Monday, April 23, 2018

Social Credit

Our youngest child is 22.  She's learning how to deal with things for the first time.  For example, she finally got a credit card (she had no credit, so getting a card has been tough).  She also just bought her first cell phone on her own (she was on our plan before).  To get that cell phone, she had to jump through a lot of hurdles, like proving who she was to the fraud department, etc.  It was a pain, but she handled it over the phone.

It reminded me of a credit system that's going on in China.

Here's one article about it:  China 'social credit': Beijing sets up huge system
Here's a Youtube video about it, too:  Is China Becoming A Black Mirror Episode (Social Credit) | ASIAN BOSS


There have been at least two episodes about this on television that I know about.  One is from Black Mirror (Nosedive), and the other is from The Orville (Majority Rule).  I haven't seen the Black Mirror episode, but I have seen the one on the Orville.

In the Orville's episode, others rate a person as good or bad.  If they're 'bad,' they can be executed.  They're denied service at shops, and are treated like outcasts.

Some view this type of social acceptance as a good thing, but they've not been deemed 'bad.'  It only takes one misstep and a person's credit and social acceptance plummets.

I think of this as a major slippery slope, but isn't that what we all do as a society?  Don't we judge others and make it tough for them to even begin to live, like my daughter who hasn't established credit yet?

The reason I write this is that books reflect society as a whole.  When writing, remember that we all judge others, just like 'social credit,' and one misstep can ruin a person's life.  And, when writing, making the problems bigger than life will create more conflict.  Conflict makes the plot interesting.

Check out the information above.  It'll open your eyes to a lot of things.

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Monday, April 16, 2018

Are you still working on writing winter books?

I'm working on Christmas stories right now.  You might ask why, but if you look out my window, you'll understand:





Welcome to springtime in Wisconsin.  We got over 16 inches of snow over the weekend, mixed with freezing rain.  It's a heavy snow, making me long for the days of December.  Thus, it wasn't hard to get back into the Christmas spirit.  Lucky me.  NOT.

Have a super week!
SweetTale Books

Monday, April 9, 2018

I survived jury duty!

I made it through jury duty!  YAY!  I was called for one jury, on the first day.  It was a civil case about an accident that happened.  I think the plaintiff wanted more money from the insurance company.  I was the first juror called up, sat in the jury box, and waited for everyone else to be seated.  I almost had to serve the two days on that one, but as it turned out, I SAW the accident right after it happened, so I was considered a tainted juror (or whatever it's called) and was excused.

I also had to go to a criminal case, but wasn't called up to the jury.  However, I learned a lot about courtrooms last week.  I also learned about how they question the jury to be chosen.  It was very interesting and very telling about each of my fellow jurors.  Not only were their answers analyzed, but their nonverbal clues were very interesting.  For example, in the criminal trial (it was a sexual abuse case), one woman had an issue with the questioning at hand.  She said she wouldn't have a problem judging the defendant with an open mind, but her nonverbal clues said otherwise.  She wasn't chosen for the jury, even though her words would've kept her in.

Thus, last week was a lesson in research for me.  The bailiffs were very nice people, which surprised me.  They took care of the jury in the jury room, where there were cameras everywhere.  More information about the people inside the courtroom is here:  Role of the Judge and Other Courtroom Participants.

It was an interesting situation to witness, so if you're ever called in for jury duty, take notes.  Not only are the cases interesting, but the jurors themselves are characters.  As much as it was interesting, I'm really glad it's over.  LOL!

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Monday, April 2, 2018

Staying Up With the Times

I'll be in and out this week, because I have jury duty (my husband's watching the dogs, working from home).  I'm using this time as research into things for my books.

Anyway, I've been watching current events on Twitter and have learned a few things about society that have changed since I was a kid.  For example, there's a thing called 'virtue signaling' now.  I had to look that one up.  It's basically throwing morals into a discussion, even if the 'moral' person doesn't even follow the advice themselves.  For example, if I was telling someone that I was eating cheesecake, they'd tell me how it could harm me by making me gain weight, that I owed it to myself not to enjoy that cheesecake, even though they might be obese, themselves.  That's virtue signaling--throwing 'morals' into any conversation.

If you're a writer, do you bring in current social events or ideals into a book?  Do you stay up with the times?

I don't, unless I'm pretty sure it's not a fad. For example, I'd be careful what words I'd use for 'cool' because they may not stick around.  'Cool' has been around for a long time.  'Rad,' on the other hand, hasn't lasted as long, so I wouldn't use that.

Another one I just heard is 'you do you.'  Huh?  My daughter used that.  It means 'do what you want or what you're best at.'  I wonder if that one'll work well in books...I'm thinking not.  However, I never thought 'it is what it is' would stick around, either.

So, make sure your book will last the test of time, and you'll be fine.  Just don't jump at the chance to use something 'edgy' because in a few years, no one will understand it.

Have a great week and think of me at jury duty.  :)

SweetTale Books

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter!

May you have a wonderful and 'April-Fool's Free' day!




Happy Easter!

SweetTale Books

Monday, March 26, 2018

High School Stuff...

When I was a kid, if anyone pulled something that was childish, my dad used to say, 'high school stuff.'  In other words, grow up because I'm not going to deal with childish things.

I look at society these days as a LOT of 'high school stuff.'  When will people start acting like adults again?  Take my kids, for example.  They don't want to 'adult' and have told me so, on multiple occasions (like when they have to pay bills or get a job).  When I was a kid, we were expected to 'adult' and do it well, even while in high school.  But these days, so-called adults are behaving like children.

Case-in-point:  I once was at a garage getting my car fixed when a mother and her college-aged child walked into the waiting room.  The kid (a girl who was probably 20 years old) was holding a stuffed toy and reading a little kid's book.  I was ready for her to suck her thumb, too, she behaved like that so much.  I talked to the mother, just making small talk.  As it turns out, the girl was in college, where it was acceptable to behave like a child.  I talked to my children, who were also in college at that time, and that was the norm to behave like that.

What happened to the world?  When did we regress into children, as adults?

Why did I post this?  Because I want to tap into the anger I have for adults behaving as spoiled children.  I want to stick it into a book to show how society has changed, to preserve it for the future.

It's crazy, I know.  But welcome to 2018.  Characters surround us, and these adult-babies are no different.  LOL!

Have a wonderful week!
SweetTale Books

Monday, March 19, 2018

Do you use these phrases?

I recently read an article:  Tighten Your Prose: Filter Words

If you're a writer, I'd highly recommend you read this one.  I've seen too many writers use this crutch, which really weakens the plot and pulls me right out of the story.  And yes, I'm guilty of it too.  I've tried to take these filter words out of my stories, but sometimes, they just creep back in again.

What are filter words?  They're phrases that 'filter the world through the eyes of the character.'

So, for example, instead of writing, 'The rain fell on the sidewalk,' the writer would write, 'She saw the rain fall on the sidewalk.'  You're now watching through her eyes.  If you want to be in the character's head, that's all fine, but as writers, we want to make the reader feel like they're there.  It's like the old 'show not tell' adage, that every writer learns at some stage in the game.  Instead of writing 'the glass broke,' we want to hear the tinkle of every shard as the thing shatters.  It makes the reader feel like they're part of the story.

So if you see any of those filter words, get rid of them if you can (read the article...sometimes you can't help but have them in).  They're usually not necessary clutter mucking up your pages.

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Monday, March 12, 2018

Writer's Magazine

I was just searching for something quick and fun to read and came across this site:  Writers Online

It's this big online magazine in the UK for writers.  I signed up, because there's a huge amount of information on that site.  It includes contests, classes for writing, and things like news, jobs, etc.

If you're a writer, you might want to consider checking it out.  You can even showcase your book free (if you subscribe to the magazine) to the readers on that site.

It's very interesting to read.  Check it out and sign up for the newsletter.  I did.

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Monday, March 5, 2018

Interesting Things to Ponder...

I was just looking online at some things about writing (the latest in writing) and found the following things:

Eight Rules for Writing Fiction
This one's funny.  I thought it was serious until I skimmed it...it's not that serious.  Yes, the main topics of each sentence are important, but according to this, writers who ask questions out loud should be committed...because it's quiet.  LOL!

Death of the naturalist: why is the “new nature writing” so tame?
I never heard of 'nature writing' but it's a 'publishing phenomenon.'  Who knew?  Not me.  It's very interesting, though.

Writing to Trends
If you write about the latest 'trend,' you're going to need to make it unique and not 'date' the piece.  It's not easy, but there are some things that are timeless, like fashion, food, and things like that.

Are You Up With the New Style of Blog Writing?
This is an interesting one.  It describes how to write a blog like a copy for a newspaper.  That's not easy for someone like me, who has never written for a newspaper.  But it's a thought.

Well - Tara Parker-Pope on Health Search Well SEARCH WELL Writing Your Way to Happiness
Wow.  Writing can help your mood.  Who knew?  Very cool!  I like this article.  LOL!

Mad Dash
This article talks about using the dash (horizontal line like this: — ) and how it can be used effectively in writing.  It's a versatile tool, with few rules.  I love dashes, but I can overuse them.  An em-dash is longer than a regular dash, and is used for things like a pause, or used as a way to explain more, like a clause.  Great article!


Anyway, if you're a writer, keep up with the latest trends.  It's well worth the look every once in a while.

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Monday, February 26, 2018

Publisher's Weekly

Starting March 1, I'm going to be sharing (tweets and FB posts) about news from Publisher's Weekly.  I suspect quite a few authors have never heard of it.

If you go to the news page, you can see the latest in the publishing world.  But you may ask yourself, 'What's in it for me, if I'm an indie writer?'

Book topics seem to trend.  If you're a writer, it's nice to know what's hot this week, so you can see if your latest book is going to be up with what's going on.  It's also nice to know if certain agents are begging for your type of book.  Having an agent is still a good idea, even if you're indie.

So check out Publisher's Weekly or just keep an eye on my social media feed.  Something in there might just bring you fame and fortune just by knowing what's going on in the industry.

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books


Monday, February 19, 2018

Social Media Posts and Ads

Social media posts should be like billboards, that readers might take one or two seconds to read.  They should be short, easy to read, and catch the reader's eye to make them want to read it.  I think of it this way...if it were a billboard on the side of the road, how many people would stop to read the whole thing, especially your top post?  That one is like the hook for readers, to reel them in.  If it has wording that's difficult to read (either in color or font), no one's going to stop to read it.  If it's small, they're going to ignore it.  It has to catch the reader's interest and keep them scrolling past the first post.

Every day, I make a 'top' picture post that I pin to my page, so that the 'drive-bys' can just click and move on if they're in a hurry.  It has the list of books I'm promoting for the week with my logo and name of my site at the bottom.  I then include a picture of some type above the books and logo with my own saying.  I do this by the month, so every month, I have to come up with around 28-31 new sayings for the next month.  I'm sure I repeat myself, but it's not easy.

I'm working on March's things right now, so yesterday, I went to Pinterest and found sayings about love.  I took some of the sentiments and made up my own sayings from that.  It was easier than coming up with the thoughts by myself.

Then, I went to Pixabay.com and Pexels.com and got pictures from creative commons, for free.  Using Paint.net, I create one posting per day for Twitter.  I also post them on Facebook under SweetTale Books.

Then, for each book (I have 59), I've created two postings--one with a blurb and one with a saying at the top to describe the book.  On top of that, I've been adding quotes and interesting facts for the day.  Thus, I put either three or four posts a day on social media (three on the weekends).  At the top of those posts, I add links and other sayings.  It helps keep my writing name out there, but it's a lot of work.

I've seen many writers do the same thing, with different posts each day.  It's a lot of work, but well worth it in the long run.

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Monday, February 12, 2018

Writing for ME!

Do you ever have the pressure of worrying about what others think of your work?  This seems to be doubly true when writing a book.  Everyone's a critic, and trolls love to put writers down.

So what do you do?

Shake it off and write for you!  Forget about the rest of the world.  They seem to thrive on getting ahead, so they're not worth worrying about.  Trolls love to put others down to make themselves look good, so they're not worth your time, either.

If you're true to yourself, then you're true to your targeted audience, and they're who you write for anyway.

So write and enjoy your own personal journey.  Don't write for anyone else but yourself, because then, your words will be real and the story will flow.

Have a super week!
SweetTale Books

Monday, February 5, 2018

Ah, the finer things of life...

Have you ever read a book that's just 'elegant'?  It has a certain class to it, that makes you feel like you've just slept on satin sheets or something.  The words just flow and the story is surreal in its finesse.

Yeah...I've read maybe two or three of these in my lifetime.  They're tough to find, but you feel like you've just rubbed elbows with the elite.  They usually make you feel as if nothing can hold you back in life except for yourself.

On the other hand, is this real life?  Would you rather get dirty with the average person who rises above their past and makes it on their own?  Or maybe you like the feel-good story a romance has to offer?  Or maybe a mystery that shows that life isn't all roses?

What do you like to read?  Do you think we need more of these elegant books in our lives?

I'm curious to know.

Have a super week!
SweetTale Books

Monday, January 29, 2018

Why Do You Write?

What makes you put pen to paper, fingers to the keyboard, or ink pen to parchment?  What is your compelling reason to write anything?  Even if it's just a thank you note, your inspiration has to come from somewhere, to put those thoughts into words.

For me, my brain seems to be wired differently than others that I know.  I seem to be able to escape to another realm, to allow myself to live someone else's life in my head.  Once I do that, I have to write it down or I'll forget it.  It's a magical thing for me, to be able to vacate my current life and vacation in someone else's dreams, even though it's all in my head.  I know...very odd, but fun to do.

The compelling part of the whole thing is that I have to write it down.  I can't continue doing anything until that scene is on paper somehow.  Our youngest daughter is the same way, but she refuses to write down that story in her head.  She keeps reliving it over and over and over again, changing bits and pieces each time the story line enters her brain.  She's worried that if she puts it on paper, the magic will be gone for the story line, or someone might steal her idea.

If you're like our daughter or me, put it on paper.  Get it out of your head so you can live your life.  I tell her that, too, but she refuses, living that magical story in her head.  I hear so many authors saying their character has hijacked their lives, wanting to tell their story.  They can't go to the grocery store without a character talking to them the whole time.  The only way to silence the character is to write down their story.  It's the same thing for our daughter and me.

Most people think that's a sign of something mentally wrong with the writer, but I get it.  I understand.  As a writer, you become entwined in the character's life, that's all you can think about.  It's all part of the job.  But if you don't get that story out, it's going to haunt your mind.

What's your compelling reason to write?  Are you an author just trying to get the story out of your head, too?  Good luck with that! 

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Monday, January 22, 2018

What does Twitter really do for an author?

I'm going through a crisis of Twitter.  They changed their terms of service and can now track me anywhere, even when I'm not on Twitter (and you should see the things I search on, for researching my books!).  I even got an email that I may be followed by a Russian bot.  Do I care that a Russian bot is following me?  No.  A follower is a follower is a follower.  I don't even care if they retweet me, because any exposure of my books is good, in my opinion.

What does Twitter really do for an author?  Like a billboard for your books, it gets your author name and title out there.  However, many days, I feel like I'm playing the 'retweeting game,' where you tweet me, I tweet you, and that's that.  Nothing feels like it's worth it.

I had this revelation, though, when retweeting people's books this morning.  When I see their name, I have an automatic image of what they write/produce.  That seed's been planted in my brain of what books are out there, from people I follow, or my 'friends.'  If I see that book in any other place, I have an instant fondness for that, because I 'know' the author through Twitter.

If I didn't have Twitter, I wouldn't know any of these authors at all.  I wouldn't be able to interact with them, because I don't spend much time on other social media.

Wow.  It was like a slap in the face that maybe Twitter is a great tool for authors.  Maybe a 'tweet for a tweet' is helping.

Thank you to all my retweeters.  I consider you to be in my 'family of authors' that are my friends.

Have a super day!
SweetTale Books

Monday, January 15, 2018

Missing some punctuation, much?

With the advent of making twitter posts DOUBLE what they used to be, I've noticed that more and more people are ignoring punctuation.  I'm seeing periods just ignored, most of the time.  Here's an example:

Bob wasn't stupid he knew Jane didn't love him he just didn't care.

I THINK the author meant to write:

Bob wasn't stupid.  He knew Jane didn't love him.  He just didn't care.

I see whole paragraphs written with not a period at all.

What's up with people?  Missing punctuation can change the entire meaning of the sentence.  Here's an example, from Let’s eat Grandma! How to use, and not use the comma

These have two different meanings:
Let's eat, Grandma.
Let's eat Grandma.

Are you inviting her to eat or are you a cannibal with Grandma on the menu?

It's the same thing with periods.  Lack of a period can mean changing the entire meaning.

We went out to the car whose sunglasses were tinted.

is much different than:

We went out to the car.  Whose sunglasses were tinted?

So please, for the love of people who like to read, use punctuation.  It may change someone's life.

Thank you!
Markee

Monday, January 8, 2018

How to Get Out of a Slump

I've been in a slump for the past two months.  Between the holidays and a few time distractions (like watching Twitter), it's been tough to concentrate on anything anymore.

So how do I get out of that slump?  Schedule time for every moment of the day.  Give myself time to read over Twitter, but only for a short period of time. 

Has that happened to you, where you just can't focus?  Keep your goals in mind and know that you CAN do it.  If I can write 59 books, you certainly can do whatever you put your mind to.

Have a super week!
Markee

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy New Year!!!

...just a day late.  LOL!  Sorry about that!

May your new year be filled with happiness, healthiness, and success like no other.