Friday, 17 June 2016

Human 76: Fragments of a Fractured World - a post-apocalyptic anthology #Human76

“Quiet, you fool! You’re safe now!” Rough hands gripped Ghabrie. A kestrel swooped but Ghabrie could not hear its call. She could hear only Nahria’s shriek. Ghabrie strained to glimpse her little sister through the mass of rebellion warriors and Prometheans. The two sides were withdrawing, both claiming their spoils and retreating. Ghabrie thrashed: kicking, biting, struggling against strong arms that restrained her. “Nahria, I’ll come for you!” The butt of a rifle thumped the side of her head as her words still echoed across the barren landscape. Ghabrie slipped into an oblivion brought by the hands of her liberators. Fourteen authors take you on an unprecedented post-apocalyptic journey.

It's here! The post-apocalyptic anthology written by fourteen authors, including me, is available for purchase. While each story is separate, they all connect in some way and are all a part of the same world. I've read the stories by the other authors and I can assure you that you will love the stories within this anthology.

My story is called "The Oasis" and is about a young girl, born after the Blast, named Mags who has some special abilities.

The book is free in e-book form for a limited time, so grab your copy soon!

And the really special thing abut the book is that proceeds from sales of the book will be put towards the Water is Life charity, global charity that provides clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education programs to schools and villages in desperate need worldwide. Our book is about those displaced and struggling to survive in a dangerous world and this charity fits perfectly with our stories. So when you buy the book you will be helping those in need.

Here are some links to check out:

Go here for the paperback.

Go here for the e-book.

Go here to find out how the idea for this anthology came about.

Go here for more information about how the e-book was put together.

Go here to follow the Human 76 Facebook page.

And go here to find out more about the Water is Life charity.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Last day of the Blog Your Book in 30 Days 2016 challenge #BYBin30

Today is the last day of the challenge. I hope everyone had managed to complete the challenge! If not, I hope you have done more than you would have done without the challenge.

It's time to announce the winner of all of those prizes mentioned during the challenge.

The winner is:

Melissa Gijsbers

Congratulations, Melissa!

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Getting your blogged content ready for publication #BYBin30

So you've been blogging your book, and you think you have enough content now to put together into a book for publication. What's next? today's focus will be on what is next for those of you who have been blogging a non-fiction book.

There are several steps you need to take before you will have a quality book ready to publish.

1. You need to comb through all of your blogged content and select the posts that you want to use in your book. If you've been blogging about the craft of writing but some of your posts are more personal, such as a post about something cute your daughter said when she was a toddler, then you need to make sure that all inappropriate content or off-topic posts are eliminated from your selection.

2. You need to edit the content you have chosen. This type of editing is more than just proofreading and checking your content for inconsistency. While you need to edit your content in the usual ways, you also need to be altering it based on the fact that, when you first write it, you were writing with your blog audience in mind. Although you intend to carry over some of that audience, there will be differences in your book audience, and there will be differences in how your content is presented.

3. You need to choose the order for your blog topics in your book. Which blog posts will fit better early on in the book and which ones need to be at the end? If you are writing about weight loss and dieting, you might want the posts about starting our on a new weight loss regime to be at the beginning of your book and the posts about maintaining your weight loss to be towards the end of the book. 

4. You need to write a foreword. Your foreword is to be an introduction to your book topic. You can include a lot of information in this foreword, including your reasons for writing the book. Why will your readers want to continue reading? Let them know in the foreword exactly why they will want to read the rest of the book.

If your book has been picked up by a publisher, then chances are good that your publisher will do the rest of this list for you. If you are self-publishing, then you will need to complete the rest of this list yourself.

5. You need to format your book (if you don't already have a publisher who will do this and the rest of the work on this list for you). You can pay someone to do this or do it yourself. Your book's format should work in both an e-book and a paperback book version, if you plan on publishing it in both formats. (When writing a non-fiction book, especially a how-to book, I recommend publishing in both formats. While a lot of people are turning towards e-books for their reading, many people using a non-fiction book for information and learning will want to be able to make written notes as they read and paperback is their preferred format).

6. You need critique partners. Let your critique partners read your book and give you their feedback, then take the feedback from them that you agree with on board and go back to edit your book again.

7. You need your book professionally edited. Even if you edit for a living, an unbiased set of eyes from someone else who is used to editing books for publication can be enormously helpful in helping you to see where you might have gone wrong with your book or in which areas it can be improved upon.

8. You need beta readers. Once your book is fully edited and revised, and it is formatted perfectly, send it out to beta readers for an initial response. Beta readers can inform you if something isn't working for them, and they can also let you know when your book is ready for the wider world to see it. Make sure they are people who are interested in your topic. Bonus points if some of your beta readers are already knowledgeable in the topic you have written about.

9. You need to write a blurb and a one sentence tag line. Not all books have tag lines, but those tag lines can be helpful in drawing in your readers and you need a blurb for the back of your paperback book and to use in your book's description on the sites you will be selling it on.

10. You need an ISBN. If you are self-publishing your book, then you need an ISBN for your book. These can be bought and vary in price depending on what country you are in and how many ISBNs you buy at a time. If you are going to publish through CreateSpace or a similar company, they can provide you with a free ISBN, but then that company is the one that will, officially, be the publisher of your book. If you buy your own ISBN, either you or the company name you use when you buy the ISBN will be listed as the publisher on official records.

11. You need a book cover. You need an eye-catching book cover for both e-book and paperback formats. It needs to look professional and it needs to draw your readers to it. You want your reader to take one look at your book cover and think, "That's a book I'd like to read."

12. You need a street team and/or a group of bloggers to help you spread the word about your book. You need a plan in place to promote your book and inform people that your book is being launched. you need to be letting people on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and several other social media platforms know about your book, but you need to do this in a way that isn't pushy or spammy. You need to get people engaged with your content.

13. You need reviews. This can often be the most difficult part of publishing a book. Paid reviews are frowned upon and Amazon has been known for removing reviews from people they suspect an author knows already (so friends and family). You need to get people reading your book and for those readers to leave reviews. Maybe you can use incentives for reviews such as prize drawings and such for people who leave reviews.


This is just one of the prizes that you might win at the end of the challenge. One of these will be added to the collection of prizes that one signed up member will win during the drawing on April 30th.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Using Triberr to boost your blog audience #BYBin30

One of the most important aspects, after actually writing a quality book, is reaching people who might want to buy your book. But how are you going to do that? Maybe you've had your blog for a long time, but not many people are coming to your pages to read your content. Maybe your book has been out for a while and, even though you post to Facebook and Twitter, you just don't seem to be creating much of a following.

There are tools out there to help you reach more people. One of them is Triberr. Triberr is a community, and you can create your own community of authors to share each others' content within Triberr. First, you need a Triberr account. Then you need to join some groups on Triberr, preferably groups of writers or groups who share content related to the content of your book. 

This is where the number of people you can potentially reach with each blog post grows. For each person you add to your Triberr group, or who is already in a group you join, your list of people you will reach grows - not by one person but by all of the people who follow them on Twitter.

For example, the number of people who follow my @beckyfyfe account on Twitteris 3,682. If I join a group  of 10 people (in addition to me) and every member in that group in addition to myself has 2,000 followers, then the potential number of people I can reach with each one of my blog posts grows to 23,682 people.

You can start your own group and add people to it, or you can join a group that is already set up. I have just set up a new group called Writing Warriors on Triberr for those of you who follow this challenge. If you'd like to be added to the group, let me know your Twitter user name and the name you are signed up as on Twitter (for example, mine is @beckyfyfe and Becky Fyfe) in the comments and I will add you to the Writing Warriors group.

The key in using Twitter here is to make sure that the people in your group are sharing the type of content you want to share and your followers will enjoy, but also to have members who remain active and share each others' blog posts out regularly. If you have members who never share your blog posts, then you lose out on that poteential source of getting your content in front of the eyes of others.


This is just one of the prizes that you might win at the end of the challenge. (Subject to availability. If this Book Magic Keychain is not available at the time, something similar will be substituted.) One of these will be added to the collection of prizes that one signed up member will win during the drawing on April 30th.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Deadlines and how they help you reach your goals #BYBin30

I have always been an expert at procrastination. If I have a task set out in front of me, I will find other things to do instead and put the task off indefinitely, or I will put it off until it can no longer be put off. That is where deadlines come in for me. Deadlines give me that point where things can no longer be out off. For example, if I wait too long to write a draft for a story that is due for an anthology, then I won't be able to write a compelling story before the deadline arrives.

I thought it might be helpful to list some of the ways that deadlines are useful to writers, so I have made a list below.

1 - Deadlines give you a set time to achieve your writing, without which you might put that writing off indefinitely. If you have a deadline at the end of the week, then you know that you will need to start writing and researching at some time prior to that deadline in order to give yourself time to complete your writing project.

2 - Deadlines give you a sense of satisfaction to your activities. Knowing that you are working towards a deadline can give you a feeling of accomplishment as you take steps towards reaching that deadline on time. Each chapter written in the story you have a deadline for, each page or each higher word count you achieve, helps you feel you are getting somewhere with your writing.

3 - Deadlines can give you structure towards reaching your writing goals. Not sure which story , article or post to start working on first? Look at your deadlines and start working on the one with the closest deadline. Need three days to do the actual writing? Start your research earlier to make sure it is complete in time for you to start writing.

4 - Deadlines can help you prioritize your writing when life tries to intrude. We all have lives outside of our writing. some of us have families. Some of us have jobs not related to our writing. Some of us have pets. Some of us have a regular work out schedule or have classes to go to. The list can go on when it comes to what kinds of things can interrupt and interfere with our writing time. Deadlines can help you say "no" to interruptions, because you know that you only have a set amount of time to complete a project. Yes, we all have to spend time with family, and we can't say "no" to our jobs when it is those jobs that pay the bills, but if a writing deadline is looming, it helps you to weed out the things that interfere with your writing time which can wait or be set aside or can be out-sourced to someone else temporarily.

5 - Meeting deadlines can improve your confidence in yourself and your ability to meet future writing goals. Every time you meet a writing deadline, you have attained a writing goal. With each goal achieved, you improve your confidence. Also, meeting deadlines can help others to take you more seriously as a writer. They see you working towards your goals and respect that effort.

The usefulness of deadlines is why I run writing challenges such as the Chapter Book Challenge (ChaBooCha) and this Blog your Book in 30 Days challenge. It's also why I join in with other writing challenges such as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the 12 X 12 Picture Books Writing challenge. These give me deadlines even when I don't have an employer setting one for me.

So tell me, have deadlines helped you achieve your writing goals?

This is just one of the prizes that you might win at the end of the challenge. (Subject to availability. If this Culater®Vintage Leaf Leather Cover Loose Leaf Blank Notebook Journal Diary is not available at the time, something similar will be substituted.) One of these will be added to the collection of prizes that one signed up member will win during the drawing on April 30th.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Fae World anthology series - SUBMISSIONS CALL

This is not one of the official Blog Your Book in 30 Days posts. But as the previous post here was about creating videos, I thought I'd share one I just made for Melusine Muse Press' submission call for the Fae World anthology series.

You can find out more about the Fae World anthology series here.

This video was created using Microsoft's MovieMaker software. If you have a Windows computer and this software isn't pre-installed on it, it can currently be downloaded for free. (I am still learning how to use the software properly as it is new to me.)

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Creating videos for your blog or your book #BYBin30

Adding video to your arsenal for marketing your book or drawing more readers to your blog can be a real boost. More and more people are turning to vlogs instead of blog reading as well as book trailers to decide what they want to read next.

Although I am new to attempting the video platform, there are a few tips I can give you. First off, begin simply. If you don't know much about video editing software or how to create your own videos, don't start with a complicated software program that requires some previous experience.

The following two videos are examples of some very simple video software programs.

Here's one that my husband and young daughter created for the Chapter Book Challenge using an app called Adobe Voice which they downloaded for free to my husband's ipad.

Here's one, using the same app, that I created to go along with my previous post about creating book covers.

Which brings me to another tip: If you are creating a vlog for learning purposes, be sure to include a transcript of the video. While video is the growing trend, there are still many people who don't have the luxury of listening to a video  and still others who prefer to read the post rather than watch it through a video. Adding a transcript gives them options and prevents any of your readers/listeners from leaving your blog without learning what they came to learn. (In the case of the above video, the transcript can be found here.)

Check out the free software that is out there. There are hundreds of free video creation,slideshow creation and video editing software apps out there and many of them are free. If you have a Mac computer or laptop, then you will most likely have iMovie on your computer already. Here's a slideshow style video that my husband made for Melusine Muse Press using iMovie on his Apple laptop. My husband also likes using Microsoft PowerPoint to create slideshow-style videos. If you have a non-Apple computer, then you might have MovieMaker on it. Not all of the Microsoft computers have this program but some of them come with it already loaded.

When it comes to book trailers, your trailers need to be interesting enough to make people want to buy your book. A slideshow of photos won't always be enough to draw your potential reader in. Video clips combined together will work best, but there are other ways to make your video interesting. Here are two examples of video book trailers that use simple illustrations and artwork to create an interesting clip about the book. (Both books are anthologies, and both book trailers were created by Julia Stilchen.) 

Needless to say, videos where you create movement within the video from your own or others' artwork need a little bit more skill to create. There are several programs out there for teaching you how to create your own book trailers or for learning to create more complicated videos. One of the best ones out there (particularly for children's writers) is the Video Idiot Boot Camp by Katie Davis.
So what do you think? Are you ready to try out some video blogging for your blog or a video book trailer for your book?

This is just one of the prizes that you might win at the end of the challenge. (Not all book marks look like this. It might be a fairy book mark or something else, but it will be created in a similar style. Bookmarks are handmade by me. One of these will be added to the collection of prizes that one signed up member will win during the drawing on April 30th.)

Friday, 1 April 2016

Welcome to Blog Your Book in 30 Days 2016 #BYBin30

Today is the first day of the Blog Your Book in 30 Days 2016 challenge! We have a new badge, if you'd like to use it.

First, for those of you who are new, here's a bit of information about the challenge (which you can also find by clicking on some of the links at the top of the page).

About the challenge:
Blog Your Book in 30 Days is a challenge to write the first draft of your book by posting one chapter a day for an entire month. During the month of the challenge, helpful blog posts will be shared on the website.

The challenge is here to help you write the book you have always wanted to write but have never written. Whether you want to write a memoir, a fiction novel, a comic book, a children's chapter book or middle grade novel or a non-fiction book, this challenge is going to help you get it done. 

Every day, you are going to do any research that is needed for the day's writing and your are going to post a blog post of one chapter of your book. By the end of the month, you should have 30 chapters and a completed first draft.

This way of writing your books works best if you are planning to self-publish your book, but there are some instances where blogs have garnered the attention of agents and publishers and resulted in book deals. Those instances are the exception though, not the rule.
Sign up here.

But the rules are much more flexible than they may seem by reading the "about" section, so here are the rules (which can also be found by clicking on one of the links at the top of the page).

The rules of the challenge:

Sign up. You will not be entered into the prize drawings unless you are signed up.

You have from the first of the month until the 30th of the month to complete the first draft of your book. No starting early, unless it is only research and outline you are working on beforehand.

On the 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th and 30th of the month, you will do a quick comment on that day's blog post posted on this blog about that week stating how the week has gone for you and anything you have learned or achieved from the challenge that week. Your comment might be quoted in the Blog Your Book in 30 Days book when it comes out or later in the blog itself and, by commenting, you are giving permission for your quote to be used. (You will be named with the quote.)

Each day, you are to write one chapter and then copy and paste it into your day's blog post. By the end of the challenge, you should have a final word count. On the 30th, your comment will include your final word count and whether or not you have finished your first draft. Everyone who completes their first draft will be entered into a prize drawing. (The prize this year is a collection of different, mostly home-made things, and the items will be pictured on the blog as we go through the challenge, one thing at a time.) Every time you leave a comment on (one comment per post) a blog post, you will earn one more entry into the drawing. Your comments on the 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th and 30th will earn you two entries into the drawing, and my favorite comment from each of those five days will earn an extra entry. 

This challenge is self-driven and monitored. It is a way to keep yourself accountable as you write.

There are some optional ways of following this challenge for those who plan on having their books published traditionally rather than self-published.

1. Write your one chapter every day, but only post on your blog about the writing, such as how much you wrote, what part of the story you were working on, what was easy about it, what was difficult about it, whether it stayed on plan or strayed from the original plot idea, etc. (Have you made a book cover for your book, even just a working cover? Share that too!)

2. Write your one chapter every day, but only post a small (one paragraph) excerpt from that day's writing as your blog post for the day.

3. Blog your book as per the original plan, but leave out important chapters, which will only be seen in the finished product. (This is a good idea even for those who plan on self-publishing.)

4. Use this challenge to edit a previously written book and make notes on the blog about the editing process as you work through the different issues in your book.

The main point of this challenge is to get your book written and to build up a following for it before it comes out. 

Good luck!

Go ahead and grab a badge from below:

Friday, 1 January 2016

How to make the most of 2016

Happy New Year!
My 2016 advice for you:

Don't let yourself have any regrets by the time 2016 ends.

- Travel somewhere new. If you can afford it, go somewhere you've never been before, somewhere where the culture is different from yours and the world is more colourful. If you can't afford that kind of trip, go somewhere local that you've never been before. Find out more about the special beauty that your own town or city displays.

- Learn something new. You are never too old to learn a new skill or try a new hobby. Learn how to do something you have never done before. You might find out you enjoy it.

- Appreciate your loved ones and let them know they are loved, not just by your words but by your actions. Do something caring for someone you love. Spend more time giving out hugs this year.

- Live in love instead of in fear. Do something kind for a stranger. Stop making decisions based on the fear of what *might* happen, and start basing your life on love and service to others. Remember that the kindness you send out into the world will always find its way back to you.

- Do something good for the planet. Go out and spend some time cleaning up litter in your neighbourhood or at the beach, give to a charity that aids the environment, spend more time walking instead of driving places. Find a way that you can help fight climate change and then do it.

- Spend some time at the ocean. If you can swim, go for a swim in the waves. If you can't swim, just sit on the warm sand and watch the waves crashing against the shore. Trust me - it's therapeutic.

- Spend more time in nature. This world we live in is a beautiful place, full of its own special magic. Take time to appreciate the beauty all around you.

- Learn to love yourself. This might possibly be the most difficult challenge any of us will face, but it's one of the most important ones. Your body is not YOU. Your appearance does not define who you are. You have a soul, a spirit, a mind, and that part of you, that hidden part, is who you are. Don't let others who can't see that part of you define you. You know who you are; you know your strengths and your flaws, and, deep down, you know you are worthy of love. Embrace this.

- Take care of your body. While it is only the vessel that carries your soul, it can get sick and it can break down much earlier in life if it is not taken care of properly. So only put food into it that strengthens it and nourishes it, and make sure to exercise your body on a regular basis.

- Pursue your dreams. Don't let society tell you what dreams you should and shouldn't have. If your dreams don't hurt anyone else, then by all means, go after them. Start by taking small steps towards them and build from there.

- Create something. Whether it's art, crafts, the written word or something else entirely, be creative this year. It nurtures your soul, and, sometimes, it helps nurture the souls of others too.

- Be silly. Spend some time just being silly. Let yourself be taken over by a fit of the giggles, make corny jokes, and laugh a lot. Laughter improves your quality of life.