Fave Five Indie Authors – Week 3

1. Chicago’s Best by Katharine E. Hamilton – Kat Riesling spends her days serving up delicious treats with a side of sass at her beloved cafe. However, her life is turned upside down when she finds herself as the newest target of the city’s largest crime boss. Ian O’Dell, the newest detective on the Chicago police force, only wishes to serve and protect the quirky cafe owner. But as bullets fly and emotions tangle, he finds himself torn between what his heart wants and what his duty demands.

2. Raven’s Peak by Lincoln Cole – A quiet little mountain town is hiding a big problem. When the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak start acting crazy, Abigail Dressler is called upon to discover the root of the evil affecting people. She uncovers a demonic threat unlike any she’s ever faced and finds herself in a fight just to stay alive. Abigail rescues Haatim Arison from a terrifying fate and discovers that he has a family legacy in the supernatural that he knows nothing about. Now she’s forced to protect him, which is easy, but also to trust him if she wants to save the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak. Trust, however, is something hard to have for someone who grew up living on the knife’s edge of danger. Can they discover the cause of the town’s insanity and put a stop to it before it is too late?

3. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover – Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies. That’s what Sky Davis realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of their first encounter. Sky struggles to keep him at a distance, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. Unable to deny their intense connection, Sky finally caves to his unwavering pursuit. However, she soon discovers that Holder’s erratic and unpredictable behavior comes with a very good explanation. One that will ultimately test her faith in the hopeless boy she’s fallen in love with.

4. Last Chance by L.P. Dover – That’s all Luke Collins, local bad boy and motocross champion, has to not only find his redemption, but win back the girl he lost. He’ll stop at nothing to make her his, even if it means playing dirty. Lara Jacobs doesn’t want her heart broken again and refuses to give Luke a second chance. After he left her after their one night stand, she ran right into the arms of her close friend, Grayson Moore. He’s always loved her, and he’s determined to make her see he’s what she needs. However, in life nothing goes as planned and tragedy strikes. After a fatal accident nearly claims Lara’s life, she’s left inside a world she can’t remember. Her memories are gone, including those of the men vying for her heart. Grayson sees her loss as a possibility to forget her love for Luke, but Luke sees it as an opportunity to start over. All he wants is one last chance to show her that she’s the one he’s been in love with all along.

5. All My Love by Natalie Ann – All alone in the world, Jordyn Montgomery is desperately trying to find something about her lineage. With her life in flux, she packs everything up and heads for a new city labeled on a postcard in a mysterious package that she discovered after her mother’s death. Maybe she’d have more luck there, even if it was only a hunch. Drew Palmer has always been close to his sister. When she moved away, he’d thought he could handle it, only he couldn’t. It didn’t take much to convince his father—the only other immediate family he had remaining—to pack up and move close to her. Drew isn’t looking for love, or a relationship, just a good time. He’s young still, almost thirty. Plenty of time for that down the road. Except sometimes when you aren’t looking you find the one thing you never thought to search for.

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Fave Five Genres – Week 2

Genre is a style or category of art, music, or literature. As an author, genre control what you write and how you write it. It describes the style and focus of the novel you write. Genres give you blueprints for different types of stories. There are general rules to follow, for example, manuscript length, character types, settings, themes, and plots. For instance, certain settings suit specific genres. These vary in type, details, intensity, and length of description. There are often sub-genres within genres, for example, a fantasy story with sinister, frightening elements would belong to the dark fantasy sub-genre.

Genres reflect trends in society and they evolve when writers push the boundaries. Readers ultimately decide if the experiment has worked by buying these books. The most important part of genre fiction, though, is that it fulfils our human need for good old-fashioned storytelling. We sometimes need stories we can rely on to blunt the harsh realities of life.

1. Romance. These stories are about a romantic relationship between two people. They are characterised by sensual tension, desire, and idealism. The author keeps the two apart for most of the novel, but they do eventually end up together. There are many sub-genres, including paranormal, historical, contemporary, category, fantasy, and gothic.

2. Suspense/Thriller. A character in jeopardy dominates these stories. This genre involves pursuit and escape. There are one or more ‘dark’ characters that the protagonist must escape from, fight against, or best in the story. The threats to the protagonist can be physical or psychological, or both. The setting is integral to the plot. A Techno Thriller is a sub-genre.

3. Literary Fiction. This genre focuses on the human condition and it is more concerned with the inner lives of characters and themes than plot. Literary fiction is difficult to sell and continues to decline in popularity.

4. Speculative Fiction. These stories are created in worlds unlike our real world in certain important ways. This genre usually overlaps one or more of the following: science fiction, fantasy fiction, horror fiction, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history.

5. Historical. These fictional stories take place against factual historical backdrops. Important historical figures are portrayed as fictional characters. Historical Romance is a sub-genre that involves a conflicted love relationship in a factual historical setting.

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Fave Five All-Time Favourite Books – Week 1

 

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Lee’s famous novel, published in 1960, has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. For all that it exposes the racial injustice of a particular time and place, it is timeless and universal. As Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Rick Bragg wrote in Reader’s Digest, “Many people see To Kill a Mockingbird as a civil rights novel, but it transcends that issue. It is a novel about right and wrong, about kindness and meanness.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

You might’ve been assigned the tale of Pip the ambitious orphan in school. But we promise Great Expectations is more entertaining to read as an adult, because the humor that sailed over over your head will be evident now—and besides, you won’t need to write a paper about it. Dickens, in his time, was as famous as a rock star (or, a Kardashian) because his novels were written as page-turners, with whip-smart observations about ambition and human nature.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

This much-more-grown-up sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is widely considered to be Mark Twain’s masterpiece. It’s part coming-of-age story, part cross-country adventure, part biting social satire. Twain makes brilliant use of irony as Huck, raised in the pre-Civil War south, gradually comes to understand the evils of slavery. Huck Finn has endured, despite its notoriety as one of the most banned books of all time.

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

This fictional, but meticulously researched, thriller will make you wish you paid more attention in art class. A murder at the Louvre museum leads symbologist Robert Langdon on a high-stakes treasure hunt through Europe with the police on his tail. It’s got just the right mix of page-turning action and brainteasing historical information. This is one book that (Tom Hanks’s coolness notwithstanding) is way better than its movie adaptation.  The Da Vinci Code‘s mind-bending “what if” questions will stay with you long after you put it down.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Generations of readers have fallen in love with Elizabeth Bennet. Pride and Prejudice‘s delightful heroine chooses to marry for love rather than money and isn’t afraid to put an arrogant suitor in his place. With the novel itself still a staple of many an English class, the story also lives on through its many—and very diverse—spinoffs.

 

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To organize Blog

I’ve been asked quite a few times how I keep myself organised, particularly with my blog recently, and how I keep myself on top of posting almost everyday. So I thought today I’d try talk through three simple steps I take, and some little tips that have helped me plan content for the next month or so.

When you think about your blog, how do you want people to feel when they visit? What type of posts do you want to be known for most? What type of blog posts make you happiest to create? Try to jot down some ideas and you’ll start to get the big picture of your blog and how you really want to present it. I find this helps me focus on my best, most challenging ideas rather than just ‘filler content’ which we should all try to avoid. Keep all these notes written down somewhere you can refer back to for inspiration when you need it.

Now that you have an idea of what type of posts you love to write most, you need to break it down. Come up with a few specific blog post ideas for each category/theme. I plan on which days I’d like to have them published on my blog and how often. Planning everything like this doesn’t have to be a chore, in fact; I really enjoy it! Plus this has motivated me to improve my content and I post a lot more often because of this planning now, without any hassle.

Now that you’ve got the big picture of what you want your blog to be, and broken it down into the type of posts you want to write/create; you need to take small actions everyday (or as often as you like!) working towards getting them done. For me this means every single day I have a to-do list. Now that might not work for all of you guys, but for me it means I’m so much more focused on what I need to do.

So for today’s to-do list, I have this;

Schedule tweets for tomorrow (15 mins),
Write blog post on organisation (1-2 hours),
Brainstorm ideas (15 mins).

And as I write this, I’m already half way through this list. I get each task done as soon as possible so that I have the rest of the day to enjoy doing whatever I like 🙂

And there we have it! My three simple steps to blog organisation, which should make it easier for you guys to plan ahead for the next month or so. I really hope it does help, as I find this improves my organisation enormously.

Let me know what you guys think, and don’t forget; blogging should be fun! If this doesn’t seem fun for you, then stick to whatever you find best! 🙂

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HOW TO BLOG FROM YOUR SMARTPHONE

Now, the thought of taking photos, editing them, writing something worthwhile, and sharing it on social media just sounds like way too many things to add to my already-full to-do list some days. I thought I’d share how blogging from smartphone will really be helpful.

Firstly, you need a smart phone. Then you need some nifty apps. If you’re blogging on WordPress, get the WordPress app. Even if you never intend to blog from your phone, it’s really handy to have to check your comments or make sure a post has been published while you’re out and about or on vacation.

Important handy apps :

  •  Photo Grid
  • PicsArt
  • Instagram
  • Color Note
  • Hootsuite App
  • Facebook Pages Manager App
  • Blog Lovin App

These apps will help you get a good foundation of tools to help making blogging from your smartphone easier.

THE PROCESS OF BLOGGING ON YOUR SMARTPHONE

1. TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES

If you’re not in the habit of this already, I recommend this as number one. Too often, lately I think to myself that I can bang out a post from my phone while I’ve got a second here or there only to realize I would have no pictures for that post. Lame. When in doubt, take pictures 🙂

Pictures are not the basis of most posts, but without pictures, I feel like I can’t even post anything because it’s just lacking. At least for me.

2. EDIT PHOTOS ACCORDINGLY

Whether you just need to touch up some images because your smartphone camera is not the best or you need to create a graphic for a post, photo editing apps on your phone are a must.

3. WRITE THE POST

This is the easy part to me. If I’m going to write an entire post from my smartphone, I usually keep it pretty short. I do find that using a stylus helps me type it out faster if I have a lot to say, though.

I find that my smartphone-written posts usually contain spelling errors, so be careful not to write too quickly. I think this is because the spell check option doesn’t pop up when using the WordPress app.

4. PUBLISH & SHARE THE POST

This is easy, but can get tricky in the WordPress app. If you’re writing a post to schedule later, make sure you change the post “status” from publish to draft.

Maybe I just go through the motions too quickly when I’m on my phone, but too many times I’ve meant to create a draft but accidentally published it or I’ve tried to publish it and it’s stayed as a draft. Just make sure you double check it.

Sharing is also a cinch on smartphones these days, as most phones are created to share social media with ease. After the post is live, I usually go to the post on my blog through the internet (not the app) and click my shortcuts button, where a “share” option comes up right away. This will look different on every phone, but the feature should be easy to access. After that, click share and share on whatever platforms you want. This is actually much easier to me on my phone than my computer because the phone does all the work of copying & pasting.

5. NOT A PERFECT SYSTEM

I already mentioned some of the issues with uploading photos above, but there are a few other issues with this system. It’s definitely not flawless. All the issues I find tend to be with formatting.

The full editing toolbar is not available on the app. The only options are to bold, italicize, and underline words. I use different size headings a lot, and there is no option to change the headings.

You also can’t create bulleted lists from the app, which literally drives me crazy since I typically end my posts with a list of questions in bullet format.

While it’s not great, these features are missing because the apps are only meant to do the bare minimum. Most people wouldn’t use all the features in full WordPress in the app, and there’s probably just not the capabilities to make it mobile friendly anyway.

Overall, the system is good enough that if I am behind on blogging and have some photos ready, I can put something together which is better than having no content at all!

HOW SMARTPHONES CAN MAKE BLOGGING EASIER

Besides actually blogging from your smartphone, utilizing your smartphone for blogging can make your blog/life balance a little better. I’ve found that if I use little bits of time here and there to check up on “blog stuff,” I have less blog related work to do when I get home.

Some things I use my smartphone for for blogging are…

  • checking my blog email about once a day
  • checking & replying to blog comments on my lunch break
  • reading blogs through Blog Lovin on my lunch break
  • Making sure my posts have published if they were scheduled in advance
  • Maintaining an active presence on social media even while I’m away
  • Keeping lists of blog topics in my notes
  • Making blog to do lists if I have a lot going on that week

The advantage of having a smartphone for blogging is not so you can be on your blog in bloggy land all day. I find that using it when needed, in a time crunch, or when you have some extra time away from home is really handy, though.

This article is written as a part of #SuperBloggerChallenge2018 conducted by  Healthwealthbridge.com,  Fashionablefoodz.com Allaboutthewoman.com and should not be re-purposed, republished or used otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. SuperBloggerChallenge2018 is not responsible for any kind of infringement caused.

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Blogging and Social media

Writing has always been an escape for me. An experience of pure joy, honesty, relief or inspiration. Ever since I was a little girl who would get carried away writing stories in school, to feel so proud when the teachers would tell me how imaginative they were, to hear them read aloud to the class as examples; writing has always been a good thing to me. A necessary and wonderful thing which shaped me into who I am.

With the technological developments that have happened since I was much younger, and sharing your writing with the world being such a normal thing now, it was kind of obvious that I’d delve into blogging I guess. And as much as I love it, even more than ever; today I wanted to talk about some of my worries about writing.

I don’t have anywhere near the audience of some people, obviously. I’m not trying to suggest I’m some bloody superstar over here. But I’m more aware of what I write about, and the people who are viewing these words all across the world. I have almost 4500 people following me on Twitter. When a new blog post goes live and I promote it on these social accounts, I can see the numbers going up. I can almost feel the eyes on my blog in those moments.

This is a fantastic and amazing thing, something that continues to inspire me. After all, it’s what I want… isn’t it?

However, as time goes on I’m seeing more and more reasons to be ‘careful’ about what I write.

I see others writing about taboo subjects, or sharing their honest opinion on an issue and being torn down for it, or being applauded and admired in the thousands.

In the blogging world, the world I’m active in all the time, this online community that grows bigger every single day; I see it happening. There are people who do something wrong, or even people who don’t; and they are called out for their words or actions. They can suddenly be the next piece of gossip, the next social media drama, the next person to be torn down and publicly ruined.

I want to write freely and never hold back, but there’s also that terror of being the next person attacked. And it really is like an attack, don’t you think? To be clear here, I’m NOT saying that those who do something wrong, or spout vile words or dangerous ideas shouldn’t be called out. I know in fact how important it is they they are, whether to create a discussion, or educate, support others, or show that we won’t stand for this shit. I know, I get why it’s important to do that. But it’s terrifying to watch if so many people get involved, and so many are attacking one person. Whether this person is wrong or not, I’ll admit this ‘pack mentality’ that we can see sometimes, really scares me. There are those who genuinely want to make a difference, or stand up for something they believe in. But there are also others; those who see this from the sidelines and jump in, eager to seem on the ‘right side’ and just dying to be involved, to feel superior and validated within this mass of people.

So yes, if someone is spreading vile and oppressing views, they should certainly not be tolerated. But I’d love each of us to really take a moment too, and think about how we deal with that. Perhaps we can create a discussion rather than jump in attacking them, perhaps talk to them privately, perhaps we can educate them in some way. Or perhaps, sometimes, it may be better if we see plenty of others already jumping in, we should stand back? If you have nothing new to add to the discussion, maybe don’t do so just to be another one in the crowd.

Today I simply wanted to share these thoughts and worries with you guys, in the hopes it might make one or two people stop and think about the power words can have. They can be used for good or bad, and they can also be taken the wrong way. It’s worth thinking about.

This article is written as a part of #SuperBloggerChallenge2018 conducted by  Healthwealthbridge.com,  Fashionablefoodz.com Allaboutthewoman.com and should not be re-purposed, republished or used otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. SuperBloggerChallenge2018 is not responsible for any kind of infringement caused.

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