling, hopefully you find this list helpful. Continue reading

Ebook Review: The Fifth Crusade

fifth_crusadeThe Fifth Crusade (The Crusades Book 2) by Mark Butler

The year is 1215 in medieval Europe. Pope Innocent III is waging two Crusades simultaneously. The smaller Albigensian Crusade is a vicious war on the Cathars, an extremist sect of separatists in Southern France. The Fifth Crusade is also raging, emptying Europe’s fighting men into the Middle East and Northern Africa and slaughtering thousands. The peoples of Europe are exhausted and skeptical of the Church, which has thrust civilization back into madness.

Out of the North, a warrior emerges. He is Amir Stonefist, a master blacksmith and descendant of Vikings. Word of the Crusades has reached his homeland and he sets out into Europe with a wanderer’s heart. He wants only to avoid the wars of foreign religions, but he is tempted by the fire of combat and riches of warfare at every turn.

What follows is the fascinating tale of the Fifth Crusade, a long-forgotten war brought to life through the authorship of Mark Butler.

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Guest Post: Global Fans? Get Global Links


By Cole Lakes – Director of Operations, GeoRiot

GeoRiot builds links that work “across countries, devices, and stores.” The company also recently acquired, which creates a universal link for a book “that works for all Amazon stores.”

If you’re an indie author, chances are you’re taking advantage of Amazon’s international online store to promote and sell your books. One thing many authors don’t realize is, if you want your books to be international bestsellers, you need to be able to promote them to international readers. Let me break it down. Continue reading

RedShelf: Affordable E-Textbooks

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RedShelf is a platform that allows students to access e-textbooks. The company started in June 2010, when the co-founders Tim and Greg were asked by a professor to create a digital course packet. They developed the e-reading technology while still in college, and started forming partnerships with campus bookstores. Now RedShelf has more than 160,000 titles and 160+ bookstore partnerships. Continue reading

Indie Authors: Gathering Data and Marketing Your Work

You may already know, but I’m a big fan of data. It’s so useful, and can help streamline and make book marketing so much more effective, among other things.

One great way to collect data is to do surveys. One great example of how survey data pays off is musician Jim Bianco’s album, Cookie Cutter. NPR reported that all 17 songs were inspired by a fan who filled out his 69 question survey. Fans shared intimate answers, and Bianco got back “stories about reunited lovers, runaway pets, ballerinas, brain cancer survivors, Jesus Christ and — everyone’s favorite — death.” Continue reading

Indie Authors: Know Your Rights

Writing and publishing books can be so much more than simply put a print and ebook out. As indie authors, you have rights to your intellectual property, and you can, to quote The Creative Penn, “exploit” them.

Orna Ross said on The Creative Penn that “indie authors can sell rights themselves. The book is just a starting point.”  Continue reading

I Know Dino: The Podcast

I Know Dino logoAfter months of researching, interviewing, and polishing, we have finally launched our long-awaited I Know Dino podcast (part of a larger I Know Dino project, which involves blog posts, books, and more)!

You can find our new, free podcast on iTunes at:

Our first episode features Pete Larson, president of the Black Hills Institute in South Dakota. Pete is a T-rex expert, and one of the main people in the documentary Dinosaur 13:

When Paleontologist Peter Larson and his team from the Black Hills Institute made the world’s greatest dinosaur discovery in 1990, they knew it was the find of a lifetime; the largest, most complete T. rex ever found. But during a ten-year battle with the U.S. government, powerful museums, Native American tribes, and competing paleontologists they found themselves not only fighting to keep their dinosaur but fighting for their freedom as well.

For those who may prefer reading, see the full transcript of our first episode here.

And our second episode features Dr. Anthony J. Martin, a paleontologist who specializes in ichnology, which according to his website, is “the study of modern and ancient traces caused by animal behavior, such as tracks, trails, burrows, and nests.”

Dr. Martin is also the author of several books, including his most recent one, Dinosaurs Without Bones. You can also find him on Twitter, @Ichnologist. and I recommend reading his post that dissects the ichnology in the Jurassic Park movies.

Ebook Review: The Wonderful Alice of Oz

wonderful_alice_ozThe Wonderful Alice of Oz (Third Volume of Oz-Wonderland) by Ron Glick

Three Wicked Witches vie for control of the Magical Land of Oz, while the Wizard appears no closer to solving the mystery of how to return the former Wyrds to Wonderland. But Glinda’s secret may shift the balance in an entirely unforeseen direction! Meanwhile, a quest beyond the Looking Glass may have gleaned more than anyone was hoping for when Dorothy’s return from that magical realm attracts the attention of a new player in the conflict…

Written with a faithful eye to the original Baum and Carroll classics, The Wonderful Alice of Oz concludes the first story arc of the series, while setting the foundation for the next chapter to unfold.

Continue reading