Monthly Archives: November 2014

Debbie Mumford Release: TALES OF TOMORROW

I’m thrilled to announce that WDM Publishing has released a new SPUN YARNS collection: TALES OF TOMORROW!

by Debbie Mumford
Audience: Science Fiction | Short Story Collection

From science fiction to the edge of fantasy, this collection of five short stories includes, two “right around the corner” tales (“Wakinyan’s Valley” and “Beneath and Beyond”), one far flung space odyssey (“Astromancer”), and two stories of future families (“Izzie” and “Spinning”).

Buy Now: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

missign in acti… I mean NaNo

It seems like we lost at least one of our members to NaNoWriMo or some other disease like that. Thus, I’m jumping in — oh no, it’s my turn after all. Since I’m doing NaNo myself, I’m not entirely sure what to talk about. It seems most of the words I’m familiar with have drained into my current writing project. Writing 50,000 words in one moth is tedious if they have to make sense at the end. I’m sure many a secretary will be able to write much more than that, but keep in mind that most participants have a full time job on top of this.

So why then do we participate in this craziness? Why do some of us get so absorbed that they forget to feed their kids or shovel the dirt out of the house? It is because (pick your answer) we’re crazy, the community is incredibly supportive, we need to finish the current project and were missing the drive, everyone does it, it’s fun, of any other reason we can come up with to avoid laundry, cooking, cleaning and a 9-5 job. We also might be doing it for no apparent reason at all.

So, if this blog is a little bumpy during Novembers, you’ll know that at least some of us gave in to our yearly dose of craziness. Be gentle with us. After all, we’ll reward you with more releases as soon as the mess we made during NaNo is cleaned u.. I mean revised. Thanks for understanding.

Hug an Author — Write a Review!

The great thing about independent publishing is that there’s an opportunity for anyone to publish a book. But with so many new books getting published all the time, it’s hard for indie authors to get our books to stand out. The first step is to make sure that our books are as good as we can possibly make them, spending months or even years polishing every sentence. But once that wonderful book is out in the world, how do we get anyone to notice it?

The best way is old-fashioned word-of-mouth. Someone reads our book and they enjoy it, so they tell a friend, who gets interested and decides to read the book, too. With the Internet, this can happen even faster, because you can recommend a book and have a lot of people all around the world see that recommendation. Book distributors like Amazon and social sites like Goodreads have made this process even easier by offering simple tools for anyone to rate and review books. Now, it’s not just critics who have a platform for voicing their opinions about the latest novels. You can read reviews written by readers just like you to help find books that you could enjoy. But it’s been estimated that only 1-5% of all readers write any reviews.

When you write a review, you help the author by drawing attention to their book. You also help other readers find the book and figure out if it’s for them. If you say, for example, “I loved how the cat helped solved the mystery!”, then cat-lovers will know to pick the the book up–and people who don’t like cats may realize that it’s not for them. Reviews are subjective, but they still help describe the book and inform potential readers.

There are guides out there about how to write a good review, but you don’t need to be an expert on anything to write a good review. Just describe what you liked or didn’t like in the story that you read. Often the most helpful reviews are a mix of both positive and negative comments. Remember to add details. Don’t just say “I loved it!” or “I hated it!”, describe why you had that reaction.

Sometimes, you may not love the book you just read. It’s okay to say so. (It’s not okay to attack the author personally, but you’re allowed to be honest about the book itself.) Some people don’t feel comfortable posting negative reviews, and that’s okay, too. But as authors, it’s our job to accept some criticism, and if we listen to all our feedback (good or bad), that can help us to grow in our storytelling abilities. And don’t be scared off by horror stories of authors who lashed out at a negative review–it has happened, but it’s rare (and you should report any author who harasses you).

In the end, our books succeed because of the readers who love them. Writing a review is a nice way to thank the author for the hard work they did so you would enjoy the story. Reviews have been compared to giving a hug to an author, and that’s how I feel about them, too. I love to write for myself, but I publish my stories because I know people are entertained by them. And every review I get reminds me that somewhere out there, I made someone smile.

November Means NaNo

…and I don’t mean tiny technology!

November means NaNoWriMo for many writers. If you’re participating, congratulations and good luck! If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here. You might find you want to play along this year and join the fun for real next year!

I’m not a registered participant this year, but I’ve won the challenge several times in the past. My Deb Logan novel, Faery Unexpected, came out of a NaNo experience, as did my Sorcha’s Children novel Dragons’ Choice. It’s a great program and a fabulous way to kick-start a daily writing habit.

If you’re doing the challenge, you’re firmly into your second week, and you may find yourself flailing a bit. “I don’t want to write today” or “I don’t know know what happens next” are frequent complaints as you move toward the middle of the month. In fact, you may be reading this post in silent protest, a rationalization (“I’m finding tips about NaNo”) as a form of procrastination.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad you’re here, but here are a few thoughts that may help you disconnect from the Internet and return to your work-in-progress.

First, don’t wait for inspiration. Just start typing and have faith that your muse will show up for work. Much as I love the rush of adrenaline and words that come from an inspired writing session, I’ve discovered that when I read back through my finished draft, I can’t tell which passages were inspired and which were harder than slogging uphill in thigh-deep snow. Get the words on the page. You can revise later, but you can’t edit what you haven’t written.

Not sure where your story should go from here? Try some of these tips:

  • Whatever is happening, escalate the challenges your characters are facing. Do that by:
    • Deepening the conflict — make it more personal to the character. If your detective is searching for a rapist, let him discover that the victim lives in the same dorm, on the same floor, as the detective’s daughter. Is his little girl on the rapist’s radar?
    • Broadening the conflict — give the conflict a wider scope. Maybe your detective is searching for a missing girl and discovers the MO repeated across the city, perhaps across the state. How many girls are missing? Are they still alive? Is this a serial killer or perhaps a white slaver ring? How wide do the ripples of this crime extend?
  • You’ve got conflict (Yay!), now be sure you’re varying it! Don’t have your character fight the same battle over and over again, just against different foes. He was in a death-defying battle against a goblin, then he fought an orc and narrowly escaped death, next he was attacked by troll — yawn. Been there. Done that. Here’s a list of types of conflict. See how many you can pack into that middle you ‘re trying not to let sag!
    • Man vs Nature — Mother Earth can present some pretty extreme challenges!
    • Man vs Man — yep, we all understand that one!
    • Man vs Society — Hunger Games, anyone?
    • Man vs Self — Is your hero a tortured soul?
    • Man vs God — Talk about a powerful adversary…
    • Romance — lots of potential conflict there–enough for its own genre, but that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate a little romantic conflict into your police procedural.
  • Avoid quick rescues — this is one I struggle with. I like my characters, but I know I need to toss them into conflict. So I do it. I throw them to the lions … and then immediately pull them out of harm’s way! *whew* Conflict generated, but danger avoided. Bad writer, Debbie! Don’t rescue that character, make the lions hungrier!

Whatever happens, you’ve embarked on a challenging, but rewarding, journey! Go for the win and keep those words flowing. At the very least, you’ll arrive in December with lots of ideas and a habit of writing every day. No matter what 😀

More Fantasy Classics

Fantasy.  It’s what I gobbled up as a child and young adult.  I still love to read fantasy.  Much of the current fantasy trends dark to very dark and I prefer something with a more upbeat ending.  I like the good guys and gals to win and the bad ones to get their just deserves.  Hardships may abound, but not excessive blood and gore.  The classic Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper is just my cup of tea.   This features the age old struggle between Light and Dark with children as the main characters fighting the battles for the sake of the entire world. These classic stories are deeply rooted in the rich heritage of Arthurian legend and Celtic mythology. Susan Cooper depicts a world in which the forces of evil, however terrifying, are ultimately seen as hollow and valueless in comparison to the forces of good. This is a five book series, written in the 1980s, set in Wales and England, but each book can stand alone.  If one happens to pick up a book out of order, they still make an excellent story.  I recommend that you read them in order:

1.  Over Sea, Under Stone

2. The Dark is Rising

3. Greenwitch

4. The Gray King

5. Silver on the Tree

There are six children as the main characters in these books, but the last book is the only one with all six in it.

The Dark is Rising was a Newbery Medal Honor winner.  The Gray King was a Newbery Medal Winner.  They are easily found in print.  In fact, in addition to the usual book outlets, the Folio Society has a set bound in buckram and The Easton Press has a matched set for sale.  If you have never read them, do yourself a favor and buy a set.  I recommend them for fifth grade through adult.

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