Walks on the Blog Side…

Conisbrough CastleOh look! It’s me over at Black Lilac Kitty! Thanks, Cindy, for inviting me over to meet your readers.

We’re taking a very short walk through the blogosphere this week. Does my photo from Conisbrough Castle make it look like I’m locked away? Well, close. *wipes brow* I’m slaving over the final edits to my novel. (Yes, still.) These 90,000+ words will be shipped to ebook formatting guru Jaye Manus by Monday. I’ve been pointing to Jaye’s wonderful posts for months and had planned to do the work myself. But, I’m exhausted, and I want it done right. Jaye will do a wonderful job, and I won’t be nearly so stressed.

How to Edit Your Book in 4 Steps 
4 steps, eh? I think I’ve done a bit more than that. And guess what I’ve been doing for the last week. Do you know how long it takes to read 90,000 words out loud? Time for more tea with honey…

Promoting your book on your blog — how much is too much? « Michelle Proulx Official
Is there a fine line between drawing interest & blatant self-promotion?

Raji Singh has another fun & whimsical tale: No. 19: THE LINCOLN-DARWIN STUMP DEBATE OF FEBRUARY 12, 1809. PART I.  at Tales of the Fiction House

Have you read any good posts lately?

The book blurb

How do you distill a 93,000 word manuscript down to 2 paragraphs? While my novel is off in beta hands, I’ve been writing, editing, scrapping, and re-writing my book blurb, or as it’s called on Amazon, the “product description”. That’s not very romantic, is it? If I was buying a blender or a new laptop, sure, “product description” seems to fit. But for a book?

I suppose that in the online environment our books don’t really have a book jacket or a back cover. Will kids in the future even know those terms? Most will be introduced to the smart phone, iPAD or Kindle before they start kindergarten. Will the touch and feel of a paperback (or hardcover), the smell of old paper, be foreign to them?

But I procrastinate. Product description. Why not  something as simple as “about this book”? Too boring I suppose.

But boring is NOT what the book blurb can be. It has to grab the reader immediately. A voice in their head says I must take a closer look at this book, which leads to “Buy now with 1-click” and makes us writer-ly types happy.

The advice about writing the book blurb here and here makes it sound like it should be  simple. Writers know that this is not a piece of cake. Think of all the plots and subplots in a novel. I know what the most important thing is; I can tell you what’s at stake for my protagonist. But keeping it short, punchy, and to the point without revealing the details – that’s the trick.

I posted my 4th attempt at the blurb for my upcoming novel here. I’ve already worked up 2 different versions, including one that went over really well at my writers group last week.

I’d love to hear from you and I know my non-writer readership would be interested in your tales! How many rewrites did it take you to finalize your own book blurb? Feedback on my current blurb is welcome, too!

Book excerpt – tagged for #luckyseven

Writers do interesting things to support each other while trying to sludge through the writing, revising, publishing process. Twitter is one refuge, even when you get tagged – a la hashtag – to participate in a mini-exercise. Marie Loughin included me on #luckyseven and as she notes, it’s a way for readers to get a glimpse of our writing.

The rules for #luckyseven are:

  • Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript
  • Go to line 7
  • Post on your blog the next 7 lines or sentences – as they are!!
  • Tag 7 other people to do the same

So here goes. This is a little more than 7 lines from Keeping the Family Peace – aren’t you lucky! The setting: it is Thanksgiving 1992 and Admiral Chuck Bailey, an old friend, is visiting the family…

Chuck cuddled Jamie in the crook of his arm and wandered across the room to look over Pete’s shoulder. “They gave my assistant one of these new-fangled machines a few months ago. When she realized she could throw away the white-out, you’d have thought she’d won the lottery.” He shook his head. “I had one of those old dedicated terminals back in the seventies. At the NSA. A roomful of power and memory – probably what this one little machine holds.”

“And Windows 3.1. No more DOS,” Pete said. “Internet access. I’m going to buy one of these babies for Christmas.”

“You are?” Emma asked, surprised.

“Windows?” Chuck appeared to take it all in stride and held his own against Pete’s computer-speak. “That’s the operating software, right?”

Pete nodded.

“There goes my diamond necklace,” Emma sighed.

You’ll have to wait for the rest! But if current mainstream family sagas aren’t your cup of tea, how about a little historical fiction? A bonus! I can’t give you lines from p. 7 of this one because, in it’s current state, it’s a 5 page short story. But I will give you a taste of Battle Scars: England, one of 3 short stories set during the 1190s, where Henry, a young knight, has recently returned from Outremer where he served Richard the Lionheart during the Third Crusade:

Pulling his cap down tightly, Henry stared across the fog certain there was a low, deep hum coming from somewhere on the water. Ships, troops—Prince John’s mercenaries.

He buried his head in his hands. His heart beat rapidly throbbing loudly in his ears. It drowned the thrum of noise around him but the nightmares of fighting the king’s enemies and the sounds of battle remained, painted vividly in his mind. How often had he awakened with sweat beaded across his forehead remembering the times they’d come within a whisper of dying?

Memories stirred of Saracen war cries in the Holy Land, scars from that godforsaken desert. They were as clear as if they’d come off the water.

Oh God’s heaven, the chanting. Stop the awful chanting.

Watch for Battle Scars in 2013.

Check out many other authors participating in #luckyseven via links from Twitter at the hashtag here. And I know I’m supposed to tag 7 authors but most of those I follow have already participated.