Category Archives: Writing Tips

Allaigna’s Song: Overture

Pre-order Allaigna’s Song: Overture by JM Landels
here, in beautiful print.

A great new read in fantasy, Allaigna’s Song: Overture  never fails to intrigue and satisfy my love of adventure and superbly drawn characters.

allaigna-adFrom the very first page, JM Landels draws us into Allaigna’s brilliantly observed world, a land rich in conflict and magic.  Jen is a gifted storyteller and gives her readers those greatest of rewards, surprise turns and great character growth and transformation.  Subtle and powerful, her writing always pleases.

In her first paragraphs, Jen shows her craft and genius in world-building, centering the reader firmly in a resonant family picture, rooting us into a land teetering on the verge of war.  Danger gathers all around the flawed and appealing young Allaigna.  Royal and empowered with magical abilities she has yet to discover, she feels the same fears that any young child might fear, of loss of a mother’s attention, and an uncertain place in her father’s kingdom.

Jen had me at Allaigna’s first song, when the little girl comes close to killing the new prince, her brother.  It’s a book you won’t be able to put down.

– Mel

Get the full novel here, along with terrific rewards, in the Kickstarter campaign to start up a boutique publishing house, with Allaigna’s Song: Overture  leading the way to more fantasy, science fiction, mystery, steampunk, and historica titles.stella-allaigna-2-small

Hurry!  The  campaign ends Thursday!

 

The Writer’s Delight

Wondering what to give the writer in your life?  Look no further than Something Novel where you’ll find …

The Writer’s Delight

Limited Reward!  Jam-packed with Writing Value. You receive:book &Pen small

  •  The Writer’s Boon Companion, the motivating, illustrated 30-day writing guide
  • a detailed critique of up to 1000 words of your short story or work in progress by one of the Pulp Lit editors.
  • A print subscription to Pulp Literature (Additional back issues or years of Pulp Literature can be added for $25 per four issues.)
  • Allaigna’s Song: Overture
  • Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries.

This is a steal of a deal at the $100 reward level.  But hurry! There are only 9 left!

Looking for more great gift ideas?  Head on over to Something NovelWe even send gift cards!3-notecards

Time Management for Writers: Self Motivation

polycarpSelf-motivation is one of the great time management tools available to writers, and one of the most pleasant to employ.  If you’re geared up, it’s far easier to sit your butt in that chair and type.

One powerful way to self-motivate is to take a minute to contemplate our greater goals.  Picture the ideal life you want.  Spend a little time with the writer you intend to be — the writers you really are.  How will you spend your days?

The bigger the goal, the more challenging and meaningful it is.  As writers we can envision reaching it, without worrying about how we’ll take every step along the way.  Maybe we’ll have to slog every step, but writers love writing, so that’s completely okay.  Or maybe, from time to time, fortune will shine on us, through an opportunity for swift advancement that a writer’s hard work has readied each of us to accept.

If a career goal is our true desire, and if we can picture ourselves winning it, then the small steps we take towards it have more meaning.  And they may be more fun, especially if thinking about that red carpet to a writing nomination at the Oscars is on your mind, or a signing, or a great big royalty cheque.  Our goal may well be to write while smiling broadly.   These are the working moments when a writer feels as if time stands still, and (I smile as I type) it’s truly amazing how much we can get done when it feels like time stands still.

With a great attitude and steady incremental preparation, we are a long way towards creating the author’s life we want and deserve.

I hope it’s another brilliant writing day for you.

Cheers

Mel

For more inspiration from Mel, check out The Writer’s Boon Companion available till December 1st only on Something Novel.

Creative Writer’s Delight $150

pen2smallHere’s where to get more great rewards: Pulp Literature Press, Something Novel.

Creative Writer’s Delight

The Creative Writer’s Delight package is jam-packed with rewards for writers:

  • boontitlepagesmallThe Writer’s Boon Companion, a 30 day pocket guide to writing
  • a critique of up to 1000 words of your short story or work in progress.
  • A print subscription to Pulp Literature
  • Allaigna’s Song: Overture
  • Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries.
  • plus, full membership  to the Creative Ink Literary Festival from 31 March to 2 April 2017 in Burnaby, BC.  Don’t miss this amazing conference for writers, readers, and artists! There are only 3 available.
  • All these awards plus a festival membership for only $150!
  • Additional back issues or years of Pulp Literature can be added for $25 per four issues.

 Here’s where to get more great rewards: Pulp Literature Press, Something Novel.

On, Beside, Atop the Standing Desk

editorial-writer-forest-smallThe standing desk began to trend on Facebook a while back.  Churchill used one to write and edit.  Learning this, I perk up and look more deeply into the concept.

Companies are still making standing desks.  I don’t care for the look, though. And, I already have a desk with drawers and a flat surface.

So, I look at raising my writing desk to standing desk level.  What if I were to balance  it on stacks of books, once I know what  height it should be. So, I measure the distance between the top of my head and the screen, then subtract the difference between the top of my head and the floor sitting, and standing.  Or something. And come up with a number of centimeters that put my desk in a weird half-space at the window and me working in full view of all my neighbours, which is distracting to creative thought, especially with the desk falling off the stacks of books all the time.

I check out portable Victorian pulpits. Small ones, you know. They do exist, ebay-ers, but our flat is also small, and there is really nowhere to put one except the bathroom, and then the hamper will have to sit on the bed.

But, man, I’m picturing Churchill, standing at his desk to work (when not working in his bath). There’s got to be a way.

So, I measure the kitchen counter, which is 4 cm too short, and find a big wide book that measures 4 cm from the countertop to support my laptop. I put a block of wood at my foot to act as a foot rail, like the ones in wild-west bars. True, I have to clear my laptop away to cook at all, and wipe down my counter to work, but the view of the Victorian pub, sometimes accessorized with Morris dancers, traffic accidents, and magpie battles, inspires me.  And the extra movement and shifting of position, when combined with taking walks outside, helps enhance this happy-brain profession so that it’s a more movement-oriented career.  As well, for those of us working on computer screens, it’s well to know that we’re meant to look up and focus into the distance every few minutes. I find I do that when I’m standing far more than when I’m sitting.

Now, to turn off my wifi.  Lovely.  Oh! Look, a squirrel.

Cheers, Mel

Pulp Literature is running, with terrific rewards, a Kickstarter campaign to startup a boutique publishing house, with Allaigna’s Song: Overture  leading the way to more fantasy, science fiction, mystery, steampunk, and historica titles.

45eeddf5c7712aa1b4db548092c36a3b_originalHere’s where to get it: Kickstarter’s Pulp Literature Press, Something Novel.

Beat the Mid-November Blues

confidante-smallWriting is often a lonely business by necessity.  After all, it most often comes down to you and the blank page, and company is at best a distraction and at worst a hindrance.  But what if you had a quiet friend and confidante who was silent when you needed silence, yet ready with suggestions and words of encouragement when you need them most?

We introduce to you The Writer’s Friend and Confidante, a journal in which you’ll find thirty days of inspiration, tips and exercises, timely advice for each act of your story, and images to feed your eye and make you smile when you approach every lily-pale page.

confidante-day-3

Best of all, we’re offering this workbook as a thank you gift to everyone who backs our Something Novel Kickstarter Campaign before November 16th.

So if you’re feeling the mid-month NaNoWriMo lag, you’re fresh out ideas, or your novel needs an ending, ask The Writer’s Friend and Confidante for timely and helpful advice.

Getting Better All the Time

walkerAn editor once told me that to become a better writer and storyteller I must read, read, read, and write, write, write!   But, like most writers, I was already doing that.  What more can a writer do to continue to improve?

I always find that one of the great joys of writing is making something out of nothing. Writing is brain work.  So, to improve our work, we can improve our brains.

Our writing brains work best when we

I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week with your talented, well-cared-for writing mind.

Cheers, Mel

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuseI admire the way you’ve created an antagonist who believes in his own struggle.  From your Writing Muse

Day 3 update

confidante-title-pageHuzzah!  We’re at 20% funded with 66 backers.  Thank you so much to everyone who’s backed the campaign so far!  Can we make it to 100 backers by this time tomorrow?  If we do we have a second gift from Mel for those 100 backers … The Writer’s Confidante: Thirty Days of Narrative Achievement. 

Similar to the Boon Companion, this guide has different prompts and a different tone, for when you need the gentle encouragement of a friend rather than the rousing push of a steam-powered robot.  Unlike Boon, we don’t yet have plans to release this one in print, so the only way you can get it is by becoming a backer on Kickstarter.

Join us, and gain a friend to help you write the month out.

NaNoWriMo rewards you don’t want to miss!

Our Kickstarter campaign, Something Novel, is just around the corner … and so is National Novel Writing Month.  That’s why we have a special gift for the first 50 backers:

The Writer’s Boon Companion

1-front-cover-roughThe Writer’s Boon Companion motivates, organizes, and invigorates you for 30 days.  This writing journal offers space for goals, reflection, and outlines, and offers what no other writing guide can, to wit, the future visions of a steam-powered robot.  Illustrated, insightful, delightful, and compelling, The Writer’s Boon Companion is a clever sidekick for the adventurous author.

Tmermaid-hunterhe print version of the journal will be available as a tiered reward on Kickstarter and our bookstore page.  However, we will be releasing an advance-copy pdf version on November 1st only for the first 50 backers on our Something Novel Kickstarter campaign.

That’s right, you can get an exclusive digital version to print and reuse as many times as you like, simply by being one of the first supporters to pledge a dollar or more!

What’s more, you’ll receive it as soon as you become a backer, long before the campaign finishes … which means if you pledge on November 1st you’ll have this handy companion to keep you motivated and inspired throughout National Novel Writing Month.

If you’d like to be reminded when the campaign goes live, visit our campaign preview page now and follow Pulp Literature on Kickstarter.  Or you can join our the Facebook event which will also notify you on November 1st.

Don’t let your Hallowe’en hangover stop you from getting a steam-powered start on NaNoWriMo!

Thaddeus, take me to Facebook!

Thaddeus, take me to Facebook!

Robot Muse, take me to Kickstarter!

Robot Muse, take me to Kickstarter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notifications: The Tail Wagging the Dog

pupsmallIt’s happening again. I’m distracted from my work on my ms by notifications sounding and a tugging at my brain that makes me want to check my phone.  I try to track down the feeling that I’ve seen somebody wearing my headspace somewhere in my past, and by gum, I hit it.

Watching mothers answer their wall phones by the kitchen when I was a kid.

I’d be in a friend’s kitchen, and the mother would be off doing something of interest only to grownups, when the phone would ring.  She would charge in, say Who is it now?! and pick up, all frustration at the interruption gracefully swept away through the conversation, hang up, roll her eyes at us, and tear off to return to what she was doing.  I would always think, but never say, If she hates phone calls so much, why does she answer?  But, of course, she didn’t hate the phone calls.  She detested interruption.

With the advent of message machines, and all that’s come after those, things have switched around.  Now, I’m interrupting myself.  Ringing to see who’s rung.  I don’t wish away innovations — I’ve been a science fiction fan since the days of kitchen wall phones — but when I hoped for an all-knowing robot, I didn’t want it making pinging noises at my face while I work.

Where does a writer who loves his or her technology stow it while working?  And, how? Posit that there’s a time in the day we’ve set aside that’s fair game for checking emails and so on, and here are three ways.

  1. This may seem obvious, but turn off notifications as well as the internet.  Because, if we have to find out when the hamburger was first eaten in the USA right now or that scene we’re writing must take place elsewise, we are going to turn on our wifi.  And ping ping ping we are loved, but to distraction.
  2. When writing, if friends and family come to mind, don’t think of emailing them, or social media.  Think about the actual people and perhaps something you did together.  Much easier to love them and return to writing if your writing mind is not drafting mental emails or fab posts.
  3. Check out Christina Crook’s work in The Joy of Missing Out, Finding Balance in a Wired World.
  4. Cultivate “green spaces” that are connection-free during the day. For example,
  • Go for a walk or shopping and don’t take a phone.  Think, Nobody in the world knows where I am right now.
  • Enter a room without phone or technology, even the bathroom, and stay there, pretending that it’s 1990 or 1958.  Read for a while.
  • Go into the garden and do something out there, leaving the phone behind as those mothers of my youth used to do.  Oh, Sorry, I was out in the garden and didn’t hear the phone.  It was long before emoticons, but I know which one they would have used.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing day.

Cheers. Mel

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuseYou’ve made your writing spaces welcoming and inspiring. No wonder your story is going so well. From your Writing Muse