Monday, August 31, 2015

So how's your year thus far?

How's your year so far? Some years are better than others, and boy, sometimes you use more floss than is necessary. And some years you find yourself quoting U2! How about you?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Mind-blowing Statistics About Social Media

YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, Goggle +, Instagram, LinkedIn, Flickr, Snapchat, Pinterest, Facebook, Counting and Blogs--most people would agree that social media has a big, but just how big is it? Here are some surprising statistics.

1. Over 12 million people blog.  23% of internet time is spent on blogs and social networks.
2. Companies with a blog have 97% more inbound links than others.
3. You Tube has over a billion uses.
4. Six billion hours of video is watched on YouTube every month
5. YouTube gets an average of a billion views a day.
6. Twitter has over 255 million active users. They sent over 500 million messages daily. That said, there are about forty-four percent of the users on Twitter, who have never sent a message or tweeted.
7. Over 20 Billion photos have been shared on Instagram since its inception.
8. Twenty-three percent of teens say Instagram is their favorite social network.
9. Snapchat has 30 million active users.
10. About 400 million snaps appear on Snapchat daily.
11. Over 39 million students and recent college graduates are on LinkedIn.
12. Every second two or more people sign up for LinkedIn.
13. Pinterest has over 70 million total users and most of those users are female. In fact 80% are female.

All these statistics point to social media’s huge popularity, but why is it so popular? Why are we draw to it? I’m taking an online class currently about social media and my instructor, author R. L. Syme says, it’s because social media is just that—social.  While traditional media—newspapers, catalogs and magazines, presented information to an audience, it didn’t truly invite interaction. It was primarily a lecture-type format where readers responded like an audience. Social media is a conversation, a give and take, where the response is just as important as the initial communication.
What do you think? I’m waiting to hear from you.

Baer, Jay. “Convince and Convert: Social Media Strategy and Content Marketing Strategy.” Convince and Convert Social Media Strategy and Content Marketing Strategy. Web. 20 Aug. 2015.

Bennett, Shea. "Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Snapchat – Social Media Stats 2014 [INFOGRAPHIC]." SocialTimes. 9 June 2014. Web. 20 Aug. 2015.

"Latest Social Media Users Stats, Facts and Numbers for 2014 - Digital Insights." Latest Social Media Users Stats, Facts and Numbers for 2014 - Digital Insights. Web. 20 Aug. 2015.

Syme, R.L. "Social Media for Writers." From the Heart Romance Writers. Loop Class, 1 Aug. 2015. Lecture.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Write, Right, Write: Thirteen Things You Can Do to Inspire Creativity

Ever have a deadline and have no clue how you’re going to meet it? That painful moment that seems to last ten years where your brain refuses to engage in thought and you’re left idea-less. I was there just minutes ago when I realized it was my turn to post and I had no topic and no clue what I’d write, so…

I decided to look for help. I googled ways to inspire creativity. Here are thirteen ideas to jump start creative thoughts.
1. Be grateful. Think about all the blessing and beauty around you.
2. Carry a notebook. Jot down thoughts, so that when you’re seeking inspiration you can thumb through and find it.
I believe in carrying a notebook. Here are three of my old ones.
3. That’s a good idea if you’ve started carrying a notebook and have written in it, but if you haven’t, you could doodle.
4. Or you could color, if you have crayons.

5. Keep the box of crayons out after you finish and see if you can come up with new names for the colors.
6. Speaking of colors, go somewhere you can see blue—i.e. gaze into the sky, or skip a stone across a lake or find a blue room you can sit in for a while. Apparently beholding the color blue triggers creativity.
7. Take a nap.
8. Play a kid’s game like Checkers, Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, or Go Fish.
9. Take a walk.
10. Do something else you love. For me that might be admiring flowers. Here’s one of my favorite lilies.

11. Help someone.
12. Just start. Don’t judge the result until you’ve got plenty to judge.
13. Seek out other creative people. Ask them to share ideas with you. This is my favorite tip and I know you guys are resourceful. Do you have any suggestions for me?


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Digging Up the Past by Sandi Brackeen

Sometimes there are books that escape notice because it comes out at the wrong time or in the wrong venue. I found this book because I blundered into it, and because the author name was vaguely familiar. Turned out that Sandi Brackeen was a fellow ex-Cerridwen Press author, so I probably remembered her name that way. And it turned out that her book was a fun read, and worth telling people about!

The Spade of Apocatequil can raise the dead and grant immortality—and it’s been stolen!  
When supernatural agents Riley Perez and Jason, her partner at the clandestine government agency DUE, are given the task of tracking down the magical artifact, they discover that the culprit may be one of the workers at an archaeological dig at Shady Shores. Is it John Braden, the head archaeologist on-site, who was involved in the original discovery of the spade? Or is it Danny Roget, the anthropologist, who claims that there have been strange sightings? Riley and Jason’s hunt for the spade is endangered by a rash of sudden, unexplainable deaths of people involved in the dig. Together with Cameron Delaney, the intriguing alpha werewolf who runs Cerberus Security, the company in charge of protecting the archaeologists at the dig, Riley and Jason must find the spade before it can be used to destroy the world!
Sandi lives in Texas with a roommate, two yellow Labs, a shepherd/border collie mix, and two terrier mixes.  The animals were all rescues.  Her full-time job is as the public information officer for the local sheriff’s office, and she teaches English part time at the local community college.  She says she has a couple of degrees lying around somewhere, and she’s been writing ever since she can remember, although she took time off for work and school, and previously her writing has been more geared toward short stories and academic papers.  Sandi has now switched to writing fiction and currently has several more books in the works.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ask An Editor--An Interview with Cheryl Yeko

Ever wonder what an editor thinks? Or how a writer can connect with one? Today, you'll have a chance to find out. It's my privilege to welcome Cheryl Yeko. She is an acquiring editor for Soul Mate Publishing and an author of romantic suspense.

Her debut novel, Protecting Rose, won the 2012 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence in the Romantic Suspense category.

As an Editor, Cheryl welcomes Romantic Suspense, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Contemporary, and Erotica.
You can contact Cheryl atÿ, but before you do, you may want to discover what Cheryl likes and what she's looking for. I interviewed her and here are thirteen of her insightful answers.

Header by Samulli
1. What length synopsis do you prefer to see with a partial?  Single spaced or double? I prefer double spaced and anywhere up to 5 pages, as long as I get the gist of the story from beginning/middle/end
2. For you, in general, which elements in a fiction submission are terminal problems that would garner automatic rejections and which are tempting and fixable meriting a look at a revision if a talented author is willing to accept your advice? For me, and this is just me, other Soul Mate editors may have a different take...but I prefer the sex to be confined to only the Hero and the Heroine...with no threesomes or sharing of any kind. I prefer my Hero's to be Alpha, and they would never share their women. I wouldn't necessary reject these stories outright, if they are well-written...but, I would offer them to one of the other Soul Mate editors to take a look at.
3. Do you look at sample pages without fail or only if the query is strong? I always look at the sample pages.
4. Cheryl has several reasons she might reject a story. Here's another one. I will reject outright a story that has been written with headhopping, and yes, I know Nora does it, but not everyone is Nora Roberts. Generally, the readers do not easily accept headhopping. I don't enjoy reading headhopping stories, and since, as the editor, I will be reading this novel 3 to 5 times, on average, I only edit or sign books I'd enjoy spending time with.
5. Another reason she rejects manuscripts is this. If I see a ton of grammar issues, passive writing, formatting, or other issues, but the story is good, I will ask the author to edit the manuscript and resubmit to me. Then if I see that the author is capable of making the requested changes...and I see good improvements, I'll offer a contract.
6. What are the most compelling elements you feel are necessary for a good read?   What particularly grabs your attention? I like to see the Hero/Heroine on the pages for the majority of the story, although I'm okay with side plots with romance as well. And in my novel Abducting Casey, I had three different romances going on. It was a lot a fun.
7. Is there a better or worse time of year to query? No. Anytime is fine.
8. Do you have any pet peeves? Yes...if I see a gratuitous scene, the harming of the heroine for example, that is used just for `shock' value and adds nothing to the story, I reject the novel or strike the scene before offering a contract. I have nothing against violence in my novels, and actually enjoy a well-written, dark and violent story...Black Dagger Brotherhood being my favorite J.R. Ward series... But, the violence must be an integral part of the story, and not just a scene thrown out to titillate the readers.  Oh, yeah...and I really hate it when they kill off the family pet.
9. Regarding submissions, what are you sick to death of and what would you like to see more of? I don't think there is a story that I'm `sick to death of' long as it's a well-written story, I'm happy to review it.
10. What does `just not right mean for me' mean to you? It means I didn't enjoy the story, and therefore don't want to commit months out of my life working with it.
11. Do you accept unagented and/or email queries? Yes, absolutely.
12. Which categories do you currently acquire?  Which category is your favorite? As an Editor, I welcome Romantic Suspense, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Contemporary, and Erotica. And, since I write Romantic Suspense, that is my favorite, with paranormal running a close second.
13. What do you love most about your job? I love helping the authors make their stories shine.

One of the factors that contributes to Cheryl being an excellent editor is that she's also a talented storyteller. This blog wouldn't be complete without mentioning Cheryl's latest release, a co-written novella with another Soul Mate Publishing acquiring editor, and also her BFF, Char Chaffin.

RODEO KING, Book 1 in The Dustin Lovers Series, is a contemporary western, and were both thrilled that it's been hanging out in the top 100, on and off, since its release in mid-June.

Here's the blurb:
Caleb Johnson, 'King of the Rodeo,' is on his way to becoming Wyoming's National Champion. Until an ornery bull sidelines him with a potentially career-ending injury. Returning home to recuperate puts him in the path of Rosemary Carmichael, the girl he deserted to become a rodeo star.

Now he's got to figure out what he really wants: returning to the rodeo circuit and going for that big, National prize, or convincing the woman he loves that he wants a life with her . . . and the son he never knew he had.

If you'd like to learn more about Cheryl and her novels, you can find her at the following places:
Where Love Always Wins:
Soul Mate Publishing:

Thursday, July 9, 2015

How Many Books Does the Average Person Read Per Year? And other interesting facts about readers.

Recently I stood in line for a sale at a local bookstore. The first hundred people in the door received a book bag with swag including a five dollar gift card.  I’m always excited about free books, and I was right in the middle of the queue.  We had about 20 minutes to wait before the doors opened, so we started talking. The guy behind me was surprised he had so much company. He’d read an article that said the average American only read one book a year.

That didn’t seem right. All of us in the immediate conversation had read more, but then we were standing outside a bookstore waiting for it to open—maybe we were the exceptions to this one-book-a-year phenomenon.

But the one-book-a-year concept bothered me. After I came home with new books in hand, I opened Google, researched readers and soon found the one-book-one year notion. It turns out it’s not the whole story. Here are thirteen statistics I found.

Header from samulli

1. According to the Pew Research Center 2013 Reading Snapshot, the typical American read five books during the year.
2. Although a whopping 23% of those surveyed reported that they hadn’t read even one book during the same period.
3. I’m not sure I know many of those non-book consumers. Most of my friends are responsible for skewing the average for books read in 2013 to twelve books, about one a month. I know this because my friends and I discuss what we’re read and we will be talking readers in general in the future.
4. It turns out 82 percent of those who responded that they’d read at least one book in 2013 were women
5. while only 69 percent of men surveyed reported they had read one or more books.
6. Eighty-nine percent of those who told the Pew Researcher they’d read a book reported that it was a print book.
7. That said, the population of e-book readers is growing. In the 2013 Pew survey, the number of those who read e-books increased from 16% of all Americans (ages 16 and older) to 23%.
8. At the end of 2012, 19% of Americans (ages 16 and older) owned Kindles, Nooks or other e-book reading devices.
9. Again, referring to the Pew survey, the most likely e-book reader was a college graduate,
10. who lived in a household earning more than $75,000.
11. And that reader’s age was between 30 and 49.
12. The readers didn’t come from a single environment. Seventy-seven percent of those in an urban community completed one or more books a year, compared 76 percent of people in a rural community and
13. seventy-five percent of those in suburban areas.

All these statistics got me thinking about my own reading habits. I don’t keep track of how many books I go through, but I’d guess it’s about 1-3 a week. Most years have 52 weeks, so again I’m guessing, but I probably read between 53 and 159 books a year. Sigh, it’s clear I’m addicted to stories. Yet, there’s another factor in my book-devouring habit and that is I have a long commute, so I listen to audio books.

How about you? Where do you fit in these statistics? How many books do you think you read? Please share.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wait, There's More! Magic Marketing Words For You!

By Elizabeth MS Flynn w/a Eilis Flynn
I am the worst when it comes to marketing myself. This, despite being married to an old marketing guy, who’s worked on the advertising and promotion for classic items like: the US Army! DeBeers Diamonds! Consolidated Edison! DC Comics! Seagrams! Precious metals! There’s more, but you get the idea. Despite a lot of marketing knowledge that I’ve learned (from many hours of discussing marketing strategy and comic books), I’m crappy at it. All that knowledge and it’s all going to waste. Yes, sad.

So when I got a chance to use some of that knowledge by helping other authors, I decided to take it. I figured I might as well step back and see what I haven’t done for my own work and hope that others might be able learn something from my ineptitude. Can’t do, might as well teach.

Anyone who’s paid attention to advertising and marketing can tell you that there are magic phrases and words that get a reaction from consumers. And that definitely goes for the marketing of your books. What are those magic words? Beats me what they are for you—this is one of those things that you have to figure out uniquely for you—but I can give you some ideas of how marketing words work and what they may trigger for you and consumers in general. And from that, you should be able to figure out how those magic marketing words work for you.

Check out how your blurbs and your keywords and your marketing can get a second look from your prospective readers. Take a look at what kinds of words and phrases make people sit up and take notice and maybe, even, buy your book or story. In my workshop about key marketing phrases for you! And you! And especially you! I look at what classic marketing words work and don’t work, how you can scare away your potential consumer, what’s the deal with marketing your brand, the magic of WIIFM, and how to watch your words in a very particular way.

If you’re curious about when and how to deal with those magic marketing phrases, check out my online workshop for the San Diego romance writers chapter ( in September and join in the discussion! (But watch out for those exclamation points. No more than one!!!!!)

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for more than 35 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at and reached at If you’re curious about her books, check out In any case, she can be reached at

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hooray for Summer! Thirteen Quotes to Celebrate the Season

Header from samulli

June twenty-first was the longest day of 2015 and the first official day of summer. To celebrate, here are thirteen quotes about my favorite season.
1. Ah, summer - that long anticipated stretch of lazy, lingering days, free of responsibility and rife with possibility. It's a time to hunt for insects, master handstands, practice swimming strokes, conquer trees, explore nooks and crannies, and make new friends. ~ Darrell Hammond
2. One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter. ~ Henry David Thoreau
3. Summer: Hair gets lighter. Skin gets darker. Water gets warmer. Drinks get colder. Music gets louder. Nights get longer. Life gets better.~ Unknown
4. Summer is the annual permission slip to be lazy. To do nothing and have it count for something. To lie in the grass and count the stars. To sit on a branch and study the clouds. ~ Regina Brett
5. Some of the best memories are made in flip flops. ~ Kellie Elmore
6. Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. ~ Russel Baker
7. Summer afternoon-- summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. ~ Henry James
8. It's a smile, it's a kiss, it's a sip of wine ... it's summertime! ~ Kenny Chesney
9. If you are not barefoot, you’re overdressed. ~ Unknown
10. Sun is shining. Weather is sweet. Make you wanna move your dancing feet. ~ Bob Marley
11. A girl in a bikini is like having a loaded pistol on your coffee table — there’s nothing wrong with them, but it’s hard to stop thinking about it. ~ Garrison Keillor
12. One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by. ~ Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle
13. I love how summer just wraps its arms around you like a warm blanket. ~ Kellie Elmore

What is your favorite season? Do you know a quote concerning it? Please share.