Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Book Cover of the Month! Vote now!

Vote here!  
My book cover, Elspeth, has been nominated for Cover of the Month. I'm am currently in the 2nd rounds of voting. Please vote for my cover to make it into the 3rd round please. Thank you!

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Amazon's Best Seller and my mentor

What can I say about Mary Deal? For one, she is a perfectionist and my dearest friend.
We meet a long time ago on Authornation and from then on, we've been in contact with each other ever since.

I wanted to show off her books, as they are all very well written and have received numerous awards. You can find them all on Amazon. I promise you, you won't be disappointed in any of them, for her works shows much professionalism. They are hard to put down.

It is also my reason for showing her off, due to the fact, that again, she has helped me out. I just recently contracted with a publisher she is also contracted under. She is mentoring me. A seasoned author, such as herself, I am honored. I just hope to stand up to her expectations and not mess up or if I do, pick myself back up and persevere.  I've never let anyone down, not yet, at least.

So, I now introduce you all to Mary and some bit of information about her and her books. Buy them! They are that good!     

Mary Deal is an Amazon best-selling and award-winning author of suspense/thrillers, romance, a short story collection, a writer’s reference, and self-help. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and her first feature screenplay, Sea Storm, was a Semi-Finalist in a Moondance International Film Festival competition. She is former newspaper columnist and magazine editor. Mary is currently writing the third story in her Sara Mason Mystery series.
She has traveled a great deal and has a lifetime of diverse experiences, all of which remain in memory as fodder for her fiction. A native of California’s Sacramento River Delta, where some of her stories are set, she has also lived in England, the Caribbean, Hawaii, and now resides in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is also an oil painter and photographer. Her art is used to create gorgeous personal and household products from her online galleries.  Write Any Genre

Friday, May 22, 2020

If you loved Outlander, you will love this book!

It is 1700, Loth, Scotland. Elspeth, who is now twelve, learns that she is a witch and from that day she begins her lessons on her craft, but at some point she learns about her fate as well . . . as does her Mother. They knew that a day would come, in the distant future, that she would eventually be on her own. The omens told her as did her familiar, Bram. Now, after experiencing a tragic event, she must face the world alone. A world where monster exist, but only in the minds of friends and neighbors, whose only lot in life is to seek gratification in the death of someone they friended.

Buy Elspeth    Elspeth by [Sue Mydliak]

Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Untold Purposes of Punctuation Marks

Alright, again, I know I haven't posted anything in awhile. It's been super crazy since March 17th...lockdown! Isolation! 6 feet distances! Not to mention the melting of days into other days and the sheer boredom of trying to keep busy without going stir crazy. For me though, being multi-talented I have and I mean this literally, a room full of art supplies. So, I have been feeding myself with art, because before all this nonsense, I was writing. Now, I have all the time in the world, so art became my choice of recreation if you will. What does this have to do with punctuation marks? Nothing! I'm just spewing jibber jabber.

Punctuation marks...what the stylebooks aren't telling you. I am mentoring a new, young, author and so I post stuff like this for him and for others following the path of becoming published. The thing you must know is read...read...read some more, but for goodness sake READ! Read the genre you are writing about and then when you do, just write. Everyday! Write. Set a time for writing. In a place where you won't be disturbed. A place that transcends peace. A place where your muse won't get scared coming into and taking a long vacation.

Commas are subjective. One editor says this, another says that and you go back and forth; it can be exhausting. In the end, it's up to you. Use them to manage the flow of  your sentences. Trust your instinct. It's sort of like Star Wars and being a Jedi when dealing with commas.  "Use the force." (trust your instinct.)

Semicolons - Remove them from dialogue. People don't usually talk in semicolons unless they're trying to hide something. Most of the time, a full stop (period) rather than a semicolon will do the trick.

Question Marks- These are used to show the upward inflection at the end of a sentence. When someone is coming to a conclusion rather than asking a question, use a period instead of a question mark.

Exclamation Points - Usually, they lower the status of a character who uses them all the time, since they show loss of control. In a series of commands, because of escalation, the last one might have an exclamation point, but not the first. So, you might write, "Swim faster. Hurry! but not "Swim faster! Hurry!"

Italics - Use italics to denote thoughts and quotation marks to distinguish the speakers during dialogue. Using quotation marks for thoughts confuses readers, who won't know if someone is talking or thinking.

Em Dashes - (this is my weakness) In dialogue, use an em dash to show someone getting cut off: "Come here."
"No, I - "
"I said come here!"

Ellipses (another of my favorites to use) - Use ellipses to show that someone's thoughts are trailing off:
"Come here."
"No, I . . . "
A pause. "You what?"
"Oh, sorry, I lost my train of thought."

So, there you have it. This came from my favorite magazine, Writer's Digest. It is chalk full of great information, websites just for authors, agents, publishers, everything a writer, like yourself, needs to know. 

Good luck with your writing. Don't get discouraged if your muse decides to sleep when you want to write. I put on music and that's what wakes mine up. "Happy writing!"

Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Four Ply Vampire

I’d never given much thought to dying- though I’d had my reason enough in the last few months- but even if I had, I wouldn’t have imagined it like this. Then, on top of it all, I survived. I wish I had died. The yearning, the need, the want of the one thing that will sustain my life is becoming extinct. Its texture, soft, sometimes course, but nevertheless, I crave it so much that I have dreams about piles and piles of it. Mountains of it. Such joy it gives my heart and then I wake up to my nightmare.
I stared across the long room, into the dark eyes of the hunter, and she looked pleasantly back at me. She’s beautiful. Skin ivory, soft, scented lightly with Jasmine I just want to taste her lips. At least it was a good way to die.
I knew that if I’d never gone to China, I wouldn’t be about to die now. But, terrified as I was, I couldn’t bring myself to regret the decision. When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it’s not reasonable to grieve when it comes to an end.
The hunter smiled in a friendly way as she sauntered forward to kill me.
Here I sit, half mad with hysteria, with towers of toilet paper rolls around me. Yes, that’s right, I bought out the store. No one…I mean, no one will get what my body craves…toilet paper. Its thinness, texture and light scent drive me crazy.  It was that lady in China, she did this to me. Made me a vampire of the toilet industry. Now, with this Corona virus people are hoarding everything! They all think they’re going to die, so what do they buy? My toilet paper!
I was out one night. I needed my fix. Four ply was my need this time. It’s thickness. Chewing the papery texture, having it stick to the roof of my mouth…Oh, Lord I had to have it! All of it, but it would be a battle of wits.
As I made my way to the paper aisle I could see the baskets. There were at least five of them and loaded with…my toilet paper.
“No!” I screamed and ran at the ladies. You should have seen their shocked faces as I rushed their baskets and began biting into the fleshy, plastic wrap that held them together.
I was a madman for sure, but I didn’t care. I bit into the first roll like a monkey on a cupcake. Oh, it was pure heaven. I couldn’t stop. On and on I went till I saw a fresh roll and started in on it! The crowd grew around us. No one dared to come at me. There I was a roll in each hand and taking bites out of them both as if it were my last day. Tissue was everywhere. I even scraped up the bits that fell on the floor. Every morsel was tended to with such delight.
“Grab him!” They got me. I put up a big fight though.
With a muffled voice I yelled out as best as I could, “You’ll neffer gef thefs tiffoos! Neffer!”
They locked me up. Fools. Don’t they know you can’t hold a vampire?
As I looked out my window, through the towers of my life sustaining source, I tried to remember what my life used to be like, as a human. Steak, potatoes, Sushi, fish and scores of other foods I’d eat and did I miss that? No. I mean, you don’t need to grow toilet paper. You don’t need to kill cows, pigs or goats for that matter. Toilet paper comes from trees. My brain started to reel. My mouth began to drool. I found a new food source. TREES!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Come to Life!

I go to Barnes and Nobles, not too often, which is sad, but often enough and I buy this journaling book/magazine called, Bella Grace, Life's A Beautiful Journey. It's got beautiful pictures, and thought provoking readings that get you to write.

I came across one of it's pages called, Tips for making your writing come to life. So, I thought I would share them with you.

* Throw out everything you learned about writing in school. This includes forgetting about five-paragraph essays, introductions that drag along, and long-winded sentences.

* Delete your opening paragraph. Some of the most compelling stories drop you right into the middle of them.


* Get to the point. Simple sentences are often the best way to go.


* Don't overly complicate things.

* Use your true voice. Write your story as though you are telling it to a friend. In fact, try recording it first. This adds an air of authenticity.

* Don't be afraid to make up words.

* Buy yourself a beautiful journal and use it.

* Pour your heart out onto the paper without trying to make it perfect.  You can clean it up later.

* Wait until after you are done to title your piece. Look for interesting, unique phrases in your writing to use.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Show AND Tell In Short Non-fiction

      New writers are often advised to "Show, don't tell." Many have no idea what this means.
  Mark Twin instructed: "don't report that the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream." More recently, bestseller Janet Evanovich wrote: "If your character walks out of his apartment, pulls up the collar of his coat, and goes searching through pockets for his gloves, you don't have to tell us it's freezing."
  Both Twain and Evanovich are known primarily for their fiction. When it comes to nonfiction, though, while you don't want to list everything that happened to you from birth on, there are often compelling and necessary reason you should "tell" factual elements. Here's why you might need to show and tell when writing essays-and how to strike the perfect balance.


  "Showing" can be described as painting a vivid picture of what's going on, using the kind of physical description, humor, pathos and dialogue that immediately brings readers into a scene in novels, short stores, poetry, nonfiction and on the screen.
  "Telling" is when you report facts from an unemotional distance, the way you'd share resume highlights in a job interview. This kind of narrative summary gets a bad rap because it doesn't draw readers into the pages in the same way as "showing," but still, it's a significant part of the mix.


  Even in a short personal essay, there's room to both efficiently "tell" information quickly and to "show" the important parts, as the brilliant essayist Phillip Lopate demonstrates in his book To Show and to Tell.  Showing is often more effective at the onset of a piece of nonfiction when you only have one job: to lure the reader in. Or, as Hollywood director Billy Wilder suggested in his "Rules for Screenwriters" (Found in Conversations With Wilder by Cameron Crowe): "Grab 'em by the throat and never let 'em go."


  Following these rules will ensure your essay is as completing and clear as it needs to be by helping you balance showing and telling.

1. Use past tense throughout. It's the most honest approach since the story you're writing has already happened. While in poetry, fiction and on-screen it's more common to use present tense, fewer newspapers or magazines will publish a present-tense nonfiction essay. Since it's an artsy conceit, often to make a piece feel more immediate, literary journals will sometimes publish creative nonfiction that plays with tenses. But you usually have to know the rules before you break them. For beginners, I suggest using the verb form that indicates that the action has already occurred. I also find it's easier to put everything in one tense. So instead of starting with past tense, then switching around to say, "I have always been the type to talk in my sleep," I would write, "I had always talked in my sleep." Just use past tense, which is easier to write, read and remember.

2. RECALL AS CLEARLY AS POSSIBLE. Nobody has a record of every word they spoke in the past. You don't have to say, "I remember that..." We know you remember it, that's why you're writing it. You can also cut the line, "I don't remember much, but..."Instead, add how you figured it out.

3. DON'T OVERDO DIALOGUE. Five or six lines of a conversation in a scene is sufficient for a 900-word personal essay. If you write an entire page of dialogue, that's a script.

4. DON'T START AT THE VERY BEGINNING. If I read the first line that goes, "I was born in Columbus, Ohio, the oldest of three children ..."I would stop reading.

5. BEGIN WITH BRAVADO. For example, "We met the day I replaced her." (Marie Claire) "I was married twice last summer." (The New York Times Magazine). Don't be afraid to be out there, crazy, brave, revealing and innovative. If you are using typical words that have been said many times, twist them differently. As the poet Emily Dickinson wrote, "Tell all the truth but tell it slant."

6. DON'T BOMBARD THE READER WITH FACTS. Don't overstuff the lede. In David Mamet's rules for drama, he says the audience only cares about three questions: 1) Who wants what from when? 2). What happens if they don't get it? 3) Why now? Everything else is irrelevant and can clunk up your first paragraph, rendering it boring or confusing.

7. DON'T REVEAL THE END TOO SOON. If you begin your essay, "After living through the worst divorce in the history of the world, I swore I'd never get married again, so walking down the aisle was a surprise, " you've given away too much information too fast. There's no reason to keep reading. Try something like this, "When I first saw the cute bearded man with glasses, I turned away, sure he wouldn't be interested in a 45-year old angry divorcee like me."


9. COMMIT WHOLEHEARTEDLY TO ONE STORY. In the middle of reading a personal essay, I can't stand when a writer tosses in the cliche "But that's a whole other story..." or cuts to a tangent about another character or family. Push yourself into completing this essay, telling one story as if it's the last piece you'll ever write and publish, and it won't be.

  To get your audience to read your essay from start to finish, make sure you balance show and tell throughout the entire piece. There's a lot that you need to tell your readers when crafting nonfiction and, if you show them why they should be interested, they'll be more than willto be told.

By Susan Shapiro

Book Cover of the Month! Vote now!

Vote here!    My book cover, Elspeth, has been nominated for Cover of the Month. I'm am currently in the 2nd rounds of voting. Please vo...