Shadow Swans by Laura Thomas


I never do this, but today is a day for exceptions. My cousin Laura Thomas recently published her first novel, Shadow Swans, and I just finished reading it this morning. After finishing this amazing adventure of human emotion, I feel compelled to tell others about it.

So today instead of a blog post on writing, you are getting a recommendation to read Shadow Swans (and to be clear, I will not receive any financial reward for this plug). I am not giving a full review or a synopsis. You can see those on Amazon. Here I want to focus on the writing process and craft.

Why read this book? Because as a writer, you are in a quest to learn about craft, hone your skills, defy the rules, and break new ground. Laura Thomas has succeeded in immersing the reader into the characters and the world of a New York you have never imagined. The underworld becomes alive with vivid descriptions as the characters effortlessly become people you care about and long to follow.

In short, reading a book so well crafted will help you as a writer. Learn from the methods of coloring a room with a tuned mixture of sound, sight, and smell. Relationships that are complex to all parties involved, and yet clear in their parts.

I know you will enjoy the book, but that is not the point in this blog. Use the book to take your writing to another level. Study the way voice is employed. Examine the incredible use of simile. Grow as a writer by reading great writing.

And enjoy.

Buy Shadow Swans on Kindle
Buy Shadow Swans on Nook
Buy Shadow Swans in Print


Scrivener Public Beta for Windows


If you are looking for software to help you organize your writing efforts, Scrivener is a great choice. If you are a Mac user, you may have been using this for quite a while. If you are a Windows user, you are now lucky enough to join the club.

I am not posting a full review here because I have not downloaded the software yet, but on reputation alone, I think the Public Beta is worth a test drive. If you have feedback on the product, please post comments.

Literature and Latte – Scrivener for Windows

Until next time, keep on writing.

Free Ebook Publishing – How to Publish on Smashwords

In the last few months, I have been exploring the self-publishing options in ebook format. Over time I will probably post on each of the major distribution options, but I found an interesting centralized option that I had never heard of.
First, when you publish through Smashwords, your work becomes available through the Apple iPad/iPod store, Barnes & Noble, Sony Reader Store, Kobo Store, Aldiko Store, and more. Although they do not have a direct connection to the Kindle store, they will publish your work in Kindle format where users can transfer the book to their hard drive and to the Kindle when it is plugged in via USB.
That is an incredible first step to getting your new ebook to market. This is the closest thing to one-stop ebook publishing that I have seen so far.
Second, it is FREE! No setup cost, no publishing cost, no package cost, no upload or book revision cost, and they even include a free ISBN number for your ebook.
Third, for any ebook sold through their Smashwords store, you earn 85% of the price which is the most I have seen anywhere. And for the sales that occur through the major retailers you still receive 60%.
Fourth, they have free marketing tools to help you get the word out on your ebook, which is one of the hardest parts of self-publishing in my opinion.
Fifth, if you publish two or more different author works, you can upgrade your account for free to a publisher’s account to centrally manage all of your author’s works, and you get your own publisher’s page on their site to showcase the work as needed for new releases or circumstances like a good news cycle going along with one of your book topics.
Although I am sure I will also use some of the direct publishing through the individual ebook stores, I have a hard time finding a reason not to start with Smashwords due to the incredible return on your time investment.
Click the link to get all the details for yourself, but I’m sure you will agree this is a great ebook self-publishing option. If you find other key points that I missed, please post in the comments for others to see.
Smashwords – How to Publish on Smashwords
Until next time, let’s keep on writing.

100 Free Online Tools for Writers


Thanks to the Writing Fiction blog for posting this great list of tools.

Short Story Contest


Looked like a good contest, free to enter.

Writing Contest Websites for 2010


Happy New Year! 2010 is upon us so it is time to start thinking about a new year of writing goals, project possibilities, and writing contests.

In my last post I listed some specific contests with detailed information about prizes and rules. In this post I want to list other websites that contain lists of writing contests, so a jumping off point for you to stroll through your options.

My advice for the new year, be intentional. Do not allow the year to just happen to you. You shape the year. Make a small list of specific goals, and if they may be difficult to complete even better. If you aim for a 300 foot drive on the green, you are much more likely to hit 250 feet.

Aim big! And remember, you will never win a contest unless you enter. Best of luck to you all.

Poets and Writers
Creative Writing Contests blog on WordPress

New Author Writing Contest


I read this in the Writers and Authors blog and wanted to pass it along.