Today’s Writing Tip

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Unless afflicted by writer’s block, authors have no trouble getting words down on paper or screen. However, some have more trouble than others getting those words in the proper order. Periodically study your sentences for correct structure. Especially make sure prepositional phrases are where they make the most sense. If misplaced, they can have hilarious implications that will commit the serious faux pas of throwing your reader out of the story. Place them as close as possible to what they modify for maximum clarity.


Today’s Writing Tip

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If one of your characters has a job description you’re unfamiliar with, make sure you find out enough about it to be convincing. Some years ago I was beta reading a book where the protagonist was a computer programmer. Having been one myself, I was familiar with what the job entailed and clearly the author was clueless. Find out as much as you can and then have someone familiar with that profession read it over for a sanity check. People usually love to talk about what they do and their knowledge, a resource you shouldn’t hesitate to tap.

Inaccuracies in this area suspend credibility for knowing readers and not only throw them out of the story but out of your fan base as well. There are some areas where your imagination shouldn’t be allowed free rein.

Today’s Writing Tip

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Knowing your competition is wise in any business with writing no exception. Reading other books in your genre helps keep you on top of trends and know where your work fits in. Authors more skilled than you will keep you humble, those less so show how you’ve progressed. Studying techniques used by other authors comes in handy and can improve your own writing. Especially savor sentences and paragraphs that are well-written as examples you’ll want to emulate.


Today’s Writing Tip

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As an author you should go back and read your own work from time to time, preferably a year or more after you wrote it. After your work has “settled” for a while, you can see it more as your readers do, be more objective, identify areas where you need to improve, or in other cases amaze even yourself with your skill.

Don’t cringe if you find your former work far below what you now produce. Skills evolve with practice and time. This is true whether it involves playing a musical instrument, dancing, participating in sports, completing math problems, or expressing yourself in writing. Seeing progress should be encouraging, though in some cases you may want to go back and rewrite it to bring it up to your new standards. This is why some writing instructors advice throwing your first novel in the trash and considering it tuition.


Today’s Writing Tip

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If you don’t like research, then there are certain genres you should avoid writing, unless you’re an expert in the area. Stories with any sort of scientific, historical, geographical, or cultural theme need to be accurate. While many people expand their reading to unfamiliar areas because the enjoy learning, others may stick close to what they already know. If you don’t get it right, you’re cheating both types of readers. One will think you’re an idiot and the other may swallow false information.


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Today’s Writing Tip

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Time travel stories can fall under at least two distinct genres: science fiction, if the emphasis is on technology or the future, or historical fiction, if the emphasis is on going back to the past. Make it clear in your book blurb which one fits since the two types tend to have entirely different audiences.

The mechanics of time travel and how it might be accomplished are definitely science fiction’s domain, along with speculations about the future and where the world is headed. On the other hand, if a character stumbles across a portal and is simply transported back in time, the emphasis will be on what he encounters. This could include culture shock as well as problems related to how he or she might be able to return to their own time.

A fan of hard science fiction is likely to be disappointed in the latter case whereas a history buff would love it, provided the historical details are accurate. Identifying the story strictly as “time travel” is not specific enough for a potential reader to know, making the book blurb critically important.


Conclusion to Elle Klass’ “Zombie Girl” Series coming soon!


I’m excited the final book in this series will be out soon so I can read it. When you read the following guest post, particularly the excerpt, from fellow author, Elle Klass, you’ll probably be able to figure out why. I’m really not a big vampire or zombie fan, but Elle creates vivid and endearing characters along with clever plots with new twists on what are often worn-out themes. This one has a fair share of humor, which will draw me in every time since I can use all the laughs I can get. Check it out! –MF

Maddie is my kinda girl. She’s tough, feminine and even when afraid does what needs to be done. It’s always tough saying goodbye to characters, probably why I have such difficulty in ending a series.

If you’ve been reading you know she started out as a 14 year old girl who hated science and everything related to it until one day when the unthinkable happened.

With the whole apocalypse thing and zombies trying to eat her and the group she’s with they’ve traveled over seas and lived through some extremely treacherous times.

No matter what, the humor was always there and it gives the entire series a light heartedness that makes it memorable. It’s more like Zombieland than The Walking Dead.

zombiegirlbooksI had a ton of laughs writing the story and learned a lot developing a story in a genre I wasn’t real familiar with. Writing horror for kids is different than for adults. I had to watch my words and their words. That’s where the humor comes in. I’d also never dabbled in sci-fi or post apocalyptic fiction. It was a first and I’m proud with how it turned out.

No spoilers here! Read the series. Try the game and see which character you are, share your results on social media and feel free to comment below. Click here to play.

Book 1 Premonition is now free!  (Read my review)


Nook, Apple, Kobo and other retailers

Book 2 Infection is at .99 through August 1st. (Read my review)


Nook, Apple, Kobo and other retailers

Book 3 Retribution is on pre-order for .99! That will only last through release day August 1st!


Nook, Apple, Kobo and other retailers

Excerpt: (one of my favorite parts. Hehe!)

Two dead zombie eyes stared at me. I knew that was more a reflex. It couldn’t see me. Its long gray hair hung limp on its shoulders as it clicked its tongue, blood dribbling from its mouth on its way towards me. Its drip drag stagger-walk was impressively quick. A flowered sundress covered in sprays of blood, chunks of human skin clung to the fabric.

On the floor behind her was a man in a black robe. His mouth was in an O as he screamed, “No!”

I swung the blade of the katana towards her dirty, slimy neck when she came within a few feet of me. It nearly connected then something I’d never seen, nor imagined, happened. The zombie blew apart from the inside out. I was glad my teeth were gritted as I’d have had a mouth full of deader if I hadn’t. Chunks and blood sprayed the walls. It was a definite ten on my disgusting scale.

Chunks of her blew into the man’s mouth. He gagged and spat to rid his body of the nasty zombie meal. His face met mine and he scooted backwards on the floor. His eyes barely visible through the zombie mess covering it. I moved closer to him. He was living. “Are you hurt?”

“You killed her!” he growled. “You are a murderer!”

What? I hadn’t expected that one and I hadn’t killed her; she blew up like one of Deavers’ grenades. “I didn’t kill her. She was infected and there’s no cure. Did she bite you?”

“You killed my wife.” He continued sliding backwards.

That’s when I noticed it. The beam from my flashlight caught the silver barrel of a gun, only a couple feet from him. I moved towards him. “Don’t think about or you’ll be dead like your wife.”

He scooted again and I moved quicker now and jabbed the end of the katana’s blade into his chest. Keeping it centered on him, I side-stepped and kicked the gun. It flew across the floor.

“Get up!” I ordered with a sneer.

He pushed his back against the wall and slid up it. His short, dark hair was coated in zombie film. I jabbed the blade lightly into his chest so he knew I meant business. When I did, it slid through a hole in the dark robe hanging around his shoulders. “Did she bite you, Professor?” I didn’t know what else to call him and it looked similar to a graduate’s robe.

His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed. “That makes no difference. Go. Go now!”

Well, this wasn’t going well. The patter of rain stopped, meaning the worst of the storm was over. I glanced over the hallway. A collar of sorts clung to the wall in the muck. I grabbed it. “You’ve been keeping her alive, treating her like a pet?” That was sick. Really sick and morbid.

He narrowed his eyes into tiny slits. A chunk of deader flesh dropped from his forehead. “She was my wife.”

The memory of my father turning seemed like a million years ago but it was still fresh in my head. I knew he was turning and that I should kill him, but I didn’t. Instead we tied him up. This guy did the same thing. He put a collar around her neck. I brought the katana to my side. “I don’t want to kill you and I didn’t kill her. She exploded. I’ve never seen that before. When did she turn?”

“In the beginning. The very beginning.”

That begged a lot of questions like how did you get her past the military? What has she been eating? Was that why her drip-drag was so quick?

The rain stopped and I was on a mission. “We have to go.”

“I’m not going anywhere with you.”

I rolled my eyes. I needed some answers and he would provide them. “Yes, you are. Remember I have the weapon and you don’t. I also have your wife’s collar and I bet it’s a shock collar. The kind used for training dogs.” I smirked.

“Fine,” he seethed.

I lifted the katana towards his chest again and spread the cloth of his robe. What I saw didn’t surprise me. A set of round, fresh, human-deader teeth marks. I lifted the collar towards him with my free hand. “Put this on just in case.”

Reluctantly he grabbed the collar and wrapped it around his neck. The motion caused a chunk of flesh to fall from his robe, revealing a name tag.

“You first, Mitchem.” I read the tag.

For the next hour we steadily walked towards the marina and I pried all sorts of information from him. He was a Duval County judge. That explained the black robe. He and his wife were visiting family in Gainesville when the end of the world went down. She was exposed immediately but didn’t turn until a couple days later. Dumb luck saved them from the military. They’d spent the night in their RV deep in the woods. When he woke up the next morning his wife, Gloria, was eating their Pomeranian. I imagined large puffs of fur stuck between her teeth and chuckled.

“It’s not funny!” he growled.

He was wrong. It was funny. In this new world I had to find humor where I could and that was hilarious. However, I stopped laughing out of respect and let him continue his story.

“I tied her up with bungee cords and glanced a peek out of the window. I would have waved my hands and let them take me, but they’d have killed Gloria. I couldn’t have that. A soldier approached the RV, I stood inside with my gun loaded and waited. A radio voice came through, “Need help now! Surrounded by them.” That was it. They never returned and I got us out of there.”

Copyright Elle Klass 2018 Retribution

Today’s Writing Tip

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The trade paperback size 6 x 9 is popular, but not necessarily the most appropriate, depending of which genre you’re targeting and the length of your story. In some cases, it will appear more professional if you use a different size. If you’re not sure what commercial publishers use, check several titles in your genre at your local bookstore.

There’s a lot of competition out there these days with the indie publishing boom, so every action you take to make your book appear more professional will work in your favor.