Another Excerpt


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Another Excerpt

By Nandy Ekle

Sighing, I looked at him in the eyes. “David, I have a ghost.” I made it up, just off the top of my head. I was usually careful about not using my ability in front anyone, but this had been a knee-jerk reaction as I pictured the blood red liquid smashing on my carpet. The scientific world called what I did telekinesis, but I called it Alfred, after Batman’s butler.

“You’ve seen other things happen?”

“From time to time, just little stuff.” Might as well make it good, I thought. “Normally, just helpful little things like stopping a falling glass or picking up the laundry. I just say ‘Thanks, ghost.’ Nothing sinister has ever happened.”

“Wow! Why didn’t you say something? When was the first time you saw something?”

“Now how can I know that? It’s not like I marked on the calendar, ‘Today an apparition appeared,’ you know? You’re way more interested than I am.” I began to flounder, but he would not let it rest.

“I would have remembered the first time, Dora. I mean, a ball of wine moving from thin air back into the glass? That’s pretty memorable.”

“Well, it’s not something I took the time to write down; it just happened one day. I told it ‘thank you’ and went on with my business.

He walked toward the door rattling his keys. “I can’t believe you never said anything about it. Holy cow! This is BIG!”

“See how you’re acting? Why would I want you to know if you’re going to freak out like this?”

He put his hand on the door knob and his eyes looked into the air behind my right shoulder. “I think the temperature in here dropped. I have to go.” And he drove away before I could think of anything else to say.

I turned to the empty room and giggled a little. My giggle turned into a full-out laugh and I sat on the couch in front of the wine glasses. My brother, the scaredy cat, always nervous of things that are a little out of the ordinary. Exactly why I felt the need to keep Alfred a secret.

But if I knew David, he would not stay quiet.

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Pantser or Plotter?


Pantser or Plotter?

Adam Huddleston

     So the questions come up when new writers look to begin their first work:

How do you write a story?  Do you begin at the first and then just plug away?  Do you organize all of your scenes first and then write it?  What’s the best way?

Guess what folks.  It really depends on the writer and their preferences.  I will say that there are pros and cons to each.  Let’s examine the two prevailing methods.

  • The “pantser” writes by the seat of his/her pants.They start from word one and let it fly. The plot unfolds as they write.  This can be a very exciting and creative method, but it can also lead to quite a bit of editing later on.
  • The “plotter” plans out each scene and plot twist before they begin to write anything. This allows the process to be more streamlined and decreases editing.

Most writers probably use a little of both and what works best for you is simply that; what works best for you.  I prefer to write and edit the “major” scenes that I know I want in the story then piece them together with “minor” scenes.

Try out both methods and see which you prefer.  Happy writing!

 

You’ve Got To Pay the Bills


Outtakes 351

You’ve Got To Pay the Bills

By Cait Collins

 

When my dad asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I told him I wanted to be an actress.  He told me that acting jobs were hard to get.  There might be times when the money wasn’t coming in, so how would I pay the bills?

I didn’t have an answer, but I continued to study acting. I did okay. I won a “Best Actress” award for playing an insane woman, Type casting according to my sister. I was also inducted into Delta Psi Omega, a national acting fraternity. While I enjoyed acting, I realized I didn’t have the discipline or drive to act all the time. It’s fun for a while, but I wasn’t in love with the job.

So again my Dad asked what do you want to be? This time I told him I wanted to be a writer. I got the even good writers don’t always make it speech. And he followed the warning by saying, “You have to be able to pay your bills.”

My father died before I could show him how I could be a writer and pay the bills without having a book on the shelf in a book store. I have made a living writing for most of my adult life. I have three television documentaries to my credit and a local 13-week TV series. I’ve written commercial copy, news stories, training materials, sales handouts, two children’s plays, and served as the publicity chairperson for non-profits. I still make my living writing while I work toward my big break.

I may not have written the great American novel or even had a novel published. The point is I am a writer and I pay my bills by writing.

Writing Life Struggles Part 2


Writing Life Struggles Part 2

Natalie Bright

 

I adjusted my flight schedules.

In a previous blog, link below, I talked about me needing to be at one place, but I’d decided to choose my writing instead. I mentioned that the whole universe seemingly joins forces to prevent writers from writing. This only happens once you’ve acknowledged the stories in your head and more than once, told someone “I am a writer”. The cosmos goes nuts at this point and so does your family.

This time I took a stand. I chose a writer’s conference over needing to be somewhere else, but then I gave in  and compromised. I changed my flight schedules and will only be missing one day of meetings. If the weather holds and the good Lord willing, I will make the other event too. Unfortunately, three different airlines are needed to get me where I need to be, but I’m giving it my best shot during that week.

Everybody’s happy, right?

I’ve been busy writing blogs, but have done nothing on the work in progress.  Actually, more than one project has been put on hold and it’s waking me up nights. So why don’t I just get up and work?

What do you do when life gets in the way and you are itching to get back to your fictional world.

Do you get up an hour early?

Should I stay up past midnight to get those words in and drag through the day job?

Let us know how you push back at life and make time for your writing.  Thanks for following WordsmithSix!

https://wordsmithsix.com/2018/05/28/writing-life-struggles/

 

Excerpt From “Miss Bitsy”


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Excerpt From “Miss Bitsy”

By Nandy Ekle

“We’ll keep working on that mystery. This cake is wonderful! and the caramel brownies,… I think I died and went to Heaven. Miss Bitsy, you’re amazing.:

“Oh, thank you, Dear. It’s just the same old recipe I’ve always had”

“Now you said you last saw Anton about a month ago?”

“Yes.” She stopped and looked up the stairs as if she’d heard a noise. Her expression changed to a dark frown, then back to her sweet, smiling self, as if a could had crossed her face.

“Miss Bitsy, are you okay?”

She turned back and smiled. “Oh, yes, I’m fine. I just thought I heard something. Must be squirrels up there. Yes, I think it was about a month ago. I’m afraid we had a little disagreement. You see, some of my things disappeared. Oh, nothing big, but gadgets I was fond of. I’m afraid I accused him of taking them. I just can’t imagine why he would want that stuff. He said he hadn’t touched them, but he was the only other person here.”

“Do you think he stole your stuff and left town?”

“Well, I don’t know about that. I certainly wouldn’t have dreamed of him taking anything from me. If he had just asked I would have given him anything.”

“What things were missing?”

“Let’s see… things missing… well, my rose colored Pyrex dish… my green apron… oh, my marble rolling pin, and my flour sifter.”

Jeremy looked at her, incredulous at the list of missing items. The Miss Bitsy he remembered would never have made a big deal out of losing something as inconsequential as a Pyrex dish. Surely she had plenty of dishes to cook in. “Are you sure Mr. Easley took those things? What kind of monetary value did any of that have for a college student?”

“Well, I don’t know why he would want them, but he was the only other person in the house; it couldn’t have been anyone else. He said he didn’t take them, but there was no one else here.” Again she looked up the stairs as if she’d heard something, and once again a frown momentarily creased her brow.

“Miss Bitsy, let me go look for the squirrel to pay you back for the cake and brownies.”

“Oh, Jerry, I could always count on you to do little jobs for me, but I think this is a job for someone else. Don’t you worry about it.”

He swallowed  gulp of milk and nodded. “Exactly what did Anton say when you asked him about those items?”

“He said he didn’t take them. He said I’m like his grandmother and he would never steal anything from me.” She turned back to the stairs, frowning, and after a moment she stood up, shook her finger at the rooms above her head and began to yell. “You can’t threaten me like that anymore, Eli Bevel! I know you’re dead ‘cause I killed you myself!”

An excerpt from the anthology, One Murderous Week. A book of seven short stories written by Nandy Ekle, available at a book store near you, or amazon.com, Barnesandnobles.com or from carpediempublishers.com. 

Continuation of Last Week’s Work


Continuation of Last Week’s Work

By Adam Huddleston

 

Here is some more from last week’s work.

I sit at a long lunch table in the school’s cafeteria waiting for the first bell. My classmates are chatting at that volume above casual dialogue but just below shouting.  After yesterday’s events, I don’t feel like talking at all, especially about the banal subjects that my peers seem obsessed with.

Who is sleeping with whom?  What website a student found that contains actual suicide videos?  Which sophomore stole the answer key to Friday’s exam?

I sip on a bottle of water and stare at the clock, willing it to move faster. It doesn’t and a sandy-blonde boy I’d spoken to only a handful of times grabs my shoulder.

“You hear about Shasta?”

I can smell something strong on his breath that isn’t chewing gum.

“Who’s Shasta,” I ask, not really caring.

“Shasta!  The girl that sits in the front cubicle in English.  I heard she got herpes.  Ain’t that funny?  Herpes!”

I stare at him for a full ten seconds then turn away.  He bursts out laughing and moves on to another table.

The bell for first period blares throughout the room and we all move en masse out of the cafeteria’s double doors and into the hallway.  The din of the lunchroom pales in comparison to that in the halls.  With my backpack and computer, I have no free hands to cover my ears so I make a quick bee-line to my first class, Civics.

 

Improvement


Outtakes 350

Improvement

By Cait Collins

I’ve been reviewing some of my under-the-bed and box-in the-closet manuscripts.  I thought I had written some really great stories.  But when I compare these earlier offerings with my more recent works, I realize how much better the new stories are.  Over the years I’ve learned more about characterization, plots and turning points, and dialogue. With new tools, I do a better job of crafting a story.

I’ve also learned that honest criticism is not a bad thing.  I can trust my friends with WordsmithSix to be honest in their critiques.  I can listen to their ideas and thoughts but still feel comfortable in choosing what to incorporate in my story and what to discard or hold for future use.  They encourage me to be just me.

While I see major improvement in my writing, I am well aware I’m not where I want to be and could be.  I have to keep looking for better ways to say things, practice getting into my characters’ heads and figuring out how they will respond to the milestones of life. More importantly, I cannot base my characters actions on how I see things or how I would handle the situation. I must step outside the box and allow the character to map his or her future without my interference.

So what am I going to do with those old manuscripts?  I’m keeping them.  Some of the stories have good bones.  They just need a little reshaping and restructuring.  And maybe the passing years have allowed some good characters to grow up and provide a new perspective on an old plot.

How About Picking a Good Title


How About Picking a Good Title

Rory C. Keel

A good title is almost as much work as writing the story. I ran across this information that has helped me in picking titles for my writing.

PINC was created by Michael Hyatt (former CEO of Thomas Nelson and author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World). It stands for Promise, Intrigue, Need, and Content. In essence, your book title should do one of the following four things:

  • Make a Promise. Your book title can be your promise to your reader—what they will get out of reading your book.
  • Create Intrigue. Your title can engage your potential reader in a compelling way—drawing them in to learn more.
  • Identify a Need. Your book title can point out a need in someone’s life. It may be a need they already know they have, or it might be a need they become aware of through reading your title.
  • State the Content. A book’s title can also simply state the content of the book—letting the reader know exactly what they will learn or receive from reading it.

Opportunities to Promote Your eBook


Opportunities to Promote Your eBook

Natalie Bright

There are a variety of opportunities to advertise and promote your eBooks for minimal amount of money. Here a few links to several great articles about promotion sites for your eBook.

Best Promotion Sites for 2018

https://www.lincolncole.net/tools/best-paid-book-promotion-sites-for-indie-authors

https://blog.reedsy.com/book-promotion-services/

https://the-digital-reader.com/2018/01/21/nates-big-list-free-paid-book-promotion-websites/

There might be one slight road block you have to overcome though; many of the promo deals require a minimum number of reviews.  Sometimes it’s not necessary that you have all 5 Stars, because it’s the numbers of reviews that can boost you in the algorithms, not the star ratings.

Here’s my problem:  I get the nicest comments on Facebook or through emails from people who enjoy reading my books, but they don’t leave a review online. Some people are just not comfortable with the process, I think.

We’re all writers here, so let’s spread the love. Leave a review for your favorite author. Share a new release by someone in your writing community and remind your friends to leave a online reviews for their favorite authors.

 

Still, The Day Job


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

 

Still, The Day Job

By Nandy Ekle

At this point in time, working a mandatory ten hours a day (pay is good, don’t get me wrong) for over a year, about the nicest thing I can say is 

UGH.

And the research of old contracts that puff dust in my face when I open them on the computer, 

UGH.