Thursday, February 28, 2013

Whose Who was Wittier than Who's Whom

Happy Thursday, good people of the blogosphere! As you've probably guessed from the title of this post, today we'll be talking about the words: Whose, Who, Who's, and Whom. They all have different meanings and you need to know which to use in a sentence and when. Lot's of Ws today! So, grab your pens and notebooks and let's get going!

As always, we'll start with the definition of each:
Whose:  /ho͞oz/ Adjective 1.) Belonging to or associated with which person: "whose round is it?"; "a minivan drove by and Juliet wondered whose it was". 2.) Of whom or which (used to indicate that the following noun belongs to or is associated with the person or thing mentioned in the...: "he's a man whose opinion I respect"

Who:  /ho͞o/ Pronoun 1.) What or which person or people: "who is that woman?". 2.) Used to introduce a clause giving further information about a person or people previously mentioned: "the mouse who married the playboy".

Who's:  /ho͞oz/ Contraction 1.) Who is: "who's that?". 2.) Who has: "who's done the reading?".

Whom:  /ho͞om/ Pronoun 1.) Used instead of “who” as the object of a verb or preposition: "whom did he marry?".

You can see they all have different purposes.

Use the word whose when you aren't asking who is but to who something belongs. Look at it this way, if you're constructing a sentence and you insert who's, see if you can change it to who is and it still make sense. If not, change the word to whose.

Make sure you can't use who's before using whose and you'll never go wrong.

Who is related to the subject and whom is related to the object.

I love whom I love. If you're a fan of The Last Unicorn, you'll get this reference.

Grammar Girl (love that website, by the way) has a great quick and dirty tip: If you can use the word him in place of whom, you have the right word. They both end in M.

I hope this post has been a wee bit helpful in reminding you of something we all too often forget - I know I do!

As of tomorrow, we'll be stepping off the usual path for this blog. I've joined the Winter Author Blog Challenge. It'll run for fifteen days and we'll be discussing Social Media! You don't want to miss that! If you're an author (or want to be) you can join us here:

I met some fantastic people through this challenge last year and I'm looking forward to meeting more this year. So, come on down and sign your butt up!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

True Nature

Happy Wednesday, good people of the blogosphere! February is about to step out and March will be upon us soon! I hope it brings you all peace and good fortune. 2013 is shaping up to be a pretty good year on this side of the country, and my blessing is that you all have the same success. Today we're going to delve into true nature. You know how much I like to go on and on about characters, and today is no different. Writing The Bird taught me a couple of lessons I'd like to share with you today. So, grab your pens and notebooks and let's get going!

Humans are such interesting creatures! They play mind games, put themselves on a pedestal, and manipulate others to get what they want. However, they can also be generous, kind, and caring. Whatever they are, it's their true nature. Pretenses can only be held on to for so long before the mask melts away, leaving their soul bared for all to see. This is important to remember when writing.

When I was writing The Bird, I had a loose outline in my head and the first few chapters plotted carefully. After that, I flew by the seat of my pants. I'm glad I did, because if I'd forced my characters into the roles I'd laid out for them, the book would've ended very differently. I love the ending! It was brought about by the true nature of my characters; which wasn't revealed until about halfway through.

This sounds crazy, huh?

But it's not. It's like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole when you attempt to force a character to conform. If you let them have their own way, they'll show you things your imagination could never come up with on its own.

But, Jo, it's in my head already, right? Something just happened to make it manifest on the page!

Not necessarily. As with life, it takes time for a character to show you the truth about themselves. They like to hide under masks and play cloak and dagger games with you; just like humans. Discovering what a character may be hiding is like finding a diamond in a lump of coal. But you have to give them time to reveal themselves.

You don't really know someone until you've been around them for a couple of years. In that time, watch how they interact with others, pay attention to the nuances, and listen carefully when they recount events you were present for to bystanders or other friends. It'll tell you a lot about their true nature. Everyone wants to be liked and revered; but that mask only lasts so long. You'll get glimpses if you pay attention.

I was caught completely off guard by my characters. Looking back, I now see the signs indicating exactly who they were on the inside. Their masks had me fooled, and I'm pretty shrewd!

So, take a look at your WIP's characters and look at what they're doing on the page. Really take the time to examine their actions and words. You may find that diamond.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Editing Tips

Happy Tuesday, good people of the blogosphere! Today I'm going to be giving you some editing tips and telling you how to catch those niggling little errors that drive readers like me bananas.

If you're a regular visitor to my blog, you'll know I keep a handy link list to relevant content herein. This is for you, not for me. It lets you find what you're looking for at a glance without having to do an irritating search or browse through hundreds of posts to find great information. This post will contain links to a few of those posts for your referencing pleasure. A lot of my visitors take notes while they're here, and you might want to consider doing so as well. So, grab your pens and notebooks and let's get going!

If you're a writer, you should be going through no less than four rounds of edits before sending your content off to your editor. What's that? You don't use an editor? You should. They'll catch things you can't. But, if you insist on doing all your editing yourself, here are the five major edits that need to be done in your work:

1. Storyline - This is the first edit and should consist of you going through the storyline very carefully, line by line, making notes on what your characters are doing at any given point. You don't want an apartment on the first floor in this chapter only to have it on the second floor two chapters later, or your character to be asleep in bed and then having a conversation on the other side of town in the next sentence. Check dates for linear flow. Fact check now as well. Make sure elements and language used match the era and voice of the character. Make all your notes before you change anything. If there's anything to add or any holes to fill, do it now.

2. Cut Out Superfluous Words - Go through your manuscript with a possessed red pen. Kill as many of these words as you can: that, just, for, to, began, thought, as. Reword where necessary. Take out sentences and adjectives you don't need. Remove adverbs. This post will show you why you don't need them: -ly

3. Pronouns - This is a big one. Check each pronoun and the person or thing it references. Make sure you aren't using them incorrectly. Here's a handy guide: Pesky Pronouns

4. Consistency and Punctuation - This is where you check your flow. Make sure commas aren't sprinkled around like fairy dust. Be sure your sentences flow well. Read and re-read to be sure you've been consistent when spelling a word, using language, or using a reference. Check your chapters for tension. For the love of all that's good, use contractions unless writing formal speech. Chase the S! Search the words backward, forward, toward, etc... and check to be sure the s (if you used it) is consistent. Beware the homophone and make sue you're using the right word. Use semicolons now and then. If you aren't sure how to do that, check out this handy guide: Semicolons

5. Proofread - Give it one last once over. Check it all to make sure there aren't any of the issues listed above hanging around and everything is spelled correctly, all quotes are in place and are the right kind (see image below), and all i's are dotted and t's are crossed. This is your last chance to make it beautiful.

I use a literary editor. Every writer should. She goes line by line and checks everything. But every writer should also go through the first four items on this list before sending their manuscript off to be corrected. Your best bet is to let your story chill in a drawer for a couple of weeks after you're done writing it before you start the process above.

I hope this helps in some small way. I know being an indie author isn't easy, but if you want your work to get great reviews that don't bash your writing, put in the time.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Book Review Taken Before her very Eyes by Wade Faubert

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! What a lovely day I have for you today! I'm not only announcing the winners of the rafflecopter drawing, but also bringing you a book review. So, if you won, let me say a big CONGRATULATIONS! I hope you do the happy dance.

Without further ado, here's the widget with the winners:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Congrats to: Angel, Alana, and Jennifer! Angel and Alana have both won digital copies of The Bird and Jennifer has won a printed, signed copy, a bookmark, and a mini-magnet! I'll be in touch to find out how to get you all your prizes sometime today. Thanks for participating!

If you really wanted a copy of this book and didn't win here, there's still time to enter the Goodreads giveaway! Two signed, printed copies are up for grabs over there, as well!

Now for the review! This is for the Indie Fever 2013 reading challenge.
I picked up a sample of Taken - Before her very Eyes because of a Goodreads event announcing the publication hosted by the author, Wade Faubert. After reading it, I found myself wanting more. Over to Amazon I went to purchase the rest. I finally got a chance to delve back in and this is my review.

From a reader's perspective:
I loved the main character, Summer Demure (she was anything but). She seemed real to me and was written in such a way that I felt I knew exactly what she was going through. Pacing in the book was great and I moved through it in just a few days. I got confused at a point in the storyline where the kidnapper tells Summer he was the one that did the horrible things to her that occured in the beginning but she keeps referring to the man in jail as the one she was scared of. That revelation also kinda screwed the ending and left me a tad confused. I would like to have had a more open end with the real bad guy being swallowed up by the water instead of what happened but that didn't take away from my experience at all. World building was good and I felt I had a good sense of the town in Canada where she was.

From an editor's perspective:
Punctuation was all over the place. Pronouns need some major work.
Words were confused on occasion: rogue not rouge. Storyline needed to be kept straight. These things did throw me out of the story now and then but weren't so bad I ever had to stop reading.

Now, my rating:
1 star for a truly believable main character I rooted for.
1 star for a hair-raising story that kept me engaged.
1 star for making me want to read more.
- 1 star for the major oops in the storyline.
- 1 star for the grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors.
3 out of 5 stars. A very good, quick read that has a ton of potential to be amazing.

Not to appear in my review elsewhere:
I love that cover! It goes so well with the story inside the pages. My one tweak would be to make the author's name bigger. There's plenty of room and it gets a wee bit lost in the thumbnail. Other than that, all I can say is, "WOW! Well done!"

If you think you'd like to read this book, you can pick up a copy over on Amazon for $2.99.
Give his Facebook page a like: Author Wade Faubert
Check out his site: Wade Faubert
Or follow him over on Twitter: @WadeFaubert

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Friday, February 22, 2013

Reading Days

Happy Friday, good people of the blogosphere! Holy moly! It's FRIDAYYYYY!! That means the weekend is upon us after we trudge through our workdays today. Instead of working my fingers to the bone writing today, I'm going to spend the day reading. It's been a minute since I've had the opportunity to take a day to just read and drink coffee but it's a rainy day in Georgia and I'm in need of a good book. Call it a celebration for writing nearly 12k words this week already. I'll give you my favorite paragraph! This happens after a fight between my two main characters. Remember, this is a first draft!

Kathy went to her room where she collapsed on the floor, pulled her knees into her chest, and allowed the pain to fill her. It started at her head and throbbed behind her eyes before making its way to her stomach where it twisted her guts into a pile of wriggling goo. Her toes curled and every muscle in her body constricted as she let go with a wail, pulling her arms around her body to hold herself together. Black dots swam through the faint light filtering through her closed eyelids. Again, she keened for her loss of love, dignity, and self. It wasn’t long before her body convulsed and spasms shook her where she lay. All that held her together was her own arms, wrapped so tightly around her chest there was no hope of catching a breath between sobs. She began to choke on her own saliva and sputtered, coughing and gagging, all in an attempt to do the most mundane of tasks: breathe. I’m going to die.

How awesome is that? I plan to release it later this year. Title has been decided but I'm not ready to divulge it just yet.

I'm going to try and finish Condemned by Eric Dulin today and start on the next book on my list. We'll see how that goes!

If you've won something from one of my many contests, I'm shipping those out today, too! Watch your mailboxes!

Remember, there are only three days left to get your entry in to win a printed, signed copy of The Bird plus some great swag OR a .mobi copy! You can enter every day so please share, share, share. Sharing is caring!

I have a review that will be coming for Taken - Before her very Eyes by Wade Faubert. That will be Monday's post and, trust me, you don't want to miss it.

I hope you all have a super fabulous weekend! I'll be back with you on Monday to announce the winners and give you that book review. How exciting!

Without further ado, here's the rafflecopter entry form:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you entered the other giveaway, the first winner has been chosen! Congratulations to: Marlena F.!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Thursday, February 21, 2013


Happy Thursday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I'm excited to tell you all about a great website that features books for those with dyslexia! Strap in and take a tour with me!

The site is called Dyslexiana. A wild group of authors got together and decided to produce books for those suffering from a Developmental Reading Disorder (DRD).

A typeface designed for people suffering from a DRD, designed by Abelardo Gonzales, is what the authors are using when creating these special print editions. You can pick up the free font here:

From the website:
Welcome to Dyslexiana. We're a group of authors on a mission to produce literature that can be read by those suffering from Dyslexia. Here, dyslexia is n/a.

Their logo uses the typeface the books have been set in:

If you're an author interesting in joining them, or if you've produced your own DRD edition of a book and would like to be listed on the site, shoot them an e-mail at: info [at] dyslexiana [dot] com.

If you'd like to keep up with news, new posts, and other interesting tidbits, you can follow them on:
Facebook: Dyslexiana
Twitter: @Dyslexiana
Their Blog:

Look for an exciting giveaway featuring this group's books next week!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Happy hump-day, good people of the blogosphere! Today, we're back to writing tips and general lessons! It's all about the metaphor on this glorious Wednesday so grab your pens and notebooks and let's get going!

First off, a definition:
Metaphor: met·a·phor  /ˈmetəˌfôr/ Noun 1. A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. 2. A thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, esp. something abstract.

Well, we all know what it is, Jo. But how does one use it in writing? Great question!

A metaphor is saying something is something else (definition one). Using a metaphor is a skill that should be applied now and then. If you use it all the time, you're going to sound like you just stepped out of a Tim Burton film. While that may not be a bad thing, your readers will likely get lost.

All around me, the trees were licorice ropes and the leaves were skillets.
That cat is a cow.
My father is a truck and my mother is a convertible sports car.

Notice none of these phrases have the words like or as. Those aren't metaphors, they're similes.

There's another way to use metaphors that many authors employ: Using things in the story to give a larger abstract idea (definition two). Say two of your characters are battling over a golden idol which, when held, brings the holder great wisdom. At the end, one person gives the idol to the other and walks away. Isn't that the greater wisdom? Your golden idol becomes part of a larger idea: wisdom and what makes one wise.

I hope this was a nice little refresher for you all.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Bird Official Release and Giveaway

Happy Tuesday, good people of the blogosphere! As you all know, Tuesday is the day awesomeness is released! That's right, it's book release day! Nationwide, new books are hitting the shelves waiting for eager readers to snatch them up and give them a good home. I hear you all cheering! Well, I'm gonna make my release just a little bit sweeter by: reminding you all to pop over to Goodreads and enter the giveaway there, and by giving you a way to win things you can't get anywhere else here.

Let's get going, shall we? First, a little a lot about the book:

The Bird ~ Genre: Fantasy

Stormy Terrabonne's life is about to be changed forever by a bright red cardinal. She soon finds herself being whisked away from all she's ever known to save an entire race of people known as Trobodytes. When she's presented to the Queen, Stormy learns how she's expected to help: By killing an evil wizard named Bordash Bladeslinger and stopping him from cutting down the sacred trees that bind Trogon to Earth.

Now, there are only two trees left. One of the trees presents a double dose of jeopardy: It's also tied to the renewed life of Stormy's mother. While Stormy learns more about the gifts she gained by becoming a Trobodyte, someone manages to poison that all important tree.

It's a race against time as she faces a legion of fairy tale creatures she never knew existed, learns to harness the power within herself to battle Bordash Bladeslinger, and tries to find a way to heal the dying tree before it collapses and takes her mother with it.

You can find the Kindle version on Amazon HERE for $4.99.
You can find the printed version on CreateSpace HERE for $12.99.

Now, a little about the prizes up for grabs today:
Two people who enter will each win a Kindle copy of The Bird.
One lucky reader will win a printed, signed copy of The Bird, one The Bird bookmark, and one The Bird magnet!

Oh! You want to see what the fun swag looks like? Well, I'm not going to disappoint you! Check it out!
Bookmark is on the left, magnet is on the right!

And now, the rafflecopter entry form:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget, in author Janiera Eldridge's giveaway, you have yet another chance to win a Kindle copy of The Bird and a ton of other books by great indie authors! Here's her rafflecopter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lots of entry forms today! Go win something!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Monday, February 18, 2013

On Onomatopoeias

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! How are you all today? I hope you're all rested from the weekend. This week I'll be going over some of those things you might be using in your writing and some you may not. So, grab those pens and notebooks and let's get going! Today, the onomatopoeia!
My design professor used to give bonus points the first day for anyone who knew what an onomatopoeia was (yes, he was a bit strange; but all good design professors are). So, let's start with the definition:

Onomatopoeia /ˌänəˌmatəˈpēə/ Noun 1. The formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named (e.g., cuckoo, sizzle). 2. The use of such words for rhetorical effect.

Okay, now that you know what an onomatopoeia is, how do you insert one when writing? I'm a sucker for consistency. If you do something one way, keep doing it that way throughout the entire novel, please. This talk of consistency goes back to forward vs forwards and backward vs backwards. If you do it one way, stay with that way.

You can set an onomatopoeia apart by either using quotes or italics. Generally, if the word is a recognized one, you don't need to do anything to it to set it apart from its brethren.

Examples of how an onomatopoeia might be used:
John looked at Marsha sitting on the couch and moved in for a kiss. Her sitting down position wasn't doing it for him so he grabbed her hand.
"Oomph!" she said as her body slammed into his.

Marsha walked away from John and headed toward the couch. She sat down with a plop and adjusted her skirt so he couldn't see her knees.

John left Marsha standing with her mouth open and headed for the pool. He hit the water with a sploosh and doused her with spray. He came up on the other side, grinning at the hot mess he'd left behind with his kiss.

There's also no need to use punctuation along with the onomatopoeia. However, it's there if you need it! Just be sure and keep it with the word; either inside the quotes or italics.

I hope this post got you thinking. Tomorrow is the official release day for The Bird! If you haven't already, go enter the giveaway for a copy of The Bird over on Goodreads. I'm giving away two signed copies! Contest ends on the 28th!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Friday, February 15, 2013


Happy Friday, good people of the blogosphere! Today I'm gonna talk about those wonderful things I like to call: Partials. You know, those stories you've had an idea for (and have maybe even written a chapter or two of) that fell by the wayside as you trudge merrily forward on your current WIP. Let's get going, shall we?
How are you planning to move forward with your partials? Do they pop out of oblivion every now and then so you can tweak something or add to them? Do you write a chapter or two and leave them in a drawer just in case a day comes when you can't think of anything new?

Why not pull one out today and write another chapter for it? Or read what you've written already and find holes in your story or places it could use some fixes grammatically?

That's my challenge for you today if you're a writer. Then, come on back and tell me how you fared.

I have one you frequent readers of my blog may remember that I pulled out a few days ago and started reading/editing. It's really well done (I was shocked) and I'm thinking I may release it this year. It's out of the box for me so I'm a little nervous but it's giving me ideas for new stuff as I read/continue it. More on that later!

If you don't have a partial to pull out and work on, make one today. Come up with a title and story line and bang out the first chapter. Don't think too hard about it; just write. This will accomplish one of two things:
Either you'll be inspired to write a whole new story
you'll get some pepper for your current WIP.
Either way, you win!

If you're a reader, go pick up a new book today. Doesn't matter if you're already reading one, get a new one or a sample of one from Amazon and poke through it. Add it to your reading list then come back here and tell me about it. Step out of your comfort zone and choose a different genre. Don't read an author you know, pick a new one.

We never grow if we stagnate.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day Winners and New Giveaway

20 indie authors have come together to say thank you for following them and supporting their work!
This huge Valentine's day Giveaway will give one winner 20+ prizes including ebooks, paperbacks and swag!
Want yo show your love for books on Valentine's day? Show these authors some love and enter to win these swoon worthy  prizes!
*Ebooks are international however paperback and swag prizes are U.S. Only.

Happy Valentine's Day!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
And the winners of my giveaway are...
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Congratulations to Heather W! You've won your choice of:
A. A digital identity package designed by moi OR
B. A print book formatted by moi
I'll be in touch to get your choice!

Congratulations to Zarah G! You've won:
A printed, signed copy of The Bird (pre-release)
A Mystic~Bronya poster
A Mystic WSTW bookmark
and three postcards!
I'll be in touch to get your address!

Thank you to all who entered! I do hope you'll enter the giveaway above as well!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

MS Word vs Adobe InDesign

Happy Wednesday, good people of the blogosphere! Wednesday is called "hump day"... no, get your mind out of the gutter...! because it's the middle of the week and, if you make it through today, there are only two days until the weekend. Here's wishing you well on your Wednesday! I've heard a ton of talk lately about how MS Word is comparable to InDesign for laying out print books. Well, it's not. While it's great for laying out and formatting digital books, nothing compares to the power of Adobe InDesign for laying out a print book.

Grab your pencils and notebooks because you're gonna want to take notes today!

MS Word is a powerful machine for writing. It's great for term papers or formatting a book for upload to the various digital sellers on the web. It spell checks, indents according to your settings, and is easy to place images in. It also converts to html or rtf rather easily by simply choosing save as and making your selection. But there's one thing MS Word doesn't have that leaves it the squalling, hungry infant when compared to Adobe InDesign: Master Pages.

Master Pages are the end-all be-all of the print world. With a master page, you can tell InDesign what every page of your book should look like and where those individual pages should appear. You can pop in a page number and it will appear in the same place on every single page of your book. Adding artwork is easy; you simply place it on the master page and, voila!, it's on every page you have that master on.

I'm going to use The Bird as an example here because I used two sets of master pages to design it: A and B. Master page A was the common page where text, running headers, and page numbers would appear. B was the opening chapter pages. Time for some screen shots!
This is Adobe InDesign CS5. If you click on the image, you'll see I've identified the marks around the page. This is the opening of chapter two in The Bird.

This is Master Page A. It's the common page and you can see it has running headers, a text box, some nice flourishes at the bottom, and page numbers. It will automatically number each page according to where it falls in the book.
This is Master Page B. It's the chapter openings page. There's a left-hand and a right-hand, just like Master Page A. When I have a place where a chapter starts, I click the corresponding page, drag it, and drop it on the page it should appear on. Like magic, it's all there.

This tells me I'm looking at Master Page A. It's the tiny box in the top right-hand corner of the screen shots above.

When I'm done, I export it to a PDF and upload it to CreateSpace. Master Pages are the bomb. Period. MS Word can't touch this feature. Even with predefined formatting specs.

All the elements of a master page are locked so you don't accidentally move them around. But there's even a way around this! You ctrl+shift+click on any element and it will become editable. How damned cool is that?

In addition, if I wanted to use this exact layout on every book I produce, I can save it as a template that will re-load with all master pages intact. Comes in handy when formatting a series and you want each book to be identical on the inside!

I hope you learned a little bit today and, if you layout your own print books, are now considering an investment. No, I get no kickbacks from Adobe. I don't do that on this blog. I recommend tools I know you'll love if you give them half a chance.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Amazon Tags. Farewell?

Happy Tuesday, good people of the blogosphere! One day closer to Friday, we are! Ooooooh that sounded rather Yoda-ish, no? Today, I'd like to bring something to your attention that you might have missed.

Amazon has, apparently, done away with the tagging system on their website. I hadn't been able to tag anything for a while and was beginning to wonder if it was some sort of Amazonian conspiracy against me. Yesterday, as I'm browsing through recent news on Facebook, I see a status update where someone says the tags are gone from Amazon. Lookie!
I am simultaneously filled with glee and remorse. Glee because I finally saw it wasn't just me with the problem; remorse because they've taken away one of the ways we can boost our book in searches. For Indie authors, the tags were a portal into getting our new stuff in front of people searching for what we write. It's like a huge slap on the wrist. Right? Maybe...

What did we do wrong?

Maybe it wasn't us. Perhaps it was just a system that wasn't working the way Amazon intended. Of course, it could have been us. We'll never know. Maybe the tagging system went away because we embed tags in our books' descriptions when we upload them/make them available for purchase.

In the big bad world of Indie publishing, maybe this isn't such a terrible thing. Let's look at it from another angle, shall we? Say they do away with the like system as well:

If Stephen King's books have 5,000 likes and 40,000 tags with every word known to the English language on them, they're going to be more visible to people performing searches (more words mean more hits) and rank higher in the returns (more likes and you show up first). If all those likes and tags are gone, Mr. King's publishing company gets to choose up to seven descriptive tag words; just like the rest of us. He no longer hits first on a search because of his number of likes. Oh man, he's been forced into the ditches with the rest of us; struggling for air, grasping at mud, and sliding back down now and then because he loses his grip.

So is the loss of the tagging system really that big of a deal? I know if I've purchased the work of an author and they release a new book, I get an e-mail without ever having clicked the like button. So if they take that away as well, I'm in the running... maybe! Is Amazon trying to find a way to even the playing field?

We may never know.

What are your thoughts?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Monday, February 11, 2013

Inches Picas and Points

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! How are you all today? I hope the start of this week brings you many smiles! Today, I'm gonna try and explain how inches, picas, and points are used in design. So, grab those pens and notebooks and let's get going!

An inch is a common measurement used in the U.S. Picas and points are international, universal, measurements used in design work. These two units are used to measure type and layout sizes. That way, a designer in the U.S. can do work for someone in the U.K. or Japan and the measurements are the same without having to do a ton of conversions.

If you've ever looked at the size on your type, you'll notice it's referred to as: 12pt, 14pt, etc... A 12pt type size is also a one pica type size. Click on the image below for reference as we move along.
Allow me to break it down:
1inch = 6 picas
1 pica = 12 points

So when you see a measurement like 1.5" it equals 9p0. That's 9 picas and 0 points. We got there by taking 6 picas (one inch) and adding it to 3 picas (half an inch).

But wait! Adobe products do the conversions FOR you! If you have 12cm, you type in 12cm and hit tab and pow! you have your conversion (28p4.157). If you have 1.285 inches, you type in 1.285" and hit tab and pow! you have your conversion (7p8.52). How awesome is that?

So the next time you're designing that all important book cover, pay attention to the type size. Remember, your leading (the space between your lines of type) should be at least 1.5 of your type size. In other words, an 11 point typeface would get leading of around 16 or 17 points but a 9 point typeface would get 13 or 14. Your decision (I like 11 on 17 and 9 on 14). See image above for examples.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Friday, February 8, 2013

Book Review - Underneath by Michael Cargill

Happy Friday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I'm giving you an Indie Fever post. My second indie review of the year. Sit back and enjoy!

Indie Fever is dedicated to readers of indie books and to indie authors. I signed up to review at least eight indie books this year. It's a great idea and a wonderful cause! Here's the link: Indie Fever

Underneath won a review on my December 12 Days of Christmas indie author contest. The author hooked me right in with his pitch and I promptly bought the book which I read in just a few days. I give you my review.

From a reader's perspective:
To be frank, Underneath's main character, Hugh, scared the bejesus out of me. But he was so compelling I just had to keep reading. His odd thought process oftentimes gave me chills and made me wonder how many people like Hugh I'd passed by in my lifetime and never noticed. One of the supporting characters, Clare, was also well done, and I found myself identifying with her quickly. She has gumption and drive; both are qualities I admire a lot. The pacing was great and I flew through the book without realizing how much I'd read. I got a few surprises when the same exact words showed up at different times, and it thrilled and delighted me. Something else I liked was the author being from the UK. I learned some new words!!

From an editor's perspective:
I'd like to see a little more refinement of sentence construction and punctuation usage. I can overlook it if there are just a few but this book had a number of them. Short, choppy sentences left me stumbling over the words on more than one occasion. Plotline was bang on. I got the feeling this book was intended to be third person omniscient but it came off as third person limited with head hopping because one chapter would be about Hugh and another about Clare with snippets of other peoples' thoughts or feelings. I really only needed to see the story from two perspectives: Hugh's and Clare's. Quips now and then about random peoples' thoughts or feelings left me dangling (not in a good way). I think more character development of Hugh and Clare could've come from making this one small change.

Now, for my rating:
1 star for a terrifying main character.
1 star for rounding out the two characters I loved as much as was done.
1 star for bringing me to the UK and teaching me; as well as the surprises.
- 1 star for writing style (this is person by person so you may like it. I didn't).
- 1 star for including too many characters' thoughts and for punctuation blips.
3 out of 5 stars. Recommended reading if you like to be just a hair horrified at what could be going on in someone's mind.

You can find the book on Amazon here: Underneath for $3.30.

As far as the cover goes, I really like this one and feel it gives a good idea of what's going on in the story. One small tweak that could make it better is centering all the type. A general rule of design is to either left flush, right flush, or center everything if you do it once. Consistency is key! It could use some kerning as well but that's just aesthetics from a typography nerd.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Thursday, February 7, 2013

What's a Display?

Happy Thursday, good people of the blogosphere! Today we'll talk about display fonts and answer some questions like: When to use a display font? How to identify a display font? Examples of display fonts. So grab your pens and notebooks and let's get going!

Display is defined as: Making a prominent exhibition of a thing where it can be noticed. Example of a display font:
This letterform is from the font family known as Capitular Floral. Pretty, huh?

When should you use a display font?
Much like a script font, a display font is for just that - display. They're not meant to be used in blocks of text but they make nice drop caps and decorative elements used at the start of a chapter. So stick to using them as decoration rather than text.

How to identify a display font?
If your letters do weird things when you're trying to type them out, it's probably a display font. They're usually very decorative and hard to read when combined in sets of more than one or two. Not all of them have a box around them or have really gritty details like the one above.

Some examples:
As you can see, they don't read very well when combined. Never ever use them for book design unless you're adding a single decorative letter to the beginning of something.

This concludes my font week. I hope you all learned a little bit and had some fun along the way!

What's your favorite display font?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


What is a Script?

Happy Wednesday, good people of the blogosphere! Today we'll talk about script fonts. Some questions I'll answer are: When to use them? How long have they been around? How do I identify a script typeface? So grab your pens and notebooks and let's get going!

A script typeface is defined as: Handwriting as distinct from print. An example:
This letter is from the font family known as Edwardian Script. It's been around since 1994. A relatively new font in comparison, eh?

When should you use a script font?
When you want something to look like it was hand written. I've seen them used in titles but rarely more than one or two words. They're commonly used as a drop-cap at the opening of a chapter to give it some flair.

How long have they been around?
For as long as we've been writing things by hand with quill and ink! Everyone has a script font in them waiting to escape.

How do I identify a script font?
If it looks like a normal person's handwriting or calligraphy, it's a script. Easy peasy.

Some popular script fonts are:

Some of these I had to make bigger so you could read them at a glance. They're hard to read when used in a large block of text. Don't use script fonts when formatting your book for print unless they're used as a decorative element.

What's your favorite script font?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What about Sans Serif?

Happy Tuesday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, we're talking more fonts! I know, I know, crazy stuff. But the topic for today is sans serif fonts. Why do we use them? Where did they come from? What are some common ones? So grab your pens and notebooks and let's get going!

A sans serif font is defined as: A style of type without serifs.

The type you're reading now is sans serif. It's called Arial. Designers worldwide just drew in a collective gasp. Yes, I know Arial is the knockoff Helvetica. Sorry, I like it. So, for a larger example:
This letter is from a typeface called HelveNuThin. It's the one I use for my name on the cover of my novels. Notice there are no protrusions of any kind on the letterform. This is an excellent example of a sans serif font.

Why do we use them?
They're easier to write and have become more widely used with the invention of the computer. Now, here's a tidbit of trivia for you! Arial was designed by Microsoft when the designer of Helvetica wanted a payment for every copy of windows that was distributed. They hired someone to come up with a font similar so they wouldn't have to pay. Hell hath no fury like the design world when one uses Arial. By the way, that stop sign near your house? Helvetica is the font used. Anyway, I digress!

Where did they come from?
The first sans serif typeface was Caslon in 1745 but they didn't become as popular as they are today until the invention of the computer.

What are some common ones?
And I hope this answers questions you may have had about serif typefaces. Tomorrow, we'll talk script typefaces and I'll give some examples of those, too!! For printed book design, Caslon is a popular choice.

What's your favorite sans serif font?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Friday, February 1, 2013

What is a Serif?

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! This week we're going to learn about letterforms. Today's topic is serifs. What are they? Why do we use them? What typefaces are considered serifs? So grab your pens and notebooks and let's get going!

A serif is defined as: A slight projection finishing off a stroke of a letter.

This text is not a serifed typeface. An example:
This letter is from the type family Georgia. Those little feet on the A are called serifs. Any letterforms with protrusions like those are considered to be a serifed typeface. Sometimes, they can resemble cups or be prettier than the ones here, but they're all still serifs!

Why do we use them?
It goes back to ancient handwriting. Even the first typewriters used a serifed (slab serif) font. Basically, readability is why we use them. There are slab serif fonts, too. Those more closely mimic what was done with a chisel and hammer back when we were banging around on rocks and was what many typewriters used. An example:
This letter is from the type family Rockwell. It's called a slab serif because the serifs are the same basic weight as the strokes on the letter.

A few other serifed fonts are:

Just to give you an idea. Now you can start noticing some of your own. For printed books, Palatino is a common font to use. Always consider legibility FIRST when producing a book. After all, we want them read, right?

What's your favorite serifed font?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Release for Good Ghost Gone Bad


Brianna Moreno was an average 22-year-old women who loved shopping, hanging out with her friends and making more career plans....until the night she was brutally and unexpectedly murdered.

Now she finds herself trapped in the ghost world while residing on earth. The problem is, her killer can see all of his ghostly victims and enjoys taunting them as much as he does killing them.Brianna soon finds out that her killer has horrible new plans concerning her family.

Brianna meets up with a few of her killer's past victims to hatch a plan so terrifying, the entire town will never be the same again.

Brianna is a good ghost gone bad; the good girl side is gone forever!

*This book is not a YA read. It's an 18+ only novella that features sex, strong language and strong violence.

Grab Your Copy!


$2.00 on all editions.

About the author

Janiera enjoys feeding her book addiction when she not writing. Writing is theraputic to her during her struggles with Fibromyalgia. Being unable to work a normal 9-5 is what encouraged her to write full time. She is also a book blogger at Beauty and Books where she mixes being a book nerd with keeping things chic. When not reading or writing she is freelance writing in the entertainment industry.When trying to relax she likes a huge yard sale on a Saturday morning, rainy days to read by and nacho cheese is her kryptonite. Soul Sisters is her debut novel.

Feel free to visit her book blog where she loves reviewing books and doing author interview at Books & Beauty- She loves feedback and welcomes any questions or comments to her email:
Other Works by this author:
Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Past, Present, and Future

Happy Friday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I'm gonna talk about time. I know, I know, we don't have enough of it in a day! On one hand, I wish the days were forty-eight hours! On the other, I kinna don't. You know?

There are so many novels in the world! Where do all the ideas come from? I can't answer for everyone but a lot of my characters and stories come from people I've known and things I've heard. Some of my stories grow from things I read online: News stories, blog posts, Facebook, etc... Just snippets of things here and there, really.

But here's the thing: Your past, present, and future all shape your stories. You may think they don't; but every good character is three-dimensional and every experience you have shapes the way your mind works.

Don't run from it; embrace it.

So what if your main character has attributes of three of your friends from school? That's the way great characters are made. Always consider time because your character didn't just pop into being when you began to write their story down. Okay, they did, but you get what I'm saying.

I've started thinking about this one lady I knew when I wrote the title for today's post. She was thirty-twoish and her husband was a year or two older than she was. We'll call her Remmy. I was blown away by what a kindhearted, sweet individual she was. I could see the love for her husband when she talked about him. They'd been married almost ten years and she was happy as a pig in mud. One day, she comes to work in tears and tells us all her husband suffered a massive heart-attack and died three days before - hence the reason she wasn't at work. He just dropped dead. All I could think was: If something that horrible could happen to her, what chance do I have to be spared? Remmy's attitude didn't change, she didn't grow bitter, and she still smiled every now and then. Those actions showed me who she was down inside. I have since endeavored to be more like her.

Remmy would make a great character because of that flaw and her story. She's a character from my past.

In my present, I've already used someone I know and their story as a basis for a book. Stormy, from The Bird, isn't a character from my past; she's in my present.

When I think about the future, the past and the present shapes it. I remember things that were done to me, by me, and for me. All of the things above are from my time on the planet. I have thirty plus years of characters and experiences and stories told to me to draw from.

There's no such thing as a totally original idea. We're all inspired by something.

Next week, my posts will be inspired by Typography. Join me to learn a little about letterforms!

What have you read or written that was inspired? How did it change you?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!