Xtra, Xtra: Best Writing Links of the Week #atozchallenge



It's that time of the week again--best links! (And yes, I'm stretching the a to z challenge thing today, but come one--it's X. Ugh.) So here we go...

On Writing/Publishing:
For Random Fun and Info:
What You May Have Missed Here:

(my post at Peanut Butter on the Keyboard)
Alright, that's all I've got this week. What have been some of your favorite links of the week? 
Have a great weekend!

Why I Walk Away From Bad Reviews... #atozchallenge

Photo by Chriscom (click pic for link)First, just a quick heads up. I'm blogging over at Peanut Butter on the Keyboard today on: Enough with the “Mommy Porn” Label – Moms Are Still Women. I hope you'll stop by. :)

Okay now to today's topic...

There are many things that I can handle. I have had critiques that had so much red you couldn't see black print anymore. I have had my agent tell me to remove an entire subplot and replace it with something completely different and I had two weeks to do it (she was right.) I'm even the girl who wanted the teacher to hand out test grades on Friday instead of waiting until after the weekend. In a lot of arenas, you could call me masochistic.

But, I have found this tough-skinned thing does not translate to reading reviews. And that's okay. Sometimes you have to know your limits. (And sometimes being tough-skinned isn't the be all end all.)

 Bad reviews...

Ruin my day when I read them.

Make me question my current WIP and my ability to write.

Make me worry about sales.

Get me grumpy.

Inspire writer's block.

Cause me to wonder if all those months I spend buried, sometimes ignoring my family and everything else, to write books for hardly any income are for naught.

Are part of the deal.

Are necessary.

Are totally the reader's right.

Are for other readers, not me.


So when I feel the urge to read what that person who gave me 1-3 stars said, I sing the choruses of these two songs in my head and click on something else.


Walk Away - Kelly Clarkson


Not For You - Pearl Jam


What have you learned you have to walk away from because it's just not good for you? Fellow writers, how do you handle tough reviews? Do you read anything anyone says about you? 

Round-Up Time: Best Writing Links of the Week #atozchallenge

 It's that time of the week again. Time to round up the best writing links I've come across this week (and last week since I missed doing a round up while I was out of town.)

Here we go...

On Writing/Publishing:

Sara Megibow Sells Romance – What Do You Need To Know About Submissions? | Romance University

Four Secrets About Writer's Conference Faculty - Marcy Kennedy

Pens for Paws Auction <--Check out a good cause

Reading and Writing Negative Reviews | Wistfully Linda

Writing Conferences–Beware of Crossing Deer « Kristen Lamb's Blog

Julie Anne Lindsey | Don’t Quit Your Day Job «Musings from the Slush Pile

Sierra Godfrey: Back away slowly from 1-star reviews

Sierra Godfrey: A year of baby and writing

Why every man MUST read a romance – and every woman a thriller | The Red Pen of Doom

Romance novelists are secret, epic army of man boosters | The Red Pen of Doom

My favorite quality in a romance novel - Kat Latham


On Blogging/Social Networking/Business:

58 Ways to Create Persuasive Content Your Audience Will Love | Copyblogger

What Mascara, Thai Food & Julia Child Can Teach Us About Social Media Success - Kristen Lamb

The 7 Bad Habits of Insanely Productive People | Copyblogger <--LOVE this


What You May Have Missed Here in the A to Z Challenge:


Got Rhythm? Finding It In Your Story



How To Dish Out Backstory In Digestible Bites 



Ian Somerhalder - Boyfriend of the Week



Kink & BDSM 101 - What It Is & Why It's So Popular In Books



Like Me! - How to Create Sympathetic Characters



Man Up: Writing Male POV



The (Not So) Dreaded Synopsis



Orlando Bloom - Boyfriend of the Week



Picky, Picky - The Danger of Authors Being Too Clique-y on Twitter



Question: Book Series/TV Show You Wish You Could Experience Again for the 1st Time


Whew, all right, that's all two weeks worth. What have been some of your favorite links this week?

Hope everyone has a great weekend! :)


Picky, Picky - The Danger of Authors Being Too Clique-y on Twitter #atozchallenge

Photo by Callee MacAulayAs I mentioned yesterday, I just returned home from the Romantic Times convention. I went to a lot of workshops and got some great information. And one of the workshops I went to was about social media and promoting your brand. The speaker was a publicity expert and she had a ton of terrific things to say.

But one of the things that gave me pause was when she started talking about the infamous Twitter Followers vs. Follower count. She said your "popularity" holds less water if your counts are similar. Meaning, you have 5k followers but you follow 5k people. It's assumed that you're just doing the automatic "follow back" thing. So, she recommended putting people on lists--where they don't show up on your follow count and they don't know you're following them but you can still see their tweets.

Well...I'm not sure I agree with this approach. It kind of sounds like the popular girl only being friends with the nerd in private but not in front of her friends. I am patently against the auto follow back (see my post on Enough with the Quid Pro Quo if you want more on that.) However, I think only following your select group of friends or clique is actually missing a great opportunity. I wrote on this a while back on my writing blog, but I thought I'd run it again since this whole "only follow an elite few" advice is still being given.

Of course, this is just my opinion, but here's what I think...

The Danger of Authors Being Too Clique-y on Twitter

In the Twitterverse, there is this impression that you must be really important/supercool/whatever if you have a high number of people following you, but you personally only follow a handful of people. Basically--everyone wants to be your friend, but you only grant that "privilege" to an elite few. (High school never ends it seems.)

Now most people who do this do it not because they're being a "twitter snob" but because they don't want to be overwhelmed by three thousand peoples' tweets. I TOTALLY get that because I follow over 2k people and that got way too hard to manage, so I had to start using lists (in a different way than mentioned above, more on that later). And if you're, for instance, an editor or an agent--where everyone is seeking your attention--it makes sense to limit who you follow only to people you truly have a connection with in some way.

However, I think for an author this practice can really shoot you in the foot instead of helping you. We are writers. We want to connect with readers. We want to sell books and build a fanbase. Right?

So why-oh-why if you're an author would you only follow your "clique" of friends and not follow your readers, the people who are paying their hard-earned money to buy YOUR book?

I know it's silly, but you know how much better I feel about an author if I @ her/him on Twitter and the person responds? All of a sudden, this author's coolness factor has jumped off the charts. It makes me like them more. It makes me want to support them and their books because they are REAL and FRIENDLY and APPROACHABLE. And if they follow me, then wow, I'm really won over.

On the other hand, if I follow an author and they don't follow me (fine), but then they ask questions of their readers/audience and I respond--and get no response or even a general "Thanks to everyone who commented", then I feel a little huffy. Now if you're Stephanie Meyer or Stephen King or whatever, then it's understandable. Uber-fame gets you a pass. I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about your average author who has a few thousand followers. 

When they don't respond or acknowledge, plus don't follow--the impression that is left is--this author thinks they are too important/busy/big-time and don't feel like their readers are important enough to acknowledge even after they've asked directly for their help. So when that same author hops back on Twitter and is announcing their book release or contests and asking for retweets--well, I'm just not that motivated to go out of my way for them.

So the question is, as an author, how do you 

a) Make your readers/followers feel important? and 

b) Do so without being bombarded daily with 80 bazillion tweets from people you don't know?

Answer: Lists

Twitter allows you to make both public and private lists. Then you can use a program like Tweetdeck and have your main column be just the tweets of people on that list. For instance, I follow over 2k, but there are only about 200 on my "super awesome people" list. It's private, so no one can see if they are on my list or not. But this makes it manageable to follow, while I'm still able to follow "in general" the other non-list people in another column and can click if something pops up that catches my interest. And if I end up interacting with someone who is not on the list and making a connection, it's easy enough to add them to my super awesome list.

Doing this allows me to have my cake and eat it too. I can have my clique of people who I talk with regularly while not alienating new people who may become great friends or readers or whatever one day.

Now, having said all this, I do not follow everyone back. If nothing catches my eye in their profile, they seem spammy or only focused on promo, or we seem to have nothing in common (or I just don't have time to go through my new follows, which is the most common reason lately), I'll wait. If they talk to me at some point, then I'll probably go follow.

And please oh please don't go follow a whole bunch of people just to drive your follower count up. It's spammy and useless. That's what gives that follow vs. follower count a bad reputation. But if you find someone who interests you, it's just a click.

So what do you think of this method? How do you feel when an author you like interacts with you or follows you? How do you feel if they don't do those things? And do you think someone is less awesome if their follow vs. follower ratio is closer to even instead of lopsided?

A is for...An Ordinary Girl - #AtoZchallenge

I know I'm super late on today's post since it's the first day of the A to Z blogging challenge. But I've been at a conference all weekend and literally have been away from the computer for three days.

So since today is "A", I wanted to pass along a great book I read last week called An Ordinary Girl. I love, love, love an angsty, super emotional erotic romance and this one sucked me in. I read the book in a day and believe me, I didn't have time to be reading last week. But I couldn't put it down. There were lots of layers to the story and characters, and of course, it was hawt. :)

And when I come across one of those books, I'm compelled to share. So here you go:


Ash is an ordinary girl, leading an ordinary life, but behind her smile she hides a secret so damning she’s sure no one could ever love her. Noah is a war photographer who’s come back from Afghanistan with a secret so dark he can’t escape its smothering grip. 

Both need redemption. Ash looks for it by making people happy. Noah seeks it under the whip of a Dom. They’re damaged souls, drowning in guilt, unable to escape the legacies of their pasts. Then their worlds collide in an explosion of fireworks so strong it singes not only them, but those around them. It’s said love heals all wounds, but sometimes before love enters the heart, the intense fire of passion has to burn a path, lighting the way.


Have you read anything lately that you couldn't put down?