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Author: Anna Abner

Christine Rains’ 1303: Dragonslayer Blog Tour Announced

Or, Check Out Christine Rains’ Exclusive Interview Right Here on Feb. 15

I’m thrilled to announce that Christine Rains, author of the 13th Floor series, will be stopping by on Feb. 15 for an interview to promote her new release, Dragonslayer.

Check out the new cover! And if you haven’t read her first two volumes in the series, they’re fantastic!

TheDragonslayercoversmall<3 Anna

 

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Write a Press Release in 10 Steps

Or, How I Taught Myself Promotion

When you’re a small-time, self-published author like me you have to be your own PR department and take over everything from running a website to convincing bloggers to review your book. Throw into that list writing your own press releases.

Unless you’re super famous or have a topical book to promote you probably won’t see any stories in national newspapers and magazines about you or your book. But, just maybe, your local newspaper will be interested in printing a story about a local girl (or boy) who followed her (or his) dreams to publication. I believe it’s worth your time to write a press release and email it to your local journalists and news desks.

1. Start your email with your full contact info and a friendly greeting (personalized, if possible). You can find the appropriate editors and email addresses on the newspaper’s website.

2. Print FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE at the start to signal the journalist when the actual article begins and that it is news ready to be printed.

3. Write a catchy headline. This is the first impression most people will have of the article and, by extension, you and your book. I followed the same rule of thumb for billboards–7 words or less. And capitalize the first letter of each word.

4. At the beginning of the first paragraph print your location in all caps and then the date.

5. The first paragraph should have the most important information about you and your story and the reason you’re both interesting or topical enough to warrant printing the article. Think about the 5 W’s of journalism. And don’t forget quotes or snippets of reviews (if you have them). End with a hook. But you knew that one already!

6. The next one or two paragraphs give more information on you, your story, and your book. But keep the whole thing short and snappy. Shoot for between 200 and 500 words.

7. Include where the book is available and add a link to your website or blog.

8. Attach your cover art or an author photo.

9. End the press release with ### to let journalists know the article is finished.

10. Final reminders: Write the release in the 3rd person and the way a non-partial  professional journalist would write it.  It should look like other, similar stories printed in that publication. And don’t be afraid to send a new press release out if your novel suddenly becomes topical or you can link it to a current event.

If you’re a new author and you’re not sure how to get the word out about your book, a nicely worded press release to the local paper can wield positive results.

<3 Anna

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My (Imaginary) Love Affair with Eddie Redmayne

Or, Why I Can’t Get Les Miserables Out of My Mind

Eddie Redmayne

I will admit I have a thing for redheads. When I was younger Eric Stoltz made me all fluttery. I think Prince Harry is way hotter than his brother. And Seth Green’s Oz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer starred in many of my adolescent daydreams.

So, when I saw Les Miserables it wasn’t Hugh Jackman’s scruffy Jean Valjean that grabbed my attention, but Eddie Redmayne’s lovesick Marius.

Naturally, I needed to see more of my new crush, which meant discovering heart-breaking little gems like Birdsong and Tess of the D’Urbervilles. It turns out Mr. Redmayne not only sings like an angel, but he’s a talented and award-winning actor. Check out his IMDB page for “date night” ideas here.

And don’t be surprised when the hero of my upcoming young adult series has shaggy auburn hair and soulful green eyes reminiscent of a certain British actor.

<3 Anna

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My New View

Or, Congratulations to Me

Anna'a Flowers

 

Three very special fans sent me bouquets of flowers in honor of the launch of Spell of Summoning. Now I get to write seeing and smelling the most beautiful flowers. Thank you for brightening my week!

 

<3 Anna

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Tuesday Tease #3

Or, A Short Excerpt from my Paranormal Romance Spell of Summoning!

April in North Carolina didn’t have the sticky heat that would settle over the state during the summer months, but it was warm. Sweat tickled at the back of Holden Clark’s neck. But not because of the weather. He’d lied to a woman to get her here.

Well, lie was a strong word. He’d rather say he’d persuaded a woman to join him for lunch under false pretenses. Because he wasn’t a liar. In fact, he prided himself on his honesty.

But he couldn’t think of any other way to get Rebecca Powell to meet him here. Telling her the truth over the phone was out of the question.

Buster, Holden’s yellow Labrador, sat up off the asphalt and whined at an approaching, slow-moving vehicle. This must be her.

A silver Lexus pulled over and parked two spots down in the half-empty lot, giving Holden plenty of room to watch Rebecca Powell through her car windows. Grams was right. No doubt about it, the woman was under a summoning spell, and the demon trying desperately to break into their world clung to Ms. Powell’s blonde hair and narrow shoulders like a filthy veil.

“Tell her whatever you have to,” Grams said, rounding the hood of his stripped-down 1979 Jeep. “She doesn’t have much time.”

He leaned against the passenger door, his fingers tightening to the point of pain around Buster’s long, braided leash. The air between him and Rebecca crackled with magical energy. The spell on her was no amateurish accident. It was stronger than anything he’d ever experienced. Fear coiled inside him. He couldn’t help her. No matter what his Grams said.

Spell of Summoning, ms pg 1

<3 Anna

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Tuesday Tease #2

Or, A Short Excerpt from my Paranormal Romance Spell of Summoning!

Holden frowned, his gaze criss-crossing her face. “Am I wrong?”

“That’s private.” Rebecca pointed at her car. “I have a lot of work to do.” That wasn’t true. Not completely. She owned her own office. She made her own schedule.

He looked her right in the eye and leaned in even closer. Way too close. Kissing range close. “A necromancer is targeting you for a full blown demon possession. I can help you, if you let me.”

Becca swallowed, overwhelmed with the urge to retreat. His body heat rolled over her like a wave. “What do you–”

“I know what’s happening because I’m a necromancer, too.”

Spell of Summoning, ms pg. 11

<3 Anna

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Weak Verbs & How to Lose Them

Or, How I Kicked the Word ‘Was’ Right off the Page

Whether you write in third person past tense (e.g. Maggie stubbed her toe on the lip of a paving stone and belly-flopped onto the grass) or first person narrative (e.g. Drake looks at me like I’m nuts, but I know what I saw) forms of the verb to be screw with our writing. Was, were, been, is, am, are.  AKA, my nemeses.

When I’m writing a first draft I type scenes and dialogue as fast as it pours out of me so I can get the framework down, from the first meet to the happily ever after. But that means I lose my critical eye for a few weeks and open the door for all kinds of sloppy, lazy writing to squeeze through. One of the worst–the word was and his brothers, were and been.

Before my first read through I use my find & replace tool to bold all the forms of was. Like this:

Martin was tired.

This is weak and lazy and just plain telling, not showing. Instead, I want to use stronger verbs and better phrasing:

Martin yawned. Or,

Martin yawned into his fingers. Or,

Martin’s head bobbed, startling him so badly he kicked the side table into Sarah’s shins.

It’s one of the easiest problems to find, but often the hardest to fix. It’s so tempting to write Martin was tired and hurry to the next action scene or romantic turning point. It’s a lot harder to dig in deep and immerse the reader in a complex and engaging world. So, roll up your sleeves and replace those devilish to be verbs with vivid and fast-paced action verbs that keep us all hanging on the edges of our seats.

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Tuesday Tease #1

Or, A Short Excerpt from my Paranormal Romance Spell of Summoning!

Holden let her go, sliding her down the entire length of his torso. He stepped back, and the temperature in the room dropped at least twenty degrees.

“It’s for the best.” Good God, Rebecca was babbling and couldn’t stop. “I have a lot of respect for you. I don’t want to ruin our friendship.”

Holden stared at her from under his brows, burning a hole through her, as if he didn’t hear anything she said. She wet her lips, getting the feeling he was not in agreement with her on the whole keep-your-distance policy.

“Right. That makes sense.” But his eyes said, I want you, and I don’t care what you say.

Rebecca had to put more space between them or she’d do something stupid. Like kiss him back.

Spell of Summoning, ms pg. 100

<3 Anna

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My Love/Hate Relationship with Adverbs

Or, There is Such a Thing as Being Too Descriptive

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” Stephen King

I love adverbs when they add emphasis to a phrase I can’t get another way. For example:

She was alone. Absolutely and completely alone.

The word alone sounds so sad and final at the end of those adverbs, like a death sentence.

I hate adverbs because writers shouldn’t use them. Once in a while, a fun adverb spices up your writing, but more than a handful in your novel and your writing slides into high school English class territory. For example:

Trey quickly ran his fingers through his jet black hair before stomping furiously

through the yellow swinging door into the sparsely furnished living room.

Of course we want to set the scene for our readers, but sometimes we forget how rich our readers’ imaginations are. They don’t need a ton of set-up to create vibrant and fantastic worlds populated by our characters. So, how about:

Trey stomped into the living room, grumbling a string of curse words.

I cut out the unnecessary description, quickened the pace, and I can still see the character perfectly in my mind’s eye, including the furious expression on his face. And, if I want to imagine him finger-combing his hair, it’s up to me.

I love adverbs for their ability to add unique rhythms and emphasis to certain words and phrases. But I hate adverbs because they slow down my writing and encourage readers to skip to “the good parts.” I get rid of them by searching for “ly” and highlighting each adverb in neon blue. (This is time consuming. If you have a simpler method, let me know in the comments.) I read the sentence containing the adverb and decide on a case by case basis if I need it there, or not. For example, I left this one in:

Becca was thinking clearly again. She just couldn’t believe what she was seeing.

Because I like it. And, every once in a while, an adverb is okay.

<3 Anna

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