Twitching for readers

Why is it that just about the time I figure out how to do the promotion that everyone is talking about that “works,” it stops working. Facebook parties, Newsletters, Blog Hops . . . ugh. Then again, maybe they just don’t work for me.

Don’t you wish you could be that author that stumbled upon something new and innovative, that actually connected you with readers who want to read your books?

Yeah, me too.

Now I’m not saying I’ve found that next big thing, but I’m hoping I have.

Welcome to Twitch.TV

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It’s a web site primarily devoted to streaming video gamers, but recently they’ve expanded into other areas. They now feature a Creative area where streamers craft, sew, create art work and more. I once watched a man doing blacksmithing on his channel.

But I haven’t seen any other writers there.

As a gamer myself, I’ve been a fan of Twitch, and even created my own channel to broadcast Minecraft for a few months. it was a fun endeavor, but with my writing, I really didn’t have the time to devote.

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Yeah, Naphtoe. That’s me, my gamer tag.

Anyway, I had the Channel and broadcast software all set up, and one day while watching a stream, I got to wondering if this was something I could use to reach some new readers. So last week I fired everything back up.

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Now most Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 10:00 AM Central Time you’ll find me here: https://www.twitch.tv/naphtoe

I stream for about an hour each day. I write, edit, and chat with whoever stops by. Surprisingly, I get work done. (Probably because I have to focus and not waste time on Facebook and Youtube.) We chat about writing, romance, and just about anything else that pops up.

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I’m hoping to build a creative community of readers and authors. At the very least, I’m getting some work done on my next novel.

If you happen to have a free moment, please feel free to stop by and say hi. If you can’t be there during the program, an on-demand video is available of my latest show.

So is Twitch the next big thing for authors?

Probably not, but at least if it turns out to be, I can say I got there first.

***

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S.C.Mitchell is a writer of paranormal, sci-fi, and fantasy romance, who crafts unique and wondrous worlds where characters explore, romp, and fall in love. Whether traveling through dark, demon filled dimensions, the edge of wild space, or ancient mythological heavens, heroes and heroines, guided by their adventurous hearts, discover hidden strengths on their pathway to enduring love.

Links:

Webpage: http://scmitchellauthor.com/

Blog: http://scmitchell.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSCMitchell

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorSMitchell

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007D0Z1MW

Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/naphtoe

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Characters that Won’t Let Me Sleep

Characters That Won’t let Me Sleep

 

I’ll be editing the sequel to From Ice Wagon to Clubhouse: The Life of Jude Mooney soon. I didn’t plan to write a sequel. My previous historical novel, Love at War, had been an amazing adventure as well as challenge; however, I’d closed it with the fate of every character sealed.  Not so Ice Wagon.  When the novel ended, Jude’s sons had run for their lives after a tragic encounter with a federal informant.  After losing his beloved wife to an untimely grave, Jude had married the beautiful daughter of a prostitute. As the novel ended, she announced she was having his child. Prohibition was over.  Would Jude be able to sever his ties to the powerful Matranga crime family? No, the Mooney family story was not complete, and the sequel follows Jude’s sons to Ireland—where they fled.  It shifts to New Orleans and Jude with his extended family. No, the Mooney family haunted me at night, and this sequel will not be the end.  World War II has intruded upon the lives of Jude and his family; his progeny will join in the fight.

 

My new novel is scheduled for release early next year.  Soon, the editing process will begin. My biggest concern is consistency.  The Mooney family members are a diverse and complex group.  I want to maintain each character’s personality but show how they grow. An author friend gave me good pointers on how to make sure I didn’t make careless mistakes. She said I should take the previous book and highlight all relevant details, such as hair color, eye color, etc. Each character should have a birth date as well. I love these details.  Equally important to me is maintaining personality consistency yet surprising the readers with some complexity of character.  For example, Jude’s sons, Daniel and Paul, were very young when the previous novel ended. A large part of the book will consist of how they have developed, grown, and evolved.  Jude, his young wife, and daughter also have proved challenging.  Jude and Nieve have a passionate but complex marriage; that relationship will develop and change. Their daughter is a precocious child.  She, hopefully, will develop into a major character in the future.

 

The sequel will contain some new characters as well as those who were minor players in Ice Wagon. Most of them will be caught up in the trauma of the Second World War.  Not all will survive. Some will be heroes.  Some will betray those dearest to them.  Still others will face life-changing decisions.  The challenge I face—as does the writer of any sequel—is remaining true to these people I created while keeping them fresh.

 

The link to Ice Wagon:

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What’s Old is New

2018 4 24 Disney ShoesThis morning on my Facebook feed I found something amazing.

No worries, it’s not a political post, but it is about something we can all agree on. SHOES!

Toms shoes, those cute tennis shoes that Pinterest Experts love to pain all sorts of cute designs on. Well, Toms has partnered with Disney to feature never before sketches and drawings from classic movies like Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty.

I know what you’re probably thinking. “Yeah, okay. That’s cute, but why is this newsworthy?”

I’ll tell you! Because these “lost” drawings and sketches are from the ALL FEMALE artists of the 1930’s-1950’s that went largely unrecognized.

Finally, those who put in hours of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears will be featured on shoes that we can all look at everyday. Appreciate!

https://hellogiggles.com/shopping/disney-toms-shoe-collection/

This brings me to ask you–what projects have you “lost” or really promised would never see the light of day because you were sure they were terrible?

What if you pulled up an old project and gave it a read through? Could you pat yourself on the back and tell yourself you’ve come a long way with your writing? Or would you tell yourself, “This isn’t half bad. I should do something productive with this.”

Anything we’ve done with our writing, with our creative spirit is worth appreciation. Even if it’s terrible, it’s a step, a validation to our souls that tell us we’re doing something new and different.

So celebrate your “lost” works. You never know. You might find a gem of an idea.

Good luck everybody!

 

You can find Patricia W. Fischer at her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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Regard for Realistic Fiction

There are numerous genres and sub-genres available to avid readers today. In a nutshell, there is something for everyone. Despite the plethora of publications, there has always been an interest in realistic fiction. While one may want to escape the real world into another’s, realism has always been alluring. This holds true for me as both an author and a reader.

When I first set out to write my debut novel, Cold Ambition, I knew step one was to come up with a character and a plot. Immediately, Jordan James, PI was born of my love for both the New England area and the intriguing private investigator, Thomas Magnum, from the hit ’80s television series, Magnum, PI.

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I enjoy reading many different genres, but I couldn’t imagine writing a more exciting storyline than one I could actually live.  Since Cold Ambition’s  release four years ago, Jordan James has had many adventures that have taken her all over the world. In Simple Misconception, which will be released later this year from Soul Mate Publishing, she’s returned home to New Orleans, a city so colorful it could be a character itself.

Whatever future adventures are in store for Jordan James, only time will tell. In the meantime, I enjoy re-living her adventures with my readers and eagerly anticipate the release of Simple Misconception, a story where she finally is able to take her investigative skills and use them back home in the Big Easy.

SIMPLE MISCONCEPTION BLURB

“A Trip to the Big Easy Turns into a Big Nightmare…”

When private investigator Jordan James returns home to New Orleans for Christmas, she never imagined her holiday could end with kidnapping and death. As she begins to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a childhood friend, she unwittingly stumbles upon a dangerous, international syndicate. With lives at risk and time running short, Jordan must find a connection between these seemingly unrelated events if she ever hopes to find her friend.

SIMPLE MISCONCEPTION, Coming Soon from Soul Mate Publishing!!!

 

Also from Rachel Sharpe:

COLD AMBITION, Available Now on Amazon!!!  http://www.amzn.com/B00L2OLQPG/
LOST DISTINCTION, Available Now on Amazon!!! http://www.amzn.com/B00Q5OGCS4
BITTER RETRIBUTION, Available Now on Amazon!!! http://www.amzn.com/B015YS0O94
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rachel Sharpe is the author of Cold Ambition, Lost Distinction, Bitter Retribution, and Simple Misconception, all part of the Jordan James, PI series. Although born and raised in the South, “Yankee” relatives first led Rachel to historic New England, which she has come to consider her second home and is the setting for the series.
After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in English, Rachel began dedicating her free time to her childhood passion, writing, and in the fall of 2013, she signed with Soul Mate Publishing. An active member of Sisters in Crime, Rachel currently resides with her husband and children in the Greater New Orleans area.

Check Out Rachel’s Sites to Keep Up with Jordan James!!!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorrachelsharpe

Twitter: twitter.com/RachelCSharpe

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A Career Changing Craft Book

I have read at ton – and I mean A TON – of writing craft books. I spent 3 years of my life and over fifty thousand dollars earning an MFA in creative writing. I have (in total) an entire BOOKCASE dedicated to my books on how to improve my writing (here are just two shelves from ONE bookcase).

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If I had found this book first (sad to say), I don’t believe I would have needed the degree.

In The Secrets of Story, Matt Bird offers something I’ve found to be missing in almost every other craft book I’ve ever read: a succinctly explained breakdown of the specific elements that make a story memorable, emotionally compelling, and therefore, of course, highly salable. Throughout the book, he lists over 120 questions to ask about your story, which lead you to discover your story’s weak spots and possible holes. Then, he gives examples–specific examples from books and film to illustrate his points. I experienced so many “ah-ha” moments while listening to this book (I purchased the audiobook through Audible) I can’t even begin to list them. The narrator, Eric Michael Summerer, is absolutely perfect for this title and adds emphasis – and humor – in all the right places.

I am the author of a memoir and six novels, only enjoying marginal success, but I didn’t know WHY. How come my stories haven’t taken off and captured the hearts of millions, instead of only a few hundred? Now I know. I promise you, my next book will be light-years better. Matt Bird has given me the tools I so desperately needed to bring my writing to the next level–and maybe a few levels above that.

Note: this book is not for the casual, weekend warrior who claims to want to learn to improve their craft, but isn’t willing to put in the work it takes to get there. I highly suggest you listen to the audio version of this book first, then buy the paperback. Which is exactly what I have done. It will reside on my writing desk as a reference guide from this day forward.

Secrets of Story

One particularly riveting aspect of this book came near the end. Mr. Bird shared with us, early on, that he had been diagnosed with Stage Four Cancer at a time when he was in the middle of a bunch of edits for a new script he had submitted. In the last chapter, he shares a piece of advice that resonated with me so profoundly, it caused my chest to seize. He related a conversation that he had with a friend who also happened to be doctor. I’m not quoting exactly here (because my paperback has not yet arrived!) but the gist of the conversation was this:

“Don’t let your doctor forget about you, Matt. Do something to show him that you are a standout, unique individual. Doctors, especially cancer doctors, after the first fifty patients or so, tend to treat them in the past tense. They accept that a certain percentage of their patients are going to die, so to protect themselves emotionally, they only invest their highest quality treatment to those who stand out.”

Wow. This smacked me straight in the heart, especially since I’ve worked in the medical profession for over 35 years and have found this to be exactly true. Plus, I battled cancer last year myself. And, at least so far, have won.

So did Matt.

He draws a highly unusual parallel between how a patient needs to impress his doctor, and how a writer needs to impress their audience. Do something that makes you different, special. Something that will make them remember you above all others.

Thank you, Mr. Bird, for giving me what the many, very talented professors in my MFA program tried to, and what the scores of other craft books I’ve read failed to do. You have shone a light down a dark tunnel. You have given me the tools I need to make my stories resound in the hearts of my readers.

Thank you.

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Have I got a red for you . . .

Roses are red . . . We’ve all heard that little ditty numerous times. But have you ever wondered what makes red such a powerful color? Why does red make a bold fashion statement? Why does it look great as a feature wall in your home? Why does red pop on a book cover?

Amy Butler Greenfield’s fascinating book, A Perfect Red, traces the history and cultural impact of the color red. And guess what? It all began with a little red bug called cochineal. Vast fortunes were created and international intrigue bloomed as countries battled to figure out how to beat Spain’s hold on the trade of a red dye. So valuable – it was traded on commodity exchanges in the 17th century.

And of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how much I love red as an artist and painter. I often weave red into my paintings, like the one shown here.

And if you’re curious – here are some other fun facts about red:

Threads of Wisdom 36×36 Oil Ingis Claus

Clever red fingernail polish names: Red Abandon, Little Red Wagon, Don’t know . . . Beets me, Wanted . . . Red or Alive. Life is a Cabernet, An Affair in Red Square, and Breakfast in Red.

Remember Dorothy’s beautiful, magical silver slippers from The Wizard of Oz? Not silver, you say? Well they started out as silver in the novel but when the new Technicolor process was used in the film version, the moviemakers wanted a color that popped—so, of course, they chose red. Ruby red.

Charles and Ray (Bernice Alexandra) Eames: Together the husband and wife duo created some of the 20th century’s most enduring designs. Charles and Ray Eames are known for their classic modern furniture and for their pioneering work with materials such as molded plywood, which they created by pressing sheets of wood veneer against a heated mold. Through this work, in the 1940s the couple developed their iconic LCW (Lounge Chair, Wood), which has been called the best design of the 20th century. The Eames Molded Plywood Lounge Chair Wood Base, currently sold by Herman Miller, is striking in red. Today, the chair sells for north of a thousand dollars and is made in the United States.

As I put the finishing touches on my WIP (work in progress) The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin, I’m seeing red everywhere. My heroine has red hair, she blushes a pretty shade of red, her lips are full and red . . . Red has seeped into our language: seeing red, caught red-handed, down to my last red cent, red herring, a red-letter day, like red to a bull, red tape, go beet red, in the red,  red-blooded, red-carpet treatment, red-light district . . . well—you know. And of course, my sweetie Tom and I love to paint the town red,

What’s your favorite red—either in your home/office or in your personal life?

Used with permission, © 2014, Icon Magazine American Society of Interior Designers.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

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Travel and writing

There are a lucky few who make a living hopping on planes to exotic locales and sending off a well-paid article while they knock back a cocktail by the pool. Well, I hope there are, it’s a lovely dream to ponder! But today I will write about the effect of travel on the writer.

Nuie -South Pacific

Nuie Path, South Pacific. Cindy Tomamichel

Does travel change you? Externally perhaps not. Things fades, the photos and your memories along with the tan. But inside? The chance to see new things, taste and smell things foreign to your day to day. That can remain vivid, particularly if you note it down at the time. For that is one of the hidden advantages of travel, the time. Outside of work commitments, meetings and the need to buy groceries, a holiday is a bubble of time where you are free to spend time jotting notes in your journal, recording voice or sound memos on your phone. All that time spent waiting for trains or planes, the long hours perhaps in an airport, these precious hours are without guilt. Instead of getting impatient, this is a time for observation of people, their reactions, and the process of doing things. A harried mother with tired kids? A smile plastered on the face of a desk receptionist? The suited man who smiles and helps load a too heavy bag into the locker. How does the environment feel? A busy metropolitan airport is so very different to a small island one, or a remote place that gets one plane a week. What does it smell like? Is it tropical with the scent of sweat overlain by sun lotion or rotting vegetation? How are people dealing with others and what does this tell you about them? Are they dressed as seasoned travelers or balanced awkwardly in high heels and have a pinched expression? How many languages are the safety messages translated into?

That first step into a new land. What is your first impression? The smell of aviation fuel mixed with an oven blast of heat and humidity, or a chill wind with the scent of distant snow? What is in some of the baggage crates? I saw a crate of coconut crabs once in the South Pacific, their claws scuttled while they scratched at the wooden cage. The young girl in too tight stilettos is escaping to a new land, and you see her slip her heels off and throw them in the bin as she passes, a smile on her face. The tired mother greets her family, the business man checks his watch and walks smartly to the fastest queue.

The return journey is also packed with emotions. Was it a good holiday for everyone, or did people bring their troubles with them? The business man helps with the baggage again, checking his phone, skimming for messages as he chews at a bottom lip. Did his meeting go well, or does he face bankruptcy and is fleeing the country with a suitcase of negotiable bonds? The young girl is back in sensible flats, and flips her long blond hair into a clip, her face resigned or resolute? Has she solved her problems, or found the courage to face them? Is the tired Mother washing dishes, watching the planes take off and dreaming of distant lands while a toddler grabs at her skirt?

The door seals shut, and the pressure stabilizes. The plane bumps smoothly and is then up and away for home. Sit back, pull down the table and write the story, pen the notes before you forget that one weird remark you overheard.

About Cindy

Cindy Tomamichel is a first time SMP author, with her novel Druid’s Portal the first in a series of time travel romance set in Roman Britain.

Short stories of fantasy, scifi and romance can be found on her website, where she blogs on aspects of world building. Her Instagram account is devoted to tranquil scenes of nature and flowers.

Contact Cindy on

Website: http://www.cindytomamichel.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CindyTomamichelAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CindyTomamichel

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16194822.Cindy_Tomamichel

Pinterest:  https://au.pinterest.com/cindytomamichel/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cindytomamichel/

Amazon: https://amazon.com/author/cindytomamichel

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