Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I'm haunted by the images I see in my head, and those I see in my house. 

I don't know how many of you out there live in a house full of ghost, but that is what seems to always happen to me.  Do they follow me?  I sometimes wonder, although the man I used to see on my old house, the one who shouted at night if he didn't like the way the furniture was arranged or how the garden spot was not a big patch of weed, that guy seems to be absent.  Of course, they tore his house down and put in storage units there.  I wonder what he thinks about that?

In this new house, I see more ghost and people milling around than I ever did in my old house.  Could it be it you live in a house built more than thirty years ago, and the old people who lived there are no longer alive, that house is automatically haunted?  I don't know.

I also wonder if the sort of people who lurk around behind my house in the orchard bring their own spirits with them.  I can always tell when there is someone back there and up to no good, becuase the activity increases.  Well, if you have any ideas, let me know.

Being a writer, you might think that it is all in my head, well I have to admit there are many more spirits wandering around in there.  To be sure, they even speak to me, shout at me (like the man in my old house, although he wasn't telling me to write his story) and definately want to get out on the paper.  But that's a whole 'nother ball games.  I think most writers would agree with me.

However, the thing that haunts me most, is finding the perfect cover for my next book.  It is a gladiator romance.  What?  I know you just said that, but it's true.  A gladiatior romance.   Try as I might, I haven't been able to find a picture of a well built black man, (think telc' of Stargate fame) and a girl with dirty-dish water- blone hair, also with muscles galore.  You wouldn't think that would be so hard, but man, dress in Gladiator garb to boot, well now, that does pose a problem. 

I see what I want right before my eyes, but can't find anything to make it a reality.  So there you have it.  The things that drive someone, okay an already crazy person who has people telling her what to do, like me crazy.

Writers!  Can you believe it!

Friday, October 12, 2012

New Visions for ME

Just got back from a wonderful conference in Park City.  Well, at least I heard it was wonderful.  I had the distinct pleasure of running the Pitch Appointments with the agents from NY.  Yes, the big wigs is who I spent the weekend waiting on, making sure they had enough chocolate and plenty of writers to talk to.  It's a thankless job, but someone has to do it.  I did get to hear a couple of great keynote speakers, and well that's what draws people into a conference, isn't it?

All that aside.  I did learn some really interesting things.  I told one agent that I really don't enjoy blogging, tweeting, FBing, or any of the social stuff.  I prefer to meet people face to face at book signings, out on the road, etc.  However, when I'm at home and have a few minutes to spare, I'd rather write than do all the social media.

She laughed and said actually she liked to hear that, it meant I'm a writer first and the rest is secondary to me.  However, I needed to try a bit harder to be out there.  So here is my New Year's Resolution.  I know, I know, it's not New Years, but I can start early, can't I?

I vow to spend some time making my presence know.  FB is really giving me a headache, as my poor computer is really having a time, but my phone on the other hand is sort of handy that way.  I also vow to try to be more out there on my blog. 

I know it's paranormal, but that pretty much discribes me.  Not really normal.  So, besides my boring life, kids, horses, dogs etc.  I've decided to share a bit more of myself here.  So stay tuned for the weirdness that is me.

I love to watch Paranomal Witness and the Dead Files, not really the norm, but I've had experiences that I hope someone else has had, so I don't feel alone.  What sort of strange stuff have you seen?  Let's compare notes. 

So, homework for me.  I will post once a week, and I'm going to be asking for things that go along with my experiences and what I see on the off-beat shows on TV.

Let me know if you've ever considered there might be something behind the monster stories.  In Paranormal Witness, two men tracked a creature that walked on two legs, had claws on the end of the toes, and lived in a cabin in the woods.  The man had yellow eyes, and kept to himself.  When he died, they went to the cabin and found absolutely no personal items there.  Just a steel room with Chains and Locks.  Sounds like The Vampire Diaries to me.  How about you?  Ever seen wierd tracks?  TELL ME ABOUT IT!!!!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tawny's Ghost

Okay, so ghost stories are something everyone enjoys now, thanks to Ghost Hunters, Haunted Collector, Ghost Adventures and the likes.  But how many ghost stories do you read, and how many hold your interest.  I just read a cool review by Scott R. on Amazon and wanted to share it with ya'll, just to show even a guy can get into more than just the ghost part of a story.

Tawny's Ghost is my newest novel out, just went live July 4th, and I haven't even had time to "bomb" it yet.  But if it continues to get reviews like Scott's, again from a man not a woman, then maybe there is something ahead for me.

5.0 out of 5 stars Love Beyond Life, July 26, 2012
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Tawny's Ghost (Kindle Edition)
What can I say about this book, except that it's really great?
I picked it up expecting a light ghost story, which I was in the mood for. Instead, I read a profoundly beautiful book that that makes me ponder everlasting love, self-sacrifice, and just how much would we be willing to give up to save the ones we love. It's an ideal I would like to believe I could live up to, if needed, after reading Tawny's story.

Tawny is not a typical teen - how many typical teens see ghosts, and have extraordinarily powerful psychic friends? Yet her life is far from typical, as she is haunted by secrets she has yet to discover. Through the course of this book, she uncovers all
those secrets, and they make her the powerful woman she becomes.

Ms. Spraycar has created three dimensional characters, not only in her male and female leads, but from the supporting cast. We care for these people, we root for them, we love them.
It's by no means a short book, and I read it in one sitting. My eyes now hurt. But I wanted to write this review while the book was fresh on my mind.

There are ghosts in this book, but not all ghosts are what they seem. And we do realize three quarters of the way through that we will get that HEA. But what is so awesome is finding out just how long forever after can be. I really pray that when my time is us, there's a special house waiting for me, with all the people I love gathered there. This book can inspire that hope.

Note to readers: I am not a sappy kind of guy. This book made me that way, and it's all Ms. Spraycar's fault. And I thank her for that - sometimes we need to be reminded that sappy can be a good thing, a real good thing. I also bought this book, and it was worth every cent.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Birth

You've waited almost a year.  Waited for the delivery, expecting it any day now.  Finally it's time.  You rush out the door, expectant, tired of waiting, and hoping the delivery is actually today.  Then it happens.  You are handed the precious bundle and you sigh, before carefully folding back the covering to reveal your precious little bundle.  Pride fills your heart, and you can't wait to show it to those closest to you.  That's right!!!!  It's here, the galley of my newest book.

Do we ever grow tired of getting those new bundles of joy?  I doubt it.  As authors we put blood, sweat, and tears into each novel. We shape and mold our stories, cry with the characters and feel each pain they suffer.  We sigh with relief when the victory is won, then cry all over again with each word we cut, each scene we lose, and each rewrite, or edit cuts to the bone.  But in the end it is all worth it.

Pride in a job well done is worth the year or more of hard work.  A year of growing that precious bundle, until at last you're holding it in your hands.  Your baby, your little piece of you put out there for the entire world to see.  If you think the pains are over at this point, you're wrong.

Now your precious baby is in other people's hands.  Not everyone thinks your baby is as wonderful as you do.  Some even don't like it, think you should have never tried.  Some oohhh, and aaaahhh over your bundle.  Some even think it is as wonderful as you do.

Now you're a full fledged author.  A book under your belt and the proof in your hands.

I can't tell you how exciting it feels.  You just have to try it yourself and see the pride and joy that comes along with the printed copy in your hands. 

When you look at it, you see all the little imperfections.  The "Oh, I could have described that better."  The "I wish I'd have changed that."  But all in all there is something deep inside that tells you, "You've done the best you could at the time you wrote this book."  I think every author grows as a writer with each book, and you look back on those first ones with a blush, wondering why people like it so when it was so bad.  But still the pride in it never goes away.  It is a piece of you.  A bit of your soul put out there to be judged.

So just like your baby, be proud of what you've accomplished.  Rush out and show your new bundle to all of your friends, your neighbors, and even the girl at the bank.  Be proud of yourself.  You've actually delivered when so many miscarry. 

Be proud.  Show the world what you're made of.  Be confident in what you've produced.  Love the experience and be confident in yourself.

Getting that delivery is worth all the pains you went through to get it here.  Then pat yourself on the back and sleep with it for a few days.

That's right.  Enjoy your success.  I know I am.  I now hold in my hand the long awaited second book, and it feels grand.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Self Pub Formatting Nightmare

You said it.  Formatting is a dirty word, is, was and probably always will be.  I stole my book back from my latest publisher due to irreconcilable differences.  I wanted to sell it, printed version, and obviously they did not.  I digress.  Anyway I've worked really hard to get a new cover, format the thing and get it back out there.

A joke!!!!  It's easy they say, just plug your book into our already formatted template.  "Great," says I.
I feverishly work to make sure everything is as I want it in this wonderful template, (which by the way only has 60 pages) and viola! I'm ready to go.  Right?  WRONG.

I realize that the rest of the 300 pages of the manuscript have no page numbers, no headers and I have no idea how to fix it.  I go back and read everything I can, and eventually figure out how to get the page numbers on, minus the Title page, Acknowledgements, etc.  Again, VIOLA!!!!

Not so fast.  I upload my hard worked manuscript, and to my dismay all the chapter headings are off, on the end of the page before.  In the middle of a page somewhere, or run into the chapter preceding it.  I groan.
In the end, I uploaded it at least ten time before calling support.

Now isn't technical support supposed to fix all your problems?  Silly me, that's what I thought.  I talked to one guy, who couldn't help me.  Said he had no idea how to fix the problem and I would have to talk to a supervisor, (all of whom had left for the day)  so please call back tomorrow.

I spent a sleepless night wondering what exactly I had done wrong.  Aren't you supposed to be able to plug something into a template and then not worry about it?  That's what I thought.  At least it worked building a website.  I digress again.

Next day I call tech support again, get the famed supervisor and ask my questions.  She says they have templates to help format it right.  I tell her it is in a template.  She asks what format I saved it in.  I tell her RTF.  (Sigh)  She has no idea what that is!!!!  You've got to be kidding right?  She asks what program I'm using and I say WORD.  She responds that there are just too many programs for them to know all about all of them.  (Isn't WORD one of the most widely used programs for writers?  Am I wrong?)  I sigh again.  Wondering if this is every going to be a book out there, published by me for my fans.(Yes, I do have them.  And all five of them have been waiting for Phantom Wolves for almost a year now)

The supervisor advises me to download the template again and start all over.  GRRRRRR!!!!.  However my dogged determination wins out and I do as she asks.

Now for those of you who are about to embark on this process, let me save you some time and aggravation.  First, download the blank template, not the one with words so you can see what it looks like.  Before transferring anything, embed your text.  In word, go to file, his the options, hit save, then check the embed font box, and uncheck the two boxes below it.  Now you're ready to start.  Copy your entire book and past it into the template.  Now your margins and gutters should be right.  Make sure your headers and footer(page numbers) appear on each page.  I'm telling you right now that they won't.  Go to the last page that contains the header and or footer, and double click on it.  It will open up the header box in word.  Then you need to link the header and footer to the previous section.  Then you should be good.  Now go back and take off the header on the title page, because you can bet it is there now.  Also if you're including a bio picture, make sure that the DPI is 300 before inserting it in your book. 

No Sweat, you say.  Just keep thinking that.  Your not done yet.  Now go back in and embed your font again, because if you don't you'll be sorry.  Now save it in a PDF format and try uploading it.  Hopefully it works this time.  If not start all over, don't think you can fix the one you've already spent so much time on, it never works.

Okay, so there you have the two-hundred fifty steps to formatting.  My friend, Leslie, paid someone fifty bucks to save herself the headache, smart and rolling in the dough girl.  For those of us without that luxury, here's a toast to our living nightmare.  Any questions?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Contest Overload

After running two contests in a row, I'm finally back on track with writing, bloggging (sort of) and doing all the other stuff that needs to be done.

First of all I ran the Absolutely Write First Page Contest.  Fun to read all the entries and then argue with myself about some of the scores and the judges.  So not only to the entrants sometimes feel they got shorted, so does the contest coordinator.  Laying all that aside, it was easy to see what people did right and what others did wrong.  A great way of seeing what works on a first page.

Second, I coordinated the YA Category of the UtahRWA HOW contest.  Again, getting to read all the entries was enlightening.  I didn't agree with all the judges, but could again see why the winners took the high scores.  This one wasn't as easy.  Finding judges to help out was a wild ride, but I finally got the finalists off the the final judge, only a day or two late.

If you're wondering why I put myself through running contests, along with entering them.  Well, I'll tell you.  You learn alot by seeing how the contests run, how the judges evaluate things, and more than that why the winners are the winners.  Where else could you get all this information without paying for it.  It makes you a better writer to see how the winners of other contests do what they do.  It's also great to judge, because often times you can compare how you rated things by seeing those same entries in other contests.  I love it when I pick the best on of the entries sent me to judge, and it actually end up winning the category.

I learn so much by helping with contest.  I advise you do the same.  And then take the time to read the entries as they come in, evaluate them yourself, and then see what the judges say and how things turn out.  Lots of fun without putting anything on the line.

Now back to work and the real process of writing.  Hope to see you all in a contest in the future, either coordinating, judging or at least entering.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Have a great writing day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Five R's to make Creation Easy

There are so many wonderful tips out there.  This one is again from Trent's Smart Writer Newsletter.  He really does some great stuff.  Coming up with blogging ideas is what stumps me, but writing novels never has me running out of ideas.   But doing these five R's might help some of you readers out there, so here are some great ideas.

Content Creation Made Easy

Are you struggling with creating consistent, quality content?

If you are not a professional copywriter, coming up with new content regularly can be a difficult task. Many people get writer's block or their brains freeze up while staring at a blank screen. However, to be a successful Internet marketer, you must create fresh and interesting content regularly. Otherwise, your traffic will dry up and hard-earned subscribers will lose interest.

How do you overcome this challenge?

Content creation doesn't have to be hard. Just follow my 5 Rs of content creation and things will start to flow a lot more smoothly.
Even before I open my trusty word processor, I head over to Google's Keyword Tool. I use it to research key words/phrases that people are using to search for answers to their particular problem.

I start with something related to a subject that I'm interested in writing about and get ideas from there.

For example, "content creation." That led me to other popular search terms like blog content creation, content creation help, online content creation etc.

Without first researching your topics, you'll find yourself running out of ideas to write about and/or guessing what your readers would be interested in learning. You'd be surprised how many different suggestions and variations you can get from your initial thought after doing even the smallest bit of research.

Google is not the only source for content ideas. Visit popular forums and read what questions people are posting there, things that are related to your topic. You can also try Yahoo! Answers.

Bottom line - better content comes from better research.
Creating an outline first is how I always start my content creation. It helps me to get my thoughts organized and to rearrange ideas until I feel good about the flow of my content.

Then I expand the bullet points into complete paragraphs. An outline also creates a roadmap as I progress from chapter to chapter until I finish my report or e-Book.
Adding some personal experiences helps to humanize your content. No one likes to read text that sounds like a sermon.

Share stories or provide examples like I have done above to make it more interesting and help your readers connect with their own situation.

Revealing a bit of your personal side or personality is very important, especially if you are writing about a technical topic. A picture is worth a thousand words and can quickly simplify a complex concept that otherwise would take you many words to explain. Studies have shown that people retain information quicker and longer when you engage their visual senses.
If you are going to edit your own content, then read your text aloud. I print my copy and then read it back to myself. This forces me to read every word rather than allowing my mind to autosuggest words that are not there.

Don't just rely on the automatic spelling and grammar checker. For example, no software in the world can flag the error between their and there. Here are some more common mistakes; lose and loose, it's for its and further vs. farther.

I use a professional copyediting service to proof read my final manuscript before I publish it into an e-Book. Believe me, it is well worth the expense.

If you can't afford the cost, have a friend who has never seen your copy read it and allow them to critique your content freely. You don't have to accept all their suggestions but at least you'll have the benefit of another pair of eyes having reviewed your content.
Our brains have two parts - the left side is analytical and the right side is visual and tends to see the whole picture. Use both sides of your brain when writing content - but one side at a time.

Let the right half of your brain start writing as the creative juices flow. Don't interrupt it by stopping to correct errors (other than obvious typos).

Once you have your first draft completed, allow the left side of your brain to take over and start being critical and analytical as you go over your copy.

Rearrange words, paragraphs and maybe entire chapters until you feel comfortable how each paragraph and chapter flows into the next respectively. This is where you need to wear your editor's hat rather than be the creative writer.

Don't be afraid to tear apart your initial outline if you think it will improve the product. Just be careful that perfectionism doesn't stop you from launching your masterpiece altogether.

I realize the above 5 Rs may seem a bit daunting at first, especially to the inexperienced writers out there. But with some practice, all this will become second-nature and you'll be creating content like a professional copywriter in no time at all.
By Achinta "Archie" Mitra.