Tip for Choosing Character Names

Thought for the dayWhen I started reading fantasy novels in my teen years back in the 1980s, I struggled with the pronunciation of some of the far-out names authors had given their characters. To get through these stories, I turned names such as Gorggegx in George in my mind and kept reading.

Why fantasy authors feel the need to create strange names always confused me. It came off as part of the genre, I think. When I started writing fantasy stories, I thought about using similar names, but I quickly put it to rest and stuck with names I could pronounce.

Since then, I’ve encountered many odd names in the genre, and I continue to do the same thing: turn them into simple names.

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A Hard Lesson Learned

Hard Lessons LearnedAlthough it’s tough to admit it, six years ago, I made a horrible mistake in my publishing journey. After publishing the first book in my Castle Keepers fantasy series, Shadows in the Stone, I should have buckled down and completed the draft to the second book in the series, Scattered Stones.

However, feeling the pressure to get more books on my publishing shelf, I wrote a few short stories that were not in the fantasy genre. They were quick writes, quickly edited by my editor and quickly published. I soon had four books on my shelf. It looked impressive.

I was following the advice of those who believed the more books on a shelf, the more a writer gets noticed because they have a larger footprint.

However, those giving advice didn’t stress the vital fact that the books written should all be in one genre. Readers sometimes stick to one genre, so those who loved my fantasy novel might not like my contemporary stories about death, domestic abuse or a cranky neighbour.

Sigh.

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Summer is Over and Work Begins

Thought for the dayWe can all ask, “Where did it go?”, but I think most of us who live in the north know summer passed in the usual form: too quickly. What started out to be a very cool June with snow and hail in Nova Scotia, eventually evolved into hot July and August days.

With cooler nights and mild days on the horizon, school started today where I live. That means the house is empty because everyone is either in school or at work. This is the first time I’ve had the house to myself during the day for more than two months.

While I hope you enjoyed your summer and I’d like to reminisce about mine, as John Wayne said, “We’re burning daylight.” So it’s time to buckle down and get back to work full time. My batteries are recharged, new ideas are splashing around in my mind, and I’m ready to start the next phase of my self-publishing journey.

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No One is Surprised: CreateSpace Closes and KDP Print Takes Over

Amazon CreateSpace KDP PrintBetween putting the laundry in the washer and hanging it on the line and while I was making pancakes for my youngest child, washing dishes and waiting for the buzzer on the oven to go to indicate the cinnamon rolls were ready for extraction, an email popped up in my inbox.

The subject told me all I wanted to know, and if Amazon thought they’d surprise me, they couldn’t have been more mistaken: CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing to become one service

I didn’t bother opening the message; I was too busy, and I knew what it was all about.

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Book Review: Running Wild with Bossy Boy by Hui Zhou

Running Wild with Bossy Boy

by Hui Zhou

Photographs by Hui Zhou

Rating: 4 Stars

A Wonderful Way to Introduce Children to Chickens

Have you ever dreamt about raising chickens in your backyard? Do you want to learn more about the distinguishing characteristics of chickens? Running Wild with Bossy Boy introduces readers to a lucky flock of chickens that express their traits as they run wild as chickens are supposed to do.

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Writers Who Chose to Live Full Time in RVs

RV LivingAs I mentioned in my previous post, one item on my bucket list is to travel across Canada for a year in an RV. That will probably include a trip to Alaska and into the mid-west area of the United States. This won’t be until all my children have graduated high school.

Like many writers do, before I embark on a journey, I research like crazy. Whether I’m learning the parts of a castle, how heavy a sword weighs or what it’s like to live in an RV, I seek out books, websites and videos to help me get a firm grasp on the subject.

As a writer who wants to live on the road, my research took me to those who were already doing it. Turns out, there are many who travel across the globe and write. The wonderful thing about being a writer is that as long as you have an Internet connection, you can upload your work to publish it or submit it to newspapers and magazines.

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Wandering Slowly into YouTube

My Wandering PathI’ve been taking photographs since I was 11 years old. Over the past 39 years, I’ve felt comfortable behind the camera, but I’ve never overcome my discomfort of being in front of it. I’ve seen other authors bite the bullet and create videos on a regular basis and post them to YouTube. It helps get their names and books out there.

They don’t always talk about writing or their books. They create a following with interesting videos on a variety of topics.

I had shared a few videos in the past, but I want to do more. I’ve convinced myself the only way to do that is to gain experience making videos – because I like a challenge and my world isn’t crazy enough.

My first step was to watch videos by different people to see how they went about creating content. There are a wide-range of styles and subjects on YouTube, so it is easy to find something to pique your interest.

When I began practising with my phone to shoot videos, the first issue I noticed was the audio. I saw YouTubers often had a mic clipped to their shirt, so I did a little investigating.

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