Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Digital Book Today: Sweet Resource for a #FreeEbook fiend

Man, I love finding new places to find out about free ebooks. I've written a bunch of posts on this subject so near and dear to my Kindle heart.

My latest find is the Digital Book Today website. They had me hooked when they said they try to " inform readers of these limited time offers while weeding out the “we are selling something” ebooks which seems to increase in numbers every day."

They've got a best of free Kindle books list every single day that weeds out the losers like Bankruptcy Laws in Nevada (I swear that's a real book on Amazon) and present to you books like Forbidden Mind  by Kimberly Kinrade (which I featured on right here yesterday.) 

Click here to access their list for today--> The Best Free Kindle Books
Then book mark it. They update daily. Sweet.

Here are the books I picked out from their list for free today:
101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters by Karl Iglesias
True Devotion by Dee Anderson
Superman's Cape by Brian Spangler
Click on the covers to get them for yourself. Be sure to check the price to since they are probably only free for a few days at most.

The 101 Habits Of Highly Successful Screenwriters: Insider's Secrets from Hollywood's Top WritersTrue DevotionSuperman's Cape

Let me know of any books you choose from them in the comments section and I'll tweet you and the book to share some author/book love.

I stumbled upon another possible resource today for free books -
I swear, before I clicked a link I found on twitter saying The World Bank has 1400+ books, I didn't know about Scribd.
Is it like SmashWords? Is it another social network? What's the dealio here? I'm skeptical. Weren't there some reports about pirating? I'll play around over there before I get too excited.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ecletomania reading #Freebooks for all

Some readers find a genre that lights their fire (c'mon baby) and they stick with it. There's Romanceaholics, Mysterymamas, YAMinions, Classicophiles and Mangamaniacs. Then there's me (and probably you). Romance is definitely my drug of choice these days, but if you take a glance at my Goodreads currently reading list you'll see a mix of non-fiction humor, childrens' bedtime stories, romance, psychology and writing books. I call it eclectomania reading. I love it all. My home library proves it.

The freebies available that I thought looked good today cross some genres. Of course I'm still a sucker for a happily ever after, so it's mostly romance I've picked out. But getting to eat your fill of brains is a happy ending too isn't it?

Here are my picks for today. Click on the cover to go strait to Amazon to download any of these books. Make sure to check the prices before you download and a bunch of these are a one day freebie promotion. (You go on with your bad self, Evolved Publishing)

Wanted: Dead or UndeadWanted: Dead or Undead by Angela Scott
I haven't read this book yet, but I love Angela Scott's blog. She's the one who turned me onto Stephanie Mabey's Zombie Song. I'm super siked to see this book on the free list. It's going somewhere near the top of my TBR pile (if I can reach that high).  How can she miss with a category of YA Horror Zombie Western? (Obviously she can't. This book is getting great reviews)

Perfect for You (A Laurel Heights Novel)

Perfect for You by Kate Perry (no, I don't think Katie Perry has stopped writing love songs and started writing love books. There's no candy or fireworks on the cover, so it can't be her. Right? Damn, now I have that California Gurlz song stuck in my head.)
This contemporary Romance hasn't yet been rated by any Amazon readers, so judging a book by it's cover, this one has a pretty good one. The description sounds cute and well, the author has a black belt in some unpronounceable martial art, so you better read it or she'll kick your butt.

A Hidden Desire (The Harmonists)A Hidden Desire (The Harmonists) by Lisa Greer
Amish Romance is hot. No, not that way, I mean it's a really big deal these days. The Harmonists don't make awesome quilts you can by on ebay, but they do have strong religious convictions. They too fall in love. If you're up for some Inspirational Romance here's a new twist on a hot new trend for you.
Allegra's Song, A Regency Novella (The Drewe Sisters)
Allegra's Song by Alicia Rasley
I promised you Historical Romance and here it is. A Regency novella from a RITA award winning author. Need I say more? (Fine, I'll say one more thing. One-click this.)

Ireland RoseIreland Rose by Patricia Strefling
Tired of Regency (I'm not sure how that could happen, but maybe you went on a Regency binge and need a little break?) This Inspirational Romance is set in the 1880s, not in England, but in Am-er-i-ca. Gasp. I know. There's a bit in Ireland too, so don't worry, this historical will get you closer to mother England before the end of the book.

Dead Radiance (a Valkyrie Novel - Book 1)

If I'm a sucker for anything besides Regency and Zombies (have you read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?) than a second close is anything having to do with Norse mythology. I want to be a Valkyrie when I grow up, and I don't mean the nazi-betraying Tom Cruise kind. Come on,  really? Getting to usher in and hang with dead Viking warriors. Sweet.
Plus, everyone is saying that this YA heroine, Bryn, is kick-butt.

Forbidden Mind (Forbidden #1)

What? What's that I see? The silver foil medallion of an award winner? Why, yes it is. Forbidden Mind by Kimberly Kinrade won the 2011 Forward National Literature Award. And lucky you, the sequel to this book comes out today so you don't have to wait around months and months like me to see what happens next. You get to experience mind reading Rent-a-Kid Sam and her hottie crush Drake in all their angsty YA-ness and just keep on reading instead of trying to send mental telepathy messages to Kimberly K urging her to hurry up and finish the next installment of the Forbidden guilty pleasure.

All Quiet in the Western TombAh, you know I couldn't resist, right?  You mix Classic with Zombie with Free and I am so there partying like it's 1919.

Let me know which books you picked. If you follow me on twitter I'll mention you and your pick there so we can share the love with the whole twitterverse.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Get inside the insane(ly funny) brain of a copy editor #pubtip

If I wasn't a writer I'd be a copy editor. Except I never have known the difference between and em dash, an en dash and a hyphen, so I probably wouldn't ever pass the copy editor test at any reputable publisher.
However, since I am a writer, it's fascinating to me to get a glimpse inside the heads of all the people who are someday going to make my book great. I get some flashes inside the brains of agents by following Sara Megibow's #10QueriesIn10Tweets by reading Rachelle Gardner's blog and by sleeping with Donald Maass's Fire in Fiction under my pillow.  I've got similar stalker tendencies for editors too. Luckily Angela James hasn't taken out a restraining order on me yet so I can still go fawn over her at the CRW-HOD mini conference in May.
But I hadn't really thought much about your common garden variety copy editor until today.

Title: Moonlight Blogger
Author: Carol Fisher Saller
Genre: Non-fiction Publishing Blog
Publisher: Self pubbed

Moonlight BloggerReview: You might think a some blog entries from a copy editor might be dry and bland like your mom's meatloaf, but Carol F Saller is one juicy mama. She's funny, clever and pretty darn likeable. I want her to be my copy editor some day. (Do you do Romance novels Carol?)
Her techie tips are invaluable. Hooray for ctrl+z. Who knew?
But mostly I liked this little book for the tips I gained in being a writer and being a critique partner. My own manuscripts will likely be much more polished when I (finally) send them in. As a bonus, the changes I track to my critique group member's will have less gratuitous meddling. A time saver for me and an re-writing saver for them. Although possibly just less time swearing at me under their breaths.

My recommendations:
One-click this if your a writer or anyone else who aspires to have zen with the publishing world one day.
I give this four stars (I'll up it to five when Carol edits my book.)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Celebrate the Titanic Centenary with a #FreeEbook

In a few weeks the world will attend art exhibits, walking tours, memorial concerts, take a cruise and of course go to the movies to mark the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the titanic.
RMS Titanic 

Me? I'll be reading.

I've always been fascinated with this story. One of the earliest romance novels I ever read was a Teen Romance in the Sunfire series called Nicole. 

Nicole (Sunfire, #19)

It was pretty much the same story James Cameron turned into his movie. I always figured he must have read it when he was a teenager too.

Click on the book cover to go straight to Amazon to download these free ebooks. Check the price if you're not reading the blog the day of the post as most books are only free for a few days.

I'm just sure I died floating away on an iceberg in a past life. No, salvaged door and whistle for me.  Maybe I was Maggie Murphy, an Irish immigrant seeking a new life in America.

Nah, she's fictional.

The Girl Who Came Home - A Titanic NovelBut her story is based on that which makes the best stories that last throughout time. Real life. The characters and fictional Irish village in The Girl who Came Home are all based on a real people, the Addergoole Fourteen. These lost souls came from a village near Killala in Co Mayo.  

Hazel Gaynor fictionalizes their tale through the eyes of Maggie Murphy, with flashbacks, flashforwards, letters from a lover, Maggie's private journal and actual telegrams from the ship. 

Trapped On the TitanicTrapped on the Titanic by Tammy Knox 
Callie Elizabeth is a typical eighth grader. While at a Titanic exhibit she finds herself alone, staring into the eyes of a crying photograph of a girl who looks remarkably like her.
Callie seeks out answers about the girl in the photograph, finding herself engulfed in family secrets, haunting visits, and espionage. What really happened as the majestic Titanic sank to its watery grave? 
With the help of a good friend, her grandmother's love of history, and her own keen perception Callie discovers that things are not always as they seem. Learning from the past, Callie is able to find treasures that have been hidden away for almost 100 years.

Ooh, You bet this one is on my TBR pile. I bet Callie is the cyring photograph girl re-incarnated!

Titanic...The Sinking of the Unsinkable: The Terrible Truth Behind the Tragedy that Shocked the World
Titanic: The Sinking of the Unsinkable by Dean King
This interesting little book is chock full with facts and figures plus a day by day, hour by hour and minute by minute of Titanic's fateful voyage. It has bunches of pictures and drawings to bring the ship to life. It's perfect non-fiction, especially if you need to do a report on the Titanic for school. Being a Titanorak myself, I learned all kinds of bit of interesting trivia I hadn't known before. The first few pages might trick you into thinking this is Hollywood hokie, but it's well researched and informative. It does have quite a bit of speculation by the author and some grammatical errors and typos, but they didn't detract from me learning more about this topic.
I give this one four stars. 

I'm totally siked to find free books that are well researched historical fiction and nonfiction in the upcoming weeks to celebrate my own Titanorak-ness. I probably go to the movie too. I'm a sucker for that 'I'm flying scene.'

Friday, March 16, 2012

Wanna Get Lucky?

My followers are lucky leprechauns. They get to hear about FREE e-books all the time. You know who else is lucky?  You, because you're about to follow my blog too, right?


I'm very excited to do another blog hop. Thanks to I'm a Reader, Not a Writer, Aspiring YA Author Cindy Thomas and Books Complete Me for hosting. This one is pretty darn big and I'm so glad you made it all the way down to little number 109 (or where ever my blog is listed now - at least halfway through the list. Phew!)

Click here for the linky to all the other hippity hoppity blogs. 

For most of you this is your first visit to Amy Denim's 365 days, 365 Free E-books.
So here's the gist.
I'm poor. 
I'm a reading addict. 
I got a Kindle for Christmas. 
I download free e-books for it.

But there are A LOT of free ebooks available, not only from Amazon, but other places too. How is one to choose which books to get and which to skip?

That's where I come in.

Almost everyday, I download around ten-ish e-books from various sources. I read one and put up a review letting you know whether to One-Click it (which is the fast and easy way to download from Amazon) or to skip it. 
I pepper these posts with advice for authors, recommendation on whether to check out other books, and my own personal rants.
The days I don't review a free book I post resources to find free e-book, like this one, and this one, and that one, and that one, oh, and here's another one (Did you know you can get them from your local neighborhood library too.) I've even guest blogged about where to get free ebooks. Sometimes I post my own downloads of the day, so you can grab a bunch if you want.

All you have to do is click on the photo of the book cover that interests you, check to make sure it's still free (most are limited time offer promos) and then one-click to get it. You'll have your e-book reader filled up in no time.

I'm a Romance writer (proud member of RWA, my local Colorado chapter and Rainbow Romance Writers), so most of the books featured are in my favorite genre. I like to throw in some YA, general fiction and even a couple of non-fiction books just for fun every once in a while.

I also try to do at least one giveaway a month.
The nature of free ebooks is here today gone tomorrow, so a majority of my giveaways are spur of the moment. Best way to find out about them...subscribe. (surprised aren't you?)

The giveaways so far were:
A paperback copy of Jean M. Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear 
(I'm and Earth's Children Ambassador)

5 Kindle copies of SEAL of my Dreams by a truckload of Romance Authors 
(proceeds benefit Veterans Research Corporation, 
a non-profit fundraiser for veterans' medical research)

A Kindle Copy of Marie Sexton's Cinder -  
A CinderFella story--it's all fun and games until somebody loses a shoe...  

A two-pack of Jenn LeBlanc's groundbreaking illustrated romances 
The Rake and the Recluse: Freedom & Found

So, you wanna get lucky? Get your mind out of the gutter, I'm not offering that... I'm giving away to you, my lovely new readers, or possibly one of my lucky already-a-follower followers, a choice of one of the newest releases from some of my favorite Romance authors (who all happen to be chapter mates of mine)

PRIZE: Your choice of one of the following Kindle books/two pack:
Click on the book covers to go straight to Amazon for description (or if you can't wait and wanna buy it right now) 

A Contemporary Cowboy
Cowboy Fever by Joanne Kennedy
Cowboy Fever

Romantic Suspense
Breaking Point (I-Team) by Pamela Clare
**Update** Breaking Point has just been awarded AAR's Reader Poll for Best Romantic Suspense. Congrats Pam!
Breaking Point (I-Team)

A Scottish Historical Time Travel (Whew, that's a mouthful)
Warrior's Redemption by Melissa Mayhue
Warrior's Redemption

Paranormal Romance/ Twisted Fairy Tale
Little Red Riding Wolf by Jessica Aspen
Little Red Riding Wolf 
Contemporary Romance
Satin Pleasures by Karen Docter
Satin Pleasures 
Futuristic Sci-Fi Fantasy
Centauri Midnight by Cynthia Woolf
Centauri Midnight, Book 3 Centauri Series, a sci-fi romance

A Contemporary Cowboy
Rodeo Queen by Helen Hardt
Rodeo Queen

A Secret Baby Contemporary (I love me a secret baby...)
Cart Before the Horse by Bernadette Marie
Cart Before The Horse

An Illustrated Time Travel Regency Historical
The Rake and the Recluse two pack from Jenn LeBlanc
FREEDOM : The Rake and the Recluse : Part One (a time travel romance) (The Rake And The Recluse : A serial novel)FOUND : The Rake and the Recluse : Part Two (a time travel romance) (The Rake And The Recluse : A serial novel)

A Friends of Animals Contemporary
Starlight Rescue by Leslee Breene
Starlight Rescue

And just because I loved it, I'm offering this one again.
A Fairytale Retelling
Cinder by Marie Sexton

Oh my! You say. What do I have to do to win one of these books?  Tick the boxes on the Rafflecopter below and do what it tells you to, silly.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What's in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Ebooks (that you won't have to pay for) #LuckydaysIBCFreeParTay

Yesterday I hopped onto a blog I saw in the twittersphere by author Mimi Barbour on why book descriptions are important. 
Not only did I get some good insight on Amazon blurbs but I also found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. (Read: Free Books)
Mimi is offering up her Contemporary Romance (with paranormal elements) My Cheeky Angel. I love her writing style, I'm jealous of her writing style, I want to beat her and steal her writing style for my very own.
Click on the pic to download her book.
My Cheeky Angel - Angels Love Romance (Angels with Attitudes) 
It's a more than friends story. I love those. So I clicked to download it, and got sent to the Free Partay website.
I love discovering new resources for free ebooks, I've got this post and this post and this post, oh and that post and that post over there on where and how to feed your e-reader addiction for zero dinero.

That's what this site and Free Partay are all about. Their tagline reads - Your Source of Quality Free Ebooks !!!. Did we mention Free???
While I think they went a little overboard with the punctuation excitement I still vow to be bestest friends with them.

They are hosting Lucky Days - OMG, it's like forty-two pots of gold and a handsome, hunky leprechaun boyfriend.
From March 14th-18th they have more free Romance ebooks than I can read in a month. (and you know me, that's a truckload and a half)

I downloaded two box sets, one historical and one paranormal, four other historicals, four romantic suspense, five contemporaries, one other paranormal and two urban fantasies. (There were about five other one's I already had) and they were all FREE!

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. (and I don't mean it in the Irish sense)

So my friends, click away. Get yourself some free romances for St. Patrick's day. I'm sure he would approve.

Because I love free ebook resources so much, if you leave me a comment on where you feed your need to read for free here (and your twitter name) I'll tweet you for the whole twitterverse to share.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lions and Tigers and Social Media, Oh My! #pubtip

It's a social media palooza out there. Which is arguably better than the zombie apocalypse. But it's only a matter of time before the two converge.

I'm a writer, and I'm pre-published. (That's the hopeful, inspirational, deluding myself way of saying nobody has published my book- yet)
Part of being a writer, published or pre in today's crazed gotta-have-it-now mentality is to have a platform. No, not the 'I want world peace and harsher punishments for parole violators," Miss America type of platform, or even the "I'm a chauvinistic, racist, rich, white man, but I'm going to pretend I care about you and your blue-collar uninsured family's issues so I can be president," platform either.
A platform for a writer means a presence in readers' awareness. And in the current publishing incarnation of disappearing brick&mortar bookstores that means being a social media queen.

I'm merely a princess on:

I'm more of a lowly maid waiting for her knight in shining Armani on:
Linked In
Google +

I'm a bit of a pea on:
Personal Website

I'm not even including small interest groups like:
Cut out and keep
Pocket After Dark

There are dozens and zillions of other social media sites out there. Flickr, FourSquare and umm, well, there are lots.

Thank goodness I missed the..wait, what was it called... oh, right, umm, MyFace, no YourSpace, no, whatever.

What's a girl to do trying to learn how to effectively use all these sites to hammer and screw together a platform tall enough and strong enough to hold her up while reaching for that Big 6 publishing contract?

Turn to books of course.

Here are some free reads I found to help get a handle on the big scary zombie (the fast running ravenous kind, not the slow-moving Romero kind) monster that is Social Media.

How To Create a Custom Email Address That Expresses The True You
How to Create a Custom Email Address that Expresses the True You by Hugh Kimura

A very easy to follow, step by step process on setting up an email address at your own domain. Every professional author checklist puts having your own email addy at your own domain name (example: near the top. Get your asap using this book as your guide.
One-click this if you need to set up an email address and don't have a teenager or rocket scientist around to help you.
How to Use Pinterest

How to use Pinterest by Kristen Brady

A little harder to follow due to typos and writing style this book (plus, look at the cover...).  Still the author gives a good introduction on how to get on Pinterest (it's invite only and still in Beta) and some great marketing ideas on how to utilize your Pinterest account to generate some buzz about your brand.
As an aside, if you're a Romance writer, it looks like Pinterest's demographics are ripe with our readers according to the charts and graphs in this book.
One-click this if you have no, or little idea what Pinterest is and want to get in on the next big social media site while it's still hot and fresh (like this morning's cup of joe)

Get More Views On Flickr - Secrets Of The Flickr MastersGet More Views on Flickr by Aaron Shanty

The first half of this book is great advice for using any kind of social media, like comment on others, be social, join groups. The second half is tips and tricks on photography and the site specifically. I don't currently have a Flickr account, but have heard that some authors use it for inspiration photos and book covers. So there is potential there for writers to get some notice.
One-click this if your into photography and looking for a place to garner interest and store your photos.

Push: 50 Secrets on How to Land a Job by Creating Social Media BuzzPush: 50 Secrets on How to Land a job by Creating Social Media Buzz by Nelson Wong

This little ditty really is for job seekers, but trying to get a book published or bought by readers is kind of like applying for a job. If you're a really creative thinker you can apply some of the author's ideas to marketing yourself and your book through social media too.
Or maybe you can use his advice to find a job to support your writing habit.
One-click this if you think you can use job-seeking advice to get your name and book out there, or if you actually need a job.

Smashwords Book Marketing Guide - How to Market any Book for Free (Smashwords Guides)Smashwords Book Marketing Guide by Mark Coker

While this book is directed specifically toward Smashwords authors it has some valuable tips and ideas for any up and coming writer. The first section is all about utilizing your Smashwords profile etc., but then Mark Coker (the founder and CEO of this popular self-pub-your-book site) gives us book marketing 101. Thirty-one solid marketing tools for your promo garden. He includes a relevant how-to on press releases that I personally found fascinating. Too bad I'm not listed in tip #30 Promote your book on top ebook listing sites. Feel free to include Amy Denim's 365 days, 365 Free Ebooks in your marketing arsenal.
One-click this book if you are new to this publishing gig and want the basics or if you published your book on Smashwords.

 How to Profit from Social Media Trends by Praveen Kumar

How to Profit From Social Media Trends (How To Create Wealth)Whew, this one flew a little over my head. You need a degree in marketing to understand most of what the author is talking about here, and it's mostly relevant to companies. There are a few ideas he shared that I thought relevant to writers.
Social Search - searches social media like search engines do on the internet. This could be handy for authors looking to see who is mentioning them on social media. Kumar says it's gonna be big in 2012
Measuring your social media efforts- We're all using social media, but is it doing us any good? Is it selling books? Is it getting our names out where we want them to be? The way to find out is through analytics. Google analytics (for your blog and website), Facebook Insights and Tweet Reach will help you figure these questions out.
One-click this if you have a background in marketing or, not there's no or.

I got some great knowledge about using social media from reading these books. But in the end, If you really want to be twitter, facebook and everywhere else smart I'd recommend checking out Kristen Lamb's blog (and/or her book We are not Alone: The Writer's Guide to Social Media - the Kindle edition is $4.99)
We Are Not Alone: The Writer's Guide to Social Media 

You may also want to read my blog post on using FREE as a marketing tool, inspired by Kristen's thoughts on the whole concept.

So my lovely bloggers and bloggettes, got any tips on using social media? Favorite resources, sites, books, blogs with tips and tricks? Let me know in the comments section below and if you leave your twitter name I'll tweet you and your tip for the whole twitterverse to see.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ima teachu sum gramma! #writetip

This week in my critique group we had some schooling by our friendly neighborhood grammar nazi. (*waves* Hi, Libby)
She knows her stuff. Most of the seeds she plants in our brains are about improving our punctuation. Because of her, I know I've improved my WIP. Now agents and editors won't laugh at it. Well, not because of my punctuation anyway.
I think there are a lot of writers out there need help with grammar. Those of us educated in the good ole US of A, didn't get much tutoring in this area at school. Not a whole lot in my thirteen years at a variety of elementary schools, junior highs or high schools were spent diagramming sentences.
If you're like me you got some of your best grammar knowledge from Schoolhouse Rock. It took me five years of teaching to be clear on adverbs. Should've just watched this again.

Not even in the six (yeah, I said six) years I spent in college (that's University to you Commonwealth English speakers) did I have an English grammar class. And I was an English major.

I didn't learn my aspects and tenses until I went to Europe to become and English teacher. Now I know my present perfect from my past continuous and my third conditional from my butt.

Still, most of Eats Shoots and Leaves goes over my head. Punctuation is just not my thing.

One of my favorite resources for grammar-flub fixes is Mignon Fogerty's Grammar Girl series. I started listening to her podcasts about six years ago and now I know the difference between lay and lie.  Her example is the song Lay down Sally. Lay means to hold something and set it down. So if we take this song grammatically it means the singer was asking someone to go over, grab poor Sally and flop her down on the bed. Maybe he was a voyeur. But "Lie down Sally" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

I don't often have a problem with using the correct word. However, effect and affect continue to elude me no matter how many times grammar girl tells me some fun mnemonic to remember which to use when.
Here's a fun little chart I found for confused words.

15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly
Like this infographic? Get more copywriting tips from Copyblogger.

Triple points for including a zombie in their tips.

There are gajillions of other resources out there. If you don't have a go to, and you are a writer, get one.
There isn't a whole lot available for free from Amazon that wasn't used in say, the eighteenth century grammar school. This one isn't too bad.

How to Speak and Write Correctly
I'm a transformational grammarian, meaning I believe the English language is figuratively a living, breathing organism, and thus changes, or transforms over time. Old grammar rules are lost or ignored over time and new uses for words and grammar are developed. For example - 'ain't'. 
Now, you know your mama told you this isn't a word and you shouldn't use it, right? Well in fact it is a word. It originally debuted in the English language as a contraction of 'am' and 'not', and was used primarily but the upper crust of society. 
"I ain't going to tell you how to speak correctly." but not "You ain't eating that pie." 
However over the past thirty or forty years 'ain't' has been used more and more as any form of the verb 'to be' (am, are, is, etc) + 'not'. A prescriptive grammarian (read: grammar snob who wishes we all still spoke Latin) would say you can not use the word ain't, but the rest of the world accepts it in slang and informal language.
How to Speak and Write Correctly is a bit outdated, and prescriptive, but lots of the rules still apply. If you're really hard up for a grammar guide, one-click this one.
I give it three stars.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Writing Craft books on Amazon #pubtip

There are katrillions of writing books out there. I generally don't pick them up unless someone I know, trust, and have read their writing or taken a writing course from, recommends it.

My go to writing craft book is Donald Maass's The Fire in Fiction. I was lucky enough to go to a workshop he gave at the RWA Nat'l conference two years ago. I got more out of that one-hour session than any other workshop of book I've ever read. So naturally I picked up his book. He signed it for me. The inscription reads: Tension on every page!!!

For some reason there seems to be a rash of writing advice books on Amazon for free this week.
After the coup of scoring Leigh Michaels On Writing Romance for free last month I thought I check some more out.
If you're not reading this the day of the post publication make sure to check the price. Freebies don't usually last very long.

Here's what I found:
Write Good or Die
One-Click this one.
Write Good or Die: Survival tips for 21st century writers, from best-selling authors Kevin J. Anderson, M.J. Rose, Heather Graham, J.A. Konrath, Gayle Lynds, Alexandra Sokoloff, Jonathan Maberry, and more. How to develop your craft, improve your writing, get an agent, promote your work, embrace the digital age, and prepare yourself for the coming changes in the publishing industry. Edited by Scott Nicholson.

Other contributors include Elizabeth Massie, Harley Jane Kozak, Douglas Clegg, Brandon Massey, Mur Lafferty, Dean Wesley Smith, David J. Montgomery, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Robert Kroese, and Adrienne Jones. Covering art, craft, and business, the ever-evolving manual supports the writing blog

All proceeds benefit the non-profit organization Literacy Inc., which promotes reading among teens.

I'm working my way though these short essays and so far they are fan-freakin-tastic. No wonder it has 4.2 out of 5 stars from 24 readers on Amazon.

So you want to write a novel...
And one-click this one too
So You Want to Write a Novel
was written for the many who’ve wanted to pursue the lofty endeavor of penning (typing) their very own opus, but for one reason or another got lost in the whole process, or perhaps were even a little intimidated. This writer’s booklet was designed to get the ball rolling, so to speak. It even offers proven story templates that have worked to help plot the many, or few, twists and turns, climaxes and conclusions along a writer's authoring journey.

If you’ve got great story ideas that need something to harness and channel them into a cohesive format that makes sense, then give So You Want to Write a Novel… a read and let the process begin.

This has 5 out of 5 stars from three Amazon Readers.

Meet a Jerk, Get to Work, How to Write Villains and the Occasional Hero

I one-clicked this one
Meet a Jerk, Get to Work: How to Write Villians and the Occasiopnal Hero
How to find material for murder mysteries under your very nose. USA Today Bestselling mystery author Jaqueline Girdner offers some ideas on harvesting a bumper crop of potential fictional homicides.

"I've always heard you should write what you know. I just take it a little further; I kill what I know. Every experience I've ever had is possible fodder for murder. And I've had a lot of experience: as a divorce lawyer, as a psychiatric aide in a mental hospital, and as a small-business owner. And of course, as a writer."

This book has 5 out of 5 stars from two Amazon Readers.

How I Wrote My First Book: the story behind the story

How I Wrote My First Book
Twenty authors tell amazing stories about the efforts that went into writing their first book.

Christine Amsden - "My Million Words of Crap" 
Darrell Bain - "The Story Behind The Pet Plague" 
Mayra Calvani - "Tips on Writing Your First Novel" 
Lee Denning - "Two Beginnings" 
Toby Fesler Heathcotte - "The Manuscript from a Mystifying Source" 
Darby Karchut - "Wings" 
Linda Langwith - "The Serendipity Factor"
Stephanie Osborn - "How a Rocket Scientist Becomes a Writer"

Along with articles by Bob Boan, D Jason Cooper, Susan Goldsmith, Ginger Hanson, Aaron Paul Lazar, Celia A. Leaman, Beverly Stowe McClure, Gerald Mills, Erica Miner, Bob Rich, Dorothy Ann Skarles and Dan Starr.

This has 4 out of 5 stars from nine Amazon Readers

How to Write a Great Query Letter: Insider Tips and Techniques for Success
How to Write a Great Query Letter 
I was kind of excited for this one, since I'm working on my own query letters now, but the reviews all say it's way out of date (we're talking dot matrix printer advice here) and no longer useful. So skip this one. It has 3.4 out of 5 stars from five Amazon readers