Things I’ve learned in writing

No matter how ready you think the story is, leave it for a month then go over it again.
Have someone read it who isn’t necessarily a fan of the genre you write to ensure a captive audience.
Make sure both hero and heroine are likeable. Seriously.
Like the story. Very important. Can’t write a good story if you don’t like it!

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Movie Review: Expendables 2

Self-referential, cheesy, dialogue-light, and not nearly as enjoyable as the first one. Of course that one had a lot to live up to, what with its plot and character-development, meager though they both were. Yes I laughed at this one, but at times I wasn’t certain if I laughed at the funny parts or the campiness of it all.
And I’m still a little confused about the role of Maggie. Was she CIA? Chinese? OK, she was Chinese, but was she working for America? Confusion.
  • Supporting characters still awesome
  • Explosions per minute not all gratuitous
  • Fun to see everyone together
  • Moved the ‘story’ right along.
  • Chuck Norris. Cause he’s just that awesome
  • Awesome supporting cast shoved to the background in favor of Bruce, Arnold, and Chuck who had more buddy-buddy scenes with Sly than plot-moving ones.
  • Predictability. Who didn’t see that coming with Liam Hemsworth? My fellow movie-goers and I had a bet 10 minutes into the movie.
  • Is Jean-Claude Van Damme that old and out of shape, or did they purposely not include his signature ass-kicking?
I could go on, but doing so would probably ruin what enjoyability I did take away from the movie. All in all, I give it a C. And I think that’s because of sentimentality and Jason Statham and Terry Crews
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Which would you chose?

In a post-apocalyptic world given the choice between 2 items, which would, or could, you choose?

Toilet paper?


Water filters?

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In the news: book sales

From Publisher’s Weekly:

Total book sales fell 2.5% in 2011, to $27.2 billion…unit sales rose, however, up 3.4%, to 2.77 billion with the discrepancy due to higher sales of lower-priced e-books.

The increase in the sale of e-books was the major story in 2011.  In the trade segment, sales of e-books rose to $2.07 billion from $869 million as units increased 210% to 388 million. With the growth in e-book sales offsetting declines in print, total sales in the trade segment inched ahead, up 0.5%, to $13.97 billion last year. E-books accounted for 15% of all trade sales in 2011, up from 6% in 2010.

E-book vs Print:

In another sign that the industry is moving toward a hybrid market, fewer e-book buyers reported buying only digital titles this spring than a year ago. …[T]he percentage of e-book consumers who exclusively or mostly purchase e-books fell from nearly 70% in August 2011 to 60% in May 2012. Over the same period, the percentage of survey respondents who have no preference for either e-book or print formats, or who buy some genres in e-book format and others in print, rose from 25% percent to 34%.

I personally like both print and e-book. E because so many are often only available there (and there’s that instant gratification aspect) and print because I hate taking electronics to the beach!

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Friday Five: Saving bookstores!

How to Save Bookstores:

The article actually lists 8, then there’s a 29 photo spread on various points, but I liked these 5 the best:

  1. Be dedicated to community outreach.
  2. Serve as a gathering place for creative events and social events.
  3. Support life-long learning and literary education.
  4. Sell books in any form, on any platform.
  5. Maintain a virtual presence, with technology fully integrated into the store.
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In a post-apocalptic world would you rather…

Have toilet paper or soap?

(I’d add a picture but I can’t find any royalty free ones!)

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Friday 5: Pirating is illegal!

Sure, we all love free. Free is great, right? Except when it hurts others. You think pirating a book doesn’t hurt anyone? Wrong. Of all published authors in this world, about 1% of them make what Danielle Steel, Nora Roberts, Jeffrey Archer, and James Patterson do. The rest of us are trying to make a living doing what we love.

5 reasons Megaupload and all like-pirating sites need to be closed down:

Pirating hurts more than simply Hollywood, large music companies, or giant writers.
Authorities seized computer servers that held enough information to “store 50 Libraries of Congress, 13.3 years of HDTV video, or ‘approximately half of all the entire written works of mankind, from the beginning of recorded history, in all languages,’ according to Carpathia Hosting, the company that owns the hardware.” [quote from here.] That’s definitely more than just Hollywood!  

Viruses, tracker cookies, and nasty bots lurk in free download sites. And do you think they care if your computer is infected? Nope, so long as you continued to pay their fee.

Who wins from this? Those responsible for charging you that fee for supposed ‘free’ material.

If piracy continues, it won’t be cost effective for authors to continue to write. Hence no books, free or otherwise.

 Piracy supports criminals, and who really wants to support criminals? They make money off other’s hard work (commonly called stealing)–do you really want to support criminals? Who knows where that money is going?

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In the news…Harlequin lawsuit

When I decided to self-publish Dark Inheritance: Fallen Empire, it wasn’t my first choice. I did my research, dutifully shopped my story around to several publishers all with the same response: We love your writing but we can’t market a book like this. Well, okay, fine.

Articles like these make me so very happy that I took the publishing of my works into my own hands. Granted, I’m positive there are more reputable publishers who offer their authors a fair share, but this is Harlequin. Harlequin! The supposed epitome of romance.

What this means to the authors can be illustrated by an e-book with a hypothetical cover price of $8.00. The “net receipts” made by Harlequin Enterprises Limited from the exercise, sale or license of e-book rights would be at least $4.00, of which authors would be entitled to $2.00 based on their 50% royalty. Computing the “net receipts” based on the “license” between Harlequin’s Swiss entity and Harlequin Enterprises, Plaintiffs’ 50% royalty amounts to only 24 to 32 cents.

What’s a writer to think when she reads something like this?

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Pictures-China’s past

I don’t write Chinese romances, and probably never will. But I find the past fascinating, and this BBC pictorial slide show is a glimpse into China’s past. As it says in the beginning, most historical photographs were destroyed in General Mao’s cultural Revolution, which is a sad statement to the typical reaction of dictators. Destroy the past to create your own.

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RT Review

This look at an alternate reality — where England is left in chaos after a plague has severely reduced the population — is complex and thought-provoking.

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