Reading, wRiting, and Roaming with Author Valerie Biel

October 12, 2023

Throughout the year, author Tracey Kathryn (T.K.) Sheffield and I have offered a series on plotting from the beginning developmental stage through the messy middle and all the way to the end, including editing advice on how to fix plot problems in a completed manuscript. This is our final installment, but for ease I've linked each part in this handy list. 

In Part 1, Tracey lists wonderful resources that are great for those that are new to writing or looking for a new approach to plotting in: "Plotting a Novel: Resources for Those Just Starting Out."

In Part 2, Tracey discusses how to use plotlines, tropes, and conflict to test your story ideas: "... Continue Reading

October 5, 2023

We're joined today by another fellow Blackbird Writer, Laurie Stevens, who is sharing her wisdom on what she wishes she could tell her prepublished self as well as what she always does to make book launches successful. 

ABOUT LAURIE

As a second-generation California native. she's lived in the Los Angeles area her whole life. After graduating UCLA's  Theatre/Film/Television program, she went on to work such diverse jobs as babysitting a super-agent's girlfriend and sipping cappuccinos at Armani in Beverly Hills while her boss tried on clothing. She then worked for Columbia Records in product marketing, at which time she decided to  become a rock star. When that didn't pan out, she quit... Continue Reading

September 29, 2023

Our trip to Peru was an exceptional two-week learning adventure! I keep telling everyone it was like summer camp for adults.

We spent the first two days in Lima, staying in the Miraflores neighborhood overlooking the Pacific Ocean. With the seasons reversed in the southern hemisphere, it was the very end of winter there, which makes Lima a bit foggy and misty; however, we were lucky and got some sunshine. We explored the Miraflores and Barranco neighborhoods, as well as the historic city center where we toured the San Francisco Monastery, Lima Cathedral, the Santo Domingo Convent and more. 

LIMA Interesting/Funny things:

. . .  the taxis in Lima can be problematic. About half of them are unlicensed and you have to be a little careful what kind of... Continue Reading

September 28, 2023

“Harry Potter” UK Audiobook Narrator Voice Stolen by AI

Amazon Category Picking – Avoiding Ghost Categories

The Absolute Worst Schools in Fiction

FEATURED ARTICLES

“Harry Potter” UK Audiobooks Narrator Stephen Fry Warns that the AI Ripoff of His Voice is Only the Beginning

Stephen Fry was surprised to find that his voice is being used in a documentary – and surprise – surprise – without his participation or permission. They scraped his voice talent from his narration of the seven Harry Potter books to create a well-modulated AI generated voice. Read more about it the Deadline article here.

Amazon... Continue Reading

September 21, 2023

Author Sharon Michalove lets us in on what she would tell her pre-published self in our ongoing author series! Her advice list below is a good one whether you're just starting out or well into your writing career. Good reminders!

SHARON'S BIOGRAPHY

I was born in Chicago and  grew up in the suburbs. The year America landed a man on the moon, I started college at the University of Illinois, never suspecting I would spend most of my life living in Champaign-Urbana. Over a very protracted period, I received four degrees from the University of Illinois because I didn't have the gumption to go anywhere else. Most of my career was at the university, where I eventually earned a PhD in the history of education, working in departmental administration,... Continue Reading

September 18, 2023

A Very Quick Look Tips for at a Very Important Vital Process: Editing a Novel

The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning. – Mark Twain

For 2023, Valerie Biel and I are exploring ideas about writing a first novel. We’ve discussed story development, the writing process, the ending—and everything in between, including the messy middle! For a list of what we’ve discussed, see last month’s blog post.

In August, Valerie discussed preparing a novel for editing or how to identify problems... Continue Reading

August 24, 2023

Why Goodreads and Amazon are Becoming Dumpster Fires

All About Simon & Schuster’s Sale to an Investment Firm

Selling Direct to Readers: Article Bundle

FEATURED ARTICLES

I Would Rather See My Books Get Pirated Than This (Or: Why Goodreads and Amazon Are Becoming Dumpster Fires)

If you follow Jane Friedman, you already read all about her recent tussle with Amazon and Goodreads over titles THAT SHE DID NOT AUTHOR being added to her Amazon and Goodreads under her name. This blog post that she updated throughout the ordeal shows the process she took to get both platforms to remove the offending titles. (And it really shouldn’t have been that hard.) ... Continue Reading

August 10, 2023

The author series continues, sharing the knowledge (often hard-won) from published authors as they let us in on what they would tell their pre-published selves. This month's featured author, the talented Tim Chapman, puts his knowledge as a former forensic scientist for the Chicago Police Department to work in his crime thrillers. (Check out his full bio and his fab advice below!)

Tim Chapman is a former forensic scientist for the Chicago Police Department and writing instructor at Malcolm X College. He holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Northwestern University. His fiction has been published in The Southeast Review, the Chicago Reader, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Palooka, Litbop, and the anthology, "The Rich and the Dead." His first novel... Continue Reading

August 3, 2023

Throughout 2023 writing instructor and pre-published author Tracey Kathryn (T.K.) Sheffield and I will be offering a blog series on plotting from the beginning developmental stage through the messy middle and all the way to the end, including editing advice on how to fix plot problems in a completed manuscript.

In Part 1, Tracey lists wonderful resources that are great for those that are new to writing or looking for a new approach to plotting in: "Plotting a Novel: Resources for Those Just Starting Out."

In Part 2, Tracey discusses how to use plotlines, tropes, and conflict to test your story ideas: "... Continue Reading

July 27, 2023

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Book is Review-Bombed on Goodreads

eBook Piracy: How to Respond if Someone Steals Your Book

Preparing Financially to Become a Full-Time Author

FEATURED ARTICLES

Goodreads: Review-Bombing Could be Mitigated

Recently, before the book was even released, Elizabeth Gilbert’s new novel—a early Bolshevik-era historical novel set in Siberia—was review bombed on Goodreads. Users “enraged by the Russian setting launched a coordinated attack on the book’s Goodreads page, causing Gilbert to pull her novel indefinitely.” This is the dark side of Goodreads, and Gilbert’s book wasn’t the first to experience this. Amazon bought Goodreads in 2013 and there was always trepidation about this purchase. With the problem of review... Continue Reading

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