Weekly Book Giveaways

Weekly Book Giveaways

How does a weekly book giveaway sound to all of you? Good, right, because that’s exactly what I’m doing. Each week I will be giving away a young adult novel along the veins of When Stars Die and Stolentime. All of you might as well start following my blog now because that is going to be a consistent stipulation to get into these drawings. You might as well share this post too with others. Since I pick up about 10-13 followers per day, I figure it’s just best to do a weekly one where I draw every Sunday instead of waiting for me to hit a certain number of followers.

The books I’m giving away I’ve already read, so I’m not depriving myself of reading material. And my demo money (extra money I make at my job) will pretty much be going toward buying a book a week, so, no, this will not be squeezing me dry. I’m more than happy to do this especially because, hey, free book. Fun. Fun. Fun.

I will be drawing for Coraline this Sunday and will reveal the next book prize then.

Also, I really want to start doing more guest posts and would love for you guys to e-mail me any of your ideas at thedancingwriter@gmail.com. It can be about whatever you want, so long as it is helpful or relatable (I know these terms are vague, but use them to your discretion). If I have enough, I’d love to do a guest post a day, along with my regularly scheduled blog posts. You can also e-mail me if you want to collaborate on a book giveaway.

Enjoy!

How to be a Good Beta Reader

How to be a Good Beta Reader

I have not been lucky with beta readers. I have one good beta reader and that’s it. They have either been too time consuming for me or they have had to quit due to a busy life and haven’t been able to even start my book (critique on one chapter can still go a long way!). So I have compiled a list on how to be a good beta reader for those who want to return the favor.

1) If you know your life is about to get busy, don’t even bother trying to beta read because you will only disappoint the person you are beta reading for. Busy lives don’t come out of nowhere. We know our work loads, we know when school will start, we know how busy moving will be, ect. Please, please, please, if life is about to get busy, don’t even bother starting a project. There are beta readers who will read your book and not expect reciprocation; some of them haven’t even finished their own books but enjoy beta reading in general.

2) If you have time to write a book, you have time to read a book. Offer to reciprocate if you know you have the time. This is just good manners.

3) Be timely. Don’t let the book just sit there. Don’t take forever to do it. We all have dreams and goals and we’d rather they not get delayed because of a lazy reader.

4) When you read, don’t just point out what’s wrong and tell the writer to fix it. Think outside of the box. Actually offer suggestions over how the writer could fix it. If something is not working, think about why, explain it, and offer suggestions over how the author can fix it. This takes thinking, this may be more work than a beta reader should have to do, but you’ll be a stronger reader for it.

5) Listen to your gut as a beta reader. If what you’re reading leaves a bad taste in your mouth, it is up to you to figure out why, then let the author know why and what he/she can do to improve that. Perhaps this is asking a bit much from a beta reader, but we writers become so used to our work that sometimes we can’t think of ways to improve it.

6) Chapter ones are important. If the chapter one is merely compelling, think of how the writer can make it beyond compelling. Could the writer start the story earlier? Or does this chapter need to be written stronger?

7) Don’t. Be. Lazy. If you’re the kind afraid to hurt others’ feeling, don’t beta read. If you truly think the book is good, leave chapter-by-chapter feedback over why you found nothing wrong.

8) Be vigilant about plot holes. Plot holes will show up in a query letter or synopsis, so it’s best to shut them up in the book so the writer isn’t struggling with the query letter or synopsis and not understanding why.

9) If, for some reason, life does become busy out of nowhere–death in a family is a good reason–at least try to do one chapter. The critique of one chapter can go a long way for a writer if said writer knows how to utilize feedback to the fullest.

200th Follower Giveaway Fest

200th Follower Giveaway Fest

Come join the contest!

As promised in a previous post, I am going to start doing giveaways now! So here is the first giveaway prize that I will gift:

I chose this book because the current novel I’m working on, Stolentime, has a similar eerie, quirky, bizarre atmosphere, and so I figured Coraline would make an excellent first book giveaway.

Here is the description from Amazon:

The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring….

In Coraline’s family’s new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close.

The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.

Only it’s different.

At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter…

View original post 214 more words

200th Follower Giveaway Fest

200th Follower Giveaway Fest

As promised in a previous post, I am going to start doing giveaways now! So here is the first giveaway prize that I will gift:

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

I chose this book because the current novel I’m working on, Stolentime, has a similar eerie, quirky, bizarre atmosphere, and so I figured Coraline would make an excellent first book giveaway.

Here is the description from Amazon:

The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring….

In Coraline’s family’s new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close.

The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.

Only it’s different.

At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there’s another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.

Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only hope of rescue. She will have to fight with all her wits and all the tools she can find if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself.

Some of the stipulations are that you must be following me, you must comment below to get entered, and on the 230th follower, I will draw, so if you want this to go ASAP, start reblogging and sharing this post in whatever way you can. Also, you must own either a Kindle or some reading device that has a Kindle app. It is the quickest way for me to give the giveaway prize to you through e-mail that doesn’t involve mailing it. How this will work is that on the 230th follower, I will enter all your names in a raffle and choose one winner. All others not chosen will get put into the next book drawing.

Behind the Scenes With a Busy Writer

Behind the Scenes With a Busy Writer

I don't like to show rough drafts.
I don’t like to show rough drafts.

So I have been crazy busy as of late, most of that being with social media because blog posts and websites aren’t just going to sell themselves, unfortunately. I am just a few followers away from 200, and then I’ll start with some giveaways I’ve got planned. Nothing crazy, but just some cool trinkets and book gifta. Once I make more money at work I’ll probably get some gift cards.

What exactly have I been busy with? The author checklist to your right.

Screenshot (3)

I worked on it all day yesterday, and the only things I need to get done are the author headshot, character sheet, and elevator pitch. The headshot I have decided to do myself because I don’t want to spend a lot of money for an entire session when I don’t need one. It also doesn’t hurt that I have the skills and equipment to be able to do it myself. Unfortunately, my lovely ballet photo won’t cut it, but, hey, it’ll stay on my website because I am The Dancing Writer, and that won’t change.

Now that I’m wrapping up on my authorly things, I pretty much just have to wait for edits and have a phone call with my contract manager, which I am very excited about. For now, I am going to continue work on Stolentime and continue doing social media, as usual. I will also try to get some reading in.

Tomorrow, however, will be another social media day off for me. I’m going to spend that time writing, reading, hopefully doing a beta read, playing Luigi’s Mansion (it’s fun!), and possibly doing more writing. During this time, there will hopefully be a giveaway going on, in which I will start with the book giveaway first. I will give away two different books by two different authors.

In the meantime, I should stop procrastinating at my part-time job.

 

My POV Preference

My POV Preference

Gemma Doyle from ‘A Great and Terrible Beauty.’ First person present POV.

I was going through my author information packet, which was like a glorified interview, and I stumbled across an interesting question: What is your style of writing? I had no idea how to answer that. Should I put Faulkner? I did one of those writing things with When Stars Die and it claimed I write like Faulkner. It wasn’t until I looked it up did I have an answer: I am an emotional, expressive writer. That is my style.

I began to think even more on what it meant to be an emotional, expressive writer, and suddenly my freelance editor’s past advice sprang to mind: “This would read much better in first person present.” I kept wondering why third person didn’t work, and now I understand.

I am a very emotional writer. I am very sense oriented, especially when it comes to characters’ feelings. As you will derive from reading When Stars Die, I delve heavily into my characters feelings and how she feels about what is going on around her. First person makes sense for me because first person is a very personal narrative. In order to be very emotional and expressive, one has to step inside the character’s head in order to tap that emotional vulnerability. And my MC, Amelia, is very emotionally vulnerable. She’s as sensitive as I am, and so first person present works great for her.

I prefer writing in first person present above all else because not only does the present establish a sense of immediacy and urgency, but I have always loved writing with feelings in mind. My favorite books involve characters’ whose emotions are at the forefront of everything they do.

Gemma Doyle is my most favorite YA heroine and character ever. Libba Bray does an amazing job shaping her character through first person present. Gemma’s every action is heavily based on emotion, and so first person present fits with her so well. In fact, now that I think about it, a lot of the first person present books I have read are very emotion based.

I have no POV preferences for what I like to read, of course. I’ll read all POVs because every author has a different style. Not all authors write with emotions in mind. Some of them want more distance, which is where third person works perfectly. If the POV works, I will enjoy the book just as much as a first person present tense. I myself just prefer to write in first person present.

Review of Minutes Before Sunset by Shannon Thompson

Review of Minutes Before Sunset by Shannon Thompson


Shannon Thompson’s ‘Minutes Before Sunset’ is a story of Eric Wellborn, a shade destined to win a harrowing battle for the survival of his kind. However, when he meets an abandoned shade who possesses more power than he thought possible, he questions everything he thought he knew.

Then there is Jessica Taylor, who moves to Hayworth and longs to find her adoptive parents. Of course, she must maintain good grades, and Eric Wellborn doesn’t help her cause with his indifference. But she is determined to crack Eric’s cocky exterior, even if that means revealing what she’s trying to hide.

Keep in mind there are two point-of-views in this novel: Eric’s and Jessica’s. Both are equally intriguing, and, if you’re observant, you’ll figure out early on the significance of both POVs, which will leave you dying to keep turning the page. I finished the novel within two days and would have finished sooner, but I have little time for reading anymore, so it’s great that I finished this book as soon as I did. It’s been a while since I’ve read such a book that made me want to keep turning the pages.

At first, the plot seems simplistic: Eric is destined to win a war outlined in a prophecy in order to save his kind. Prophecies in themselves aren’t original, but what’s fascinating is that Ms. Thompson writes Eric in such a way that makes readers question how he can win such a war when he himself does not seem strong. What is even more fascinating is that there is more to the prophecy than even Eric, a first descendant (take this to mean someone important, powerful), is allowed to know. His character development is sharp too. He goes from being a cocky, indifferent boy, to someone who shows what he has been hiding all along. He makes sacrifices, even at the cost of his own life.

Then there is Jessica’s POV. Hers is a fascinating one because as a reader, you might question why her POV exists at all. But if you’re observant, you’ll quickly realize the connection between her chapter’s and Eric’s, and, as I’ve stated above, you’ll want to keep reading just to see how things play out. It’s one of those ‘reader knows, but character doesn’t’ kind of things, and those can be fun.

What I most enjoyed about the book were the descriptions, especially of the shades. Ms. Thompson did a stellar job of describing the shades and their powers. I could imagine shadows dripping, light sparkling and exploding, traces of light and shadows fanning out in iridescent strands; shadows pluming; and light bursting. The entire book is a chiaroscuro, and it is so easy to imagine the world of the shades. Eyes, especially, are an enormous motif in this book because shade eye colors differ from human eye colors: They can be a brilliant, almost unnatural blue, or a purple color. They are the windows to people who are otherwise trapped within themselves.

Overall, I give this book a 4.5 out of 5, just because some of the descriptions were repeated more than they should have been, like eye or hair color. Fans of paranormal or paranormal romance in general will enjoy this book. You can buy it on Amazon and Smashwords. You can also find Shannon Thompson here.

In issue 10 of The Corner Club Press, I will delve deeper into Mrs. Thompson’s book through a literary analysis, especially over how dark and light interweave to create a chiaroscuro art piece.

The Madness of Social Media

The Madness of Social Media

Social media is like chasing the White Rabbit.
Social media is a necessary evil for all writers. If you are serious about driving sales to your book, you’ll know that social media is the hard work and that writing your book was the easy part. I spend a few hours a day on social media, socializing on Twitter, trying to drive traffic to this website. I need to start working on my Goodreads account and thinking of things for my FB author page. This social media is planned work, not something I do during my leisure time. In fact, my leisure time is reading and being with my fiancé.

How do you navigate this maddening world of social media? I can only give you my experiences, but hopefully they’ll be of some service to those drowning in the social media cesspool.

For one thing, a blog is a great thing to have, especially on your website. I use WordPress as my website because there are more templates available, they have a cleaner, professional look than BlogSpot, and it is so easy to follow others and leave comments without having to go through the annoying captcha crap because BlogSpot doesn’t have a good spam filter. Eventually I’ll buy the domain and change it, but I’m saving up my money. Having a blog on your website helps drive traffic to your other pages: your about me, your writerly works, and so on and so forth because it’s all right there. No need to have your website and blog separated. Heck, WordPress allows you to create your own template if you or someone you know is HTML efficient.

You can use your blog to update on you, your life, your writing life, you in general. You can do guest blog posts, interviews, book reviews, and giveaways. I’ll be doing a giveaway once I hit 200 followers. I’d like 1000+ by the time my book releases, but we’ll see. You’ll also want to give back. Comment on people’s replies to your blog posts. If you don’t have time, please mention this as a courtesy to your followers. If time allows, comment on their blogs. Go to the Reader and find blog posts there. Make Followers. Don’t expect anyone to follow back or read your stuff.

Get a Twitter account and use it correctly. I have been having genuine conversations with people on Twitter and have been gaining more followers as a result. Link your Twitter account to your blog so you can get more from there. Share links to your blog on your Twitter account, but only after you’ve conversed with people. Don’t spam your Twitter feed with links.

Get accounts on other popular social media sites, like Instagram and so forth. Keep blogging. Blog as often as you want and/or can and/or what works for you. Be persistent. People don’t build a following by sitting back and waiting for people to come. You will have to do some serious leg work to build a following. Quality blogging/Tweeting/whatever is first and foremost. Create something your gut tells you people will want to look at. Also, join writing forums to get you and your book out and around. While I’m not wild about AbsoluteWrite, it’s a great forum to converse with other writers and talk about your book without being branded as someone tooting one’s own horn.

Do whatever you can think of in the social media sphere. You and your book will thank you.