A Busy Spring and a Book Launch Sale

I can’t get over how busy the past four months have been for me. While I have been writing a little, editing a lot and formatting books, an equal amount of time (if not more) has been spent offline, away from the computer.

Life is going in the direction I had planned, so I’m far from complaining. However, I am rethinking a few things I had planned.

For instance, I wrote two short novels last year, both under 70,000 words. They were not fantasy and because of advice from other writers and Amazon’s algorithms, I had decided to publish these and others of similar fashion under a new pen name. Of course, a new pen name would create a few challenges of its own, but I was prepared to tackle them.

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Repeating Ourselves Too Many Times in a Novel

Healing StonesOne thing I’ve learned while editing to a specific word count is to provide the information only once. Readers are smart; they’ll understand. If I have 300 words to tell a story, every word matters. I don’t need to say the car was blue twice.

Saying something once in a 300-word story is easy to do because I can see the entire story on one page. I can remember what I’ve said and how I’ve said it. It’s a little more difficult in a 130,000-word novel.

But it’s still important not to repeat things multiple times because readers who read fast or have great memories will remember. Even those with weaker superpowers will notice if you continue to tell them Sarah’s hair was naturally blonde but was dyed green. I know because I read book reviews on Amazon, and I’ve seen many readers complain about the number of times something is stated: How many times does she have to say his eyes were blue? I heard it the first ten times.

That’s an exaggeration, but you know what I mean. More complaints arise when a situation is overstated: I get it; he’s broke and he lost his job at the construction site because he was late two days in a row. Stop telling me that in every chapter!

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Creating Book Covers with Inkscape

I’m always looking for ways to improve the books I write both in content and in appearance. This includes creating better covers with each book written.

Everyone must start somewhere and when I started creating covers more than ten years ago, they looked like an amateur created them. So I pressed on. In February 2012, I wrote about my discovery of using PowerPoint to create covers: Create! Design! Make it so. From this post, it’s obvious my covers still had a long way to go, but I was moving in the right direction: forward.

After eight years of making book covers, banners and promotional material using PowerPoint, I stumbled upon another program that will take my designs to the next level: Inkscape.

Where Did I Discover Inkscape?

I spotted a YouTube video by author David V. Stewart about how he made book covers, so I clicked, watched and fantasized about my own covers. The program he used was Inkscape. His covers looked amazing. He said the program was free on the Internet.

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February is Fantasy Month

Destiny Governed their Lives short story fantasyTomorrow, February 1st, is the beginning of the 5th Annual February is Fantasy Month. I first heard about this special month three years ago. At that time, I thought of participating, but I think we were two weeks into the month, so I made a post and left it at that.

Last year, I was too busy to take on more work and to be honest, I had forgotten about it until someone announced it. I could have thrown together something, but I chose not to.

This year, I’ve been thinking about fantasy month throughout January, so I think I’m ready to tackle it. I’ll make posts here, but most of my posts and promotions will be on my Diane Lynn McGyver blog and on Twitter. With most of my books enrolled in Kindle Select, I’m able to have free eBook days. This will be the only month of the year (possibly ever) that the full-length novels of the Castle Keepers epic fantasy series will be offered for free.

To start, the first short story that introduced the Land of Ath-o’Lea, Destiny Governed their Lives, will be free to download  from February 1st to the 3rd. It’s available at:

This short story provides the back story for Catriona Wheatcroft, who, unbeknownst to her, will play a pivotal role in the over-all plot of the series.

If you are a fantasy author, are you marking February as Fantasy month? If so, drop me a link in the comments, and I’ll share it.

Critical Drinker Inspires a Wins vs Losses List

Shortly before Christmas, I stumbled upon the Critical Drinker, a YouTube critic mostly of films, but he critiques books at times, too. The Drinker is Will Jordan, author of Redemption: Ryan Drake 1. I’ve watched several of his videos for both the entertainment and insight in to how movies were constructed or, in many cases, how they were poorly constructed. As a writer, he comments on character development, plot and other aspects of story building.

His dissection of the three recent Star Wars movies is brutal. I am a huge fan of the original Star Wars trilogy – Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi – and his critiques tell me the new movies are ones I never want to see. In fact, they should be burnt. The stories trampled over our heroes of the past and are extremely disrespectful to their legacy. While I didn’t think it would be as bad as it was, I had an inkling of what was to come.

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My 2020 Goals are About Writing and Living

Today, my mother turns 92 years old. She never thought she’d see this age, yet here she is. Like many of us, we are never aware of what we’re capable of doing. We just do it.

2020 is a transition year for me. There are things that must be done, and only by working off property will I accomplish them. So, this spring, I plan to begin working 40 to 50 hours a week, which will take me away from writing in the short term, yet will deliver me closer to a few long-term goals I want to accomplish in the next five years.

Much like when I worked at the garden centre a few years ago, this job will be physical (my favourite type), and I’ll be outdoors most of the time. It will chew up most of my time from April to December. Then I’ll be free to write through winter again.

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New Facebook Page for Atlantic Canada Writers to Promote Events

During my book launch in June, I spoke with author Tim Covell about writing groups we were members of on Facebook and how we couldn’t cross promote author events. This got the gears in my brain turning and by the time I arrived home that day, I had a plan: make a site where events could be shared.

Coming Soon

Because Tim and I are in two Facebook groups that are unable to share news and events, I thought it might be better if I involved the creator of the second site, Peter Foote, to see if we couldn’t collaborate on this effort to benefit members in both groups.

Long story short: It’s done!

If you are a writer living in one of the four Atlantic Canada provinces, you are welcome to join and promote your events. These events may include book launches, book signings and readings, market events where you plan to sell your book, virtual book launches, short-term sales (my eBook is free for the next two days; grab it now!), con events where you’ll be a vendor or something similar to these.

To learn more or to become a member, go to Atlantic Canadian Author Events and sign up.