Monthly Archives: August 2009

Make Money Blogging–Review

I subscribe to Daniel Scocco’s Daily Blog Tips site, which provides a wealth of information on everything bloggish. He recently published an e-book called MAKE MONEY BLOGGING which I downloaded free as a subscriber. As blogging for a living isn’t my exact goal, I didn’t expect the book to be of much interest; I assumed it would focus on advertising and financial strategies. But I was pleasantly surprised.

MAKE MONEY BLOGGING is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to attract blog traffic, whether for profit or not. It discusses networking strategies, quality content, organization, and online tools like networking and bookmarking sites.

Scocco encourages bloggers to take pride in their written content. He advocates putting time and effort into both writing posts and becoming an expert in your niche. He offers expert advice for generating post ideas and making the most out of prime post topics. Overall, he makes superb blog writing seem attainable, if not easy.

Scocco identifies the biggest mistakes novice bloggers make, and how to avoid them. His advice is simple and straightforward; mostly, he speaks about important features to include on the front page and how to make the blog visually attractive to visitors.

The most refreshing aspect of the book is Scocco’s insistence on respect and civility within the blogging community. How refreshing to have a book about profits which urges its readers to keep the human factor in mind! The book instructs aspiring bloggers to develop genuine relationships with others in their niche, and cautions them against selfishly using these contacts. The message is clear; if you want something from others, be prepared to give of yourself in a warm and friendly manner. Scocco also brushed on internet etiquette and organizing a contact list.

The web tools section touched on everything from online networking to social tools such as StumbleUpon and Twitter, highlighting the general uses of each to promote a blog. It was not an exhaustive explanation of each site, but rather a starting point to demonstrate how each might be useful.

When I finally did get to the section entitled “Monetization,” it impressed me. Rather than a shrewd list of ad sites and book keeping strategies, it presented the model attitude every blogger should have towards profits–an attitude that puts the quality of the blog first, money second. He explains different money-making strategies in terms of pros and cons. The entire section is very down-to-earth, not full of wild cash promises and greed.

In short, I opened the book intending to skim through it, but ended up with detailed notes which I shall go back to again and again as I continue this blog.




Filed under Reviews

Sunday Guest-Blogging

Hey, it’s Sunday! Head over to for today’s guest post by Rachel Heston Davis!


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Filed under General Writing

A Painless Rejection Letter–Does Such A Thing Exist?

Yes, you heard it here first, folks. I got a rejection letter (er, e-mail) that actually wasn’t painful. Here’s why.

One year ago this summer, I sent a proposal of my then-unfinished novel FLYNN to a publishing house. I had connections through a writer’s conference, and expected to hear back promptly.

Nothing happened for months. Over time, I came to assume that they didn’t want the thing, so I counted it a loss and went about finishing and revising the novel. Over time, I came to see that FLYNN actually needed a lot more work and time to be the best it could be.

A couple of days ago, I got an e-mail from that publisher. A year later! They apologized profusely for not getting back to me sooner. Apparently the proposal was changing hands from one editor to another and somehow got lost. It was unearthed a few days ago, at which point they sent me the e-mail.

In the time between last year and this year, they closed their doors on new YA fantasy. So FLYNN was officially rejected because of an accident and a change in policy, not because they didn’t like it. That has got to be the most painless rejection of all time. Not to mention the most fortuitous–if I’d had to rush finishing and editing it, it wouldn’t be nearly as good as it is today. Thank you, happy accidents!


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Filed under Querying/Submitting

Book Club and Published Review

Some updates:

First, I’ve already announced that the next meeting of the Up and Writing Book Club will take place Friday, Sept. 4. Discussion will include the first and second sections MELTING STONES by Tamora Pierce (first section: to the end of chapter 6. second section: to the end of chapter 11.) Come and enjoy the discussion! The post will be up starting in the wee hours of the morning, so drop by any time and check back throughout the day for replies to your comments.

Second, I have a new review published at Friends of Lulu! ROBOT DREAMS by Sara Varon–When best friends Dog and Robot are separated by a tragic accident at the beach, their subsequent search to replace the friendship reveals a lot about modern humanity’s isolation. (This one isn’t a YA fantasy, it’s a graphic novel, my other great love in life).



Filed under Reviews, Up and Writing Book Club

The “Best Of” Book to Movie List

A recent flurry of blogging on the subject  “Books vs. movies: which is better?” got me thinking about the whole book-t0-movie phenomenon. I even got in on the debate in a guest-blog over at Cinema Three (movie connaisseur Silver Autumn’s witty blog about films and pop-culture).

My thoughts on this subject are many. On the one hand, books and movies are such different media that I feel odd comparing them. Apples to oranges. On the other hand, I believe any director who makes a movie from a preexisting story is obligated to respect both the original plotline and the original characters. This doesn’t mean they can’t make changes; it means any changes made should respect the integrity and message of the original work.

With that in mind, here are my Top Five best book-to-movie renditions of all time.

1. Lord of the Rings Trilogy–Peter Jackson took a sweeping epic, set in a world which took one man’s entire life to create, and condensed it into three movies. He included all of the major conflicts, did not change any major elements of the ending, stayed about 95% true to the characters, and made the world feel as authentic as it did in the book. My one complaint is the sadly misconstrued portrayal of Frodo as a bumbling fool in parts of the second and third movies, but other than that, this trilogy is golden.

2. To Kill A Mockingbird–Though huge chunks of the original story had to be cut out for time constraints (think Aunt Alexandra and, oh yeah, wasn’t there a whole other year in the middle of the novel?), this movie still ranks #2 on my list. The characters are spot on, even in appearance. The accents are real. The all-important courtroom scenes pack tons of verbatim dialogue. The message of the book remains intact in all its real-life complexity. No wonder this is considered a classic movie.

3.  The Ruby In the Smoke–First in the Sally Lockhart series by Phillip Pullman (books recommended, but with a caution about sexual content), The Ruby in the Smoke was made into a Masterpiece Theater episode in Britain starring the ever-lovely Billie Piper (Billie, why did you leave Dr. Who? WHY??!!) It follows the plot of the book in every detail. No deviation whatsoever. The only reason it didn’t make my #1 is because it feels kind of flat. I don’t get an emotional reaction from watching it.

4. Harry Potter Series–Okay, okay, I know many of you catch plot changes in every single HP movie. But let’s think about this; the world Rowling created gets transferred pretty well onscreen in all its originality and awesomeness. They cast superb actors for each character (though I do miss the old Dumbledore, may he rest in peace). And we must give those movie-makers some credit, even when they leave things out. Rowling’s books have many details and plot twists. How could they all fit into each movie?

5. The Butcher Boy–I’ll bet you didn’t know they made a movie of this book, did you? The story of BUTCHER BOY strays a bit darker than what I usually read, but read it I did, and then saw the movie in a college class. Eamonn Owens plays a spectacular Francie Brady, an eccentric boy who descends into mental illness. The feel of the film fits the feel of the book, complete with even the most bizarre and disturbing of the book’s plot highlights. And something about the kids digging up the bodies while looking for Flash Bars sent me into hysterics, right there in Professor Hart’s senior year English seminar. (I promise I’m not usually so black in my humor. It was funny,dangit!)

This list represents only those book-to-movies that I have seen. Have you seen other greats that I have not? Are there some movies that you would love to enjoy, but can’t because of glaring flaws from the original story? Please share.



Filed under life

Publishing Short Stories

We novel writers feel the temptation to put all our publishing eggs in one basket. Because novels are so time-consuming to produce, we spend most of our writing time on that and little (if any) on short stories or articles. Trouble is, short stories and articles have a greater chance of getting published, thus creating that valuable list of publishing credits that agents and editors like to see for first-time novelists.

This phenomenon has been praying on my mind recently. Yesterday, I decided to seriously pursue publication of my novella GRACE. (A working title. I’ve also considered SILENCE AND GRACE or DISTURBING THE SILENCE). I’ve checked out a contest which looks promising on Glimmer Train and checked to see that Grace’s word count fits the requirements. GRACE is 18,000 words, which is 70 pages, but the Glimmer Train max word count is up to 20,000 and they still count that as a short story. I’ll hopefully submit GRACE in September or December.

I’ve toyed around with some sci-fi short story ideas, but they’re all complex enough to turn into novels. That’s the problem with being a novelist. You have trouble scaling back.

Anyway, we’ll see what happens with Glimmer Train. This is yet another item to add to my ever-growing To Do list.



Filed under General Writing

Book Club Update

So, I’m getting the feeling that most of you didn’t have time to get and/or read MELTING STONES before this week. LOL. Holly Pants gets the prize for the first book club comment, though. 🙂

Here’s what I think we’ll do. Next time, I was going to post discussion starters for the next quarter of the book. Since we didn’t really discuss the first quarter this week, we’ll leave the first quarter and the second quarter both up for discussion next week. And I think we’ll have the book club on Fridays instead of Mondays. I don’t think Mondays are a good day for anyone. (I know they aren’t for me). So next Friday. Not this Friday. Next. 🙂

I was in Nashville this weekend, staying with my Aunt Sandi and Uncle Eric. We spent the weekend eating way too much, visiting the Parthenon (yes there’s a Parthenon in Nashville) and an old plantation (with an un-funny tour guide who didn’t tell any of the cool stories) and, of course, being run around to within an inch of our lives by my cousin’s six-year-old son. He was by far the most fun thing about the weekend!!

So! That’s my life so far. Hope to see you all at the book club next Friday. I’ll post more details as the week progresses.


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Filed under Up and Writing Book Club