Friday Links #13

It’s 80 degrees and sunny outside and I’ve got a date with my mountain bike at Tiger Mountain in an hour. And a friend’s birthday celebration later this afternoon in Seattle. And a reservation for the 7:30 a.m. ferry to Orcas Island for the weekend, where I’ll be leading a mountain bike ride at one of my favorite places in the Pacific Northwest. I’ll pack tonight. Have I mentioned how happy I am to be home?

Normally I would use this space to write a few hundred words about something going on in my life or the progress I’m making on my novel. And I can do that. I can tell you I wrote three scenes (two chapters) in the past two days, adding over 6,000 words to my draft. I can tell you I spent an afternoon researching the history of Malta, the home nation of my antagonist. I can also share my embarrassment for having finally gotten around to reading the outstanding To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. But I really don’t want to do any of that. I can’t.

I needn’t even close my eyes and all I see is the cockpit of my mountain bike rocketing down trail, bouncing over rocks, and jumping off roots. I try to think of work this morning and all I think of are the myriad trails I want to ride today. The more I think about it, the longer the route becomes. And the more words I write in this space, the less time I’ll have to ride. Don’t make me resent you,!

So please forgive me, but — cough cough — I think I feel a cold coming on. Spring fever has me in its grasp. Accuweather says I should feel fine in a few days. Unfortunately.

Bookish Links

  1. How to Make a Movie Trailer for Your Book– Timothy Ferris is a man who knows what he’s talking about. The author of the famed book (and essential reading in my opinion) The 4-Hour Workweek lays out he made the very professional trailer for his latest entry in the 4-Hour series. It wasn’t cheap, but the results speak for themselves.
  2. List of Best-Selling Authors  Exact sales figures are almost impossible to get as so few retailers make those stats available except to the author/publisher. Nevertheless, this Wikipedia page has an estimated min/max sales ranking of the world’s top-selling authors. What I found so interesting about this was that Japanese was the most dominant non-English language represented on the list. For a small island-nation with a language not spoken beyond its borders, that’s pretty marvelous stuff.
  3. DIY: Goodreads Ads for Indie Authors – Got some self-published works out there that you want to advertise on Goodreads? This article by Daniel Lefferts discusses how to use Goodreads to grow your platform and put its self-service advertising system to work on your behalf.
  4. How to Use Hyphens, En Dashes, and Em Dashes – I was looking over an article my wife was writing for a newsletter at work and I noticed it was a bit comma heavy. I pointed to a couple of areas that might read better with Em dashes. The conversation that followed was another reminder how tricky punctuation can be, and how little we actually remember from our school days. This article helps explain how and when to use -, –, and —. That second one, the En dash, is hiding in the Symbols menu.
  5. 15 Places to Find Your Next Beta Reader – Another helpful article from K.M. Weiland. A big part of the reason I joined PNWA was to try and find a critique buddy and I’ll be sure to be implementing many of Weiland’s suggestions as I try to find my beta readers. It’s always nice to have friends and family tell you how wonderful your writing is, but it’s not very helpful. I’ll be checking out some of the groups linked in this post for sure. And I’ve also been reading up on how to be a more helpful, effective beta reader. I’ll link to some resources for that in a future post.

Bonus Link!

90s Female Pop Singers You May Have Forgotten About  – In developing the backstory for my character, Kara Vaughan, the wife of the protagonist, I spent some time looking back on a lot of 90s pop-culture — Kara was born in 1988 —  to get a feel for the influences she may have been exposed to as a tween in the late 90s (I was already married and in graduate school and have harbored a lifelong disdain for pop music). One of the links I stumbled upon was this one with a series of videos for some pretty popular songs and artists that, as the title suggests, many of us had forgotten about. Enjoy.

Post Image by Jonathan Miske, used under Creative Commons

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