Tag Archives: help

The Best Classic Authors Ever

I have an interest in reading some classic authors. I’ve read Shakespeare, Homer, and a limited amount of 19th century literature, but I’d like to read more.

I tried the 99 Classic Books Challenge on List Challenges, and my score was dismal. I’ve only read six of the books. Isn’t that pathetic? There are a couple more in that list that I own, but haven’t read yet.

I need suggestions. I have some questions for you to answer, so please leave them in the comments below.

  1. Which classic author and book do you recommend from the 20th century?
  2. Which classic author and book do you recommend from the 19th century?
  3. How about the 18th century?
  4. 17th century?
  5. 11th to 16th century?
  6. 1st to 10th century?
  7. 1st century BCE and beyond?

If you don’t have an answer for some of these, don’t worry. Leave it blank. I’m looking forward to your answers. Thanks!

Adults Reading Young Adult

I’ve read a handful of young adult (YA) novels, pretty much all fantasy. But I think that’s about the only genre I’d like to read YA books in. I may be 39 years old, but there are decent books out there in the YA fantasy genre that adults will enjoy.

I looked at the first page of Goodreads’ list of the best young adult fantasy books. I have some on my to-read list, some I have already read, some that look interesting, and some I’ve never heard of. Let’s look at the series.

Harry Potter, by J. K. Rowling

I’ve already read this. I enjoyed it a lot. It was quite fun. I sold my copies before moving to Canada, but they weren’t all by the same publisher or had the same cover art. I can buy them again, since I’d like to re-read them down the road sometime.

The Mortal Instruments, by Cassandra Clare

This series is talked about a lot. I haven’t actually looked into what it’s about. Do you think someone like me would enjoy it?

Graceling Realm, by Kristin Cashore

I’ve heard about this and know about the premise. It seems quite interesting, actually. It’s been on my to-read list for some time now, but I don’t remember adding it.

Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas

This is on my to-read list, and I’ve heard a lot about it, mostly that it’s really popular. Seems interesting to me.

The Grisha, by Leigh Bardugo

I’ve only heard about it, but I don’t know anything about it. What do you think?

Daughter of Smoke & Bone, by Laini Taylor

Again, I’ve only heard about it, but I don’t know anything about it.

Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer

Not interested. Sorry. Vampires aren’t my thing, and Twilight certainly has no interest for me.

The Inheritance Cycle, by Christopher Paolini

It’s on my to-read list, even though I’ve heard it’s not very well-written. I’ve seen the movie for Eragon, so I already know what I’d be getting myself into. Going to read anyway.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan

This is actually pretty high on my to-read list. I’d like to get this, even though it’s a very long series. It sounds interesting and comes highly recommended whenever I read about it.

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

Another one I’ve heard plenty about, would like to see the movies, and therefore, need to read the books first. I kind of like Jennifer Lawrence, as well. But this is about the books, not the movies. It’s on my to-read list.

The Infernal Devices, by Cassandra Clare

Another Cassandra Clare series I’ve heard is quite popular, although I don’t know much about it. What do you think about it?

His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman

I know about this somewhat, since there was a movie about the first book, and I did see a bit of it. I guess I’d be spoiled a little. It’s on my to-read list, though.

The Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer

I know little about this, but have read the cover blurb. It looks interesting, though the cover of the first book, Cinder, may make some people wonder if I’m reading a romance novel. What do you think of it?

A Court of Thrones and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas

Another Sarah J. Maas series, I’ve heard little about it, but the interest is pretty high. I’m curious about it.

Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman

All I know is that it’s about dragons and their place in society. I don’t know much about it, but from what I’ve read, it looks interesting.

The Raven Cycle, by Maggie Stiefvater

From the cover blurb, I’m not so sure if I’m very interested in this. But I could be wrong. It’s not the kind of fantasy I like to read.

Gemma Doyle, by Libba Bray

Again, after reading what it’s about, my interest isnt very high.

The Iron Fey, by Julie Kagawa

I might have some interest in it. But I don’t know so much about it.

Abhorsen, by Garth Nix

This is definitely pretty high on my to-read list. I’ve heard some pretty good things about it, and I’m very interested.

I’m going to stop here, as that’s plenty to talk about. So, my question for you is this: Which series do you recommend? Keep in mind that while I’m mostly interested in traditional or high fantasy, I am open to other kinds of fantasy. I’m less interested in fantasy that takes place during the present time or in our modern world. But then, I enjoyed The Word and the Void series by Terry Brooks (and that’s not young adult). Please let me know what you think about the series I listed above. What do you think I should read?

Help! Patreon Rewards

I have a request. A favour. I’d like to have the best possible rewards for my Patreon page, and I keep tweaking the rewards. But I don’t know exactly what people want. I want to give back to my patrons as a thanks for the help.

So, please go over to my Patreon page and take a look at the rewards. For the lowest pledges, it has to be something simple that won’t involve individual people. That would become too time-consuming. For higher pledges, I can do that. I can personalise things, making them more special. So, if you could suggest some ideas, that would be wonderful. Please let me know in the comments below.

Patreon Video Now Here!

As you may already know, I joined Patreon yesterday. I encourage you to read the post now. But what I hadn’t done is record a video for it. Well, it’s here now!

Now I need your help. If you can, please share my Patreon page with your social media contacts, friends, and family. Basically, anyone who would be interested. And if you have a Patreon page, please let me know in the comments below. I’ll share as well. Thanks!

I Have Joined Patreon

What is Patreon?

It’s a crowdfunding platform for artists and creators. Youtubers, authors, bloggers, webcomic creators, and artists are the most common kinds of content creators. The system allows a patron (a supporter) to pay a tip to the creator, whether it’s for each piece of art or video created, or it’s a monthly payment that they set themselves. It can be as low as $1 per month. But there are rewards for those who pay more. Think of Patreon as a way of thanking the creator for what they do.

Why did I join it?

It’s a way to help me support my family and pay the bills while allowing me to spend more time to writing and blogging. I also intend on creating videos. However, my main focus is on writing my book.

What will I do with the money?

Pay bills, depending on other income. It will also help me pay for editors and any other person I need to pay to make my books as professional as possible.

What do you get?

As a patron, you get to see behind the scenes videos and other information that only patrons can see. You’ll also get exclusive access to samples of my first draft as it becomes available, and likely monthly. There will also be other samples of my writing you’ll be able to see before it’s available to the public.

Where can I find it?

You can find my Patreon page right here!

I’m open to other suggestions for rewards or exclusive content for patrons. Let me know in the comments!

What Grammar Problems Do You Have When Writing?

English has some of the most difficult grammar of any language. There are so many rules, yet many exceptions to those rules. English breaks the rules often. Although it may not be the most difficult language, it is one of the most unusual languages. Why? Because it’s had influences from several languages and is more like the Frankenstein’s monster of languages.

Writers have to deal with English grammar when writing. Some are not experts at grammar, while others seem to have a wonderful way with the language. But what do you have difficulty with in writing?

In my case, I find that I use the passive voice too much. I use it correctly, but it’s not effective when writing fiction. It doesn’t have the feeling of action. The narrative must be active so the reader feels like they’re in the story along with the characters. I don’t have this problem as much now, but sometimes it creeps in.

What about you? When you write, what kind of grammar issues do you have? Let me know in the comments below.

Who Has the WordPress Dashboard?

After looking at my sister’s WordPress account, and having heard from a couple other people, I’m a bit curious about this. Take a look at this picture.

wordpressadminIf you have WordPress, go My Sites and look at the left column. Do you have the WP Admin link? That’s where the red arrow is. This link leads to the Dashboard for your blog. It’s completely missing from my sister’s account and from some others I’ve heard from. I have it, though. In fact, I always use it. I never use any of the options below in this column shown in the image. There are so many menu options missing. Honestly, I don’t think I can fully utilise my blog without the Dashboard.

So, if you don’t have that link, here’s how to get to your Dashboard: type in your blog’s URL and add wp-admin/ after it. So, for example, it could be https: //yourblogurl.wordpress.com/wp-admin/

Give it a try, and let me know if it works. And just so you know, that’s where you can access the old editor, which is far more useful than the new one, if you ask me. Can’t stand the Beep Beep Boop editor.

Authors Answer 50 – Family Support

Being an author is a lot like having a regular job, you have a schedule, you have deadlines, and you have income. But you also need support from your family. Part-time authors often need their family to be understanding about the time required to write. This week, we find out about our family support.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 50: How much support for your writing do you get from your family?

H. Anthe Davis

My mother got me into my genre-of-choice in the first place, and my close family-members have always been supportive of my efforts, both in school and as a self-publisher.  Maybe not quite comprehending, but supportive!  Several of my relatives also read and enjoy my books, and it’s nice to get feedback from them, though I do wonder if they go through it and think ‘she’s writing about such dark things, is she feeling alright?’  Yeesh.

S. R. Carrillo

Well, no one in my family really reads my books (my mom tried, but the first chapter scared her too much hahha), but they’ve all been very supportive of my dream. Even if they don’t read the books, they purchase them and tell their friends about me and understand when I wanna be left the hell alone to work out this scene or that…

Paul B. Spence

A fair amount. There was doubt at first, but once I published, they have been very supportive.

Caren Rich

I use them as a sounding board. My hubby is very supportive of my writing. Although he does keep asking when the bestseller will be published!

Elizabeth Rhodes

My family supports what I do but aren’t cheerleaders.  This is probably because I don’t talk to them about my efforts as much, but it’s fine for me.  My partner is much more enthusiastic and cheers me on.

Eric Wood

I get a good deal of support for my writing from my family. My wife reads every article (or at least I assume she does) as do my parents. By support I mean they read what I write and occasionally comment on it. Right now my writing is simply through my blog, certainly not full time and it makes zero dollars. But it’s something I enjoy so I’m supported in my endeavor… err hobby?

Allen Tiffany

Great question. Huge support from my family. I could not be luckier. My wife has a MA in English lit and insists on proofing every chapter before I submit it to the online writing workshop I use. She is not a grammarian – but she does call out gaffs, typos, and gross mistakes — but her feedback on the story is always helpful.

My twin 16-year olds read my manuscripts and provide gut-level feedback and a bit of copy editing. One of my 16-year olds is also an accomplished artist and is working on some artwork for me to include in my upcoming novel. She provided a map for my first publication (you can see it in the “Look Inside” feature of the paperback version of my novella on Amazon).

My parents were also very supportive, though they never had much interest in reading what I was writing. They just had different tastes in literature, but they always encouraged me to write.

The one qualifier I’d add is that though my family is very supportive, I only hand them something to read about once every six months (other than my wife proofing before I submit). I don’t want to bombard them with every new page. It would not be fair to them, and frankly it would distort the feedback, and getting frequent feedback would confuse me. For instance, after I finished my first novel, I wrote the sequel – about 75K words at the time – proofed it a number of my times myself, and then handed it to them. That was the first time they saw any of it (which was a funny story – both read it cover-to-cover in three hours, sitting in the living room in silence, flipping pages, my wife twisting her hair, which she does when something makes her anxious).

Jean Davis

Those in my house know to leave me alone when I’m at my writing desk…for the most part anyway. Friends and family know I’m a hermit during November and May, which are my intensive writing months. Their support is in the form of leaving me alone to do my thing. My kids occasionally get roped into reading a draft because their good nitpickers. I’ve raised them well.

D. T. Nova

Enough that I’d never complain about it. Small encouragement, and maybe more importantly, none of the belittling that I’ve heard some authors describe. Everyone whose opinion I have to deal with understands how much effort is involved, I think.

Gregory S. Close

The easiest way to answer this weeks question is just to copy/paste the relevant acknowledgment from In Siege of Daylight.  Needless to say, family has been integral in my ability to write (even if sometimes I have to take out the trash instead of write a colossal multi-threaded climactic battle scene).

“Thank you to my family, both immediate and extended, for your love and support and for the unceasing encouragement of my writing since the notion of telling stories first took hold of me. To my wife Sigrid, who has indeed suffered long and hard through the glacial pace of this novel’s progress. She has supported me, believed in me, been appropriately frustrated at me when I am a doofus, and occasionally allowed me to stay on as her shiftless kept man – I love you!

To my daughters Iliana and Sabine, I love you too, more than you will ever know, and even more than I embarrass you. Really.

To Mom and Dad, for instilling in me a love of reading and writing and all things fantastic. Dad sat us on his lap and read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, complete with pipe and smoke rings. Mom, although pipe-less, introduced us to Narnia and The Hardy Boys and many other lunch-time reads too numerous to mention.

To my brother Stephen, my partner in imagination. His hand-me-down books and encyclopedic knowledge of everything he’s ever read filled in the foundations of my science fiction and fantasy lexicon. He introduced me to Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever and The Many-Colored Land, among others, and explained the intricacies of both the Marvel and DC universes. Especially Batman. Lots and lots of Batman.”

– Gregory S Close. In Siege of Daylight (Kindle Locations 11930-11940). Booksurge.

Linda G. Hill

I get a fair amount of support from those in my family who understand what I’m trying to do. Unfortunately, for most of them it’s beyond their capabilities to “get” it, for various reasons. My only recourse, (and thanks to my eldest son and my best friend I’m able to do this) is to run away and work outside of the house.

Jay Dee Archer

I get some mixed support from my family. My biggest supporters are my mom and sister. They’re very understanding that I need time and quiet, though they live on the other side of the world (although at this time, my sister is sitting on the sofa about two metres away from me). My wife is skeptical, while my daughter doesn’t care. Of course, my daughter is only three years old, and would rather interrupt me repeatedly than let me use the computer.

But since my sister tends to like similar genres as me, I think she’ll probably read my books.

How about you?

Are you a writer? How much does your family support you? Please leave your answers in the comments below.

A Checklist For Authors

Simple things to do when writing a book. I like this list. It’s what authors should look at when they write a novel.



Hook readers with a strong first chapter.

Create a sympathetic character.

Give the character a strong central goal.

Obstruct the character’s goal with equally strong opposition.

Craft a strong plot with proper structure.

Do your research and get your facts straight.

Balance action and character with properly structured scene/sequel pairings.

Write realistic, entertaining dialogue.

Maintain a consistent point-of-view.

Create original and entertaining voices for narrating characters.

Tighten descriptions with more strong verbs and nouns and fewer modifiers.

Show more than you tell.

Dig deep for original ideas and turns of phrase.

Properly foreshadow your climax—without giving away any big reveals.

Build realistic and engaging settings.

Add meaningful subplots only.

Create a dynamic arc of growth for your character.

Add interesting minor characters who can power the plot forward.

Choose the right tone to enhance your plot and theme.

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The New Reader and Page Views

Some of you may have noticed that the WordPress Reader has changed again. This time, it gives you fewer options to view blog posts on the actual blog. This is a problem for those who run blogs and want to keep track of view and visitor stats. I know I do.

As a default, the Reader allows people to read the full blog post in the Reader. This does not count toward the views, so you never know if someone actually read it. Also, you may notice that a lot of short posts tend to have more likes than views. Why? They just liked it through the Reader.

Well, there’s a way you can force your readers to visit the post on your blog. What you want is this:

visitYou see where that red arrow is pointing? If that appears in the Reader, that means that you cannot read the full post in the Reader. Click on that link and you go directly to the blog post on the blog. This allows the blogger to have the views registered, and it also encourages the reader to explore the blog more, instead of just skimming through in the Reader.

So, how do you do it? Go into your Dashboard. If you’ve been using the newer interface, you need to go to My Sites, then click on WP Admin. This takes you to your Dashboard.  Then go down to the Settings option on the left-hand side. Hover your mouse over it and then click on Reading. You should see an option called For each article in a feed, show. Change it from Full text to Summary. This will force the Reader or any feed to only display the first few lines of your blog post, and require everyone to click on the link to your actual blog post.

Just one word of warning, on the My Sites page, there is a Settings option on the left-hand side.  That does not allow you to change many settings. You want the full version in WP Admin.

I hope you found this useful.