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Archive for the ‘WordDreams’ Category

Cover Reveal: To Hunt a Sub

19 Jul

I’ve been preparing for this day for… years… Maybe longer. Simple words don’t seem enough to share the emotion of the event. Maybe a drumroll (as efriend Rebecca Bradley used to launch her latest book):

Or would Pomp and Circumstance be better, as I prepare for my future as a world-acclaimed breakout author:

Or maybe, Ride of the Valkyries, with its energetic march into the unknown, head up, spirit brave:

I hope this cover embraces the risk-taker spirit of my characters, their noble goal, and the danger that floats just below the surface as they try everything in their power to save a world they believe in:
to hunt a sub

An unlikely team is America’s only chance

A brilliant Ph.D. candidate, a cynical ex-SEAL, and a quirky experimental robot team up against terrorists intent on stealing America’s most powerful nuclear weapon, the Trident submarine. By all measures, they are an unlikely trio–one believes in brawn, another brains, and the third is all geek. What no one realizes is this trio has a secret weapon: the wisdom of a formidable female who died two million years ago.


Book information:
Title and author: To Hunt a Sub by J. Murray
Release Date: August, 2016 by Structured Learning
Genre: Thriller
Preview: Available on Kindle Scout
 ..
Author bio:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Her debut novel, To Hunt a Sub, launches this summer. You can find her nonfiction books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.
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A few blogging friends have joined me in this exciting unveiling and I wanted to share their blogs with you:
 
 

My Debut Novel Launches This Summer

07 Jul

writers groupThis post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s insecurity – I’m launching my book!

I’ve launched over a hundred nonfiction books, but putting my novel out there is a whole different thing. For one, it took 500 times longer to write–years instead of months. For another, it required a gut-wrenching honesty unnecessary in nonfiction. The latter is built on facts and research, but fiction requires a soul-bearing emotion that invites readers to judge you. In nonfiction–sure you can disagree with my facts, even my presentation, but it’s your opinion. Mine’s allowed to be different and everyone considers that a sharing of ideas. In fiction, if I don’t engage you in my story, you’ll stop reading–or worse, write a nasty review.

So, yeah, this is big. I have a few weeks before the cover reveal, while Kindle Scout is running my campaign. Then, the doors are open.

Sigh.

More IWSG articles:

Is NaNoWriMo Important if I Don’t Care About the Word Count?

Should I Continue My Newsletter?

Why do I get so few sales through Google Play?


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Her debut novel, To Hunt a Sub, launches this summer. You can find her nonfiction books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

 
 

9 Must-have Tools for Writers Conferences

06 Jun

summer conferenceIt’s summer, time for writers to recharge our cerebral batteries. That could mean reading, going on field trips, spending time with online PLNs, or taking calls from family members who usually end up at voice mail. For many, it means attending conferences like Writers Digest Conference August 12-14 and the Writers’ Police Academy August 11-14 (this one sounds amazing) to learn how the heck to write for fun and profit.

If you aren’t a veteran conference attendee, you may wonder what — besides toothbrush, change of clothes, and a smile– you should bring. That’s a fair question considering in some of the more-active conferences, you might be asked to scan a QR code, visit a website, access meeting documents online, interact digitally, or use a backchannel device to share your real-time thoughts with the presenter. Last year, I posted five must-have digital tools you should bring. This year, there are nine:

Google Maps or Waze

Some conferences take multiple buildings spread out over several blocks, and depending upon the number of attendees, your hotel may not be around the corner from the Hall. Install Google Maps or Waze (both owned by Google now) on your smartphone or iPad, complete with audio directions. All you do is tell it where you’re going, ask for directions, and Siri (the voice behind the iPhone) will lock into your GPS and hold your hand the entire way. If friends are looking for a Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts near the conference, the app will find one. If you want Chinese, use an app like Yelp (although I’m becoming a tad leery about Yelp. Anyone have a good alternative?).

Here’s my review of Waze.

Conference App

Most conferences have one. I find these more useful than the conference website. They are geared for people who are juggling a digital device one-handed, half their attention on the phone and the rest on traffic, meaning: They’re simple and straight-forward. Test drive it so you know where the buttons are, then use it to find meeting rooms, changes in schedules, and updates.

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Happy Memorial Day

30 May

I’m taking the day to honor our soldiers. Without their sacrifice, where would we be?

I think I had these same music videos last year–they’re still my favorite.

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Great Series: Berger and Mitrie

11 May

berger and mitryMy latest addictive pleasure is the Berger and Mitry series (big thank you to Pat Garcia for the recommendation). It is eleven books and growing, detailing the love story between Des Mitrie, a Connecticut trooper in small-town Dorset, and Mitch Berger, a famous movie reviewer who ended up living in that tiny seaside community for reasons you’ll have to find out for yourself. These two meet during a murder, fall in love, and go through all the stuff newly-minted couples experience while solving local crimes with creative thinking, original ideas and a large scoop of teamwork. Just enough death to be considered murder-mystery, but not so much it ever feels gratuitous.

I’d call this a cozy mystery series , but I like Mitch’s description better–:

“Our own private version of a Normal Rockwell painting.”

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6 Tips for Paranormal Writers

04 May

paranormal fictionOne of my writing gigs is as an Amazon Vine Voice. They send me free books (and other products) and I share my honest opinion. If you go to Amazon, you’ll find a label (Vine Voice) by my name, as you will with all of the other Vine reviewers. It just means we accept the responsibility to share our thoughts as objectively as possible.

When I log into my Vine account, I find a list of a couple hundred books to choose from. I can pick the genre so I don’t end up reading a travel book when I’d prefer a thriller, but, it’s not an exact science. More often than expected, I’ve been surprised. For example, Richard Bausch‘s fantastic new book that I’d consider more brainwork than I normally subscribe to is included under thrillers–which is usually reserved for plot-driven, non-stop action stories. This is my long way of explaining how I’ve stumbled on and enjoyed several paranormal novels which normally I would have skipped such as Heather Graham’s Krewe of Hunters series and Carsten Stroud’s Niceville trilogy.

WiseGeek defines paranormal this way:

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Tech Tip for Writers #115: The 3-Click Rule

13 Apr

Tech Tips for Writers is a (sometimes) weekly post on overcoming Tech Dread. I’ll cover issues that friends, both real-time and virtual, have shared. Feel free to post a comment about a question you have. I’ll cover it in a future Tip.

Q: Some writing websites/blogs are confusing. I click through way too many options to get anything done. What’s with that?

A: I hadn’t put a lot of thought to this until I read a discussion on one of my writer forums about the oft-debunked-and-as-oft-followed 3-click rule made popular by Web designer Jeffrey Zeldman in his book, “Taking Your Talent to the Web”. This claims ‘that no product or piece of content should ever be more than three clicks away from your Web site’s main page’.

This is especially important when writers create the websites/blogs to accompany their novels. Readers arrive at your site excited to find out more about your manuscript. This 3-click rule suggests you keep the number of mouse clicks to two or three as readers find out about your book, a summary, and where to buy it. More than three steps, you’ll hear the patter of virtual feet exiting the website you working so hard to build and market.

Whether you agree with the ‘rule’ or not, it’s a good idea to make information easy and quick to find. Readers have a short attention span.

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Tech Tips for Writers #102: Doc Saved Over? No Problem

24 Mar

Tech Tips for Writers is an (almost) weekly post on overcoming Tech Dread. I’ll cover issues that friends, both real-time and virtual, have shared. Feel free to post a comment about a question you have. I’ll cover it in a future Tip.

Q: Friends sometimes save a blank document over their MS Word file. How? None of the reasons make sense, but the fact that this is a big problem when it does–does. Is there any way to retrieve the copied-over document?

A: Absolutely, though I know from experience this isn’t always available. Still, it’s worth the try:

Bring the file folder up in Windows Explorer (the left side of the drive’s file listing). Right click on the file name for the lost Word file and select ‘Restore previous version’. Select the latest version that’s not today. 

Every time I do this, I’m a hero for ten minutes.

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The Power of Positive Writing

24 Feb

writing tipsHave you ever read a book and found yourself feeling depressed or angry, or maybe just fidgety as you read? You might blame it on the tension and growing crises that are part and parcel to a developing plot, but then why does your subconscious keep pushing you to take a break? A good book is a page-turner. You can’t put it down. So what is it about this one that has you tapping your fingers even during the chase scene?

One reason: It’s just too negative. Bear with me–I know good stories have lots of angst as characters try to grow and find themselves and the good guys claw away at saving the world. What these good stories don’t do is wrap this tension in a negative tone.

Tone in writing can be defined as attitude or emotion toward the subject and the reader. It conveys a particular message from the writer to the reader that while life is chock full of problems, there’s always hope. The story’s protagonist may fall, but s/he’ll get up. The addiction in a good story is how life’s unsolvable problems are defeated by a motivated main character whose core principles, motivations, and morality are just like yours. If the story’s tone turns negative, it quickly becomes pedantic, as though the writer is superior to the reader, lecturing because the audience is dumb. No one likes to be around that sort of person, much less choose to read a book that makes you feel that way. A positive tone, even as the world crumbles, conveys hope that this flawed, Everyman character is going to find his way out.

I hear you–you don’t believe you do that. Here’s a quick test. Search a chapter of your manuscript (use the Alt+F4 Find shortkey) for ‘not’ and all variations of that (including contractions). Every time possible, switch the negative for a positive. For example, instead of:

‘She couldn’t run anymore’

rewrite as

‘Throat rasping,  she screeched to a slow stumble’.

Instead of

‘She couldn’t see out the window’

rewrite as

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44 Ways to Describe Buildings–Homes I

19 Feb

For the next few months, weekly writing tips will include word choice suggestions. That includes:

  • colorful and original descriptions
  • pithy words and phrases
  • picture nouns and action verbs
  • writing that draws a reader in and addicts them to your voice

I keep a  collection of descriptions that have pulled me into the books. I’m fascinated how authors can–in just a few words–put me in the middle of their story and make me want to stay there. This one’s on how to describe homes.

A note: These are for inspiration only. They can’t be copied because they’ve been pulled directly from an author’s copyrighted manuscript (intellectual property is immediately copyrighted when published).

describe homesOverall

  • Fair-sized house built of red Lyons Sandstone with the most god-awful-looking picket fence I’d ever seen.
  • Small upstairs apartment on Newport Island, a tiny piece of land accessible only by a bridge so narrow, it would admit just one car at a time.
  • The weather-beaten slat cottage sat at the far end of a mostly brown lawn. Wood silvered by the sun. Roof shingles warped. Small stands of plantain and giant bird-of-paradise for privacy.
  • Rambling old farm house
  • Gleamed with the spotless silence of for-company-only.
  • He leaned on the old boards. They felt thin and veined, frozen by a hundred winters, baked by a hundred summers. They smelled of dust and age.
    A big house, the kind in which most American kids dreamed of growing up. Secluded among trees on one of DC’s most exclusive streets, it had turrets, gables, dormers, balconies, a screened-in front porch, a free-standing garage, a gazebo, a pool, formal gardents, the American dream.
  • Sturdy two-story residence designed without the least imagination
  • A set of sagging wooden steps descended three treads from the door

Room

  • A room barely big enough to exhale into
  • A room that showed her lack of interest in anything to do with what people thought of her
  • Small with clean white walls, a twin bed, a desk with a blank blotter on it, sliding closets opposite the bed, and thin green shag carpet.
  • My Writing Area: My computer faces out the window. I like having the sky and buildings in the background. Occasionally a bird or plane flies by in the distance. To my far left is my 42″ flatscreen TV (size does matter), which often displays my daily dose of CNN or Grey’s Anatomy. Next to that is my Buddhist altar, which I need to make better use of. To my right is a framed poster displaying a poem of mine that had been on Chicago buses and trains. And to the far right is a black and white picture of Grand Central Station with wide beams of light gushing in through the windows. The beams look like they are about to make the commuters levitate at any minute and float skyward.
    A single light burned, casting light on a chintz couch and an antique Quaker chair
  • Improvised kitchenette off to one side
  • Walls and ceilings were covered with mirrors, a high-tech bordello.
  • Furnishings were cheap, black-painted. A worn mustard-yellow bean-bag chair, a relic of the seventies. An old tape deck and a towering set of speakers whose cloth was fraying

describe doorsDoor

  • A front door that could accommodate a family of giraffes.

Entry

  • A foyer that would accommodate the Serengeti Plant at the foot of a vast curving staircase that probably went to heaven
  • Polished wood floors and a graceful banister that curved up toward a soaring second floor gallery.
  • Persian rug cove red a shopworn carpet.

Walls

  • Prints of gentlemen riding to hounds decorate the walls.
  • Crumbling rock walls

describe windowsWindows

  • Beautiful high arched windows
  • Velvet drapes framed the windows, the lace inner curtains remained drawn, allowing daylight to enter while rendering the heart-stopping view over the city a blur
  • bay windows
  • two tall windows allowed sunlight to flood the room
  • the windows flanked a grey fabric sofa, burgundy throw
  • sheer lace curtains bordered by heavy burgundy drapes matching

Click for the complete list of 70 69 writer’s themed descriptions.

Most popular collections:

51 Great Similes to Spark Imagination

How to Describe Nature

178 Ways to Describe Women’s Clothing


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her book at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

 
 
 
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