Fantasy is more than dragons

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" I really can't think of another series that tied the world of fantasy and sci-fi together so well since Pern... a truly original viewpoint of fantasy, and I loved it."
~ Riley Westbrook

Welcome!

Found on laura-marshall.com

Found on laura-marshall.com

Thank you for visiting the Nicholas C. Rossis author blog! Before becoming an author, I had no idea just how much work book marketing entails: it’s never been easier to publish your work, but it’s never been harder to get people to read it. So, my blog is mostly aimed at helping authors with their book marketing efforts and at sharing every trick of the trade I pick along the way.

You may also be interested in my web design services aimed at authors. I also post writing tips and free stories. For some fun reading, visit the Fun Historical Facts and the Entertainment sections. If you like what you see here, check out my books on Amazon. And if you leave a comment or contact me, I’ll keep you up-to-date with my news and send you exclusive short stories as a ‘thank-you’. Oh, and please feel free to reblog and share. I’ll be grateful to you if you do! For an easy way to do so, or for those who have trouble viewing this blog, I have set up a mirror blog on nicholasrossis.wordpress.com.

Recent Posts

New Book: Writing and Publishing a Book Series

New Book: Writing and Publishing a Book Series

Rayne Hall is the successful author of dozens of books in her celebrated Writer's Craft series. A few months ago, we wrote together a book chock-full of copywriting tips called Copywriting: Get Paid to Write Promotional Texts. Rayne and I have now finished a new book,...

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Convert Text from Image

Convert Text from Image

AI software like LaMDA is pretty impressive but we've been using AI for years without even realizing it. One perfect example of this is OCR (Optical Character Recognition) tools that let us digitize printed documents. While there's something to be said about the...

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LaMDA: A Sentient AI?

LaMDA: A Sentient AI?

In case you missed the news, a Google engineer called Blake Lemoine believes that LaMDA, the company's AI, has already achieved sentience. Lemoine has since been fired from Google for going public with his belief, thus violating the company's confidentiality policy....

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History of the Ferrari Brand

History of the Ferrari Brand

This blog usually deals with Medieval or ancient history, but I'm also interested in more recent history. While researching an article, I recently came across some facts about Ferrari, the legendary sports car brand created by Enzo Ferrari. I hope you'll enjoy them!...

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Helen after Troy

Helen after Troy

Bradford McCormick, a reader of this blog, mentioned Helen of Troy in a comment and got me thinking. What did happen to that crazy lass after Troy fell? Well, turns out the answer, as told by Steve Theodore on Quora, is both complicated and fascinating. A Happy Ending...

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Ancient Surgery

Ancient Surgery

Plenty of ancient resources mention medical procedures such as surgery. The early Chinese surgeon Hua Tuo (c. 140-208) is credited with being the first recorded person to use cannabis as an anesthetic. He reduced the plant to powder and mixed it with wine for...

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Short Time Sales

Short Time Sales

Many of you write romance that includes scenes that range from explicit to implicit. For you, I have this little nugget I came across the other day on Quora, which you may particularly enjoy if your romance takes place in the 19th century. During the 19th century,...

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WoW and Cross-Faction Gameplay

WoW and Cross-Faction Gameplay

If you're anything like me, you may have started your fascination with fantasy thanks to games. World of Warcraft (WoW) is probably the best-known one, letting you play online with your friends, form factions, and fight both other players and non-player characters...

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Neither Lazy, Nor Sick

Neither Lazy, Nor Sick

Having gone from posting once every other day to twice a month, you may be excused for wondering if I'm turning increasingly lazy or if something worse has happened. Thankfully, all is well but I do confess to being somewhat exhausted. Between writing and editing some...

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The World’s First Tik Tok War

The World’s First Tik Tok War

War has once again broken out. And Mike Elgan has an excellent report on what makes this one so different from all previous ones. As he points out, when the US invaded Iraq twenty years ago with the intention of removing Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and installing a...

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Looking in the Mirror

Looking in the Mirror

I came across a great thread on Facebook the other day and it got me thinking. A (male) writer was asking the following question: I have a female character looking at herself in the mirror. First naked then in a white nightdress which shows her figure. She is a very...

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Beware Misguided Writing Advice

Beware Misguided Writing Advice

Author Anne R. Allen published yesterday a great post titled, 10 Dangerous Critiques: Beware Misguided Writing Advice. In it, she explains how trying to please everybody who beta-reads or critiques your WIP can turn a novel into a kind of jackalope of unrelated parts....

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Interview with Tylluan Penry

Interview with Tylluan Penry

Remember my interview with Pamela Turner, one of the authors of Among the Headstones, an anthology of Gothic horror stories? Today, I'm interviewing Tylluan Penry, another one of the anthology's authors. Interview with Tylluan Penry Hi Tylluan, it’s great to have you...

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Talking Without Words

Talking Without Words

No, I'm not talking about non-verbal communication, i.e. shrugs, facial expressions, etc. I'm talking about emojis and, specifically, a new form of communication: “fake typing.” As Mike Elgan explains in his newsletter (which I highly recommend to anyone interested in...

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Are Animals Multilingual?

Are Animals Multilingual?

I am multilingual and consider myself a native Greek and English speaker. People like Ziad Fazah, born in Liberia, famously speak a total of 59 world languages. Can other creatures share that ability, though? Specifically, can dogs understand more than one language?...

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Interview with Pamela Turner

Interview with Pamela Turner

You may remember Rayne Hall from our recent collaboration: we wrote together a book on Copy Writing. Now, Rayne has edited an anthology of graveyard tales called, appropriately enough, Among The Headstones: Creepy Tales from the Graveyard. For today's post, I...

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Happy 2022 with Good News

Happy 2022 with Good News

2021 is almost over but 2020 casts a long shadow: So, you are excused if you feel that 2021 was a bit of a bummer with nothing much to show for it. Thankfully, The Happy Broadcast and Modern Met have got you covered. Illustrator Mauro Gatti is happy to balance things...

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Police Sketches of Literary Characters

Police Sketches of Literary Characters

I came across an unusual post on My Modern Met the other day. It featured the work of artist and filmmaker Brian Joseph Davis, specifically his ongoing project The Composites. The project produces police sketches based on what the book descriptions suggest and is a...

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The 1914 Christmas Truce

The 1914 Christmas Truce

Such was the carnage of The Great War that it was thought it would put an end to war for good. The war affected the lives of millions of men, including Tolkien and Milne. It gave birth to some rather unusual WWI alphabet primers. WWI also triggered medical advances...

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A Christmas Feud

A Christmas Feud

Christmas is a time when friends and relatives gather around the table to celebrate love, joy, and all things good. I know that this is the time of the year for inspirational stories, and I promise you'll have one of those for Christmas. Unfortunately, it is also a...

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Flying Aircraft Carriers. For Real

Flying Aircraft Carriers. For Real

As Popular Mechanics reports, the US Department of Defense wants the ability to launch and recover small drones from C-130 Hercules transports. The drones, nicknamed Gremlins after the mythological tricksters of the air, would be equipped with customized payloads and...

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How to Recover a Hacked Facebook Account

How to Recover a Hacked Facebook Account

This seems to happen more often than I'd like: someone lets you know that they received a Facebook message from you, usually asking for money. Only, you never sent one (duh). You were hacked! So what do you do next? An alltop9 post has the steps you should follow if...

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An Executioner’s Tale

An Executioner’s Tale

While browsing Quora, I came across the fascinating tale of a family of executioners in the Late Medieval era. I just know this will inspire your writing, so here it is. Thanks to Jean-Marie Valheur for the great answer. A Reluctant Executioner Imagine you’re a...

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5 Fun Ideas to Engage Your Readers

5 Fun Ideas to Engage Your Readers

This is a guest post by Dave Chesson, aka Kindlepreneur. Dave is the creator of Publisher Rocket, his #1 Book Marketing Tool. Connect with him on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter. 5 Fun Ideas to Engage Your Readers Engaging readers is the key to book success....

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The Adverb Strikes Back

The Adverb Strikes Back

We all know how adverbs are supposedly an author's archnemesis. They are to be avoided like, well, passive voice. We're to go through our manuscripts, find each and every one of them, and kill them while crying out, "die, rebel scum!" Hemingway has a lot to do with...

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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

Even though Greece doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving, I went to an American school so the family and I sort of do — mostly because we love the idea of a day dedicated to gratitude. In that spirit, I am very grateful to all of you for your love and support all these...

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I’m on the Voice of Indie Podcast

I’m on the Voice of Indie Podcast

Something to be thankful for: if you've missed my nuggets of wisdom and anecdotes from Greece and Scotland, don't despair. I was invited over at the Voice of Indie podcast by two very charming gentlemen, Beem Weeks and Stephen Geez, of Fresh Ink Group fame. We...

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Ye Olde Spelling

Ye Olde Spelling

Have you ever wondered about the ubiquitous "ye" in old publications (and certain Bible translations)? Did people actually go around using "ye" instead of "the"? How about quaint shops with signs like "Ye Olde Coffee Shoppe" — or even "Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese"? How...

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What Were Stone Age Clothes Made of?

What Were Stone Age Clothes Made of?

Many fantasy books mention clothes. These are usually made of wool or linen. If there's an "Asian" civilization nearby, perhaps even silk. But what did early civilizations really use for their clothes? I'm not talking about Medieval clothes or even Roman ones. I'm...

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Is There Life on Venus?

Is There Life on Venus?

A hundred years ago, people thought there may be life on Mars. However, it turns out that moons like Europa and Titan are more likely candidates for life. Now, Venus is added to the list of possible life-bearing destinations on our doorstep. As Popular Mechanics...

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The Cossack Sorcerers

The Cossack Sorcerers

Almost everyone knows about Japanese Ninjas and Chinese Shaolin monks. How about the secretive and magical Warrior Society of Ukraine, though? I am, of course, talking about the Cossack Sorcerers. Never heard of them? Well, neither had I until I came across a...

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The Real Tower of Babel

The Real Tower of Babel

"Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then...

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Anvil Weddings and Gretna Green

Anvil Weddings and Gretna Green

Scotland and England were ruled by a single monarch until James VI of Scotland became James I of England, upon Elizabeth I’s death in 1603. However, it was only when the Act of Union was passed, in 1707, that they were united under a single parliament. One of the...

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A Nafplio Visit

A Nafplio Visit

One of the best things about living in Greece is the history. Literally, with every stone you lift, you're bound to find a wee bit of history underneath. This weekend, we went to Nafplio and visited the castle of Palamidi. Nafplio was the second capital of Greece,...

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North American Vikings

North American Vikings

I was just writing the other day about the 1339 monk who wrote about the discovery of America. Now, analysis of wood from timber-framed buildings in the L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland shows a Norse-built settlement over 1,000 years ago - 471 years before Columbus....

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The Delayed Buyer Effect

The Delayed Buyer Effect

Mina Baturan recently shared a helpful tip on her Facebook Group, AmWritingFantasy. She calls it The Delayed Buyer Effect and it is the result of what happens when someone sees your ad, wants to read your book, but doesn’t buy or download. Or does download with Kindle...

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Punching an Asteroid

Punching an Asteroid

I don't know if you've heard the news yet but NASA is launching an unusual mission: to punch an asteroid in the face. As LiveScience reports, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), is scheduled to launch on Nov. 23. According to NASA, it could help figure out...

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Ending Letters

Ending Letters

Have you paid any attention to the letters we use to end our words? For example, you won't find any words ending in U, V, I, or J. Why is that? Gareth Adamson has the answer on Quora. And yes, it has to do with history. But also with grammar. Ending with a J ‘J’ is...

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Hardcover Books on KDP

Hardcover Books on KDP

A while ago, I was notified by Amazon that hardcover versions are now available for my books - but that this was still in beta and I wasn't supposed to mention anything. Now, hardcovers are officially here and Dave Chesson, aka Kindlepreneur, has published a helpful...

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Do You, Like, Like Like?

Do You, Like, Like Like?

I mentioned in my previous post how we had some American friends stay with us over the summer. One of them was a teen girl who, as teens do, used "like" every now and then. A habit I soon found myself repeating. Then I came across an interesting article on The...

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A Long Hiatus

A Long Hiatus

I swear, I didn't plan on disappearing for this long. It was only when I saw that my last blog was published two months ago, on August 3rd, that I realized how time had flown by. However, I couldn't not share a little gem I came across today as I was buying food for...

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Reigniting Your Passion

Reigniting Your Passion

I apologize for disappearing lately. It's summer, which means I'm trying to get some rest and enjoy the Greek sun and sea. We also have friends over, which adds to the temptation to drop everything and head to the beach. Plus, of course, I still need to work. And...

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Real-Life Aliens

Real-Life Aliens

What might life on another planet look like? What the British Antarctic Survey came across earlier this year (2021) may shed some light. As Wired reports, the Society wanted to study the history of the floating shelf. Instead, they came across strange creatures that...

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Past Visions of the Future

Past Visions of the Future

How did our grandfathers imaging our present? Robert Langkjær-Bain of Fivemedia has an excellent article with some (often hilarious) illustrations answering that very question. Flying Cars With AirCar completing its first flight on June 28th, 2021, maybe we're finally...

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Pixar’s Screenwriting Tips

Pixar’s Screenwriting Tips

In my last post, I discussed how to create memorable characters the Pixar way. This one has some more writing tips from No Film School. This one includes several tweets from Director and Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats (@lawnrocket). I hope you find them useful!...

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Create Memorable Characters the Pixar Way

Create Memorable Characters the Pixar Way

No Film School has published some of Pixar's tips for creating memorable characters. From Woody to Nemo, Pixar's characters have a unique way of sticking with you, whether it's due to their hilarious banter or heartbreaking humanity. But what is it that makes them so...

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Survey: What Readers Really Want

Survey: What Readers Really Want

A few days ago, Written World Media (WWM) published the results of a survey on what readers really want. The company has five reader-facing brands such as Freebooksy, Bargain Booksy, and Red Feather Romance, that allow authors and publishers to reach the right...

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Medieval Name Generators

Medieval Name Generators

You may recall my previous posts on naming your characters (Old Anglo-Saxon Character Names, Free Online Character Name Generators, and Naming your Characters the Easy Way). There is now a new character naming tool on Reedsy, the Medieval Name Generator. If you’re...

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Are There Any Celtic Words in English?

Are There Any Celtic Words in English?

Long-time followers of my blog may remember my post on the origins of English. The language tree in that post shows that English is largely derived from Germanic, specifically Anglo-Frisian. So, where are the Celts? Are there no Celtic words in English? As several of...

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Space Farts and Crappy Jobs

Space Farts and Crappy Jobs

The wee one's fascination with bodily functions (as witnessed by her poetry) must be rubbing off on me, as I couldn't stop browsing Quora to learn more about toilet habits, old and new. Sher Afgan and Silvia Serra have shared a brief illustrated history of toilets...

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History of the Cuirass

History of the Cuirass

Cavalier guards, the charge is short, and therefore so sweet. The trumpet sings, the field is open, and somewhere saber ringing is heard. The sound of strings still echoes but the captain's already on the saddle. Do not promise young maidens eternal love on earth...

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The City that Vanished into the Sea

The City that Vanished into the Sea

When people speak of climate change, I often think of Dunwich, a town on the Suffolk coast that has almost entirely vanished into the sea. Dunwich is a pleasant city that consists of just about one street and a museum, a shingle beach, and a nearby forest. As George...

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The Workers Who Tricked the Devil

The Workers Who Tricked the Devil

I came across a delightful story on Atlas Obscura the other day and wanted to share with you. When the Gothic-style St. Mary Church (Marienkirche) was being built in Lübeck in the mid-13th century, local legend has it that none other than Satan himself stopped by the...

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Medieval Matresses

Medieval Matresses

First of all, let me apologize for the week-long delay in posting. I had my first vaccine (Astra) and it had quite the kick. Then, Electra had it and she was even worse than me. Between taking care of her and the wee one, I had precious free time in my hands for the...

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Top 60+ Most Popular Social Networking Sites

Top 60+ Most Popular Social Networking Sites

We keep hearing that we must promote our books on social media. Given the billions of people who get online every day, this seems like a great idea. With so many media out there, however, how can you choose which one's right for you? Thankfully, Hostgator Coupon Code...

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Understanding Old English

Understanding Old English

How far back in history could you go until you could no longer understand the English language?Stanislava Suplatovich has the answer in Quora. To answer this question, she uses three examples. Here's the first one: “See ye not yon twa bonny boys, As they play at the...

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Sea Shanties of the Ancients

Sea Shanties of the Ancients

When I was at school, we learned of Ri-Pa-Pe - the rhythmic chant of Athenian oarsmen pulling a trireme's 180 oars. Contrary to what you might think, triremes were manned not by slaves but by some 200 free men from all social strata. Indeed, for a 5th-century BC...

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The Mold Cape

The Mold Cape

I'm fresh back from my Easter break, and have the story of one of the most impressive treasures ever found in Britain to share with you: the Mold Cape. No, it's not moldy (although after so many centuries buried underground, I wouldn't be surprised if it were). This...

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Happy Orthodox Easter

Happy Orthodox Easter

It's Orthodox Easter today. Visitors of this blog may recall my older posts on the quaint Greek customs such as shooting rockets at each other. Because what better way to celebrate Jesus' resurrection, right? Not that Medieval killer bunnies are much better, of...

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Creating Universal Links with Booklinker

Creating Universal Links with Booklinker

Many of you have asked me how you can create universal links. These are easy-to-remember links like "mybook.to/pearseus" that automatically link people to the appropriate Amazon store depending on their location. The answer is simple: Booklinker. Booklinker lets you...

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Hello, Kindle Vella

Hello, Kindle Vella

Have you heard the news? Amazon just announced the Kindle Vella system. This is sort of "Wattpad on Amazon," as a quick recap will show you: You publish your book, one chapter ("episode") at a time. Episodes are between 600-5,000 words long. Readers find your story in...

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10 Effective Ways to Avoid Distraction While You Write

10 Effective Ways to Avoid Distraction While You Write

As writers, we’ve all struggled with people, thoughts, and objects constantly distracting us while writing. In my case, it's an energetic 5-year-old who loves interrupting me to show me stuff like the dragon egg she painted as soon as I sit down to write. However,...

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More Shakespearean Insults

More Shakespearean Insults

From the story of how Shakespeare died a nobody, then got famous by accident to a Shakespearean insults infographic, the Bard keeps fascinating me. Having died 400 years ago last week, as The Independent reminds us, the great William Shakespeare was quite creative...

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New Release: Hands

New Release: Hands

It feels like I've been writing about nothing but my new releases lately, but this isn't one of mine. Well, I helped publish it, but it was written by Ariadne Frey, an incredibly talented 14-year-old girl who wrote one of the most original stories I've read in recent...

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New Release: Fear Begets Murder

New Release: Fear Begets Murder

Remember how I mentioned I'd been ghostwriting a book a while ago? Well, the book has been published and is now available on Amazon. Fear Begets Murder: A Conspiracy Tale was written with my childhood friend, Sam, who had the original idea and steered the writing in...

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New Release: Hell’s Mall

New Release: Hell’s Mall

My short story "Would you like flies with that?" was published as part of the collection Hell's Mall: Sinister Shops, Cursed Objects, and Maddening Crowds.  Hell's Mall is the seventh book of April Grey's Hell's Anthology series. I should point out that despite the...

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New Release: Copywriting with Rayne Hall

New Release: Copywriting with Rayne Hall

You may recall my mentioning early this year a new release by Rayne Hall and yours truly titled Copywriting: Get Paid to Write Promotional Texts. This is Rayne's Writer's Craft Book number 34 (!) and, obviously, one of her best 😉 Seriously, though, working with Rayne...

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Can AI Content Generation Replace Human Writing?

Can AI Content Generation Replace Human Writing?

Back in 2015, I wrote a hilarious post about artificially created romance novels, whence the gem below. So, how are things 6 years on? Artificial intelligence (AI) has made automation the norm in more fields than ever. In marketing, AI has transformed the way we...

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Risk-Taking in the Face of Uncertainty

Risk-Taking in the Face of Uncertainty

Many of us write stories with protagonists who start out as timid persons, only to realize their potential by the of the book. When charting the hero's journey, we have to describe how they learn to take risks. Given that there’s nothing more intimidating than taking...

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Smart-Home Technology Trends

Smart-Home Technology Trends

When I was writing A Heaven for Toasters, my near-future sci-fi romance, I was trying to imagine what life will be like in a hundred years. For my research, I studied current trends in smart homes and was amazed to realize that the future is already here. What smart...

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Which Writing Style Should You Choose in 2021?

Which Writing Style Should You Choose in 2021?

I recently discussed the Oxford comma and Singular they. Both these are typical examples of style in writing. That is, there is no right or wrong answer concerning their use; it all depends on personal preference. So does the question of the writing style you choose:...

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3 Tips To Be More Productive After Work

3 Tips To Be More Productive After Work

Between the restless 5-year-old and my SEO copywriting, I haven’t done much fiction writing in ages. That’s why this guest post by Tracie Johnson appealed to me. Tracie is a New Jersey native and an alum of Penn State University. She is passionate about writing,...

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The Dancing Plague of 1518

The Dancing Plague of 1518

Vitmor Gomes recently shared on Quora one of the most fascinating Medieval stories I've heard: the dancing plague of 1518. In July 1518, in the town of Strasbourg, Alsace (now France), something unexpected happened. A housewife, called Frau Troffea, came out of her...

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The Oxford Comma

The Oxford Comma

I mentioned the Oxford comma recently in a conversation with Stefan. In case you haven't heard of it, here is the definition, courtesy of Grammarly: The Oxford (or serial) comma is the final comma in a list of things. For example: Please bring me a pencil, eraser, and...

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The Epicene Pronoun and Singular They

The Epicene Pronoun and Singular They

Back in 2016, I had written about the appeal and long history of singular they. I recently found myself referring to this old post on Quora, during an argument with someone who claimed its use was a mistake. "Singular they" is a so-called epicene pronoun: the pronoun...

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The “Lunar Ark” Project

The “Lunar Ark” Project

Tibi Puiu of ZME Science recently presented a backup plan in case we screw up this planet for good: a "Lunar ark" that would store DNA from millions of species in Moon’s lava tubes. The project, first described in a paper presented by researchers at the University of...

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Kids and Poetry

Kids and Poetry

I was reading an interesting post on the Washington Post on why kids need poetry in their lives, and how to spark their interest in it. The author, Jason Basa Nemec, was explaining how he was reading Amanda Gorman's "The Hill We Climb" to his 2-year-old and my...

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Unsung Heroines: Susie King Taylor

Unsung Heroines: Susie King Taylor

In honor of Women's Day, I thought I'd share with you the story of Susie King Taylor as told on Quora by Karin Muller. Susie King Taylor Every day at 9 am, Susie King Taylor and her brother would walk the half a mile to the small schoolhouse, their books wrapped in...

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