Dracula, Master of the Blood Suckers

Happy Halloween! Let's jump in the wayback machine and visit May 26, 1897, the day the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker went on sale in London.

Abraham "Bram" Stoker was an Irish author better known in his day as the personal assistant of actor Henry Irving and the business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, owned by the actor.

Although Stoker traveled a great deal, often visiting the United States which he particularly liked, he never visited Transylvania where his famous novel was set.

Instead, the English village of Whitby, Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire, and the crypts of St. Michan's Church in Dublin were part of what inspired his novel. Another part of his inspiration were dark stories told Armin Vambery, a Hungarian writer and traveler.

After meeting Vambery, Stoker spent years researching European folklore and mythological stories of vampires.

The Form of the Novel

Most people have never read the original Dracula novel which was written as a collection of diary entries, telegrams, letters, ship's logs, and newspaper clippings thus making what is called an epistolary novel.

Stoker's original 541-page manuscript of the work was thought to be lost. In the early 1980's, the manuscript was found in a barn in northwestern Pennsylvania. The typed manuscript held editing corrections and on the title page, handwritten, was the title THE UN-DEAD. The author's name appeared at the bottom as Bram Stoker. The title was changed at the last minute prior to publication to Dracula.

Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, purchased the manuscript. No price was given but suffice it to say that Allen is a billionaire. He's never put the manuscript on public display that I know of. By the way, a signed first edition of the book sold in the UK in 2013 for approximately $46,000 USD.

Dracula for Each Generation

If Stoker only knew how his vampire tale has morphed with each generation.

Instead of a Transylvanian vampire and English victims, we've had Lestat, the unforgettable vampire, and his sidekicks from the brain of Anne Rice; the comic Dracula played by George Hamilton for huge laughs in the movie Love At First Bite; Angel, the vampire with a soul on two television shows, both with a huge fan base; and a seemingly endless number of vampires in romance novels.

Indeed, the vampire in romance seems to have been a bridge over which the undead crossed to the other literary genres. And it all began with Stoker who had published stories for over 20 years before Dracula saw the light of day, uh, perhaps not the best cliche since some vampire mythology calls for vamps bursting into flame in sunlight.

Popular From the Get-Go

London was primed for Stoker's novel because the horror genre, created almost entirely from European folk tales and legends, was very popular. The Gothic movement in the 18th century strengthened the genre so that it carried into the 19th century. Notable examples are Frankenstein, 1818, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1886.

Takeaway Truth

The vampire novel wears many labels today: alternative reality, urban contemporary, paranormal, and others. Whatever it's called, the tale provides fresh inspiration to each new generation which then puts its own spin on the master of the undead.

Thursday3Some: Voodoo on Bayou Lafonte by Susan C. Muller

My friend Susan Muller, author of Voodoo on Bayou Lafonte, is joining me for coffee today. Grab your favorite drink and let's chat about Susan's new book which sounds like an exciting romantic suspense. I can't wait to read it.

About Susan C. Muller

Susan C. Muller is a fourth generation Texan. She attended Stephen F. Austin State University where she majored in Business Administration but studied creative writing on the side.

She lives in Spring, Texas, and has two children and four grandchildren.

When not writing, Susan can be found doing volunteer work at a local hospital. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, snorkeling and taking long walks with her dog.

Find Susan C. Muller Online

Website: www.susancmuller.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SusanCMuller
Twitter: @susancmuller

About Voodoo on Bayou Lafonte

A frantic phone call leads Detective Remy Steinberg racing through the night and into the bayous of Louisiana searching for his kidnapped daughter. With time ticking away, he faces drug dealers and voodoo priests, yet the only two things that actually frighten him are the swamp he’s hated since childhood, and the ex-wife he’s never stopped loving.

1. When did you write Voodoo on Bayou Lafonte?

I wrote Voodoo on Bayou Lafonte during late summer and fall of last year. It took me about four months of writing time, plus editing. Before I started, I did quite a bit of research on voodoo over the Internet and read books set in Louisiana. But the most fun research was watching old, voodoo-themed movies. The hardest part was combining actual voodoo practices with superstition into an accurate but exciting novel.

2. What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

Voodoo on Bayou Lafonte is the third book in my Occult Series. The hero, Remy Steinberg, was introduced in the first two books. Readers already knew that Remy was half Jewish, half Cajun, born in New Jersey, and raised in Louisiana. They also knew he had more than one ex-wife and a child. My first problem was to redeem Remy as he had been painted as a womanizer. To do that, I felt the story needed to center around him saving his ex-wife and child.

Since the age and gender of his child had never been mentioned, I played with the idea of having him team up with his son to rescue his ex-wife. But if I wanted to re-kindle a lost romance, and I did, I needed him to spend time with the ex-wife. That would give each of them a chance to see how the other had grown and matured. It would also leave plenty of room for tension. And what could tug on heart-strings more than a missing daughter? A daughter abducted by a voodoo cult!

3. Why do readers buy Voodoo on Bayou Lafonte?

I hope they buy it because they enjoyed the first two books in the series. Each book is a stand-alone novel, and can be read in any order. But characters from each book appear in the other books. Hopefully, the reader cares about those characters and wants to know their story.

Louisiana seems to be an inserting subject with its bayous and local customs, and the study of voodoo is always titillating. This book offers equal parts of romance, suspense, and voodoo magic. A little something for everyone.

Buy Voodoo on Bayou Lafonte

Kindle Edition

Takeaway Truth

The weekend approaches. You'll need a good post-Halloween book to read. Grab one today.

Who Is Cinderella Blue?

My scheduled guest for today was unavoidably detained so I'm stepping in to cover for her.

Cinderella Blue

Love means never having to say: "You're under arrest."

I love that line because I always laughed at the tagline from the old movie Love Story.

Allow me to tell you about my next romantic comedy, Cinderella Blue, Book 2 of San Antone Two-Step.

If you read Nobody's Cinderella, Book 1 of San Antone Two-Step, you met Darcy's rough, tough, no-nonsense brother Detective Bruce Benton.

In Cinderella Blue, you'll meet Andie Luft, the woman who is more than a match for Benton.

Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Completing This Book

Well, it's not really funny but you have to laugh to keep from crying sometimes. This book was previously published under the title Most Wanted. I started expanding and updating it more than a year ago, and all hell broke loose.

Now, every time I return to the the book, something happens. I've become positively superstitious. Okay, not really, but I am wary each time I open the book file.

A case in point. I thought I'd finally finish it last week so it would be available on October 31, but a family medical emergency cropped up. Another delay. Again, this week, I have the end in sight. I'm almost scared to say it will be available by next Friday, November 7. (Just pretend I didn't say that.)

Price Drop

Today, I'm dropping the price on Nobody's Cinderella to 99cents. The price will remain there until after the holidays because Nobody's Cinderella is being included in the upcoming Romance Box Set, Christmas on Main Street, 12 full-length romance novels for only 99cents.

Excerpt, Cinderella Blue

Copyright © 2014 by Joan Reeves

Heat shimmered in waves above the pavement as Bruce Benton crossed the street. The photography studio, flower shop, and jewelers created one-stop shopping for women looking to drop a few grand on a pretentious wedding. Through the glass storefront of the photography studio, Bruce saw one such woman as he passed.

A moment later he stopped abruptly, turned, and retraced his steps, casually glancing at the window again. The woman he'd seen wore a wedding dress. The gun in her right hand didn't go with her wedding gown at all.

He drew his Glock and eased the door open. A bell over the door jingled as he slipped inside. The woman whirled. She held her gun in the same shooter's stance as he. He couldn’t help but notice that she was a real looker. "Take it easy, lady. Maybe the photographer took some lousy pictures of you. That's no reason to shoot him."

The blonde grinned. "Next thing I know you'll be thinking I'm robbing the place."

"It's hard to imagine why a sweet thing like you would have a gun."

"Sweet thing?" Irritation chased away the grin. "Lower your gun. Lay it on the floor."

"I'm afraid I can't do that. You see I'm a--"

Everything happened at once. A man rushed from behind her, slammed into her, and sent her flying into Bruce. They went down in a tangle of arms, legs, and miles of white satin.

She came up snarling.

Bruce leaped up, gun in hand. "Freeze!" He was the one grinning now. "I always wanted to say that. Just like a TV cop. I see you lost your gun, sweet thing."

He got his cuffs out and stepped toward her. With a snarl, she whirled. All he saw was a white blur. All he felt was agony in his hand. Then a roundhouse kick to his solar plexus cut off his gasp of pain, and he hit the floor. Wheezing, he tried to rise.

"Uh uh, sweet thing. You stay right where you are."

The blonde, smiling brightly, stood over him with her gun--and his--pointed at him.

Ah, crap. He'd never live this down.


Takeaway Truth

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse at my next contemporary romance. Look for it at most book sellers next week.

10 Hashtag Tips

Why bother using a hashtag, a keyword phrase used in Twitter conversations that is written without spaces between words and is preceded by a pound (#) sign, i.e. #writinghacks?

The hashtag brings conversations on the same topic under a single thread to make it convenient for those interested in that topic to find all the information about it.

(This article previously appeared in Writing Hacks, my free subscription newsletter for writers. Subscribe today if you want to read articles like this as soon as they are published.)

The use of hashtags isn't just for Twitter. You can use them on other micro-blogging platforms, like Google+, identi.ca, Instagram, and even Facebook.

Benefits

Hashtags can tie conversations together from social media users in different countries. Just click the click a hashtag in a message, and you'll see the list of posts using the same one.

Hashtags also allow an audience to interact live during events. I'm sure you've seen the host of a TV show exhorting you to "Tweet hashtag such and such. They're useful for TV shows, conferences, political events, and other kinds of events.

You can find lists of popular hashtags at Hashtags.org. If you use HootSuite, a third-party downloadable Twitter app, you can use it to monitor hashtag activity too.

What To Do Next: 10 Tips

1. Find out if there's already a hashtag you can use by searching Search.Twitter.com for a list of those used in the past. You'll find out if the hashtag you find is currently active. If you find an existing one that's active, it might be better to use one that also hits the target audience but not used as frequently.

2. If there is no existing hashtag, you can register one. Go to Hashtags.org and sign up for a free account. In the right sidebar you'll see HASHTAGS verified. Click ADD YOUR HASHTAG DEFINITION and fill out the form. Be sure and proofread so you don't have a typo in your desired hashtag.

3. Be smart when creating a hashtag to register. The best hashtags are those that are concise, direct to the point, and universally relatable. Avoid the words love or hate or a word. Those hashtags do not fare well with the powers that be. Also avoid sensationalism. You don't want to unwittingly create a social or political furor because of a hashtag. Think it through carefully.

4. Be careful how you use a hashtag. Twitter has a policy on this of course.

"The following usages could cause your Twitter account to be filtered from search, or even suspended:

a) Adding one or more topic/hashtag to an unrelated tweet in an attempt to gain attention in search.

b) Repeatedly tweeting the same topic/hashtag without adding value to the conversation in an attempt to get the topic trending/trending higher. (The general rule is: If you Retweet something, remove the existing hashtag and add a similar one.)

5. Be specific when you use a hashtag. This is an example given on a hashtags.org article I read: if you’re a huge Game of Thrones fan, the hashtag #gameofthrones is better than #HBOshows.

6. Don't use too many hashtags. Two hashtags is the general rule. Too many hashtags is annoying to see and will result in your tweet not being read. Many will Unfollow you if your tweets are like this.

7. Design the best hashtag which is composed of a single word or a few letters. You should keep the hashtag under 6 characters according to Twitter experts. This is hard to do. All my registered hashtags – #writinghacks, #wordplay, #thursday3some, #slingwords, #writtenwisdom – are more than 6 characters with the longest #writtenwisdom weighing in at 13 characters and the shortest #wordplay weighing in at 8 characters. Sometimes you have to work with what you've got.

8. When creating a hashtag, use only numbers and letters in your keyword. You may use an underscore but I personally hate any hashtag or URL with an underscore. They're too hard to miss when the entire link becomes underscored. I've noticed a recent trend of people creating Twitter handles with an underscore at the end. Please don't do this. It's hard to pick up that final underscore.)

9. Learn what is not allowed in hashtags:

a) beginning the hashtag with a number
b) hashtags composed of all numbers
c) special characters like “!, $, %, ^, &, *, +, ”
d) hyphens or dashes.

10. Be careful using slang in hashtags because slang words can mean something different in another country. Effective hashtags are relatable across cultures in other words it means the same thing in France that it means in the U.S.

Takeaway Truth

When you learn the social media tricks, your efforts will be more effective and your time better spent.

Branding Quick Tip: What To Brand

Branding Quick Tip
You want to brand your name, not the name of a book, because hopefully you will publish several books in your career. So you should have a website that is MarySmith.com NOT the BookTitle.com.

Hopefully, you plan to publish more books so your website needs to be your name. While it's perfectly fine to set up a Facebook page for a book, it's best to make your dot com be your name.

Same with a blog. Use your name. Your goal is to always increase name recognition. That's what sells books. Always use your name in your website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.

Takeaway Truth

Your name is your brand which should be synonymous with the kind of book you write.

Good Life Advice: Slow Down

Last year I made the decision to unplug on the weekends. No tech unless it was fun tech.

Since a year has passed, I thought I'd give you an update on how this has worked out.

Update

The results have been mixed. Circumstances have found me drifting back into the habit of email, Twitter, etc. on weekends despite my good intentions simply because my writing time has been commandeered by tons of life crap that keeps on hitting the fan.

I've been trying to finish Cinderella Blue since last year when we started moving. Then remodeling. Then moving into the remodeled home. Then there are the many family medical crises that also show no sign of stopping.

In other words, I'm living in a state of perpetual overwhelm that makes me feel as if I'm always short of time which is why I slipped back into the habit of working on the weekend.

Take Stock

This morning, I stepped out onto the porch and took a deep breath of the cool morning air. With my morning cup of coffee in hand, I sat there and watched the layers of mist floating above the meadow. I could feel the tension ease.

Slow Down To Move Forward

Viggo Mortensen said: "One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren't enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.

Takeaway Truth

That's a nice reminder of what I was attempting with my weekend unplugging. I'm going to slow down and move forward.

What about you?

Thursday3Some: Dream Doctor by J. J. DiBenedetto

Grab a cup of coffee, make yourself comfortable, and join me in welcoming J.J. DiBenedetto, paranormal author of Dream Doctor, to SlingWords.

About J.J. (James) Dibenedetto

Born in Yonkers, New York, J.J. currently resides in Arlington, Virginia, with his beautiful wife and a cat he is sure has taken full advantage of its nine lives.

(When it comes to the cat, he often wonders, but then again it might just be his imagination.)

J.J. enjoys suspending disbelief with suspenseful paranormal tales that are a perfect blend of reality meets fantasy. His popular Dream Series continues to delight readers with each and every exciting installment.

Find J.J. DiBenedetto Online

Website: http://www.writingdreams.net
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jjdibenedetto
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Dream-Series/107699179403603
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/349874-j-j-dibenedetto
Amazon Author Page: http://viewAuthor.at/JJDiBenedetto

About Dream Doctor

Between adjusting to life as a newlywed and trying to survive the first month of medical school, Sara Alderson has a lot on her plate. She definitely doesn’t need to start visiting other people’s dreams again. Unfortunately for her, it’s happening anyway. 

Every night, she sees a different person and a different dream. But every dreamer has one thing in common: they all hate Dr. Morris, the least popular professor in the medical school, and they’re all dreaming about seeing him – or making him – dead. 

Once again, Sara finds herself in the role of unwilling witness to a murder before it happens. This time, there are too many suspects to count, and it doesn’t help matters that she hates Dr. Morris every bit as much as any of his would-be murderers.

1. When did you write Dream Doctor?

I wrote it in the fall/winter of 2012, as soon as I finished the first book in the series, Dream Student. I had a lot of “momentum,” I suppose, and I just couldn’t stop writing, so I just went on ahead with the sequel (I had no idea it would turn into a series with eight books and counting!)

2. What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

There were two things, actually. First was simply following up on the end of Dream Student (Sara’s going to go to medical school, and her boyfriend is going to propose to her). I thought, why not follow that up and see how Sara handles being a newlywed, and a first-year med student. The second idea was reversing the mystery of the first book. Instead of knowing who the killer was, but having to puzzle out where he was and how to stop him, this time Sara would have a more traditional mystery challenge – several suspects, all of whom are dreaming about killing the same person. And it’s up to Sara to figure out which one is actually trying to do it, before they succeed at it.

3. Why do readers buy Dream Doctor?

Because Dream Doctor, and all the books in the series, really, are a mix of romance, suspense, mystery and the challenges of everyday life, all tied together with a paranormal twist. There’s a little something for everyone in these books, and I’d like to think that all the heart I’ve put into them shows through, too!

Buy Dream Doctor

Amazon Kindle

Apple iBooks

Audible Audiobook

Nook

Smashwords

Takeaway Truth

Want some inexpensive entertainment this weekend? Get a good book and get ready for fun.

Meet Award-Winning Author Kathryn Jane

Please welcome Award-winning Author Kathryn Jane to SlingWords.

About Kathryn Jane

Kathryn loves the ocean, cats, horses, hot heroes, a good mystery, a good belly laugh, all kinds of music, the great outdoors, soft sheets, the color turquoise, dolphins, crispy mornings and brilliant sunsets. "And books," she says. "I devour books."

Find Kathryn Jane Online

Website: http://kathrynjane.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kathryn.jane.921
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Author_Kat_Jane

Kathryn Jane Tackles the Dirty Dozen

1. In which genre do you write and why that particular genre?

Romantic Suspense/paranormal – because I love a good love story and a mystery I can sink my teeth into, I think Extra-sensory perception makes perfect sense, and I believe in happy endings.

2. What's your most recent book and what's it about?

Daring to Love is about a woman who uses nifty empathetic abilities to find missing children, a man who’s able to extract information from women’s minds if he gets them in the right mood, and a mysterious child who’s disappeared. Did I mention the woman had kicked the man to the curb and didn’t want to play his games anymore? Oh yes, it’s a happy ending, but, boy howdy, it’s a complicated journey.

3. As an author, what can readers expect when they read one of your books?

Strong women with soft centers, a good story, interesting twists and turns, surprises, an animal or two, and a happy ending. My Intrepid Women Series, is about kickass women and the men who dare to love them.

4. How did you "become" an author? For instance, was there a moment when you said: "I think I'll write a book."

I always knew I’d write a book. It was just a matter of taking the time and getting it done. Once I had, and I’d experienced the thrill, I was addicted, and many more books were born.

5. What's the best thing about being an author?

Spending my days with imaginary friends I adore… in what would pass for pajamas.

6. What's the worst thing about being an author?

Getting out of the chair after long hours at the keyboard and having my bones and muscles creaking and cracking.

7. Do you have editions of your books available other than ebook editions?

Yep, all my books are available in print.

8. Do you listen to audio books? If so, what device do you use?

Occasionally, when I’m with a friend of mine, we listen to her books on her iPhone.

9. What device do you use to read ebooks?

A Kindle and a Kobo (I’m Canadian).

10. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Put your butt in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard and write. Even if it’s drivel. It takes time and practice just like anything else if you want to get good at it.

11. If you could tell readers one thing, what would it be?

I love you! And there is no sweeter moment than getting an email or Facebook message or review from someone who likes my books!

12. What is your big dream (or goal) as a writer?

The New York Times best seller list.

Buy Daring to Love

A woman who reads hearts… A man who reads minds… And a voice from the darkness forcing them together... again.

Kindle Edition

Print Edition from Amazon

Kobo Edition

Takeaway Truth

Have you read Kathryn Jane before? If not, now is your chance. Grab a book today.

5 More Tips to Grow Your Video Audience

Happy Friday! A while back I wrote Grow Your Video Audience. Today I have more tips on how to grow your Video Audience.

Quick update on the other how-to video posts I've written which can all be found on the right sidebar under Something To Talk About/Video.

5 More Tips to Grow Your Video Audience

1. Push content.

Yep. Just like blogging, fresh content rules. Produce videos as often as you can. If you're thinking about going into video, then sit down and draw up some kind of production schedule so you can publish a new video on a fairly regular basis. Be smart and try to get several in the pipeline so you can upload often. Every week is considered optimal, but most of us can't do that so aim for something doable.

2. Master keyword usage.

Keywords are king--just like on webpages. Make lists of targeted keywords that describe your video. Use the keywords in the title or headline and description. When you upload the video, be sure and use the keywords to tag it.

3. Collect LIKEs.

Yes, it's nice to be popular and LIKEd. An algorithm based on number of views your video gets plus how many likes versus dislikes as well as other factors determine the video rank. So don't be shy. Ask viewers to like your video. (Please go and toss some LIKE on my videos.)

4. Spread your video around.

Embed your video every place you possibly can--Facebook, Twitter, other social sites, your blog, your website, your friends' websites and social pages if they will allow you, etc. The more places you embed your video, the better because that means more people will see it, like it, and keep that ball rolling.

5. Talk about your videos.

Yes, spread the news about your videos. Tell others. Offer advice. Blog about it. Guest blog about it. Enter your videos in contests.

Takeaway Truth

I invite you to visit my YouTube channel and LIKE the book trailers and other "writing life" videos that I've created (when I should have been writing).

Please Subscribe to my channel so you'll be notified when a new video is produced (and I'll be able to rationalize that my time wasn't wasted).

Thursday3Some: Snow the Vampire Slayer by Rebekah R. Ganiere

Settle down with your morning cup of java and welcome bestselling author Rebekah R. Ganiere to SlingWords.

About Rebekah R. Ganiere

Rebekah has always been a creative soul and a prolific writer. She is the author of Dead Awakenings, her debut novel released in January 2014 that became a bestseller.

That novel was followed by the award-winning Red the Were Hunter, the first in her Farielle Series. Her trilogy The Society will be released in November by Kensington's Lyrical Press.

Rebekah is the VP of Communications of the FFP&P Chapter of RWA as well as a member of her local RWA Chapter. In her spare time when she isn't writing, you can find her moderating or teaching on SavvyAuthors.com or hanging out with her husband and four children -- and her English Bulldog, rabbit, two bearded dragons, and two tortoises. (The escaped snake has yet to be found.)

Find Rebekah R. Ganiere Online

Website: http://rebekahganiere.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/vampwerezombie
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/VampiresWerewolvesZombies
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/VampWereZombie
Book Trailers: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZavprxez_3O2EAz35nVp9Q

About Snow the Vampire Slayer

Lady Snow Gwyn is tired of playing "mother" to her 7 Vampire Slaying brothers. For the past 2 years, she's yearned to be out there fighting at their side as they hunt for bloodsuckers in the black of night. Snow is as good a fighter as any man, but she wasn't called to be a Slayer. A mere formality in her book.

Prince Sageren, Son of Lothar has spent the last 50 years in exile, awaiting the day when he can finally avenge his family and take back his throne. Barely existing, he's forced to face his inner demons and the monster he once was, compelling him to vow to never drink from humans again. A simple enough task--until he crosses paths with a human who makes his fangs ache to drain her.

When Snow runs into Prince Sage on a late night trip to the woods, she's torn between the urge to kill him and the desire to succumb to the feeling he stirs within her. And when Snow's life is threatened by the same evil that murdered his family, Prince Sage must enlist the aid of Snow's brothers to not only help him save her life but also to regain his rightful place as King of the Vampires.

If Sage can keep the Slayers from killing him first.

1. When did you write Snow the Vampire Slayer?

When I first came up with the idea of the series. I always write my titles first. They help me to solidify the idea of the book.

2. What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

I don't know really. I'd decided to do a series of twisted fairy tales and when it came to Snow's story I knew I wanted to do vampires and since she had seven brothers I thought it would be interesting if they were Vampire Slayers, but she falls for a vampire.

3. Why do readers buy Snow the Vampire Slayer?

Because they love the idea of paranormal mixed with fairy tales. Everyone loves fairy tales and people especially love new renditions of them. I think the fact that this is the second book in a series of Fantasy Romances that are based in the same world, people like that the stories all weaving together.

Buy Snow the Vampire Slayer

All Romance eBooks

Amazon -- Paperback Edition

Amazon -- Kindle Edition

Barnes & Noble -- Paperback Edition

Kobo eBook

Takeaway Truth

A little vacation can always be found between the covers of a book. Buy one today.

Meet Science Fiction Romance Author Veronica Scott

I'm happy to welcome Science Fiction/Paranormal Romance author Veronica Scott to SlingWords.

About Veronica Scott

Veronica grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories. She is a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award winner and a two-time recipient of the Science Fiction Romance Galaxy Award. She also has a NASA Exceptional Service Medal but must hasten to add the honor was not for her romantic fiction.

Find Veronica Scott Online

Blog: http://veronicascott.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Veronica-Scott/177217415659637?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/vscotttheauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5428500.Veronica_Scott

Veronica Scott Tackles the Dirty Dozen

1. In which genre do you write and why that particular genre?

I write science fiction romances and also a paranormal romance series set in ancient Egypt. Since we’re talking about the science fiction today, I enjoy the idea that the stories can take place literally anywhere in the universe and nothing is off the table or too far out to include. There can be aliens, cyborgs, robots, spaceships, time travel – all kinds of exciting story elements.

2. What's your most recent book and what's it about?

My most recent novel is Mission to Mahjundar.

A Special Forces soldier of the future and a blind princess from an alien planet must work together to accomplish his mission and get safely off the planet against all odds -- including falling in love!

3. As an author, what can readers expect when they read one of your books?

Lots of adventure, a futuristic setting, a Special Forces hero, and a strong heroine who takes an equal part in the danger, the action and the problem-solving. Of course there’s a growing attraction between them as the situation unfolds and they begin to know each other’s capabilities, and there will be a Happily Ever After ending because I’m writing romance. And I personally love an HEA when I’m reading!

4. How did you "become" an author? For instance, was there a moment when you said: "I think I'll write a book."

I’ve always written, completing my first “novel” at the age of seven. Just born with a vivid imagination, I guess. But it wasn’t until both of my daughters were grown and had moved out on their own that I really began to write seriously, with an eye to being published. Prior to that, I took pleasure in writing the stories down for myself, but I wasn’t going through any editing process or submitting to publishers. There were no deadlines!

5. What's the best thing about being an author?

I take pleasure in sharing my stories and I love hearing from readers that they’ve enjoyed one of my books, or really related to one of my characters. Entertaining people as a storyteller, taking them into a completely different world for the span of time they’re reading my novel, is the best thing I can imagine.

6. What's the worst thing about being an author?

It’s hard for me to think of a negative, because I love writing. Probably the biggest challenge I face is too many story ideas and never enough time. I can only write so fast. I love being on social media, blogging and tweeting, and I write the SciFi Encounters column for USA Today Happily Ever After blog. I have to watch out that I don’t give all my time to these various fun pursuits that relate to my writing but which aren’t actually getting new words down on the pages of a Work In Progress.

7. Do you have editions of your books available other than ebook editions?

My science fiction romances are available as ebooks and POD paperbacks. I also have audiobooks of Escape From Zulaire and Wreck of the Nebula Dream, which were narrated for me by wonderful voice actors. We’ll be doing the audiobook of this latest novel early next year.

8. Do you listen to audio books? If so, what device do you use?

I listen to them occasionally, usually on my laptop.

9. What device do you use to read ebooks?

I have a Kindle Fire.

10. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Write every day! No excuses. Setting aside the time to add even 100 new words a day will get you to a completed book faster than if you don’t write at all. Get those words on the page and go back and revise/edit later. But if you don’t write, there’ll be nothing to edit.

11. If you could tell readers one thing, what would it be?

Thank you for all the support and the kind words. I do get requests from readers for sequels to certain books, which is always such a high compliment in my mind. I’m mulling ideas over, I promise.

12. What is your big dream (or goal) as a writer?

I’d love to be able to write full time, of course. And who doesn’t want to see their books hitting the big best seller lists? I’d like to be one of those authors where people talk about your characters and can’t wait for the next book to come out. Of course my ultimate dream would be to have a movie made from one of my stories but while I’m waiting for Hollywood to call, I think I’ll just keep writing.

Buy Mission to Mahjundar

All Romance eBooks

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Takeaway Truth

Have you tried the Science Fiction Romance genre? If not, why not give it a try with a book by award-winning author Veronica Scott.

Need Ideas? Read A Newspaper

Newspapers are dying. The ones that still exist have shrunk to a size more akin to a tabloid publication than a daily newspaper.

Yet, I still subscribe to a couple of newspapers because they give something online periodicals don't.

Genesis of Ideas

Every writer has an Imagination File. Even though I keep ideas in a computer file, I also have a plain old shoebox where I drop things I've ripped from newspapers or magazines. I guess that is a habit I picked up from my mom and my grandfather. Both had the habit of clipping things out that interested them.

These clippings make me realize how much people miss by reading their news only online. I urge you to start reading your local paper. Pick up those counter-top newspapers and skim them too. You never know from where a great idea may come.

Why Read Locally

Online publications mainly cover broad topics of general interest to a worldwide audience. There's nothing wrong with this kind of coverage, but you won't find the kind of stories on Yahoo or MSN home pages that tickle your imagination.

When I read local papers, I'm always reminded of an old television police drama my dad liked called The Naked City. (Of course, in the South everyone called it Nekkid City.). The salacious, at that time, name isn't what I remember most. It was the voiceover that began every episode: "There are 8 million stories in the naked city."

That's what local periodicals give you: tons of stories that expose the foibles and people of your city and/or state. I went back through my inventory of articles and books I've written to prove my point and show from where my ideas came. Here are a few of the clippings from past years that inspired me.

Inspiration Struck

From the Franklin Sun, the small weekly paper from the parish where my mom lived: An old, apparently used at some point, coffin was found in an abandoned house that was being torn down.

From a Sugar Land paper: First African American principal, Billy J. Baines, now 77, was honored by the Fort Bend Independent School District by having a middle school named for him.

From Houston Chronicle: Robert Dale Howell put to death. He was the 18th inmate (when this article came out) to die at Huntsville. He was 50; no public campaign was ever waged on his behalf to save him. (It seems the "abolish death penalty" groups aren't impartial in their support. They seem to go for the high-profile cases, and this guy had no PR at all attached to him at trial or afterward. He had killed before and got away with it. Apparently, the only reason his defense could come up with for why he should escape the needle for having killed his crack dealers in a crack house was that "yes, he killed them, but he didn't rob them afterward.")

From Houston Chronicle: Work crew finds skull near terminal site. Anthropologist called in. (Interesting. This was in an area that is now Port of Houston property on a dead end road. There was a serial killer working the area just to the west and south of there. Several bodies were found in League City from the 1980s on. No one was ever arrested. I remember reading about all those unidentified bodies they found in the field near League City and wondering why no reference was ever made to a serial killer. Finally, about twenty years later, there was a big splash in the Houston Chronicle about serial killers working the Texas area, and it was mentioned. Several documentaries since then have also featured this.)

From Bingo Gossip -- oh, this one is good -- a counter-top newspaper picked up at a BBQ joint in Luling, TX. Paraphrased letter to the advice columnist Nosy:

Dear Nosy, My husband and I are newlyweds married 3 months ago when I found out I was pregnant. I met him after he'd broken up with his girlfriend who is also pregnant. She's getting ready to have her baby. He wants to borrow money from me to go spend 2 weeks with her. I understand he doesn't want to miss the birth of his child because he missed the first one when he was in jail. I love him but I feel uncertain about all this. What should I do?

Personal Ads

Then there are the personal ads in big city newspapers. Those are a goldmine for writers! I have a clipping from a newspaper that I actually found stuck in a used book I bought several years ago.

J.E.P. ALBUQUERQUE, CHA-CHA-CHA Lessons Needed. Hurry, he is dying. Call Julia @ (555)123-4567.


Oh, man! Doesn't your imagination just go wild with plot scenarios for that ad? Yes, the fake phone number was in the ad. I've finally sketched out a plot based on a personal ad.

Interestingly enough, the genesis of the idea for this blog post was the current audio book darling hubby and I are listening to: Personal by Lee Child, a Jack Reacher novel, which begins with Reacher reading a personal ad in a military newspaper.

Takeaway Truth

If you're short of ideas, just read a few newspapers -- especially the personal ads!

6 Skills Define Successful Authors

I've read enough unpublished manuscripts and talked to enough wannabe authors over the years that I can draw certain conclusions about what separates a successful author from those not so successful.

Hardly any writer is an overnight success. Rarely does a writer sell a first manuscript. Unfortunately, in the indie writing world, one often sees what can only be considered first manuscripts being published every day of the week. Some writers are so desperate to make the leap to publication that they don't take a considered approach to publishing.

In my humble opinion, a writer must possess...

6 Skills That Define Successful Authors

1. Basic grammar skills.

Your English teachers were right. Good grammar and spelling are necessary even in this world of Grammatick, SpellCheck, and other apps that do the same.

2. A learned set of narrative skills.

That's plotting, characterization, viewpoint, scene and sequel, stimulus/response transactions, etc. If you don't know the full extent of narrative skills necessary, do yourself a favor and study so you can learn what you need to know.

3. The desire to tell stories.

Every successful author is at heart a storyteller.

4. Talent.

I think if you have the desire to do something, you already possess the talent to follow through. I don't think God gives you the desire to do something without giving you an innate talent for that, but you may need to add the other skills to that innate desire.

5. Business sense.

You need to have business savvy in order to know when you need professional assistance (proofreader, formatter, content editor, agent, etc.). You also need business sense to know -- or learn -- how to network, market, promote, take care of the money aspects of your career, and balance everything so you keep writing.

6. Persistence.

You need to know how to stay the course - to keep plugging away when sales are slow or submissions get rejected.

All successful authors have these characteristics.

Takeaway Truth

Analyze yourself in relation to these characteristics. Is there room for improvement? If so, target the skills you lack and begin work on them immediately.

Be Bold

Backstory

Darling hubby and I have been visiting churches in our area since moving into our townhouse. We're looking for a church that retains the best of tradition but incorporates a contemporary means of expression to make that tradition relevant in today's world thus bringing out the best of both.

I think we found it in the church we attended this morning which had a young married couple as co-pastors, a unique situation we had not encountered before.

Stats Show Culture

I was particularly struck by the pastor's sermon about prayer. He gave some interesting statistics about prayer in America. Apparently, there are more people praying for their favorite sports team to win than there are praying for the leaders of this country. That sounds very similar to the percentage of people who vote for reality shows versus those who vote in government elections. Sad, isn't it?

The pastor gave 4 "rules." Prayer should:

1. Recognize God.
2. Be rooted in God's word.
3. Relinquish control.
4. Reach out in boldness.

How Does This Apply to Today's Blog Post?

Yes, the above applies to communicating with God, but #3 and #4 can also be applied to life, particularly your entrepreneurial life, especially if you're a writer. I'll go so far as to say that Relinquish Control and Reach Out in Boldness make a pretty good blueprint for happiness as a writer.

Relinquish Control

You're heard: "Let go and let God." That's what #3 meant, but Relinquish Control in the writing/publishing world is really good advice too.

Once you write something and put it out into the world, let go of it. It's gone. You can't change its fate unless you un-publish it. Emotionally, relinquish the book. You can't control whether it gets good reviews or bad reviews. You can't control whether it sells or doesn't sell.

You can even say Amen if you wish, because Amen means "so be it." The book is out there. So be it. Let go and move on to a new book.

Reach Out in Boldness

Shakespeare wrote: "Boldness be my friend."

So often writers are timid about what they do. They're uncertain of their talent and skill. Many times they're scared to submit to an editor or agent, scared to even self-publish for fear of bad reviews and/or no sales. Scared to guest blog or to take other opportunities to talk about their books, talents, or skills.

Make boldness your friend. The road to success is filled with potholes, and many of those potholes are filled with shy introverts who were too afraid to call attention to themselves and their books. Even introverts can be successful authors if they will be bold enough to create their own way to call attention to their books.

Most introverts I've known -- me included -- never have a problem talking and laughing with friends and family. That's the key to marketing and promotion for introverts. Get it down to a personal, friendly level where you view marketing as sharing information and your own personal excitement about writing with friends. (Maybe I should write a book about this? *g*)

One of my favorite quotes is from W. H. Murray: "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."

Takeaway Truth

Dream it. Do it. Begin it. Let go and be bold.

5 Ways To Educate & Entertain Blog Readers

... the magic of WORDS
Having a blog is your chance to show yourself to readers:  your personality, writing style, use of language, and your overall life attitude.

You want to entertain and also educate, and you want to do it in a way that makes readers come back for more. Try these strategies.

1. Write with a compelling voice that makes the reader feel as if he/she is having a great conversation with you.

That way, they read the words, not skim, because they're afraid they'll miss something entertaining.

2. Punch up the copy with something unexpected.

Quote something that's entertaining and also pertains to the subject matter of a post whether it's Shakespeare or Jon Bon Jovi. In fact, Bon Jovi might be the best pick because it's unexpected. Toss in a humorous quotation, something that will pull a grin from the reader.

3. Use numbered lists.

Readers love lists because psychologically they feel as if they're getting step by step help in an area -- like this post on blog writing. Even pros will read lists because they're always looking for new ways to do something better. Sometimes, a numbered list really knocks the old ball over the fence!

4. Use metaphors and similes that speak to the audience's cultural experiences. 

In #3 above, I used a baseball metaphor because I love baseball, and it's playoff time. Sports allusions are great for male readers, but female readers understand them too. So don't be afraid to use sports, literary, political, or whatever-floats-your-boat metaphors and similes.

5. Share the love by referencing what others have done.

Don't be afraid to refer to what others have written on the same subject or to send your readers to another blogger. Acknowledge the body of work that has already been created. Give links if possible. Honor your fellow writers. Share the love.

Remember

Different writers present the same information in different ways. Maybe you've read 100 articles on how to write captivating blog posts, but this one, number 101, is the one where you really "get it." So don't be afraid to tackle a subject that's been done over and over because the way you write it may be the way that speaks to someone who really is looking for an answer.

Takeaway Truth

Grow a loyal audience for your prose by aiming for the best content you can deliver.

Flashlight App Warning: Read & Heed

If you have a flashlight app on your cell phone, watch this ASAP!

(Embedded Link: http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/special-report-bret-baier/blog/2014/10/01/cybersecurity-threat-could-be-lurking-your-phone)

A friend sent me this a few minutes ago. The video features Gary Miliefsky, SnoopWall CEO, and founding member of the US Department of Homeland Security. Miliefsky who has advised 2 White House Administrations on Cybersecurity announced a privacy breach posed by smartphone flashlight apps.

Takeaway Truth

Do yourself a favor and follow through on this because your personal information may be at risk.

Thursday3Some: Her Best Shot by Shannyn Schroeder

Say good morning to Shannyn Shroeder whose novel Her Best Shot is in the Thursday3Some Spotlight.

About Shannyn Shroeder

Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Leary Series, Contemporary Romances centered around a large Irish-American family in Chicago, and the new Hot & Nerdy Series about 3 nerdy friends and their last spring break. (That's the hot new genre: New Adult!)

When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies.

Find Shannyn Schroeder Online

Website: http://www.shannynschroeder.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6575201.Shannyn_Schroeder
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SSchroeder_
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shannyn-Schroeder/536050196443173
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/seschroeder/

Her Best Shot

With college graduation looming, 3 childhood friends vow to make spring break their last blast of pure fun. But at least one of them didn’t count on such incredible heat…
Layla Sharpe is definitely more math ninja than bikini babe, and her future has been calculated with razor precision. Convinced to let loose over spring break, Layla is finally ready to party—until her car breaks down halfway to her destination, leaving her stranded in Georgia with a mouthwateringly hot pool shark. She knows more than enough about angles to learn the game, but this week she wants him to appreciate her curves…

Phin Marks has never met a girl like Layla. She’s more Star Wars geek than seductress, and when he offers her a place to stay while her car is in the shop, he’s counting on the attraction between them to set the nights ablaze, no strings attached. But every moment he spends with Layla makes it harder to let her go. Can he persuade her to gamble in the most dangerous way possible…on forever?


When did you write Her Best Shot?

I started Her Best Shot in January of 2013. I wrote a proposal for it, along with the first three chapters. While in between other projects in February, I returned to Her Best Shot and finished it so my agent could send it out on submission.

What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

It all started with my agent. She suggested that I try writing a novella. At first I thought she was crazy. Novellas are short. I don’t know how to do that. But then I got to thinking about how much fun it would be to write about a geek girl. Once the idea hit, it grew and developed.

Why do readers buy Her Best Shot?

Readers buy Her Best Shot because it’s a short, light read. The novella can stand alone, and it acts as a good introduction to me as an author for those people who haven’t read me yet. It’s labeled New Adult because of the age of the characters (Layla is in her last year of college), but it is a contemporary romance. Plus, I have a math geek paired with a gypsy pool shark–what more could you ask for?

Buy Her Best Shot

Kindle Edition of Her Best Shot

Nook Edition of Her Best Shot
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iTunes Books Edition of Her Best Shot

Kobo Edition of Her Best Shot
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Takeaway Truth

A little vacation can always be found between the covers of a book. Buy one today.

Meet New Adult Author Susan Sofayov

I'm pleased to welcome a new friend to SlingWords. Grab your coffee and say hello to Susan Sofayov, author of Defective.

About Susan Sofayov

Susan lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband, three kids, and the most hated dog in the neighborhood. She has a BA in English Literature and Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh and an MA in Teaching from Chatham University.

Find Susan Sofayov Online

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Defectiveanovel
Twitter: @susan_sofayov
Website: defectivethenovel.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8163117.Susan_Sofayov

Susan Sofayov Tackles Dirty Dozen!

1. In which genre do you write and why that particular genre?

I’m all over the board on genre. Defective is a contemporary New Adult novel. My work in progress is women’s fiction, and I’ve been playing around with a middle grade fantasy novel.

2. What's your most recent book and what's it about?

In this New Adult Romance, law student Maggie Hovis battles an enemy she cannot escape—her own brain. Saddled with the label, drama queen, by her family, she's always been challenged when it comes to controlling her moods. On the verge of losing her fiancĂ©, she takes the drastic step of entering therapy and receives the shocking diagnosis of Bipolar II Disorder.

Thus begins Maggie's journey to discover the secrets hidden in her family tree. Will Maggie's search for truth of the past lead her into fear and insecurity? Will she get Sam back or is Nick, a rekindled old flame, her future? Or will mental illness stop any man from loving her?

3. As an author, what can readers expect when they read one of your books?

Readers should expect to make friends with the characters and be ready to experience the emotional gamut—from smiles to tears.

4. How did you "become" an author? For instance, was there a moment when you said: "I think I'll write a book."

To ward off cabin fever during the blizzard of 2010, I signed up for an online writing class and ended up writing a novel. Prior to that the only thing I ever wrote were grant proposals.

5. What's the best thing about being an author?

I love hearing reactions from readers. Defective is the story of a young woman, learning to live with a mental illness. Many readers have expressed gaining an insight into a family member. A few recognized their own symptoms and sought treatment. I received an email from a reader saying her daughter refused to get help for five years. The daughter read my book and agreed to enter treatment—wow, the feeling was beyond amazing.

6. What's the worst thing about being an author?

That’s an easy question—marketing. I hate marketing. It takes too much time away from writing.

7. Do you have editions of your books available other than ebook editions?

Yes, Defective is available in print and ebook.

8. Do you listen to audio books? If so, what device do you use?

I don’t listen to audio books.

9. What device do you use to read ebooks?

Kindle

10. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Get involved with a critique group or online writing community. And conferences are worth every dime.

11. If you could tell readers one thing, what would it be?

Thank you for reading my book.

12. What is your big dream (or goal) as a writer?

To write books that stick in the reader's head.

Buy Defective by Susan Sofayov

Paperback from Amazon OR Kindle eBook from Amazon Kindle

Paperback from Barnes & Noble OR Nook eBook from Barnes & Noble

eBook from KoboBooks

eBook from Smashwords

Takeaway Truth

New Adult is the hot new genre. Have you read one yet? Grab one for the weekend.

Review: Women Heroes of World War I by Kathryn J. Atwood

Having read and reviewed Kathryn J. Atwood's earlier book, Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue (Women of Action), I was particularly eager to read her latest book in the Women of Action series.

Book Details

Women Heroes of World War I
16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics
by Kathryn J. Atwood
Hardcover: 246 pages
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Copyright: Standard Print Hardcover, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-61374-686-8

I'm happy to say that Ms. Atwood has once again written a book that should be on every required reading list there is for men and women.

Today's girls and young women, inundated with media messages that imply sex is a woman's only power, need to know that women also have power conferred by their intelligence, bravery, and the will to prevail -- just as men do.

Strong women aren't some latter-day phenomenon or something seen only in kick-ass contemporary movies. The women in this book lived heroic lives that put some men to shame. When male battalions refused to attack on command, Maria Bochkareva and her Russian Women's Battalion of Death rushed from the trenches to attack the German fortifications despite a deadly barrage of bullets.

Story Within the Story

Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics (Women of Action) is remarkable in that it gives a portrait of strong-willed, independent-thinking women in an era when women just weren't viewed that way by most of the world. In fact, for the women of action depicted in this book had to fight for the right to serve their respective countries.

These women couldn't even vote in their respective countries. In England, British women over the age of 30 gained the right to vote in 1918, Dutch women in 1919, and American women in 1920. Most European countries passed women's suffrage after World War I, but some delayed until World War II rolled around. France finally passed women's suffrage in 1944.

Book Bonus

This book isn't just the story of gallant women who fought but also a concise and clearly presented history of the first war that involved most of the world. Contemporary people know little about World War I, but this war is still important and relevant to our world because it set the stage for the conflicts that we face in today's world.

Most of the people in Europe saw the war as a chance to prove their patriotism. They saw it as their chance for a great adventure, and they wanted to grab the opportunity quickly because everyone thought the war would be over in a few months time. Everyone was enthusiastic about it and inspired to make their contribution to winning the war.

Sadly, they were all wrong. As Atwood writes: "It was one generation's great adventure-turned-nightmare that became the most cataclysmic event of the century, a war that destroyed the ideas of the 19th century and thrust the world violently into the 20th."

From August 1914 to June 1919 when the Treaty of Versailles was signed, ending the global war, the 10 million military personnel and 7 million civilians were killed, making it one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. Why was this war so deadly? Because it was the first war to use chemical weapons -- chlorine and mustard gas; flame throwers, automatic rifles, and aerial warfare among other firsts.

Poignant and Profound

These stories are emotional and stirring. Without hesitation, these women never took no for an answer. When Helena Gleichen offered her services as an X-ray expert to the British War Office, they turned her away. When she took her equipment, bought with her own funds, to France, the French officers listened and told her they would use her. Instead, they stole her equipment after she demonstrated how to use it.

Helena refused to take that lying down. She personally chased them down and got her equipment back. A friend suggested she try the Italians. She did, and they welcomed her and her skill with open arms.

Then there was Dr. Elsie Inglis who went to Serbia. There is a saying there about Elsie: "In Scotland they made her a doctor; in Serbia, we would have made her a saint."

I defy you to read this and not feel the sting of tears in your eyes. All these women earned their place in history and deserve to be remembered not only for their contribution to the war effort but also for opening the door that led to women fulfilling their potential, for instance, working in professions that heretofore had been only for men, voting, and so much more.

Buy Women Heroes of World War I

Hardcover Edition: Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics (Women of Action)

Kindle Edition: Women Heroes of World War I

Takeaway Truth

Honor these amazing 16 women by reading this book and getting your daughters and sons to read it too.

7 Ways to Refresh Motivation

We're all familiar with the Refresh button on a web browser. You hit Refresh in order for a web page to update, to show new information, or to reflect changes made.

Wouldn't it be nice if we had a Refresh button for life? When we feel stuck or stagnant, we would just hit the Refresh button and surge forward.

While we're at it, let's get a Refresh button to help us out when our creative energy is low. {sigh} Sadly, there isn't a Refresh button for either life or creativity. It's up to us to climb off those plateaus or out of those valleys of despair.

We're in the last quarter of this year. If your motivation for achievement is lagging, here are some ways to get back on the road to success.

7 Strategies to Refresh Your Motivation

1. Use the Just Do It principle. Regardless of your mood, take action -- one small step in the direction of where you want to go.

You can't wait to be in a good mood in order to write a book, paint the living room, or clean out the garage. Chances are you have a job in the outside world. You go to that job whether you're happy or sad. Often you go whether you're healthy or sick.

Goal achievement must command the same dedication. If your garden needs weeding, then take an action to achieve that no matter how small the action. Do it even if you're depressed. If you want to write a book, then write every day even if it's only 100 words. Set a quota and meet it even if you're sick, depressed, homesick, or ecstatically happy.

2. Grow an attitude of belief in yourself.

If you find yourself constantly thinking negative, defeating thoughts then do some inner exploration to figure out why you like to beat yourself up. Lack of confidence in one's own abilities is a killer. Face your fears in order to get beyond them. Write out a script that changes your self-talk from sabotaging to empowering.

3. Hang around with people who are charged up. Charged up with creativity, excitement, and optimism for life itself. their excitement doesn't even have to be about the same thing that excites you, but it helps more if it is. Let their general exuberance for life rub off on you.

4. Stay away from people who are black holes of negativity. These people are only too happy and quick to tell you why you can't get what you want. These black holes of the universe will suck the life, ambition, and motivation right out of you.

5. Be very specific about what you want. You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything so figure out what it is you really want. Is it to be a mystery novelist, a crime writer, a botanist, a dancer, or what? You have to know what you want in order to go after it.

6. Make a list of strategies to help you through the challenging times. Write down what you're going to do when you're sick and need to work toward your goal. What will you do when you're depressed and need to take action to achieve your goal? What will you do when you're overworked and underpaid, and you can't seem to get to first base to achieve your goal?

7. Adopt the U.S. Marine Corps motto: "Improvise, overcome, adapt." With every obstacle that crops up or every setback, resolve to use the situation to your best benefit. Figure out how you can improvise, overcome, adapt.

Takeaway Truth

Refresh using these strategies or some of your own. If you've got a good strategy for boosting your motivation or creativity, leave a comment and tell us about it.

I love you, wonderful Readers! I'm showing the love this month. Leave a comment on any post this month, with email address (write it out, not as a hot link), and be entered to win the October Prize.

Want another entry? Subscribe to either of my newsletters (WordPlay for Readers: http://eepurl.com/Yk61n and/or Writing Hacks for Writers: http://eepurl.com/fX7JT) and get another entry.

After the end of the month, I'll put the names of all newsletter subscribers and blog commentators into a hat. The winning name drawn will be notified by email and listed on the blog and newsletters.

October Prize

A copy of my new book Cinderella Blue, Book 2 of San Antone Two-Step, to be published this month, and a Starbucks Gift Card.

Prizes

This past week I announced the prize winners for my giveaways.  Diane Vice was the August winner, and Charlotte Deacon was the September winner.

As I was setting up the October Giveaway, I thought how much fun it is to win something.Whether it's millions from a lottery or just something unexpected and fun, it's nice.

In writing, there aren't a whole lot of prizes to be won. The real prize is fulfilling the vision you have in your head. Putting that into words is the hardest job, and the prize you get is when a reader tells you how much he or she loved your book.

Katharine Hepburn said: "As for me, prizes are nothing. My prize is my work.''

Takeaway Truth

We should all feel that way about our work whether we're writers or teachers or bartenders or customer service reps.
I love you, wonderful Readers! I'm showing the love this month. Leave a comment on any post this month, with email address (write it out, not as a hot link), and be entered to win the October Prize.

Want another entry? Subscribe to either of my newsletters (WordPlay for Readers: http://eepurl.com/Yk61n and/or Writing Hacks for Writers: http://eepurl.com/fX7JT) and get another entry.

After the end of the month, I'll put the names of all newsletter subscribers and blog commentators into a hat. The winning name drawn will be notified by email and listed on the blog and newsletters.

October Prize

A copy of my new book Cinderella Blue, Book 2 of San Antone Two-Step, to be published this month, and a Starbucks Gift Card.

Blog Hopping & the September Prize Winner

I blog. A lot. Not just here on SlingWords, but on 2 group blogs to which I belong: Smart Girls Read Romance and Authors of Main Street.

I also guest blog. When you add that to my 2 newsletters I write -- WordPlay and Writing Hacks -- and the newsletter writing I do for my Romance Writers of America chapters -- plus the books I write -- my dance card is full. But, words are my life. It's fun, or I wouldn't do it.

Sharing My Words

I share where I am, and what I'm writing on Twitter. I thought I'd occasionally post some links here about my various gigs around the Internet in case you miss those swift-flying Tweets.

Oh, and stay tuned below for the winner of the September giveaway.

Where Was Joan?

On Smart Girls Read Romance: Best Quotes About Dogs

On Authors of Main Street: Women + Men + Sex = Funny

On Author Expressions by Jacqueline Seewald: Interview with Author Joan Reeves

On Authors of Main Street: Small Towns and Humor

September Giveaway

For the month of September, anyone who left a comment on any September post and all subscribers to both my newsletters were eligible to win the prize package.

What Do You Win?

If the winner resides in the Lower 48, the prize is a copy of Old Enough To Know Better along with an Old Enough to Know Better Keytag. (See picture to the left.

If the winner is outside the Continental U.S., the prize will also be the book plus another gift of commensurate value --  that can easily be delivered abroad.

And the Winner Is: Charlotte Deacon, Writing Hacks Subscriber

Congratulations, Charlotte. I'll be emailing you about your prize.

Takeaway Truth

Giving away stuff is fun! So is winning stuff so be sure and follow the blog and/or subscribe to my newsletters to find out all about my giveaways. For October, eligibility will be anyone who leaves a comment on the blog with email address or who subscribes in October to either of my newsletters. Prize announcement will be made on Monday here on SlingWords so don't miss it.