Monday, April 28, 2014


I'm over at IWSG today doing the A-Z Challenge. X is for X-factor. Come visit me.

Oh, before you go...

Remember that steampunk anthology I told you about? The one that caused me nothing but grief and I was so sure I'd never finish.

It's gone to press!

I'll tell you more when I know more.


Friday, April 18, 2014

FNN Report: Texas Board of Ed Wants New Numbers

Hey! While I'm over at IWSG for the A-Z challenge talking about the letter P, (drop by and say hi, will ya) my good buddy Hank Quense is here so Stacy Conundrum can report for FNN (faux news network). They make it up so you don't have to!

Tongue, cheek, tongue in cheek, cheek in tongue, whatever's necessary, carry on Hank!

FNN Report: Texas Board of Ed Wants New Numbers

This Faux News Network exclusive report was filed by our political reporter Stacy Conundrum:

The Texas Board of Education has announce a new initiative after it realized that America uses numbers developed by Moslems. It has authorized a project staffed by astrologers, numerologists, phrenologists and Bible experts to develop an American, Christian set of numbers to replace our current Arabic numbers. They hope to have the new numbers in text books by the start of the school year in September 2014.

A spokesperson for the Board told our reporter, "It is symbolic of our inept Federal Government that they have ignored this insult to our Christian nation. Their refusal to respond to our righteous demands has forced our hand. While the Board accepts the responsibility to develop an American number system, we anticipate that the project will be attacked by the liberal wimps in and out of government. We will disregard their unjustified criticism and do our Christian, American duty. This is a crash project. The sooner we finish it, the sooner our children will stop being exposed to the pernicious, foreign and ungodly influence of our current numbers.

"Our Board is extremely disappointed that none of the state's math teachers and none of our NASA scientist or engineers agreed to join the project. In a further demonstration of partisan rancor, our project has been denounced by the American Academy of Science. The Texas Board of Education responds by decrying this liberal rathole of reactionary and dubious science."

When asked by our reporter about the Board's project, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Science replied, "This is absurd. It smacks of the Dark Ages."

To learn more about the Faux News Network, visit the network’s webpage.

Hank Quense is the author of 50 published short stories along with four novels and three collections of stories. All of these are humorous and/or satiric scifi and fantasy. In the non-fiction area, he has over a dozen articles published on fiction writing and he's the author of the Fiction Writing Guides series and the Self-publishing Guides series. Both series consist of a number of ebooks. The Fiction Writing Guides and the Self-Publishing Guides are an outgrowth of his lectures on both subjects.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

IWSG: Ask PZM - April 2014

Before we jump into Ask PZM...

Just want to let you know I'm over at IWSG today doing my part for the A-Z Challenge (my post: B is for Books). Also, today is Wednesday and that means it's time for Insecure Writer's Support Group, compliments of our very own fierce and noble Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh. If you think this group sounds like a good place for you and you'd like to join, click here.

It's a simple process: 

"Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post."

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

Alex's awesome co-hosts for today are Hart Johnson, Chemist Ken, Candilynn Fite, Terri Rochenski, Clare Dugmore, and Lilica Blake! Please stop by and thank them for their generous time and effort. 

Please help us spread the word about the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Website. And if you don't already know we have a IWSG Facebook site too. 

IWSG Facebook Guidelines:

1. Since the focus of IWSG is support, the Facebook page should reflect this ideal.

2. You are encouraged to support your fellow IWSG'ers who share their writerly-related experiences, which include accomplishments/disappointments/challenges, with the rest of the group. Keep in mind that writers are at different points of their respective writerly journeys. Some lurk for a long time, before finding the courage to share with the rest of the group. Since the IWSG is all about community, a word of encouragement or advice may be just what somebody needs. Or even just a smiley face/thumbs up...

3. News & Promotional Saturday is your opportunity to add a link. The IWSG administrators reserve the right to remove promotional links, especially if they are posted haphazardly.


ASK PZM - April 2014

Q: How do I create shortened URLs for my books on Amazon?

Until recently you needed to go to a URL shortener service to reduce those very long Amazon book URLs (the web address on your browser at the top of a book’s page on Amazon). I used because this shortener service automatically has an abbreviation for Amazon — such as this link for my cozy mystery CAST THE FIRST STONE —

Amazon has now realized its long book URLs do not look well on social media and is offering an easy alternative. The newest shortcut is using your ebook’s ASIN number or your print book’s 10-digit ISBN number along with like this: — ebook of CAST THE FIRST STONE — paperback of CAST THE FIRST STONE

You just create your own shortened URLs with this system without having to go to a URL shortener service.

Q: Could you explain what Amazon’s Kindle Worlds is?

Here is how Amazon describes its Kindle Worlds:

“New stories inspired by books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games people love.

“Welcome to Kindle Worlds, a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games. With Kindle Worlds, you can write new stories based on featured Worlds, engage an audience of readers, and earn royalties.

“Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment for Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries; Valiant Entertainment for Archer; Armstrong, Bloodshot, Harbinger, Shadowman, and X-O Manowar; Hugh Howey’s Silo Saga; Barry Eisler’s John Rain novels; Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines series; and The Foreworld Saga by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, Eric Bear, Joseph Brassey, Nicole Galland, and Cooper Moo. Licenses for more Worlds are on the way.”

In March I had the privilege of hearing Philip Patrick, publisher of Kindle Worlds and Amazon Publishing’s Director of Business Development, speak about his vision of this innovative program on Amazon, which launched in June of 2013. (He was the speaker at an event of the meetup group Hollywood 2.0: The Future of Storytelling.)

As Patrick explained, he sees Kindle Worlds as offering access to writers – giving writers opportunities to showcase their writing ability to fans of existing worlds. And, by extension, fans have the opportunity to read more about their favorite worlds.

Of course, writers must follow the rules that each world on Kindle Worlds has – rules set as part of the Amazon licensing agreement with the copyright holder. For example, in the case of the world of Veronica Mars, only a specific time period (high school and college) for her adventures can be written about on Kindle Worlds.

If you are a fan of one of the worlds and you would like to try writing fan fiction, Kindle Worlds could be a good place for you. The authors of published fan fiction get royalties plus publicity exposure. This might be a way to attract attention for your other writing projects.

You can check out the current Kindle Worlds at – with more expected soon – along with a video of the January 2014 Kindle Worlds Authors Webinar. And you can follow Kindle Worlds on Twitter at

And remember, if you want a public platform where you can showcase your own non-fan fiction writing (although not get paid for it), consider Wattpad. Just remember to click “Advanced” under OPTIONS and choose “All Rights Reserved.” While this doesn’t necessarily protect your work from being stolen by someone, it is important to do.

In terms of utilizing Wattpad, you have to decide on your own level of comfort with putting your work out there. I’m personally writing two projects on Wattpad – Cold War memoir TALES OF AN AMERICAN OCCUPYING GERMANY at and dystopian thriller THE MOTHER SIEGE at

TWEET #1 - How to create shortened URLs on Amazon (click to tweet)

TWEET #2 - Understanding Kindle Worlds (click to tweet)

TWEET #3 - Creating a public platform on Wattpad (click to tweet)

Phyllis Zimbler Miller on Twitter is at and she is the author of fiction and nonfiction books on Amazon. Her fiction books on Amazon can be found at and her nonfiction books at

She is also a digital marketer who blogs on book topics at and you can download a free copy of her YA short story PINKY SWEAR at