I heard about this app from Jeana Mann, and was super excited about it.
I'm always looking for ways to add more reading into my life. Between Evil Day Job (Which I'm currently running late to), and family obligations, life is about whatever ten minute chunk I can steal for myself.
Radish is a reading app that gives authors a way to pull their story apart into 10-15 minute chunks and give you a way to read on your phone while you're waiting in the school pickup lane, or the doctor's office, or hell...at that line in the grocery store behind someone writing a check.
Have you heard of Radish before? If you have the app, what are you reading on it right now?
I'm currently reading "Neanderthal Seeks Human" and "Pretty Broken Girl". Give me some ideas for what to binge on next!
I wanted to reiterate some of the best writing advice I've ever heard and put into practice myself. And unlike most "writing rules" which I don't think anyone should take as something everyone has to do, this one...I am a firm believer in.
Read your story out loud.
No, I'm not saying to shout your double penetration scene with gusto from the back of public transportation, but hearing your own words helps so much. Reading out loud will prevent you from skipping over missing words you might have skimmed with your eyes. For example, look at the picture below. This is one of the first images that comes to mind when you talk reading out loud vs. in your head.
Many of you have probably seen this one before, but if you haven't read the sentence out loud, making sure to say each word. If you didn't see the extra "the" you sure find it quick when you pay attention to each word and say it.
Reading out loud also helps you pick up on your "favorite" words. I tend to do a document search for "That" "Just" "Glare" "Smile" "Grin" and a few other words that my brain loves to put into sentences and dialogue tags for me. And don't get me wrong. Keeping a list of your common repeaters is good to do, but reading out loud shows you so much more than word echos.
1. You hear when your sentence structure stagnates.
Sentences are part of the art of writing. Word choice helps everyone understand your point. These three sentences are boring because they have the same rhythm and structure.
By varying word choice and structure we can make our manuscripts more interesting for our readers. And for ourselves too. Working with fragments might seem counterintuitive, but can make a point where we need one. Do you talk to your friends with perfect grammar? I'd bet you don't.
2. You find out if you're characters are saying or thinking their own names too damn much.
When you talk to your significant other, or your mom, or your bestie, do you call them by name each time you address them?
"Becky, you really need to look at the girl wearing those pants. I'm serious, Becky. Her butt looks too big in those pants, and Becky, you know she's probably one of those rap guys' girlfriends."
"Oh my god. Becky, look at her butt. It is so big. She looks like one of those rap guys' girlfriends."
Sure your characters would say each other's names to get their attention, or at the beginning of a conversation. But if you find yourself using it as a crutch because you can't remember who is talking otherwise, you need to rework your scene, not throw names around like sprinkles. Hearing it makes the sprinkles even more obvious.
3. You find things that are wrong even if you don't know why.
One of the best parts of hearing my manuscript spoken, is that "Wait. What?" moment. When I have to stop and say something again, my readers will have to re-read to get the meaning too. Sometimes you might not know the technical terms for why the grammar is screwy, but you'll know the sentence is hard to understand or makes it sound like you're talking about the incorrect subject for the description you want to use.
This is one of those trust your gut moments. And for me, this is usually where reading out loud is worth it's weight in gold. If it sounds wrong to you, it's going to sound wrong to someone else too.
Whether you're reading from your computer screen and making changes as you go, OR doing like I do, and loading your document for your kindle to read to you in robo-voice, while making notes on the printed manuscript...read it. Out loud.
This is the technique I used when one of my editors congratulated "My Team" on their hard work. Yes, it makes that much of a difference.
Do you read your book to yourself? To someone else? Do you have Word read it to you? Or are you a gadget queen like me and love sending your books to your kindle for some sexy monotone voice love scenes? Tell me how you utilize this technique in your edits. I'd love to get some pointers for my next project.
If there is one thing we have in abundance as authors, it's advice. We get it from our editors, our peers, and even our grandparents who want to know how our little hobby is going.
I'll get a real job when I'm damn well ready, Nanna!
But what I think we need more of in the sea of webinars and blog posts are people who we enjoy listening to. People who inspire us, and someone we can start at the beginning of their podcast and let it run in our ear holes while we dig to the bottom of our sink filled with dishes after the 4th of July. Surely someone else out there still has their decorations up, and firework carcasses strewn about their lawn beside me.
When I'm doing my chores I do one of two things, I listen to audio books, or I binge podcasts. I thought I'd share two of the podcasts I'm currently obsessed with.
Do you listen to podcasts? Any favorites on writing, reading, or self-help that I need to check out? Send them my way. I'd love to have something else to binge while I fold laundry.
It's happening! The first of my Samhain Publishing books is finally re-formatted and ready to enter the world again. My mild obsession with the Tiny House movement lead me to write this book. The forced proximity trope is one of my favorites, and how much more closely forced together can one be than in a tiny house?!?
I had to write it. And since it is one of my favorites, and since it was the most recently released, I wanted to get it back out there as soon as I could.
Love Shack is up for pre-order now, and will be re-releasing June 6th.
Brandon and Felicity stole my heart and when they finally give in to the attraction between them...well, let's just say, "If the tiny house is rockin', don't come a-knockin'."
Get it first and Pre-Order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, KOBO, and iBooks.
Enjoy this excerpt from Love Shack: Tiny Houses, Big Hearts.
For someone so tiny, her hands were extremely warm. Brandon could still feel the imprint of her palm on his shoulder.
It was a good thing sports were on. Crazy shack lady, or not, she was adorable in her little braids and pajama pants.
Brandon wasn’t a lonely man by any means. He preferred to have his space, even when he was in a relationship. He chuckled to himself when he realized it was a good thing he’d broken it off with Rebecca months earlier. Explaining this situation to a girlfriend would not have gone over well.
“What’s so funny?”
Felicity’s voice was a bit higher pitched than normal. She was a nutjob for living here, but she was still a woman, and he was probably doing something to offend her. He seemed to have a knack for it whenever he got close enough to the opposite sex.
“I was just thinking that it was a good thing I’m not dating anyone.” Realizing how that sounded, Brandon coughed. “I mean…I’m sleeping in your bed. I mean…we’re pretty close to each other in here.”
That didn’t sound any better.
Luckily, she wasn’t offended. “Oh. That’s good.”
“That I’m not in a relationship?”
Her eyes widened. “I’m not coming onto you. I swear. I was just nervous that you’d found…” If possible, her eyelids stretched even wider and he could see the whites of her eyes glowing at him in the dim light.
“What did you think I found, Felicity?”
This whole day had been awkward as hell for him, and he’d felt like he was running around in the wrong direction of sanity since he’d gotten here. For the first time since he’d met this woman, it seemed like he might have an advantage. He hoped it was embarrassing, because he’d forgotten his night shirts, and unless he wanted to wear a polo to bed, he was showing her his nipples every night.
“Nothing. Forget I said anything.” She picked up her e-reader and pretended to read, while she looked at him sideways over the purple leather cover.
“So if I were to reach over this way…” Brandon just stuck his hand out to the left to see what kind of reaction he got.
He got a very interesting one.
“You did find my stuff. Look. I’m not embarrassed. It’s very healthy to have a sexual appetite, and we should all have the freedom in our own house…”
Brandon’s smile tipped her off that he had been fishing and she pressed her lips together to keep any more words from coming out.
His mind conjured all kinds of crazy things she could have hidden. “I never said I found anything, but I am sure going to look now.”
He turned his body and began to feel along the floor, but he didn’t get to even reach past the little makeshift end table when he was rocked onto his back and mounted like a horse. Occupied with his treasure hunt, Brandon was caught off guard when she lunged for him. He’d fallen on his back, but he wasn’t sure why he let her hold his hands over his head while she sat on his stomach. He was too stunned to move once she got him there.
Her breasts grazed his chest, her core pressed against his flexing abs, and she was panting lightly just inches from his own lips.
“This is awkward,” she said.
Brandon nodded, but he had to admit to himself—it sure didn’t feel awkward to his body. His skin began to heat beneath her touch, and his heart pounded enough blood south of the border to keep him rendered speechless.
Want to see how they got here? You'll have to wait until June 6th to find out. Don't forget to pre-order your copy!
I have decided I don't need sleep. Or at least I have learned that I can function with a significantly reduced amount of it. Every time I try and convince myself that "I'll go to bed early" the universe laughs loudly and something explodes around me.
Oh...you know that the cat is going to start drinking out of the toilet at 2am now, right?
The dog has taken to eating tissues so she can vomit them next to your bed just to keep things interesting.
Your hubby will now break four toes at one in the morning so that you now have to take him to get x-rays. (this happened a couple nights ago. Men should be locked out of the garage after midnight. I'm installing a new key system as soon as I'm awake enough to use a power drill.)
I told myself that today would be the day I would take a NAP. Oh that glorious, glorious nap. That thing that allows me to catch up on sleep, and possibly not be a hazard when I have to run errands later.
So I packed myself up with a blanket, cuddled on the couch....
And stared at the walls for 2 hours. Because even my body will rebel against me this week.
Then I hopped on my computer, because that's what one does when one can't sleep. I proceeded to watch a couple of youtube videos.
And by the time I thought I might be able to fall asleep, it was time to take the dog out so she doesn't poop on the carpet. Then it was almost lunch time, and by that point, social media's siren call had begun.
So I'm going to try and work through the fog. Because I'm republishing my books!!
If you look in the sidebar, two of them are now live once again. (PSSST! They are only 99cents and perfect for those days when you're avoiding sleep like me.)
And what the hell...I think it's time to get some love back in the air too. Keep your eyes peeled for the re-release of Love Shack. Ebook form for my Tiny House romance will be available again soon.
Hope y'all get some sleep. If not...I'll see you at the coffee shop. I'll be the one with yesterday's makeup on.
When we are little we are told we can do anything. We are told we can fly to the moon and be president, and the world is our oyster.
Then we grow up and realize without a sugar daddy, you're not going to hit up that college you want. And at least according to my high school, you needed to decide what you wanted to do with your life by the time you were sixteen so you can pick the proper college and apply by your junior year.
I have been doing the responsible thing for as long as I can remember. Working 30 hour weeks in high school while taking college courses to cut my tuition bills, all while attempting to be involved enough to look good on a college application for a respectable career track.
I hated every fucking minute of it. Hated school. Hated my major. Hated the bills and the long hours. Thank goodness I met my husband during those years or it really would have been a pointless waste of money. (I tell him often how expensive he is.)
I got caught up in it. In what I was supposed to do. And I did that for a long time.
And you know what? I was wrong.
Because while I was learning accounting, and marketing, and management in my classes, I wasn't being taught how to dream.
I did everything I was supposed to do in life, and I did it all the "right" way.
I have a wonderful family now, that I wouldn't trade for the world, but I am so grounded in reality and the day-to-day survival of that family, that I don't even know what to wish for anymore. Pounded into my head was the idea that I needed to work out the numbers. That I had to be practical. And while I'm good at my job, and I make decent money for what I do, I routinely have fantasies about turning into Milton and demanding my stapler back. (If you don't get that reference watch "Office Space", ya heathen.)
What I've spent the last few weeks doing is spinning my wheels and doing donuts in the parking lot of my brain. I have endless possibilities before me right now, and I'm trying my darnedest to put my thoughts in order. And the one question I can't seem to answer is...
"What do I want?"
I have no freaking idea. When I first started writing, I wanted to sell a book to a publisher. If I did that, I thought, I've succeeded. Well...I did that. Ummm...now what?
Because my "dreams" were always based in reality, based in the achievable, I've started hitting some serious walls. My logical brain is putting the brakes on everything, and while it's laying out realistic goals, it's not letting me think of possibilities beyond my corner of the world.
I'm practicing letting my dreams and ideas play out in a physical way, so I thought I'd share them with you guys. I have a feeling it may take a while to teach this old dog some new tricks. But here's what I've come up with so far.
GOALS FOR (the rest of) 2017
1. Re-publish my old Samhain titles myself (I have shopped these a couple places, but they weren't a great fit. On the bright side, I know some fantastic cover artists, and they have some wonderful ideas.)
2. Publish one new book in an existing series (I've got a couple ideas, and a draft in place, I just need to get edits rolling.)
3. Publish one new stand alone novel or sell it to a publisher (If a certain acquiring editor just happens to be reading this... )
4. Get out of the fucking house and meet up with author friends that live too damn close not to see. (I did a Segway tour, any ideas on what to try next? I'm open to suggestions and willing to sign the waivers.)
5. Build an office. (I have no office space currently, and while I've been a strong proponent of working anywhere and everywhere, I've come to the conclusion, if I'm going to succeed in this whole dreaming big thing, I need my own space to do it in. Aside from my favorite table at Panera, that is.)
So those are my goals. Those are my baby steps to get back into the swing of things.
I'm doing some reading, and falling back in love with the romance genre right now. But I'm also realizing I can do more than I give myself credit for. I'm realizing it's okay to set my goals higher than logically possible. I'm realizing it's okay to dream.
Drinking outside the box.