Get THE SEARCH for Free – 9/20-9/21

This Thursday and Friday, you can download my short story, The Search, for FREE!

Available only at Amazon.

The Search: Book Description

For over a thousand years, telepathic cats known as STACs have faithfully searched for those with power over the elements looking for the one foretold to save the Land. None have questioned their duty to fulfill this ancient task.

But when Tosh’s latest charge is murdered because of his Elemental powers, Tosh considers abandoning The Search. Will a glimpse of the future destruction be enough to change his mind?

 

 

Writing an awesome book blurb

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of having a book cover that entices the reader to pick up your book or in the digital age, click on the link for your book. Now that the cover has done its job, you need an awesome book description to entice the reader to purchase your book.

A good book blurb is an essential element in selling your novel. Some people find writing book blurbs easy while others struggle with exactly what to say and how long to make their description. The important thing is not to dismiss this significant element in marketing your novel.

The purpose of the book description or blurb is to grab the reader’s attention. You want to entice them to buy your book, but you don’t want to tell them the whole plot and certainly don’t want to spoil the end.  A well-written blurb can be the deciding factor on whether the reader purchases your book so definitely spend some time perfecting your copy.

For a short story, the book blurb should only be one or two paragraphs. For novels, consider three paragraphs of no more than 250 words total. Here is a brief overview of what each paragraph might contain but worry more about good prose instead of following this formula.

First paragraph: Introduce your character and the setting. Or open by building the overall plot and setting.

Example: At the age of four, Lina discovered she could start fires with a mere thought – a trait which had died out long ago. Cautioned by her telepathic cat, Tosh, she kept this Elemental power a secret to avoid being an outcast. That was easy to do growing up in the remote grasslands of Zena.

Second paragraph: Set the mood and the conflict. In other words, delve a little deeper into the plot.

Example: Now an adult, she had no plans to leave her beloved homeland. So when a strange urge compels her to travel north to an unknown destination, Lina resists this unnatural feeling. But her plans to stay in Zena are taken out of her control when she is kidnapped by gypsies and wakes in a foreign land. The desire to travel north is as strong as ever. She fears she will have no choice but to give into the compulsion. When a raging fire prevents her return home, she realizes she must find out once and for all what or who is summoning her.

Third paragraph: Steer toward the resolution (Remember to hint at it and not give it away.) Leave the reader wanting more.

Example: On her journey, Lina befriends an odd assortment of allies. Together they battle mystical creatures and unnatural forces despite the fact that such magic had died out over 800 years ago.  Lina reluctantly begins to use her innate Elemental power as she becomes more certain that someone is using magic against her. When she discovers the shocking truth, it will change her life in ways she could never imagine.

One way to write your blurb is just to write down as much about the book as you can. Then you narrow it down. You will end up cutting and editing just as you did your novel. Only name your main characters. Concentrate on riveting words that stir the emotions of the reader.

However, you decide to craft it, remember the book blurb is your sales pitch. Don’t skimp; spend time polishing it. The well-written blurb really can make all the difference.

Want more tips on writing blurbs as well as some good examples? Check out this website.

Dealing with childhood eczema

Anyone who has had eczema or a child with eczema knows how horrible it is. Eczema is a chronic disease that causes itchy, inflamed skin. There is no cure for eczema. And sometimes no matter how many lotions, ointments or creams you try, the itch cannot be resolved. An estimated 30 million Americans live with this disease.

My daughter first showed signs of eczema when she was three months old. Within months, she was scratching all the time. The pediatrician diagnosed her with atopic dermatitis (the most severe level of eczema) and gave us a steroid cream to help relieve some of the itching.

Because my son had a mild case of eczema as a baby, we were already use to using fragrance-free and dye-free soaps, detergents and lotions. But Lexie’s eczema was more severe than Jase’s. While he outgrew it by the time he was two, Lexie just seemed to get worse. She was constantly scratching until her skin bled. The itching prevented her from sleeping well, which of course meant we didn’t sleep well. Most mornings her sheets were stained with blood.

Back of Lexie’s legs at age 2.

When she was 18 months old, we were referred to a dermatologist. But here it was just more of the same. He would prescribe a cream, and we would try it, but it wouldn’t help. In fact, often whatever cream or lotion we used, she seemed to itch more.  She would cry every time we treated her as if the medication stung her raw skin.

I turned to the internet to look for relief, checking out hundreds of pages of eczema and trying countless different lotions and treatments that others said had helped them or their child. Nothing seemed to help.

To make matters worse, because of the open sores from her scratching, she developed an abscess under her arm, which had to be drained (not a fun experience at all). This would be the first of ten abscesses that she would have that year. Luckily, we became good about catching them early and cleared them up with antibiotics instead of the dreaded draining by the doctor. But none of us were immune to them. Because her body was covered with numerous cuts, she constantly had high levels of staph on her skin (which is common for people with eczema), and we all ended up developing at least one abscess.

Now, a few friends and quite a few strangers who remarked on her skin had suggested a milk allergy as being part of the problem. My mom also suggested a grass allergy since after being outside, she would just sit down and scratch her feet. So I mentioned it to the dermatologist, but he dismissed allergies as being the trigger.

After we had been seeing him for a year with no relief and after a really bad flare up, the dermatologist finally recommended we see an allergist. The allergist sent her for a blood test. The results were staggering. They tested her for 37 common things, and she was allergic to every one of them.

I will write more about Lexie’s allergies next week. But I just want to say that for anyone who is diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, please don’t wait as long as we did to see an allergist. Even though avoiding whatever you are allergic to won’t “cure” the atopic dermatitis, it can certainly reduce flare-ups and in our case, a whole bunch of scratching.

For more information on eczema, I highly recommend the National Eczema Association. EczemaNet is another good resource.

Today’s Featured Author: Liz Strange

Today I am excited to interview author Liz Strange on my blog.

INTERVIEW: 

About the Author

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born and raised In Kingston, Ontario, Canada’s original Capitol. I still live there with my own family.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I considered myself a real writer when I got my first acceptance in June of 2009. Since then I’ve written seven more novels, 2 novellas and several short stories. I also write screenplays, and made the finals in my first ever contest last year.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

I try to infuse personal experiences, and real life situations into my writing to give it a flavor of honesty, something the reader can connect to even if I’m writing in a genre like fantasy or horror.

Do you write full-time? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

At present I work full time in a hospital and am a single mom to 4, so my writing comes in my “spare time”. It’s mostly nights, weekends and holidays.

About her Books

Please tell us about your current release.

My current release is the second book in my David Lloyd Investigations series, A Fresh Set of Eyes, where the title character is trying to find evidence to reverse a murder conviction against two young men. This is a follow-up to last year’s Independent Literary Awards finalist, Missing Daughter, Shattered Family.

What inspired you to write this book?

The book was inspired by the West Memphis Three case, which I have always been fascinated by.

How did you come up with the title?

This is exactly what David is doing, looking at the case with a fresh set of eyes.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I read a lot about the case, and watched the documentaries, including West of Memphis, which was produced by Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings).

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

There’s a lot of great characters, like Jenny, the former prostitute that David “adopts” as a pseudo little sister, and David’s grandmother who’s a real firecracker. I loathe the character of Jeremy Black, which I think most readers will when they find out his role in David’s life.

Just for Fun

If you could jump in to any book, and live in that world, which would it be?

Oh. I’d love to be in Interview with the Vampire, as long as I wasn’t a victim. I love the idea of being able to move from era to era, and witness history with your own eyes.

What book are you reading right now?

I’ve just started re-reading Kathy Reichs books. I love her Temperance Brennen character and the interesting cases she writes about.

If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?

Ok. I’m going to go one classic and one modern. I’d pick Oscar Wilde, not just because I’m a fan, which I am, but because he was also such an interesting and polarizing character. Then I’d also choose Michael Slade, who is a Canadian author I love.

Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I’m sure this will ruin my reputation as the “mistress of darkness”, but I love musical theatre, Jesus Christ Super Star, Mama Mia, Little Shop of Horrors, even Annie.

Author Bio

Liz’ s love of mythology and the paranormal often finds its way into her stories, compelling her to create worlds where just about anything is possible. Her characters may fight supernatural beings, solve ancient mysteries, fall in love, or find themselves travelling through time.

In addition to writing Liz works at a local hospital and is busy raising her four children. She loves rainy days, spicy food, and has seen about every horror movie known to man. When she has time she’d like to travel the world. She has her sights set on Greece, Mexico and Easter Island.

Find out more about Liz and her works on her website.

Also you can follow her on Twitter or her Facebook page.

You can purchase A Fresh Set of Eyes on Amazon.

Announcing the release of The Search by Susan Leigh Noble

Today I would usually write something about the craft of writing a novel but instead I am announcing the release of my short story, The Search.

This story follows Tosh, one of the main characters from my The Elemental trilogy. It takes place about fifteen years before Summoned.

The Search can be found on Amazon for just 99 cents. Or get it FREE at Barnes & Noble, the Kobo Store or Smashwords (available in all ebook formats.)

The Search: Book Description

For over a thousand years, telepathic cats known as STACs have faithfully searched for those with power over the elements looking for the one foretold to save the Land. None have questioned their duty to fulfill this ancient task.

But when Tosh’s latest charge is murdered because of his Elemental powers, Tosh considers abandoning The Search. Will a glimpse of the future destruction be enough to change his mind?

The Search: Excerpt

The horse’s hooves thundered across the ground. Tosh dug his claws into the saddle as his back legs threatened to slip off. A firm hand pressed against his side, pulling him closer toward the young man behind him. Feeling safer, Tosh leaned out to see the terrain up ahead. He blinked his eyes in disbelief at what he saw.

You can’t be serious.

“We can make it,” Nolan said, speaking directly into his mind.

Tosh looked up at him, but Nolan wasn’t looking at the ravine. He was looking over his shoulder at the three men on horseback chasing them. Tosh caught a glimpse of a hefty man with a red beard leaning forward, urging his mount to run faster. He clearly was gaining on them. Tosh looked at the ravine before them.

It is too far for her to jump.

“Ah come on, Tosh. She’ll do just fine.”

Tosh sighed. Nolan rarely listened to any advice he gave him unless it coincided with something that Nolan already wanted to do. Knowing there was no way and no time to change the young man’s mind, Tosh curled up against him. He dug his claws deeper into the saddle and wrapped his tail protectively around his body. He felt Nolan lean forward as the mare’s hooves left the ground. He closed his eyes, counting the seconds until he felt the mare land on the other side. She stumbled slightly, and Tosh opened his eyes to see a small section of ground at the ravine’s edge fall.

Nolan reined in the mare and turned to look back at the ravine and the approaching men. Tosh glanced up and saw the look of concentration on his face. Suddenly, the ground shook. The edge of the ravine crumbled. Rocks and dirt fell until the gorge was three feet wider than it had been moments earlier. The men pursuing them pulled their mounts to a halt at the edge of the gorge.

“You won’t get away from us,” the redhead yelled.

Nolan raised his hand and waved before urging the mare toward the forest. Tosh glanced back to see the men swearing as they eyed the ravine which now was clearly too wide for them to jump. As they entered the forest, Nolan slowed the mare to a walk.

“That was amazing,” he said with a chuckle.

You’re lucky the mare made it.

“Oh, Tosh, you worry too much,” he said ruffling Tosh’s fur.

Tosh turned to glare at him and then proceeded to lick the fur back into the correct direction. We wouldn’t have had to find out if she could make it if you just learn to control your temper.  

Tosh didn’t really expect Nolan ever to learn to do that. He had been trying to drill that lesson into him since he was a headstrong teenager but to no avail.

“I know. I know. And stop using my Elemental power in front of others,” Nolan said with a sigh. “Why shouldn’t I use it?”

I have never said you shouldn’t use it. You just need to decide when it is wise to do so.

“So using it to defend myself isn’t wise?”

Defending yourself is one thing. Picking fights is another. Tosh sighed. I guess this means we are moving again.

“But first we have to go pick up our belongings.”

They circled back toward the town. When they entered it an hour later, Tosh kept an eye out for the men, but the streets were nearly empty. No one paid them any attention as Nolan stopped before the boarding house where they had been staying. Tosh remained on the mare as Nolan ran upstairs to gather their things. Within minutes, the young man had returned, and they were on their way out of town.