August 30, 2008
Recently, we’ve had the pleasure of dining at a small pizza and sub shop in Springfield, Virginia. The place is called Malek’s Pizza Palace and it has been a pleasant surprise and change of pace from the scores of generic diners, ethnic watering holes and fast-food joints. If you get a chance, drop in and try Danny’s Beef Sub.
You can find Malek’s Pizza Palace with this map and directions.
Malek’s Pizza Palace
7118 Old Keene Mill Road,
Springfield, VA 22150
August 25, 2008
It was really nice to get these comments from Fawn in email the other day. She had a problem downloading and had to get with the publisher to work it out. Here’s what she sent me:
I was initially …I admit, really, really cranky about it, (not you of course, the publishers) but the lady who wrote to me was really nice, Renee Rocco I think her name was, and they actually responded to my complaint with action, saying they are a new company and basically learning the ropes… which has left me really impressed.
I’m glad about that, because I read your book as soon as they made it available for me to download. It was pretty late at night here by that time so I’ve only made it about a third of the way through but I love it! And now that the publisher has worked out that little hick up, it won’t be a drama for me to get the following books, just a click of a button basically!
On to your actual story though, I just love it. Your writing is so easy to follow that you don’t even realize you’ve spent time reading it, which is just perfect…I actually got a surprise when I stopped reading and was thinking about what I’d read so far, I am up to the part where it’s been revealed what Mustafa and the terrorists plans are, and I was amazed. Honestly, in I think 41 pages you had set up so much I was blown away, it hadn’t been hard work to read at all.
At first when I read about Mustafa on the train looking at Betty as one of the virgins he might get in heaven, I thought you had just thrown that line in as a bit of random humour, and I thought it was funny, but well…random…but by page 41, I realized that there isn’t a wasted or random character in the story at all, and that wasn’t really random humor (still funny in an ironic kind of way though) and yeah…the set up is just brilliant, fast paced, precise…really really clever, especially how you managed to get the terrorists plans across without weighing it down and making it a tough read. I can’t wait to keep reading tonight!
It’s got that light hearted, ‘literary snackfood’ feel that is about all I have time to read, but it has the depth and clever plot that I often wish I could find in ebooks and haven’t until now. I love it. You have a devoted fan in me already hahahaha. I’m sorry things got a little dramatic initially, but you and your publishers are a class act, especially your quick response today. I think it could be a good thing this has happened though, because now they’ve ironed out that little wrinkle.
It just seemed like such a shame, I mean, your marketing was spot on, it pulled me in straight away, your site is just fantastic! I am looking forward to going back and exploring it in more depth! And of course, you story is just brilliant.
I was so surprise when the plot unfolded to include terrorists (I’m actually studying a degree in Political Science hehe so yeah, that really appealed to me) Here I was, thinking I was just going to treat myself to a bit of well written smut, and it’s turned into something so much more! I really really love it, and that’s only after 41 pages…imagine what I’ll be like when finish it.
Thank you very much for the kind words, Fawn. I hope you’ll enjoy the next three tales that will round out my corner of the Common Ground universe.
August 24, 2008
Under the heading of ‘some guys have all the luck’ I submit this little news clip:
August 24, 2008
The following is quoted with permission, directly from a recent newsletter. It makes a lot of sense. My thanks to Marg McAlister for making this available. Be sure to check out her sites and newsletters, listed below.
How to Write a Book in Months, Not Years
by Marg McAlister
I could begin this article with a lecture about how Rome wasn’t built in a day, and writing skills take years to develop, and all good things come to those who wait, yada yada yada… but you know all that. And I’m assuming you also know that if you don’t have talent, it doesn’t matter whether you take two months to write a book or two years – it still won’t sell. (Unless you’re some kind of major celebrity, with a band of followers who’d happily hand over $19.95 just to read your grocery list.)
If you’ve got this far and you’re still reading, I take it that you have a reason for wanting to write a book FAST. If you’re talking about a 15,000 word chapter book for nine-year-olds, you could feasibly complete the first draft in a weekend. If you’re thinking more in terms of an 80,000-word thriller in, say, three months, you’d better budget 7,000 words a week – and forget about a social life if you’re working in another job as well.
Regardless of how long the book is and how many months you want to spend on it, there are a few ‘rules’ to writing the first draft of your book quickly. Here they are.
1. Have a Plan.
If you start with a blank page and no ideas you’re fighting an uphill battle to get your book written. This is true no matter how long you want to take, but even more so if you’re writing to a self-imposed deadline.
Plan your book. It doesn’t matter how rough the plan is, but please, have some idea of where you’re going with this story before you start. If you’re a right-brain person, use mind-mapping techniques (circles and lines and arrows to connect ideas).
When you sit down on Day 1, make sure you have your plan at your elbow or taped to the wall near your computer.
2. Know Your Characters
At least know TWO of them: the main character and one other. The ‘one other’ can be a sidekick, a romantic interest, the antagonist.. . it doesn’t matter. You can get the two of them interacting and the story can start rolling. Think about your characters even when you’re not at the computer.
3. Do As Much Research as Possible Before Page 1
If you’re writing to a deadline, it’s all too easy to get bogged down in research. Don’t make it too hard for yourself (for example, writing a historical novel if you don’t already have a good knowledge of the era; writing a police procedural when you know nothing about police procedure). My advice is to write something that requires NO research. Failing that, make it minimal. Use Google or whatever other sources you need to find necessary information before you start to write. And here’s a tip: set a deadline to have your research finished. You can waste months clicking from one website to another, or buried in library stacks.
If something comes up that you need to know while you’re writing, just type a row of asterisks and ‘FIND THIS OUT’: make it super-sized, red, and bold, and move on with the story. Go back and do the research on a day when you’re not feeling very creative.
4. Set a Quota.
Normally, I tell writers: “Don’t think in terms of chapters or the word count: just write in scenes. Let the scenes pile up, and your story will come together.” Writing in scenes is the best way to grow your story – but if you’re working to a tight deadline, it’s harder. Scenes are not a consistent length, and it’s hard to estimate the number of scenes in a finished book. If you’re racing against the clock, work out how many words in the book, then divide it by the number of working days you have between now and your deadline. (Note I said WORKING days. Do give yourself some down time.) When you’ve done that, work out how many words you want to complete each week. Give yourself some flexibility: if you have a good day and write two or three times the daily quota, you can take a day off if you need a break.
5. Get the Draft Done
This means ‘forget perfection’. That’s what editing is for. Your aim is to get the working draft done. Many writers find that the hardest part of writing a book is to actually finish it. Get that first draft written; then you have something to get your teeth into for the editing/polishing stage. If you never finish the first draft, you’ll never get published.
When you’ve finished, take a break before going back to edit and polish your work. I recommend at least two weeks away from the manuscript, and preferably a month. If you can hand it over to others to critique during this period, so much the better – but do distance yourself from your work.
The above tips don’t constitute everything you need to know about writing a book fast, but they provide a starting point.
You’ll find more information in a previous article called Can YOU Write a Book in a Month? in the Writing4Success Tipsheet Archives at www.writing4successclub.com
© Marg McAlister
(c) Marg McAlister and Writing For Success. You may pass this newsletter on to others or reproduce the content provided that the articles are not changed in any way without permission. All copyright details must be reproduced, and the following resource box included.
Marg McAlister’s writing sites and ezines are full of up-to-date, practical advice for writers. Get timely tips to ensure writing success both online and in print:
August 24, 2008
Lately, we’ve been enjoying a hole-inna-wall diner in Arlington, Virgina called Bob and Edith’s. It has been around since 1969 and has a lot going for it.
You can find Bob and Edith’s Diner at:
2310 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204
If you happen to stop by, tell them you learned about it from this blog.
August 20, 2008
I am amazed at what can be done with computer graphics and some extra time on your hands. My hats are off to the folks that did the “Death Star Over San Francisco”.
August 17, 2008
My good friend, E.C.Field offered to help me put up a page full of wallpaper files. Please stop by and take a look. Feel free to grab whichever ones fit your screen resolution.
August 13, 2008
My good friend and fellow author, Stephanie Burke took her family to Otakon in Baltimore this past weekend. This image shows that it runs in the family!
August 9, 2008
Elise is one of the Line Editors for Lyrical Press and she just moved to our area. We had the privilege of having dinner with her, this evening. I even have photographic evidence.
Note to Renee, I was going to use a tripod and auto timer so I could be in the picture, but decided that I’ll wait until the bruising goes down.
August 8, 2008
My good pal Cindy Jacks has listed me as one of her Bad Boys.
“We have our first ‘bad boy’ guest author, the incomparable Anthony Stevens–writer of erotica, science fiction, and fantasy. Thanks for being my guest this week, Anthony. The creativity of your work never ceases to amaze me!” – Cindy
She has a great little freebie newsletter as well.
Stop by and check her Point of Distraction tales. They are well worth the reading.
Welcome to the world of Ana Welsh, a thirty-something executive with money, a good career, and good friends. The last piece to the puzzle is a good man. Come along with her through the first three of twelve “episodes” featuring new challenges and often, a new lover.