Sunday, January 30, 2011


Honestly, life just keeps getting better. I'm humbled by my latest award, "Stylish Blogger Award",  bestowed upon me by my dear internet friend Klahanie and his trusty dog, Penny the Jack Russell and modest internet star. Thank you kindly, Gary and Penny. I am thrilled and honoured.

The terms of the award are to share with you FIVE of my favourite things. And they are, drum roll please...

1. Most undoubtedly my top favourite would be spending time with my family and friends. They are my  source of joy and wonder.
2. Writing novels that my readers love to read. Yea, what a feeling! Thank you!
3. Blog hopping through our blogging community and chatting up a storm with the most interesting of peoples. The world really is a tiny place.
4.  Reading the incredible books my dear internet friends pour their hearts into writing.
5. Playing pool table poker every Sunday afternoon with my husband and my neighbours on Cluculz Lake.

And now, I pass on the Stylish Blogger Award to the following five, highly regarded, bloggers.  More drum roll, please ....

1. Laura Best, author: my little corner of the web. Laura is the author of a wonderful book titled Bitter, Sweet.
2. Paul S.: Pfeiffer Pfilms And Meg Movies. You've probably already guessed it. Paul adores Michelle and Meg. ... and for good reason.
3. Grandpa (Ai Wai): Life on the Farm. A delightful blog that caters to the soul and the heart.
4. C, Zampa: To Write is To Breathe, To Live, To Dance. And that's exactly what Carol inspires you to do.
5. Susanne Drazic: Putting Words Down On Paper. Susanne generously showcases other authors by helping bring their work to the forefront. Susanne is what the internet is all about.

I hope you're able to take a few moments out of your day to visit these incredible bloggers.

Have a peaceful weekend.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

MuseItUp Publishing E-book Club


MuseItUp authors span worldwide and are eagerly waiting to meet you in their readers groups. Be the first to get a glimpse of their upcoming books, excerpts, author interviews, advance notice of any upcoming contests, time sensitive discount coupons to purchase their books…and have an all-around fun time!

On the first of each month they give away one FREE ebook to one lucky member.

Why not join us today!

Mainstream group:

--best regards
joylene, who's thrilled to be part of this wonderful assembly.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

MuseItUp Publising

I have some great news. MuseItUp Publishing has just bought the e-pub rights to my suspense thriller Dead Witness. By the end of this year copies of Dead Witness will be available in e-book form. Yay!

Yup, I'm doing my happy dance.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Internet Speed Test

Things have been wacky lately with my internet connection, and then there's Netflix; we just joined. But my point is, (yes, I have one) it's probably a good idea to do an internet speed test occasionally. Any of the three links below will do, but the first one explains the numbers while the second one also gives you your ping.

I compared all three to Grande Prairie, Alta, and this is what I found:

Sinkut: Download - 4.29 Mbps, Upload - 1.09
Bandwidth: Download - 4.68 Mbps, Upload - 1.79
Speedtest: Download - 1.85 Mbps, Upload - 0.72, Ping - 47

If you're wondering why the different results, I suspect it's the many variables affecting my connection. Anything more specific than that and you'd have to ask a techie. Your internet provider may also have their own online speed test.

Since Penny, the Jack Russell and modest internet star wasn't here, I showed my results to Garagee, our cat; she wasn't all that impressed. Actually, her exact words were, "Joylene, you must get out more, my dear. But first, do something with that white trash behind me. I know he has seniority, but shouldn't he be in the garage?" Yes, Garagee has a British accent.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


© Katherine Swarts 

A journalism school ran a contest for the most sensational headline: "need not feature actual events, but must be no more than three words long." The winner--two words and three syllables--was "Pope Elopes."

You can say a lot in amazingly few words, if they're the right words. Journalists and other periodical writers know this best. The typical feature article contains a few thousand words at most; a back-page article or op-ed may be no more than 500 words; anecdotal or "filler" articles may stop at 250. How does one tell a whole story, or explain the essential points of a subject, in five or ten short paragraphs? Often, by going through the manuscript six or seven times to prune it of every nonessential word.

Your Web site or sales letter may not be facing an "under 1,000 words or you don't get paid" dictate from an editor, but it will be facing hundreds of potential clients who are short on time and on attention spans. Many people run from the mere sight of a page of unbroken text. Here are a few professional-writing tricks for achieving readable-looking lengths:

Build up your vocabulary. Some writers pride themselves on learning a new word from the dictionary every day, or studying the thesaurus for fifteen minutes of each lunch hour. The more words you have stored in your brain, the less likely you are to waste fifteen words describing something because you don't know its name. Don't, however, show off and use words most of the public has never heard, or you'll be back to writing out the whole definition.

Consider syllable count as well as word count: 500 ten-letter words take up more space than 500 six-letter words. Most successful writers live by the rule "never use a five-syllable word where a two-syllable one will do."

Divide long paragraphs into short ones: white space makes the text look less daunting, and may be the deciding factor in whether people actually start reading a page.

Consider the sound of the words--and of the piece as a whole. To some extent, length is in the perception of the reader; J. K. Rowling got away with making the later Harry Potter books extra-long by sheer virtue of her storytelling ability. If your writing sounds monotonous or singsong, bored readers will find your 250-word piece twice as long as a more interesting 400-word piece. Use sentences of different lengths, cut the cliches, and save rhyme and alliteration for taglines!

Don't rush! One writer is said to have ended a ten-page letter with the apology, "Sorry this is so long, but I didn't have time to make it shorter." Experienced authors know that you never become practiced enough to get first drafts perfect; and the less time you leave between drafts, the more unneeded words and other imperfections you leave in the manuscript. Go ahead and write down everything you have to say about your product or news item; then, rather than sending the results immediately to the printer, go back and remove everything not vital to your central point. For really important materials, give yourself a minimum of two weeks to do three drafts.

And don't say you don't have time. The time you save your prospects will come back to you soon enough.

Katherine Swarts is a professional writer specializing in corporate blogs/newsletters and other articles. Her Web address is Her blog address is

Poet, author, and journalist. Has published articles in Focus on the Family Clubhouse, FACES, Children's Writer, and HomeLife, among many others. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Still a lot of work to do before BROKEN BUT NOT DEAD is published. Oh, by the way, I have a new release date of May instead of July 2011. Yes, had to kick-start my heart over that news.

What's truly amazing is how seeing the new cover slams home the reality of what needs to be done. Am I ready? Not exactly. Better question: Will I be ready? You betcha!

I'm not going to embarrass anyone by mentioning names, but I would like to express my deepest thanks for your help, support and encouragement. This wouldn't be happening without you, and I'm more grateful than I can possible say.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Renovating a WIP

Alex Sokoloff's online screenwriters course for authors is nearing to a close. It was a great course for many reasons. Understanding the structure of the 3-Act play, originating 2000 years ago, is an essential writing tool for writing "great" novels. Grasping the mechanics of storytelling will lift a "good:"manuscript to the next level; and who doesn't want that to happen? That's why I took the course, and that's why I'm feeling gung-ho about my latest work-in-progress.  Understanding story premise, story question and story action are a sure fire way of renovating myself out of a WIP wreckage. Composing a logline for any story I write will aid me for the rest of my career.

If you're struggling with your current WIP and need help renovating, spend some time at Alex's blog or order her book Screenwriting Tips for Authors. On her blog you'll find post links on story breakdown, the 3-act structure, and analyzing movies in your genre. Start with her Table of Contents. Invaluable stuff.  

Now for something completely off topic. We received more photos of Bandit's puppies.



They live with their mum and her family about one hour east of here, hence the unenthusiastic response from their dad. "Puppies? Whatever."

ps. Tomorrow's forecast for Bulkley-Nechako is -31 C.!

"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read. -- Mark Twain.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Inspirational Quotes - Food for Thought

A dear friend gave me a calendar of inspirational quotes for Christmas (Thank you, J.G.). I know what you're thinking, "Yuck, not another touchie-feely post."

I'm afraid so. This calendar is full of thoughts that each day make you wonder: does that describe my life?

Quotes like:

To believe yourself to be brave is to be brave; that is the only essential thing. -- Mark Twain

Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity. -- Aristotle

Women wish to be loved not because they are pretty, or good, or well bred, or graceful or intelligent, but because they are themselves. -- Henri-Frederic Amiel

No man is rich enough to buy back his past. -- Oscar Wilde

And my favourite to date:

It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn't. -- Martin Van Buren

As Cheryl Richardson so elegantly put it, "This year I'm all about the good stuff!"

How about you? Care to share one of your favourites?

Latest snapshot of winter on Cluculz Lake...
who is doing the online screenwriter's course with Alex Sokoloff and thinking, Wow, this course is a huge stretch for this ole gal.

I love when that happens.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ask PZM: Jan 2011 - Newsletters

Q: I don't have time to read newsletters from other writers so I'm not sure I should write one. Honestly I don't want to. Am I nuts?

You’re the opposite of nuts – you’re very sane.

Nowadays we have way too much to keep up with. I know our modern tools – smartphones, fast Internet access at home, etc. – are suppose to give us more time.; But the truth is that we are so wired into various info conduits that we have less time.

Why, then, would you want to put extra time stress on yourself and your fans to write/read yet another newsletter or ezine (online newsletter)?

Personally I end up printing out ezines to which I’ve subscribed because I don’t have time to read these when they appear in my email inbox. Then (with a couple of exceptions) I often don’t get around to reading the ezines.

This is why I like blog posts so much better than ezines. Well-written blog posts with short paragraphs and lots of white space are much easier to read than committing to reading an entire newsletter or ezine.

Instead of writing a newsletter you can use email marketing to stay top of mind with your fans without giving them more than a few paragraphs of text to read in an email.

For example, if you sign up for my new company report “5 Tips for Staying Top of Mind With Your Target Markets” at – you will afterwards usually receive one email message from me a week. You can quickly scan the email to see if the info is of interest to you. (And you can always opt out of receiving more emails from me.)

This use of email marketing serves the same purpose as a newsletter – staying top of mind with your target audience and providing worthwhile information to that audience – but makes it much easier for you (let alone your fans).

Q. As a follow-up question, I'm still not sure how readers find the time to read all the blogs they should be reading. How do you schedule important blogs into a daily routine?

First of all, let’s define “should be reading.” There’s no requirement to read blog posts, although we can agree that there’s a lot of good info to be learned from some blog posts.

Here’s my own method for dealing with the overabundance of great blog post info:

I print out the blog posts that look most relevant for what I want to learn. Then I carry some of the printouts around in a bag on errands. When I have a few minutes down time (NOT while driving), I can usually read at least one post.

The rest of the printed-out blog posts I save for weekend reading. And, yes, some posts I’ve printed out never get read. But on the other hand I’ve discovered some important info I needed to know when going through my “to be read” blog post pile.

It’s also a matter of being able to categorize – what I’d like to read and what I will “allow” myself to read. I do this six days a week with my Wall Street Journal print subscription. I could easily lose myself to hours a day reading the articles.

Instead I mentally set up a kind of internal clock – and when I’ve used up my allotted minutes, I put the paper down. This, of course, forces me to prioritize which articles are most important to me – and not what other people think are most important.

In conclusion, it’s the beginning of a new year. Let’s all resolve to stress less about what we “should” do and focus more on what we realistically “can” do and still keep our sanity.

© 2011 Miller Mosaic, LLC

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) and her social media marketing company partner Yael K. Miller (@MillerMosaicLLC on Twitter) coach clients on how to effectively use the power of social media to attract their targeted audiences. 
If you sign up to get email notification of Phyllis’ social media marketing blog posts and the post topic doesn’t seem relevant to you, don’t read the post.  Maybe the next post will be relevant to you.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Review of Dead Witness

I'm beaming right now, even if you can't see. And no I'm not snapping a picture to prove it. Martha Engber has posted a review of my novel Dead Witness on her blog. Honestly, the heat in my face is boiling. Thank you so much, Martha. I'm speechless!

In case you don't already know, Ms. Engber is the author of Growing Great Characters from the Ground Up and The Wind Thief.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year Everyone

Beginning 2011 wouldn't be right without wishing everyone the very best in the new year. Not a day goes by when I am not truly grateful for the internet and for the friendships it's brought me. I keep up to date with my family and friends, and I'm able to share with you in this wonderful world of blogging. I have no profound declarations for 2011, except if you need me, I'm here.

   Have a safe and happy New Year, keep your dreams alive, and I'll see you in cyberspace.

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."
            -- William Butler Yeats, Irish poet.