Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Samhain

It’s Halloween! Or All Hallows Eve. Or Samhain (pronounced something like “soween”) as the ancient Celts called it.

This is my favorite time of year, and Halloween in particular has always been my favorite holiday since I was a kid. My great-grandmother was born on Halloween in Ireland, and used to tell us how her mother would put out a special tablecloth on Halloween night along with other traditions specifically reserved for this time of the season. Samhain marks the Celtic New Year, but I heartily approve of the additions of jack-o-lanterns and candy that have been added to the holiday over the centuries as well. This year marks my son’s first Halloween, and we’ll be dressing him as a pumpkin when we take him trick-or-treating tonight.

So what do you plan to do with your Halloween this year? What special traditions do you observe on this night? What kind of costume will you wear?  

Happy Halloween!!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Editing My Book

Good editing is what transforms an intriguing idea in a first draft into a great story in subsequent revisions. Great editing will improve a novel even further. Today, I’d like to give some praise and good karma kudos to my latest editor, Angella Graff!

In addition to great feedback from my awesome CPs, I’ve recently had my manuscript of Fort Defiance edited by the talented Angella Graff, and it was certainly a worthwhile experience. I learn something new every time my work is edited, and I’d say the top two lessons learned for me this time around were: 1. Placing commas in forgotten instances, and, 2. Teasing out elements of the narrative that best belonged in dialog. All in all, Angella helped make my book a whole lot better, and for that I’m very grateful.

To learn more about Angella’s wonderful editing services, or to read some of her own books, checkout her blog and FB accounts for more info. So what stage has your latest draft reached? How do you handle the intricate web of edits and rewrites? 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Price Points on eBooks

Do you ever judge a book by its cover? How about by its price?

Between podcasts, conferences, and online articles I’ve been hearing more and more division amongst readers regarding the appropriate price tag of ebooks. Some readers believe price is loosely associated with quality, while others adhere to a strictly cheaper-is-better outlook. NPR had a great broadcast about readers who only buy ebooks listed under 99 cents, whereas other readers refused to buy books under 99 cents altogether. At one conference I attended, an ebook publisher suggested that $1.99-2.99 is the sweet spot. And of course, the bestselling price tag continues to be the one that is listed as FREE.

So what do you think is an appropriate price tag for ebooks? Do you prefer stories listed under a certain price point or above? Do you make exceptions for certain types of ebooks that don’t fit into your customary price range?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Farewell to Candlestick

This Sunday my wife and I went to a 49ers game at Candlestick Park! The Niners won and are doing great, but this is the last year that the famous old ballpark will be used. After over a half century of memories the park will be demolished at the end of this football season.

The park has gotten pretty old and in some ways is a shadow of its former self, but we still had a great time at the game. I have many fond memories growing up when I used to watch the SF Giants baseball games there before they moved to their new ballpark at China Basin. The Niners will have their brand new stadium ready for them in Santa Clara by next year. In the meantime, we’ll always have the memories of a stadium that gave us half a dozen Super Bowl teams and a few World Series contenders as well.  

What are some old landmarks where you live? Places where you have memories that are unique to your home locale? What familiar sights of your childhood have since passed into history? 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

eReader Habits

Do you still prefer a hardcover or paperback book versus an eReader? Perhaps you enjoy the smell of bookstores and libraries? Or maybe you love the lightweight freedom of a tablet that contains an entire library at your digital fingertips?

I have an unflinching fondness for hardcover/paperback books, but my wife and I both use our eReaders frequently now as well. I’ve struck a balance by always selecting older books from the library, whereas I tend to purchase new releases exclusively on my eReader. I’ve found in particular, that the majority of books I buy for my eReader are novels written by you…my fellow bloggers and online friends.

What are your eReader habits? Are you more likely to buy an eBook if it’s written by someone you’ve befriended online? How do you decide whether to get a book either from a library, a bookstore, or via an eReader medium? 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Shout Out to My CPs!

I just wanted to take the time out today to thank some great fellow writers who have been kind enough to review my latest works. I’ve had some awesome CPs (critique partners) over the past few weeks reading short-stories of mine while others have read my entire novel manuscript. I can’t express how valuable their feedback and suggestions have been during the revision process.

I especially want to thank Rachna, Milo, J.A., Laurel, Emily, Alex, Jim, and Lynda! A bunch of you gave me some great feedback on my short-stories while others of you read anywhere from one chapter to all of my current work-in-progress, Fort Defiance.  Your honesty and insight has helped make my stories better and I can’t thank you enough for that!

So where do you go to get great critique feedback on your writing? Interested in swapping stories? (I always like to reciprocate and read anything for any author who’s reviewing my work). Who are your favorite CPs?  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Insecure Writers’ Post

So I’ve been really lax about doing my Insecure Writers’ Group posts lately. But honestly, it’s for a semi-good reason. I really haven’t felt that insecure about my writing for quite a while now.

Sure, we all have our up and down days, but I’m writing and happy to be writing for writing’s sake. Becoming a dad over the last year has been a pretty big change in my life and it’s centered me on what’s important. Most of the things I was once insecure about I simply realized was just ego. I write because it makes me happy and I have a good story to tell. It’s that simple. I guess that’s the point of this post for my fellow bloggers. Keep it simple and keep yourself happyJ

So what about writing makes you feel “secure” and happy? Go back to those moments that first made you want to be a writer…what were they? And, if you still feel insecure, send me whatever you're writing and I’d be happy to read it…there’s nothing like having a dedicated reader to make a writer feel all warm and confident inside. Remember, this is supposed to be fun!