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Site of Interest: JotForm

This weeks site of interest is www.jotform.com. This great site offers a free and easy to use way of jazzing up your website or blog and includes features particularly useful to writers e.g. contact forms, online surveys and RSVP for events.


JotForm: Form Builder
  • What is JotForm?

    JotForm is the first web based WYSIWYG form builder. Its intuitive drag and drop user interface makes form building a breeze. Using JotForm, you can create forms, integrate them to your site and receive responses by email.

  • Who is JotForm for?

    JotForm is developed mainly for webmasters, but anybody with an Internet connection can use it. JotForm is WYSIWYG, so you can still make web forms without any web design or HTML experience. Since JotForm is hosted on our servers, there are no requirements.

  • What kind of forms can I create with JotForm?

    JotForm supports all standard web form field types. In addition, it allows you to use new and intuitive fields in your form such as Date Time Picker, Star Ratings, or CAPTCHA checks. Using JotForm, you can create any kind of web form.

    Here is a short list of examples:



    Contact Form Blog Contact/Survey Event Calendar
    Document Uploader Satisfaction Survey Time Sheet
    Job Application Form RSVP for a Party or Wedding Bug Tracker
    Reservation Form    

  • How much does JotForm cost?

    JotForm is completely free for Basic usage. You can create forms, integrate them into your site, and collect submissions from your users without any cost. For Premium usage, it is $9.95/month. You can find a comparison chart between Basic and Premium versions here.

    Find out more at: http://www.JotForm.com
























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Interview with Jennifer Poulter


What genre do you write and why?

What genres - Three genres, literary poetry, children’s literature/YA literature and writing for education;
Why –
poetry, because I have been in love with the rhythms and music locked in language since a child;
writing for children/YA, because I have children 5 of my own and love the escapism in children’s/YA literature;
educational material, because I want to enthuse others, especially children, with the romance of language, the power of reading and the essential life skill of written communication.
The plays I wrote as a child, I put on with the help of neighborhood friends for our families. I am getting back to that, teaching myself script writing and also teaching myself illustration and formatting for print. Continually learning new skills is something of a lifetime habit.

When did you start your writing career?

I have been writing ever since I could string a sentence together. I had my first poem anthologised whilst still at school. My father and grandfather used to recite poetry and listening to them got me hooked on poetry. Writing for children started when sleep-deprived when my twins were babies. I sat up and wrote children’s stories. I have published two picture books. “Mending Lucille”, which we hope to have released in the USA later this year, won the Crichton Award, CBCA in 2009], two junior novels, six books for education and now this book on iphone.

How do you organise your writing schedule?

Simple answer, as best I can – full time work and five children never made for lots of spare time. Most of my children have left home now, but my husband had to leave work recently because of health issues, so still not loads of time. But your passion for your craft drives you and you never EVER go anywhere without a pen and paper and always have them beside you bed.

Tell us a bit about your latest book?

My latest book, “TOOFS”, comes out for iphone in mid August [it will be out on ipad soon after and a print copy will also be happening]. I am really excited by this, as it is my first full length ‘electronic’ book and something of a family project. I co-wrote it with my youngest daughter, Estelle Poulter, who is a child care professional of nearly 7 years standing.  It was lots of fun to write and to work with wonderful Italian illustrators, Monica Rondino and Andrea Pucci! It is their first children’s book and their first electronic book.

The book was inspired by Estelle’s stories of coping with biting children in childcare centres. We shaped the story, which has a rhyming element, around the experiences of an older sibling trying to cope with a teething younger brother and what strategies he could use to cope with this rather painful period of baby brother’s development. Monica and Andrea’s choice of using a wolf family was inspired – it gave a new and meaningful twist to the fairy story wolf’s image. Remember the Big Bad Wolf in Red Riding Hood [ “What BIG teeth you have!”]?

How did you research for this book?

Estelle had all the theory and the knowledge of its practical outworking in a play group/child care setting/family environment. She had the tragic/funny stories of coping with biting and bitten children, parents asking advice/in denial AND staff strategies. I combined that all together in a humorous story with rhyming elements.
I had met Monica Rondino and her partner Andrea Pucci on JacketFlap and they were keen to branch into illustrating for children [they had already done cover and illustrations for a Young Adult book]. They loved the idea and their illustrations, using the Wolf Family, were inspired! We all did the project in our spare time in between everything else and, finally, had to decide where to submit the finished work. After researching, we decided on PicPocket Books, because they were doing children’s books on iphone for major publishers and were also going to branch out into publishing children’s books on ipad. Lynette Mattke, CEO of PicPocket, LOVED the book. All being well, it will come out mid August!

Any books I do in hardback, I would also submit to Ripple Reader. It is free to upload your book to this innovative site and it pays royalties! Read more about it at www.ripplereader.com .


Do you have any special tips for marketing books both on and off line?

Marketing is a challenge as Monica and Andrea and I are creatives and Estelle is a professional. We are having to learn about marketing as we go along!  JacketFlap helped us find each other, our publisher and find you, Jo. J So I would have to say, if you write for children or Young Adults you need to be a member of www.JacketFlap.com [it is free]!

You also need to link up with other enterprising folk who are searching for the best information for authors, editors and artists, like the wonderful author and blogger Carol Denbow.

I also recommend joining www.linkedIn.com [also free]. Your networks will help spread the word and also help you find reviewers and interviewers to promote & market you book. Blogs and Twitter are also helpful – I am still learning to use these two relatively new types of media.

Last but not least – just found this innovative little site for doing you own press release – free – PrLog.org! J  http://www.prlog.org/submit-free-press-release.html

Do you use social networks? If yes, which have worked best for promoting your book?

I recommend www.jacketflap.com and http://www.linkedin.com for promoting your books and making great links. I also use www.myspace.com and www.facebook.com . Writer’ organizations are great for networking and getting professional feedback from your peers. I am a member of SCBWI  and Queensland Writers’ Centre.

Anything else you'd like to add?

My award winning picture book, “Mending Lucille” , has had a wonderful response from teachers and therapists in the USA. We hope to have it released in the USA later this year in print copy and on iphone/ipad and Ripple Reader.

Lots of other projects are in the pipeline, including a picture book, “Fox Shadows”, to be published by Helen Chamberlin’s imprint at Windy Hollows Books, hopefully, next year.

I am eager to embrace the new wave of children’s book publishing on iphone and now, most significantly, on Apple’s ipad! I have another book coming out for iphone with istorytime, later this year, “At the Beach with Bucket and Spade”. The illustrations by Sarah Gleason are in a charming, naive style much like a child’s painting of summer holidays. I don’t think e–book publishing will replace print copies [a book for a bedtime story is a cuddle up institution] but I do think it signals a whole new important additional direction in children’s publishing.

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4 ways Facebook can help you promote your writing

Facebook is a marketing power house. Constantly receiving press attention, although not all of it good, Facebook is a must use social media platform for marketing. Various reports show an increase in the use of social media sites and also clearly that, in particular, Facebook's growth in the digital universe is expanding.

So how can you, as a writer, use Facebook to promote your work and gain superfans?
  1. Create a profile. Post your status updates about your work process, links to interviews and other features you do, post samples of your writing, press releases etc using the notes application, add your promotional video trailers for your books using Static FBML or extended info (or other such application), Feed your blog updates directly to it using the NetworkedBlogs application and add your author events using the Events application. You can also upload your book covers and author photo to your personal photo album on site.
  2. Create a Fan Page. About 3.5 million people become a fan of a Facebook Page every day. You can do much the same thing as with a personal profile. The big difference being that people can choose to be your 'fan' and have it show on their profiles for others to see. A nice way to use fan pages is to have one for each of your books. In this case you can list book signings, places the book can be purchased, interviews and other promotional events linked to the book. They also give you the chance to add a discussions tab for increased interaction with your fans. Members can recommend your page to their friends by clicking on the share button. Pages are also indexed by Google and other search engines.
  3. Create a group. You can set join permissions on groups so that they are either open to anyone, closed (where users must get administrator approval to join) or secret (invite only). Groups have administrators that manage the group, approve applicants or invite others to join. They don't support applications like fan pages do but are great for creating an interactive smaller group.
  4. Create a community page. Initially, your new Community Page will look, feel and function exactly the same as an Official Page. The big challenge, though, is if your Community Page becomes “very popular;” that is, “attracting thousand of fans.” As Facebook says, you will lose all admin rights and your Community Page will automatically be converted into a Facebook-administered, Wikipedia-type Community Page.
Find out more about marketing on facebook with these books:

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Video: Barbara Taylor Bradford talks about her literary success and her secrets to writing a bestselling novel

Legendary novelist, Barbara Taylor Bradford talks about her literary success and her secrets to writing a bestselling novel. The interview clip includes footage from the films based on several of Bradford's bestselling novels. An excellent piece of writing advice for aspiring novelists.

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Review: There’s a Hippo on our roof eating cake


Title: There’s a Hippo on our roof eating cake
Author: Hazel Edwards
Publisher: Happy Cat Books
ISBN: 1-905117-09-4

Reviewed by Jo Linsdell.

There’s a Hippo on our roof eating cake is a wonderful children’s book about a little girl with a hippo on her roof. The hippo can do everything the little girl would like to do but can’t.

My two year old loves it and I’m sure it will appeal to other small children with vivid imaginations. The simple but colourful illustrations by Deborah Niland really help grab the interest of young readers.

There’s a Hippo on our roof eating cake offers something different from the usual children’s books for young readers and encourages them to explore their imaginations and helps explain why sometimes they can’t do things, for example when the hippo can ride his bike on the roof because there’s no cars on the roof.


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Site of Interest: Animoto

This weeks site of interest is http://www.animoto.com A great site to use for making free* video trailers for your books.

*Videos of 30 seconds in length are free. A paid professional account 'Animoto Pro' allows you to create unlimited, unbranded, high-resolution videos licensed for commercial use. 

Animoto is a web application that, with the click of a button, produces videos using images, video clips and music that a user selects. Utilizing patent-pending Cinematic Artificial Intelligence, Animoto videos have the emotional impact of a movie trailer and the visual energy of a music video.





About

Animoto Productions is a bunch of techies and film/tv producers who decided to lock themselves in a room together and nerd out.

Their first release is Animoto, a web application that automatically generates professionally produced videos using their own patent-pending technology and high-end motion design. Each video is a fully customized orchestration of user-selected images and music. Produced on a widescreen format, Animoto videos have the visual energy of a music video and the emotional impact of a movie trailer.

The heart of Animoto is its newly developed Cinematic Artificial Intelligence technology that thinks like an actual director and editor. It analyzes and combines user-selected images, video clips and music with the same sophisticated post-production skills and techniques that are used in television & film.

Based in New York City with an office in San Francisco, the founders of Animoto include veterans of the entertainment industry and have produced shows for MTV, Comedy Central, & ABC, studied music in London, and played in indie rock bands in Seattle. They continue to innovate in the field of creative artificial intelligence. They plan to acquire Google next year.

Worth a visit


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W&A Writing Contest coming soon

To give writers the chance to show off their talents, I'm organising the first W&A writers contest.



The topic is 'A writers life'.

There will be two categories; short story (max 1500 words) and poetry.

Judges will be members from different aspects of the writing industry. There will be prizes (to be confirmed) for the winners. The contest is open to everyone (except the judges ;)). Entries can be sent in the body of an email with 'writing contest' in the subject line. No attachments please.

In summary, this is how it works:
  • Writers send in their short story/poem (one entry per person).
  • Entries are posted to the site and voted on by general public to get top 5 in each category.
  • Top 5's are then voted on by the judges
  • Winners get sent prizes, have pieces showcased on the website and get a fab winners badge to post to their own sites.
Start working on your entry now to be in with a chance of winning. Also remember this site is often visited by publishing companies too. This could be your chance to shine and grab their attention!

More details coming soon.

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Video: Philippa Gregory gives tips for beginner writers

Author Philippa Gregory [The Other Boleyn Girl] recently released her latest novel, The White Queen, which is part one in a new series "The Cousins' War". Here are some of her tips for beginner writers.

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Site of Interest: Write What Inspires You!

Write What Inspires You! can be found at http://www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com

The site offers writers of all levels an opportunity to learn from veteran authors with personal interviews, book reviews and valuable writing information links to writers resources. 

Write What Inspires You! is run by Donna M. McDine.  An award winning children's author placing 12th in the 77th & placing twice in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. Signed her 1st book contract with Guardian Angel Publishing due out 2010. She's also a Virtual Assistant for IBLF.

Worth a visit.

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Interview with Folake Taylor

Tell us a bit about your book 'The only way it up'
It is a self help motivational book that addresses such issues like identity, self esteem, self worth, success, relationships and family, finding a mate, being single, weight, diet, nutrition, teenage pregnancies, single parenthood, the absence of fathers and so much more.

Who should read this book and why? 
It targets women in general, African Americans and Immigrants. I have had a positive response from all ages ranging from teenage girls to middle aged males. Many men have come up to me and said it's a book for everybody and not just women. My professional reviews have also been good. It speaks to several facets of life and communicates many basic principles. To some, it's a learning experience. To others, it's a reminder of what they used to know and somehow lost sight of.

You supply a Reading Group Guide for the book on your website. Do you think this helps increase sales? other benefits? 
I am not sure about helping increase sales but I believe it may be more appealing to book clubs with a reading group guide. The focus of the guide is actually the issues that will not immediately jump at you from the pages of the book. I penned these after having an insaightful converstaion with someone who had a minor criticism which enlightened me to the fact that though her perception was not accurate, there are people like her who will see exactly that and that only.

What other marketing tools have you used? 
Blogs, Social networking such as facebook and twitter, word of mouth, website, radio interviews, membership of author sites and several online channels as well as ning networks.

You have a daughter. Do you have any tips for other writer mums? 
My main suggestion is to not put your writing over family. Do your domestic duties, put your kids to bed and then write. Alternatively you could wake up early and write or write when they're in school or when on break from your other job. Remember that your family needs you so try not to be so consumed with your passion for writing that nothing else matters.

Where can people find out more about you and your work? 
www.theonlywayisup.net
F.Taylor on facebook
@folaketaylor on twitter
http://theonlywayisupblog.blogspot.com
http://folaktaylor.blogspot.com

Anything else you'd like to add? 
The book is available on amazon.com, my website and distributed by Ingram. I can be reached at FT@theonlywayisup.net. Thank you for hosting me for this interview.

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Twitter applications to promote your writing


These are just a few of the applications available for use with twitter that can be used to promote your writing:

http://vidly.com/ allows you to post videos to twitter. A great way to promote your latest video trailer.

http://twitdoc.com/ is an easy way to share your documents on Twitter. Just upload your file, shorten the URL and post a tweet all in one easy step. No sign up needed. A nice way to share writing samples or press releases.

Tweetbook.in is a site that actually generates a PDF (plus XML backup) of your Tweets or your Favourites
 

http://tweetmeme.com/about/retweet_button for website and blog publishers who want to encourage their audience to tweet their content on Twitter. The button shows a live count of the number of times your webpage or blog post has been tweeted.

FriendFeed.com is an excellent feed aggregator; literally anything with an RSS feed can be combined into one feed and then that feed can be added to your Facebook profile.

You can find more useful applications listed in my free ebook 'Tweeting your way to success' which is available to download from my homepage at http://www.jolinsdell.com 
 


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Video: Garrison Keillor gives advice to writers

Garrison Keillor gives advice to writers during the 2008 Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop at the University of Day...

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Site of Interest: Chick Lit is not Dead

http://chicklitisnotdead.com/ is a site by two girls who believe that books with high fashion and happy ending will never go out of style. If you agree, this is a site worth checking out.

They do great author features chick lit writers and often have give aways organised. The site is simple and easy to navigate. It has a real girly feel to it and the photo's on site are very 'Sex in the City' style. Perfect for the site.

About Liz and Lisa



Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke have been friends for over twenty years since the day Lisa walked into Freshman English class wearing red eyeglasses that made her look like  Sally Jesse Raphael’s younger, but much more stylish sister. They both attended Cal Poly Pomona University and each graduated with a degree in Communication.
It was in college that they first discussed writing a book together. But when an attempt at collaborating on a one act play for their theater class went awry, (Let’s just say word processor +confined dorm room space+two Type A personalities= major drama!)  their plan to write that book was shelved until they, er, grew up!
Cut to, um, more than a decade later. After one marriage and two babies (Liz) zero marriages and more than two break ups (Lisa), they began their novel. And, although they were slightly more mature, had upgraded from word processors to MacBooks and lived in homes larger than shoeboxes, they still had those Type A personalities!
So, to do their best to avoid any major writing drama as they collaborated, they decided to write a dual narrative novel. This way, they’d still be writing together, but would each get to be in charge of one main character. (Until the editing process.  Then everything was fair game!)
And it worked out. Well, if you don’t count that one episode where Liz was postpartum, Lisa was post-breakup and someone might have stormed out of someone else’s house!
They published their first novel, I’ll Have Who She’s Having with an independent publisher and are now focused on finding a home for their second manuscript.
Liz is married with two children and Lisa is a glowing newlywed. Until eight months ago, they both resided in Long Beach, California. But Lisa, a former television producer, has since moved to Chicago.

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Interview with Shannon Delany


  • How long have you been a writer?
I've been interested in writing as a creative form of expression since 4th grade. I had a great teacher. I was first published in the 8th grade and then published again in magazines after I'd pretty much left teaching.

  • What genre do you write and why?
YA because the voices that seem to want to be written right now are teens. And teens definitely have voices that get a writer's attention.

  • What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Seeing the actual book and being able to hold it in my hands. That was how my first BEA in NYC started.

  • Please tell us a bit about your book 13 to Life.
It's a tale of teenage love, loss and --oh, yeah--werewolves. It's a paranormal with a snarky and heartfelt teen narrator who is struggling with the death of her mother, her own guilt and a friend who may be more dangerous than any friend should be.

  • 13 to Life began as a serial cell phone novel. Please explain what this is and how it works?
Essentially a cell phone novel is something that is either written or read as texts on a cell phone. Chapters and sections are short, the prose is somewhat sparse initially and holding a younger audience's attention is important. It's often about hooks and hangs (beginning hooks and ending with cliffhangers). It's a huge market in Asia that's just now starting to pick up in the west.

  • You're currently doing a huge month long virtual tour. Please tell us a bit about it and how people can be  involved.
The "Start Your Day with Serial" tour takes me back to 13 to Life's roots as a serial novel. Each day readers are invited to a different blog where I've been interviewed or asked to be a guest blogger. At the end of each of those daily posts is a serial segment of 13 to Life so readers can get a taste of what the book's really like before they buy it. It (hopefully) introduces people to new blogs and gives them a snippet to read each day in a different format. And there's a big contest that'll conclude the tour--followers need to comment on 13 of the different posts (because of the book's title) to be entered.

  • You have a very interactive website to your 13 to life Series http://13toLifeSeries.com. How did you come up with the idea?
Thank you! I figured it would be fun to let people take a virtual tour of my narrator's world. The site is still being added to (daily). Soon it'll have links for teachers, librarians and (of course) readers to really have fun with.

  • Where else can people find out more about you and your work?
I'm all over the place!
The 13 to Life Series Website: http://13toLifeSeries.com
Link to massive list of where you can buy 13 to Life online: http://tinyurl.com/BuyLinks
  • Anything else you'd like to add?
Just a big thank you for hosting me and I hope any aspiring authors who follow your blog keep my path of publication story in mind--there is no one path to publication but many roads.


Shannon's hosting several contests during the Start Your Day with Serial Tour. The big contest will award one lucky winner with a royal amber pendant, pietersite jeweled bookmark, stuffed wolf, 13 to Life mousepad, pen, tote, signed poster, personalized copy of 13 to Life and both of the 13 to Life pins. All you need to do is comment at 13 of the blogs hosting Shannon during her 30 day tour. Everyone who does so will be entered into a random drawing. Winner may be international.

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A different way to write a novel: Text Novel

What is Textnovel?  

http://www.textnovel.com/ is cellphone novels -- serial fiction in your phone! Authors and readers share serial fiction by email or text message.
For Authors:  

Create an online serial story – a novel, journal, poetry, whatever!
Invite friends to vote, subscribe or write with you.
Add chapters with your phone (or computer)
Win! Cash prizes to winners and publishing opportunities


For Readers:

Join a growing worldwide community.
Read with your phone or computer.
Subscribe to get future updates by email or text!
Vote for your favorite story.

What is textnovel?
Textnovel is a community of authors and readers using the Internet, cellphones, emails and text messaging to experience a new way to create, read and share fiction and other stories. Here are some unique things members can do on textnovel: * Create and add to your story on the website, by email or by text. Write your story from your cellphone! * Read the story on your cellphone! Get notifications as new chapters are added by your friends or favorite authors, either by email or text message or both. * Make your story private or public. Use a pen name or your own name. * Invite co-authors to contribute to and help you write your story. * Get noticed -- textnovel gives you the power to invite others from your address book to view and rate or review your story, moving you up in the rankings and increasing your chance of winning or getting published. * Create or read a story, novel or comic in serial form (add a chapter at a time). * Win big! Textnovel offers cash prizes to winners and publishing opportunities.
 
What is happening in Japan and other countries with cellphone novels?
Cellphone novels are a big phenomenon in Japan and the phenomenon is spreading to other parts of the world. In 2007, 5 of the top 10 best sellers in Japan were cellphone novels. Basically this is a new fiction style that is characterized by shorter sentences, the use of word contractions and symbols and moticons (such as those used in text messaging) and less detail (meaning that the reader must infer more or read between the lines more). Many of these works of fiction are actually written on cellphones as text messages that are sent to a website, where interested readers can subscribe to be notified of new updates or download entire novels for a fee. Typically readers will read the novels on their cellphones or computers as well. The use of electronic tools to create and read the stories and get regular updates is part of what gives these novels their unique social characteristics and is giving rise to a rebirth in interest in literature, at least in this new form and in countries where this has become a big hit. Here are some interesting articles about cellphone novels or about reading novels on your cell phone:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/20/world/asia/20japan.html
http://www.wired.com/gadgets/miscellaneous/news/2005/03/66950
http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2007/01/72329
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120830725738118045.html 
 
Can textnovel stories be read on my cellphone?
Textnovel subscribers can receive text messages or emails to notify them of updates to their favorite stories. You should be able to follow the link in the text message or email to read the story on your cellphone browser. Textnovel subscribers can also receive the entire text of new chapters in the body of an email, and as long as you can get email on your phone, this means you can read the chapter on your phone. You can choose to get the whole chapter by email in My Admin, by selecting "Receive Complete Text Udpdate" then save. Note that although textnovel stories can be easily read by most cellphone browsers, we are working on some updates that should make the stories compatible with all browsers.
 
Does it cost anything to use textnovel?
No. We are hoping that we can help some of our members get published and that we can help some of them become famous and wealthy (and get some of the associated moola ourselves too!). In the future we may offer some electronic versions of popular cellphone novels so that readers can download them to their cellphones. We do offer some story and user profile enhancements (upgrading your story to Premium or your profile to Featured Author) in exchange for small donations, which we use to build and market the site.
 
What is a private story and how is it different from a public story?
A private story is a story you create that can only be viewed by you and by anyone you invite to view it. You might wish to do this if you are working on an early draft and need feedback from friends - you can always make the story public later. You might want to keep it private permanently. It's up to you. Just remember, only public stories are eligible for the textnovel contest.
 
What is a pen name?
A pen name is the same thing as a username. But it is the traditional term that authors use when creating a name for themselves that hides their true identity. On textnovel, it is the only name that shows up next to your story. Other members of the site can search for you only by your pen name (not by your real name). This means that if you want your friends to find your stories, you have to either send them an invitation or tell them the story name or your pen name so they can find it by using the site's search features.
 
You can find answers to other FAQs here http://www.textnovel.com/faqs.php

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Video: Author Betty DeRamus offers advice to writers

Author Betty DeRamus offers advice to writers.

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Review: Every Day in Tuscany


Title: Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian life
Author: Frances Mayes
Publisher: Broadway Books
ISBN: 978-0-7679-2982-0

Reviewed by Jo Linsdell

Frances Mayes, author of the bestsellers Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany is back with yet another book giving insight into the Tuscan way of life.

Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian life tells the personal tale of how Frances Mayes came to buy a house joust outside the Tuscan town of Cortona and her memoirs leading up to present day life.

Mayes love of Italian food and wine is obvious through out the book and she even includes 25 original recipes dotted in amongst the chapters.

This book is beautifully written and almost poetic in places as she describes the settings, smells and tastes of the region. It’s clear to see her love and passion for Italy as she makes even the simple every day things like having a coffee at a bar spark a desire to be there experiencing it with her.

She takes the reader on a journey to various towns in Tuscany as she recalls day trips and visits, giving descriptive images of each location. Full of detail and history, this book would serve well as an alternative tourist guide.

If you long to visit Italy, this book will take you there!

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Site of Interest: Writing Roads

This weeks site of interest is http://writingroads.com/ 


Excellent posts that give tips and advice mixed with insight into a writers life. Well worth a read.

The site is run by Julie Roads.

"I (Julie Roads) am a freelance marketing copywriter specializing in web content and blogging. I also ghostwrite books, articles, company blogs and the like. I bring ideas, people and products to light by telling their stories.

And, I’m a social marketer – creating, concepting, managing and producing campaigns using blogger relations, social media networking, Twitter, et al – at this point, writing, existing online and social media are inextricably linked. Most recently, I did this for the film based on the international best-seller, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

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Interview with Jessica McHugh

You've had 3 books published since 2008, and starting in March of 2010, you will have 7 more of your novels released. How do you get so much writing done?
 
I have a day job, so obviously I don't get as much writing done as I would like. So, in order to satisfying the incessant voice in my head telling me to "write! write! WRITE!", I've become quite adept at multi-tasking. If you would've told me when I first started writing novels I would be working on so many things at once, I never would have believed you. I write everything longhand first, then I type it into the computer, print it out, edit it, type the revisions into the manuscript, print it out again, edit it, send it to my mother to read (yes, you read that correctly. She's a fantastic editor!), make the necessary changes, and then, I submit it to a publisher. The entire process has been averaging about 6 months per book. While I'm writing one story, I'm usually in the process of editing another one, and often times, I'm planning the story I'll be starting as soon as I finish the current one. Wow. Just saying all of that makes me tired. :) It's really, really manic, and if I had kids, I probably wouldn't be able to work like that. That's why I'm pushing myself so hard now to get out as many books as possible because I know I can't keep up that crazy pace forever.
 
What's your typical writing schedule like? 
On weekdays, I get home a few hours before my husband, so I take that time to write as much as I possibly can. When he gets home, I do write a bit, but mostly I just like to spend time with him. On weekends, it's a different story. I will go upstairs into my Writing Hut, put a show or movie on in the background, and I won't come out until my writing callus is flaming red. It sounds gross, but yes, I have a callus on my finger where my pen rests, and I don't deem it a good writing day until the bump is enflamed and covered in blue ink. I do take advantage of downtime at work as well. If it's lunchtime or I'm on a coffee break, people know not to bother me. That's my writing time, and they know it.

Which is you favourite book out of those you've written and why?
It's a tie between "Song of Eidolons" and "Rabbits in the Garden". The latter isn't published yet, but I just finished it earlier this year. The stories couldn't be more different, and the main characters are the complete antithesis of one another but I love them both equally. There was also a lot of fun research in both. "Song of Eidolons" is set mainly in East Sussex and had a lot to do with well-known legends, and "Rabbits in the Garden" takes place in the 1950s on Martha's Vineyard and in Taunton State Lunatic Asylum. For someone who started out doing no research at all, I'm surprised I've gotten so into it over the years. I do sort of miss the "The Tales of Dominhydor" days when I created every single piece of history that went into the world. Although, nowadays when I work on those books, I have to research my own background stories to make sure I'm getting the history right. It'll pay off though when that series starts its release this Fall. 
 
Your books are published by a variety of publishers. Do you have any tips for how to query?
When it comes to selling your stories to publishers, you absolutely have to draw them in immediately. Try writing taglines for your story or imagine how that "In a world..." movie trailer voice actor would sell it, but don't start it with "In a world..." unless it makes sense. :) It's true I have been published by a bunch of different companies, but Reliquary Press who most recently released my novel "From the Herald's Wearied Eye" is also publishing "The Sky: The World" in Fall 2010 and "Danny Marble & the Application for Non-Scary Things". They're a newish company, but they are amazing to work with. 
 
How do you market your books?
I've definitely been utilizing social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, and I'm really just now getting into doing readings and events to promote myself. I actually can't believe how much time I wasted NOT doing those things because not only are they great exposure, but they're really fun too and you meet some amazingly talented people. I do have an Official Jessica McHugh Facebook Page, but there's a mysterious little page on Facebook for someone named Doctor Azaz that your readers might want to check out too: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Doctor-Azaz/117214701632689 All secrets will be revealed...eventually. ;)
 
Where can people find out more about you and your work?
If you want to know about Jessica McHugh and her books, well, JessicaMcHughBooks.com is the place for you!!! That felt like a fun infomercial. :) Other than that, there's my Official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-McHugh/95113167381 and you can always check out my bibliography on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jessica_McHugh
 
Anything else you'd like to add?
I would like nothing more than to write full time. That being said, all books by Jessica McHugh are available for purchase across the internet from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble to Fictionwise ebooks!!!! 
Seriously though, thank you so much for this opportunity, Jo. I've really enjoyed this interview, and I hope your readers have enjoyed getting to know this quirky kid with a writing callus and lots of books written for anyone who is looking for something new and compelling. THINK IN INK.



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