Global Links: One Link to Rule Them All

 

 

Yesterday was Earth Day and today is World Book Day.

I’m thinking globally.

Most of you know of the “universal” or “global” link for books. I’ve seen some posts about it and a lot of indies using it. The link allows you to customize your book url so that it redirects interested readers to the correct country. (Amazon.com becomes Amazon.ca or Amazon.co.uk—you get the idea.)

So, yes, I do want this. And, sure, I’m willing to learn about different options. Which is why I’m here today.

The companies that change your link range from free to one-time fee to monthly subscription. So you can assume they range in services. (They do.) We’re going from cut-and-paste-your-link to tracking sales, customizing domains, and tons of other techie stuff I don’t understand.

Some give you a link that automatically redirects your Amazon customers. So your country’s Amazon store will become their country’s Amazon store. This allows readers to quickly and easily buy your book from the site where they have an account. This is Amazon only.

Others completely transform your link. They go global and create a link that works in every country, on every operating system (iOS, Android, Windows…), in every store (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks…) on every device (laptop, tablet, phone…) so you’re not only international, you’re, like, intergalactic.

Here are a few that I’ve seen. If you use any of these, please let me know in the comments. If you know of any I’ve missed, drop those in the comments, too. Inquiring minds want to know.

SmartURL

BookLinker

RelinksMe

Books2Read

Genius Link

 

My Sunday thoughts in (a bit over) 200 words.

 

ThoughtBubbleDo you use a universal link? Do you like it? Which company would you suggest and why (price, ease-of-use, accessibility for buyers)?

 

Happy Earth Day! 🌎

Happy World Book Day! 📚

 

Hinting at Shadows #BookReview by Irene Waters

 

 

I had a lovely surprise to brighten up the dreary days of February.

Irene Waters (writer, blogger, and memoirist) reviewed my book on her blog.

She has an eclectic blog where she shares daily life as well as photos and experiences from around the world. Irene also hosts a brilliant monthly writing prompt called “Times Past” that looks at our world through both geographical and generational differences.

 

It’s an absolutely beautiful review and I am so touched by her thoughts on the book. (Thank you, Irene!) ❤

Please stop by, check out the review, and explore her blog. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Share the Love of Reading #BookGivingDay

 

bookgivingdayblogbadge-2017

Oh my love is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
Oh my love is like a brand new book
That’s in a waiting room

What? (I know. Hold on. I have a good reason for that atrocity.)

I’ve written about my love of books before.

I also have a few essays out there complaining about Valentine’s Day.

Red roses, puffy pink teddy bears, gaudy glitter-covered greeting cards, caramel chocolates, and the fact that this stupid day clearly brings out alliteration in full force. Along with the need to butcher perfectly beautiful poetry.

So February 14th is a wonderful holiday. Yes, I’ll say it again. Wonderful.

It’s International Book Giving Day.

It’s true! A glorious day dedicated to the love of reading and, in particular, sharing the love of reading by giving books away.

Know about this? Awesome. Get out there and spread the love.

2014bookgivingday

Never heard of it? Check it out.

Here are a few ways to get involved, from a toppling pile of books donated to your local school or library to dropping a single book off at a hospital or waiting room. You can even give books from the comfort of your own home to the organizations listed here.

My family? Well…

2016-blogbadge

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

What will you do for International Book Giving Day? Let me know—I’d love to hear some good book-giving stories.

If you share it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or other social media, tag it: #bookgivingday

 

 

I posted this last year on February 14th which didn’t give people who hadn’t heard of this holiday time to plan so I’m re-posting this year to give you a little nudge, heads-up, or reminder that you’ve got a few days to give books. And here’s a PDF to download printable bookmarks to place inside those books you give. Seriously, give a bunch of books or leave just one in a waiting room somewhere. It’s all good.

 

The birds and books blog badge by Marianne Dubuc

The cute foxes bookplate by Karl Newson

The space cat & moon mouse blog badge by Ben Newman

 

Poetry Foundation {Robert Burns}  The poem I ruthlessly butchered in the beginning of this post.

Hinting at Shadows #BookReview by Sacha Black

 

 

Friday the 13th turned out to be a lucky day for me.

I found a review of my new book, Hinting at Shadows, over on Sacha Black’s blog. It’s pretty awesome. She wrote all sorts of wonderful things about my writing and this book.

Thank you, Sacha!

Please hop over to her new blog and check out the review.

 

Rejected Book Intros

 

intros-sig

 

I mentioned my little issue with writing an author bio and how I quickly fixed that by blurting some silly thoughts out and going with it.

I didn’t want to work too hard on it or let it drive me batty—which it right could have. Also, I knew that no matter how much time I spent on it (10 minutes or 10 months), I’d likely look back at it and cringe. So, I chose the 10-minute cringe.

My introduction was a different bowl of spaghetti. Holy meatballs, Batman, that thing did drive me crazy. And I didn’t listen to my own advice (no surprise there) about the bio.

I spent time (much time) and energy (lots of energy) on the introduction. During this time of lunacy when I was alienating friends and forcing family to disown me, I came up with some real doozies.

The following introductions are real. They were not written for your amusement. But I thought I would share them with you in case you are amused. It’s okay, you can totally be embarrassed for me.

 

  • I like writing. I don’t like spiders. I made a book. Read it.
  • I think I’d rather become dinner for the Swamp Thing than continue working on this foreword. Which is ridiculous because the Swamp Thing protects people (and is probably a vegetarian).
  • Short fiction is like dark chocolate. It’s pure cocoa with no fillers. A small piece is rich and satisfying.
  • I don’t like writing bios, forewords, or introductions. Actually, I don’t care for anything that requires me to tell readers about myself or my work.
  • This pumpkin spice stuff is seriously getting out of control. Here’s a book with NO pumpkin spice in it.
  • I’ve missed meals, skipped family outings, remained unshowered for two five days, typed until my eyes were sand paper and my fingers bled, developed headaches that laughed at Tylenol, and alienated many friends with my writer moods. I do hope you appreciate all that went into this book and that you will take pity on me and read it.
  • I triple dog dare you not to read this book!
  • This is a collection of mini stories… But, wait! There’s more! No, there isn’t. But mini stories are fun and delicious. Like those little cupcakes with sprinkles that you can eat a bunch of without having to explain yourself to anybody because they expect you to eat more than one.
  • Will this torment never cease?!!!
  • I’m seriously considering finding a vampire and asking it (“him”? or “her”?) to turn me so I have an excuse to not finish this intro. No, seriously. Now I’m wondering. What is the correct pronoun for creatures of the night? Are they “it” or do you refer to them by the gender they were before they were bitten? And, technically, they are still that gender. Regardless, if I were a turned into a vampire it would require some adjustment on my part. Would that be an acceptable reason for not including an introduction to this collection?
  • There is nothing (not one thing) in this book that mentions the United States political system, the election, or the candidates.
  • Short fiction is known by many names. Flash, sudden, postcard, micro, hint… Hint fiction. Get it? Hinting at Shadows does hint at darkness but it’s also hint fiction. Cool, huh? *nudge* *nudge* *wink* *wink* Know what I mean?
  • I’d rather be watching Harry Potter.
  • If I write any more introductions, there’s a real possibility I will spontaneously combust.

 

Do you find it difficult to write your introduction or is it easy after you’ve done all the writing/editing/revising for your book?

 

Cover Reveal (with a Little Help from My Friends)

 

I have a few books simmering on the burners. But my short story/flash collection is the one I’m closest to torturing the world with. And it needs a cover, as these things go.

Anyway, there are many choices and it’s overwhelming. I’ve narrowed it down. A lot.

I write kind of “dark” fiction but it’s not horror. It’s not thriller. It’s not really any genre. It’s just sort of…dark. Sad? No idea. But I don’t want to mislead readers with a cover that screams, “Horror!”

That was fun.

I want something that represents the darkness while also retaining some softness. If you’ve read my flash, you know what I mean. Without further ado…

Would you, could you, pretty please (with a cherry on top) take a look at these and vote for your favorite?

The font type, color, size, and placement can be changed. Any suggestions/ideas in the comments would be much appreciated. 

Thank you, gentle readers. I am so very grateful.

 

Brentyn_Cover1 poll

Cover 1

 

Brentyn_Cover2 poll

Cover 2

 

Brentyn_Cover3 poll

Cover 3

 

Brentyn_Cover4 poll

Cover 4

 

Brentyn_Cover5 poll

Cover 5

 

Cover 6

Cover 6

 

Cover 7

Cover 7

 

The lovely Rachael Ritchey, author of Chronicles of the Twelve Realms and founder of BlogBattle, designed these for me. I asked her for some advice after reading her post about cover design in her Indie Publishing series and, before I knew it, I had 500 designs in my inbox. I jest. There were only 400. She enjoys designing covers. And is really good at it. And is most generous with her time and talent. 

 

 

All images copyright Sarah Brentyn

Window Shopping for Book Covers

 

Silly Book Cover

 

I know I’m getting ahead of myself, putting the cart before the horse and all that, but I like browsing through pictures and playing around in Paint with images that could possibly be my book cover. And there are tons of sites with pre-made covers to set my imagination on fire.

If I have a working title, not just any old working title but one I might actually use, I’m much more likely to talk about my book, think about it, and, most importantly, work on it.

It’s also nice when someone asks me what I’m writing. I can say, “Cool Title” instead of prattling on about the characters, what I think the genre might be, where the story may or may not be heading because I’m really not exactly sure, explaining that I’m a pantser (and then explaining what a pantser is).

If I have a cover? I’m completely inspired.

I write more. Because, now, my book is like Pinocchio. Someday he’ll be a real boy, right? It’s the same thing. Someday it’ll be a real book.

Many will say this is ridiculous. You have to know what your story is about before you can find an image to reflect that. True. But if a visual encourages me to keep writing, it’s well worth the time spent.

And I might find one of the reasons I was sifting through photos was because I needed a break from my writing and now I’m back to it. With gusto.

Whether I wind up using the cover or not, I have one now. In this moment. I can see it in all its glory. The title, my name, an image that speaks to me (literally or figuratively—you make the call).

Window shopping a waste of time? Perhaps. But it’s a helluva lot of fun and fabulous motivation.

 

 

Do you design your book cover before you finish your book? (Before you’ve reached page 10?)

 

* Just so nobody asks, I’ve created a picture for this post (at the top) to answer the question of whether or not I will design my own cover. The answer, quite obviously, is “No”. A resounding NO. 

 

Great Book for Writers…NaNo or Not

 

I’ve never written a book review on here before.

 

NaNoBook - sig

 

And I’m not going to.

I will say that this book is made of awesome.

I’m late to the party. I should have posted about No Plot? No Problem! in October before all you nutty NaNos took on the completely insane challenge of finishing a book in thirty days.

But I’m here now. Because I am having a problem. A writing problem. (I’ll post more about that later.)

So I was searching my bookshelves for some inspiration when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a marvelous book sat unread for two years! And in November, to boot. Before I write another word, let me say I have never participated in NaNoWriMo. And. Yet.

This is a stupendously marvelous writing book. Yup. It’s all that and a bag of chips.

Oh, no! Not (another) book about writing.

Well, technically, it is. Sort of. But not really. In other words, it’s not a “this is how you are supposed to write” book. It’s a cheerleader (with more clothes). A guide. A tiny, written friend with advice and support. Also, just enough writing tips and anecdotes for me to call it a writing book but not enough to drive you crazy or contradict all the other books you’ve read about how to write. It even offers to take your “Inner Editor” so you can write a shitty first draft that would “absolutely horrify it”.

The entire first part of the book contains tidbits of remarkable wisdom like “don’t write within view of a bed”, sections like “Eating Your Way to 50,000 Words” & “The Happy Side Effects of Limited Planning” (which appeals to me very much), along with tips like how to host a writing day:

Ask all attendees to turn off the ringers on their cell phones, and set a timer so everyone knows exactly when each session ends and the glorious break time begins. Should anyone continue to type after the alarm marking the end of the session sounds, chop off their fingers. Don’t be afraid to be a tyrant. (53)

And the excellent “law of exuberant imperfection”:

The first law of exuberant imperfection is essentially this: The quickest, easiest way to produce something beautiful and lasting is to risk making something horribly crappy. 

the older we get, the more scared we are to try new things. . . . what do we do when we have free time? The tried-and-true activities we’ve already perfected. Like talking on the phone. Or walking up and down stairs. Or getting drunk. . . . Exuberant imperfection allows you to circumvent those limiting feelings entirely. (32-33)

And this charming truth:

The universe loves novelists. During the novel-prep and book-writing period, you’ll watch, delighted, as the cosmos parts to reveal a rich vein of pilferable, copyright-free material explicitly for your noveling use. A couple will sit down next to you on the bus and proceed to have an argument. . . (72)

Right? Oh, man, I love when that happens. *sigh*

The second part is dedicated specifically to NaNo participants—broken down by weeks. Very helpful if you’re into that sort of thing. And more power to you. (Really. Love and respect to my fellow writers during this hectic Novembery time.)

Reading through this again made me realize two things. Three, actually. 1. Chris is funny. He is. 2. I’m not trying to crank out 50,000 words in a month and this book is still wonderful. 3. My husband has always supported my writing.

 

NaNo Book - sig

How cool is this?

 

You can get a copy here, if you so desire. But it’s different from mine because I have an old copy, as you can see from the inscription here, and Chris has made all sorts of shiny, new words for you.

First Lines: Picture Books

 

Another First Lines post which was surprisingly enjoyable to compile. Also, it was a bit nostalgic.

This one is dedicated to my friend and fellow blogger, Norah, who thought a First Lines: Picture Books would be a grand idea. And she was right.

Some will argue that first lines aren’t important in picture books. Eh. Maybe. I’m not sure. They are a hook just the same as any other but you don’t need to keep the reader’s attention as long. (Which is not the point of a hook anyway.) Either way, it was fun to flip through these beautifully illustrated stories to find first lines.

Have you read any of these to your children? Did you read any when you were a child?

 

“There was once a Velveteen Rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid.”

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Illustrated by Robyn Officer

 

“The sun is tired. It goes down the sky into the drowsy hills. The sunflowers lean. They fall asleep to dream of tomorrow’s sun.”

The Moon Jumpers by Janice May Udry Illustrated by Maurice Sendak

 

“No one ever came to Bear’s house. It had always been that way, and Bear was quite sure he didn’t like visitors. He even had a sign.”

A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker Illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton

 

“Once, in a beautiful, faraway land…that was, somehow, not so very far…a land where every stone was a teacher and every breeze a language, where every lake was a mirror and every tree a ladder to the stars, into this far and lovely land there fell…a truth.”

Old Turtle and the Broken Truth by Douglas Wood Illustrated by Jon J Muth

 

“Once, long long ago…yet somehow, not so very long…when all the animals and rocks and winds and waters and trees and birds and fish and all the beings of the world could speak…and understand one another…there began…an argument.”

Old Turtle by Douglas Wood Illustrated by Cheng-Khee Chee

 

“Puff, the Magic Dragon, lived by the sea, and frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honalee.”

Puff the Magic Dragon by Peter Yarrow / Lenny Lipton Illustrated by Eric Puybaret

 

“At the edge of every day, the Night Eater ran behind the moon. And as he ran, the Night Eater gobbled up the darkness.”

The Night Eater by Ana Juan  

 

“Mr. and Mrs. Mallard were looking for a place to live.”

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

 

“Tonight, when I looked under my bed for my monster, I found this note instead.

‘Gone fishing. Back in a week. – Gabe’”

I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll Illustrated by Howard McWilliam

 

“There once was a city without gardens or trees or greenery of any kind. Most people spent their time indoors. As you can imagine, it was a very dreary place.”

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

 

“Oscar loved his boy. He also loved stinky cat food for breakfast and crunchy cat food for dinner.”

Oscar and the Mooncats by Lynda Gene Rymond Illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli

 

“Over 100 years ago, as the stars swirled in the sky, as the Earth circled the sun, as the March winds blew through a little town by a river, a baby boy was born. His parents named him Albert.”

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne Illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

 

“It was autumn. In the hush of the forest a lone yellow leaf clung to the branch of a great oak tree.”

The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger

 

“Once there was a Little Rabbit who did not like himself. He had soft pink ears, bright red eyes, and a short, fluffy tail. He was a beautiful little rabbit. But he wanted to be anything except what he was.”

The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey Illustrated by Chris Santoro

 

“Imagine a place…

where you bend and sway, leap and land, right where a story begins.”

Imagine a Place by Sarah L. Thomson Illustrated by Rob Gonsalves

 

“Imagine a day…

when you can dive down through branches or swim up to the sun.”

Imagine a Day by Sarah L. Thomson Illustrated by Rob Gonsalves

 

“Imagine a night…

when snow white sheets grow crisp and cold, and someone whispers, ‘Follow me’.”

Imagine a Night by Sarah L. Thomson Illustrated by Rob Gonsalves


First Lines PictureBook

 

Next up:

First Lines: Epilogue

As a reader (and a writer) how important are first lines to you?

 

First Lines: Socially Acceptable Books for Grown-Ups (or SABGUS)

 

Another post in my First Lines series. Yes, it is here. Novels that are acceptable to discuss at dinner parties.

My choices for First Lines: SABGUS are varied. Please feel free to think of this post as a platter of fine cheeses. Some are light and spreadable, some are solid and must be sliced with a chainsaw. I don’t love all the cheeses. *gasp* What?!

It’s true.

In fact, I will be completely honest with you here and say that I haven’t even read some of these books. A few were taken from my TBR pile (which is not getting any smaller). Also, I raided my husband’s bookshelf to get some of these fabulous firsts and am not sorry one bit. They are marvelous, if not my particular cup of cocoa, and I had a splendid time reading through them. Some of these first lines, though, do belong to favorite books of mine and it was wonderful visiting them again.

For your dining pleasure, I bring you First Lines: SABGUS.

 

“I vaguely remember my schooldays. They were what was going on in the background while I was trying to listen to the Beatles.”

The Salmon of Doubt by Douglas Adams

 

“Tap-dancing child abuser. That’s what the Sunday New York Times from March 8, 1993, had called Viva.”

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

 

“It’s morning. For now, night is over. It’s time for the bad news. I think of the bad news as a huge bird, with the wings of a crow and the face of my Grade Four schoolteacher, sparse bun, rancid teeth, wrinkly frown, pursed mouth and all, sailing around the world under cover of darkness, pleased to be the bearer of ill tidings, carrying a basket of rotten eggs, and knowing – as the sun comes up – exactly where to drop them. On me, for one.”

Moral Disorder by Margaret Atwood

 

“Out of the gravel there are peonies growing. They come up through the loose grey pebbles, their buds testing the air like snails’ eyes, then swelling and opening, huge dark-red flowers all shining and glossy like satin. Then they burst and fall to the ground.”

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

 

“A smear of fresh blood has a metallic smell. It smells like freshly sheared copper.”

A Deadly Shade of Gold by John D. MacDonald

 

“My sister Kwan believes she has yin eyes. She sees those who have died and now dwell in the World of Yin, ghosts who leave the mists just to visit her kitchen on Balboa Street in San Francisco.”

The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan

 

“The flash projected the outline of the hanged man onto the wall.”

The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte

 

“The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning. Then the soul-erosion produced by high gambling – a compost of greed and fear and nervous tension – becomes unbearable and the senses awake and revolt from it.”

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

 

“Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.”

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

 

“My friend Patsy was telling me a story. ‘So I’m at the movie theater,’ she said, ‘and I’ve got my coat all neatly laid out against the back of my seat, when the guy comes along—’ And here I stopped her, because I’ve always wondered about this coat business. When I’m in a theater, I either fold mine in my lap or throw it over my armrest, but Patsy always spreads hers out, acting as if the seat back were cold, and she couldn’t possibly enjoy herself while it was suffering.”

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

 

“It is a relatively little-known fact that, over the course of a single year, about twenty million letters are delivered to the dead.”

The Girl with No Shadow by Joanne Harris

 

“I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to. When you come from Des Moines you either accept the fact without question and settle down with a local girl named Bobbi and get a job at the Firestone factory and live there forever and ever, or you spend your adolescence moaning at length about what a dump it is and how you can’t wait to get out, and then you settle down with a local girl named Bobbi and get a job at the Firestone factory and live there forever and ever.”

The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson

 

“Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.”

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

 

“In the world of humankind, the tides of power are turning… To me, the seasons of men go by in moments, but from time to time a flicker will attract my attention.”

Lady of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley  

 

“On the day after my mother’s death, I returned to 83 Beals Street for the first time in fifteen years. I had stolen something from there when I was nine years old and kept it long after my reasons for holding on to it has lost their urgency.”

An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer  

 

“It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it.”

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

 

 

First Lines SABGUS

 

Next up:

First Lines: Picture Books

As a reader (and a writer) how important are first lines to you?