Some Important Information

I teased you last week by letting you know that I am working on a new project. I’m ready to share with you what that project is. Now, it won’t be completely released for a little while longer, but I don’t have a new site and a Facebook page that you all can follow to get more up-to-date information about its release.

Instead of taking one day a week on this blog writing about haunted places, I decided a more fun way to do things would be to start a podcast. So, without further ado…

Okay, I’ll tell you. Please say hello to Macabre at Midnight.

This will be a weekly podcast that explores the weird, haunted, and murdered stories of the world.

It will work like this. I’ll share the story we will be talking about and then I will talk about some of my theories. The podcast will involve just me, but I am looking at having guests on the show so that everybody can enjoy the point of view of another person.

Eventually, I hope I will subscribers to the show that will share some of their ghost stories, which I will reiterate on the podcast.

If you are interested in following Macabre at Midnight, you can find it here and here

I will be making a designated Twitter for it as well, so be on the lookout for it. My podcast, once released, will be available through all of the podcast streaming services such as Google, iTunes, and Spotify. You can also find me on Podbean.

I hope to see everyone there.


7 Ways to Kill The Dreaded Author Bio

I’m going to say something that may cause other bloggers to hunt me down.

I am by no means an authority in writing an author bio. In fact, besides the about me page on my site, I have only ever written one author bio. I can safely say that I literally just wrote my first author bio earlier today. One of my short stories was chosen for publication in Millhaven Press quarterly journal, and they asked for an author bio.

Now, if you have never written an author bio, like me a few hours ago, you probably have one of two thoughts running through your head. One, why do you make it sound like it’s so hard? Or, two, AHHHHHHHHHHHH! (BTW, I was the second.)

I have learned that author bios have the ability to make or break you. What you need your bio for will also have a large influence. Bloggers that guest writes for other websites, where they do need to be an authority on a subject, have to let the readers know they can trust them.

For example, if some blogger is asked to write an article for another website about investing, they would want to make sure the website’s readers trust their article. They may also be interested in driving some traffic to their own website. So, if you’re reading an article about investing and you get to the author bio and they tell you nothing about their experience in investing, you’re probably going to question their article. If their bio says:

Jane Doe has worked as a stay at home mom for 18 years and is now starting her own knitting business. She blogs regularly on about her knitting adventures. She loves her three children aged 15, 12, and 2. Jane hopes you enjoy her post.

You’re going to look back at that article about investing and wonder what crap you just read. There is nothing about that bio that suggests she knows a damn thing about investing. (BTW, I’m not knocking knitters because I LOVE to knit.)

Now, if you are writing an author bio for something like I had to today, for a fictional story, it can be trickier (in my opinion). You still want to grab their attention, and you want to make them want to read more of your work. That’s a lot of information for a short bio. I’m going to do my best and give you a few tips at coming up with an author bio that people will like.

Prepare Yourself for Your Bio

Depending on what you’re writing about, your author bio is going to be different. If you are writing a romance novel, your bio is going to a lot different than if you are writing about investing. Think about who your audience is and what they are going to want to know. Do you need to prove to them that you know what you’re talking about, or would they be more interested in knowing where they can read more of your work? While you’re writing, make sure that you ask yourself, “Who am I writing this for?”

Write in Third Person

Unless the person you are guest blogging for asks you specifically to write in the first person, always write your bio in the third person. Yeah, it will probably feel weird, and self-congratulatory, but you’ll get used to it. One thing you want to make sure you don’t do is overuse he or she.

Keep it Short and Sweet

People just want to know a little bit about you. They aren’t looking to get your life story. Save all the extra information for your autobiography. You may have a bunch of information that relates to your story but only provides the most important and relevant. Think of it like a resume. You don’t write out ten pages of past employees on your resume. You use the most recent jobs and the ones that are more related to the job you are applying for.

Establish Truthful Credibility

If you have to establish credibility with your bio, make sure you do so truthfully. Don’t lie. In this day and age, people will find out if you are telling the truth. As a ghostwriter, it’s probably safe to say I wrote some books for people that had no clue about the subject matter of the book. Unfortunately, for marketing purposes, they are probably lying to establish credibility. You don’t want to be them. If you’re trying to prove to people you are a credible source for investing information, then you better have experience in the stock market, and preferably more than a year’s worth.

Be Personal, but Not Too Much

Depending on what your bio is for, your readers may not want to know you’re a cat lover or a coffee addict. Adding personal touches is fine so that your readers know that you are human. Make sure you don’t go overboard and take away from the actual bio. Throw in a fun fact sandwiched between the important info.

Don’t Worry About Bragging

It’s okay to brag a bit. Make sure you don’t go overboard, but you can brag. It’s not rude, you’re just proud of your accomplishments.

Don’t Make it Long

I said this in the keep it short and sweet tip, but it’s important, so I’ll say it again. DON’T MAKE YOUR BIO LONG. Nobody wants to read your life story, they just want to know they can trust you, or they’re looking to get to know you a little better.

If you follow these tips you should be able to create a great author bio. The three most important things to remember are: keep your audience in mind, write in the third person, and keep it short. Those three things will help you the most.

Half my life is an act of revision. – John Irving

Top 4 Ways to Write a Killer Story

Take it from somebody who knows, writing your first book is hard. You could have a million thoughts running through your head. Maybe you know exactly what you want to write, but you don’t know where to start. Or you could just be toying with the idea of writing something.

That first word you write will be the hardest. A lot rides on that first word, first sentence, first paragraph. If you can’t grab your readers attention, then they won’t ever finish your book. Before you write those firsts, you have to know what you’re writing about.

There are many different ways to figure this out, and each writer has to find out which works best for them. Let’s look at some of the best ways to find your story.

Number 1 – Write about the things you know

If you’re a botanist, then you shouldn’t be writing about marine biology. Tolstoy didn’t write about Oscar Wilde, and Oscar Wilde didn’t write about Tolstoy. They wrote about the society and people they knew. Whether you choose to write fiction or non-fiction, pick a topic that you understand.

If you want to write about things that you know nothing about you have to experience them. Learn as much as possible. Read plenty of books, visit new places, and talk to people who have lived it.

Number 2 – Read, read, and then read some more

Read a butt-load of books. The types of books you read will likely dictate your writing style and niche. I have nearly two shelves on my bookshelf full of Laurell K. Hamilton books. I also almost have a shelf full of Stephen King books. Make sure you learn things when you read. Make notes about the books, about the subject matter, about the writing style; anything and everything.

Number 3 – Write things down

Make yourself a brainstorming journal. Time yourself for 15 minutes, and spew out everything onto a piece of paper. Once your timer goes off, look over the paper and see if anything makes sense. Then leave it alone. Set it to the side for a day or so, and then come back and see what you get from it.

See if you can find some commonalities, and then write down a sensible list of topics. Then start working through how these topics could become a story. Brainstorm some more ideas, and see if you can flesh out a possible outline.

Number 4 – Get some feedback

Once you have an idea as to what you want to write about, ask your friends and family what they think. You can do this on sites like Quora as well. Write out an outline, and then find out what people think. Don’t take their opinions too personally. They are just opinions, everybody has them. Some people will like your ideas, and others won’t. But make sure you listen to everybody’s opinion, not just the ones you like the sound of.

Now that you have an idea of how to come up with a topic, it’s your turn to write something. As cliche as it may be, everybody has a story in them. You just need to figure out your story.

“And as imagination bodies forth

The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen

Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing

A local habitation and a name.”

William Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)