Justice (Deck of Lies, #1)

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The Tower (Deck of Lies, #2)

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Death (Deck of Lies, #3)

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Judgment (Deck of Lies, #4)

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Hope's Rebellion

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Writing 101 Redux: Should You Ever Give Up?

Should you ever give up on being a writer? At some point, are you just wasting your own time and everyone else's? To answer the question, I'm going to re-visit one of my favorite former Writing 101 posts. 

Today's Throwback Thursday tip will help you answer the question of whether or not you should ever give up on your writing, and I'm not pulling any punches. 

Writing 101: How to Make a Word

The English language has more words in it than I personally think is necessary. The vocabulary is so big, experts can only guess at how many words there actually are. That's because language is a changing thing, something that's always evolving. You can actually force some of those changes yourself. You just need to know how to make a word. 

The Right Words

I'm not a big fan of inventing words, because like I said the language is already too big, but if you're going to do it you may want to try using a formula. There's a really easy way to invent new words, and people have been using it for years. Just add -ish

Writing 101: Even If I Over-Use Even...

Every writer has flashes of insight every so often, and thankfully I am no exception. And just the other day, while I was proofreading something, I had to scold myself aloud. I had to tell myself something: you use the word "even" too much. And I do. Are you doing it, too?

Even If I Do...

It's not the first problem I've had with "empty" words that don't really lend anything to the story that I'm writing. I even wrote an entire post about my weird habit of preceding most of my sentences with "it seems" for a long period of time. Mark Twain had a problem with the word "very." Right now, I'm even over-using "even" -- so often that I keep finding little ways to slip it into my writing, even now. 

Writing 101: Writing Exercise

Stuck? Don't know what to write next? Can't create something that works? It's okay. I have a writing exercise that can help you with all of that. 

Just Keep Swimming

Sylvia Plath practically wrote an entire chapter about trying to start a book in The Bell Jar. I've stared at blank screens way more times than I'd like to admit. Sometimes, just getting started with something is the hardest possible writing you'll have to do. There's a way to fix it, and it's easier than you think.

What's the key to shaking yourself out of that funk and turning a blank screen into big chunks of text? Just keep swimming.

Why I Love/Hate Writing

 Every writer hates writing sometimes. Or maybe it's just me.

Visit Taking It One Page at a Time, a blog by freelancer and friend of the blog Danica Page, to find out why I fell in love with writing...and why sometimes, I hate it.

Writing 101 Redux: Copyrighting Your Writing

Are you copyrighting your books? Are you doing it the right way? Depending on where you are in the world, the laws are different. Know them, and protect your writing from theft. 

Get into all the details of copyrighting your books with me today in this Throwback Thursday Writing 101 tip.

Writing 101: Calling a Spade a Spade

You can call me an indie author if you like, but you can also call me an autonomous wordsmith if you really feel like it. 

Or maybe you'd better just stick with indie author. When you are one, you'll find that often simple language is the best. So when you're writing, let's just call a spade a spade. It takes too long to look for synonyms for the word shovel.

Writing 101: Several Years' Worth of Punctuation Frustration

I often write about the writing problems that I encounter, and this is one that just won't go away. I have so much trouble when it comes to apostrophes and time, I'll usually find a way to re-write the sentence instead. The rule is confusing, and it's one that you'll have to memorize in order to get right. 

Punctuation Frustration

You can wait for a package to come for months, and you can wait for a month of Sundays. You can even wait a week's time for that package to come to your door. But when you have two weeks' worth of waiting piled up, punctuation gets totally flipping confusing. Yes, I'm about to come up with some better examples of how to do it correctly. 

Writing 101: Forums, What Are They Good For?

Reading writer forums was one of my New Year's resolutions, and for a few months I tried to stick with it. I added four new groups to my reader, and promptly hated my decision. After I started reading the forums, I fell even further behind on my review commitments and spent far too much time swearing at authors who will never know I scorned them. But the other day, I finally figured out a reason to really like reading the forums. I now know why this isn't the biggest possible waste of my time, or yours.

What I've Learned

I've made no secret of my forums frustration. I think would-be authors ask too many questions when they ought to be researching. I see the same questions over and over again. I groan and complain and roll my eyes, but I also know (now) that forums do serve a purpose. 

Writing 101 Redux: Single or Double Spaces?

Do you type two spaces after a period, or just one? It's a subject of some debate among the writing community and editors of all kinds. If you want to know where I stand on the issue (and maybe you can already tell), you have to journey with me back to 2012 and the beginnings of the blog. 

For Throwback Thursday, we're going to re-visit double-spacing in books...and why I have such a strong opinion about it.

Lust and Love with 'Song of the Sea'

 "The YA fantasy genre needs more books of this kind."

"The story of Brenna‘s search for her mother is inspiring and relatable.The writing is fresh and crisp. As a reader, I just fell in love with the female protagonist."

My newest book, "Song of the Sea," has been reviewed at Booklust. Go take a look at it before you buy the book at Amazon!

Writing 101: The FANBOYS Grammar Hack

I'd like to tell you about a grammar hack, For all writers can benefit from using tricks, And I like to talk about grammar. I'm not an expert, Nor am I a teacher, But I don't want to make mistakes. It's either make them, Or learn how to use grammar. Anyone can learn this, Yet many still get it wrong. Don't be one of them. It's time for you to learn how to use the FANBOYS, So you can always get it right.

Let's Hear it for the Boys

FANBOYS are a group of coordinating conjunctions. They're special because they all follow the same grammar rule. Do you know what it is? Read the first paragraph again to see if you can figure it out. 

Writing 101: Adjectives and Commas

One of the first lessons you learn in school is to put a comma between your adjectives, just like I'm doing when I say I'm truly, madly, deeply in love with commas. I'm lying, but at least I'm grammatically correct. But here's the problem: that lesson is wrong. You don't always put a comma between your adjectives. You only put them between coordinate adjectives. With cumulitive adjectives, you don't. Yes, I'm about to explain what that means. 

Little Brown Ball

You should always put commas between coordinate adjectives, which are descriptive words that are similar to each other. For example, if the painting is black, brown, blue and green, those adjectives coordinate because they're all colors. They all go together and fit in the same group. There is a simple way to test if adjectives are coordinating or not.

Writing 101: Decades Can't Be Possessive (Or, Why 1960's Is Wrong, Wrong, Wrong)

In all but the rarest of circumstances, the rules of grammar don't change. They stay the same all the time, for every word. This is why its so very confusing when people make decades possessive. If you write 1970's or 60's anywhere, for any reason, you are wrong. And I'm here today to tell you how to be right.

Apostrophe S

I cant seem to stress it enough: apostrophe s is there to show possession. This is Jade's blog. I'm using Blogspot's software.

Because the blog belongs to Jade, it's Jade's. The apostrophe s shows possession. And a decade can't possess something, can it?

Song of the Sea: Look Inside

I always knew my mother was unhappy. I just didn’t know why.

I don’t really know when I realized she wasn’t happy. When I look back at my childhood, all I can remember of her is long, black hair blowing in the wind as she stood on the deck of our house. She spent most of her time staring at the ocean with a sad expression on her face. The ocean was all around us, and it was the center of our world. It surrounded the tiny island where we lived (Matinicus, Maine. Population: 54), forcing us to contend with the water if we wanted to visit the mainland. It was the source of all our income, and it has always felt like my best friend. It just didn’t occur to me, back then, that my mother was looking at it differently.

Our house sat on a high, rocky bluff that overlooked the narrow strip of beach where our boathouse stood. Every day, my dad took the boat out on the water. He was a fisherman, and that’s actually how he and my mother met. She was in a terrible boating accident and very nearly drowned. My father came bouncing along the waves in his Boston Whaler and scooped her right out of a blow-up life raft.

It was such a romantic story, but the drama of almost drowning severely affected my mother. Since that day, she never went on a boat or in the water again. I often wondered if she was remembering her accident, those times I caught her staring at the gray waves of the North Atlantic Ocean.

I, too, was fascinated by the ocean, always had been. I think I could swim before I could walk. My dad once told me more than seventy percent of the Earth is the oceans. They connect everything to everything else. They link the continents, rivers, all the other oceans. And here’s the interesting part: most of the ocean floor is still undiscovered, unmapped. Unexplored. Scientists guess at all the different life forms which might exist in the ocean—but they don’t really know.

It is a liquid land filled with secrets and mysteries, and I wanted to discover them all. Looking back, maybe I was always interested in the water because I wanted to know why my mother found it so fascinating. Maybe I should have stayed on that small strip of beach.

But I didn’t. I went on a journey to find my mother…and somewhere along the way, I found myself instead. 

Get it at Amazon, Smashwords or Kobo.

Writing 101: Of Course, Comma

Commas are so confusing, I and just about every author who blogs about writing has tried to sort them out. I've written multiple posts about how to use commas, and when, and why not. But sometimes, you have to forget about all those rules. Some phrases are so special, they come with their own personal comma rules. Of course, you don't have to take my word for it... 

Of Course You Need a Comma There

I get hung up on little punctuation rules all the time. Of course, there's a lot of them to remember. But I found myself asking, several times, whether or not I was required to use a comma every time I use the phrase of course. It's confusing, because the phrase can be used in a multitude of ways. 

Writing 101: Speed

After you publish a book, you've got to start immediately thinking about publishing your next book. You've got to keep publishing, even though you have to worry about promoting and editing and making trailers and maintaining you day job, too. When it comes to being an indie, how important is speed? 

How Fast Can You Publish?

Some of the most successful self-published authors don't just put books out there. They put a lot of books out there very quickly. They make money by constantly offering something new to their fan bases. They make money with speed. What if you can't keep up? 

Writing 101: Keywords and Social Media

If you're not using keywords with your social media, you're missing out on some of your audience. Start expanding your Twitter reach by choosing the right words. 

The Right Words

Use keywords to find your target audience on Twitter. Social media is a great tool for targeting the right readers, but only if you know how to use it. You can't wait for your readers to come to you, because how do they know you exist? You've got to seek them out. And like any writer, you should use the most powerful tool at your disposal: words. 

Writing 101: Who are You Writing To?

When you're  writing, how often do you think about the reader? If you don't  know who you're  writing to, you're  not writing at your best.

Playing to the Audience

Have you ever been on a stage? If you perform for a crowd, you'll be told to play to the very back of the room. This way, the entire audience will feel included on your performance. Writing is sort of like that, too.

How I Spent My Year

It's January 1, and we all know what that means: I've got to write a New Year's-themed blog post. The year flew by. But weirdly, so many things happened that it also feels like it was much more than just one year. So this year, I'm writing my annual blog post about how I spent the year. 

Two Thousand and Fourteen...Million Words

The year 2014 started for me much as 2013 did. I'd just published a new book, Hope's Rebellion, and I started blogging all the writing tips I'd learned through the year. Then came July, and a ton of changes.