Friday, November 13, 2015

Long Road to getting Published

       Many writers aspire to writing books. Writing a book is a LONG, involved, difficult process. Book publishing is a difficult challenge in today's world. A writer may submit his book time and time again only to be turned down again and again. He may eventually be successful. Wouldn’t it have been easier to have just gotten published the first time? Is that possible? You might improve your chances if you understand a little bit more about what happens at the publisher’s desk. Book publishers are busy people with several projects crossing their desks every day. They must make fast decisions about what will sell. They must also delegate their time efficiently in order to keep the business running. Only occasionally do publishers actually seek out work as they are inundated with submissions on a daily basis.
Persistence is the real name of the game in submitting your work to a publisher.

      Regardless of how many times you get shot down and your ideas are thrown in the trash, you have to keep going back for more discouragement. The idea in your mind is that eventually you’ll make it in the door. If you can get all the way through, you will finally get to the place where more of your work is accepted than declined. When working with the book publishing world, the rule is the same. If you have a book that you know will sell, you can’t give up on getting it onto the publisher’s desk again and again. You probably won’t be sending the entire book, but excerpts from it. As you continually send your manuscript again and again to publisher after publisher, you should try to market it in different ways. Publishers are looking for a particular kind of writing and will dismiss anything that doesn’t look like what they are looking for. Variation in your marketing techniques may turn a rejected book into an accepted book.

This is the LONG road.  But there is another way. Next time we'll look at the SHORT road.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Writing Ideas - Where do they come from?

I have often wondered what would I do if I had no idea what to write next. Where would I get the idea to get the blank page in front of me to come alive with words?
Last weekend, I was in San Diego for the wedding of my niece. It was a great family event and both of my brothers were present. The bride certainly didn't take after my brother. Now there is an idea for writing a chapter on how the lovely bride didn't look like her father or mother.

The wedding took place on the beach. What a novel idea to place the events surrounding the next important event in your writing on the beach. The sun setting on the Pacific and the sound of waves crescendos as background for the dialog about the most important revelation or secret unraveled in your story. Manipulate your words to paint the sea, the sounds, the smell, the pelicans diving into the ocean to catch their supper. 

OK, so she doesn't look like me either !!!!

The day after the wedding, I went downtown to visit the USS Midway aircraft carrier. What a might fortress of American maritime and naval power. She is retired now, but just across the harbor another active duty carrier was undergoing an upgrade. The size of these vessels defy easy description.

Imagine the intrigue that could take place on such a large ship with clandestine meeting among the large crowd of people roaming all over the vessel. Perhaps a meeting of lovers to get away from some prying eyes could take place without anyone knowing about it. 

If you can't think of how to start the blank page you are staring at,  try "The sound of the ocean only added to the expectations of the people watching the beautiful young lady walk up the beach, not knowing that she 1) about to be married in the church across the road, 2) about to be murdered by the sniper in the steeple of the church across the road, 3) had snuck off from her husband to carry out a secret mission for her agency that he didn't know about.

Let your imagination flow as you write.
Ideas can come from anywhere but start with a simple sentence and see where it takes you.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Everywhere You Look There are Creative Writing Ideas

     As glamorous as creative writing ideas sounds, they are nothing more than an idea for your writings. An idea or a prompt to get you going, could be virtually anything from a picture to a dream. If you think that the idea would be a great story then you have the prompt to get you writing.  You run the idea through your head like a movie preview. It gives you a taste of what you could achieve if you write the product.  This initiating impetus could be a single word or a collaboration of words, a picture, a song, a dream. Whatever it takes to get the story into your head and then onto the paper would be considered a creative writing idea or prompt.

     The need of finding creative writing ideas often stems from having the dreaded “writers block.” If coming up with your own ideas has become difficult, don’t worry. There a literally millions of them out there. You just need to find the right ones for you. Take the Internet for example. Do a search for creative writing ideas. You now have pages and pages of story starter’s right at your fingertips. You have many options available while searching. From one or two words starters to a brief outline of an idea they are available to you. There are many books available with nothing but lists of ideas just waiting to be turned into great stories from your mind.

     Go to a bookstore and read the first lines in twenty books in your genre. After each imagine where that story will eventually go. Your creative juices are now starting to flow. Ideas will naturally follow. Jot them down and start writing a paragraph. Keep it up and soon you will have broken through to starting your next scene, book, or series of articles. Happy Writing!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Ideas for "Secret of the Icon"

What gave you the idea for Secret of the Icon?

This query has been asked of me many times recently. The answer is simple but simultaneously a little complex.

This was an enjoyable novel to write. The characters are engaging and the action moves very fast.
I write to get the reader to turn the page and to keep asking themselves, "What is going to happen next?"

If they do, I have succeeded. This is not posing as a literary work, but as an action packed adventure.
It is fun for me to write such a book and I try to make it fun for the reader to enjoy.

The idea of using an Icon materialized from a visit I made to Greece and there had the opportunity to go to the Holy Mountain, Mount Athos, in northern Greece. It is a monastic community that goes back over 900 years. No women are allowed to visit the place and it is under the Patriarch of Constantinople. In the churches on that mountain are some of the most precious paintings (icons) in all of Christendom.

The Icon of the Blessed Mother is 24 carat gold. There are hundreds of icons representing all aspects of the Christian religion and depictions of numerous saints. Some of these date from the Byzantine empire and the time of the Crusades as I point out in the novel. So, when I needed to have something to hide the Nazi secret bank accounts, I thought of using an Icon for the hiding place that made it to Rome during the Crusades.

Get the book here: 
Visit my web site

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Why Use an Editor

If you are a writer, there is a good chance you won’t be a good or even mediocre editor. The goal of a good editor is to make any piece of text appropriate for its audience. Books must fit into the expectations of your targeted audience, those who buy the books. Magazine articles must fit the style of the magazine including its goals and also its audience’s expectations. Content is certainly important, but voice and specific word choice are also big components of appeasing an audience. If you write for a magazine, a scientific magazine should not sound like the latest gossip. Likewise, a glamour magazine should be far from stiff and boring.

An editor must help guide your prose in selecting the proper word choice. That is of the utmost important. Careful use of adjectives and other descriptive words can paint a picture and using generic terms like ‘thing’ and ‘a lot’ will leave a person sounding boring. In addition all individual pages really should be edited for appropriate citations. That may sound tedious and so like ninth grade English class, but it is important. Quoting authors and lyricists on your page is an effective way to express your own feelings, but if the words are not your own, you cannot claim them. Plagiarism is wrong. Visitors to your site that you use to promote your products may really appreciate the words and lyrics that you quote. If you give credit to their author, other people can find more similar words to enjoy.
TIP: Have your web site edited too!

Editing can take more than one form. The important thing to remember is that no matter what the format is for writing the correct use of the language that conveys exactly what you intend is the most important factor.

I recommend that someone other than the writer should edit any composition before he or she attempt to get it published. This simple act could save later embarrassment and may potentially lead to remunerative recognition of your work.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

FREE ebook SECRET OF THE OIL on September 4 and 5

"Complex intrigue, love the way that things connect. Key characters well defined and interesting."
"Awesome book! A great prequel that reads like you are watching the movie. I highly recommend it!"

ON Friday September 4, the SECRET OF THE OIL will be FREE on Amazon
NOT $3.99

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Writer's Best Friend - the EDITOR

Are you irritated by typos and spelling errors in professional documents? Are you able to help your friends make their writing error free? You may be a good candidate for editing. The world is incredibly dependent on writers and the craft of writing. It is how people communicate with each other most often. As the internet writing forms do not require people to hold to correct grammar, spelling or professional style, most writers are losing their capabilities to complete a professional document or book without help. Writers have always needed the help of editors. Even when there was strict attention to correct writing, editors could come and catch missed errors as well as mistakes in content. Editors are still needed today. Read on to find out more about what can be involved in a life of editing.
As an author, I am always looking for an outstanding editor. There are so few of them.

Who are the Editors?

Editors are those people with the ability to read a document and guide a writer to make it the best piece of writing that it can be. Editors work in newspapers, and magazines. They also work for publishing companies and in student resource centers. Editors generally have some education that leads them to the ability to help writers. They probably have a degree in language as well as training with style manuals.

What is the Job? See if you can find the errors I placed in this piece? 

An editing job involves taking a piece of writing and conforming it to some particular set of standards. Style manuals are often the standard used. Different publications will choose a style and then ask the editors to make all of the writing that comes out to be consistent to that style. Editing is not only concerned with objective corrections like spelling and grammar though. An editor must also read for clarity, consistency and voice. If a writer claims one thing in one point of their piece and seems to contradict that point in another part, it is the editor’s job to catch the mistake and work with the writer to fix the inconsistency. If the writer is speaking authoritatively in the beginning of a piece and then becomes apologetic later, it is the editor’s job to make the tone match. Editors help with sentence construction, word choice and content order.

How to Find Editing Jobs

If any of the above job description sounds interesting and even exciting to you, you just may have found your ideal job calling. Before you start looking for editing jobs, you should test your skills. There are editing tests online. Feel free to use a style manual as well as your intuition as you correct the sentences and word choice in the different test questions. If you do not pass the test, you should probably spend a little more time reading a style manual and a basic grammar guide. Once you can ace an editing test, it’s time to look for a job. Be sure to include any experience you may have had. Include any editing of any kind you have ever done. Peer editing in school is appropriate experience to mention. Also be sure to list any style you are able to edit to. Examples are AP, Chicago, MLA, and so on. If you get an interview, be prepared to take another editing test, with the help of your manual. The test will likely be timed.

Editing is a rewarding career. It involves helping writers to do their very best writing geared to their particular audience. While it can be stressful because of deadlines and workload, at the end of the day you will know that you have made the world of the written word a little cleaner and much more effective. Editors are an essential part of making the written word what it is today. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015


Tom's Guidance for Building Your Characters

1.    Introduce your main character early on. Might be a brief appearance or description.
2.   Apply your imagination to creating characters.
3.   Use real life characters with care and discretion. Mix fact with fiction for best results.
4.   Know you main characters better than yourself.
5.    You must know how your main character will behave in specific situations.
6.   Your main character must have weaknesses and vulnerabilities as well as strengths. He must have fear, obsessions, quirks as well as good stuff or bad stuff.
7.   Character must develop and change as a result of the events you create.
8.   Main characters must contrast with each other.
9.   Don’t reveal all the characteristics of the characters at once. Let it leak out.
10.         Characters must be consistent. Same or constantly getting better or worse.
11.   You must make your character believable. He must behave the way you have built him.
12.         Character must be larger than life. Remarkable in some way.
13.         Don’t confuse the reader by having too many characters.
14.         Introduce your main character early on. Might be a brief appearance or description.
15.   Apply your imagination to creating characters.
16.         Use real life characters with care and discretion. Mix fact with fiction for best  results.
17.         Know you main characters better than yourself.
18.         You must know how your main character will behave in specific situations.
19.         Your main character must have weaknesses and vulnerabilities as well as strengths. He must have fear, obsessions, quirks as well as good stuff or bad stuff.
20.        Character must develop and change as a result of the events you create.
21.         Main characters must contrast with each other.
22.        Don’t reveal all the characteristics of the characters at once. Let it leak out.
23.        Characters must be consistent. Same or constantly getting better or worse.
24.        You must make your character believable. He must behave the way you have built him.
25.         Character must be larger than life. Remarkable in some way.
26.        Don’t confuse the reader by having too many characters.

 ******** SHOW, DON’T TELL *********

My New Book

Starting tomorrow my new book will be available on Amazon.

This is a real page turner. Exciting action.
Comment from a pre-reader:
"The Story line is believable, the action is gripping from beginning to end." 
Review by Larry Hoffman 
SECRET OF THE ICON (Donavan Chronicles Book 3) by Tom Haase
SECRET OF THE ICON (Donavan Chronicles Book 3)
by Tom Haase