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message 1: by Ingrid, Just another writer. (last edited Aug 06, 2014 08:18AM) (new)

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Welcome to the August 2014 Struggling Writers newsletter! Booksellers, bloggers, and authors in the cyber community are welcome here to scroll through our many social attractions, including new book releases, book ads, events, featured member writing, and much more. Thank you for the people who submitted their works to be hand selected in our e-letters, as well as the grand focus exerted from the moderators of Struggling Writers. Without further ado, please sit back and enjoy our newsletter for August 2014!

New Book Releases
The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare (YA Fiction)
In this first book, a new student comes to the Magisterium against his will, an academy for those with a propensity toward magic. But is it because he is destined to be a powerful magician, or is the truth more twisted than that? It's a journey that will thrill you, surprise you, and make you wonder about the clear-cut distinction usually made between good and evil.
Check out Cassandra Clare and Holly Black's book, The Iron Trial, now available on Amazon for $13.42 ($9.99 with Kindle). To purchase, click here:

Mr.Mercedes by Stephen King (Adult Fiction)
In a mega-stakes, high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely and winning heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands. In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair.
Check out Stephen King's book, Mr. Mercedes, now available on Amazon for $18.15 ($11.99 on Nook). To purchase, click here:

II. New Book Releases of Struggling Writers

The Human Race by Tahnee Fritz
Living in a world filled with zombies and vampires tends to have its perks sometimes. Nineteen year old Bridget has learned to make the best out of life due to these perks. She enjoys how great she is at zombie killing and she’s far from shy on letting it show. The vampires are a different story. She has to get pretty close in order to kill them and she’s not a fan of that.
As with every good thing, there is always something horrible lurking around the corner to make life harder. So how does Bridget get used to the hardships, even as every last member of her family is taken away by the monsters she loves to kill?

The Human Race by Tahnee Fritz is now available on Amazon for .99 cents. To purchase it, go to this link:

Jane, the Hippie Vampire
She's broke and homeless. She's a vegan. She's undead. Jane has had one hell of a time ever since she bumped into the wrong guy during the Summer of Love, but she's taken it all in stride. Wandering from town to town, she seeks out the needy and the broken in hopes of breaking the curse that's left her bloodthirsty and forever seventeen.
When Jane crosses paths with a middle-aged man who's encountered her kind before, he seems happy just to have the company. Of course, appearances can be deceiving, and his secret might just prove to be the end of her.

Jane, the Hippie Vampire by Leigh M. Lane is now available on Amazon for .99 cents. To purchase it, go to this link:

Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills
Thirteen-year-old sleuth Skylar Robbins plans to become a private detective like her grandfather. Stuck at her bullying cousin Gwendolyn’s Malibu estate for the summer, Skylar brings her detective kit, portable spy tools, and her journal for taking notes in secret code. She had no idea how dangerous the next eight weeks would prove to be. On the first day of summer school an odd classmate named Kat passes a note in backward writing, introducing Skylar to the secret world of witchcraft. Practical Skylar didn’t believe in magic—until the spells they perform in an abandoned garden actually begin to work. Skylar finds herself accepting the increasingly risky challenges made by her new BF, and when Kat tells her that a mysterious group is doing wicked things up in Shadow Hills at night, she can’t help but investigate. Her classmates are nervous and rumors are flying. The teen sleuth uses the tools in her detective kit and faces her most embarrassing fear to find the truth. If Skylar survives the summer, her life will be changed forever.
Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills by Carrie Cross is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble for $2.99. To purchase it, please go to either site: or,

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There are droves of self-proclaimed "editors" these days, most of whom charge prices that seem too good to be true--and they usually are. In this business, you get what you pay for. Get your book the professional editing it deserves. Your readers will thank you for it.

Featured Writing
Frozen In Time
By Rachel Rauch

She dreamed of different worlds and times. She was taken there. Her gift gave her the ability to control time, almost. It was her muse. It was the reason she wrote.

Nobody knew. Nobody understood. Everybody believed time travel was impossible. But she knew the truth.

She was the girl frozen in time. She thought she was the only one with the gift, the power to travel through time. She was wrong.

He came to her in white silk and pure gold. He found her and kissed her before he was gone. When he was with her it was silver.

He disappeared and she tried to search for him but he was forever lost. She cried tears for him every day and night. She stayed alone, never returning.

At some time she saw him. She hugged and kissed him but he did not remember her. Time had treated him poorly and the more while he used his gift the more he forgets.

She wastes away. Still writing but slowly losing herself to time. Nobody loved her as he did.

She was no more without him. And she has been erased from time.

message 2: by Ingrid, Just another writer. (last edited Aug 02, 2014 11:40AM) (new)

Ingrid | 932 comments Mod
.... Q&A With Martin Hill
We interviewed author Martin Hill about what it's like to be a published author and also about his newest book, Empty Places!

What was your inspiration for Empty Places?

In Empty Places, Peter Brandt, is a physically and emotionally scarred war correspondent covering the U.S. proxy wars in Central America in the 1980s. Peter returns to the States to bury his ex-wife and becomes embroiled in solving her murder. In doing so, he finds a country not only in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression but one also shattered by political scandals.

I worked as newspaper reporter and, later, a magazine investigative reporter in the 1980s. I covered many of the scandals and the economic turmoil that wracked that decade. I wanted to write a novel that showed what was really happening in that decade, and not the rosy version some special interests are paying it up as today.

*Why do you think people will enjoy Empty Places?

I think the reader will find Empty Places a suspenseful and thrilling mystery with believable and sympathetic characters. Reviewers have called Empty Places "a real page turner" and "crime writing at its best." It was also short-listed for the 2014 San Diego Book Association's Sisters In Crime Best Mystery Award.

*What tips do you have for authors that are new to the publishing process?

Having your book published is just the beginning. Whether you are commercially published or publish as an independent author, you and only you will be responsible for promoting your book. There are a number of books on the market providing guidance on how to market your work. You need to read some of them before you publish.

*Did you self-publish your story, or was it professionally published?

"Professionally published" is not the correct phrase. It should be "commercially published." I'm an indie author, but I am also a long time publishing professional, as is my wife who edits my work.

I originally went the traditional commercial route. But you can't get a publishing contract without an agent. I signed with three different lit agencies, and found them all wanting. When I discovered indie publishing I thought it was an answer to a prayer. And I'm happy to say in my first year as an indie author, I made more in royalties than most first time authors published by commercial presses receive in advances.

*What is some advice that you have for young, aspiring writers?

Write every day and when you've finished writing your novel, rewrite it and rewrite it again. The art is really in the rewriting. And when you've finished your last draft, get an experienced editor to go over it. You need more than two eyes on your writing. You need an editor.

*Did you ever picture yourself as a published author?

I've been writing for newspapers and magazines since I was in college. I've written for many well-known publications -- Reader's Digest, LIFE, Newsweek, Omni -- so I've always thought of myself as a published writer. Even today, though I left journalism to become a military analyst, I still do freelance writing when I can. So being a published author of novels is not that much of a change. Though it is a lot more fun to write fiction than nonfiction.

*Was writing always your passion, or did you ever have a different career in mind?

I set my sight on writing for a living when I was in high school. And I worked as a journalist for more than two decades before switching careers. Writing still gives me a thrill. I think it always will.

*What author/story do you look up to and use for ideas/inspiration?

Oh, I can't name just one. I was influenced by Ernest Hemingway and other Lost Generation authors like Dos Passos and Remarque. More modern writers that influence me include David Morrell, James Rollins, Douglas Preston, and Lincoln Child.

*What do you find to be the most difficult part of the writing process?

For me it's conceiving the story. I'm not a fly by the seat of my pants writer. I do a lot research and a lot of plotting. Sometimes the story ends up not following the road map of my plotting, but before I sit down to write I want a general idea of where I'm going.

Another difficult part of the writing process is finding the time to write. With a full-time job, military reserve commitments, and family commitments, plus all the time that promoting my books takes up, there just isn't a lot of time to write. But I try to find one hour a day to write. In that time, I can usually get 500 to 1,000 rough draft words written.

*Can we expect some new works from you in the future?

Oh, yes! This fall should see my new sci-fi novella, Eden, published. Eden is about of group of American soldiers in Iraq who stumble upon an ancient secret about mankind's origins. Look for in the fall.

Q&A With Bella Jeanisse
We interviewed author Bella Jeanisse about what it's like to be a published author and also about her newest book, Gasoline!
What was your inspiration for Gasoline?

Inspiration for this book came while I was working on Rubbed Raw, in which the Gasoline members were a large part of. I felt they needed their story told as well.

Why do you think people will enjoy Gasoline?

It has a bit of everything, sex (including M/F/M), drugs (mostly talked about) and rock 'n roll, as well as love, drama, emotion, heartbreak and a bit of comedy.

What tips do you have for authors that are new to the publishing process?

Editing and story flow are very important. Have at least a few people read it before submitting. A book riddled with errors usually receives bad reviews, no matter how good the story is.

Did you self-publish your story, or was it professionally published?

I didn't trust my editing skills, so I went through an e-publisher.

What is some advice that you have for young, aspiring writers?

The advice that helped me most was, just keep writing. No matter if your first book sells or not, don't give up. You don't know what the future holds, but if you give up, you'll never succeed.

Did you ever picture yourself as a published author?

I have since I was 15, but that dream was buried when I had my oldest child. Once all 3 were self-sufficient, I went back to it again. Some days I can't believe I'm really doing it!

Was writing always your passion, or did you ever have a different career in mind?

There was never any other career I wanted to do. Although I have worked in several fields. None gave me the high that writing does.

What author/story do you look up to and use for ideas/inspiration?

I can't say any author or story gave me ideas or inspiration. However, I do look up to Olivia Cunning. I started reading her Sinners series after I finished writing my first book.

What do you find to be the most difficult part of the writing process?

Endings, hands down. Sometimes I just don't want close the door on a book. Although most of my books have one sequel or more.

Can we expect some new works from you in the future?

Yes! I'm always writing. I submit a new book every few months. There are two pending with my publisher right now.

Monthly Quiz
And now, I present to you our Monthly August Quiz! How much do YOU know about our month?

message 3: by Ingrid, Just another writer. (last edited Aug 02, 2014 12:04PM) (new)

Ingrid | 932 comments Mod
August's Writing Tip: Handling Critique

We've talked about critiques a lot, specifically critiquing your own work since we all aren’t lucky enough to have another set of eyes to look over our works. Now, what about those of us who are lucky enough to have a second set of eyes look over our work? I know that I sometimes don’t feel so lucky, and I am probably not alone. You get your piece back and it sometimes has all sorts of negativity splattered on it…and sometimes it isn’t even constructive, it is flat out negative.

Now, how do we, as writers, handle this? First off, be grateful that someone took the time to read your work and at least say something about it. Second, analyze the feedback. If it was constructive that’s fabulous and you have a bit of gold in your hands, but if it wasn’t delve into your reader. When they say “this was good”, think about what they might mean by this. Are they just tired and distracted or do they feel overwhelmed and unsure how to form what they want to say into actual words? If they declared that your piece was the most atrocious thing they have ever read think about that too. Are they biased towards the subjects presented, are there fluidity issues, or are there grammatical flaws that he/she focused on? If possible try talking to the person that reviewed your piece, being careful not to attack them (or letting them attack you), and discuss your piece. Be sure to make careful notations and try to look from their perspective. Overall, always look at the feedback that you receive, even if it is constructive and try to see it from as many facets as possible.

Monthly Riddle
Still, i am like a mirror
Fast, I am stronger than stone
Wet, I can burn you
Dry, I can keep you warm
Life, I can be in the desert
Death, I can be on the riverbank
What am I?
Answer (backwards): retaW!

Monthly Quote
"You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”

About the Monthly Horoscopes:
Come back later and you'll see an advanced link to our official August Horoscopes! So don't think we've forgotten!

About the Monthly Writing Contest
We're still duped on ideas, but we're getting there!

Congratulations to the A-Z Challenge Winner!
Congratulations to Selena, who won our A-Z reading competition by reading 25/26 books! For her championship, we give her a pat on the back! And as an extra reward, she will get one extra point in the next reading challenge. (So say, she rereads 25 books again, then it will count as 26) Give a warm round of applause for her!

On another note, we'd like to give a special thanks to everyone that helped make this newsletter possible, and we also want to extend a huge thank you to your Struggling Writers Moderators--Ingrid, Irene, Jessica, Laura and Tara! Check back next month for the September newsletter, and have a happy day for all of you!

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