Do You Know the Difference between Affect and Effect?

Today’s post is provided by Grammarly and is a quiz about the difference between affect and effect. I see my clients getting these two words mixed up all the time. It’s a common mistake to make, but once you understand which word means what, you’ll be a pro at affect and effect in no time!

To first read the blog post by Grammarly on Affect vs. Effect, simply click HERE. Then, take the quiz in the post to test your knowledge!

You can also check out the video to learn the rules about the two words: 

Are You A New Author? Please Don’t Make These Silly Mistakes!

There is no denying that writing provides a creative outlet for many a person. Authoring books is a fantastic way to tell a story and share it with limitless amounts of individuals. As you know, one can read books on almost any subject. From crime thrillers to romance novels, and from autobiographies to travel guides, there is a book out there that will interest everyone.

The process of writing a book is often a long and arduous journey. Apart from dedicating time to the cause, what you write has to offer compelling reading. Many authors promote their books and get dismayed when there’s little interest in them. If you’re a new author, make sure you don’t make any of the following silly mistakes:

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Poor spelling and grammar

 

Let’s face it. Every author has their own style of writing. There’s nothing wrong with that, but what can irk many people is coming across spelling and grammar mistakes. It might not sound like a big deal to you. However, I’m here to tell you that it should!

If your first book is full of typos, your audience will find it hard to follow your story. These days, spelling and grammar checks are built into word processing software. And, there are online services like Grammarly that can help you. Make sure you use them.

Unappealing book cover

 

When a person walks into a bookstore, the design of a book cover will capture their attention. We process visual imagery first before written words. As a new author, your readers won’t be people who already know about you.

Your new entry into a particular niche topic can captivate them with stunning visuals. If you’re not a good graphic designer, pay a professional to do your artwork. After all, you wouldn’t build a house if you weren’t an expert bricklayer!

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Forgetting to create a website

 

Thanks to the digital world we live in, many of us buy the books that interest us online. We might head over to sites like Amazon to browse and buy what we want. Still, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a website dedicated to you and your books!

You can use your site as a springboard to launch new books in the future. And let’s not forget what a brilliant marketing tool your website can be. Again, it pays to use an expert web design agency for your new site. Don’t go down the DIY route if your best work looks like a website built in 1995.

Not having another person edit your work

 

You might be a brilliant proofreader. Your spelling and grammar skills may be exceptional. But, you should still get someone else to edit your work. Why?

First of all, your editing will be biased. Of course it will—you wrote the book! A fresh pair of eyes will help you to refine and improve your work until it’s ready for publication.

Second, you might not be thorough with your proofreading. That’s probably because you think your writing is okay. And, third, it will take up a lot of time. Just get someone else to do it for you.

Follow the above suggestions and you’ll have a higher chance of success. Thanks for reading my blog post today.

[post contributed for tamarhela.com]

Self-Publishing: What Makes A Book Successful?

When it comes to getting your writing out there in the public, there are many ways to go about it. One method which is gaining particular popularity in the past few years is self-publishing. In self-publishing, you have a genuine and viable way of publishing your work. What’s more, the lines are being increasingly blurred between traditional publishing and self-publishing. It is now not necessarily a more lucrative venture to go the traditional route. If you are keen to self-publish your book, then you probably want to know how exactly you can ensure that it sells. This is the main fear that many self-published authors face. After all, you of course want it to be as successful as possible. In this post, we will go through some of the main components of what makes a self-published book more likely to sell.

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Captivating Cover

 

Let’s be honest: most of the marketing here is done at the actual point of sale. The old adage of not judging a book by its cover doesn’t actually apply when it comes to books themselves. After all, we all do it – you pick it up, check the cover and decide based on that. To that end, you need to ensure that your book has a cover which captivates and fascinates immediately. To achieve that, you might want to consider brushing up on your graphic design skills. Then, using software like Photoshop Illustrator, you can really work on designing a cover which sells. For training in Illustrator, see https://www.trainingconnection.com/illustrator-training.php.

 

Original Concept

Of course, it would be cynical to say that the actual work had nothing to do with the book’s success. It does, of course. For your self-published book to be successful, you need to ensure that the actual concept is original and fascinating. After all, originality is usually what sells the best. The trick here is to learn how to draw the line. You don’t want to do what everyone else is doing, because you will get lost in it all. However, if you go out on a limb too much, then you might suffer from being misunderstood. If you can find the balance between the two, your book will probably do pretty well. For more on developing a good concept, see http://jillcorcoranliteraryagency.com/what-makes-a-book-sell/.

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Strong Writing

This one should go without saying, but it needs repeating as it is so vital. To sell your self-published book, you need to make sure that the actual writing is as polished and strong as possible. Too many authors rush into publishing before they have even properly proofread their writing. It is far preferable to spend a good amount of time on ensuring your writing is as good as can be. Only then should you even consider publishing it, in any form. Remember that when you go down this route, you don’t have an editor. You need to be your own editor, so make sure that you are strict with yourself. Otherwise, your work might just not cut it. Get these three elements right, however, and all should go to plan.

[post contributed for tamarhela.com]

Keeping It Fresh: Advice for the Mid-career Writer by Janet Elizabeth Henderson

bw THIS ONE BLOG TOUR BANNER RECKLES copy

Welcome to the blog tour for my special guest, Janet Elizabeth Henderson. She’s been a guest before, and I always love having her on my blog. This time, rather than an interview, I’ve asked her to share some writing wisdom for those of us who have been in the writing game for a while. Check out her advice below, and be sure to read all the way to the end so you can read all about her new book: Reckless.


There are a lot of fiction writing advice books out there. Most of them focus on teaching the basics of the craft and guiding you on how to find your voice. There are very few that concentrate on what to do once you have the basics down. I think this lack of balance reflects a deeper problem within the world of fiction writing—a lot of writers assume that once they’ve found their personal style and understand the basics there’s nothing else to learn.

They’re wrong.

If you don’t want your writing to stagnate… If you don’t want to write the same book over and over… Then you have to challenge yourself in every new piece of work you write. Think of the process as mining. You can dig down a little, find something interesting and then stay at that depth forever as you widen the same hole outwards. Or, you can go deeper and find something more precious. Maybe even find something that no one has ever found before. And yes, digging deeper is harder. But it’s worth it.

So, if you’re a mid-career writer and you want to dig deeper, how do you go about doing that? You could try some of the following:

Get out of your character comfort zone

Challenge yourself to write a character unlike any you’ve ever written before. If your speciality is alpha men, write the weakling—but do it in a way that makes him lovable, desirable and magnetic. (Be careful he doesn’t morph into your usual character type throughout the book. Keep him true to himself.) If you write great submissive women, try writing about a strong, leader-type woman. Get into the head of your character, changing your language and adapting your style to suit the character’s voice.

Make story, not plot, your priority

When we first start out, we cling to the formulas for plotting as though they are lifelines. The problem with this is that sometimes the flow of the story can become mutated or get lost to accommodate the structure you feel it must fit. Instead of following a pattern for your book, focus on the story. Story is the natural development of a tale which meets the criteria of your fictional world and the needs of your character. Plot is a series of events which follow a set structure. Do you see the difference?

Try not to think about whether your fiction fits accepted norms, but rather whether the story flows or not. Ask yourself: is this is the story your characters need to tell? Does it make logical sense within the frame of the world you’ve created? When you read something written by a natural storyteller, you often can’t see a structure at all. It’s buried underneath the very real dilemmas of the characters. It flows with a natural rhythm that suits the world the writer has set up. And it always surprises the reader.

Do one thing in each piece of work that you haven’t done before

With each new book, try to do something new and do it well. If you’ve always focused on the internal drama of your characters, write a scene where everyone has to deal with an external drama. If your last book was full of action, make this one full of emotion instead. If your last book flitted all over the world, set this one in a single room for the duration. Do something hard that will make you think deeper for every single scene in your story.

Never go with your first idea

I learned this one in art college! Always brainstorm your story ideas. Keep asking “what if?” until you hit an angle that you wouldn’t have come across otherwise. This will keep your stories fresh and give greater depth to your writing. The first few ideas we have are usually pretty obvious. Dig deeper. Find the idea that’s going to surprise you and your reader.

Critique your own work

There is a difference between having a critique and being a critic. Being a critic is often a negative thing; staging a critique is a productive event. The difference is that a critic often compares your work to the work of those around you, whereas a critique asks questions of the work itself to make you consider it on a deeper level.

Have a critique of your work by asking questions of it and not being afraid of the answers. Ask things like: “Is this truly in character or am I trying to bend the hero to fit the plot?” and “What other outcomes are possible from this set of circumstances?”

Always ask yourself why you’ve chosen something and whether there is a better, more unusual choice to be had. Make “what if?” your mantra. What if the plot took a different direction? What if the character did something else? What if there was another person in this scene? What if the setting was different? “What if?” is a question that will help you mine deeper into your work.

Okay, so that’s five things I try to do with each new book. I hope, if you give it a go, that you’ll let me know how it works out for you. And if you have some suggestions to add, all the better—I’m always looking to improve my writing!


Celebrate the release of Reckless

by Janet Elizabeth Henderson!

Follow the tour and enter to win great prizes!

2 grand prize winners will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

2 runner-ups will receive an e-copy of choice from Janet’s backlist!

Click HERE to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Visit all the blogs participating in the tour for reviews, excerpts, guest posts and more chances to win!

07/23/2016

Romance Junkies

Splashes Into Books

True Revue Book Blog

Carrie’s Book Reviews

07/24/2016

Kitty’s Book Spot!

Deluged with Books Cafe

Those Crazy Book Chicks

Books and Bindings

She Hearts Books

What Is That Book About

Just Books

Reese’s Review

Nicole’s Book Musings

07/25/2016

It’s All About The Romance

07/26/2016

Indie Authors, Books, and More

I am, Indeed

07/27/2016

Tamar Hela

Reviews From The Heart

Catherine Mede

07/28/2016

Swept Away By Romance

07/29/2016

Happily Ever Chapter

The Power of Three Readers

Loves 2 Read Romance

We So Nerdy

07/30/2016

Fiona Reads and FoodSpots

Splashes Into Books

Lynn’s Romance Enthusiasm

Joyfully Reviewed


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About Reckless

Synopsis:

The new London office of Benson Security hasn’t even opened its doors yet and already it’s neck deep in its first case…

If the mission doesn’t kill him, his sexy partner just might.

Dimitri Raast and Megan Donaldson have a common enemy—the head of an organisation that specializes in human trafficking and sexual slavery.

They have similar motivation—Dimitri’s sister was taken by the organisation, and Megan’s sister is threatened by it.

They have the same goal—eliminate their enemy and save their sisters.

Given they have so much in common, you would think working together would be a piece of cake.

You would be wrong.

While Dimitri brings skills and experience from years as a US Army Ranger to their partnership, Megan brings a background in failed career choices and an ability to cause trouble wherever she goes. Yet, even with so much at stake, Dimitri can’t resist Megan’s particular brand of crazy.

She’s wild, she’s sexy and she’s fearless. An irresistible combination for a man who lives his life completely in control. Now, after almost a year with one all-consuming focus, Dimitri finds himself torn between rescuing his sister and protecting the woman he wants—from herself.

Before she gets them both killed.

Available at: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | B&N


Excerpt:

They were meeting Johnny Rotten in a dark alley. Of course they were meeting a guy called Johnny Rotten in a dark alley. Megan rolled her eyes. Obviously Johnny went to the TV movie school of how to be a bad guy.

“You stay here.” Dimitri pointed at a dumpster. Yeah. A dumpster. She half expected some guy with a camera to shout cut and make them start again.

“You don’t mean in the dumpster, right?” Because—eew!

“No. Beside it. In the dark.” He didn’t even try to disguise that he was losing patience. “Don’t move, don’t make a sound, don’t interrupt.”

Blah, blah, blah, let the big boys play. She was so tired of hearing the same old tune. It was time to change the radio station.

“Right,” Dimitri said. “I’m going to drive round and come in from the other end.”

“Why can’t I just wait in the car? It’s cold and it stinks here.”

“Because…” He stretched the word out. “You’re supposed to be my hostage. I can’t just let you hang out in the car.”

“I can pretend to be drugged.”

“No. Too dangerous. He might spot you, know who you are and that Rudi wants you. Then what would stop him deciding to eliminate me and take you to Rudi himself?”

She stamped her feet to get her blood circulating before the chill removed her toes. “Why didn’t you just take me back to the office?”

“You’re my backup.” There was a silent ‘idiot’ attached to that sentence, she just knew it.

“The backup that hides in dumpsters?”

“The backup that phones for help if it looks like things are going south.”

Megan blushed, grateful he couldn’t see it in the dark. “So, I need my phone?”

He put his hands on his hips and looked skyward for a moment. “Where is it?”

“Car.” She gave him what she hoped was an apologetic smile.

He stomped off, cursing under his breath and came back a few minutes later with the phone. “Sorted now?”

Megan nodded. It probably wasn’t the best time to tell him she really needed to use the bathroom. She could hold it. How long did it take to have a covert meeting in an alley anyway?

She gave him a thumbs up and watched him march back to the car. Leaving her alone in a stinky, dark alley. Alone and not thinking about how good Dimitri’s lips felt against hers. Nope. She wasn’t thinking about that at all. She was a professional—nearly. She had a job to do. She backed into the shadows and tried to become invisible. Ninja Megan. She could do it. It was all about the power of the mind. She closed her eyes and took a few calming breaths.

That’s when her stomach rumbled. Her hand smacked flat on it as she bit her lip. Maybe all that fried food wasn’t such a great idea after all. Not that she would ever admit that to Dimitri. She was still mad at the man. Sure she’d been the first to say they weren’t in a relationship, but he didn’t have to agree so enthusiastically. He’d sounded affronted. As though she was the last person on earth he’d consider dating. It was insulting. Her stomach made a strange bubbling sound as she saw Dimitri’s SUV pull up at the other end of the alley. He got out and stood under the yellow glow of the street lamp. Waiting. Alert. Moody.

Megan’s stomach rumbled again. Loudly. This wasn’t good. So much for not making a sound. Her own body was working against her. She crouched down in an attempt to dull the noise, and hoped it worked. She closed her eyes, tried to calm her stomach and think thoughts that made her invisible.

That’s when she farted.

It wasn’t silent.

Megan dropped her head to her knees. If the bad guys didn’t get her, she’d die of humiliation.

And then her stomach rumbled again.

© 2016 Janet Elizabeth Henderson


About Janet Elizabeth Henderson:

I grew up in Scotland, but now I’m living in New Zealand – married to a Dutch man whom I met in America. (It can get a little confusing in my household!) When I’m not living in my head, I’m a mother to two tiny kids, three pet sheep, three miniature horses, three alpacas, one dog, two cats, several chickens and an escape artist goat.

5 random things about me:

  1. I accidentally mooned a crowd at a Bolivian wedding.

  2. I’ve been chased by a gang of baboons. And I mean gang. They were organised and vicious. All that was missing was their leather jackets and tattoos!

  3. I wrote my first novel when I was 22. It was a cross between Star Wars, Monsters Inc. and Tinkerbelle. Funnily enough, no one wanted to publish it. Odd, that…

  4. I was a portrait artist on the streets of Amsterdam for a time.

  5. I worked night shift as a security guard at Stirling Castle in Scotland while I was in art college. The castle was on a terrorist hit-list back then. To defend it they gave me a flashlight, a two-way radio that only worked one-way and made me wear a polyester A-line skirt…

If you’d like to sign up for my newsletter, which happens sporadically – usually when books are being released – then you’ll find a form on my website. I hope you enjoy my books. Happy reading!

 

Find out more: Facebook / Website / Twitter / Goodreads

 

Freelance Writing: Tips For Beginners

Whether you’re starting a home business or traveling the world, freelance writing can be a fantastic career to start. As well as helping you financially, it can provide you with a creative outlet where you can share your ideas and help others. Almost anyone with writing talent can do it; all you need is a laptop and a wifi connection. From magazine articles to blog posts, there are countless writing opportunities just waiting to be ceased. But with ever increasing competition from other writers and so many options to choose from, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. So to help you relax and start your writing career in the best way possible, follow these tips for beginners.

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Find your passions

It’s always far easier to write about subjects that you are passionate about, rather than ones you have little interest in. Choosing to write a piece about something you dislike, just because it pays well is not a good tact. You’ll find that you procrastinate throughout, and every word will be a struggle. Knowing what you like writing about and what you don’t will help you narrow down your potential job opportunities. This will help you feel more in control and less overwhelmed. It will also help you find your niche within the market. Write a list of subjects that you are interested in. It could be anything from eco-living to graphic design. This should give you a clear indication of what you should be writing about.

Get some experience

Unless you’ve had a career in writing or journalism before, it’s unlikely you have a wealth of writing experience to draw from. But that shouldn’t discourage you. Many blogs, small magazines, and journals will accept work from writers with little experience and training. Bloggers in particular always need fresh content ideas. This work will not always be paid, but it could give you the experience you need. While also helping you to improve your writing and editing skills. It will also provide some insight into what freelance writing entails and whether it’s the right career choice for you. To get you started, do a google search or use this website to find guest blogging opportunities.

Take a writing class

It’s no secret that you will face immense competition from other freelance writers from around the world. So it’s important that you make yourself stand out with impressive work that is compelling to read. One of the best ways to do this is by attending a writing class. This is again, particularly important if you’ve got no experience. These classes can help you improve your skills, connect with other writers and find your preferred style of writing. You can also gain feedback on your work which will help you develop into a more competent writer all round. Look online to find a suitable writing course or visit your local library.

These tips should help you start to build your confidence, both in yourself and your writing abilities. If you’re willing to put the time and the hard work into it, there is no reason why you can’t make a lucrative career out of your writing.

[post contributed for tamarhela.com]