The Best Sci Fi books…from Hays, Kansas?

Best Science Fiction books

My first attempt at a novel was a dystopian science fiction story while I was in 7th grade in Hays, Kansas. It focused on the Junior High students and our coming challenges as we were to be protected from a cataclysm that would wipe out society before were were to restart humanity. Probably not the best sci fi book plot of all time. 

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A writer’s life… And raccoons, deer, hawks, owls and spiders

Dog and deer, Trevose and buck

This morning, while I was sitting on the deck doing some writing, our dog (Trevose — named after the street we lived on in Singapore, where we adopted her from the humane society) and a buck had a conversation through our back fence.

Moments before, a huge owl had been sitting on a limb not far above where the buck was standing in this picture. And there used to be a famiy of hawks that lived in a nearby tree, but they seem to have departed about a month ago. We have a couple hummingbird feeders, but there seems only two that frequent them. And we have a squirrel with a black head and a brown body that crosses the deck from time to time. There is a downside…

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An update on publishing End War: Lonely Hunter

Archers, Lonely Hunter, Crossbow

I don’t normally post about WIP (Works In Progress). However, I thought I’d provide an update on how End War: Lonely Hunter is progressing. It is my first full length Science Fiction novel. To be honest, I’m a bit burnt out at the moment. Between a demanding full-time job (that has nothing to do with writing), blogging, relentlessly growing my understanding about how self-publishing works, continuing to promote my first novel (to include finishing up the audio book), and working on Lonely Hunter and its four sequels…I’m smoked.

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#1 — It’s not every day that your book is a #1 bestseller

#1 bestseller list Amazon UK, UK best seller list

Just a short note to say that I’m celebrating! My book has made it to #1 in its category in the UK. Sweet! If you want to see how it’s doing on the UK site at the moment, click here.

No, I’m not selling thousands of books a day. And, no, this is not a huge category. But it is still pretty exciting.

In the US, my book has made it to #6 and #9 in two different categories. And it has made it to #1 in France, #2 in Australia, #2 in Canada and #9 in Brazil. And it has cracked the top 100 of several more lists. All that is exciting, but a #1 spot is special and not something I’ll ever forget.

Thank you to everyone who bought a copy. 🙂

Hemingway Editor + Grammarly App = Nirvana (almost)

Hemingway App Editor, Grammarly, Proofreading Editor, Grammerly App Editor

Writers always need help with editing, so this is pretty damn cool: Two of my favorite tools are now working together for free. The Hemingway App has always been free, and Grammarly has a free version. But now, with the Grammarly Chrome extension, not only can you use both of them, you can use both of them together. It’s not the same as having a human editor, but if you are trying to figure out how to write a book, this combination can be a big help. Let me explain…

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Review: Lisa Cron’s Wired for Story

Story Telling, free indirect discourse, show not tell writing, writing well

I believe we live in a universe governed by laws of causes and effects even though we don’t yet fully understand all the causes and all the effects. When it comes to art, in particular, it is immensely difficult to know what cause will result in which effect. So it is tremendously difficult in the realm of words to know which sentence, which metaphor, which plot device will resonate with a majority of your targeted genre’s readers and turn a bunch of words into a great story. Though we don’t know these things with precision, I do believe that there are quantifiable causes and effects in play.

Wired for Story is Lisa Cron’s assertion that we do in fact have (some) science in the realm of writing that enables us to understand the causes and effects of good storytelling.

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Stephen King On Writing: A Review

 

Stephen King On Writing, Carrie, Misery, Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, Art

I’ve not posted much recently. I have been heads down writing and reading to improve my craft. One of the books I’ve read is Stephen King’s On Writing. As a maturing writer,  I’m attentive to writing, but also writers. I have long avoided this book because I really do not care for King’s writing. And to be honest, after having read this, I still don’t care for his novel writing.

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When to “show” and when to “tell” in your fiction

Desert City as an example of Writing craft, showing and telling, how to write, fiction, novel writing, telling and showing, when to show and when to tell in your fiction, the craft of fiction, showing vs. telling, the art of fiction, telling vs. showing, writing rules
Showing vs. Telling in fiction. It is an age-old debate and an easy thing for people new to critiquing to throw out. The trick is not one or the other, but rather both in proper proportion.

 

Don’t you love it when you get feedback on your fiction that you are doing too much “telling” and not enough “showing”?

When we think about how to write a novel and to be a successful writer of fiction, we must understand the balance of showing versus telling in our work. This is one of the critical skills and one that we can learn. There is no formula, and we need to do both. The trick is to keep them in proper proportion.

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The 25 Greatest Science Fiction novels ever? Damn close!

How to write science fiction. Dune, 2001, Enders Game, Herbert, Clarke, Asimov

 

Came across this very cool post on StumbleUpon: 25 greatest Sci Fi novels ever. Check it out and see what you think. Nice summaries and engaging graphics.

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How You Can Optimize your Social Media and Blogging Images with these free tools

 

Images, Social Media, Blogging, How to sell a book, book marketing, book promotion
Optimize your images for Social Media and Blogging with these free tools

 

Confused by all the different image sizes you need for your social media presence? Wish there was a simple tool to create the images you want?

Problem solved! I’m going to keep this simple by highlighting the best sources for both.

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How to Provide Feedback in your Creative Writing Workshop

Provide writing feedback. It is critically important in fiction workshops. This picture shows a chair in a fire. Being critiqued can feel just as uncomfortable.
Getting feedback on your writing can be painful. Worse, it can be counterproductive and demoralizing. Make sure you are providing constructive feedback of the kind you would find helpful.

Learning how to write well is more than just cranking out words in response to creative writing prompts. For instance, I’m sure you have gotten feedback in your fiction writing workshop (or writing studio or writer’s studio, which is the more popular term of the day) on a submission from someone who you thought was a self-serving ass. When it happens, your defenses immediately go up and you stop listening for anything constructive. At that point, it is a wasted exercise for you and the person providing feedback. As a young writer, this is not what you need.

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Best Grammar Checker Poll: Which one is most helpful?

Grammar checker software can be a big help.
Grammar checker software can be a big help whether it is local or online. It is one of your most helpful tools as a writer.

Which are the best Grammar Checkers? Which one is most helpful to you? Do you prefer a Microsoft Word Plug in or something that works online with Chrome, for instance? Do they help your writing craft?

I’m interested in your feedback. And your feedback will guide other writers to the most effective tools.

Vote in the Grammar Checker poll on the next page.

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How to Improve Your Writing with Text To Speech (TTS) software. Are you listening (to yourself)?

Text to speech tools will allow you to hear your words, much like singers use speakers directed at themselves for feedback.
Text to speech tools will allow you to hear your words, much like singers use speakers directed at themselves for feedback. There are many things you can do to learn how to write a story and improve your writing craft. Hearing your words will help you write better.

Text to Speech (TTS) software is a surprisingly powerful tool to help you improve your writing. Whether you are writing a book, poetry or a business letter, hearing your words will allow you to perceive your words and sentences in a different way. Reading what you have written is one mental process. Hearing your words is a different process. There are subtle but important differences between the two. Listening to your words will enable you to detect errors and clunky sentences in your writing that you can’t “see” when you read your work. There are Microsoft text to speech tools, but those are not the only ones. Find — and use — one that works for you.

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