VINDOLANDA Hit All the Hallmarks of Historical Fiction

I love finding great things in unexpected places.

Vindolanda is the first in a series of historical fiction novels about the Roman Empire in Britain circa 98 CE.

I found this novel when searching for books about the Celtic goddess Brigantia. Not exactly related, but what I found was a compelling fictional story that had the detailed approach of a history book. Continue reading “VINDOLANDA Hit All the Hallmarks of Historical Fiction”

2019 Marketing Goals: 3rd-Quarter Check-In

We have entered the final quarter of the year, and since I actually have a few meaningful updates to share, I wanted to check in on my marketing goals for 2019 as we hit the final stretch.

A few months ago, in my mid-year check-in, I revised my book marketing goals based on the (lack of) progress I had made to that point. Continue reading “2019 Marketing Goals: 3rd-Quarter Check-In”

THE ISLAND by S. Usher Evans – A Light Survival Adventure

I used my time at the beach last week fairly well, if I do say so. I managed to read about 85% of a book in about six days, which is a much faster clip than I usually make.

The Island by S. Usher Evans is the first in her Madion War Trilogy, which I picked up at Awesome Con in April. After talking with the author for a few minutes, I decided to buy all three books at a discount.

After finishing book one, that seems like a pretty good decision. The Island is a solid adventure story that was easy to digest on a lazy vacation. Continue reading “THE ISLAND by S. Usher Evans – A Light Survival Adventure”

Exploring the Story – World of Warcraft

I’m not a huge gamer. The most recent systems in our house are a Gamecube, which I’ve had for over 15 years — maybe 20, which is scary — and a PS2, which we just took from my in-laws’ house because my brother-in-law didn’t want it anymore.

However, there are a few games that I will always love to play. The main one, if you hadn’t guessed, is World of Warcraft, an MMORPG that first came out in 2004. I started playing in 2005, and I played off and on until about 2014.

Once again, the drums of Warcraft are beating in my heart, and I’m probably about to start playing again. There are a thousand reasons why I love this game, but the primary one is my love of exploring this world.

Continue reading “Exploring the Story – World of Warcraft”

September Write Day: Decisions, Decisions

August was yet another slow month on the writing front, but I feel like a lot happened this month. I was in Chicago for two days, which seems like several months ago, and we traveled basically every other weekend we had.

Still, I came to some interesting / pertinent decisions regarding my authorly life. Continue reading “September Write Day: Decisions, Decisions”

CLICK. by Luther M. Siler – Quick, Fun, Inter-Dimensional Action

I got Click. directly from the author after I won a contest on his site. I was the first to comment a random word from a video he posted, proving I actually watched it.

Click. is an exciting and action-packed story that’s easy to digest and hard to put down. As is typical with Siler’s stories, the dialogue is snappy and sarcastic, with one-liners and pop culture references peppered throughout.

Continue reading “CLICK. by Luther M. Siler – Quick, Fun, Inter-Dimensional Action”

An Interesting Opportunity

I got a very interesting email today from my editor. Most of our email exchanges have to do with my writing, as you might expect, but we’re old friends from high school, so sometimes we email just to catch up and ask each other why we haven’t hung out in months.

This morning, she emailed me to say she would be teaching a creative writing class this year — she teaches high school English — and she wanted to know if I would come in to talk to her kids.

Holy shit. Continue reading “An Interesting Opportunity”

Poorly Written Headlines #4

This one was a sub-headline, but I still have issues with it.

Want to learn how to write good headlines? Check this out. Perhaps it’s time to write a post about creating good sub-headlines…

What this sub-headline does right:

  • Tells us the author’s purpose for writing the book… I guess?

What this sub-headline does wrong:

  • Takes a cliche expression and makes it blander.
  • Doesn’t actually tell us anything about the book.

History repeats itself, if we ignore history we are doomed to repeat it, etc. This sub-headline is essentially those cliche phrases except worded more poorly.

We can glean from this snippet (and the headline if you saw it), that this is for a historical novel. What type of history? That’s a mystery! (Not even the headline made that clear.) Maybe this book is really a detective caper where we have to guess which historical event it’s actually talking about, giving us clues along the way, but then there’s a big twist at the end!

The sub-headline of a press release is supposed to provide those little extra details that are just too wordy for a short snappy headline.

Here’s the how Google populates the press release I sent announcing that WoEM had been published. See that smaller text beneath the main headline? That’s officially called the meta description, but for a press release, that’s where the sub-headline would populate.

My sub-headline isn’t perfect, but it provides at least a little extra information. Notice how Google truncates it after about 150 characters? That makes it even more important that you front-load that summary with information that potential readers can act on.

What could be done differently:

Just rewrite the whole thing. Replace it with a description of the book, perhaps an actual piece of advice that could be taken from this mysterious history lesson. Or maybe tell us When and Where the book could be purchased.

As it currently reads, this sub-headline is effectively wasted space.

Steve D

Building a Plot through Dialogue

Plotting the first draft of a novel can be difficult. Oftentimes, you’re not sure exactly where the story is going until you get there. Weaving together multiple characters, their micro-conflicts, and the larger plot is impossible unless you already know how the tapestry should look.

I’ve been having trouble recently with writing my first draft for The Warden of Everfeld: Legacy. Some of that has been due to travel and other things going on in life, but a big part of it has been a bit of writer’s block. Luckily, I found a way around that, at least for now. Continue reading “Building a Plot through Dialogue”