Is Your Writing Bloated?

quillOne of the hallmarks of being a pantster is that we like to be surprised – by the plot, and our own characters. We love the sense of excitement, and adventure, that comes from not knowing what’s around the next bend.

Sadly, not all surprises are pleasant. One of the big drawbacks of being a free-wheeling, I-don’t-know-what-happens-next type of writer is that we often write ourselves into a corner, or so far off track that the original story becomes lost. Or sometimes <<shock horror>> we just end up with …bloat. Continue reading “Is Your Writing Bloated?”

Featured Book: An Untold Want

An Untold WantAn Untold Want
by Sara Stark
Genre: literature, women’s fiction
Available at Amazon.

Being born into a family of witches in rural Georgia has made Maggie MacAllister a recluse. She just wants a normal life, and if it weren’t for the MacAllister curse, a husband. When her teenage daughter nearly dies, Maggie must let others into her cloistered lifestyle, even a potential suitor.


Everyone else in the restaurant politely ignores Libby, all the while making mental notes as to what was said and worn and done. The Jacob’s Creek grapevine will be humming tomorrow, and Maggie’s glad she decided to change out of her grubby work jeans and boots and into a nice pair of slacks and designer flats. At least they won’t be able to gossip about how badly she was dressed.

She gestures to Jerry, the bartender, who’s doing a better job of masking his dismay than Liz. He hovers behind the bar, hopefully near enough to help if there’s a problem. Maggie steps up next to Libby and waits, unsure what to say or do. She reaches out her hand but then drops it by her side. It’s hard to sympathize with Libby—Maggie would never cause a scene like this—but it’s not hard to be kind.

What others are saying:

“What started out as a book about witches, curses, herbs, and life in small-town Georgia developed into something much more meaningful.” – Jerry Prohoehl

The Persistence of Self-Publishing Stigmas and How To Transcend Them

LorraineDevonWilkeGuest post
by Lorraine Devon Wilke

While out on my journalistic beat covering certain aspects of the Amazon/Hachette debate,  I’ve had occasion to discuss the prevailing attitudes of some who continue to frame self-publishing as “the realm of the subpar,” as one snarky commenter put it.

It seems, despite impressive statistics, celebrity authors, economic boosts to the industry, and overwhelming acceptance by readers (who don’t give a hoot who publishes the books they like), self-published authors and their books remain marginalized in a variety of ways. Most larger newspapers and magazines will not review them, certain books sites (i.e., Oyster, ”Netflix for books!”) won’t carry self-published titles; book conventions have tucked self-published authors away into back rooms (reminding one of the card table at family dinners!). One journalist went so far as to say self-published books could “never” be on a par with those put out by publishers, and even other authors sniff about the “lesser” quality of self-published books.

And as much as we indies can raise a ruckus about the unfairness of all this, there’s just one problem: in some ways, they’re right. The freedom to self-publish has not always translated into an impeccability in how it’s done, and that has led to a book table, so to speak, flush with… hate to say it… “subpar” product. Continue reading “The Persistence of Self-Publishing Stigmas and How To Transcend Them”