Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday's Interesting Links

Books I Recommend
(I only finished the one.)

Stakes & Stilettos by Michelle Rowen - How she manages to pull off a flippant, largely cowardly, main character, I don't know, but I love seeing what Sarah gets into. This novel largely resolves the relationship with her boyfriend Thierry (an ongoing thread of the series), and opens up a new plot to carry into the next book or two.


How to work with your local bookstores:

True Originality Is Overrated:

New Scientist flash contest:

Tips on synopsis writing

Tips on crafting a good hook:


A solid list of what to look at with revisions:

And a list of danger words. Remember that these are ones to pay attention to, not to eliminate out of hand. Even in the examples, there are cases to be made for the "bad" version in context as it changes the emphasis.

A look at what makes up good writing:

This is an interesting concept and of use, I think, to people who are struggling with the concept of plotting. It seems to provide a solid base for an outline:

Tips on ferreting out over writing, but also how to define over writing for that specific work.

Quick review of show vs. tell:

Goal setting and management for writing. What's interesting about this one is the wide variety of approaches represented in the author quotes:

A group of quick tips for things to look at to strengthen your novel:

Nice list of what being a writer means:


SF flash:

Harlequin free online reads. For those who want a taste of Harlequin, they post both shorter and full-length novels. Here is one example.


Weeblies wobble but they don't fall down...and now they scope out unknown territory:

This comic illustrates my concerns with some of our assumptions so perfectly I think it belongs under science:

And dinosaur news...I couldn't pass it up :).

For a road-trip junkie like myself, this comes as no surprise, but it's an interesting look at the US roadmap:

Possibility of new answers in Mayan Ruins:


An interesting look at depression from another direction

Why Twitter for writers:

Balancing life and work at home:


Quick and easy tied-quilt. Though I like piecing and quilting mine, I'm thinking of adopting the edging suggestion for sure.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday's Interesting Links

Books I Recommend

Trying something new since I'm so slow in writing up book reviews. The books/magazines I list here may show up in a more complete review later, but I want to share the ones I really enjoyed.

ShadowLight by Lynn Viehl - I've already reviewed this, but it still deserves a mention. This wonderful dark fantasy is coming out in October and is worth the trip to get it :).

Hawkspar by Holly Lisle. My life has been complex enough in the past few months that I let this gem slip into my to-be-read pile and get buried. Where I think Holly stretched and grew with Talyn, Hawkspar shows the maturity of that development. It's political, philosophical, sociological, and romantic all mixed into a grand, nail-biting adventure...with ships! Seriously, I started reading and got so sucked in that I came up with excuses to read just a little longer.

A Most Lamentable Comedy
by Janet Mullany. I won this book in a blog contest that I joined because I had to know how a romance centered around scoundrels would turn out. The answer is a lovely, funny, poignant Regency romance that is not what you'd expect at all, and yet it just works. I'll be seeking out more of Janet's writing for sure.


If all the different "punk" genres have gotten confusing, here's a clarification:


Guess I should be focusing on the Urban Fantasy I wrote, eh?

An in-depth look at digital publishing:

A look at young adult literature:

And a behind the scenes look at the printing press process:

Information on Creative Commons

Explanation of book sales numbers by Noah Lukeman:
Link to his newsletter

Just what is women's literature as opposed to romance novels?

Lucienne Diver's take on the state of publishing:


Colleen Lindsay breaks down query letter failures:

A look at what the issues around an author blog are:

Why you should promote your book:

A look at how to choose your genre when starting out:

Clear breakdown of how to write a great query letter from agent Noah Lukeman


A good, quick list of making description character focused (highlight to avoid the black background):

A series of posts about writing for the Harlequin Presents line:

While I don't believe in the write every day rule, this analysis of writer's block is solid to my experience:

I believe passive voice has its place, even in fiction writing, but this post makes a good case for why it should be least most of the time.

Writing dialogue (note that I think people talk to themselves more than most people admit to, but besides that, solid advice :D).

Good breakdown of basic story structure and plot:

Three breakable grammar rules, along with why. And yes, I agree with all of them :D.

This article segues nicely sums up something I told another writer recently. It's important to remember why you write:


How to protect your valuables:


Apparently they have found the part of the brain that contains the "what if?" ;). Actually I'm kidding, but it's an interesting study still, though would have been more compelling with very young children.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday's Interesting Links

Time Management

I did something similar to this with an older version of my weekly to do list, but it's an interesting way to control over-commitment.


I've been teaching a class on my outlining method and I keep emphasizing meaning, purpose, and focus. So when I saw this, I just had to share it. This is WHY your story has to have a reason. We're not talking about conversion, or preaching, we're talking about, to quote the post, "And fiction is antithetical to arbitrariness." Read the rest. It's worth it.

Luck has only a little to do with success in writing. And we make our own luck. For example:

A list of blogs that are worth checking out both for non-fiction and fiction writers:

Working with editors:

A neat concept for idea generation:


I've always been a big advocate of personal responsibility. I've also been concerned by the perceptions about education and learning I see and hear around me, about how the US has been changing from an education leader to something a lot less appealing. Whatever you might think about our president, in this speech he sums up hope and responsibility not just for who you are but for who you can become:


An interesting look at piracy:

Tips on how to interact with agents at conferences from Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency.

While I normally put author promotion ideas here, where else would a suggestion to re-image reading itself belong?

A glimpse into an agent's perspectives on authors.


Why nothing can be set in stone: We're always finding new information, even on our past:

And dinosaurs are up for revision again as facts start to outweigh instinctual reactions to big claws:


A new angle to the Google Settlement that may shake things up a lot:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Shadowlight by Lynn Viehl

Today you get a two-fer. First the post I just wrote after stalling on the other post (you'll understand as you read it, Lynn's just too good :)), and then I managed to get my first post to a pseudo end point, so I hope you enjoy both. They take different approaches to the same book.

I finished Shadowlight a decent number of days ago. Long enough that I should have had something to post by now. The trouble is that I liked the dark fantasy novel too much. I know, that sounds stupid, but here it is.

I wanted to write a review that gave a fair assessment of how you'd like the book, that gave enough of a teaser without revealing anything important, and that didn't sound like I was gushing because that sounds fake.

I can't manage it.

Lynn Viehl writes the equivalent of action thrillers with paranormal romance tied in. Her books are candy, or supposed to be. They're easy reads that don't ask anything more than that you are open to the possibility of things unknown and accept the answers she provides. Answers that are all too plausible if you ask me :).

In return, she gives an edge-of-the-seat tale with trouble at every turn and people who learn that everything they thought true just isn't. Oh, and along with this, she gives characters that are three-dimensional to the extreme so you can simultaneously see the story from more than one angle, and understand and sympathize with all the heroes, even when some of them think others are the villains. Lynn doesn't deny you a true villain though. The Kyndred have forces arrayed against them that offer both immediate danger and hint at a greater scenario that will become clear as the series develops.

Shadowlight is a complex layering of characters all with different goals and beliefs that reads as easily as any novel there for pure entertainment but sticks with you afterwards. Whether it's Jessa trying so hard to do the right thing even as she knows she's risking everything, Matthias whose approach is foreign enough to keep everyone guessing, or Lawson's belief in what's due him, there's never any question about depth. This novel builds on the Darkyn world, and even offers cameo appearances (yay!), but the important information is layered in smoothly so new readers should not have difficulty enjoying.

Seriously, if you haven't checked out Lynn Viehl (or S.L. Viehl which is her science fiction pseudonym), you're missing out. Her early books show talent and skill that grows with each one. Shadowlight is even better than the last Darkyn novel, though I no longer think it's a culmination, as that would mean she's stopped improving, which hasn't happened yet. I don't know what else to say. I feel like Sam in Green Eggs and Ham. "Try it, try it and you may, try it and you may, I say :)." It's short and sweet. If you don't like Shadowlight, you haven't lost much in time and energy. However, the more likely scenario is that you will discover a world, a series, and an author who will be delighting you for years to come.


Today I reached the part of Shadowlight that Lynn Viehl includes in every one of her novels...the part I hate. It has something to do with two little words, and a lot of not-so-patient waiting.

Yes, that's right. I have reached "The End."

The bad news is that I now have to wait until the next one (though Lynn did sweetly include a teaser in the ARC), but the good news is that I get to tell you all about it so that you're perched on the edge of your seat, just waiting for release day.

I'm starting to sound like a broken record in this, but with each of her novels, Lynn seems to grow as a writer. The mechanics of this book, especially the beginning, are wonderful, but it's the story that really absorbs me. For those of you who are Darkyn fans, don't despair. You won't feel left out. I think newcomers will have to go in with an open mind, but isn't that always the case? Things in Lynn's world, though they cross over with the traditional, are unique enough that suspension of disbelief is necessary, and worth it.

Shadowlight begins the Kyndred series, focused on a group of people gifted with special strengths. They were mentioned in the Darkyn series, were somewhat crucial to it, but this is not just a continuation of the Darkyn books. Where those books focused on an ancient war between Darkyn and their enemies at the same time as exploring the strife within the Darkyn population, Shadowlight starts out in a place of isolation. The Kyndred are not some secret society that both supports and fights among itself. The Kyndred are an experiment gone wrong and scattered to the winds only to recreate faulty memories bit by bit.

And that's not the only difference. There is no ancient evil here. If this book is characteristic of the new series, the dangers are much more immediate and driven by modern aims rather than hatred. Here you have kidnappings, corporate espionage, and the FBI rather than grudges held over the centuries. It's a fresh start in a familiar world for Darkyn fans.

Go on. Check Shadowlight out. You'll meet a new cast of characters who I hope will continue to show up in the rest of the series, because I'm not ready to break the acquaintance.

Now tell me which you found more useful, please. I'd like to post one in a couple other places too.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Friday Interesting Links


Interesting map of mythical animals:

Why are you writing? This article talks about choices and not driving yourself into a hole economically just to write. Seeing as I'm a stay at home writer, reading these kinds of assessments helps me evaluate and confirm.

A look at character development:

A tight look at the alpha hero:

Five "easy" steps to being a writer:

And because you should be interested in life after that first sale, whether or not you're already there, here's a sobering note about deadlines:


Evaluation of book trailers for marketing:

And a step by step on making a book trailer:

Warning plus suggestions for self-promotion:

Interesting perspective on series potential mentioned in queries followed by a rebuttal to some of the assumptions within

Looking at how people find agents

Personalizing your queries:

Fascinating analysis of the cover art for the top 5 Amazon books:


How to use Twitter:

How to network and have fun as an introvert:


Handy guide, especially since I don't know most of the basic stitches by name, though I came up with a very useful variation once when I tried to understand a friend's directions over the phone ;).


An interesting look at the history of a "good" novel and why that seems to be drawing adult readers to YA now.

An author's take on the full costs of publishing piracy:


This could just as well as be considered social, but this article raises an interesting, and potentially traumatic, question. And the implications of the conclusion are huge if you consider whether political appearance should be held above the wishes of those who volunteer. I know I'm being obscure, but read it and you'll understand why. I don't want you to prejudge the question.

Don't you hate the thought of knowing when you're going to die? This galaxy has only 2 billion years left if the model is correct: