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BLOG TOUR: Beyond the Book—Tips for Writers with Traci Sanders


Writers—Here You Go!

Today I am sharing space at 4writersandreaders with indie author and publisher Traci Sanders. Sanders has written a fantastic new series that will help even the seasoned pro write it better. Here, in her own words, is Traci…

TIP 165: Watch your tone

This tip, and many others on grammar and writing, can be found in Before You Publish: Tips on grammar, writing, and editing.

Before You Publish: Tips on grammar, writing, and editing (Write It Right Book 1)

You can think of this as a reference guide, rather than a book you need to read from cover to cover. It will become your new go-to-guide for all things writing, grammar, and editing. The tips are easy to follow and explained in simple terms that anyone can understand and put to use right away.

Growing up, do you remember your parents telling you, “It wasn’t what you said, it was how you said it”? I do.

I hated hearing that, but I must admit now that it’s true … especially in writing, because tone cannot be automatically detected in text.

I’ll bet most of you haven’t put much thought into this with your writing. In all honesty, I didn’t either—until I learned a better way.

I won’t get into all the mechanics of writing dialogue just yet. This tip is going to help you establish tone in writing dialogue.

Have you ever read a line such as this in a story?: “Not a word of this to anyone,” she whispered.

Well, until we got to “she whispered,” we had no inclination of the tone of voice this character used. As readers, we had to create the tone in our heads, and then we realized at the end of the sentence, we were wrong.

We know the character didn’t shout the words because there is no exclamation point. So maybe we thought he/she simply declared this statement in a regular voice, or perhaps he/she was angry and said it through gritted teeth. We had no way of knowing for sure until we saw the word whispered.

Therefore, to convey true tone without making the reader guess how the words are meant to sound, the author needs to indicate a change in voice before the character speaks.

Here are a few examples of ways to establish intonation before dialogue:

Okay: “Don’t touch my phone,” the boy’s mom warned through gritted teeth.

Better: The boy’s mom gritted her teeth and said, “Don’t touch my phone.”

Okay: “Don’t leave me,” she begged.

Better: Her voice trembled as she begged, “Don’t leave me.”

Okay: “Stacey, look at the abs on that guy. His girlfriend is one lucky woman,” Laura whispered to her best friend as they sat at the table in the library.

Well, darn. We had to wait until three-fourths of the way through this sentence to find out that Laura didn’t say the words loud enough for anyone but Stacey to hear, and learn that the two girls were in a library.

Better: As they sat at the library table, Laura leaned into Stacey and whispered, “Girl, look at the abs on that guy. His girlfriend is one lucky woman.”

Okay: “You never let me do anything. I hate you,” he mumbled to his mom under his breath.

Better: In a voice only he could hear, Jamie mumbled, “You never let me do anything. I hate you.” You would have set the scene with the mom before this sentence. It doesn’t always have to be part of the dialogue.

So, now you know another trick to help you write dialogue that keeps your story moving along without readers having to go back and reread the sentence once they realize they used the wrong tone.

For more tips on writing compelling dialogue, I highly recommend you all check out this book. It’s a fun, quick guide that provides a wealth of information.

Traci Sanders

Award-winning author of parenting, children’s, and romance titles

http://amzn.to/2cYUdKM

~Reviews keep authors writing~

Traci Sanders is a multi-genre, multi-award-winning author of ten published titles, with contributions to three anthologies. An avid blogger and supporter of Indie authors, she writes parenting, children’s, romance and nonfiction guides.

Sanders’s ultimate goal is to provide great stories and quality content for dedicated readers, whether through her own writing or editing works by other authors.

Traci Sanders is giving away two prizes during this tour:

  • ONE unsigned paperback copy of Before You Publish– Volume I 
  • ONE unsigned paperback copy of Beyond The Book –Volume II 

To enter, all you have to do is email Traci a proof of purchase of a digital copy of either of these two books during the tour.

She will draw TWO winners total, at the end of the tour.

Please email your proof of purchase (can be a screenshot) to tsanderspublishing@yahoo.com

GOOD LUCK!

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Celebrate EARTH DAY with a Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Monarch Butterfly eBook—ONLY 99¢ Limited Time (April 22-28)


HAPPY EARTH DAY!

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Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Monarch butterflies are a threatened species. The Center for Biological Diversity and the Center for Food Safety filed a legal petition requesting Endangered Species Act protection for the monarch and its habitat.

AMAZING MATILDA written and illustrated by Maine author Bette A. Stevens:

~Click MATILDA’s cover to take a “Look Inside” on YOUR AMAZON~

“Award-winning picture book adventure follows a monarch butterfly through her life cycle and teaches kids important life lessons along the way!”

About the book

AMAZING MATILDA (Ages 5-11 + grownups love it too) Friendship, patience and persistence are among the lessons learned in this gem of a tale featuring an amazing monarch butterfly. This award-winning picture book adventure follows the monarch’s life cycle as Matilda embarks on a quest to make her dream of flying come true. Matilda emerges from her egg on a milkweed leaf, she stretches and yawns and wants to fly. Sparrow tells her to follow her dreams. Toad and Rabbit laugh at a creature without wings who wants to fly. You’ll be as amazed as Toad and Rabbit, as you follow Matilda from egg to imago.

DOWNLOAD a copy of AMAZING MATILDA by Bette A. Stevens (ONLY 99¢ April 22th–April 28th )—award-winning monarch butterfly picture book— at YOUR AMAZON

Love Monarch Butterflies?

BEYOND THE   BOOK—find resources at your finger tips: Have fun and learn even more about Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ monarch butterflies by downloading Bette’s FREE Click here: FUN & LEARNING with Monarch Butterflies PDF where you’ll find:

  • Monarch Facts
  • Coloring Pages
  • Crafts
  • Gardening
  • Video: How to Make an Origami Butterfly
  • Butterfly Teacher Guide and so much more…
  • FIND OUT how you can help protect our Amazing Monarchs

 Find out more about Maine author/illustrator Bette A. Stevens and her books:

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Aside

#FREE Limited Time: PURE TRASH by Bette A. Stevens


pure-trash-kindle-from-amazon-page

PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction) by Bette A. Stevens
#FREE eBook through February 26, 2017
Grab a copy of this must-read prequel to DOG BONE SOUP today at Your Amazon http://amzn.to/1T5tMAZ today!

5gold-star3

“This is a glimpse into the characters of Shawn and Willie Daniels who take front and center in the author’s full-length novel, DOG BONE SOUP. A nostalgic vignette, PURE TRASH will whisk you into an era and place where many struggled to survive the grip of poverty. This short novella is filled with adventure, and the fun of boys being boys–riding bikes, collecting bottles for penny candy, and running into trouble…and prejudice.

“Enjoy this short read but when you are finished, I highly recommend purchasing DOG BONE SOUP. It’s a gem of a book that will leave a lasting impression with its memorable characters, heart and story line. Don’t miss it!” ~ Mae Clair, author

Book summary

PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction/Ages 10-adult) In this short story adventure set in New England in the 1950s, two young boys set out on a Saturday adventure you won’t want to miss! Experience the joy of a carefree Saturday and the blistering pain of feeling not quite good enough as you hop on a bike and ride into town with two delightful young boys who find adventure at every turn. Shawn and Willie Daniels live in the woods with no indoor water or plumbing. Dad spends most of his hard-earned money on beer. Prejudice, class division, alcoholism, poverty, injustice, and bullying are cleverly woven into this 1950s adventure short. PURE TRASH is the short story prequel to DOG BONE SOUP, Stevens’s début novel DOG BONE SOUP.

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Aside

Author Spotlight—Meet Stephanie Collins


Happy Love Month! I can’t think of a better way of spreading love than by sharing my love of reading and writing with you.  So, today, I am sharing with you a fellow author, hard-working mother of four, loving wife, and the unsuspecting author of a true medical drama/unconventional love story called With Angel’s Wings.  Stephanie is a member of Rave Writers – International Society of Authors (RWISA). Join me in welcoming award-winning author Stephanie Collins and learn more about this amazing gal in our interview. ~Bette A. Stevens
profile-pic-rwisa-blog-tour

Stephanie Collins, author of award-winning memoir With Angel Wings

Welcome, Stephanie Collins. How long have you been writing?

I began writing therapeutically in 1996. It was sometime around 2010 when I started seriously considering turning those writings into a book.

How many books have you authored?

I never intended to be an author at all. As I said, I wrote therapeutically through some rough times in my life, and later turned that into my one and only book—With Angel’s Wings.

Do you have a writing schedule?

I’ve been asked a number of times to write a sequel. That project doesn’t feel right to me, so I “compromised,” and write a monthly blog that acts as something of a continuation to the book’s epilogue. Writing once a month feels like a comfortable pace. It’s fun, it’s therapeutic, and the length of time between posts gives me plenty of time to find a new, interesting subject matter to focus on.

You’re a member of RAVE WRITERS – INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS (RWISA). Why do you think you were accepted into this exclusive group?

I was accepted into RWISA because I didn’t have a lot to do with the writing process. I am in awe of REAL authors. I wrote a memoir. I didn’t have to come up with a plot or a storyline. I didn’t have to worry about character development or believable dialogue. Someone with a much higher pay grade (and apparently a rather twisted sense of humor) took care of all that for me. I just had to play my role, then honestly and accurately document what happened. Now, living it…THAT was a challenge. Writing it down was a relative walk in the park. Heck, I didn’t even have to have good grammar; I had a great editor for that!

Modesty aside, what separates your writing from the millions of other writers in the world?

In all seriousness, what sets our story apart is the story, itself; not my writing. It’s all about the content. I’m not the star of my book (as a character or as the author), it’s the circumstances I and the rest of my family faced. Having a compelling, intriguing and thought-provoking story that demonstrates humanity (at its best or worst…or, better yet, a little of both) and touches the reader’s heart—that’s what can make a story great. Like I said, I am in awe of fiction authors when they can create that for us readers. As an author I was “lucky” enough to have all of that taken care of for me. I guess you could say I had the best writer of all on my staff! I WILL take credit for finding a great editor before I ever shared our story with anyone. That’s advice I’ll give to EVERY author. Find. A. Good. Editor!

If you could spend a day picking the brain of one author, who would that be? Why?

There are a number of authors I’d love to sit and chat with. I’m a romance junkie, and something of a history buff, so I’d have a particularly great time talking with any historical romance author who has done extensive research. One that comes to mind (off the top of my head) is Pamela Clare, who wrote a historical romance trilogy that had to do with the origins of the US Rangers. The love stories were great, but I was fascinated by the history of the Rangers, and would love to chat further about all she learned in her research.

Are you a die-hard INDIE writer who loves having complete control of your work, or, if you were offered a publishing contract today, would you sign on the dotted line?

I’m a fan of being an indie author. I’m a bit of a control freak (and by “a bit” I mean JUST shy of obsessive/compulsive), so I guess it fits my personality. I started off with a small publisher (who was also my editor). We were a great team, I learned a lot from her, and was happy to begin my publication journey with her. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor about a year after we published, so she had to sell her business. The woman who bought the business was NOT at the same level as the woman she had bought the business from. To make a long story short, I fired her and went solo. I have LOVED being an indie author. I don’t know that I would have been so successful as an indie author without the lessons I learned from my publisher, so I’m thankful for that experience, but I can’t imagine ever accepting a publishing deal in the future.

As an author, where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In five years I hope to be pretty much where I am now as an author. I set out to educate people about some realities of special needs parenting. I think I’m rather successful in getting the message out there. If I’m still reaching new people in five years, I’ll be ecstatic.

What is the ONE tool that has been the most beneficial tool in the marketing of your books?

My marketing “plan” heavily relies on social media. It has been an AMAZING marketing tool…at JUST the right price! Twitter has been, by far, the most useful tool for me, but I try to keep up with multiple pages (mostly Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest).

Name one writer that you know of, member or non-member of RRBC, who you feel should be added to the RWISA Roster of elite members? Why?

I read Amie O’Brien’s “The Merchant’s Pearl” months ago, and I still find myself thinking about the story. It was a unique, memorable, and touching read. I can’t think of better qualifiers for mention, recognition, and addition to the RWISA library.

What is the one piece of advice that you could share that would be most valuable for those aspiring to not only be writers, but those aspiring to be great writers?

Write with your heart. If it doesn’t reach you it won’t reach your readers. Then find a good editor.

Do you believe that writers who churn out several books a year are really putting out quality work?

I’ve never paid too close attention to the publication dates of the series I’ve read (or multiple stand-alone books by a single author), so I don’t know that I’m qualified to answer that question. I’ve certainly read books that felt rushed (lack of editing, “shallow” plots, etc.), but I don’t know if that was due to rushing, neglect, or lack of writing talent (or some special combination of the three).

If you had promised your fans a book by a certain date only to find that your book wasn’t the best it could be, would you go ahead and publish your book just to meet that self-imposed deadline and deliver as promised, or, would you disappoint your fans and shelve the book until it was absolutely ready? No matter your reason, please explain why?

I wouldn’t want my name attached to anything that is less than the best I feel it can be. That has actually happened in the past, and I’m still horrified. I had my book translated to Spanish. It was a reputable agency and the translator had a good track record. The book was in Spanish, though, and I’m not fluent in Spanish. I just assumed it was fine and I published it. Not long after publication (and THANKFULLY before I made any sales) I had a friend from Madrid and another friend from Mexico City read a sample. Both women said it was a horrible translation. I immediately pulled the book off the market. After some legal intervention, the translation agency gave me the choice of a few new translators to re-translate the book. I chose a gentleman who I felt would do the best job. He finished the translation months ago, and—despite the fact both of the women who read samples from the previous translation have given it a thumb’s up, I hesitate to put it back on the market until I can find at least one more person to check it over.

In your opinion, what makes a book “a great book?”

A “great book” is one that the reader thoroughly enjoys reading. What might have been a “great book” to you last week might not be this week, because last week you were in a different mood. A book that you’re not enjoying today you may enjoy next month. There are things that, in my opinion, make books more difficult or frustrating to read (editing concerns, proofreading concerns, inconsistencies in the story, etc.), but I don’t think there’s anything specific that makes a story “great.” Reading is subjective—even to a single reader. I read “great books” as a kid that I’m sure I would roll my eyes through today, wondering what I was thinking to ever consider it a “great read.” So, I guess you could say what makes a book “great” is the perfect combination of content and current reader mindset.

If you received a review of your book which stated that there were editing & proofing “issues,” what’s the first thing you would do? And the second?

I have occasionally been alerted to typo’s in my book and I, of course, made the corrections as soon as I could. That process is much easier now that I’m independently published. With other issues mentioned, however, I carefully consider what is said. I recently received a review that suggested I get the book re-edited because the reader didn’t care for the amount of inner dialogue included. I respect and value the reader’s opinion, but I don’t think I will act upon that particular suggestion. I have received reviews that specifically commend the quality of editing, and others who specifically mention their appreciation for the inner dialogue. I think you have to balance out what is truly an editing issue and what is reader preference. Certainly, if you see a trend in reader feedback, you should seriously consider making adjustments. You can’t please everyone, though, so—to some extent—you have to follow your heart.

with-angel-wing-cover-for-rwisa-tourWhy You Need to Face Down the Fear of Publishing a Memoir by Stephanie Collins

In what felt like the blink of an eye, I went from being a young woman wrestling with a temperamental marriage to a single mother of an asthmatic, autistic toddler and an epileptic infant in heart failure. There was suddenly an overabundance of OMG moments, WTH moments, and “Hold my head in my hands in utter disbelief while I try to just breathe through it” moments. I began writing therapeutically.

Then other people (specifically nurses and therapists) began to read what I had written, and urged me to share our story, insisting it would be helpful to other special needs families. I wanted to help others if I could, but my heart was laid bare over those pages, and I feared judgement—as a writer, as a woman, and scariest of all—as a mother. After years of similar feedback, however, I decided to take a deep breath, close my eyes, and offer my exposed, bleeding soul to the world.

I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the generally supportive response from readers. Here is why I am thankful to have been talked into publication, and why others with important stories to share should work through whatever fears of judgement they may have: A mother in of a special needs, medically fragile toddler reached out to me via social media about 2 years ago. She said, “I recently stumbled upon your book. Reading it gave me hope that things will get better when hope is hard to come by. Also, before reading it, I never felt understood. I’ve ordered 3 more copies to give to family and friends. I’m hoping if they read about you, they’ll better understand me. Thank you so much!” Now, tell me; could there be any bigger reward for taking a leap of faith than that?

Find out more Stephanie Collins, take a look inside her award-winning memoir and follow her:

Thank you for supporting our RWISA (RAVE WRITERS-INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS) Members!  Please follow and support the entire tour by visiting 4WillsPub~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

[Visit Bette’s Blog]

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HOLIDAY SALE! 5✰ Historical Fiction by Bette A. Stevens—Only 99¢ for a Limited Time


dbs-99%c2%a2-limited-time-2016

“Stevens’ skill with dialect also makes this book unique. She doesn’t overdo it, but lets it flow like spring water or rain in the forest.
~ Mary Clark, author

Dog Bone Soup by Bette A. Stevens (Historical Fiction/Ages 11-Adult) set in rural New England—only 99¢ for a Limited Time at YOUR AMAZON http://bit.ly/1HGpCsZ.

This 1950s and 60s coming-of-age novel (ages 11-adult) has been likened to Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn by more than one reviewer. You’ll find Mary Clark’s complete review below.

5gold-star3

The Finer Spirit

“This is a wonderfully engaging and thought-provoking story. Bette Stevens’ young boy growing up in poverty in 1960s America, reminds me of another child, adrift on a raft on a mighty river, and the issues illuminated by that author of social stigma, individual resilience, and integrity. Huckleberry Finn is also poor and an outsider, and yet becomes a symbol for the equality of all humanity, and the finer spirit in all of us, in Mark Twain’s hands. I felt a similar quality in Stevens’ distinctive book.

“Stevens’ skill with dialect also makes this book unique. She doesn’t overdo it, but lets it flow like spring water or rain in the forest. Her descriptions take you into the scene and the characters’ minds. I felt I was in the family’s cabin, fishing by the river, riding a bike into town, being bullied and ostracized, and ashamed of a parent’s bad behavior. This book is a rare treat. I highly recommend it.” ~ Mary Clark, author

 Happy Holidays & Happy Reading!

It’s the perfect time of year to download a copy for you—and to gift a copy or two to those readers who are special to youDOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens—for only 99¢ for a Limited Time at YOUR AMAZON http://bit.ly/1HGpCsZ. You’ll be glad you did!

About the author

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of Monarch butterflies—an endangered species (and for milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).

Stevens is the author of AMAZING MATILDA, an award-winning picture book; The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, a home/school resource  incorporating hands-on math and writing; and PURE TRASH, the short story prequel to her début novel, DOG BONE SOUP, a Boomer’s coming-of-age story set in 1950s and 60s New England.

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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A #FREE BOOK for YOU to download thru November 29—It’s “PURE TRASH” by Bette A. Stevens


pt-free-ebook-limited-time (Excerpt from latest of 47 reviews)

Pure Trash is Pure Gold

5gold-star3

“Bette Stevens’s ‘Pure Trash’ is a quick and delightful read. It’s the story of a nine-year-old boy named Shawn, whose family is poor, and whose father is an alcoholic. On account of this unfortunate combination, he and his younger brother Willie are scorned throughout the community.

“This little story employs excellent mid-twentieth century dialogue, making you feel like you’re a part of the sleepy little town the author has invited you to. It begins with a lighthearted feeling: two young boys off to enjoy a carefree Saturday. But, as the story progresses, we’re faced [with]the harsher realities of the world: cruelty and judgment, and unfairness on account of things that people can’t even control…”
~ C.M. Blackwood

Read the entire review, take a “Look Inside” the book and download your complimentary copy of PURE TRASH from author Bette A. Stevens. It’s #FREE from November 25 through November 29, 2016 on YOUR AMAZON at http://amzn.to/1T5tMAZ

ABOUT THE BOOK

PURE TRASH by Maine author Bette A. Stevens (Ages 11-adult) In this short story adventure set in New England in the 1950s, two young boys set out on a Saturday adventure you won’t want to miss! Experience the joy of a carefree Saturday and the blistering pain of feeling not quite good enough as you hop on a bike and ride into town with two delightful young boys who find adventure at every turn. Shawn and Willie Daniels live in the woods with no indoor water or plumbing. Dad spends most of his hard-earned money on beer. Prejudice, class division, alcoholism, poverty, injustice, and bullying are cleverly woven into this 1950s adventure short. PURE TRASH is the short story prequel to DOG BONE SOUP, Stevens’s début novel DOG BONE SOUP. 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

 

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The Countdown’s On—DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens ONLY 99¢ through November 28


“Stevens’ skill with dialect also makes this book unique. She doesn’t overdo it, but lets it flow like spring water or rain in the forest.

Dog Bone Soup by Bette A. Stevens is available for only 99¢ beginning on Black Friday (November 25th) through Cyber Monday (November 28th).  This 1950s and 60s coming-of-age novel (ages 11-adult) has been likened to Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn by more than one reviewer. You’ll find one of those reviews below.

Grab a copy…or two…or more of Dog Bone Soup while the Countdown’s on at YOUR AMAZON http://bit.ly/1HGpCsZ. You’ll be glad you did!

dbs-a-remarkable-taleThe Finer Spirit

“This is a wonderfully engaging and thought-provoking story. Bette Stevens’ young boy growing up in poverty in 1960s America, reminds me of another child, adrift on a raft on a mighty river, and the issues illuminated by that author of social stigma, individual resilience, and integrity. Huckleberry Finn is also poor and an outsider, and yet becomes a symbol for the equality of all humanity, and the finer spirit in all of us, in Mark Twain’s hands. I felt a similar quality in Stevens’ distinctive book.

“Stevens’ skill with dialect also makes this book unique. She doesn’t overdo it, but lets it flow like spring water or rain in the forest. Her descriptions take you into the scene and the characters’ minds. I felt I was in the family’s cabin, fishing by the river, riding a bike into town, being bullied and ostracized, and ashamed of a parent’s bad behavior. This book is a rare treat. I highly recommend it.” ~ Mary Clark, author

About the author

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of Monarch butterflies—an endangered species (and for milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).

Stevens is the author of AMAZING MATILDA, an award-winning picture book; The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, a home/school resource  incorporating hands-on math and writing; and PURE TRASH, the short story prequel to her début novel, DOG BONE SOUP, a Boomer’s coming-of-age story set in 1950s and 60s New England.

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

 

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