Special Items: Paranormal

Okay, you folks who love writing fantasy, paranormal, and sci-fi: Craig Boyack has a wonderful post on Story Empire today, filled with good tips on using “special items.” I took notes, and you might want to as well. I highly recommend you check out his post, and then pass it along, if you can, so others can pick up some ideas, too. Thanks, and thanks to Craig, as well. Loved this one! 🙂

Story Empire

Hi Gang. Craig with you again today and I’m about to bite off more than I can chew. I write what I call speculative fiction. This is the stuff that requires a suspension of disbelief from your reader to enjoy the story. It’s a broad area that encompasses science fiction, fantasy, paranormal/supernatural, horror – and those are just the broad categories.

Let me get the barbecue off them first.

It occurred to me that most of these genres have special items in them that enhance the setting and help the hero succeed. Honestly, I could write a book about this stuff, but this is a blog post. Let’s throw the bones and see where this winds up.

Looks like paranormal/supernatural. It’s as good a place to start as any. Truth be told, there is a lot of drift between the speculative fields, and if you’ve ever read steampunk you might…

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Building a Local Readership – #PublicSpeaking #Marketing

Today, it’s my turn to share a post on Story Empire, and I’m talking about Building a Local Readership. This is one of my very favorite things I’ve had happen since I started writing. I hope you’ll come by and check out the post, then pass it along to others, so you can ALL try some of these opportunities to introduce yourself and your books in your own communities. Thanks so much! 🙂 ❤

Story Empire

Book Signing Party, Enterprise Museum, January 25, 2020

Hi, Everyone! Marcia here again. Hope this finds each of you safe, healthy, and happy for this first week in August.

Today, I want to chat a bit about my favorite way to get your books in front of more readers, always a thorny problem for most of us. If there is one universal truth writers share, especially self-published writers, it would probably be this: WE HATE MARKETING!


For most of us, marketing is far harder than writing our stories, is nowhere near as much fun, and usually involves a ton of work we don’t enjoy doing. But let’s face it, folks –it’s a necessary evil.

If people don’t know about our books, they can’t find our books. And if they can’t find our books, they can’t buy our books.

It’s as simple as that.

What follows is a…

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Catching Up!

Happy Tewe’s Day, Everybody!

Just wanted to take a few minutes to let you know that I’m in the process of getting this blog back on track. I apologize for being absent a good deal of the time lately, but I’m almost caught up again. At least my life feels more like the usual harried rushing around and putting out fires than the totally out of control mess it’s been for at least six months. It’s definitely time for me to wrangle all these distractions and problems into something a bit more doable Or at least a bit more enjoyable!

One of the first things I want to do is get back to some of the regular features here on The Write Stuff that have fallen through the cracks as life went sideways. Yeah, it’s still at least somewhat sideways, but I think I’m going to be able to accomplish more than I have recently.

To start with,  I want to bring back #ShareAReviewDay Tuesdays. Only better. I’ll think of a new name soon. Probably.  But I want to open Tuesdays up for guest bloggers, with or without reviews. If you have anything you’d like to share here on The Write Stuff, be it a super new review, an upcoming release, a promo, or the like, Tuesdays will be the best day to do so. (This doesn’t mean that you can never visit on another day. Just that Tuesdays will be set aside for guests and their news.) I’m even planning on putting together some fun interviews for guest bloggers who might just be looking for a way to let others know more about them. Stay tuned for more on that.

I think #FirstLineFridays will go to a twice a month feature. Not ready to retire it yet, because there are so many wonderful opening lines for us to enjoy and learn from.


Thursdays are still good for #ThorsDaySmiles when I have something good to share with you, but I’m also thinking of indulging myself on Thursday afternoons. This might be a post on favorite topics of mine, like Florida wildlife and habitats, an update on my current WIP, or whatever else strikes my fancy. 

Of course, I will continue to share posts from other blogs, too, especially those from my friends at Story Empire, weekly roundup posts from Smorgasbord, and any others I think will make an interesting or amusing reblog. And I have an idea for something brand new for Sundays, though I’m not ready to reveal that yet. 🙂

In general, my goal is to get back to a more active, entertaining, and useful blog. It might not happen all at once, as I still have a backlog of things to take care of. But it will happen! 

Now, with that in mind, if you have something you’d like to share on the new Tuesday feature, please feel free to email me. (Contact info and Blog Rules in the header above). I’m looking at starting this feature back up in September, as I have a couple of other things going for the remainder of this month.

I hope this all sounds good to you, and that you’ll enjoy the old features returning and the revised or brand new ones, as well. Let me know your thoughts below, and feel free to email me any time with ideas, suggestions, or things you’d like to share. 

How to Publish with KDP: Part Thirteen

Today, Harmony Kent shares Part 13 of her super-helpful series, How to Publish With KDP. This one is focused on uploading a print book to Amazon, and I think you’ll find it well worth checking out. Please consider passing it along, too, so others can take advantage of this information. Thanks, and thanks to Harmony for this great series! 🙂

Story Empire

Image courtesy of bigstock.com

Hello SErs. Harmony here.  As promised, here is  part thirteen in the post series dedicated to taking a step-by-step look at how to get your finished manuscript from your computer and on sale on Amazon in both ebook and paperback.

If you’d like to take a look back at the previous posts in this series, please click on the links at the end of this post.

So, here’s Part Thirteen: How to Upload Your Paperback.

Access your KDP dashboard. You will see something that resembles the image below >>>

At the top of your list of books (if you have any here yet), you will see two options:

  1. + Kindle eBook
  2. + Paperback

Select the second option: +Paperback.

The following ‘paperback details’ page will open >>>

This page is where you input such things as the language of the book, the book title, a subtitle if…

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 26th July – August 1st 2020 – Positive news, #Author Spotlight, Music, Short stories, Guest Bloggers, Health, Humour and Book Reviews

To make up for having missed several weeks of my regular posts and various reblogs, I’m making sure to share Sally Cronin’s Weekly Update today. Lots of good folks and great humor in this one. Don’t miss the videos! 😀 When you’re done enjoying all the riches, pass it along so others can, as well. Thanks, and thanks for another great week filled with good stuff, Sally! You still (and ALWAYS) Rock!! 🙂 ❤

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

Another week has flown by, and like many of you, I have avoided reading the headlines and news stories on a daily basis. I am usually an upbeat positive person when it comes to life in general, but even I have to ration my exposure to the constant stream of negativity.

Thankfully our community of writers do share the positive aspects of life, and here are three posts I would like to draw your attention to if you missed.

Each month D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies participates in the #WATWB – We are the World Blogfest spreading positive news about people and events. This month an inspiring woman in the UK has been collecting an item usually scrunched up and thrown away. Her project is Keeping the Homeless a Little Warmer: D.G. Kaye WATWB – We…

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Three Items Writers Hate to Write    

Mae Clair has a very handy post today on Story Empire. Confused about writing a synopsis versus a blurb? Wondering how long a logline should be? Mae gives some excellent tips on these topics, and I highly recommend you head on over to check out her post. You’ll be glad you did, and will surely want to pass it along so others can take a look, too. Thanks, and thanks to Mae for explaining the differences in what each of these requires! Super post! 🙂

Story Empire

Hi, SEers! Mae here with you today. Thanks for joining me as I ruminate over three items writers hate to write. Seems odd, doesn’t it?

Most of the time, we love to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and let inspiration fly. But, if you’re like me, there are several writing tasks that make you groan. Let’s take a quick look at each.

I love writing the synopsis for my novel—said no author ever.

Exhausted female writer with head down on desk, laptop open, tablet nearby
Well, maybe that’s too harsh. Some authors write the synopsis before the manuscript, so they know exactly what journey their characters are going to take. Not me. For most of us, writing a synopsis after completing a 50K-90K novel is sheer torture. I’ll be the first to raise my hand and admit the mere thought gives me a pounding headache. To make it easier, I keep the following in mind:


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Choosing a Book Title

If you’re like most of us, coming up with titles for your books is often a real challenge. Check out today’s interesting and informative post by Joan Hall on Story Empire. Lots to think about here! And as always, please consider passing this one along so others can enjoy it, too. Thanks, and thanks, Joan, for a super post! 🙂

Story Empire

Hey, SE Readers. Joan with you today. For those in the Northern Hemisphere, I hope you’re enjoying the summer. Those in the Southern Hemisphere, well let’s just say I’m not a fan of winter. But let’s talk about writing, not the weather.

Choosing a title can be one of the hardest parts of writing a book. Yet it is one of the most important. A title should capture the reader’s attention and also encompass the essence of the story.

You want the name to be unique. Because titles are typically short, they don’t fall under copyright protection. (Some titles, such as The Da Vinci Code and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, are trademarked.) You could name your book Gone with the Wind or In Cold Blood, but it’s not something I would recommend.

The Girl on The Train was a best-selling thriller a few years ago. Around the…

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Dialogue Tags and You

Sorry to be running a day late, but I still want to be sure none of you guys miss John Howell’s great reminder of how important it is to use dialogue tags (or not use them) correctly. Check out his post on Story Empire and you’ll see what I mean. And if you would, please consider passing it along on social media so others can enjoy it, too. Thanks, and thanks to John for reminding us that it’s critical to do this well! Great post, John! 🙂

Story Empire

Hello SEers. It’s John with you again, and today we are going to discuss dialogue tags.

Dialogue tags Photo from Pixabay

Hold on. Before you run off or decide to take a nap give me a moment to introduce the subject.

Dialogue tags Photo by Pixabay

We all know dialogue tags are intended to make it very clear who is doing the talking. Especially if there are more than two people involved.

Dialogue Tags Photo by Pixabay

Many authors also use dialogue tags for emotions or other indications about how the words are delivered. There is nothing wrong with this but the chance of overdoing it to a point of complicating the action and confusing the reader is always present.

Dialogue tags Photo by Pixabay

So, what do I want to accomplish today? My objective is simple. I want to cause a little thought about dialogue tags. “Yes, the person with the raised hand. You have a question?” “Why…

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#FirstLineFriday Submissions Are Now Closed! Here’s the Answer to Our Quiz, and the Name of Our Winner!

Submissions for #FirstLineFriday are officially closed now. My thanks to all who emailed me with their guesses. Today, I’m sorry to say we have only one winner: Jeanne Owens.  Congratulations, Jeanne, and I hope you enjoy your download of Harbinger.

Jeanne’s Author Page can be found HERE  

And now, here’s the answer to today’s quiz:

If you want to find Cherry-Tree Lane all you have to do is ask the Policeman at the cross-roads.is the opening line of Mary Poppins  written by P. L. Travers in 1934.

Mary Poppins, a series of eight children’s books written by Australian-British writer P. L. Travers , was published over the period 1934 to 1988. Mary Shepard was the illustrator throughout the series.

The books center on the magical English nanny Mary Poppins, who is blown by the East wind to Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane, London, and into the Banks’ household to care for their children. Encounters with pavement-painters and shopkeepers, and various adventures ensue, until Mary Poppins abruptly leaves, or “pops out”. 

The books were adapted by Walt Disney into a musical film titled Mary Poppins (1964), starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. It received both critical acclaim and a total of 13 Academy Awards nominations, including Best Picture – a record for any film released by Walt Disney Studios – and won five: Best Actress for Andrews, Best Film EditingBest Original Music ScoreBest Visual Effects, and Best Original Song for “Chim Chim Cher-ee.”

In 2013, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.  Mary Poppins is considered Walt Disney’s crowning live-action achievement, and is the only one of his films which earned a Best Picture nomination during his lifetime.


From the moment Mary Poppins arrives at Number Seventeen Cherry-Tree Lane, everyday life at the Banks house is forever changed.

It all starts when Mary Poppins is blown by the east wind onto the doorstep of the Banks house. She becomes a most unusual nanny to Jane, Michael, and the twins. Who else but Mary Poppins can slide up banisters, pull an entire armchair out of an empty carpetbag, and make a dose of medicine taste like delicious lime-juice cordial? A day with Mary Poppins is a day of magic and make-believe come to life!

Buy Mary Poppins HERE

And that wraps up #FirstLineFriday for this week. Will be back as soon as time allows with more great and inspiring first lines for your contemplation. Stay tuned!

Aristotle Gave Us More than Philosophy

An absolutely wonderful post today on Story Empire from Staci Troilo, regarding Aristotle and the true definitions of Comedy vs Tragedy. Hint: it isn’t necessarily what you think. Do yourself a favor and check it out, then if you would, please consider passing it along so others can, too. Thanks and thanks to Staci for teaching me something brand new today! 🙂

Story Empire

Comedy TragedyCiao, SEers. Have you ever heard the term polymath? I had to dig deep into my college days to remember the definition. (We won’t discuss how long ago that was.)

A polymath is a person with knowledge in a wide range of topics. Polymaths go far beyond the Jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none level of understanding and experience. These are experts in multiple fields. We often think of the Renaissance when we think of polymaths, Leonardo DaVinci being among the most famous. But there have been several throughout history. And Aristotle was one of them.

We tend to think of him as a philosopher. But among his many fields of expertise were arts, sciences, economics, politics, and metaphysics.

As this is a writing site, we’re going to talk about Aristotle’s contributions to literature. Not his work itself, but his defining of the terms comedy and tragedy.

Aristotelian Comedy
In an Aristotelian comedy, the…

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