"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Foreword, Preface, Introduction, and Prologue

Anyone who reads regularly has seen these at the beginning of a book before the story even begins. However, how many of us know the difference or purpose of these sections?

1)      Foreword – literally means “before the word.”  This is a short introduction to your book written by SOMEONE OTHER THAN THE AUTHOR, such as a well-known celebrity or a specialist in the topic of your book. It’s a credible opinion from someone else that both you and your book is worthy of the readers time. This is an endorsement of your knowledge and a major selling tool for the book. A foreword does not generally provide the reader any extra specific information about the book’s subject, but must make an emotional connection with the reader.

2)      Preface – sometimes called the “Author’s Note” it explains how the book came about. This is where YOU (the author) tell the reader why the book came about and how. This is where you provide your own credibility by providing any interesting background information such as why you became concerned over an issue, or a personal incident related to your topic. However, do NOT assume readers will actually read this section, so do not include any overly important information here.

3)      Introduction – similar to a preface, this section is more likely to be read and therefore may include more pertinent information to your content. Here you are enticing readers and letting them know exactly what to expect from your book. You might do this by discussing the thesis of your work, and the challenges faced in finding solutions. In short, it’s an overview.

4)      Prologue – almost the same as an introduction. The difference being, if you write a prologue, an epilogue will be expected. It’s like book ends, or a package deal. So, if you feel a need to provide a type of closure beyond your final chapter – such as what the future for your topic may look like – then you will be writing an epilogue which means you probably want to title the beginning as a prologue rather than an introduction.
I hope these explanations help you to clarify how to begin your own book. Each of these sections is a little different, and performs a specific function to aid in a professional looking product.
Do you include any of these in your own manuscripts?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Are You A Writer?

You know you're a writer when ...

you carry on writing even though you know how difficult it is to get published.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Last Days of Summer

I'm trying to enjoy the last days of summer before my girls return to school. Unfortunately, the weather isn't cooperating so we haven't been able to return to the beach. However, we are enjoying plenty of indoor activities. We just visited the Houston Children's Museum where they could try out different careers such as Postal Worker, Veterinarian, City Official, Bank Operator, Emergency Worker, Scientist, Painter, and others. Unfortunately, there was no section for writers. I guess they play enough of that at home though.

If you are looking for an upcoming workshop or conference try one of these: http://writing.shawguides.com/Events

Have you been able to enjoy a good summer?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Steampunk Fans...

Seven Online resources and a great steampunk group I found in San Diego

1) There is a call for submissions - Steampunk Universe. For more information on this as well as to peruse a great theme blog: http://beyondvictoriana.com/

2) http://www.steampunk.com/

3) http://austinsirkin.tumblr.com/

4) http://www.gdfalksen.com/

5) http://booktionary.blogspot.com/

6) http://www.jaborwhalky.net/

7) http://www.steam.netmagicllc.com/

8) Steam Powered Giraffes - check out their various members and songs on YouTube

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Mini Conference

One of the best treats a writer can give themselves is a day with other writers. There is nothing quite as contagious as a room full of individuals who share your passion. I recently enjoyed a mini conference with some southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana writers (see picture on the right). We were treated to a talented panel of speakers.


Terry Jude Miller is a poet from Houston, Texas. The recipient of many Poetry Society of Texas poetry awards, a Juried Poet for the 2011 & 2012 Houston Poetry Festivals and winner of the Global Peace Poem competition of the 2012 Tyler Peace Festival, his work has been published in scores of publications including the Texas Poetry Calendar, Harbinger Asylum, Postcard Poems and Prose Magazine, Everyday Poets, the University of Houston's Bayou Review, Ancient Paths, Orbis, Stepping Stones Magazine, Furnace Review, Shine Journal, Blue Skies Poetry, Survivor's Review, Live Oak Review, Lamplighter Review, Bijou Poetry Review, Chaffey Review, Foundling Review, Houston Literary Review, Boston Literary Magazine, the Edison Literary Review, and the Birmingham Arts Journal. Miller's books of poetry, are titled: "The Day I Killed Superman", "What If I Find Only Moonlight?", and "The Butterfly Canonical" and can be purchased at barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com. He is a member of the Academy of American Poets, the Poetry Society of Texas, the Gulf Coast Poets Society, and Poets Northwest (Houston). He is the creator of the Texas Poets Podcast. Terry is a retired professor of eMarketing and held an Innovation Fellowship at Kaplan University. More information is available at PoetTerryMiller.com.


Jessica Ferguson is the author of The Last Daughter, a romantic suspense. She is a staff writer for Southern Writers Magazine and co-editor of Swamp Lily Review, A Journal of Louisiana Literature & Arts. Jess worked as assistant editor/writer/photographer for The Times of Southwest Louisiana, and her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers in Louisiana and Texas. Her very favorite thing to do in life is to help and encourage others. Catch her blog at http://jessyferguson.blogspot.com.



Heather Duff, owner of Oxblaze Media & Marketing, specializes in building WordPress websites and developing content marketing strategies. Past clients include best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher, as well as other authors and speakers. She enjoys generating creative ideas to help others establish and engage their online readership and grow their marketing platform. She recently published the first installments of a short story series on Amazon Kindle in the fantasy fiction genre and is currently working on its completion. Heather also works as a fiction ghostwriter. She lives in Lake Charles, LA, where she also serves as the communications director for her church.


Are you looking forward to any special gatherings?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

IWSG: 5 Reasons for Vacation

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page

Today, I want to share "5 Reasons Writers Need a Vacation".

You may have noticed that I haven't posted in nearly a month. The truth is... I've been on vacation. A much needed and greatly enjoyable vacation. While I often lament the fact that family has become spread out around the country (making large family get-togethers a thing of the past), it does make travel more affordable. We stay with family when we travel, thereby eliminating a need for hotels, and no eating out since we take turns cooking family meals that often leave leftovers for the next day. That means the only added expenses this summer were for gas and sightseeing.

We enjoyed a week long stay with family in Colorado, several days in Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona, then two weeks with family in California before returning home to Texas. A wonderful blessing of a summer!

During that time, I took a break from writing as well. The only writing related work I've attempted during the last month has been to respond to a few editor emails related to some upcoming publications. Otherwise, I refused to work. This decision was made due to an almost complete burnout I was feeling in the previous months. I discussed some of those issues in my June IWSG post here and I want to thank everyone who has left encouraging comments here and on other social media.

Never underestimate the power of a vacation. It's so important to take a break - even if it's only to sit in the back yard with your feet in the kiddie pool. Here are just five reasons why vacations can be so important:

1) You need to recharge - sometimes weekends just aren't enough to balance the stress of your job. Try treating yourself to a full week if possible. During this time,ignore your email, social media, or any other "work" reminders as much as possible.

2) Get out of your daily environment - it's easier to break routine if you can find yourself in a new location. Stepping away from it ALL can give you a more fulfilling sense of peace. It also allows you to prioritize more efficiently when you return.

3) New experiences - seeing new places, meting different people, and trying new things triggers your creativity - making you not only a happier, but more productive individual.

4) Time with friends and family - you have control over the people you allow to be a part of your life. Hopefully, you've found friends and family you can enjoy these times alongside. This makes travel more enjoyable, and you're less likely to slip back into depression if you have someone to share the memories with later.

5) Exercise - maybe you are usually stuck in a cubicle all day, or you've been too tired or depressed to be active - either way vacation can help you break the cycle. Whether you enjoy walking, hiking, swimming, or marathon park hopping and sightseeing, your activity level naturally increases when you are happy.

At the end of your "time away" you should feel amazing. More powerful, creative, and unstoppable. I hope you are able to treat yourself to a much needed vacation.

What's the best vacation you've enjoyed? What would be your "dream" vacation?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Playing Chicken: Talking Soup

It's summer, and the time for many family vacations. I hope you are able to enjoy some fun, but safe, time with loved ones.

It's also time for a new issue of Southern Writer's magazine. In this 4th Anniversary issue I talk with Amy Newmark, publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, about the 'behind the scenes' workings of a world wide best-selling publication.

To learn more about this magazine or to order a copy, please visit: http://www.southernwritersmagazine.com/

How are your manuscripts or other projects coming along? Are you reading any great books or magazines?