Saturday, April 28, 2012

Who Reads a Fiction Author's Blog?


Who Reads a Fiction Author's Blog, Anyway?

Are you a writer or a reader? We know writers are also readers, or they better be. But I'm curious who the majority reading this blog represents. Actual readers/fans or other writers/authors?

Staring blankly at the screen...

For fiction or non-fiction writers to create a website of our work, well, that's not too tough of a task. On our website, we have information about our books, biography of the author, where to buy the books, perhaps FAQs and fun stuff. All items considered basic, factual and helpful to readers or future readers of our precious books.

Now toss into the mix composing the ever-popular and almost mandatory blog post for any writer's website. For a fiction writer, it's not as easy to come up with ideas as it is for the non-fiction writer. At least for the majority of fiction writers it is stressful, time-consuming and mind-boggling. Networking and marketing gurus say we should blog at least once a week, although two times is highly recommended. What exactly are the fiction authors to blog about though?

See, non-fiction writers can talk about all the content in their book and elaborate in detail on each chapter or topic. Let's use an example, say a book about cat care (which I'd be interested in!). If that author had written a chapter on adopting a new cat, they could write several blog entries just on that topic alone! One posting could discuss if getting a cat is the right thing for you. Another on where to find a cat. Another on what items to buy before bringing a cat home. Another on the first veterinarian visit. Another on setting up a safe room for the cat. And many more after that! All from ONE chapter in their book.
But what about a fiction writer? If you plan to blog about writing itself, then there is plenty of material to discuss. Especially since the world of publishing has been and still is transforming almost daily. Self-publishing information is overwhelming and is a hot and controversial subject. But the art of writing, publishing and marketing will likely be of more interest to another writer and won't be nearly as exciting for any current or prospective fans to read. Don't take me wrong - blogging on this subject is fine and dandy because I am one who is tremendously grateful to the writers who offer knowledge and suggestions about the writing industry! Writers need that information.

But fans – READERS – are the people who buy your fiction books (physical or ebook). And obviously other writers buy books, too. Keep in mind that if you're writing fiction, those readers/fans enjoyed your story. They liked your characters, the suspense, action, the conflicts and tragedies you put your main characters into, the locations, and the dialogue. The readers are thrilled with your ability to help them escape from the real world for a little while by submersing themselves into whatever your storyline may be: fantasy, sci-fi, horror, paranormal, mystery, romance, young-adult, etc.

Point is – it's fiction. Most readers will not be very interested in reading your blog about the latest self-publishing marketing techniques. Any readers actually reading this, am I right? Wouldn't you find that somewhat boring?

So back to the dilemma for fiction writers. What are we to blog about then if we want to entertain our readers - fans - of our books?! To keep connected with them? To network? To engage in conversation? To let them know we are alive and say – hey – here's something fun and interesting we just wrote in our blog for YOU (the reader – the fan) to enjoy?

I write paranormal thrillers, urban fantasy, young-adult. All wrapped up in one package (novel). If a new book is due out, then at least I can highlight it for the readers, give excerpts, teasers, chat it up, suggest where to buy it. When an author is in between books, especially if some time has slipped by, writing even one blog post a week can be difficult, if we are truly trying to satisfy the fans and not writing blogs that are more directed to other writers.

It feels odd for me to talk about a book that has already been out for 3 years…or even 1 year. But maybe I should have fun trying that anyway? After all, many readers out in the world have not read my books yet. Maybe dissect certain scenes? Post a blog from a character's viewpoint? Give more details on locations or why I chose them? Divulge more background on a character? Give bigger hints at what I'm currently writing? Ask for story ideas (which I've heard is not actually a good move)? Do a giveaway? Do polls on favorite characters or anything related to my genre?

And another thing - an author should not chat up their books (market/promote) constantly as if there is nothing else in their lives because people don't like being "sold to". It's offensive and rude and gets old real fast having promotional stuff shoved in your face all the time. I know. I've been on the receiving end of that before. It's tricky to find that balance where you keep fans informed about an author's books but at the same time, you are not advertising to them too often, where they become turned off or ticked off by the author's actions.

So then, who is this particular blog post written to? I'd have to say both the writer and the reader.

To the writer, I'm sure many are nodding their heads in agreement with my ramblings.

To the reader/fan, maybe they can see the delicate situation an author faces when we blog and do social networking. I'd like to ask the readers, "What would you like me to blog about? And how often?"

Please comment! This is a way to learn how I can provide more interesting blog posts for you! Thanks!



Sunday, April 15, 2012

'Dark Angel' Tidbits

Just posted on my Enter Paranormal blog about 'Dark Angel', the TV series...remembering and discovering tidbits about it. If interested, check it out here: Dark Angel article

I REALLY loved that show and was so ticked off when it was canceled. Anyway, its material fits nicely with my author genre and wanted to include the link here.

Back in a day or so with a post for this Author site!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Misused Words and Bad Grammar


Misused Words and Bad Grammar

We all do it. Misuse words and fail at proper grammar. And start sentences with "and" and write incomplete sentences. I'm giving perfect examples right now. Plus we don't structure sentences in the correct form like we were taught in English classes.

Guess what? Some of these errors I have zero problems with. I don't care if I'm doing it wrong, especially since I'm trying to communicate in an effective manner with friends, family, fans, followers and future factions (had to use my synonym tool for that one). Everyone lives in such a fast-paced society that slang words and phrases are now the norm. This way of writing and talking tends to get right to the point. Depending on what I'm writing will determine the amount of effort I place on following "the rules". Heck, many of the so-called English rules I have forgotten. I would be shunned if I tried my hand at true literary fiction! Add to the mix how some punctuation blunders aren't necessary considered incorrect anymore. (I love using ellipses…)

stuartpilbrow / Stock Photos

But sometimes the misuse of words does drive me batty.  The following examples come from Ezinearticles.com:

affect vs. effect
affect - To have an effect on; make a difference to; an emotion or desire.
Incorrect: Chocolate effects my behavior.
Correct: Chocolate affects my behavior.
effect - To bring about; to cause something to happen; a change that is a result of an action or cause.
Incorrect: Chocolate has an incredible affect on behavior.
Correct: Chocolate has an incredible effect on behavior.

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allot vs. a lot
allot - To give or to apportion something to someone as a share or a task.
Incorrect: I will a lot 3 prizes to the winners.
Correct: I will allot 3 prizes to the winners.
a lot - (never alot) A large amount, very many; also, very much.
Incorrect: I like monkeys allot. There are alot of them at the zoo.
Correct: I like monkeys a lot. There are a lot of them at the zoo.
Please note the context of a piece of land or lot, as in "a lot", is also acceptable; however, it's not a common usage error.

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then vs. than
then - At that time; at the time in question; after that, next, afterward.
Incorrect: I went to the zoo and than to the park.
Correct: I went to the zoo and then to the park.
than - Used in expressions when introducing an exception or contrast.
Incorrect: Bob is shorter then Ralph.
Correct: Bob is shorter than Ralph.

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lie vs. lay (I have problems remembering this one)
lie - To be in or assume a horizontal or resting position; the way, direction, or position in which something lies.
Please note we will not be discussing "lie", i.e. to tell a falsehood or to fib, because it's not a common usage error.
Incorrect: I am going to lay down for a nap.
Correct: I am going to lie down for a nap.
lay - To put down (generally carefully or gently); the general appearance of an area.
Incorrect: I am going to lie the baby down for a nap.
Correct: I am going to lay the baby down for a nap.

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desert vs. dessert
desert - To abandon; a dry, barren area of land; barren.
Incorrect: The nomads desserted the dessert in search of water.
Correct: The nomads deserted the desert in search of water.
dessert - The sweet course at the end of the meal.
Incorrect: Did you see this low-fat and delicious desert recipe?
Correct: Did you see this low-fat and delicious dessert recipe?

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(The following grammar rules did not come directly from Ezinearticles.com)
When do I use 'were' and when do I use 'was'?
Normally follow this rule:
>He, She, It, I = WAS
>They, You, We = WERE
>BUT…Why do people say, "I wish I were shopping"?  Shouldn't that be 'was'? The answer: use WERE after the words: if, wish, rather, as though (otherwise use WAS with "I").
>Examples: I wish I were bigger. If I were slightly bigger, I would be able to intimidate others. He acted as though he were a little child.

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Another mistake that I hear or see (thankfully not in books) is choosing the word 'idea' when the person actually meant 'ideal'…or the flip-flop. To me, that one is painfully obvious the difference in meaning and how to choose the correct one for a sentence.

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You have to admit – these sure make you THINK! Luckily I do not have problems with all of these examples. Lie vs. lay is troublesome for me, though. I've actually changed the word to something else (instead of lie or lay) to avoid the whole issue! OK. Enough brain torture and hair pulling for one day!



Sunday, April 8, 2012

Giving Thanks to "The Twilight Zone"

Over at my Enter Paranormal site, I posted an article --  "The Twilight Zone" - A Major Influencer.


It starts: 


I hadn't been born yet during the five years that "The Twilight Zone" shows were filmed and broadcast. But I can appreciate and respect the incredible influence these shows had on the future of science fiction and fantasy in all areas of entertainment (movies, TV shows, books). Let us pay homage and review...


To read the full article, go to Enter Paranormal.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

'Wrath of the Titans' Tidbits

Passing on my Enter Paranormal blog post 'Wrath of the Titans' for those interested in the blog entries over yonder.

If anyone wants to leave a comment on if you'd like me to copy/paste the entire article from Enter Paranormal HERE, on my author website, let me know! It's complicated. I've debated whether to just delete the Enter Paranormal blog account...or keep it.