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"Teaching Tom" book blurb reveal

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I am very excited to reveal the book blurb for "Teaching Tom". This is blurb version number fifteen, I think. Here we go...
Tom has everything he ever wanted, thanks to Tori. In the two years since he conquered her heart, their love has grown to the point where Tom has to regularly pinch himself to check if he’s living a dream too good to be true. But when tragedy strikes Tom’s family, the dream soon turns into a nightmare. Tom makes a couple of bad decisions that will have disastrous consequences. The love that he and Tori believed was unshakeable becomes severely tested. Ravaged by guilt and grief, and unable to meet the ever-increasing needs of his family, Tom reaches out to the person he loves the most. But Tori is fighting her own demons, unwilling to forgive him. When she discovers some painful truths about her beloved late mother, her own decisions seem so much harder to follow through.
As both try to find their own way to heal from their hurt, one question remains una…

Connecting emotionally with your reader

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If you're anything like me, you like books that engage you emotionally. You get fully invested in characters' lives and suffer through their troubles as if it were you. You feel elation when your hero or heroine achieves their goals. You cheer alongside them as they finally pluck up the courage to talk to their secret crush. You cry when they cry, and even if they don't, you still (possibly) cry. 

How do we get pulled into these stories so much that we feel the character's pain and joy as if it were our own? 

Writers use all sorts of tricks to lure you in. One minute you're blissfully enjoying an escape from your own reality, and the next you notice tears falling onto your jeans or your pillow getting soaked. Or you find yourself so irritated with a fictional person that you can't stop reading until the tension eases. 

How do they do it?  How do they do it?
And what can I do to make my readers root for my characters?
My quest to find out has confirmed what I already …

How to make an Indie author's day

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Are you looking for a way to pay it forward? Here's a little idea:
Review your indie author's books. 
"But I don't know how to do this."
"I've never written a book review."
"I don't know what to say." "I'm no good at writing!" 

A book review doesn't have to be long and detailed. Sometimes, the short ones are more effective than long, wordy ones. Here's a really short one that I like:

Says it all, doesn't it? In all of its nine words. 
If you like to go in to a bit more detail, you could comment on something that you really liked, or something that stood out to you in the book you're reviewing. About a month ago, I received this review on "Teaching Tori". 

Needless to say, I was very happy when I read it because the reviewer gave specific feedback or examples of what they liked. This is invaluable for me as a writer as it gives me clues as to what works in my writing.
So why don't you go check…

The seven commandments of editing

I hate to admit, but it's almost been a year since I finished the draft of my second novel "Teaching Tom", a stand-alone sequel to "Teaching Tori".

It was about eleven months ago when I first converted the draft from my writing software into a word document. I don't usually do this until I am confident that this is the end of the first draft.
So, that means that I've been editing for eleven months now, which is a bit mind boggling and depressing at the same time. Of course, I haven't just been editing.

Here is what I've done:
1. I've re-read the draft over and over, starting with the intention to edit, but then being sucked into the story (which might be a good sign) and then giving up mid-way because it was too hard to fix up the storyline.
2. When plotlines became unclear, I stopped.
3. Every time I came to a part I didn't like, I highlighted it, leaving it for the next read-through to deal with it.
4. I skipped missing scenes, putting…

New author biography

Most writers would consider themselves skilled at describing a person, but when it comes down to writing an author biography, it is suddenly difficult to decide what's important and what isn't. We are not used to writing about ourselves, especially not in the third person.  Do you stick to the cold hard (boring?) facts or do you add something more personal? I had a go at writing an author biography the other day and to my surprise, enjoyed it. I even found out about the correct spelling and original meaning of the word mother lode. Then I thought about my love of Italy and how that rubbed off in my writing in Tom's character, and I got distracted wondering how many types of pasta I could name from the top of my head. (Oh, the writer's brain, it's so marvelous and so irritating...)
Despite all of these distractions, I managed to finish my author biography. Here it is, without further ado:
Annie loves coffee with amother loadmother lode of milkfroth on top, she loves the …

Relaunching your book with a new cover

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A year ago, I published "Teaching Tori" with a book cover that I liked a lot. But has the cover helped sell the book? And would I have to get a new cover to go with the book's sequel, "Teaching Tom"?

In brief, the answer to the questions are: 1. No, 2. Yes.

This is the book cover of "Teaching Tori" as I had it since its launch in July 2014.

I really liked this cover because of its colour scheme, the font and the girl. The landscape of Central Otago in the background plays an important part in this story, so I was very happy to have it as part of the book cover. I liked the font too.

One year on, I'm not so sure any more.
The girl looks a bit squashed under the title bar, the colours are rather flat, but most of all, the cover doesn't convey what type of genre this is.

Apparently, romance novels are among the best selling books on kindle, but mine certainly isn't. (Actually, I'll be honest with you - this is how many books I've sol…