Winners of November Giveaway

The November Giveaway is over!

All a reader had to do to enter this Giveaway with the winner selected by random drawing was leave a comment with an email address--written out, not as a hot link--on any post I wrote.

I blog here on SlingWords as well as on Smart Girls Read Romance, Gems in the Attic, and The Authors Billboard.

A comment with an email on any of my posts on those 4 blogs qualified.

I'm late making the announcement of the winners because I was called away from home. My notes about those who entered were in my office at home.

The Winners

Have been contacted by email. They are:

Cathy S. who commented here on SlingWords and Donna D. who commented on one of my posts on Smart Girls Read Romance.

Takeaway Truth

The December Giveaway will be announced December 1 so be sure and visit my blog or subscribe to my mailing list.


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Achievement Requires More Than Good Intentions

When I was a child, one of the first admonitions I heard in church was: The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

Back in the day, men of the cloth really loved preaching about Hell and the many ways humanity has of reaching that fearsome place. Give me that old time religion? Nope. You can keep it. I'll take the revised version designed to make you feel optimistic and empowered by sermons about God's love.

What Has This To Do With Achievement

It's all about good intentions. Unfortunately, good intentions alone are about as useless as a screen door in a west Texas dust storm. You need more than good intentions if you want to achieve something worthwhile.

Good intentions require action. Together they are the weapon of change--of achievement. You must arm your good intentions with consistent, persistent action to achieve that which you desire.

Think about this a month from now when you start writing resolutions or goals or whatever you want to call them.

Takeaway Truth

Intention + Action + Consistency + Persistence = Achievement.


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I Shall Write Books

This isn't really a post. It's just a quotation I found and liked. So Short & Sweet is it since I'm bogged down in editing a manuscript.

Louisa May Alcott said something that I found charming, endearing, inspirational, and laughable--all at the same time. If you happen to be an author, you'll understand all those emotions.

She said, “I want to do something splendid. Something heroic or wonderful that won’t be forgotten after I’m dead. I think I shall write books.”

Takeaway Truth

I hope you're enjoying these last couple of days of November and gearing up for the frantic race through December to the Finish Line: New Year's Eve.


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Must, Should, Would: 7 Ways to Conquer Your To Do List

When I take a few days off, like for Thanksgiving and company, I sometimes have a difficult time getting back to my productive routine.

I can find all kinds of things that need to be done--things I usually am not eager to do--to avoid getting back into the office.

7 Ways to Conquer Your To Do List

1. Make a list of everything that needs to be done on the Monday that follows a long holiday weekend. Put the must do, should do, and would do —if only you had the time —on the list.

2. Go through the list and segregate all of the must do items. Do the same for the should do and would do.

3. Look at each of those 3 groups then begin to prioritize each group according to the first must do  item that needs to be done asap. Do this for each of the items in the 3 groups.

4. Assign a day to work on each group with the must do items first. Since Time doesn't stand still, things that need to be handled will keep coming at you with many being must do so always make those a priority.

5. When you have your must do list manageable, begin to add a couple of should do items each day.

6. That leaves the would do. With these, ask yourself, do they really need to be done? Also ask, could these be delegated to someone else?

7. The final tip is for those who find it hard to take action even after analyzing all the things on the To Do list.

Use what I call my On/Off Technique. Set an alarm on your phone or on the kitchen stove. Start with 20 minutes. Take the #1 must do item and work on it until the alarm goes off.

Reset the alarm for 20 minutes then do something else —something fun, distracting, or whatever strikes your fancy.

When the distracting alarm goes off, stop doing that. Reset the alarm for 25 minutes this time. Go back to the must do you were working on and dive in. When the 25 minute alarm goes off, reset your alarm for 15 minutes this time.

That's right. As you work through the day, increase the work alarm by 5 minutes every time and decrease the distraction alarm by 5 minutes.

More than likely, you'll automatically keep working on the must do side of the equation with no need for a distraction alarm long before your distraction time is down to zero.

Takeaway Truth

When to start this? There's no time like the present. Take action now!


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Make Today a Fresh Start

I'm already hearing people say, "I can't wait for New Year's so I can make a fresh start."

I've said, "I'm looking forward to 2019. It's bound to be better than 2018 has been." Ah, yes. I too am guilty of forgetting something important.

No Time Like the Present

You can make a fresh start any time you choose. You don't have to wait for the first day of a new week or a Monday or your birthday or a New Year.

Why wait?

Any day can be the day you make a fresh start. 

Silent film actress Mary Pickford once said: "You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down."

Takeaway Truth

If' you've been feeling beleaguered and a bit down-trodden, don't stay down. Rise up. Make a fresh start. Today.

BookBrush Constantly Improving

CoversSellBooks changed their name a few months ago to more accurately reflect the services they provide to authors.

Now they're called BookBrush.

I wrote about BookBrush, nee CoversSellBooks, when they first appeared on the scene.

 Click here to read that post.

The basics haven't changed, and you can still get a free trial account.

They're constantly striving to improve and make things even easier. I bought the Pro membership and don't regret it at all.

What has changed is all the new features they've added.

The most helpful of those changes is the ability to upload all your book covers so they're on site for you to access.

This is a huge time-saving feature you'll love.

A picture is worth a thousand words so watch the video overview of BookBrush.

I've sprinkled this post with some of the custom graphics I've made with BookBrush.

They're the most user friendly app I've come across in a very long time.

I highly recommend them for your graphic art needs.

Takeaway Truth

I totally love this service.

Saturday Share: Best Sauce for Beef

For those who prepared prime rib, roasted beef,  or other form of beef rather than a turkey, you may have some left over.

Or you may be in a warm state and getting ready to throw some steaks on the barbie, here's a sauce to serve with your beef.

Best Sauce for Beef


1/2 - 1 cup finely minced onion

1 tablespoon of rendered bacon fat or beef fat (Easiest way is to cook a couple of slices of bacon and save the grease.)

1/2 cup of brandy (use the cheap kind, not the expensive sipping kind)

1 tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce

1 teaspoon of Dijon or another strong mustard

1/2 cup beef or veal stock

1 - 3 grinds of black peppercorns

salt to taste


Sauté the onions in the fat over medium heat. Do not burn them. You want them soft.

When the onions are soft, add the brandy. Make sure the heat isn't on high or the brandy will flame. You don't want that, or you might singe your eyebrows if you're not careful.

Simmer a few minutes so that the alcohol cooks off (volatilizes).

Add the Worcestershire Sauce, mustard, and stock.

Season with the ground peppercorns and salt.

Optional: chopped fresh tarragon

Reduce the heat and simmer. When the sauce has thickened a bit, add the fresh tarragon and pour over the beef.

Takeaway Truth

Add this recipe to your repertoire. It'll garner rave reviews every time.


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Black Friday Bargain: Dead Heat

Shopping for Black Friday Bargains for friends and family who read? Great idea!

Bargain ebooks and box sets are easy to give as gifts.

How To Give Ebooks from Amazon

There are so many free and bargain ebooks and box sets. Readers will love to receive them as gifts.

1. To give a free ebook, copy the book's link and send it to your friend or just click to get it for yourself.

Reduced. 99 Cents till Midnight, 11/24
2. To purchase any ebook or box set as gifts, all you need to do is click an embedded link or copy a link you see, and you'll be transported to the book page.

(Example, the link embedded here in Dead Heat which is a Black Friday Bargain eBook until Nov. 24 at midnight.)

3. Click BUY FOR OTHERS in the right sidebar of the book's page on Amazon then fill in the form as needed.

The form shows the book cover on the left. The middle panel is information you fill in: To, From, Message, and Delivery Date.

The right section shows the price you'll pay including tax.

When you preview it and see that all information is correct, click the gold bar above the pricing information that says PLACE YOUR ORDER.

NOTE: If you do not know your recipient's email address, click to buy it and then forward it to another person once you learn the correct email address. For more information click Buying Kindle Ebooks for Others.

Dead Heat, A Romantic Thriller

She ran to the only man who had the skills to save her.

Sabrina Snow knew she was going to get herself killed if she didn’t get help. Someone was after her, and he wasn't going to stop. She ran to the only man she trusted...the only man who had the skills to save her. Too bad he probably hated her.

But she owed him the truth even though she'd wanted to keep the knowledge from him. What if she were killed? John needed to know where to look. If he'd hated her before, what would he feel once he learned the depth of her deception?

Navy SEAL John Galloway doesn't trust Sabrina. She lies for a living so how can he? So what's he supposed to do when she shows up in the last place he ever expected to see her?

Dead Heat continues the story of the Galloway brothers and Outlaw Ridge, Texas, a romantic thriller series.

"Ohh !! This book had me alert and attentive right from the get go! ...this book is amazing all on it's own. Sabrina Snow is bad-ass! She is smart, sexy, suave, seductive, combat-trained (didn't I say bad-ass??) and yet soft, sensitive, vulnerable at the same time. And as far as John is concerned, doesn't Navy Seal say it all?" ~ NetGalley Reviewer

"A treacherous, action-filled compact book with an absolutely great storyline and really cool characters, that brought the story to life. A book that keeps you hooked until you reached the end...this book was divine. ...truly a masterpiece, in my opinion. The storyline was captivating and packed full with intrigue. A must read folks." ~ NetGalley Reviewer

Takeaway Truth 

Dead Heat, Book 2: Outlaw Ridge, Texas, is on sale until Nov. 24 at midnight for only 99 Cents. Get it today for yourself or give as a gift.

Giving Thanks Today and Everyday

Even with sadness, loss, and troubles, I am still truly blessed.

I give thanks for my wonderful family and friends and for good health for myself and those I love.

I'm thankful for readers who love my books and  for being able to write for a living.

I give thanks for so many things big and small. My beloved grandfather who lived to be 100 had a blessing he would say before every meal. I'd like to share that with you today.

Papa's Blessing

Bless us, oh Lord, for these—thy gifts of food and comfort.

Go with us throughout the day and bless and protect us, each and everyone.

Forgive us of our sins. This we ask in Jesus's name. ~ Amen

Takeaway Truth

May your life overflowing with blessings. Happy Thanksgiving.

4 Rules For Internet Content Format

Too many people who blog or write content for the Internet don't realize that there's a unique way to format their text for web reading.

If you think your content is so wonderful that people will read it regardless of the way it's presented online, you are absolutely wrong. Why your wonderful article won't be read is because of what I call...

The Glazed Eye Syndrome

You know what that means. Your eyes glaze over when presented with something too complicated, confusing, or boring in any way.

Well, that happens with reading online. When confronted with a blog post that's nothing but a giant block of text, your eyes simply can't take it in.

The visual signal goes to the brain, and the brain says, "Screw this." And you move on to something easier to read.

This is similar to what happens in real life when you experience massive sensory overload. You back away.

On the Internet, you do the same by hitting the back button or closing the tab and moving on to something that's easier on the eyes and thus easier to take in.

Why This Happens

The human eye gets easily tired by reading from a computer. In actuality, we don't read content online so much as we scan content, looking for the nuggets of solid information. We're looking for something specific when we pause to read a blog.

We don't want to wade through hundreds--or worse, thousands--of words to get what we came for.

How To Direct Readers

1. Avoid huge blocks of text.

2. Use sub-headings in bold to break up blocks of text and to point the way to the information readers came for.

3. Use photographs or other graphic images to also break up the text, to emphasize points being made, and to create visual interest.

4. Give succinct information. Don't bury the message. Make sure it is clearly presented.

NOVEMBER GIVEAWAY ~ Today's question: Did you know content for the Internet should be formatted differently than content for print?

Answer the question in Comments to be entered in the November Giveaway.

See details at the top of the left sidebar.

Takeaway Truth

You write to be read so avoid shooting yourself in the metaphorical foot, or you risk losing readers.

Bibliosmia or Stinky Books? + Giveaway

If you're a reader, chances are you love to browse through stacks of books at garage sales, thrift stores, and used/collectible bookstores.

When you walk into a bookstore that specializes in collectible and vintage books, there's this smell.

I once thought that scent was a combination of the ink and the paper, but it's more than that.

Paper is made from organic material, remember? This organic material contains lignin which is a constituent of the cell walls of almost all dry land plants.

In fact, it's the second most abundant natural polymer in the world. (Cellulose is the first.) The break down of lignin in the paper is what gives old books that aroma which many liken to a faint vanilla smell.

In 2009, a study that analyzed the smell of old books found that the scene was a complex mix of hundreds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released into the air from the paper. Dust and other particulates in the book’s life add to the smell "cocktail."

Just so you'll know, new books smell the way they do because of the chemicals used in their manufacture.

Ah, Bibliosmia

According to the Urban Dictionary, bibliosmia is the effect an old book has on one's olfactory receptors when you inhale that aroma.

Some people think it's wonderful. Some think it smells musty. I guess smell is in the nose of the inhaler.

Smelly Books

Of course, there are books that really do smell horrible. Those drenched in stale cigarette smoke or other unsavory scents. If you find a book you simply must have, there's a way to get rid of the bad smell. Stale cigarette smoke is really hard to get out so you might want to pass up a bargain that's strongly scented in that way.

How to Deodorize a Book

I read this long ago in the old Hints from Heloise newspaper column. It's very simple. Sprinkle baking soda through the book.

1. Sprinkle baking soda throughout the book--try to get some on every page.

2. Place the book in a Ziplok bag and leave it for at least a week.

3. Remove it from the bag, shake the baking powder out and sniff the book. If it still smells, repeat the process. If the book is really smelly, you may have to leave it for a longer period of time and/or repeat the process a few times.

NOTE: Do not use baking soda on a valuable antique book or a damp book because it might harm the old paper.

NOVEMBER GIVEAWAY ~ Today's question: Do you love to browse old book stores? Answer the question in Comments to be entered in the November Giveaway.

See details at the top of the left sidebar.

Takeaway Truth

A bargain book is only a bargain if it pleases all the senses.

6 Steps to Success

Give thanks during this season. Actually, you should give thanks every day of the year. Then think about taking action to achieve something worthwhile that you really, really want. Here are 6 things you can do to help you succeed in your quest.

1. Regardless of your mood, take action, the Just Do It principle.

You can't wait to be in a good mood in order to take action to achieve a goal such as writing a book, painting the living room, or planting a garden. 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 commands the same dedication. Every day, take action, no matter how small, toward goal achievement. 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 with optimism and excitement, preferably those
trying to achieve the same kind of thing you want to achieve. Let their enthusiasm expand rub off on you.

4. Stay away from people who 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. Then focus on that one thing. You have to know what you want to go after.

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 take action, when you're depressed, and you can't seem to get to the next level. Have a plan for every contingency so you'll keep taking action.

NOVEMBER GIVEAWAY ~ Today's question: Do you have a tip that will help someone succeed?

Answer the question in Comments to be entered in the November Giveaway. See details at the top of the left sidebar.

Takeaway Truth

These steps should help you, but maybe there are other things you could do so figure out what works for you.

Like the Marines say: Improvise, overcome, adapt.

Review: In the Beginning by Hans Bauer

I'm quoting from this great little book today to whet your appetite so you'll get the book too.

In the Beginning: Great Opening Lines from Your Favorite Books, Edited by Hans Bauer is very inexpensive and a must have for book lovers and authors.

Chock full of famous first sentences from famous books, In the Beginning is a page-turner that will make you recall the bestsellers you've read. Or, these first sentences may inspire you to seek the books out and read for the first time.

If you're an author, you'll be interested in how these first sentences were crafted to entice the reader into the story.

I find these particularly evocative.

"I never knew her in life." ~ The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy

"This is a tale of a meeting of two lonesome, skinny, faily old white men on a planet which was dying fast." ~ Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

"Nobody was really surprise when it happened, not really, not at the subconscious level where savage things grow." ~ Carrie by Stephen King

"'Where's Papa going with that axe?' said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast." ~ Charlotte's Web by E. B. White

"The strange thing was, he said, how they screamed every night at midnight." ~ In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway

Do these first sentences make you want to read more?  Leave your answer in Comments to be entered in the November Giveaway.

Details of Giveaway at top of left sidebar.

Takeaway Truth

Most of these books mentioned can be found very inexpensively in Kindle editions.

In the Beginning is a free read for Kindle Unlimited subscribers or $2.99 to own it.

Paperback editions can be bought used on Amazon. I have it in paperback, and I must say I'm really enjoying it. It has a place on my keeper shelf.


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New Release: Dulcina by Linda Carroll-Bradd

I'm happy to share Dulcina, a new release, with you today.

This historical "clean" romance, was written by my friend Linda Carroll-Bradd and published by Inked Figments.

What is a "clean" romance? It's a love story that is not sexually explicit. Some may call it a sweet romance to distinguish it from a sexy or steamy story.

Dulcina is Book 5 of The Widows of Wildcat Ridge and is available now for your reading pleasure.

About Linda Carroll-Bradd

As a young girl, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about fascinating characters having
exciting adventures in places far away and in other time periods. In later years, she read and then started writing romances and achieved her first publication--a confession story.

Married with four adult children and two granddaughters, Linda now writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor from her home in the southern California mountains.

Find Linda Online

Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Amazon Author Page * BookBub Author Page * Goodreads

Sign up for Linda's Newsletter and be the first to know about new releases.

The Story Inspiration for Dulcina

I enjoy writing in multi-author projects mainly for the shared world building. Authors work together to establish the bare bones of the town and the events, and then each individual story adds more depth to the community. In this series with is set in 1884 Utah Territory, the town is devastated by a mine explosion that kills all the miners and some townspeople who rush to the rescue. Each story features a widow and how she copes with the tragedy.

I loved the image of this striking brunette woman. As soon as I saw her, I knew she was Hispanic and had been raised in wealth but ran away from her life because she fell in love with and married someone her parents didn’t approve of. And because I can’t resist the reunion/second chance at love trope, I created a hero who lived on a neighboring rancho and had loved her since their youth. I included elements of their shared heritage and had a lot of fun writing it. I hope the readers agree.

Dulcina, Book 5, The Widows of Wildcat Ridge

Will bringing an old friend to town provide the help Dulcina needs or a new kind of trouble?

Left widowed following a Utah mining disaster, Dulcina Crass faces running a saloon on her own when her previous contribution was solely as the singer. She struggles to learn the necessary tasks but her heart isn’t in being a saloon keeper. All she ever wanted was to be a famous singer. Will asking Gabriel Magnus, a neighbor from her New Mexico hometown, bring the help she needs or a new kind of trouble?

Gabriel Magnus isn’t fulfilled by his role as ranch hand on the family’s New Mexico sheep ranch. What he wants is the chance to prove his boot making skills are good enough to start his own business. When he receives a letter from recent widow Dulcina offering a partnership in the Last Chance Saloon, he recognizes the chance to come to the rescue of the vivacious girl he wanted to court a decade earlier. Upon his arrival, he presents her with a demand--her answer could decide both of their fates.

Enjoy This Excerpt from Dulcina

“Ceremony?” Her eyes shot wide. “You intend us to be married today?”

“I do, and I’ll not marry a woman wearing mourning black.” The drab color did nothing to highlight her natural beauty. “You look fit to join the circle of viudas in the Questa marketplace.”

Lips pinched, she glanced around the immediate area. “But, Gabriel, I have been in mourning for Stuart since the mine disaster.”

He bristled at the mention of that man’s name but kept his expression calm. “A status that ends now. Stuart is gone, never to return in this lifetime.”

When he spotted her lower lip quiver, he braced himself. The way their life would be structured moving forward had to be laid out. “Today will be the first day of our marriage, yours and mine, and he will not come between us. I will proclaim my vows next to a woman who looks to the future, not one who still clutches the past.” He stepped back to gather his luggage then carried it to where she stood. “Please show me to the saloon, where I assume you also live.”

“Oh.” She dropped her gaze and pulled at the strings on her reticule. “I thought you’d book a room in the hotel while we get reacquainted.”

If she thought she was the one making decisions, she’d been on her own too long. Maybe her late husband allowed that behavior. She might as well learn that he would not.

He narrowed his eyes. “We will get reacquainted while living under the same roof.” The words “and in the same bed” remained unspoken. He didn’t think she was ready to hear his opinion of how the arrangement would play out.

“But Wildcat Ridge has no minister. Poor Reverend Bainum was lost in—”

“I know.” His voice snapped sharper than he intended. He held up a hand. “The mine collapse. The town can only be saved if you stop looking at what you lost and focus on what can be gained.” Realizing other people paid too close attention to their conversation, he clasped her hand and guided her to a nearby bench. “I am sorry, Dulcina. I do understand you have been through a loss. But that tragedy is not my experience. I see new opportunities, and I aim to grab them.” He smiled. “The best one is you.”

Her eyes shot wide. “I’d planned for us to take a day trip to Curdy’s Crossing on Saturday after the horse-related business is

The church there is run by Minister Stone, and other widows have had him perform their wedding ceremonies. I thought we could marry after services on Sunday.” She ducked her head. “The marriage that is supposed to be only a formality.”

Add Dulcina, a second chance at love historical romance, to your Romance Library

You'll find this romance set in 1884 Utah Territory at Amazon. It's a free read if you're a Kindle Unlimited subscriber or buy it and keep it forever for only $2.99.

Click to visit the Goodreads page for Dulcina.

NOVEMBER GIVEAWAY ~ Today's question: What is your favorite romance genre to read? Answer the question in Comments to be entered in the November Giveaway. See details at the top of the left sidebar.

Takeaway Truth

If you like historical romance that is heartwarming and not sexually explicit, Dulcina is for you. Add it to your eReader today!

5 Affirmations to Remember For Thanksgiving

During the holidays, parents, children, and grandchildren get together--and bring their emotional baggage with them.

A lot of people have trouble with familial relationships during the holidays. The old hurts, anger, and grudges rise to the surface very quickly.

Even the most balanced person can fly off the handle sometimes when a seemingly innocuous remark is made.

We're all adults now, right? It's time to grow up and be the better person. Here are a few positive thoughts to hang onto during the annual pilgrimage home.

I want to quote from a little book I bought over 20 years ago, The Portable LIFE 101, 179 essential lessons from LIFE 101: Everything We Wish We Had Learned About Life In School--But Didn't by John-Roger and Peter McWilliams.

#142 in the book: Your childhood is over. Your parents did the best they could with what they knew. They gave you the greatest gift of all: Life. You don't have to like your parents, but it can help if you learn to love them.

Yes, it's easier to hang onto old hurts, but it's healthier -- for you -- to forgive and let them go.

#12: The good news is that we learn all we need to know--eventually. The bad news: the lessons continue until they are learned.

Good people are good because they've come to wisdom through failure. ~ William Saroyan

#40: Rule #1: Don't hurt yourself and don't hurt others.

If you're in an emotional minefield, guard your words as carefully as you'd guard your footsteps in a real minefield. Don't fall into old patterns of behavior and spout off the same old words. If you want a situation to be different, you must act differently.

#51: Fortify your emotions.

If you do not wish to be prone to anger, do not feed the habit; give it nothing which may tend to its increase. ~ Epictetus

If all else fails, try acceptance.

#54: Acceptance is such an important commodity, some have called it "the first law of personal growth." Acceptance is simply seeing something as it is and saying, "That's the way it is."

Do you have a plan for keeping the peace during holiday visits with family?

Answer the question in Comments to be entered in the November Giveaway. See details at the top of the left sidebar. 

Takeaway Truth

Remember, to continue doing the same old thing and expect a different result is the definition of insanity. Choose a different path.

Writing Blurb Like Falling Off A Logline

Good morning! Today's post is for you writers out there whether you're a wannabe or a writer who's finished a manuscript and wonders what to do when someone says: "What's it about?"

What's It About

That's something readers want to know as well as editors and agents.

As a pro writer, you need the skill of being able to say in one compelling sentence what your book is about. Or, you need to be able to rattle off one compelling sentence that doesn't necessarily say what the book is about but is so compelling that the person who asked wants to know more about it.

What the Heck is a Logline?

A compelling sentence that incites curiosity is called a logline also written as log line. In the past, loglines were used mostly by screenwriters, but they have made their way into the novel writing world during the last 10-15 years.

A screenwriter composes the logline first. They work on it, crafting it to be a one sentence description of what the screenplay is about. When they've nailed it, they type it in italics, centered, just below the title.

What a Logline Does For Novelists

Used by novelists, a logline is a tool to help a writer focus his/her story. When you have your logline condensed into one sentence, then you really know what your story is about. Writing a compelling blurb then is like falling off a log, er, logline, that is. It cuts through all the subplots and emotional entanglements that can keep you from seeing the essence of your story. If you can condense your entire book into one sentence, then you'll be able to discuss your book with editors and agents when the time comes.

How To Hone That Skill

Read the blurbs in television guides to get a handle on what loglines. The writers that produce these very brief synopses are experts at crafting one sentence descriptions of movies and television shows.

That's what you need to do with your manuscript. Read scores of them. Master the succinct formula they use.

6 Tips to Writing Loglines

Beyond writing the log line in present tense, keeping it short (duh!), and stating the genre, here are 6 other tips to help you create a logline. Try to answer each question with as few words as possible then take everything you wrote and condense it to the most compelling sentence which may or may not include all the answered questions. Then condense again to as few words as possible.

1. What's your protagonist's situation and what complicates it?

2. What action does your protagonist have to take?

3. What decision must your protagonist make in the supreme crisis?

4. During the story's climax, what threatens the protagonist?

5. What is your protagonist's growth arc or the transformation he/she must make?

6. Where's the excitement, the thrill, or the high concept in your story?

Answers to the first 5 questions give you a 1 sentence blurb that can be considered a logline. A true logline though is the answer to question 6.

In my latest book, Brianna's Season for Miracles, part of Love, Christmas 2, questions 1 - 5 are answered in a 1 sentence blurb that can be considered a logline:

Brianna's seductive persona hides what she's ashamed of so what will happen if the man she's fallen for discovers her secret?

In my previous book, Second Chance Bride, the sentence that follows is what I condensed from the answers to all 6 questions which happen to be the goal and the conflict.

It's also the answer to #6, short, exciting, and compelling:

He was the only man she wanted--and the one man she could never have.

If you're a writer reading this, how far along in your journey are you?

Answer the question in Comments to be entered in the November Giveaway. See details at the top of the left sidebar.

Takeaway Truth

Practice crafting a logline for your story. It's time well spent.


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