Category Archives: author blog

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AUTHORS GIVE BACK SALE – NOW UNDERWAY – FREE BOOKS!

Smashwords authors are reaching out to do their part by using the power of their books to help minimize the emotional and economic hardships we all face in every country.  Many of us are faced with having to stay at home and stay isolated from others in order to contain this global pandemic.  So we, as authors, want to do our part by offering LARGE DISCOUNTS of 30%, 60%, or even FREE on select ebooks, starting now through April 20th.

We hope that all of you readers might find comfort and enjoyment from them and it might make your day a little brighter.  If you find a favorite book during the sale, please consider reading their other books as well.  There are 140,000 authors that publish at Smashwords from every country around the world.  They are all your friends and neighbors.

You can find all my Smashwords’ books here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/solitaireparke

 

The first book in the Dragmeir Series – The Emerald Dragon – is FREE

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/446935

 

The first book in the Daughter of the Dark Lord Series (prequel books to Dragomeir)

 Daughter of the Dark Lord, The Burning Sky) – FREE

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/707732

Please spread the word, take care and stay safe!

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

 

 

Horror fans – Looking for a creepy tale to read this Halloween?

Are you one of those readers who love an eerily haunting story, one that you’re terrified to keep reading and yet you can’t put it down?  With Halloween at our doorstep, it’s a great time for one of those novels.  For those who love the horror genre, anytime is a good time.  In my horror/thriller, Vengeance of the Wolf

Vengeance of the Wolf by Solitaire Parke

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 a good scare – check it out at my website, where you can read the first chapter!  You’ll find it is available multiple places in all formats.

www.solitaireparke.com

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!!! 

Do you have a favorite creepy story?  Leave a comment.

Solitaire

 

Cover Launch: DAUGHTER OF THE DARK LORD, Part Four, OUT OF THE ABYSS by Solitaire Parke

OUT OF THE ABYSS

I’m excited to reveal the actual title and cover of the final volume of the Prequel series to the Dragomeir Series books. They began with Daughter of the Dark Lord, Part One, The Burning Sky, and now continue with Daughter of the Dark Lord, Part Four, OUT OF THE ABYSS.

I can’t wait for you to return to the adventures of Katherine Pendragon, Daughter of the Dark Lord of the Provinces.  She navigates a whole new journey with unexpected difficult decisions, old and new friendships, and of course, dragons.

After traveling through time, Katherine finds herself in Iceland where she reunites with people from her past, although they don’t all remember her.  Cystic is a trusted old friend, and Tanis is destined to be of great importance in her future, belonging to an organization called the Thaumaturgists.  Cystic takes her to Mt. Scartaris, the home of dragons and their stewards, where she proves herself to be a worthy leader.  Queen Mother/Katherine, brings change to their chaotic and undisciplined lives to protect them from future harm.  But not long after, she learns of a greater threat.  Cystic has known for some time that Mt. Scartaris is an active volcano which is currently displaying critical signs.  To further complicate matters, there is the abyss.  Now Katherine must engage the help of the Thaumaturgists, a clan of wizards, and find a new home for her family before the eminent disaster.

I hope I’ve piqued your interest.  To find the other books in the Daughter of the Dark Lord Series and the Dragomeir Series, as well as other works and fun extras, join me at www.solitaireparke.com. My books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, & various other locations listed on the website. You will also find me on Pinterest, Facebook and Goodreads.

Happy Reading!

Solitaire

 

 

 

 

 

 

READ IT NOW – Daughter of the Dark Lord – Part Three – INTO FUTURES PAST

I am excited to tell you that the third prequel to the Daughter of the Dark Lord INTO FUTURES PAST has been released!

It is available on my website www.solitaireparke.com under Books.  Check out the first two prequels and the other books there as well as some fun extras.

Daughter of the Dark Lord, Katherine, is determined to protect the downtrodden.  She’s in a race against time and space to fulfill the prophecy and become a leader unlike any other before her.  Follow her failures, triumphs, and unending journeys to claim her destiny as the Queen of the Dragons in this exciting, action-filled fantasy adventure as she struggles with self-acceptance and the acceptance of the dragons and people in her world.

In Book number three, Katherine travels through time to find herself transformed into the body of a woman named Elizabeth. She struggles to make sense of this unfamiliar new reality while being pursued by forces of good and evil.  Using her special abilities, will she be able to claim her calling and as Queen of the Dragons, save them all?  This is her story, one of thrilling adventure and at times heart-wrenching sorrow as she seeks to fulfill her destiny.

I hope you all enjoy the journey of Katherine Pendragon as she travels – INTO FUTURES PAST!

 

Solitaire

 

 

 

6 EXCEPTIONALLY USEFUL BLOG SITES

If you want to find information on anything concerning being an author or just writing in general, there are some outstanding and informative blogs out there to help with anything and everything you might need to know, including all the things you didn’t realize you needed to know.  So here are a few of them for you to check out.

The Log-Line:  Can You Pitch Your ENTIRE Story in ONE Sentence?

11 Ideas to Help You Write the Positively Perfect Blog Post

The Pros and Cons of Amazon KDP Select Exclusivity

10 Ridiculously Simple Steps for Writing a Book

A Writer’s Guide to Point of View

The Creative Penn

 

Have a great September – and Happy Reading!

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

WHY WRITE A PREQUEL?

A prequel is a work that forms part of a back-story to the preceding work.  Simply stated, it sets the stage for the existing novels and usually comes after the original work was written.

If you have followed my blog or perhaps seen my books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or various other sites then you know I have authored a succession of books called the Dragomeir Series, an urban fantasy/sci-fi saga of dragons and their riders, along with some rather unusual creatures and captivating characters.

Some readers might ask, “Why write a prequel?”  I had originally planned to finish this series and then push on to other projects but began having second thoughts as I put a close on the third book in the Dragomeir Series, “Egg of the Amphitere.” One of the main characters known as Queen Mother needed to be expounded upon to give a better understanding and proper closure as to who she was and why.  I realized there was a fascinating back-story to be told, and the prequel was born.  The story, albeit told by Tanis Theatra (one of the dragon riders), was more about the life and times of Katherine Pendragon (Queen Mother) than anything else.

The only way to pursue that was to go back where it essentially started and tell her story as it began on the Provinces.  So, the prequel series, “Daughter of the Dark Lord” was created to give credence to Queen Mother’s life, why she was so passionate about family, and to clarify her dedication to stopping the Dark Lord from invading earth.  Last, but not least, it was to express how she eventually planned to liberate the Denizen people of the Provinces.  While telling her story, it would also give the reader a bird’s eye view into Tanis Theatra’s beginnings, and of course the amazing dragons.  To accomplish this there will also be one more installment to the original Dragomeir Series, entitled “Back from Oblivion.”  This book describes Queen Mother’s ultimate objective which is exclusively detailed in the “Daughter of the Dark Lord” prequel series.  There are two books available in this series now, and a third is currently being written.

All together it should delineate the complete story as first introduced by Tanis Theatra and recanted by me, Solitaire Parke.  Check out my website at

www.solitaireparke.com

to read sample chapters, discover exciting extras and purchase books at multiple locations in a variety of formats. I hope you enjoy!

Here is a question for my readers –  Do you enjoy reading a prequel to a novel?

Have you written a prequel? I’d love to hear about your writing experience.

Solitaire

Forthcoming Novel – Daughter of the Dark Lord – Part Two – The Alberra Project

Daughter of the Dark Lord – Part Two – The Alberra Project is finished.  The last six months have been chaotic, as the holidays and life in general seemed to hijack my writing time.   But The Alberra Project has progressed into editing mode and will be available in eBook and paperback very soon. The first book, Daughter of the Dark Lord – Part One – The Burning Sky, has been out for a while now and is available at a variety of locations – all of which can be reached from my website www.solitaireparke.com.

The Daughter of the Dark Lord books are prequels to my previously published Dragomeir Series –  a must read for anyone who loves dragons and other wonderful creatures. I’ve always been intrigued by dragons.  They are magnificent creatures who interact in the most unique ways with their riders and fellow beings and have characteristics that are remarkably like humans at times.  They’re quite brilliant and good-natured, contrary to all the bad press they’ve been given over the centuries.

Part Two continues Katherine Pendragon’s journey as she comes of age on the Provinces of Hell, a dark and often unnerving place in which to grow up.  She unwittingly learns the truth about her father, a reality she has long dreaded.  With her beloved dragon by her side, Katherine faces her biggest challenge yet as she struggles with the knowledge of her father and an uncertain future, both for herself and those she would free from this vile world.

Stay tuned for the forthcoming endeavors of Katherine Pendragon in

Daughter of the Dark Lord – Part Two – The Alberra Project.

My other books are available, along with “Extras,” at –

www.solitaireparke.com

 Happy reading!

Solitaire

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