Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sydney Logan

My First Year in Publishing

September 6 will mark the one year anniversary of the release of my debut novel, Lessons Learned. Since that time, I have released my second novel, as well as three short stories. I have learned so much during the past year in regards to writing, promotion, and making connections in the publishing world. Many “lessons learned,” for sure!

If I could offer one piece of advice to aspiring writers, it would be to prepare yourself for the “business” side of writing. Whether you self-publish or are signed by an indie or traditional publisher, most (if not all) of the marketing of your books will be up to you. You will also be responsible for maintaining a presence on social media. All of this marketing, promoting, and connecting is part of the gig, and it’s obviously an important part. It can also be enjoyable, especially when you have the chance to interact with readers. Unfortunately, all this promotion cuts into valuable writing time, and it only gets harder with each new release.

It’s all about balance.

My advice? Choose a few social media sites and get comfortable with them. I tend to focus my attention on my website, Twitter, and Facebook, but choose what’s best for you. I use my social media sites to promote my books, highlight other authors, and to keep my readers updated on upcoming releases and events.

It’s very easy to get consumed by social media and marketing because both are essential in spreading the word about your books. These sites keep you connected to your readers and (hopefully) help you connect with new ones.

Just be sure to manage your time wisely, because writing time is precious.

Sydney Logan holds a Master's degree in Elementary Education and lives in East Tennessee. With the 2012 release of her novel, Lessons Learned, she made the transition from bookworm to author. Her second book, Mountain Charm, was released in 2013. She is also the author of three short stories. When she isn't writing, Sydney enjoys playing piano and relaxing on her porch with her wonderful husband and their very spoiled cat.

Visit her online:


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Short Story Guy
Google+ Profile:

Using A Quote as a Jump-Starter to Writing Stories

A technique that has worked for me when writing a story is using a thought or saying to spur the beginning of a story, or to shape the views or voice of a character.

I’ll give you an example. One day, I forget when exactly, I must’ve been thinking about the gay debate in America, or simply of relationships in general. Of that, I am not sure. But I do know that I recorded the following on my phone for later use as material:

 “I sympathize with the homosexual because it must be difficult to harbor love interests for a whole gender that doesn’t by default like you back. In other words, what limits us as guys from approaching a girl we like is our lack of courage, but a gay holding that same courage has to also be open to offending his interest.”

I even remember when these words came to my mind. No it wasn’t magical. I was simply walking down a hallway to the restroom and poof, those very words came to my mind--exactly how I’ve typed them.

While they must’ve originally been my thoughts and views toward the gay experience in our society, that is not why I decided to record this thought for later use. I recorded it because I knew that this quote could become the views of a character that I can use in later material.

I didn’t know what story would accompany this quote, or what character would say it, or in what type of scene. I just knew that there was something in this thought that could spark a discussion between two characters, or give birth to some sort of action. I wasn’t sure at all, but I recorded the thought.

A couple of months literally went by before I even went back to this note. I was writing a short story about the gay debate in America titled, “Beers, Gays and Straights.” It was a short story for my online publication, Short Story Guy, which features short stories based on current events. These news-inspired short stories use a current event to create a short fiction story that comments or adds to the relevant topic.

In this case, one of the relevant news stories at the time was the gay debate in America, and I knew I had to produce a short story for this topic. Guess what? The only material I had to begin was that very line I had recorded long ago, which I knew would be useful, somehow. I knew that the view expressed in that saying or quote could come into play somewhere in the story.

It turns out that I wrote a story about three young men who got together one day to watch the NCAA March Madness basketball championship (which was also going on around this time in April). While the game set the scene, the real focus was to somehow have this story comment on what was going on in America at the time regarding gay laws. The three men end up going to a grocery store to shop for food and drinks for the game, and at the store one of them has an encounter with a seemingly gay man, which makes this character feel uncomfortable.

All along as I wrote this story, I had that quote in mind and I still hadn’t used it. Finally, after the encounter at the grocery store took place, I knew this quote would come to life soon, and it did. It fit another character perfectly, and he said this quote to his friend to try to make him sympathize and relate with being gay.

You can read the full short story here: It is also accompanied with a podcast episode so that you can hear me give voice-acting a shot with these characters.

To conclude, I recommend saving any thought or saying that comes to you however you can. If you carry a smart phone, there are plenty of apps you can quickly use to record things. You can either type them out in regular note-taking apps, or use something like Evernote, which synchronizes your thoughts and notes across devices.

If you don’t have a smart phone, then carry a note-taker. Whatever the case is, value the thoughts that come to you every day. Life provides us with material every day, and it is our job to put it to use.

If you catch yourself thinking something or saying something to yourself, that might be a quote for a character who you can later develop into a full personality.

Give it a shot! Today, if you have any one of these thoughts, save it, and try to start a story with that saying by having two characters talk to each other on a back and forth. Good luck!

Jose has an interest in storytelling (journalism, fiction, nonfiction) and content creation, which has led him to gain experience in digital communications (writing, editing, web publishing, and online media). Previously, he worked in education for 10 years at the high school and university level. He is currently an editor and contributor to Short Story Guy, an online current event and modern-day fiction and nonfiction publication. He hosts the Short Story Guy Podcast and manages the site’s social media accounts.

He graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Literature and Film, and now lives in Los Angeles, CA.

For guest-post inquiries, email him at contact[at]shortstoryguy[dot]com

You can also get in further contact with Jose via his website, Short Story Guy.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Trippin Tippin Thursday!

D.W. Carver
Her website

I have been writing since I learned how to do it at the age of seven. I had always told myself stories and writing them down just seemed like the natural thing to do. I wish I still had some but I tended to get annoyed if I thought they weren’t good enough and threw them out. In my early teens I took on a newspaper delivery route – it was long and boring. I started to write a novel in my head, a chapter a day. It was pretty bad but kept me entertained. I suppose this mental writing became part of my life and for some reason I didn’t need to put these words on paper so I ‘wrote’ a let of novels and short stories that never made it past my head which was probably just as well.

However, what this system did was develop a way of composition for me that required ‘balance’ – it had to scan like lines of poetry (not rhyme of course). At school it used to annoy me that other English students couldn’t see that their poetry didn’t work. The cleverness of the words and ideas meant nothing to me if the whole thing didn’t have the proper shape.  Of course I had no idea what this shape should be, I just knew when it didn’t happen.

For some years as a young adult I did very little writing then I became a community mental health counsellor, working in East London, England for a charity. There were a great many self-help books out there for the area of work we specialized in (anxiety disorders and OCD) but I found that many of our clients did not read from choice and preferred the anecdotal form of counselling – stories about other people’s experiences with the problem. I found I was repeating myself so much that I decided to write the ‘talks’ down. Field testing these books and booklets with clients - getting feedback on what actually worked for them - was an excellent apprenticeship for novel writing. This plus my need for balance in the written word has given me the style I use today.

For anyone new to writing, there is no substitute for simply doing it. Writing is a craft that is honed by experience and long practise. Technical books help but they won’t make you a good writer. I know some people can sit down and plan a book chapter by chapter like producing a blueprint. I can’t do that. My stories seem to develop as I write; often changing radically if the balance of a character feels wrong. I sometimes think it’s a bit like the days when I use to make plasticine models for my sons. I’d roll it into a tube shape, give it a couple of twists then inspect it to see what the object ‘wanted to be’ from the new shape I had made. If that doesn’t make sense then my writing system is not one that will suit you.


Currently I am writing a sequel to ‘Desperation’. I spent a good deal of time being a talking head for UK radio and TV on anxiety disorders and am having fun describing Kate’s experiences in this world. Anyone who wants to read ‘Desperation’ can find details of this and other books on my website (

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Unscrupulous (The Manhattanites, #2)

Unscrupulous by Avery Aster

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was absolutely amazing!  I was hooked from page one all the way to the end.  Big Daddy (Warner) was what every woman wanted in her man and Red (Tabby) was what every woman wanted to be.  There were literally moments where I wanted jump in the pages of the book and ask Red to teach me how to be so sexy and independent.  The chemistry between these two is absolutely electrifying. At some points I had to put the book down and fan myself. I don’t like to give away the plot of books so you are going to have to read it for yourself, but you will not be disappointed!

Pros: The book was very well written and I can tell that Ms. Aster used a professional editor.  There was a lot of great detail and I could tell that a lot of time was spent developing each character and giving them their own unique personalities and quirks.  There are a few new words that I will be adding to my vocabulary such as “vajazzled”. 

Cons: I think this is more of a personal preference but I thought the story was a little slow at first. I love when an author takes the time to set the stage for what is to come, but this was a bit much for my taste.  It took a little too long to get to the first love scene of substance. I was about 50% through the book before Red and Big Daddy had finally got together and let the real sparks fly.  But other than that I loved this book.

This was definitely a good read and if you haven’t picked it up yet I highly recommend that you do. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Topic Tuesday

Today I thought I would start with something a little fun and in honor of my chosen writing genre (romance).  Read the prompt below and write your own Happily Never After for the Cinderella story.  I would love for you to share what you come up with and post it in the comment section.

Fairy tales have happy endings.  All of us know what happened in that mushy fairy tale, Cinderella.  Yeah it’s romantic, the prince actually finding Cinderella.  They lived happily ever after.  But happy endings can sometimes be, well…boring.  No zing. So predictable.  So…happy.  What if the shoe fit one of the sisters?  What happens then?  Play with your imagination here.  Be funny if you like. Or serious if you feel like it.  Or be an Alfred Hitchcock.  Whatever you are into, write your ending to the Cinderella story—but this time, make it so that the shoe fit one of the icky sisters.  What does Prince Charming do?  How does Cinderella cope with it?  And what about the Fairy Godmother?  Start your story here.
(Prompt provided by

My ending:
Prince Charming smiled up at Cinderella as he slowly slipped the glass slipper over her slim elegant foot.  Cinderella held her breath for what felt like ages as the shoe crept over her toes, then her heel to finally slip into place. But wait!  The shoe was too big.  How could this be?  Cinderella and Prince Charming locked eyes, shock etched all over her face. Cinderella’s evil half-sisters snickered in the background.

“It looks like you won’t be leaving us so soon after all Cinder-smella,” Gertrude sneered.  “Look at you getting your hopes up.  How pathetic.  Now get out of my way. It’s my turn to try the shoe on.”

“No I will not move!  This is my shoe I left it at the ball last night.”

“If it was your shoe then why doesn’t it fit?” Gertrude asked accusation and skepticism dripping from every syllable she spoke.

“That is an excellent question. I will have to ask my Fairy Godmother?”

“First you have delusions about going to a royal ball, now you have an imaginary Fairy Godmother?  Do you realize how cra-cra you sound right now?  Guards drag this crazy half-wit out of the room until my sister and I have tried on the shoe.”

“Wait no..wait…” Cinderella screamed as she was dragged from the room.  Both sisters watched with open enjoyment until their step-sisters could no longer be heard.  In true chameleon form Gertrude twirled around to face Prince Charming showing as much sweetness and charm that anyone with such a cold heart could must.

Prince Charming’s eyes roamed the room looking for an exit.  It would be a cold day in hell before he married one of these two hags.  Between the clown like make-up, rancid odor of perfume and body odor, rotting teeth and hair that hadn't seen a comb in days his little member literally tried to crawl back into him at the prospect of touching one of them.  He was taking a leap even going for the smelly servant girl, whatshername, Cindy, Ella, Cinder, or whatever.  At least that one wasn't bad on the eyes and could at least be bathed and made presentable.

“Well Prince Charming.  It looks like it’s my turn.  I can’t wait to be your wife.”

“Madame I would rather turn to bestiality and marry a pig before I would even consider either of you.  You may have the shoe and if anyone in this household makes an attempt to contact me I will have you all beheaded!”  

The Prince threw the glass slipper up in the air in the general direction of the girls standing with their mouths hanging open and made his way to the door.  Gertrude caught the shoe seconds before it hit the ground.  With little hesitation she slipped the shoe onto her foot and marveled at the fact that it fit.  “Prince Charming it fits! It fits! I’m your new bride” she shouted at the Prince’s retreating form.  Without looking back Prince Charming made his way to his carriage.  Stepping in he paused for a brief moment to talk with his valley.  “Sam my good man.  When we get back to the castle please send a chamber maid to my suite.”  Without waiting for a response he climbed into the carriage and rode off into the sunset.

The End

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Mini!!!

The next installment of my miniseries "Phone sex operators need love too" is now ready for your reading consumption. Click over to the miniseries page to check it out. Hope you enjoy!

Onto other news, I am officially convinced that my computer is plotting against my writing career. It keeps giving me difficulty when posting to my blog, hence the 9:15pm blog post. Granted it could be because it is my work computer, but I'm just going to go with it hating me. Also, please excuse the formatting issues on the miniseries. Again a result of my computer hating me.

Onto book related news, we completed the photo shoot for my book cover. I am so excited! I can't wait to show it to you guys.  Hopefully by the end of next week I will have the finished cover design to share with you.

Don't forget that I am looking for guest authors to write posts on Thursdays.  If you are interested please contact me at

Well that's all she wrote!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hello Everyone!

An inevitable part of starting anything new is stumbling. You research, try things, fail, and eventually you get your bearings and get better. My career as a writer and my work on this blog are no different. That is why I am now revamping my blog. The new format/schedule will be as follows:

  • Monday Mini- weekly release of the best chapter of my miniseries Phone sex operators need love too. It's the funny, quirky story of the self-proclaimed loneliest phone sex operator in the world and her escapades in online dating.
  • Topic Tuesday- I will post a new writing topic each week and encourage you to post your response to to the topic.
  • Wednesday in Review- each week I will add a new review of a book that I have read. I would love to read your work!
  • Trippin Tippin Thursday- a new author will be featured in a guest post. They will give their advice or tips on things they have learned throughout their professional writing career. If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at

There is no time like the present to start something new so in honor of my new schedule below is a post by my first guest author Angeline Trevena from Devon in the UK.

Trippin Tippin Thursday!

Angeline Trevena
Her website:

I began telling stories as soon as I learned to speak. I still have a copy of the very first story I wrote as a young child. It's just something I've always done, and the desire to write comes to me as naturally as breathing.

But a desire to write is one thing, turning that into hours of dedication, strict self-discipline, and an ability to ignore the inner editor, that is something quite different. Writing is hard work, and getting published is even harder work.

I started my journey towards a writing career with novels. It had never really crossed my mind that writers might ever write anything else. But I have a bit of a problem with novels. They're long. Very long. And my attention span, enthusiasm, and motivation doesn't quite match up. I've never managed to get very far past a first draft. My house is filled with abandoned novels gathering dust.

If I ever wanted a writing career, I needed a serious personality transplant, or a new writing focus. And then I found it.

In January 2011, my first short story, 'The Vincent Orphanage', was published in The Mirador Fantasmagoria anthology. That was the moment I realised; I could have a writing career without having to slog my way through a 90,000 word novel.

Don't get me wrong; short stories aren't easier to write than novels. In many ways, they're even harder. But it's a little like comparing apples and oranges – they require such a different approach, such a different set of skills. Try fitting an entire story into 1,500 words: besides the plot itself, there's themes, fore-shadowing, character arcs, sub-plots. That's a lot to fit in while still making it engaging, immersive, and exciting. It's a tough gig.

And I'll admit; I'm hooked. The moment I submit one story, I'm looking for my next call for submissions. I bounce from story to story, world to world, character to character. I barely know where I am half the time, and it keeps my adrenaline pumping. One month I'll be in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, the next I'm battling evil fairies, then I'm bedding down for the night in a haunted castle. I love that.

Besides, writing a brand new story is the best way to cope with the wait for a submission response. Writing something new saves me from checking my emails every 30 seconds.

I've been told I'm not a 'real writer', I've been told I'm 'choosing the easy option', but I know none of it's true. I can now boast to be, not just a published writer, but a paid one too. There'll always be people who think short story writers are somehow 'lesser' than novelists, but you'd be surprised how many big name writers started out writing shorts, who still write shorts, and who encourage aspiring writers to do the same.

Some runners will always be sprinters, some will always run long-distance. Neither is easier than the other, neither is less prestigious or less honourable. There are some invaluable skills writing shorts can give you, skills that you can bring to your novel, that will improve your novel and your writing style as a whole.

Find yourself a call for submissions that catches your imagination, and give it a go. You've nothing to lose, and you might just discover a new writing passion. Maybe you're a sprinter after all.


Angeline Trevena is a horror and fantasy writer, poet and journalist from Devon in the UK. She lives above a milkshake shop and has a habit for climbing into wardrobes to look for Narnia. She has short stories published by Mirador Publishing, Crooked Cat Publishing, Angelic Knight Press, and Horrified Press. Visit her website to find out more:

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mid-week Musings:

Authors are magicians.  They take a blank pages and make entire worlds come alive in the readers mind with the stroke of a pen.  I am ever grateful to be incorporated in this wonderful group of people.  I met with my writing group today and there were a few new faces in the group.  A recurring theme among the introductions was the fact that many of the people had written stories that had never been seen by others.  One gentleman said that he had multiple folders filled with writings that he had completed over the years that he did nothing with and usually end up forgotten.

I know there are varying reasons why people do not share their writings.  Sometimes people are shy or embarrassed by what they write.  Some people don’t think that what they write is worth sharing or simply write for the experience.  Today I would like to challenge everyone to share something you have written.  If not publicly at least with a close friend or family member.  I firmly believe that the written word has a power that we can never truly measure.  What you write may have an impact on another person’s life that you never even thought was possible.  Never underestimate the power of your words.

Information is key in our world.  I love sharing things I find to help out my fellow authors.  Here are a few great links that I found today:

Monday, August 5, 2013

Reading a book to write a book

Happy Funday Monday!!!

Today has really been a great day for me and I hope that it has been for you all as well.  In addition to writing, I also have a day job and today I didn't have to go into the office because the AC was broken.


I have gotten so much writing done it is ridiculous and I got to spend another day in my trusty sweatpants (they treat me so well).  Just as a reminder, today I posted the first chapter of my miniseries "Phone sex operators need love too" so go check it out (click here).  It is the story of Julia the self-professed "loneliest phone sex operator in the world" and her journey into online dating.  I will be posting a new chapter every Monday so keep coming back to find out what randomness Julia gets herself into.

Onto a less self-promoting topic.  As many of you know writing is a talent, but also a skill that must be developed by studying your craft.  I am working on publishing my first book (so excited!!) at the moment and I must say it is a long and sometimes confusing process.  There have been many times where I was like, "Ok I need an editor. Where the hell do I get an editor?" or "I am ten chapters into my book and I officially have no idea where to take it from here".

 It was at these points that I began to realize that although my natural talent was good I would need to add a little skill to that talent to become truly GREAT.  So I began reading even more novels in the genre I am interested.  I saw how the authors handled certain things that I might be struggling with such as creating solid dialogue.  And I also turned to books on how to write a book.  If you are looking for something to try yourself, below are a few titles that you might find helpful.  If you're more of an off the cuff  writer than more power to you, but for those of us who aren't there's no problem with that either.

Well that's all she wrote!

As a bit of a P.S.:
 I don't know if there are any romance novelists out there that are looking for a fun way to promote there books, but The Masquerade Crew (a group of reviewers) are hosting their Romance Novel Scavenger Hunt in the month of September.  You can check out their website by clicking the link below.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

My new mini series

As many of you may know writing a book is not an overnight process. It will probably be months between books, which leads to the question of how to stay connected with my readers in the meantime.  My solution to this question is to create a miniseries.

Every Monday I will be posting a new installment of my miniseries "Phone sex operators need love too". It is a funny, quirky story about Julia the self-professed "loneliest phone sex operator in the world" and her journey into the world of online dating. The first post will be tomorrow Monday August 5th. Make sure to check it out!

Well that's all she wrote.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Welcome to my brain

Hello all!

So my name is Olivia and I would like to invite you all into my brain. By that I mean that I LOVE to write and I am now at a point in my life where I can finally dedicate myself to it as much as I would like. Thus, I will be sharing my writings with all of you. I am working on getting my first actual book out the door and onto Amazon (e-book) by the end of the month. My main genre is romance, but I love dabbling in everything in between. I will also be posting short stories, clips from future books, character development, etc. as I trek along my writing journey. I hope that you all will be more than willing to give your honest feedback and critiques on everything I post. I would love to have constant dialogue and conversations between us because in the end a writer is nothing without their readers! Well, that’s all she wrote.