A Writer’s Secret Ingredient?

Photo by Paige Cody on Unsplash

Perusing the web this week I discovered a guest post that I found to be particularly outstanding and possibly very helpful to other writers. It was a recent post from author and guru of all things writing and publishing, Jane Friedman.  I regularly get her newsletter, Electric Speed, which contains a myriad of information for writers. (I highly recommend subscribing to it, by the way.) https://janefriedman.com/.

The post is about a secret ingredient that can keep readers riveted to your book down to the very last line, rather than lose interest and have it fall to the floor.  The guest was C. S. Lakin, a writing coach, workshop instructor, blogger and award-winning author of 30+ books.

So, check out this post at the following link –

https://www.janefriedman.com/the-secret-ingredient-of-a-commercially-successful-novel/

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

Forthcoming book The Atrium

3rd Annual Smashwords July Summer/Winter Sale!

July 1, 2021 – July 31, 2021

Why is it called “Summer/Winter”?   Here in the Northern hemisphere, it’s mid-summer. Readers are loading their e-reading devices for summer beach reading and long-awaited vacations. South of the equator they are now in the middle of winter. They’re ready to curl up in front of the fireplace and enjoy a great read too!

Hello to all the readers and authors out there!  All my eBooks will be on sale for 50% off, so take advantage and stock up on plenty of books to read over the summer/winter.  You will find every type of genre with books from terrific authors all over the world. It’s an opportunity to find exclusive discounts from your favorite indie authors and discover new future favorites. So, check it out at SMASHWORDS.COM.

I’m currently working on a new book called The Atrium and a possible cover reveal will be up on my website soon.  In the meantime, I am continuing to do some Spring Cleaning on my digital content to make improvements and move forward into 2021.  Can you believe it’s half over already?  This year seems to be flying by.  Enjoy your Summer!

See you soon!

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

10 Ways to Find “Comps” For Your Book

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“Comps” are other book titles that might be comparable to your book.  The main purpose for comps is to show who your readers are likely to be and to show where your book might be shelved in a bookstore.   Often agents, publishing sales people or booksellers need this information to understand more about your book.  It gives them a better idea for categorizing your title. If you are self-publishing, comps are a guide to the readers you want to reach. So how do you find comps for your book?  Here are a few ideas –

  • Look up the Best Sellers in the last few years for your genre
  •  Check out  more recent books with similar themes or point of view
  • Utilize your local library to locate books you can read or listen to without having to purchase them.  See if your library uses Novelist Plus which allows you to search for books by theme, genre and appeal.  You can also ask your librarian.
  • Use social media sites to find out what is popular in that genre
  •  If you are in any writing groups, ask other writers or readers what they would recommend 
  • Film and TV can be used as comps as well as books. If it gives a reliable comparison of what you are writing, then use it. Sometimes a visual is the best explanation. (If you use media, be sure to clarify your source)
  • Describe what part of a plot or characterization might be like your book.
  • Try not to compare your book to one that is too far out of date unless it is very well known and liked. Let people know that you are keeping up with the marketplace.
  • Barnes & Noble and Amazon show a lot of sales data that can be beneficial for comps. People often buy items that are similar. Especially when it comes to books, you can enter a title on their sites and then look for books that are recommended that appear under these headers:

     “Customers who bought this also bought . . .” (Amazon and Barnes & Noble) “Frequently bought together” (Amazon)

    “What customers bought after viewing this” (Amazon)

  • You can also ask people who have read your book for some suggestions.

TIP – Avoid saying that your book is better than someone’s title or classic.  It might be better, but you don’t want to be the one to say it.  Attacking another author only puts a negative spotlight on you. Reading is subjective, and what you hated, others might love.  So, compare your book to others that you admire or respect.

Are you influenced by other comparable titles?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

SOLITAIRE

www.solitaireparke.com

Spring Cleaning for Writers!

It’s the time of year that often focuses on Spring cleaning just about everywhere.  So, it’s not a bad idea for authors and writers to do the same thing with their websites, blogs and various digital content.  Here’s a few ideas that you might want to concentrate on for your Spring cleaning efforts.

Update your Website and/or Blog: 

  Check for broken links

  Does your site need a new overall look?

  Update your Bio and Contact information and photo

  Make sure your site looks good on mobile and all browsers

  Check your page load speed

  Think about adding or deleting content in your sidebars

  Redo your Header or Footer

  Add or delete Social Media sites & the information on these sites

  Backup your site

Email:

  Go through your emails and unsubscribe to unneeded ones

  Archive material you want to keep

  Delete old emails

Social Media Sites:

  Do passwords need to be changed?

  Update your Bio and Contact information and photo

  Do you need a new Header or Background?

  Check privacy settings and info

Check all Book Sites:

  Are all your books listed?

  Check and update book descriptions if needed

  Update Bios, contacts and photos

  Are my sites linked to the proper places?

Backup:

  Important files of data and images (possibly an external hard-drive)

Take stock of what has happened in the past and get ready to reset things and move forward to a great year.  Things will get better and you need to be ready for a wonderful new year ahead! Get ready to accomplish your goals!!!

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

10 Sci-Fi Books Everyone Should Read

 

Science Fiction books push our imaginations to experience possible futures that allow us to see beyond the present day and contemplate new worlds.  Rather than limiting our reality, readers are exposed to science or technology that may be out of the box. It gives us countless opportunities to expand the environment in which we live by interacting with each other and creating a possible new vision of the future.

The following authors have done just that – they have let their imaginations run unrestricted and escape to innovative and unique realities and scientific developments that explain what a future would be like if different from what we already know.

A Princess of Mars – Edgar Rice Burroughs

 

 

A Princess of Mars is a science fantasy novel. John Carter goes prospecting in Arizona immediately after the war’s end. Having struck a rich vein of gold, he runs afoul of the Apaches. While attempting to evade pursuit by hiding in a sacred cave, he is mysteriously transported to Mars, called “Barsoom” by its inhabitants. Carter finds that he has great strength and superhuman agility in this new environment as a result of its lesser gravity and lower atmospheric pressure. He soon falls in with a nomadic tribe of Green Martians. Thanks to his strength and martial prowess, Carter rises to a high position in the tribe and earns the respect and eventually the friendship of Tars Tarkas, one of the Thark chiefs.

Mysterious Island – Jules Verne

The story opens in Richmond, VA, 1865, during the American Civil War. A small group of Union soldiers steal a hot air balloon to escape a POW camp. They take off during a storm. The balloon is blown across continents and oceans, and they crash land on a deserted island somewhere in the South Pacific. It is both a shipwreck adventure and a mystery.

Dune – Frank Herbert

Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Maud’dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family – and would bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream. It is a stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics and won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what is undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction. 

Macroscope – Piers Anthony

Throughout history, man has been searching for better ways to gather information about his universe. But although they may have longed for it, not even the most brilliant minds could conceive of a device as infinitely powerful or as immeasurably precise as the macroscope, until the twenty-first century. By analyzing information carried on macrons, this unbelievable tool brought the whole universe of wonders to man’s doorstep. The macroscope was seen by many as the salvation of the human race. But in the hands of the wrong man, the macroscope could be immensely destructive-infinitely more dangerous than the nuclear bomb. By searching to know too much, man could destroy the very essence of his mind. This is the powerful story of man’s struggle with technology, and also the story of his human struggle with himself. It is a story of coming of age, of sacrifice, and of love. It is the story of man’s desperate search for a compromise between his mind and his heart, between knowledge and humanity.

Dracula – Bram Stoker

Earnest and naive solicitor Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania to organize the estate of the infamous Count Dracula at his crumbling castle in the ominous Carpathian Mountains. Through notes and diary entries, Harker keeps track of the horrors and terrors that beset him at the castle, telling his fiancé Mina of the Count’s supernatural powers and his own imprisonment. Although Harker eventually manages to escape and reunite with Mina, his experiences have led to a mental breakdown of sorts. Meanwhile in England, Mina’s friend Lucy has been bitten and begins to turn into a vampire. With the help of Professor Van Helsing, a previous suitor of Lucy’s, Seward, and Lucy’s fiancé Holmwood attempt to thwart Count Dracula and his attempts on Lucy and consequently Mina’s life.

Frankenstein – Mary Shelly

Frankenstein, published in 1818, is the most celebrated horror story ever written and one of the best-selling books of all time. It is the tale of Victor Frankenstein, a scientist whose unbridled quest for the secret of life unleashes a creature that embodies our deepest fears about the moral bounds of human progress. Readers have been fascinated with the iconic image of Frankenstein’s monster and the unresolved ethical questions his creation challenges us to answer.

The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien

Like every other hobbit, Bilbo Baggins likes nothing better than a quiet evening in his snug hole in the ground, dining on a sumptuous dinner in front of a fire. But when a wandering wizard captivates him with tales of the unknown, Bilbo becomes restless. Soon he joins the wizard’s band of homeless dwarves in search of giant spiders, savage wolves, and other dangers. Bilbo quickly tires of the quest for adventure and longs for the security of his familiar home. But before he can return to his life of comfort, he must face the greatest threat of all – a treasure-troving dragon named Smaug. In this fantasy classic, master storyteller J.R.R. Tolkein creates a bewitching world filled with delightful creatures and thrilling dangers.

Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.

1984 – George Orwell

In 1984, London is a grim city in the totalitarian state of Oceania where Big Brother is always watching you and the Thought Police can practically read your mind. Winston Smith is a man in grave danger for the simple reason that his memory still functions. Drawn into a forbidden love affair, Winston finds the courage to join a secret revolutionary organization called The Brotherhood, dedicated to the destruction of the Party. Together with his beloved Julia, he hazards his life in a deadly match against the powers that be. Though the year 1984 now exists in the past, Orwell’s novel remains an urgent call for the individual willing to speak truth to power.

Foundation – Isaac Asimov

For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. Only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future—a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save humanity, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire—both scientists and scholars—and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for future generations. He calls this sanctuary the Foundation. But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. And mankind’s last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and live as slaves—or take a stand for freedom and risk total destruction.

 

If you haven’t read these books, I hope you will soon. If you love books about dragons, check out my website at www.solitaireparke.com

Solitaire

 

 

 

 

Why We Celebrate Valentine’s Day and 8 Ways to Make it Fun.

 

The History of Valentine’s Day, and Why We Celebrate.

40 Children’s Books to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

The Best Romantic Books for Valentine’s Day

Valentines Day Recipes

80 Ways to Show Your Love Without Spending Money.

Valentine’s Day Quotes & Messages – 84 Messages Perfect for You

20 Great Things to Do If You’re Single on Valentine’s Day

35 Best Valentine’s Day Movies to Watch for a Romantic Night In

42 Valentine’s Day Crafts That Are a Creative Way to Show What’s in Your Heart

 

Wishing everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

SMASHWORDS – End of Year SALE!

The fourth annual Smashwords End of Year Sale kicks off December 18th and runs through January 1, 2021. The sale is beginning a week earlier this year so you can take advantage of the Smashwords Store’s ebook gifting feature.  You can find books at 25%-off, 50%-off, 75%-off and 100%-off (free).  What a great time to stock up on the books you would love to read or give the gift of reading to someone you love or a friend.  Visitors to the Smashwords Store will find the sale prominently featured at the top of the Smashwords home page starting December 18th.  So, encourage your friends to visit the website and check out this amazing sale!

https://www.smashwords.com/

Have a wonderful Holiday – Merry Christmas to everyone!

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/solitaireparke

Larger World Series – “Patterns of Existence” to be Released Soon!

I have been working feverishly to finish this final work of the series so that my readers can get a complete picture of the intricacies of the Larger World.  I am excited that it is in the final stages of editing and will hopefully be available very soon.

  • This is the third volume of the series called “The Larger World.” There is also a companion book filled with colorful images called, The Altar Shields.”
  • The first book in the set, entitled Beyond the Astral Planes,” is this subject’s version of how to become a traveler, and deals with the beginnings of the knowledge.
  • Book two is a much more in depth look at the information stated in book one, and becomes the intermediate level of the learning entitled, Threshold of Perception.”
  • It is followed by this new volume, Patterns of Existence,” which deals with all of the above and more, but at the advanced level of comprehension.

Each of these works is capable of being read individually with little or no loss of cohesiveness or clarity, but when cross referenced together, they form a detailed picture of the expanse from which the series found its name; The Larger World.”

 If you have not read the previous books, they can be found at my website and many other locations in various formats (e-book, paperback, hardcover).  So, check them out.  The latest book will be here soon!

www.solitaireparke.com

Happy Fall reading to everyone!

Solitaire

 

 

Halloween – Time for All Things Frightening!

 

The horror genre, whether in books or movies, is intriguing to many people because of the excitement, the adrenaline rush it brings, how it invades their minds and pokes at their deepest fears, and even enhances their everyday realities.  I have to say, not everyone likes that sense of panic and fear.  However, if you take a look at the number of movies and books that are out there in this genre, it is quite unbelievable.

It’s not only the bravest people who seem to be attracted to horror – those open to new experiences or who are extreme extroverts – but also those who have high levels of empathy.  They feel more connected to the characters in books or movies if they understand their emotions, even if it’s anxiety and/or fear.

The author Stephen King has written books based on some of his dreams. Others undoubtedly have done the same, or possibly have an eerily incredible imagination.  It does make us question the minds of someone who writes in this creepy, terrifying genre that seems to captivate such a large audience.

In any case, if you are one of those who enjoy the mental challenge or the feeling of panic and fear, you will most likely appreciate my book – VENGEANCE OF THE WOLF.

In this horror/thriller you are drawn into the world of dreams. It’s the story of a shocking assassin who works through dreams using a technique that seems physically impossible, to end the lives of those deemed responsible for an untimely death.  Detectives are completely baffled, and just as they appear to get closer to determining the person’s identity, they are completely thrown off and their efforts seem to take them nowhere.  Extremely shaken at the horrific scenes to which they are led, the question remains – why is this happening and where is it leading?  Only the assassin has the answers to their questions – answers that may be too unsettling to be revealed.

If you like an adrenaline rush and feeling of panic – check it out at my website, where you can read the first chapter!  You’ll find it is available multiple places in all formats.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN and HAPPY READING

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

Tips to Help You Get Through Covid!

                                           

Wow, none of us expected 2020 to be such an unbelievably worrisome and stressful year!  It’s just almost too much to comprehend sometimes that this pandemic is really happening.  Who would have thought?  We went from a somewhat “normal” lifestyle to a world where everyone and everything has just gone crazy.  But since it is a reality, we’ve had to learn to adapt, change and just learn to deal with a life that is very different than what we wish it would be.  Change can be super hard and stressful, but if we can remain positive in the midst of it all, we might even come out of this hardship as better, more resilient and caring people.  At least that’s how I choose to look at everything since I can’t change it anyway.

 

Here are a few tips that might help you keep your sanity during this difficult time –

If you are a religious person, keep your faith strong and pray often – about everything and everyone.  Keeping your mind focused, especially on helping others, will keep you grounded each day.

Try to keep your sleeping and eating patterns the same every day in order to stay as healthy as possible. Get as much sleep as you can.

Exercise – it keeps your body strong and keeps your mind healthy too.

Be sure to make time to do activities that you love – things that make you feel happy, like painting, cooking, singing, playing a musical instrument, reading, or any indoor or outdoor sport where you can be safe.

Stay connected with others so you don’t feel so isolated.  We have so many different devices these days that can keep us connected.  And don’t forget your neighbors or those who may need a friendly phone call.  We’re all in this together, and people need each other.

Find as many ways as you can to have positive emotions – joy, gratitude, love – all the good things that you can focus on.  Negativity never helped anyone.

Enjoy simple moments like sipping a cup of tea, laughing at funny moments with your children or grandchildren, playing with your pets, watching a special movie, or just having a conversation with a friend or family member.

Take whatever action that you can to achieve goals you have set for yourself.  It can be one of the best antidotes to anxieties.  Don’t let anything stop you from achieving what you want.  There is always something to be done.

I look at it this way. There will inevitably be hardships in this life. We have to remember to be grateful in spite of the difficulties in which we find ourselves.  We learn from those hard times and it makes us better and hopefully wiser people.  It teaches us not to take things for granted and to really appreciate what we have.

I want to give a special “shout out” to all those who are putting themselves in the front line to help those who are sick with this virus.  I appreciate all that you are doing and you are in my prayers – – THANK YOU!

I also want to commend the many many parents who are taking on the daunting task of online and home schooling their children.  That has to be a difficult task along with your daily jobs and everything else you do.  I feel sure that teachers are going to be appreciated much more after this!  More power to you!

This too shall pass.

Stay safe,

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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