Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wordsmith Wednesday : How to Write Short Stories And Use Them to Further Your Writing Career

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Wordsmith Wednesday - Katrina Roets - Short Story

Now, learn the master key for writing great short stories, and the strategies for using them to advance your writing career 

As most writers will tell you, the hardest fiction form to master is the short story. To be successful, a short story needs to have "emotional wallop," and in under 7,000 words.

Not easy to do.

In this book, #1 bestselling writing teacher James Scott Bell explains the essential ingredient for a successful short story, no matter the genre. He shows how any writer—whether planner or "pantser"—can use this key to unlock infinite story possibilities.

And turn readers into fans.

Which is part of the strategy for short story writing today. With the coming of the digital revolution in publishing, short fiction presents possibilities beyond a one-time sale to a literary journal. Writers can use stories to increase discoverability, grow as a writer, generate some side income, and get back in touch with the sheer joy of writing.

This book uses examples from the best stories by undisputed masters of the craft, including Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Carver, John Cheever, Stephen King and Irwin Shaw.

In addition, five complete stories are included to show you the master key in action.

Once you've been through this book, even once, you'll be well on your way to crafting short stories that readers love—which will build your fan base and boost your long-term writing career.

If you've been around a while, you'll know that I used to write a lot of short stories. Then, Nick pulled me into working on The Tether and it's been a couple of years since I've written anything of my own. I thought that maybe short stories might be a good place to get back to my own work so I picked up this book.

The Good: There are some great tips about what makes a good short story and for those not familiar with Kindle Direct Publishing, there's a pretty decent walk through on how to get your books into e-book format and up on Amazon.

The Bad: Over half of this book is made up of short stories. When I bought the book, I was expecting a lot more information on actually writing stories. The author takes a bit of time to actually work up to what he considers the "key" is and then doesn't really expand a lot on it. The book feels like a series of one or two blog posts that a bunch of filler was added to so that it could be marketed and sold as a book.

The Summary: For $3.99, I really expected more out of this book. I will take the blame for not realizing just how much space 5 short stories do take up in a book of this size, but I also feel that when a book states that it's about writing short stories, more than 47% of the book should be about that topic. Did I get anything out of it? Yep. Did I get enough? That I'm just not sure of.

PS If you got this far, I'm going to give you a tip. If you'd like to know the "secret" to good short story writing, head over to Goodreads and read a few of the reviews. It will save you $3.99.

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Crockpot Monday: Paella

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I really shouldn't post these recipes when I'm hungry. By the time I finish, I'm drooling on my keyboard and starving. Of course, I never have the exact ingredients to make anything as delicious as this unless I've shopped for the week! I need to fix that.

2 spicy sausage, cut up
1.5 pounds of thick fish steak
1 each of a yellow, red, orange bell pepper, cut in chunks
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 head of cauliflower florets
2 Tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon saffron
1.5 cups chicken broth
1 cup brown rice


Dump the rice and chicken broth into the crockpot and stir. Stir in the saffron and the salt. Add the butter, and chopped onion, cauliflower, and bell pepper. Add the cut up sausage and the fish to the top.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 3-4, or until rice has absorbed the liquid and is cooked and the fish is flaky. Be careful you don’t cook it too long or your rice will break down and nobody loves mushy rice!

Let me know what you think!

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Book Review: Murder on Valentine's Day

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Ridgeway Rescue Mysteries can be read in 1-2 hours. Perfect for when you're waiting for an appointment or just want a fast read. Don't miss out on this quick, clean, cozy mystery that will keep you guessing until the end!

It's Valentine's Day and 20-year-old Emma Wright just wants her crush to take notice of her. But Colby Davidson, the K9 search and rescue deputy only thinks of her as a kid sister. How will she get him to take her seriously?

When her veterinarian boss calls her to pick up a cat at a potential crime scene, she finds herself at the house of the richest woman in Ridgeway. Her father—the sheriff—and Colby are there. They both dismiss the untimely death as a heart attack, but Emma finds clues that it might be something more. Did the software billionaire die of natural causes, or was it murder?

If you've read my reviews of Pauline's writing before, you already know how much I enjoy her work. I kind of want to be her when I grow into my writer's shoes!

The Good: Another quick read that was perfect for a slightly chilly afternoon. I read this series out of order but it didn't matter. They all work great as standalones. The characters are engaging and the story keeps moving right along. I swear that Emma is the non-ocd version of Monk with her observation skills!

The Bad: Yep, still got nothing when it comes to this series.

The Summary: Another fantastic piece to this series! I love how you can read each one as a standalone or as part of the ongoing story arc. I honestly cannot recommend these more if you're looking for a cozy mystery to while away an hour or two.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wordsmith Wednesday : How to Best Optimize Blog Posts For SEO

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How to Best Optimize Blog Posts for SEO - Life With Katie - SEO
Are you unsure how generate more traffic to your blog? Do you feel overwhelmed by all the SEO articles out there (or not even sure what the term means)? Do you wish someone could break it down for you in simple steps?

Then this is the book for you!

Rachel provides you her top 25 tips laid out in easy to understand language gleaned from her own ten years of successful blogging as well as optimizing and managing countless client blogs. Containing a wealth of information, these tips will help you increase traffic to your site!

Topics include:
· SEO terms defined
· Specific ways to increase traffic to your blog right now
· How to optimize each post for maximum exposure on Google
· Ways to connect with readers
· How to integrate your blog posts on the various social media sites

If SEO confuses you, this is a great beginner breakdown for any new blogger, writer, veteran author, and even small businesses.

Buy your copy NOW and start increasing your visibility!

In my ongoing efforts to learn about how to make this a better blog, I decided to tackle some beginner SEO. It's a topic that can be totally terrifying if you have no idea what SEO is or how to figure it out. I happened to see this author in a webinar and decided to check out her books. Imagine my delight when I found this for only 99c!

The Good:
Rachel writes as if you're sitting down with her at a table and walking you through everything, step by step. She links to quite a few handy (and free) tools to help you with improving on whatever SEO you currently have going. As if that isn't enough, all of her tips are specific so you're not spending hours trying to nail down generic information to something that you can use.

The Bad:
This book is very specifically for those using Wordpress. If that isn't your platform (and my site actually isn't), then you'll have to do some tweaking to make it work for you. Some things may not be possible to do but I've already found some that I can put into place. Also, the section of the book that actually pertains to this topic is only about 44% on Kindle with the rest going to an author bio and a sneak peek at her next book.

The Summary:
For 99c, you honestly cannot go wrong with this book. If only one of the 24 tips (the 25th is more of yay, you made it!) is something that you can apply to your blog, it's more than paid for itself. I know that this is one that I'm going to keep coming back to so I can continue to add to what I'm already doing.

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Monday, April 9, 2018

Crockpot Monday: BBQ Shrimp

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My oldest loves shrimp so we're always looking for new ways to make it. His favorite is probably just tossing it into mac 'n cheese but he'll eat it any way you make it!

BBQ Shrimp:
2 pounds fresh raw shell-on shrimp
1 stick of butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1-2 Tablespoons hot sauce (to taste)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 lemons, juiced
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil


You'll need a 5 to 6 quart crockpot for this meal. It makes some serious yummy!

Rinse the shrimp, but don't soak them. Dump them into the crockpot.

Add the stick of butter, olive oil, and Worcestershire sauce. Measure out the tobasco, salt and pepper, and throw that in there, too. Juice the lemons, and add that, and top with the freshly chopped basil. Toss just a bit with a big spoon to mingle the flavors. The butter will be in a big stick, but that's okay.

Cover and cook on high for about 2 hours, checking every 30 minutes. You'll know the shrimp is done when it has turned pink, and can be peeled easily. I turned ours off at exactly 2 hours. It was perfect.

Serve with bread to sop up the juice.

So, so yummy! Let me know what you think!

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Friday, April 6, 2018

Book Review: Murder on St. Patrick's Day

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Ridgeway Rescue Mysteries can be read in 1-2 hours. Perfect for when you're waiting for an appointment or just want a fast read. Don't miss out on this quick, clean, cozy mystery that will keep you guessing until the end!

It's St. Patrick's Day and 20-year-old Emma Wright is working hard at training five-month-old Molly, her foster puppy, to become a therapy dog. But her training coach and neighbor gets an emergency call, cutting the lesson short, and Emma volunteers to pick up her daughter at a St. Patrick's Day concert in town.

When Emma arrives, the concert has just finished up, and the teenage girls are visiting with the band. Then the lead singer stumbles and falls to the ground, dead. Emma becomes the only level head in the crowd and calls for help. When the Sheriff and Colby arrive, they investigate it as a potential accident. But Emma finds subtle clues that something more sinister is going on. Did the leader of the band die in an accident, or was it murder?

It's been a long time since I read anything by Pauline Creeden and I can't believe that I didn't look up more of her work sooner! This is actually the third in the Ridgeway Rescue Mysteries series but the first one I read since I found it on St. Patrick's Day.

The Good: This cover! How could you not fall in love with that pup? I have a serious soft spot for huge, fluffy dogs and I miss having one. This isn't about me though! This is about a very well written novella filled with enjoyable characters and one very observant main character that I hope gets everything she wants!

The Bad: Umm...Yep, I got nothin'.

The Summary: If you're a fan of cute, cozy mysteries that won't take you hours or days to get through, you're going to want to check out this series by Pauline Creeden. Personally, I'm going to be stalking her mailing list and Facebook group to find out when the next one in this series is going to be released!

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Book Blast: Edger

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Edger by David Beem -  Meet Edger (Ed-jer), a twenty-six-year-old gadget retail dork destined to become the world’s first superhero! His superpower: the ability to channel the Collective Unconscious, a psychic network connecting the living and the dead. In his arsenal are the skills of Bruce Lee, the strength of Samson, the wisdom of the ages...and the dancing chops of Michael Jackson—including that one twisty foot move, crotch grab, and fedora tilt. But there's a catch... Like every psychic superpower to get administered through a hypodermic needle, this one comes with a prick. Someone seems to have misplaced the booster necessary for stabilizing his superpower. Without it, Edger has three days before his brain turns to pudding. Join our Dork of Destiny as he overcomes the world’s greatest butt, two rival Cluck-n-Pray gangs, an evil cow, a Green Bay Defensive Tackle, rifle-toting assassins—and a pair of stoners who inadvertently create the world’s first supervillain after a wild night on Twitter!

Buy on Amazon

David Beem enjoys superhero movies, taekwondo, and flossing. He lives in Djibouti with his family and crippling self-doubt. Help actualize David’s inner confidence. Visit his website today, and buy all the stuff. / Facebook / Twitter

  Enter to win a $75 Amazon GC. Enter the form to win. Open to everyone that can get an Amazon GC 18+

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