Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Does Your Book Have The Right Look?

Knowing how to get just the right look and feel to fit the subject matter and distinct identity of each book is my passion.

No matter what your needs are, either an e-book cover or the entire flat, front, spine and back, having a dramatic cover could set your book apart from the thousands of others being written every day. They might not remember your name, but.....they'll remember your cover


A very large percentage of all books sold are sold on the basis of a great book cover. The cover you choose is the most important tool used to sell and market your book. It's often true that having an eye catching cover may determine where the book is located in the book store. The cover should not only be visually appealing, but also represent it's content. So whether you decide to self publish or go with a more traditional publisher, having the best cover possible to reflect the story you are telling is truly
the most important part of the writing process.

My ultimate goal is to create book covers that are different and unique... designed just for you. I have experience with all types of books including romance, science fiction, real crime, self-help and more. I have created eye-catching CD and DVD covers as well as paperback book covers and e-book cover designs.

We as Independent authors and publishers know the importance of having somewhere that your readers can hang out and not only order your books, but find out what you're up to and what's going on in our literary world. A cool website will do just that. If you enjoyed my site and would like me to design one for you, similar to what you see, let me know. (or something more your taste)

Blue Voda hosts my site.. and for a small yearly fee (around $100) they keep it up and running. You also make your own domain name and can have as many pages as you can handle. Check out my site where you will find the link. I've been using them for four years now and I'm very happy.

Debi DeSantis
Romance Author & Book Cover Designer

Monday, September 27, 2010

Writing 101 - Reviews


We all enjoy being praised. We all want everyone to just fall in love with our book. And sometimes we don't understand why they don't. It can be very crushing when we get that first bad review. However, if you can take that bad review and make it work for you then you are the winner. Trust me ­ it can happen. When I
got my first bad review from someone who never even read Silent Scream I posted it on my site. My book sales soared. It made the people in my network so upset they went out bought the book and wrote their own reviews on Amazon.

That aside, there have been books I read even by some well known authors who were so bad I couldn't even finish them. However, I refused to trash the author or the book. The reason is simple there might be someone out there who would enjoy it. Someone who has a different opinion. And in reality that is all a review is,
just an opinion. And that is relative. Bottom line don't take those to seriously.

Take the nicest thing in the review and post it. That really ticks off the reviewer who has written a bad review. Turn it into a good thing. Make it work for you instead of against you.

When you are ready to send your book to print ­ you will want to get some reviews to either put in the front of the book or the back of it. That is very important, especially if they are from other authors.

Review Services can be found for free at BK Walker Books.

Next topic is You've Written Your Book,  Now What?  Friday,  October 1, 2010.

Please leave your questions in the comment section. :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

How to Write True Horror by Author TG Reaper aka Thom Futrell

The night crawls in from the shrinking daylight. And the children, how the children of darkness beg you for their creation. They need you to bleed life into them. To release them from the shadows.

Perhaps horror isn’t you’re genre or you’ve never considered writing a ghastly tale. No matter. Time to challenge yourself, to try something new. You can lock the doors, but won’t keep us out. Time to explore the dark side of fiction.

The first thing to understand is that not all horror fiction is the same. There’s horror, supernatural, gothic and many sub genres. Horror is only the blanket label for dark fiction.

Fear is the main ingredient in successful horror fiction. It is what makes Stephen King’s books fly off the shelves. It is also what motivates horror writers to write. King has admitted to being afraid of the dark and of the bats that live in his attic. He uses that fear in his writing.

Shirley Jackson (The Haunting of Hill House) once wrote: “I have always loved to use fear, to take it and comprehend it and make it work and consolidate a situation where I was afraid and take it whole and work from there…I delight in what I fear.”
Most won’t delight in their fears; actually, they push them away. Or they worry constantly. But in addition to inspiring story ideas, writing about fear is therapeutic. It helps you to take control of them. In gaining control, you can take your fiction to those dark places you didn’t want to go.

Just like any fiction story, the successful horror story must have a beginning, middle and end and must have well developed characters. Your hero’s conflict must be believable (in this case, a dark threat) and he or she must react consistently and believably.

That’s not to say that a normal person isn’t capable of murder and violence, when placed under enough stress, people may react in ways totally out of character. Your character must grow during the story; the change may be positive or negative.

Let’s move ahead to my personal favorite…the unknown.
The scariest part of knowing a beast is there, is knowing one might be there. Eyes in the shadows, voices calling from nowhere, etc. Imagine this: You’ve just walked through your house, turning off the lights. You head towards the bedroom, looking forward to a good night’s sleep. Suddenly, you hear footsteps coming up behind you. You know you’re alone, yet you hear breathing. A flash; the lights come on down the hallway. Someone or something is out there. But who or what is it? And where is it now? Thoughts run up your spine along with a familiar chill. That is the feeling you owe your readers.

There you have it, wrapped in a black box and addressed to you. Listen to the children as they call for you, begging for life. Cut open your soul, and bleed the words of life into your creations. Darkness is calling…will you answer it?
 TG Reaper

Friday, September 24, 2010

Writing 101 - Editing & Proof Reading

Edits and Proof Reading

One of the main things to remember is this is your story, you can change it,  rearrange it, re-write it any way you want to. If you ask for another's opinion remember it is just that. You are still in control and not everyone who reads your work will love it.

Which brings me to another point ­ find someone you trust who knows good grammar, is articulate and is willing to read line by line to proof your work. They can do it by page or chapter or entire book. The reason for this is as writers we get so bogged down in the trenches that we miss the most simple things, like, she,
he, the and they, to and too. I have a bad habit of transposing letters. My brain runs faster than my fingers. I have gone back and re-read my work and in my mind the structure is correct the spelling is correct, however it is so wrong.

Every author has to have a killer cover. The reason being the cover is the first thing a potential reader is seeing for the first time. If a book cover catches my eye you can bet I am going to pick up that book and read the back cover or the jacket. You want to stand out above the crowd. You want to be that black sheep in a field of white ones. Don't settle for second best.

Here's a great cover designer - Check her out and all the other marketing services she offers.

Debi DeSantis
Romance Author & Book Cover Designer

Next Topic is Reviews - September 27, 2010.

Please leave your questions in the comment section. :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Writing 101 - Writing Non-Fiction

Writing Non- Fiction

Non Fiction is different; it is more difficult on some level because you as the writer don't want to regurgitate something that has already been written. Take the time to research your story, talk to others, and find out all you can about whatever it is you are writing about. It is very important to make sure you have facts and that you can back up those facts with your research. Always put your resources in the back of the book, especially if you do direct quotes. This is very important if you quote from newspaper, other books, or other articles. You never want to get slammed for stealing someone else's work. You have to give the original speaker credit for that quote. If you are using Microsoft 2007 it has a great program that will post those resources as you put them in the book.

Find a way to write the story different from what every other writer has done.  This can be a challenge especially if several people have already written different books on the subject you are writing about. True crime is one of the hardest to write about if you are not part of that life. I was fortunate; my husband is retired
from the State Attorney's office in the 19 judicial circuit and all of our friends are in that life and with my background in criminal justice and bounty hunting I speak the language.

When you decide to write non-fiction, surround yourself with people who are proficient in that particular subject, don't be shy about picking their brain. Once you show you are serious and credible they may be more than willing to talk with you. When I first contact retired FBI Agent Roy Hazelwood, he wouldn't give me any information until he found out that I already had one book out and was serious about writing the story. Now, I count him as a very good friend.

Don't be in a hurry to write the story. It took me over a year to research and write Silent Scream. When I wrote Silent Scream there was a lot of information I didn't put in the book. The reason is simple, the book would have been too heavy to carry let alone read. Take the most important pieces and put it in your story.
But make it interesting. The object is to tell your real life story with meaning and depth without being boring with the facts. Weave those facts into the story.

If you interject your own opinion make sure that you make that statement in the book. Make sure that you put your resources at the end of your book, any newspaper articles, books, interviews, any resource where you obtained your material. This is very important.

Non- fiction is tricky in that in most cases you must have permission to use real names, it must be in writing. This protects you from the potential lawsuit.

Next Topic is Editing & Proofing,  Friday,  September 24, 2010.

Please post your questions in the comment section :).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Writing 101-Writing Fiction with Yvonne Mason

This will be the first part in Yvonne's Writing 101 series.  Part 1 - Writing Fiction.  Read and enjoy :).

  Writing Fiction

     Now that I have all of you completely confused as to why I write so many different genres let me explain, I am eclectic. In other words I am very diverse in my thinking. Because of my background and my degree my first love is crime. I love the criminal mind. However, I have to listen to the voices in my head telling
me what to write. My first book Stan's Story which has since been redone and re titled to Dream Catcher Failure was Never an Option was a labor of love so that my children and grand children would remember my brother who is challenged and born at a time when the challenged had no resources. He is a success because
of this challenge. He was not put away he was accepted and loved. Tangled Minds is based on a crime that happened in Gainesville Ga. in the 1990's and it involved a friend of my daughter. I also drew from her troubled life for the main character.

      Blood Alley is a short story about a Ga. Truck Driver who winds up becoming something he really doesn't want to be because of something he did. Brilliant Insanity is a crime novel based in Ft Pierce about a serial killer who kills because he thinks he is getting retribution. Silent Scream is a true crime about Gerard John Schaefer Florida's first serial killer. When Fates Collide my newest release was co -written with an author friend of mine who lives on the West Coast of Florida and it is a comedy. WE wrote that book by e-mail.

       By the look on your faces, I see that you all are saying in your mind, you did all this HOW???
As Ricky Ricardo said to Lucy, "Let me splain."

       In writing there is no right or wrong way as opposed to when I was in school and one had to do an outline before one even really put pen to paper. Those days are gone. Each writer has their own style their own way and their own path. Some authors I know make outlines or rough drafts, some put pen to paper and just start the story. Some, like myself take to the computer with a vengeance. There is an old adage in the industry and is "Write about what you know." In other words because of my background in criminal justice, being married to a retired investigator for the state attorney's office and being a hunter, I know about the
criminal mind. I know how they think, what they think and how they act. I know why they kill. I have studied them and their crimes for years. I have also been in the court room more times than I can count. Since that part of my life is a passion and writing is a passion they go hand in hand.

    No matter what I am writing there are several things I do first it doesn't matter if it is fiction or non- fiction. I do research, even if I am very familiar with my subject.

     The reason is simple. When your reader opens that book you want them to step into the story. You want them to believe that what they are reading is real.  You want that book to hold their attention and grab them from the first word. In today's world readers are very educated. They know more than they used to. So if
you are writing a crime novel you want to make sure that your law enforcement isn't knocking some criminal upside the head or arresting them without reading them Miranda. Readers pick up on the little things very quick. They are more educated than in years past.

  When I was writing Brilliant Insanity, I made sure that I knew about Shark attacks, and bait. The reason, well you will just have to read the book. They also picked up on the fact that my criminal met some of his victims at Archie's a very popular place in Fort Pierce. It gave more meat to the story. They could relate.

  When I wrote Silent Scream my true crime one of the things I was told over and over was the fact that some of my readers had been on the very roads the victims were taken from, they had been by the places the girls were killed. They could relate to the book. The point is as a writer you want to be credible while still
using your literary skills in weaving a spell binding story.

   Second I let those voices in my head give me the name of my main character.  Once the name is out there the story starts taking form. Then it is time to let them take over. I have found that when I try to force a story it will not come. Give in to your inner child. Allow those imaginary friends come to the surface. It is okay. We
are called Odd Minded because we think with the creative side of our brain,  which is the right side. You are among the greats if you have stories and characters which dance inside your head.

   The writer has what we call literary license; he is only limited by his own imagination. So if you want to write about a race of people on a planet which is in your head fine go for it. But remember the reader will need a bit of background before jumping into the story. The best way to do that is to give a bit of information at the front of the book, for instance, you will want to make a glossary of the language, way of life, etc. That way the reader knows how to understand the story and his characters. Remember they are reading ­ it is not
visual. Don't start your first chapter without building your story, that first chapter will make or break your reader. In fact that first sentence will either grab your reader or make them put the book down never to pick it up again.

     For instance would you continue reading if the first sentence went something like this: "He died." You might finish the paragraph just to see who died. But would it not be more of an impact if you said, "The bullet ripped through his skull as he fired his last bullet at the cop." For me that makes me want to find out who he is ­ why he was firing at a cop and what happened after that. A good writer always puts the who, what, where, when and how in their story.

   It doesn't matter if you are writing a romance, suspense, mystery, cookbook, the idea is to make that reader walk that book to the checkout counter at the library, the bookstore or the online cart. You want them to say "I gotta have it."  Then you want them to tell their friends what a great book it was so they will run out and buy it.

    If you are writing a book and it is taking place say for instance in your home town, remember folks from your home town will be reading it. They will know if you put Main Street at the end of 1 when it is really at the end of 4 street.
     If you want to write a story that takes place in a different state, country or town, take the time to research that place. Make your reader see the sites, smell the smells, hear the different sounds of the place. Make them want to visit that city, town or country. Make them understand the hardships of a third world country or a communist country. Own that place. With the technology we have in the internet there is no reason not to. You can travel all over the world and never leave the comfort of your easy chair. Once you get a lay of the land you can make it whatever you want it to be.

     In my years as both an avid reader and writer, I have found that when an author gets bogged down in detail it takes away from the story. I have read everything from Tolstoy to Shakespeare, to Poe my personal favorite, to Stephen King to Ann Rule, Ann Rice, Patterson, and others. I started reading when I was
five years old before I started school and never looked back. When I was twelve years old and in seventh grade I had to read Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" and do a report on it. From that day on I never looked back, crime became my favorite, along with Edgar Allen Poe.

    We all have our favorite author who we would like to emulate. Read everything you can by that author, or by authors who write what you are interested in writing about. This gives you an idea of what is out there, and how it  is written to grab the masses. But remember you as a writer are unique. Use that uniqueness to write your story.

    The main thing I found out is this less is more. The only book I ever read that Stephen King wrote which I really enjoyed was Pet Cemetery the reason is because he didn't describe a blade of grass to death. There is only so many ways to describe a blade of grass.

    A prime example is this: "The emerald green, pointed five inch long deep veined blade of grass swayed softly back and forth as if dancing alone in the early morning rising bright yellow sun which rose as if kissing the dew covered earth."

    As the kids would say this is way too much information.     A better way to describe this scene would be- "As the morning sun kissed the earth the emerald green grass swayed as if dancing in the early morning light."

   This sentence gives the reader just enough visual to keep their interest but yet doesn't overload the scene.
I have also found that in describing sex scenes that once again less is more.  This is especially true when you are writing a crime novel. Serial killers, predators and rapists don't use sex as their primary tool. Sex is secondary to the control and the feel of power over their victims. The stalking, abduction and the kill is the
primary factors in their actions. The sex is just something to keep their victim under their control. It is a fear factor, if you will. Women are more afraid of being raped than anything else. So that action makes the perfect tool for fear. But even with that one should not use over kill to make that scene.   The reader doesn't need a blow by blow account of what is happening to keep the flow of the story going not even if you are writing erotica.

Stay tuned for the next lesson in Writing 101 - Writing Non - Fiction.

If anyone has any questions,  please comment and we will respond :).

Friday, September 17, 2010

Welcome to Flying Monkeys Writing & Marketing

First,  welcome and thanks for stopping in.  Here you will find writing tips,  marketing tips and ideas,  where and how to promote your work, and most of all,  friendship.  We strive,  and live by my partners motto - Paying It Forward! 

If ever you have any questions,  want to see something we haven't listed,  or need any help with anything at all,  you can email us anytime.  I will list our blog email,  plus each of our emails on this page.  Please don't ever hesitate to contact anytime.  We promise to get back to you.

So now,  let us introduce ourselves.

    My name is Yvonne Mason and I have been writing since I was a child. I have a degree in Criminal Justice and am a Bounty Hunter. I am also a motivational Speaker. However, it took over thirty years to become published. It wasn't for the lack of trying quite the contrary. I was rejected so much it wasn't even funny.
    I started working on my first book when my children were small in the early 1970's and finally it was published in 2007. How did you do it? You may ask. Well,  it was persistence, and pure stubbornness.
    I now have five books and one short story published. Of the five books two are non- fiction and the other three are fiction. My first book was non- fiction it is about my brother who is challenged. That book took me over thirty years to finish and get published. As soon as I finished the first book, I started on a fiction book
loosely based on a true crime. I had two books published by the end of 2007.
    The next endeavor was another fiction which was about a serial killer as well as a non- fiction which is a true crime. While I was researching the true crime I wrote the fiction. They both were released in 2008 back to back. In between the four books I released a short story. This year I released another fiction which is of all things a comedy.

     My name is Brandi,  some of you may know me as B.K. Walker.  I too have had a love of writing since I was a child,  always making up stories and reading them to my stuffed animals (haha,  I didn't play with dolls much).  I am now a published author of three novels,  two are dramatic romance and the other is a paranormal romance.  My very first book,  Near Suicide started out as just a journal of self help,  and then the main character screamed to be heard.   So I wrote the book,  and my latest release,  Death Upon Me is a revision of Near Suicide.  I currently work as a pediatric home care nurse,  which I love and find it very gratifying.  I am a mother to three wonderful children,  a pitbull,  dachshund,  and a goldfish.  Our cat,  which you may be wondering if you have read my books,  has recently passed away.  His ashes sit proudly on my desk and he keeps me company along with our other pitbull,  while I write.
     So with that being said,  I also run several blogs,  host a radio show on Blog Talk Radio where I do author interviews,  where we will be holding our writer's workshops,  and I organize virtual book tours as well. 

     Whatever your needs may be,  Yvonne and I are here to help you move forward.  So watch out for the flying monkeys,  Yvonne likes to send them after people so never be alarmed lol,  become a follower of our newest endeavor,  help us spread the word,  and sit back and learn what we can teach you to promote your work,  and most importantly.....Yourself!