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Author Blogs

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What inspires you? What is your motivation for writing?


Author Don Massenzio How many of you can relate to the sentiment in this graphic? Do you wake up every morning excited about writing? Is writing a natural part of your life? If so, what inspires you to embrace this obsession? The purpose of this post is to attempt to determine the things that drive us to write and to not give up. Many of us our independent authors (I prefer this term over self-published). We outsource our publishing to platforms like Amazon, CreateSpace and others. We use cover designers and editors just as a traditional publisher would or perform these services on our own. Why do we do this without a guarantee that anyone will read our work? Here are some of my reasons. Wri...
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Lexie competes in the school Spelling Bee


“This word has a near homonym. It is an adjective meaning having or revealing natural creative skill. The word is artistic.” And so began the spelling bee. Last week, I found myself sitting in the cafeteria of my daughter’s elementary school watching 19 fourth and fifth graders square off to find out who was the best speller. Before I go into how the spelling bee went for Lexie, let’s see how she got there. Back at the beginning of November, Lexie brought home a list of words and announced she wanted to try out for the spelling bee. The test would be in a few weeks. Lexie is a good speller. I guess she gets that from her Gramme as none of the rest of us are that good at spelling. I am the ty...
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The Frog and the Granite Shore – A Poem


Writers Envy I walked through a wood one summer’s day, Afternoon light dappled a forest glade; Lily pad in green-black pond and on it lay A frog whose languid croak appeared to say, As he scratched white belly in sun’s warm ray, I shall not move on this summer’s day. I stopped to ponder my neighbor in green, Who, eyes near closed in dreamlike sheen, Lay ankles crossed and head on arm a’lean; He snorted half asleep in his pastoral scene, Then snapped half-hearted at black fly on wing; I chuckled then and left my neighbor in green. Away the wood, I walked on granite shore, Pounding waves, knuckles rapped upon a door; Lobster boat, weather-worn in wind that tore, And red-faced men, like fisherm...
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The 2019 Author Interview Series Featuring Phyllis Staton Campbell


Author Don Massenzio I’d like to welcome Phyllis Staton Campbell to my blog as today’s featured author. Phyllis was given 20 questions from which to pick 10 of them to respond. I’m enjoying this format as we get a different insight into each author and it’s interesting to see which questions are selected. Please enjoy meeting Phyllis and consider checking out he work. What do you think are the elements of a good story? I feel that the elements of a good story, short, or novel, are: Interest point, a conflict, question not answered, action toward the solution, presented by interesting characters and action, and the solution, that leaves the reader thinking. You’re invited to a dinner party ar...
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Hashtags for Authors (updated)

hashtag
In 2013, I made list of Hashtags for Authors. Three years later, I updated the list. Well, here it is again and once again I have updated the list, checking to make sure each one is still in use and adding a few new ones. For those of you who use Twitter, you are probably already familiar with the idea of hashtags. These are keywords prefixed with a hash or “pound” (#) symbol. They help categorize your tweets and help others easily find tweets about similar subjects. Used correctly, Twitter hashtags are one of the best ways to connect with readers, industry experts, and other authors. The use of relevant hashtags increases the likelihood that others will see your post and become a follower. ...
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Writing a Book – a Legacy for Your Children


Author Don Massenzio It’s no surprise that my love of reading as a child has turned into a love of writing. My one regret is that I waited so long to become an author. I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do. Speaking of catching up, my wife and I had very little luck having children early in our marriage. We adopted after 15 years of marriage and then, in 2008, after 23 years of marriage, we welcomed our first infant into the world. My wife had a very healthy pregnancy for a woman in her mid-forties and we welcomed a 9-pound baby girl into the world. This event is one that has solidified our family and has been one of the best events of my life. Our little girl is ten now and she is m...
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Quote of the Week – January 16

“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.” ~ Stephen King Original link
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Tattoos – A Poem


Writers Envy I tried to take rubbings of his tattoos-the hula girl, the palm trees, the sailing ship,  the crossed cannons, the anchor. The hula girl danced for me when he flexed his forearm. He never told me where he’d got them. He was in the war when he was eighteen, and he was an old man when he came home at twenty. His ships pulled into ports where Sailors got drunk and happy. War made men do things, then let them try and forget. After the war ended he tried to find his way but never quite found his footing. He raised a family and visited his folks, and he smiled sometimes and told the few jokes he knew that made people laugh. He worked hard. The hula girl stopped dancing one day. I trie...
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Planning some weekend getaways for the family in 2019


As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am a planner. I have vacations planned months, sometimes years, in advance. When our family decides on a Disney World trip or a cruise to Alaska, it is usually with months of planning. It is odd that this year begins, and I don’t have definite plans for a family vacation. Last year at this time, I knew we would go to Albuquerque in March, Bastrop in June and an Alaska cruise in August. This year, I have ideas, but nothing has been set. My husband owns his own law firm. And it sometimes is hard for him to get time away. Honestly, I think since he is the boss he should be able to take time off, but he sees it as more of pain to work extra hours to take a ...
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Snowfall – Haiku Poetry


Writers Envy Winter’s flamboyance Snowfall’s crystal miracle Diamonds on my tongue Image via Google Images View original post Original link
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6 New Year’s Resolutions for Writers


It is a New Year. It is the time that many people make resolutions to improve their lives. I thought this might be a good time to list some resolutions that might appeal to writers. 1.) Start (or Finish) your novel – Have you been kicking around the idea for a novel? Or maybe you have already begun one but haven’t finished it up. This is the year to get motivated and start writing. (For tips on starting a novel, click here . And for tips on dealing with writer’s block, click here .) 2.) Stay on task – Do e-mails and Facebook distract you from working? Or maybe you get caught up in marketing your books? Can you find any reason to procrastinate? Make this the year that you learn to stay on tas...
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Choosing a Book Title – Be Smart


Author Don Massenzio When I wrote my first novel, I wanted the main character to be, like me, and Italian American. There are many Italian-sounding first names I could have gone with, Tony, Johnny, Carmine, etc. I decided to go with Frank. Frank is a name that is common among Italians, but it also gave me the opportunity to be clever with the title. I went with  Frankly Speaking . There were other books with this title, but none in the genre in which I was writing. It was a good title in that it seemed to work and not adversely affect sales. Then came the sequel. For the sequel, I decided to use ‘Frank’ in the title. To try something different, I actually ran a contest and the person with th...
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Quote of the Week – Jan. 9

Writing is an exploration. You start with nothing and learn as you go . ~ E.L. Doctorow Original link
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10 Handy Writing Tips – Part 1


Author Don Massenzio Write every chance you get. Write every day if you can. You should be thinking about writing or actually writing whenever you can. Reading is so important. You should read every chance you get as well. Read good writing and read about writing. Balance fiction and non-fiction to help you improve your own writing. Use your everyday observations to help you with coming up with surroundings, characters and situations for your stories. You can do this by keeping notebook with you, or if you’re not afraid of being stared at, use your phone and a recording app and pretend your on a call while you make note of what you see. Check your writing for repetitive words and phrasing. I...
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To make a New Year’s Resolutions or not


Ah the new year…a time when people make New Year’s Resolutions…and then forget them a few weeks later. It is easy to want to start off the New Year “right.” And oh, there are certainly some changes that I would love to make to my life, but it is that knowledge that most New Year Resolutions fail that makes me not want to make any. Popular Resolutions Lose Weight/Eat Healthier – Many, many people would like to lose a few pounds (or maybe a lot of pounds). If you aren’t wanting to lose weight, you may be one of those who wants to change our diet to a healthier one. Exercise More – Life is busy. For some of us, finding time to exercise and improve strength and stamina is hard. Gym memberships s...
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Canvas Song – Haiku


Writers Envy from night fall raindrops bursting notes on canvas sing lullaby, good night View original post Original link
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Top 10 Writing/Publishing Posts of 2018


Since this is the beginning of the year, I thought I would recap some of my better publishing, marketing and writing posts from 2018. Writing Novel Writing – Endings and Epilogues Every story must end. At some point after your story’s climax, your characters will return to their regular lives. Before that there may be some fallout from the climax as the consequences of your character’s choices are played out. But knowing exactly where to stop your story and what you want the last words to be are not always easy. Here are some tips to ending your novel. (To read more, click here .) Avoiding Plot and Character Cliches A cliché is anything that is overdone and overused. Clichés pop up all the t...
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Loaded Baked Potato Soup – Recipe of the Month


I am not a big soup eater, but there are two soups that I love. The first is the Zuppa Toscana from Olive Garden. (Check out my version here .) The second is Loaded Baked Potato Soup. I saw this slow-cooker version on Facebook and couldn’t wait to try it out. Yummy! Ingredients 10 slices cooked bacon, diced 3 cups chicken broth 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced 1 medium yellow onion, diced 6 garlic cloves, minced 1 tablespoon dried parsley 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk or half-and-half or heavy cream 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese 1/2 cup sour cream Salt and pepper to taste Directions Add diced potatoes, diced onio...
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Quote of the week – January 2

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts ~ Eleanor Roosevelt Original link
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2018 down, 2019 to go

Where have I been?! As some of you know (and anyone following my Instagram) I birthed a human this summer. 2017 left me kind of burned out in the “author life” department, so I purposely did next to nothing book-related … Continue reading → Original link
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