Write what you know – or do your research!

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I just finished a book by a well-known author, who writes a compelling story. But mid-way through, he talks about a big high-speed yacht in his novel. What caught my attention was the way he described it. The boat had a single inboard engine, 250 horsepower. Now we had a 25 foot SeaRay a few years ago, and it had a bigger engine than that. I don’t think you could move this huge yacht around with an engine that size, let alone sail the seas.

Why did that grab me? Because it seemed poorly researched. And the fact of it pulled me out of the story to puzzle why they made that mistake.

Here’s another example. This is a story of a young woman who inherits her family company after her father died. She soon discovers it is near bankruptcy. After some thought and discussion, her plan is now to ask an old business friend to help finance it. After presenting the pitch to the friend, she returns to her largest store and walks through trying to envision how she would revamp it to meet today’s market.

Now, wouldn’t she have done this before pitching to the business acquaintance? Otherwise, what is the pitch based on? It looks like this writer doesn’t understand business.

What is my point here? Understand what you write about. Don’t assume that these things won’t be noticed, or don’t matter. If this isn’t your area of expertise, then do your research so that you speak from a position of knowledge. It makes your writing more powerful and compelling.

That’s my rant for this week. 🙂

Hope you have a good January, keep reading and keep writing.

Happy New Year! Out with the old, In with the new

IMG_0647Frost on the rocks this morning

When I got home from work today, I dove into my closet with a laundry hamper, a wastebasket and some large plastic bags. Does that sound like fun? 🙂 Probably not, but I’d been wanting to get something done about all the stuff that had accumulated. Even a tiny step, just to get started.

Besides there are bigger issues looking at me and I don’t have the time or the energy to make those decisions. But I could do this.

I was going to get a head start on junking out my clothes. First I emptied my dresser drawers and put back only what fits, what I use. It’s very surprising, what can end up in my sock drawer!

Then I started on the shelves in my closet. I did the purses. I did the belts. I did the sweaters. I must have been getting tired by then because suddenly I was having trouble making decisions. Throw the sweater out? My sister gave it to me. Keep it? I haven’t worn it in three years.

I thought perhaps it was time to quit for the night, but it seemed like I’d just gotten started. So I pulled out my scarves and shawls. OMG. I didn’t know I had that many. Twice as much as I thought possible. So many, I divided them into piles of different shapes, then by colour. I should have quit while I was ahead, because almost all of them went back into the closet. I’ll deal with them next time.

Thank you to all you readers and bloggers. I hope you have a good start on the new year of 2016. Make those plans and believe in them. They can happen, just don’t give up. Like they say – Failure isn’t the last step, it’s the first step toward success.

 

Merry Christmas, wreaths, garlands, swags

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Do you make your own Christmas wreaths and garlands? I went out to cut branches for my Christmas swags for either side of the door, and came back with the following –

  • red cedar (you can tell by the colour of the stems and bark)
  • balsam fir, with the delightful light green tips to the branches
  • fir, with fuzzier needle formation
  • salal, which gives great berries but stays green all year
  • hawthorne, for the beautiful red berries
  • broom, which is a weed, but adds a lovely straight sweeping component

This is what I came up with for my front door. What do you do for your Christmas greenery? Merry Christmas everyone!

 

What do readers want?

A very interesting bit on what kindle owners read and where they get their information for buying new books.

So, who do they listen to for recommendations? 53% said they heard about a book from friends or family. We are still talking about word of mouth here. Next came websites and blogs at 24%. Bestseller lists was quite low on the roster at 11%.

In terms of social media, facebook is by far the most influential in getting word out on new books, with twitter and instagram near the bottom. It’s interesting because I know a lot of authors spend a great deal of time on some of these sites, so it’s nice to get some information on what works best.

Although there is a huge push on ‘series’ books right now, the information shows that 70% of readers enjoy series and stand alone books equally.

Best of all, kindle owners purchase 8.9 books a month. That’s a lot of reading material. I’m sure it doesn’t all get read, but most of it probably does, and it’s an exciting number for authors to contemplate.

Have a look at the Anatomy of a Kindle User –

Anatomy of a Kindle Owner [Infographic]

Book Release – The Last War: Book Two

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Book Release

Son of the Emperor

The Last War: Book Two

Buy link – https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=sylvie+grayson

Abe Farmer may survive the Sanctuary, but he won’t escape the Emperor

Hunted by her stepmother, Julianne Adjudicator flees to the north of Khandarken and is welcomed into the Sanctuary, a place of refuge for women in a rough world where the dispossessed of The Last War rove the wilds of the countryside. But even there, she finds chaos and betrayal.

Abe Farmer seeks help for his badly wounded bodyguard at the Sanctuary but ends up leaving under cover of darkness with young Julianne in tow when he discovers the fate that awaits her there. Soon the trio attracts the deadly attentions of the New Emperor.

Can they reach the Catastrophic Ocean and safety before disaster strikes?

The Last War series is a stunning portrayal of a new world created from fire and consumed at the edges even as the people strive to build a future for themselves …

…a whole new world with the same old problems – sci fi and fantasy at its best…