Last Day of NaNoWriMo

Today's the last day to write!

I'm done, but I didn't win this year. I'm at 20,000 words and heading out of town tomorrow so I have to pack. Plus there's no way I can write 30,000 coherent words in a day.

But I had fun. How about you? Who's done? Who's still writing as fast as their fingers can type?


Give Books for Christmas Giveaway Hop!

Oh, hi. I'm doing the Give Books for Christmas Giveaway Hop!

I don't usually do things like this. In fact, I don't think I've ever participated in a blog hop before.

And I may never do it again. We'll see.

But I was invited to participate in this one through Facebook (that Facebook is a neat thing, isn't it?), so I decided to give it a try because this hop is right up my alley.

And it's right up your alley, too—because ALL THE PRIZES are BOOKS!

This seems like a great way to draw attention to your book, if you're a published author, and/or get more traffic to your blog if you're unpublished.

If you want to be a blog that people hop to, go sign up here. If you want to hop around the blogs to enter to win the prizes, just click on the links below and enter to win on each blog.

So, I'm giving away a copy of Stolen Christmas & Other Stories of the Season.

This is the first Christmas collection of short stories gleaned from the contests held here at LDS Publisher.

(Yes, there will be a second collection available for Christmas gift giving in 2012.)

Here's the blurb:
What happens when you’re so poor you have to steal your Christmas presents? Have you ever taken a punch in the face as your Christmas gift to the girl you love? Or saved Christmas while hunting were-weevils?

These award-winning Christmas stories are the best of the best from the LDS Publisher Christmas Story Contests. From Christmases past, to present, to future; from sweet and inspirational, to zany and delightful—there’s a story for everyone in this eclectic collection.

Contributing authors are: Roger Bonner, Don Carey, Laura Craner, Joyce DiPastena, Sarah M. Eden, L.T. Elliot, Gussie Fick, Melanie Goldmund, M. Gray, Taegyn Hutchinson, Angie Lofthouse, Lori Nawyn, Tristi Pinkston, Brian C. Ricks, Sandra Sorenson, Janice Sperry, and Christine Thackeray.

To be entered to win this book, you need to:
  1. Follow this blog and/or the LDS Fiction blog.

  2. Commit to giving at least one book by an LDS author as a Christmas gift this year. (List the title and author in the comments section of this post.)

Deadline to enter: Thursday, December 15, 2011.

US and International entries allowed. If the winner is in the US, you may choose either a print book or an ebook; if international, winner will receive an ebook.

Or if you can't wait, you can always purchase the book at CreateSpace or Smashwords.


Call for Christmas Stories

Nope. It's not for a contest here on LDS Publisher, but...

Michael Young is looking for 12 short stories for a Christmas anthology to be published next year. Each story has to incorporate a Christmas song.

The songs already taken are:
  • O Christmas Tree

  • I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

  • The Little Drummer Boy

Here are the details (per Michael):

12 short stories, each one based on a Christmas song. The song would also be the title.

NOTE: I will only include one story based on each song. The best way I see around this is to email me and let me know what song you will like and I will post the taken songs on my website. Any genre that meats the guidelines is acceptable.

Length: 1000 – 10,000 words

Content: No profanity, graphic violence, or erotic situations. Should be ‘family friendly’.

Deadline: March 31st, 2012

To be published: December 2012

Send submissions to thecanticlekingdom@gmail.com. Please include your full name, phone number, email address and website (if applicable).

Files should be written in 12 point font, double spaced, with pages numbered and a running headed with the author’s name and title across the top.

By submitting your work, you grant me one-time publishing rights if selected. The anthology will only go through if there are a sufficient number of entries received.

Each entry will receive feedback from me, and some may be accepted pending revisions.

Those selected will be notified no later than June 1st, 2012.

Conditions subject to change.

All the proceeds will be donated to the National Down Syndrome Society.

Michael D. Young is the author of the novels The Canticle Kingdom and The Last Archangel. He is also the author of the inspirational pamphlet "Portrait of a Mother". His work has been featured in various online and print magazines such as Mindflights, The New Era, Allegory, and Ensign. You can visit him at his website, www.writermike.com, and his facebook fanpage, http://www.facebook.com/authormichaelyoung.


Friday Funny: NaNo Style

A salesman walked up to a Nanowrimo
participant's house and rang the doorbell.

No one answered.

~John Waverly


Finding God Among Witches, Ghosts and Serial Killers by Michaelbrent Collings

I am often asked how I come up with my ideas. The answers range. For my book RUN, I visited a working silver mine and decided that I had to write a book that had a chase scene set in a mine.

For my young adult novel Billy: Messenger of Powers, I got the idea when my wife told me in no uncertain terms that if I didn’t write something that did NOT involve people running away from serial killers, ghosts, or other malcontents (i.e., she wanted something she could read without having to put the police on speed-dial and turning on all the lights in the house first), she was going to divorce me. I took those words to heart, and wrote Billy: Messenger of Powers. So apparently ideas can come from a variety of places, and be fruitful and effective.

There is another question I am occasionally asked, however, that fascinates me even more than “How do you get your ideas?” That question is: “How do you write about such (at times) horrific things… and still claim that you are a religious person?”

The answer: Very easily.

I am a deeply religious person. I go to church every single week, I have held numerous ecclesiastical positions, and I even served as an unpaid, full-time missionary for my church. So it is no surprise (to me at least) that my faith colors everything I do… even when I’m writing about a serial killer.

Often, in fact, both the villains AND the heroes of my works are people “of faith.” Again, using the book RUN as an example, one of the heroes is a man named Adam (yes, the biblical name is on purpose) whose sole purpose is nothing less than securing the safety of humanity as a species. In so doing, he is constantly faced by choices that he must answer within his moral framework.

On the flip side of the coin, the antagonist of the book is a man named Malachi (again, not a coincidence), who views it as a mission from God to destroy all life on the planet. Together, these men serve as a kind of spectrum of theological thought, and allow me to treat religious questions from within the framework of (hopefully) an exciting novel.

Not that RUN is preachy. At least, I hope it isn’t. But I have found that as a writer, it is not only a fruitless quest to “divorce” myself from my spirituality, it actually makes for a much more interesting, layered book when questions of faith and belief are discussed. Most people, in the U.S. at least, still count themselves as people with some religious or spiritual belief, and so adding that dimension to my characters not only makes them more accessible, but more interesting and real.

Not only that, but using faith as a foundation for my writing allows me to draw on deep spiritual archetypes that would otherwise be unavailable to me. In Billy: Messenger of Powers, the main character is a young boy who discovers that he is the key player in a war between two sets of magical camps: the Dawnwalkers, who fight to perserve humanity’s freedom of choice; and the Darksiders, whose goal is to enslave all “normal” people. This consciously mirrors a key tenet of my own belief system: that God exists to give people freedom and allow them to discover their potential as His children, while the devil’s key aims are and always have been to bind human beings in chains of sin and misery. This belief is mirrored by many people globally, and having it in my story allows me to tap into subconscious beliefs that my reader’s have. This not only props up the plot of Billy: Messenger of Powers, but make it a better, deeper, and ultimately more thought-provoking and enjoyable read.

There are those who argue that the arts should be more secular – one only has to take a look at the average television network lineup to see how much religion has been stripped out of our daily lives when it comes to entertainment. But I think that art serves its best purposes when it reflects the purposes and values of the ultimate Creator. That is not to say that I believe everything has to be shiny and happy, or that every story can only have “good” people in it (I’m pretty sure that even the Bible has a bad guy or two in it).

But I DO think that it is our responsibility as artists and our privilege as children of God to create things that empower, edify, and enlighten. And the best way to do that is not to deny faith, but to embrace it and make it a living, breathing part of all that we do.

Michaelbrent is a bestselling novelist whose books RUN and Billy: Messenger of Powers have been amazon.com bestsellers. He is also a produced screenwriter and member of both the Writers Guild of America and the Horror Writers of America. His blog is at http://michaelbrentcollings.com/blog2.html, and you can follow him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Michaelbrent-Collings/283851837365 or on twitter @mbcollings.


Friday Funny: NaNo Style

Question: Three people were sitting at the library with their laptops.

The first was typing away furiously the screen filling with words, many of them with red, squiggly lines underneath them.

The second glared at a mostly blank screen with bloodshot eyes.

The third typed a few words, then got up and browsed the shelves for a long time before returning and typing a few more words.

Which one is the true Nano participant?

Answer: All of them.


Haven't You Always Wanted to Write a Book?

Okay, I know it's not Friday, but I'm busy writing. I'm only at 5,110 words, but guess what? That's more than I did last year! How about you? What's your word count?


Tips for the Writing Mommy by Tristi Pinkston

I’m a stay-at-home mom, a homeschooler, the owner/operator of a bath and beauty company, I write blogs for Families.com, I’m the Wolf leader in my ward, and I’m an LDS historical fiction novelist. No wonder I’m so tired – after typing all that, I think I need to go take a nap.

People ask me all the time how I manage to balance everything. Well, truth be told, I don’t always. You don’t want to drop by my house unexpectedly or you’ll never know what you’ll find. We live in organized chaos. I stay up too late at night and I admit there are days when I feel like I’m chasing my tail. But there are a few things I’ve learned that I’d like to share with you in hopes that it will help make your schedule a little more conducive to writing. Or for that matter, finding time to do any other thing you’d like.

1 – Meals and Snacks

You don’t need to prepare an all-out meal from scratch three times a day. You can do cold cereal for breakfast once in a while, you know. You can also do cheese, crackers and lunch meat for lunch. I do try to prepare “actual dinners,” as my daughter puts it, and I do make breakfast and lunch, but on days when I’m seriously writing, I let mealtimes become more casual. Some ideas:

a. Keep yogurt in your fridge for a quick snack for you or the kids. Yogurt and a banana make a great breakfast, too.

b. Take a loaf of bread and make it into a whole stack of sandwiches. Then slide the sandwiches back into the bread sack. When someone needs a sandwich, they can just grab one out of the fridge.

c. Designate one crisper in your fridge to be a “snack drawer.” Fill it up with apples, cheese sticks, yogurt, etc. When your children want a snack, tell them to go get something out of the “snack drawer.” You can do the same thing in your cupboard. Make a basket with pretzels, crackers, etc. and have that be the special “snack basket.” You can take sandwich bags and break the boxes down into serving sizes and tell them they can have one, so they don’t run off with the whole box.

d. Make meals ahead of time and stick them in the freezer.

e. When I buy a package of meat, I like to cook it all up and then freeze it, cooked. That way, when I go to use it, I just have to warm it through instead of defrosting and then cooking it.

f. Make tomorrow’s dinner while you’re making tonight’s. Especially if you’re using cooked meat, you can assemble tomorrow’s dinner, cover it and put it in the fridge. Then just throw it in the oven tomorrow night.

g. Teach your older children how to make sandwiches, warm up soup, etc. They get a sense of pride in their accomplishments when they are allowed to help make a meal.

h. If you have younger children, make some sippy cups with milk, juice and water in them. Then when the child gets thirsty, they can either grab one themselves or you can send your older child to get it for them. It’s a lot less expensive than juice boxes, that’s for sure.

These are all things you can either direct from your computer or will help you spend less time in the kitchen = more time at the computer.

2 – Entertaining the Troops

a. It’s not a sin to let your children watch TV. I don’t mean to stick them in front of it for hours on end and let them watch whatever comes on; there are definite dangers in allowing entire days in front of the TV, and with the programming that’s on, you never know what they might be subjected to. But there are some fabulous programs on that are fun and educational, as well as great DVDs. My kids have learned a lot from shows like CyberChase, Stanley, Reading Rainbow, Sesame Street, The Magic School Bus, and the like. There’s nothing wrong with turning on the TV and letting your kids watch a show while you write.

b. Get some paper and crayons and let your kids “write” a book of their own while you’re working.

c. Ask older children to read to the younger ones.

3 – Adjusting Your Sleep

This one’s hard. But consider getting up earlier than your kids or staying up late after they go to bed. It will do a number on your own sleep but you’ll have a sense of contentment that may help make up for some of that lack.

4 – Housework

a. I have to get up and walk around periodically. So while I’m doing that, I’ll change out the laundry and put in a load of dishes. Usually by the time I’m done doing that, I’ll be ready to get back to work.

b. It’s not a sin to teach your children to do chores. The happiest children are the ones who feel that they are valuable in their homes and who have a sense of purpose. When you teach your children to do chores, you are helping them to feel needed. Of course, keep the chores age-appropriate. My 10-year-old can vacuum, and my 8-year-old can wipe up the bathroom mirrors and counter top. My five-year-old can unload the dishwasher. I even have my older kids stand on chairs to get the laundry out of the washer and put it in the dryer. They all love helping me make dinner. As they get older, I’ll teach them to do other things. This not only clears up five minutes of time for me here and there, but when we work together to turn a half-hour job into a ten-minute job (freeing up twenty minutes) we’re drawing closer together.

c. Reevaluate your thinking about housework. Mold is obviously not good. It’s important to have clean towels and clothes, and feeding your family is a good thing. But if you can give up something to give yourself time to write, think about doing it. Are there ways you could simplify your routines? Can you delegate more to your husbands? Can you put up with toys scattered across the floor for a little while so you can finish your chapter? Is it necessary to have all your dishes perfectly stacked all the time? When you’re on a roll with your book, it’s okay to let some things slide until you’re done.

5 – Organizing Your Time

Yeah, this tip’s not a piece of cake either. When you’ve got other people in the house and they have needs, it’s sometimes impossible to create the chunks of time you need.

a. One thing I do is to create Days. What I mean by that is, Wednesday, for instance, is Scout Day. After lunch I sit down and review what I need to do to prepare for the Scouts to come at 4:30. I’m not writing during this time, or grocery shopping, or anything else. It’s devoted to Scouts. I get ready for them to come, they come, and then after they leave, I look at next week’s meeting. I do any ahead-of-time prep work that needs doing, and if I need to buy something, I put it on my shopping list. I record what they got passed off and make notes on what they need to do next. Then, with the exception of getting whatever I might have put on the shopping list, I don’t think about it until the next Wednesday. Monday is the day I use to make the products for my business, unless I have an emergency order. When I was a Stampin’ Up! distributor, Tuesday was my prep day for that. Look at your life – are there certain tasks you can isolate to one day a week?

b. Create an errand day. I used to have the tendency to run out and do errands several times a week, and I found I was away from home a lot. Now what I do is designate an errand day. This usually coordinates with Pay Day. I’ll sit down and pay bills, and then I’ll go out and do all my grocery shopping, trip to the post office, to the bank (if needed) library, Blockbuster, etc, all at once. It makes for about a three-hour trip, but it’s better for me to get it done at once. Now, of course, in between times I still run to the library and Blockbuster (who could go for two weeks without books and movies?) and I do mail books and products as the orders come in. But I try to do it in chunks so that I’m home more often.

c. And again, with the sleep thing I already mentioned. I’m usually up until around 2 am, the main reason for this being that my husband works the night shift and so I like to stay up to see him off. But from 9:00 when all the kids are in bed (supposedly) until I wake my husband up to get ready for work, I can be at the computer, or reading a book, or watching a movie. With the book and movie reviews I write for Families.com, I need to make time for that in my schedule as well.

I think the main thing we need to do is find a way to create balance. You can write and take care of your children at the same time. I recently moved my computer into the living room (it was in my bedroom) so I could be in the thick of things. Right now, my two-year-old is five feet to my left, watching “Blue’s Clues.” I know he’s safe, I know he’s learning, and I’m writing. If you’re totally ignoring your kids in order to write, it won’t be as satisfactory to you. But if you totally ignore yourself and your own talents and ambitions, you won’t derive the kind of satisfaction from motherhood that you should. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your kids.

Tristi Pinkston is the author of eight published books, including the Secret Sisters mystery series. In addition to being a prolific author, Tristi also provides a variety of author services, including editing, coordinating blog tours, and online writing instruction. You can visit her at www.tristipinkston.blogspot.com or her website at www.tristipinkston.com.


What is a Book Bomb?

A "book bomb" is when an author or publisher asks readers to purchase a particular book from Amazon on a specific day. If enough readers cooperate, it pushes the book up in Amazon's rankings, giving it much more exposure than it would get if the same number of copies of the book were purchased over a longer period of time.

To schedule a book bomb, you use facebook, twitter, author newsletter lists, and other social media to get the word out: if you're going to buy this book from Amazon, do it on this date, please.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't—depends on how connected an author is, how much buzz they can generate, and how internet/media savvy their readership is. Sometimes an author or publisher will offer a reward for participation. Send them proof that you ordered and you're entered to win something cool, like an iPad or Kindle

A reasonable goal is to get the book to move up above 1,000 in Amazon's listing. You've done a great job if it shows up in Amazon's top 100 for it's genre. If you're really successful, it might even move to Amazon's top 100 books overall. If a book hits any these markers, it very likely that it will be picked up in Amazon's marketing and sent out in their promo emails to customers.

Some of you may have participated in the recent Book Bomb for Variant by Robison Wells. If you missed it, that's too bad. Here's what happened...

Coordinated by Larry Correia, the Book Bomb took place on Thursday, November 10th. The day before the bomb, Larry reported, "Last night Variant was at #6,068 overall out of six million some odd books, and #74 in his genre."

By the end of the day on Thursday, Variant was #57 on Amazon's Top 100 Book list, #10 in Teen Fantasy and #7 in Teen Sci-Fi.

I've watched Book Bombs play out before but I've never seen one be quite this successful. This is the power of social media in action! If you want to see the details, visit Larry's blog.


Writing Fiction: Using the Senses by Rebecca Talley

When writing fiction, it’s important to utilize as many of the senses as possible.

The more you can include the senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, or taste the more your readers will “feel” your story.

As writers, we tend to use sight most frequently. We describe what our characters see more often than any other sense. We are visual and that comes out in our writing.

The next most used sense is sound. We write what our characters can hear. This adds more dimension to our stories, especially when we combine it with sight. Usually, sight and sound seem to describe enough. However, we are shortchanging our readers when we only use sight and sound.

When I was a kid, I used to go to the beach all the time. I’d stop at the snack shop and for a few pennies I’d buy green apple bubble gum and chew it while I was at the beach. To this day, whenever I smell green apple bubble gum, I think of the beach. Similarly, whenever I smell a certain perfume I always think of my mother. Coffee and burned toast remind me of spending the night at my grandmother’s house. Think about smells in your life and how they remind you of certain events. The same can be true for your writing. You can evoke a certain mood by including specific scents.

You can also pull readers further into your story by including touch. Was something rough, smooth, cold, hot, slimy, sticky, or gritty? Including touch can enhance your scene and involve your reader more fully in your writing.

The same is true for taste. Can your character taste the salt on her lips while she walks along the seashore? What about the tinny taste of blood in your character’s mouth after he’s been hit in the face? Use taste to bring your scene to life.

To develop more sensitivity to your senses try keeping a sense journal for a few days, or longer. Write down everything you see, hear, touch, smell, or taste. You’ll find that as you keep this journal, you’ll become more aware of your senses and then you’ll be able to use them more effectively in your writing.

Rebecca Talley grew up in Santa Barbara, CA. She now lives in rural CO on a small ranch with a dog, a spoiled horse, too many cats, and a herd of goats. She and her husband, Del, are the proud parents of ten multi-talented and wildly-creative children. Rebecca is the author of a children's picture book "Grasshopper Pie" (WindRiver 2003), three novels, "Heaven Scent" (CFI 2008), "Altared Plans" (CFI 2009), and "The Upside of Down" (CFI 2011), and numerous magazine stories and articles. You can visit her blog at www.rebeccatalleywrites.blogspot.com.


Friday Funny: NaNo Style (plus something serious)

"Knock, Knock."

"Who's there?"


"Write who?"


"Uhm, yeah. You already said that. Write who?"



"Exactly, write whatever."

~John Waverly

And speaking of NaNo. Do you need a little extra support to get you going? Visit WriteChat.net.

What is WriteChat? "WriteChat is just a chat room for writers to…write. And chat. And share. And be pushed and spanked and whipped into accountability. It is for all genres and subgenres and subsubsubgenres."

Run by Elizabeth Beeton (aka Moriah Jovan), they feature 20 minute timed writing sprints, where you share your word count and a snippet of your work (if you want). According to Beeton, "It's been packed for NaNo. A couple of NYT bestsellers come in every day to get their word count in. We make sure the people are over 18 and make sure sensibilities are respected as to content and conversation. There are a bunch of specialty rooms and people can create their own rooms on the fly."

I'm going to be checking this out as I am—once again—sorely behind in my NaNo Word Count.


Supporting Your Facebook Friends

After reading Michael Young's posts on Facebook Fanpages, I hope all of you published (or very soon to be published) authors have created your fanpage.

Now it's time to spread the love.

If you have a Facebook Fanpage, paste your link in the comments. It doesn't have to be fully customized or functional yet. Just let us know it exists.

Readers, please go support your favorite authors by "liking" their fanpages.


Integrating Your Facebook Fanpage (Pt 3) by Michael Young

The last step in maximizing your Facebook Fanpage is to integrate that page into your website, blog and other social networking sites.

Phase 3: Integrating Your Page

1. Link to your new fanpage.
Put a link or button to your new fanpage on your regular Facebook profile, your blog, and anywhere else you can think of.

You can find some nice buttons and instructions for installing them at http://www.socialmediabuttons.com/. There are other places to get buttons too, but this is the one I use.

2. Sync your fan page.
If you like, you can sync many popular blogging platforms with your Facebook fanpage. I have my Blogger-based website to update my Facebook fanpage every time I write a new post with a link to that post on my fanpage wall.

[LDSP: A simple way to do this is using the Notes function on FB or an app like Networked Blogs. Both are quick, easy and automatic once you set them up. Fans can read your entire post without visiting your blog.

Or another option is to use a program like HootSuite. It takes a little more work, but it lets you schedule which blog posts to sync, including archived articles. HootSuite allows you to offer a teaser on your FB page, but then the reader has to click to your blog to read your actual article.

There are pros and cons to both options. Pick the one that works for you.]

There are many other aspects of a fanpage, but that should be enough to get you started. It is a great place to announce things and interact with fans.

You can take a look at what I have done at my page: http://www.facebook.com/authormichaelyoung, or if you have any questions about how to set up and configure your own page, feel free to shoot me an email: thecanticlekingdom@gmail.com.

Good luck!

Michael D. Young is the author of the novels The Canticle Kingdom and The Last Archangel. He is also the author of the inspirational pamphlet "Portrait of a Mother". His work has been featured in various online and print magazines such as Mindflights, The New Era, Allegory, and Ensign. You can visit him at his website, www.writermike.com, and his facebook fanpage, http://www.facebook.com/authormichaelyoung.


Customizing Your Facebook Fanpage (Pt 2) by Michael Young

After you've created your Facebook fanpage, you need to customize it to fit your needs and to maximize exposure of your books.

Phase 2: Customize Your Page

1. Add content to your page.
Upload videos and photos of you at book signings, readings, school visits—anything that provides evidence that “hey, I'm a real author.” I have a picture of each one of my books with a comment that has information about it and a purchase link.

Photo of my book.

2. Fill out the info section.
Include more links, and a little more about yourself as an author, including what sorts of books you like to read. I also include my author biography here.

3. Get 25 fans as quickly as you can.
You will not be able to get a custom URL for your Facebook page until you have at least 25 fans. Post on your main profile about your page, send out emails, post to other social networks—do whatever you can to get 25 fans (people who “like” your page) as quickly as possible.

4. Rename your URL with a custom name.
When you first create your page, its URL with be: www.facebook.com/pages/(something over which you have no control)

Not exactly something you can drop in a conversation or put on a bookmark. Once you have your 25 fans (likes), you can customize your URL.

To do this, click on “Edit Page” in the top right corner and then click on “Resources” on the left-hand menu. Finally, click on “Select a username”. You will then be able to choose a name, provided that it is not already taken.

NOTE: Think your name decision through very carefully. You with NOT be able to change it once you have set it.

I chose the name “authormichaelyoung” and now my URL reads http://www.facebook.com/authormichaelyoung. Much easier.

5. Create Custom Tabs and Pages:
There are many free programs that will allow you to create custom tabs on your Facebook fanpage, which enhance the look and utility of the page. Here are a few I’ve used. (There are many more.)

  • http://www.pagemodo.com: The free version allows you to create a custom landing page that new visitors to your page will see. It is easy to customize and produces great results. (I have one for my page. If you haven’t “liked” it yet, you should see it when you pull it up. If you have, you can click on the “Welcome” tab to see it.)

  • http://www.rafflecopter.com: This is an amazing free site that allows you to create stress-free giveaways. They have instructions on their site once you have registered about how to create a “Giveaways” tab on your Facebook page. Check out my page to see what this looks like.

  • http://www.goodreads.com: If you search for Goodreads on Facebook, you can gain access to a free app that will display your books and reviews from Goodreads as a tab on your Facebook page. You need to register as an author as Goodreads.com first.

Tomorrow: Phase 3: Integrating Your Page

Michael D. Young is the author of the novels The Canticle Kingdom and The Last Archangel. He is also the author of the inspirational pamphlet "Portrait of a Mother". His work has been featured in various online and print magazines such as Mindflights, The New Era, Allegory, and Ensign. You can visit him at his website, www.writermike.com, and his facebook fanpage, http://www.facebook.com/authormichaelyoung.


Creating Your Own Facebook Fanpage, Part 1 by Michael Young

This is part 1 of a 3 part tutorial on creating and customizing a Facebook Fanpage—something EVERY published author should have. ~LDSP

Let’s face it. As an author, you don’t necessarily want to share everything will your fans. You probably don’t want to them all to see every picture of your kids or the invite to your family barbecue with an occasional message about your writing.

Instead, you want to use your Facebook page to build your brand as a writer with a specific message to your specific fans. Luckily, building such a page is both simple and can be completely free.

Here is a list of simple steps that will take you from square one to...a much more advanced square.

Phase 1: Create Your Page

1. From your Facebook account, click on “Pages” on the left hand menu.

2. Click on the button that says “Create a Page”.

3. Select “Artist, Band or Public Figure” and then choose “Author” from the dropdown menu.

4. Choose a name and agree to the terms.

5. Choose a profile image. (The cover of one of your books works well, or your author headshot)

6. Invite your friends and announce the creation of your page on your main profile.

7. Enter the address of your website or blog and a short description that gives visitors an idea of what you write.

8. Viola! Your page is born.

Tomorrow: Phase 2: Customize Your Page

Michael D. Young is the author of the novels The Canticle Kingdom and The Last Archangel. He is also the author of the inspirational pamphlet "Portrait of a Mother". His work has been featured in various online and print magazines such as Mindflights, The New Era, Allegory, and Ensign. You can visit him at his website, www.writermike.com, and his facebook fanpage, http://www.facebook.com/authormichaelyoung.


Friday Funny: NaNo Style

A Nanowrimo participant and her daughter were out trick or treating. A man opened the door and said to the little girl, "What are you supposed to be?"

"A ballerina," she said as she twirled in a circle. He dropped a piece of candy in her bag.

"And what are you supposed to be?" he asked the older woman who was wearing vampire teeth, had quotes pinned to her shirt, and was carrying a dictionary.

"I'm the Word Count," the woman said with a thick, fake accent.

"Aren't you a little old to be trick or treating?"

"Probably, but I'm going to need all the chocolate I can get."


Selling Short Stories (pt 2)

Do you know of any markets for short stories?

Magazines are the largest markets for short stories. Check the current Novel & Short Story Writer's Market. You can usually find these at your local library. Some libraries will let you check them out, others won't—so bring pen & paper, or change for the copy machine.

Not only does this resource book list places to sell your short stories, it also contains writing tips and hints for polishing your work and how to submit.

As for anthologies, try googling "short story anthology submissions" to find sites that are looking for stories to publish. You can also google "short story contests." Many of these contests are seeking submissions for an anthology or will publish the winners. While contests will often have a submission fee, a legit publisher simply calling for anthology submissions will not require an entry fee, an edit fee, or that you purchase published copies of the book. Some of these anthologies pay cash, others pay in copies.

A few annual contests and anthologies that are particularly interested in LDS writers are:

There are also some national contests, like:
This is a quick and very short list I found by googling "short story contests". You can also google by genre, for example "romance short story contest".

Readers, if you know of a call for short story submissions that is open right now, please put the link in the comments.


Writing Short Stories (pt 1)

What makes a short story stand out to you? What must a short story have to be publishable?

The same thing as for any good writing—a strong character I can relate to, a plot of some sort, plus a twist. That twist is especially important for a short story—it's that thing that makes you think, the idea you keep coming back to days or months after you've read it.

I found some sites that talk about writing short stories:

Is there a benefit to writing short stories if there isn't much of a market?

Absolutely! It's a great way to practice writing and to sharpen your skills. Even if you never sell your stories, it will help with your writing development. Here's how:


November 2011 Prize Sponsors

Last month's prize winners announced HERE.

Please take a moment to learn more about this month's wonderfully generous sponsors.

Hidden in the Heart by Roseanne E. Wilkins

Cathee is an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has suffered from severe post traumatic stress disorder for several years.

During a vacation with her four year old daughter to Topeka, Kansas, she meets Garrett, a therapist. He hopes Cathee will let him help her work through her issues, but her past has come back to haunt her.

Roseanne Evans Wilkins: was the second oldest of 9 children, so I grew up in a house full of noisy kids. Craig grew up in a house with just 2 quiet kids. Opposites attract lol. Since I'm the one home, we filled the house with kids. I'd go crazy with silence. Craig manages the noise level by traveling all over the U.S. teaching other adults how to audit.

With 5 kids in sports, I keep busy running them to their practices and games. After hectic days running kids everywhere and taking care of three pre-schoolers, I find quiet time after everyone is in bed to write. I hope you enjoy the results :).

You can visit Roseanne at her blog, Roseanne's Spot.

NYC: Murder Brooklyn Style by Loraine Scott

Book 2 in the Summer Winter mystery series.

Sister Winter wants to leave a small token of her regard to the recently deceased Raul French, but when she returns to the viewing room she is started to find that his arm has been moved. Then she notices that the gold wedding band she and Elder Winter had forced onto Raul's corpulent pinkie is missing. Where could it be? Had the bratwurst arm they had so tenderly folded across Raul's chest moved on its own?


Mustering her courage, Sister Winter hefts up the sleeve of the borrowed suit. Not willing to trust what she sees, Sister Winter looks again. Yep, still there—another arm. In life, Raul French had only the customary two arms. Now, it seems, there are at least three!

Loraine Scott: I began writing 16 years ago while helping my husband complete a class he’d been assigned to take by the BART Police Department. Reading was never my husband’s forte. It was, however, mine. We struck a deal. We both read the books – all regarding leadership principles – we’d discuss the ideas, and then I’d write the reports. Happy to say he got all A’s on his papers and I was hooked on writing.

Two years after I was convinced I had what it takes to be a writer, I was hired as a Community Service Officer with the police department. I was very good at my job: burglary stakeouts, security patrols, guarding prisoners—just to name a few. I did not ever investigate a murder, although I believe I would have been good at it.

Retiring in 2004, we moved to Alpine, Utah. In 2005, we left for New York City to serve a twenty-three month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One day, while sitting at my laptop in the mission office, where we worked part-time, my son called to tell me that he’d had a dream where two Senior Missionaries (namely, us) had found a dead body in the mission office and we had to solve the crime.

Voila! Summer Winter was born.

Pride and Popularity by Jenni James

Chloe Elizabeth Hart despises the conceited antics of the popular crowd, or more importantly, one very annoying self-possessed guy, Taylor Anderson, who seems determined to make her the president of his fan club!

As if!

Every girl in the whole city of Farmington, New Mexico, is in love with him, but he seems to be only interested in Chloe.

This modern high school adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is a battle of wits as Chloe desperately tries to remain the only girl who can avoid the inevitable falling for Taylor.

Jenni James: I'm married to a totally hot, redheaded Air Force Recruiter, named Mark. Together we have 10 kiddos (7 ours, 3 fostered). We have just moved back to the States after living 9 awesome years in the Azores Islands of Portugal and England! Our kids love the USA!

When I'm not writing up a storm, I enjoy reading, acting, portrait painting, directing plays, cooking, planning eleborate parties and chasing my kids around the house. Oh, and before you ask--I haven't been to college, YET! But I've always been able to write one mean essay when I needed to. *wink*

Learn more about Jenni and her upcoming books at her website.

Rearview Mirror by Stephanie Black

On a rainy night eight years ago, Fiona Claridge lost control of her car and crashed, injuring herself and killing her roommate, Mia Hardy. Now, she strives to keep the painful past at bay by staying burrowed beneath the demands of her job as a college professor in a small New England town. But when someone starts leaving her gift-wrapped boxes containing malicious reminders of Mia’s death, Fiona’s guilt and grief come flooding back.

She assumes her stalker is Kimberly Bailey, a disgruntled student, and enlists the help of fellow professor James Hampton. But when Fiona encounters the angry wife of an old flame, it becomes clear her student isn’t the only one with an eye for revenge. Cruel messages escalate to danger, then murder. As past and present become horribly entangled, Fiona struggles to unravel the truth about a determined killer—before she becomes the next victim.

Stephanie Black: I’ve enjoyed making up stories since I was a child, when my sisters and I would play long, strange Barbie games or write and direct plays for ourselves and younger siblings. I took a creative writing class in high school, but my stories stunk, since I hadn’t yet figured out that a story needs a plot. But I finally got a fun idea, and an encouraging comment from the teacher got me rolling.

After a few years of writing random scenes, I decided to try writing a novel start to finish, but that led to a failed unfinished manuscript and the realization that there was a lot more to writing fiction than I’d ever understood. I began reading books about fiction technique and started over with my novel project.

After many years of reading technique books, writing, rewriting, more rewriting, submitting, and then—when I thought I was finished—major rewriting, my first novel, a futuristic thriller called The Believer, was published by Covenant Communications in January 2005. I then turned to writing contemporary suspense, and Fool Me Twice was released in 2008, followed by Methods of Madness (2009) and Cold as Ice (2010). Fool Me Twice and Methods of Madness are both Whitney Award winners for Best Mystery/Suspense.

CLICK HERE for details on how to win these books.

CLICK HERE for details on sponsoring the contest.

October 2011 Prize Winners

Here are the randomly selected winners of last month's Comment Contest.

Thanks again to our sponsors. Please take a moment to read their info here.

The Alias


Mandi Tucker Slack

Winner: Sher A. Hart

Commenting on: "10 Our Christmas Spirit"

The Armor of Light


Karen E. Hoover

Winner: Angie

Commenting on: "2011 Christmas Story Contest Winners!"

The Next Door Boys


Jolene B. Perry

Winner: Gina

Commenting on: "Did You Just Call Me a Dinosaur?!?"

The Outer Edge of Heaven


Jaclyn Hawkes

Winner: Danyelle Ferguson

Commenting on: "Not My Type by Melanie Jacobson"

Tangled Hearts


Roseanne Evans Wilkins

Winner: Kate

Commenting on: "NaNoWriMo: Plot and Conflict by Danyelle Ferguson"

The Upside of Down


Rebecca Talley

Winner: Lois

Commenting on: "NaNoToons"

To claim your prize, you must e-mail your mailing address to me by Friday, November 4, 2011.

(Unclaimed prizes will be up for grabs later.)

Click here to learn how you can win a copy of one of our sponsoring books.

Click here for details on sponsoring the LDS Publisher blogs.