The Problem With Sentence Fragments.

I’ve read a couple of books lately that have been rather good, although plagued with something that is becoming the bane of my life as a reader: sentence fragments. 

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Words and Phrases

 

I’ve read a couple of books lately that have been rather good, although plagued with something that is becoming the bane of my life as a reader: sentence fragments.

There was one book I started reading a couple of weeks ago where this was rampant, along with other issues, to the point where I couldn’t continue.

A sentence fragment is something that presents as a sentence in that it starts with a capital letter and ends with a period, but doesn’t actually make sense on its own.

A sentence fragment is often added as an afterthought when it really should be tacked onto the previous sentence with either a comma or a semicolon.

Consider the following example:

Jack went into his bedroom and closed the door, preferring privacy for reading his new book. Which was something that he knew annoyed his little brother.

 

That last sentence fragment actually makes no sense without the previous sentence.

If this happens just once or twice in a book, it’s still too often. However, it happens a lot. To be completely honest, it’s something I mark my senior high school English students down on. It’s what I consider quite a basic error: it’s not that hard to read something you’ve written down and ask yourself if it makes sense.

I understand that some readers don’t notice it, but many others will find it very frustrating indeed.

The exception is in direct speech or train of thought writing. People do speak like that, and they often think in fragments of thoughts, especially when under stress or in pain. If it’s something a character is thinking or saying, there is no problem. When it is part of the narrative, however, it really is an issue.

I don’t want to come across as being all finicky and fussy. My intention is that writers might recognise and self-correct this problem in their writing, even if it means  revising an entire manuscript so that their book reads better.

This is also another argument for having any manuscript thoroughly proof-read and edited before you publish anything, especially as an Indie author who wants to be taken seriously as a writer.

In the end it will earn you more stars and more readers.

When your story is great, and your message is important, please don’t allow something that is easily fixed to compromise the success of your book.

Instead, take the time and effort to make sure that your writing, and the overall quality of your book, is the best it can be. You owe it to your readers, and you owe it to yourself.

 

The Passing Of The Night 

Most of my poems reflect some element of my own life in an honest and hopefully creative way.
I want people to understand that life is full of challenges and trials as well as moments of victory and celebration. I want people experiencing those trials and challenges to know they are not alone, and that someone else knows what it’s like to go through that.

The Passing Of The NightPoetry isn’t always whimsy and romance. In fact, my poetry is only ever infrequently either of those things. 

Most of my poems reflect some element of my own life in an honest and hopefully creative way. I want people to understand that life is full of challenges and trials as well as moments of victory and celebration. I want people experiencing those trials and challenges to know they are not alone, and that someone else knows what it’s like to go through those things. 

The Passing Of The Night is a new collection of my poems that reflects those truths honestly and, I hope, in beautiful language through varied and interesting imagery. It’s true that there is a piece of my soul on every page. 

People experience all kinds of night: loneliness, grief, depression, anxiety, fear, pain, and countless other darknesses. 

This newly released collection of profound lyrical poems explores the poet’s own experiences and observations of both dark and light, revealing her determination to not only survive, but to conquer whatever tries to overcome her. 

At the end of it all, the poet demonstrates that the smallest sign of light is enough to help a wandering soul find hope in the passing of the night. 

The Passing Of The Night is available on Amazon and all other major digital stores.

How To Write A Bestseller.

The question I hear most from aspiring authors is, “How do I write a bestseller?”

The question I hear most from aspiring authors is, “How do I write a bestseller?”

My answer is always the same: “You can’t. Nobody can do that. All you can do is write the story you want to write in the best way that you can. What happens after that is up to the audience.”

It’s a sad fact of life for writers, but there’s no proven formula for producing a best-seller.
J.K. Rowling must hear that question an awful lot too – that’s my assumption, but when you see an American news service running headlines like “JK Rowling gives ‘words of wisdom’ to emerging writers” you can safely bet that she’s answered the question a few times.

Her advice is good. Write what you’re passionate about. Don’t be discouraged by rejection. Keep going. Make it as good as it can be. And then keep going some more.

To that, I would add: Make sure you’ve got your word choices, punctuation, and paragraphing right. Don’t settle for a mediocre cover. And don’t be afraid to go Indie and self-publish: that’s how Charles Dickens and Walt Whitman started out, too.

In fact, some of the very best books I’ve read over the last 12 months have been Indie books. I honestly believe that people who dismiss Indie books as “not good enough” are missing out on some of the best books available.

If you’re an aspiring author, listen to advice from those who know.

It can be disheartening. I can be really hard, even when you know you have put a great book out there, and people don’t seem to be catching on that you’re a literary genius. These things take time.  But if you keep going when others give up, sooner or later, someone is going to notice you and, even more importantly, your book.

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Just… wow!

I got published… again! In two issues in a row!
This is such an unbelievable feeling!

I got published… again! In two issues in a row!
This is such an unbelievable feeling!

I shared a fortnight ago that The Australia Times Poetry Magazine published one of my poems in their Vol 4, No. 25 issue.

I’ve just opened Vol 4, No. 25 to find that it contains another of my poems, Rogue Wave. That’s the poem that was shortlisted by Wildsound Festival of Poetry in November, and performed by Michelle Alexander as part of the Wildsound Festival.

Why My Books Are Not Free.

There are a lot of authors discounting their eBooks to 99 cents or free on Amazon.

I won’t be one of them.

To be quite frank, I believe my work is worth more than that. I believe that is true of most of the authors who discount their work. It’s certainly true of almost every book I’ve been willing to buy. For the record, the ones I haven’t liked were not on Amazon – one was a classic and one was a bestseller.

I fully understand not everyone will buy, read, or be interested in, my books. In the same way, some folks don’t like chocolate or pizza or coffee, and not everyone on the planet is going to like or understand me. I’m cool with that.

Even so, I believe that my work and what I have to say through it, are valuable.
If I discount my book, doesn’t that cheapen my work? Doesn’t that just make it less attractive? Doesn’t that make it seem like I don’t think it’s worth reading?

And really – who else works for free? I’d like to see people try to get a plumber, or doctor, or garbage collector to work for nothing because someone doesn’t feel like paying.

So, I have decided that $2.99 is a fair price for an electronic copy of my latest book, and probably the next one.

It’s less than a cup of coffee. It’s less than a slice of pizza or a sandwich.

I’m worth it, dammit.  L’Oréal said so.

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Published again!

So, after spending a November on the very attractive pages of Yours & Mine magazine, my work is now gracing the pages of The Australia Times Poetry Magazine!

So, after spending a November on the very attractive pages of Yours & Mine magazine, my work is now gracing the pages of The Australia Times Poetry Magazine!

The amazing editors there have given me a great bio and a three page spread for my poem, ‘The Sea’, enhanced by some lovely photography, on pages 22-25 of Issue 24.

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It’s always a thrill to find out someone likes something that I’ve written. That kind of connection is why writers write, and why artists paint, sculpt and create.
Can you imagine my excitement when I saw the beautiful treatment they’ve given my poem?

I hope you’ll take the time to click through and read my poem.

Of course, my poem isn’t really just about the sea. It uses the sea, and the shore, as an allegory for depression and anxiety. The poem itself is about living with and through that, and surviving.

TAT Poetry is a great magazine every month, and I am really honoured to be featured in it!

I’d also really appreciate it if you’d share it around on twitter, facebook, or your other preferred social media.

The Body On The Bar by Lolli Powell

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Hello, and welcome to the latest “Indie Author Cooperative” Book Launch Blog Tour.

Today we’re joining with the cozy mystery/romance author Lolli Powell, to celebrate the ebook launch of “The Body on the Barstool”


The Body on the Barstool  Synopsis


New Yorker Erica “Ricki” Fontaine’s ne’er-do-well uncle has dropped dead and left her a dive bar in a small Ohio river town. With a lousy apartment, less than-promising job prospects, and even worse romantic ones, the inheritance comes at just the right time.
Ricki packs up her cat and her belongings and heads for the Buckeye State. Now she’s trying to change the Top Shelf from a bar known for its Friday night fights into the kind of drinking establishment where you can bring your granny.
But finding her ex-husband dead on a barstool at opening time one morning just might put a kink in those plans.

About Lolli Powell

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I write mysteries/thrillers under the name Laurel Heidtman and romances/cozy mysteries under the name Lolli Powell. I live with my husband, four dogs and two cats on private land surrounded by Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky. Over the years, I’ve paid the bills by being a dancer, a bartender, a police officer, a registered nurse and a technical writer. (I always say I could never figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up!) I draw on that life experience and my two English degrees to create stories that I enjoy writing and hope readers will enjoy reading.
Where to buy The Body on the Barstool
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Congratulations Lolli!
I’m honoured to be a part of your “The Body on the Barstool” launch team and wish both you and the book every success!

 

 

 

New Horizons!

I’m very excited about the launch next weekend of my second book, ‘New Horizons’.

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I’m very excited about the launch next weekend of my second book, ‘New Horizons’.

I’ve crossed into another genre and publishing a collection of my short stories, related by a common theme of people encountering new things, making a fresh start, or finding a new direction in their lives.

‘New Horizons’ will be available as a paperback or ebook from Amazon or Blurb.com, and as an ebook on iBooks and kobo.

Follow this universal book link to pre-order:
books2read.com/newhorizons

 

‘Leaf’ – Available Now!

‘Leaf’ is my first published collection of poems in which I explore my own humanity, experiences, and observations about life in a way that will challenge the reader to see things from a new perspective.

‘Leaf’ is listed on Goodreads, and available as a paperback or an e-book on Xlibris, Amazon, iBooks and kobo.

You’re also welcome to visit my website at www.jvlpoet.com
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Shameless self-promotion.

One thing I’ve learned about being a writer is how hard it is to get people to take notice of your work…

One thing I’ve learned about being a writer is how hard it is to get people to take notice of your work. It’s even harder to get them to get them to buy a copy. There are a lot of “that’s nice!” responses out there.

At no point did I go into this with glazed eyes and a plan to “get rich quick” – as I explained to one of my students who asked if I would make a heap of money and stop teaching them, “…nobody gets rich writing poetry!”

I would be really happy to sell a few more copies of my book, though. There are always expenses, and I’d like to think that I’ll make back what getting published has cost me. It would be great to break even on the box o’books I ordered on the assumption that my friends and relatives would all support me, because that is exactly what I would do for them. Some have, and I am super grateful for each of them…  and some haven’t. I guess I should have seen that coming. I’m still working on trying to not take it personally.

So, I’m busy engaging in shameless self-promotion. I’m posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads and anything else I can think of to advertise. If you have accounts on any of those places, please friend/follow me (just click on the handy links I’ve created) and share my posts with your friends.
You can also follow me as an author on Amazon and Goodreads. (Again, handy links!)
Another thing you could do to help me out is to rate/review ‘Leaf’ on Amazon, iBooks or Goodreads, as that really helps to raise both awareness and book sales. (Yep… links!)

I’m also in the final phases of designing and producing a website, which may or may not help me sell books, but it looks impressive! I’ll be sure to let you know when it goes live.

I do have a couple of book-signing events at upcoming fairs and festivals, which will hopefully give me opportunities to bless people with hard copies of my book in exchange for cash.

It’s hard work, but it is satisfying. Nobody can ever say I sat back and waited for something to come to me. And in the meantime, I’ll just keep writing.