Tag Archives: techie stuff

Greatest hits of 2011 – thank you, readers!

I wanted to say a big, huge thank-you to everyone who subscribed to, commented on and read my blog last year. You guys rock, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you all!

WordPress.com created a 2011 annual report for this blog, and since you’ve all been part of it, I wanted to share it with you.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 26,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Since I’m completely un-musical, it’s the only time in my life I’ll ever get to picture the Syndey Opera House packed for my performance.

In case you missed ’em, these were the five most popular posts this year:

  1. The worst thing I’ve ever written didn’t kill me
  2. Why my romance novel hero is the ugliest man in the world (not popular because of the points I made but because I used two phrases that’re Google gold dust: “ugliest man in the world” and “massive penis”)
  3. Guest post by Sara Megibow: being a feminist romance reader
  4. Five things romance novelists should know about vaginas
  5. Describing how a man smells

Click here to see the complete report, including who commented the most.

I can’t wait to connect with you even more in 2012!

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Romance Writers of New Zealand magazine

The Romance Writers of New Zealand very kindly printed one of my blog posts in the June issue of their members’ magazine Heart to Heart!

Even more kindly, they’ve said I could make the pdf available here so people can read it.

My entry is on what novelists should do when writing for the web, but having read through the magazine I’m incredibly flattered to be included alongside some of my favorite writers. Seriously, check out these amazingly helpful articles:

  • How Do You Mend a Broken Scene? by Roxanne St. Claire
  • Five Tips for Getting to Know Your Characters by Tawne Fenske
  • Writing the Best Body Language And Dialogue Cues by Margie Lawson

Here’s the Heart to Heart pdf. Hope you enjoy reading it this weekend, and many thanks to RWNZ!

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Five things novelists should do when writing for the web

Frustrated man at a laptop

Rajesh Sundaram/sxc.hu

In my day job, I manage the content for a large charity website. I spend lots of time training my colleagues on writing for the web.

When I visit authors’ websites, I’m sometimes struck by the simple ways they could make their sites easier to use. Last week Roni Loren wrote about the ten components to a rocking author website. Her number one tip was to make sure a drunken monkey could navigate it. Excellent tip.

My post today will show you how the content you write can make your site easier to use. I won’t focus on how you use your voice or how to market your books. Instead I’ll show you easy ways to ensure your message is clear and easy to act on – whether it’s “Buy my book!” or “Get to know who I am!”

Though I’m writing this mostly for my fellow novelists, the principles here can apply to all websites.

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Why you should never screw over a romance heroine

This is cross-posted at The Season

Ever had a husband or lover who screwed you over so badly you invented new forms of revenge?

Did you follow through on them?

I’ve been reading all the RITA-nominated contemporary single title romance novels (seriously, there has to be a shorter way of saying that), and two of them feature heroines who get revenge in very contemporary ways.

Not That Kind of Girl cover Continue reading

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Training your brain to shift focus

Illustration of person dragging @ up hill

Sergio Roberto Bichara/sxc.hu

For me, the most difficult part of being a writer is not the writing itself. That’s something I enjoy more than almost anything in life.

No, the most difficult thing is keeping my eyes off my email whenever I’m waiting to hear back from someone. Without fail–whether I’ve sent off my manuscript for feedback or entered it in a contest–I start checking my email for a response Way Too Early.

Seriously, you should’ve seen me on March 25 last year when the Golden Heart finalists were being announced. I kept checking my phone and refreshing the announcement page. Basically, I acted like a complete saddo.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who glances at my email thirty times in a minute, just to make sure I haven’t missed something. Here are some of the ways I try to manage my mania.

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Greatest hits of 2010

1930s calculator

Credit: Oliver Gruener, sxc.hu

When I was in high school, I didn’t play sports. Instead, I met athletes by taking stats for our football team (and our basketball and softball teams, but they were girls so my heart wasn’t really in it).

That’s not to say I’m good at figuring out statistics, and since I rarely use math in my day job I’ve  mostly forgotten how to calculate anything.

I love reading statistics, though, so I was thrilled that WordPress emailed me an overview of this blog’s stats for 2010. I won’t share them all with you, but I wanted to let you know my top posts from last year, in case you missed any of them.

Thanks to everyone who read and commented on them the first time around!

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

What hits your hot button? September 2010

2

Describing how a man smells August 2010

3

Adopting a pseudonym after developing a social media presence October 2010

4

When did category romance get this good? June 2010

5

Writing in an accent that’s not yours September 2010

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I’m not repetitive, but…

You know those people who start a sentence with “I’m not racist, but…” and then go on to say something so horrific it leaves you lost for words?

Well, I’m not repetitive, but…

Last week I became a member of Savvy Authors and they’ve got a tool called the Auto Critter. It’s like Microsoft Word’s ‘find’ function but shedloads better. You paste in a passage (or even a full manuscript) and it counts how many times you use certain words that are often overused.

One of my worst offenders is ‘just’. It’s on just about every page, and it’s just so hard to stop using it. I pasted in my first chapter, and Auto Critter told me I’ve used ‘just’ 13 times…in eight pages. Ouch.

What’s better, it highlights all these overused words so you can see whether your use of the word is just…ified.

Sorry. I just couldn’t help myself.

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When you can’t afford to go to RWA Nationals

One of the bummers (cue naughty giggles from my British friends) of living in London is that I can’t afford to fly to the US in summer. It costs approximately $Ridiculous and I’m on a charity salary.

So color me thrilled to find Savvy Authors is having a Summer Symposium from today through Sunday. They’ve got loads of online workshops covering topics relevant to new and published writers, everything from craft to promotion, as well as giveaways and pitch appointments.

And it’s only $30 if you’re not a member (though membership costs $30 a year and gets you access to discounted courses, tools, and a community of writers).

So that’s where you’ll find me for the rest of the week. Talking about dirty words in the Language of Erotica course (not that I write erotica; I just want to read the dirty words) and going deep in the POV workshop.

For those of you baking and sweating in Orlando, yes I’m jealous. Seething with jealousy. But with the money I save this year, I may be able to join you next year.

Have fun!

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I write like…

…Mario Puzo, apparently.

Not sure how I feel about that. Unless, of course, makes me an offer I can’t refuse for my manuscript. Then I’ll know exactly how I feel about it.

Who do you write like?

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If Harry Potter and Che Guevara had a love child…

…it would apparently be the iPad.

Apple says it’s magical and revolutionary. Wow. Sounds like they’re working hard to disassociate it from its sanitary connotations.

But I guess ‘absorbent’ and ‘disposable’ don’t really describe electronics.

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