Monthly Archives: November 2013

SFR Brigade Presents: Electric Dreams: Seven Futuristic Tales

SFR Brigade Presents is a regular feature where authors posts snippets of their published works and WIP. Click here to check out the other authors and read their book excerpts!

This is an excerpt from a short story in my book, Electric Dreams: Seven Futuristic Tales. In this short story, Roots of Deception, Shera Kuhani is a religious leader of the Tellurians.

For over twenty years their planet had been occupied by troops from the neighboring planet, Kellia. Her people have recently  won the war and freed themselves from occupation. Shera has assumed power and is inspecting the gardens of the monastery.

The early morning sun was the color of blood, the same color as the flower she held in her hand. Shera Kuhani sat in the monastery gardens, examining the small flower she held between her fingers. 

There were no thorns on the delicate stem, and the fragrance was deceptively inviting. Though it appeared that there was nothing to stop a predator from destroying it, the plant was poisonous if eaten.

Knowing its true nature drew Shera to it more than if it had been just another pretty flower. She knew that beauty could be bait for the trap. Appearance could obscure the truth and draw the victim in before he realized he was ensnared.

The delicate petals were soft as whispered prayers, and excessive handling could cause them to break apart. They were rare blooms, requiring the most expert cultivation. She wondered how they got here in the midst of the weeds that had overrun the garden during the years of the Kellian occupation.

It resembled a jungle more than a place of contemplation, but she was determined to change that as soon as possible.

About the book…

Seven short stories of the future: 
a robot is abandoned by his human buyer when she has second thoughts, a frustrated employee has a rude awakening when his computer starts managing his career, the caretaker of a lonely space station gets a shock when a couple of unexpected visitors show up, and more!

Includes the stories:

Electric Schemes
When Words Leave Off
Between the Mirror and the Heart
On the Beach
Stranger in Town
Roots of  Deception
A Place in the World

Available on for Kindle and in print.  

Promoting Your Book: Are You Doing the Right Job?

Guest Post by Moira Allen

Recently I received an e-mail from a writer friend who had recently published a new book, and naturally was quite excited about it. She sent me a detailed description of the book, and finished with the following statement:

“Here’s the blurb. I hope you find it interesting. If not, I’m failing in my job.”

When I read that line, I wished I could reach out across the miles and give that friend a quick hug. Then, I would have sat her down and given her a heart-to-heart talk — not about whether or not she had “failed,” but about just what, exactly, “her job” really was!

Clearly, she felt that “her job” was to convince me that her book was so exciting that I just couldn’t resist reading it. The blurb was well written, and I have no doubt that the book is also well written. Her previous book was short-listed for a prestigious award, so I have no doubts as to her ability.

But did the blurb make me want to rush out and buy the book? No. Does that mean that the writer “failed”? Again, no. What it means is that this writer is confused as to what her “job” actually is.

To understand why, let’s look at another type of scenario. Think for a moment about the classic “breakup” sequence… boy meets girl, boy dates girl, boy leaves girl. “It isn’t you,” he assures her. “It’s me.” As an exit line, it’s corny — but in the world of writing, it’s a line that we authors need to keep in mind. If I don’t like your book, there’s a very good possibility that it isn’t you. It’s me.

This particular writer prepared an excellent, detailed blurb that did a fine job of describing the characters in her book, the conflicts between them, and the general thrust of the plot. When I read it, I knew immediately that I would not particularly care to read the book — because it’s just not the right kind of book for me. It may, however, be exactly the right kind of book for you, or your neighbor, or my cousin, or… well, any number of people.

Where this writer has gone wrong is in believing that it’s her “job” to be able to convince “absolutely anyone” to read her book. The problem is, there’s no such thing as a general, one-size-fits-all novel. And it’s lucky for us writers that there isn’t. It’s to our great advantage that the world of readers is composed of people with hundreds of different tastes, interests, and preferences. Even within a specific genre, such as mystery or romance, the divisions are legion. One mystery reader may prefer cozy, another hard-boiled noir. Within the “cozies,” one may adore any offering that includes recipes or craft tips, while another may be annoyed by detectives who spend more time cooking (or crafting) than sleuthing. One romance reader may loathe vampires but have a thing for ghosts; another may abhor historicals but gobble contemporaries by the score.

As a writer, your “job” is not to convince a vampire-loathing romance reader that your vampire romance is the one that will change her mind. Your job is to find the readers who already love this type of novel, and convince them that your novel is to vampire romantics what “70% cocoa” is to chocoholics. If, along the way, you “convert” a reader to the genre, that’s great — but it’s also gravy. It’s not your primary “job.”

The purpose of good PR is not to sell your book to the world. It’s to sell your book to the audience for which you wrote it. No matter what you write, you already know a lot about your potential reader — because that reader shares a lot of interests with you. If you write mysteries-with-recipes, you know the sort of taste sensations that are going to delight a reader, because they’re the same sensations that you can’t wait to whip up in your own kitchen. If you’re writing a novel about a collector of rare books, you know exactly what sort of literary rarities will set your readers salivating.

Some people say that you should write about “what you know.” Some people say that getting published is all about “who you know.” But in a very real sense, “who” you know is based on “what” you know. When you start to identify what sets your book apart, what makes it special, what makes it chocolate to a chocoholic, you’re also identifying who will love your book. Your “job” is to write a book for that person.

Your job is also to remember that if someone doesn’t like your book, or choose to read it, very possibly it’s not you. It’s me. I’m just not ready for the latest vampire-chef-detective novel (with recipes). But someone out there undoubtedly is. Find them, write a book they can’t resist, leave them begging for more — and you have definitely done your job!

Copyright © 2013 Moira Allen
Moira Allen is the editor of ( and the author of more than 350 published articles. Her books on writing include Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer, The Writer’s Guide to Queries, Pitches and Proposals, and Writing to Win: The Colossal Guide to Writing Contests.

SFR Brigade Presents: “Hathor Legacy: Outcast”

SFR Brigade Presents is a regular feature where authors posts snippets of their published works and WIP. Check out the other authors here and read more about their books!

This is an excerpt from my new book, “Hathor Legacy: Outcast” which is the first in a series. In this snippet, lead characters Nadira and Jonathan have just been attacked by Ilana Travac, the woman who’s suspected of robbing the mine on a nearby moon and killing Jon’s father, the mine CEO.

**”Hathor Legacy: Outcast” will be free on Amazon Kindle from 11/18 – 11/20
Click here to download a copy**

Nadira opened her eyes. Above her, the cream-colored ceiling swam into view. Shifting herself, she braced her hands against a nearby table and lifted her head. Bad idea. She leaned her face against the cool, glass surface of the table, and hung on, waiting for the dizziness to pass. 
It was a violation for Guardians to use their powers against each other. The charge was serious enough to incur banishment–something that hadn’t happened in recent memory. Ilana couldn’t have the same abilities as a Guardian. There had to be another explanation.
“Are you all right?” With a groan, Jon dragged himself over and crouched beside her. “How the hell did she do that?”
Nadira eased herself into a sitting position, resting her back against the edge of the table. “She must’ve used some kind of weapon or had a chemical enhancement.” She’d have to wait until her head was clear before she could sort it all out. 
“She didn’t use a weapon,” he said, his grey eyes searching hers. “It came from her–the same way you blasted those attackers.”

About the book…

On the planet, Hathor, a powerful group called the Guardians serves as the security force for Novacorp, the corporation that runs Hathor with its ruthless monopoly. Nadira, as one of the most powerful Guardians, is expected to use her intuition and telekinetic powers to keep the capital city safe from thieves and intruders.
Jonathan Keel, son of a mine CEO on the nearby planet, Astarte, is wealthy, privileged and used to getting what he wants. When his father goes missing after a robbery and explosion at the mine, he defies the authorities and heads to Hathor to search for him and for the robbers.

Security is on high alert and Nadira is charged with protecting Jon. She rescues him from an vicious attack and discovers that the Guardians have another agenda that has nothing to do with solving the crime.

Jonathan finds evidence of his father’s possible involvement, while his attraction to Nadira forces her to confront all she has known about being a Guardian, especially the rule to put duty before her personal feelings.

Struggling with their growing desires, and chased by company security, Jon and Nadira flee the city. But solving the crime leads them to endure betrayals from the people closest to them, as secrets are revealed that not only link their pasts but also threaten to destroy Jon’s family and separate him from Nadira forever.

How Writing Goes from Good to Great

Guest Post by Sophfronia Scott

There’s a review of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden that I find so striking and inspiring that I keep a copy of it on my desk. Here’s what it says: “A novel planned on the grandest possible scale…One of those occasions when a writer has aimed high and then summoned every ounce of energy, talent, seriousness, and passion of which he was capable…It is an entirely interesting and impressive book.”

In the course of my business I meet many writers who have little confidence in their writing and seem to think it can’t be anything more than what it is. That’s like getting into a car for your first driving lesson, driving badly, and then assuming that’s the way you’ll always drive. But most of us don’t drive the way we did when we were 16. We get better with experience.

The difference, of course, is that it’s easier to know how to get better at something like driving a car. With writing, if you have little experience, it’s harder to figure out how to go from being competent to writing something truly great. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for being merely good or mediocre. It just takes work–and knowing how to work. Here are some ideas to help you progress with your writing.

Set the Intention

I love the words “aimed high” in the review above because I believe that’s where it all begins. As a writer you have to start the work not on paper, not in a computer, but in your own mind. Set the intention to write something great. You don’t have to know what you’re going to write, but do know that you want it to be amazing, eye-opening, award-winning. If you start from the feeling of “Well, I’ll try but I don’t know if it’s going to be any good,” how interesting is that? It’s not a motivating thought and most likely you will fulfill that thought by writing just as you aimed to write: something not very good.

When Bruce Springsteen sat down to write the songs for his album, “Born to Run”, he wasn’t planning on writing “just another album”. He specifically set out to write on a grand scale, to write something truly great. (He always aims high, but in this instance he really had to pull it off: his first 2 albums had not sold well.) Now you may be thinking, “Well, I’m no Steinbeck or Springsteen,” but I say this: How do you know unless you try to be that great?

Read Great Work (and Learn from the Bad)

Reading great writing can be an inspiring, uplifting experience–if you allow it to be. Too many writers read great work and use it to beat themselves up! They say “success leaves clues” and great writing is the same. If you’re attentive, you can pick up the technical aspects that a great writer has mastered so that you can work on mastering them yourself. Look at how other writers use tools such as character, dialogue, calls to action, and chapter structure.

Likewise, don’t be afraid of reading bad writing. There’s much to learn from it as well. If you can recognize the difference between great and bad writing, you’ll be more likely to recognize it in your own writing. If you can recognize it, you can CHANGE it!

Understand What Rewriting is About

That’s where editing and rewriting come in. For all the bad rap editing gets, it’s really a good thing. You can do it yourself or have someone else edit your work for you, but the point is to be able to look at your writing objectively and see if it’s doing what you wanted it to do. You can also look at it from the point of view of asking yourself, “This may be good, but how can I make it great?” Don’t be afraid to rewrite as many times as it takes to get it right.

Ask for Help

What if you’re all out of ideas for how to make it better? Don’t worry, it happens. Sometimes you’ve just read the piece too many times to come at it from a fresh perspective. That’s when it helps to ask someone else to read it for you. Just make sure the person you ask is a good reader with a critical eye. And if you’re stuck on one particular part, don’t ask the person to read it and tell you if it’s any good–remember, you already know it’s not right. Ask the person to give you suggestions or ideas for how you might do that section differently. Even if their suggestions don’t work, they might inspire other ideas that will.

One Last Note: Great writing won’t happen overnight. It is a process. And you may not hit “great” with this book or even your next one. But if you keep aiming for “great” you’ll get closer and closer and before you know it, you’ll hit the target!

© 2009 Sophfronia Scott

Sophfronia Scott is Executive Editor of the Done For You Writing & Publishing Company. Learn what a difference being a published author can make for your business. Get your FREE audio CD, “How to Succeed in Business By Becoming a Bestselling Author” and your FREE online writing and book publishing tips at

Originally published on the Secrets of Success blog.

Twitterific (Or Twitter Shorthand)

Guest Post by Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero, Expert Copywriting Strategist

This quote has been attributed to Hemingway, Cicero, Voltaire, Mark Twain, and Blaise Pascal. But whoever wrote, “If I had more time, I’d have written you a shorter letter” understood it’s more challenging to write short copy than long copy.

This has never been more true than with the phenomenon of Twitter at

Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that works kind of like instant messaging. You choose who you Follow or allow in your inner circle.

Others choose to Follow or Unfollow you based on whatever criteria they have. Then you communicate via text messages of up to 140 characters long (including punctuation and names) called Tweets.

Think of it as a giant cocktail party where you contribute to other conversations, share relevant information, and at times include mindless babble. As my good friend, Scott Stratten Tweets, “Take 5 mins to read other tweets and comment/reply/retweet. Nothing about you. Build, interact, give.”

Sometimes keeping your Tweets under the character limit can be tough, though. So I put together a list of some of the more shorthand so you can work in as many words as possible in your Tweets.

Instead of ‘you’ use ‘u’
Instead of ‘and’ use ‘&’
Instead of ‘your’ use ‘ur’
Instead of ‘for’ use ’4?
Instead of ‘to’ or ‘too’ use ’2?
Instead of ‘before’ use ‘b4?
Instead of ‘favorite’ use ‘fave’
Instead of ‘great’ use ‘gr8?
Instead of ‘later’ use ‘l8r’
Instead of ‘people’ use ‘peeps’ or ‘ppl’
Instead of ‘are’ use ‘r’
Instead of ‘please’ use ‘plz’
Instead of ‘thanks’ use ‘thx’
Instead of ‘with’ use ‘w’
Can it be a contraction?
Instead of ‘I will do __’ use ‘I’ll do __’
Get rid of ‘that’ and ‘the’ whenever possible

Of course what you choose to Tweet about is even more important than the length of your Tweet.

ABOUT LORRIE: Award-winning marketer, world-renowned copywriter and creator of “The She Factor”, Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero of Red Hot Copy has a reputation as the top female copywriter in the info-marketing industry. Lorrie is dedicated to teaching the world it is possible to shift from the hype-filled sales to a more modern version …marketing written with authenticity, trust, and rapport.

Copywriting Strategist Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero publishes the award-winning Copywriting TNT weekly ezine with 33,000+ subscribers. If you’re ready to jump-start your business, make more money, and have more fun in your small business, get your FREE tips now at

7 Top Social Media Sites for Authors

7 top social media sites for authors by Deborah A BaileySocial media can be an author’s best friend–if used wisely.

When I first started using it, I was excited to connect with old friends and meet lots of new ones. Then it became overwhelming to try to be in so many places and make updates on all of them.

Then it got tiresome. Let’s face it, there’s no way to make it sound interesting if all you’re talking about is what you had for breakfast.  Here I am walking down the street. Here I am ordering coffee. Wow I’m stuck on the turnpike. Let me post a picture of this tree. Really?

Actually, social media can be a very useful tool, fun and doesn’t have to require constant care and feeding. You can use it effectively without burning yourself out, wasting time or spamming others.

If you’re an author who’s got books to promote, it’s really easier than you think.

Twitter – good for quick interactions. Keeps your communication simple and straightforward. But don’t spam your followers by asking them to buy your book. Mix your mentions in with other tweets. RT (retweet) interesting tweets so that you’re not just focusing on you. It’s an easy way to communicate and connect without the feeling of overwhelm that I often feel with other sites.

Facebook – post your book cover, articles, share other posts, quotes, pictures, etc. Share your interests while you promote your books. Create a fan page to promote yourself as an author. But whatever you do, be yourself and don’t feel compelled to say yes to every friend request.

LinkedIn – actually a good place for writers to interact. Lots of writing and publishing groups and (for the freelancers out there) opportunities to get job offers. If you write business books, it’s ideal because your potential readers will be on there. Good place to establish your “thought leader” creds.

Instagram – when I got my book proof, I took a picture and posted it on my account as an announcement of my new book. At first I was skeptical about its usefulness, but it’s actually fun to take pictures and share with your followers. it’s yet another way to tell your story and like all social media, it’s up to you how much you want to share. Young Woman Doing Research on Laptop 2003

Pandora – I’ve got the paid account with no ads. Do your characters have a favorite song? Any music inspire you while you work? Share your playlist or your favorite songs with your friends and fans.

Blog Talk Radio – start a radio show or be a guest. Check out my radio show, Women Entrepreneurs Radio to get an idea of how it’s done.

Pinterest – If you’re a visual person you’ll easily get lost on this site. So, don’t use it if you can’t keep track of time! Set up boards to post pics that describe your characters or settings from your book. It’s yet another way to reach potential readers, connect with others and share your interests with your fans.

Social media can help you to connect without having to go out to crowded events. But don’t rely on just one way to reach out to your fans and promote your books. You’ll never know where you’ll find your readers – or where they’ll find you.