Kindle Scout – A Two Year Performance Review

By Debbie Burke  Kindle Scout  has been called American Idol for authors or a Slush Pile Popularity Contest. Amazon defines it as “reader-powered publishing.” Scout has now been around for a couple of years, with nearly 250 books published so far, making it a good time to review its performance. How Scout works: Authors submit a 50,000+ word book to Scout, with cover copy, logline, bio, etc. Submissions can be made year round, but only one book at a time per…

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NaNoWriMo or Bust!

The saying goes, everyone has a book inside them. Here’s your chance to get it out of imagination and down on paper because November is National Novel Writing Month. Last year’s NaNoWriMo included 431,626 participants in 633 different regions on six continents. Of these, more than 40,000 met the goal of writing 50,000 words in a month. Especially meaningful for me is the opportunity for thousands of young writers who participate through schools, libraries, and community programs. You never know what child…

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Writers meeting writers

There are writers and there are civilians (AKA normal people). Civilians look at us fiction writers as objects of curiosity…a little odd, but probably not dangerous. They don’t understand how we can happily spend hours chasing imaginary people around in our imaginations. Come to think of it, that does sound quite odd. Like any group that shares a common affinity, writers love to get together with each other. The best place to do this is at a writers conference. Coming…

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How to be a Crime Victim…Painlessly

Recently, I became the victim of an attempted sexual assault in broad daylight. An assailant stuck a gun in my back, dragged me into a dark, deserted barn on the county fairgrounds, and tried to rape me. When he put down the gun as he tried to tear my clothes off, I kicked him where no man wants to be kicked. He escaped out the back of the barn. I survived completely unscathed…because, fortunately, I was not a real victim,…

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I Would Dye For You

What would you do for a friend? Would you dye for him/her? Yeah, I mean it the way I spelled it. Because that’s exactly what my dear friend, author Dr. Betty Kuffel, did for me. Tawny Lindholm, the hero of my suspense novel, Instrument of the Devil, has long auburn hair that she French-braids. For the cover design, I visualized a smartphone in a man’s hand, with a photo of Tawny filling the screen because she is being monitored constantly…

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Champagne with the FBI*

* Some names have been changed to protect the innocent…or not so innocent. Mystery writers are not like normal people. Call me ghoulish, but nothing gives me a charge like hanging out with cops, coroners, emergency room doctors, etc. who deal with the aftermath of crimes. Recently I attended the terrific Pikes Peak Writers Conference in Colorado Springs. It offered a smorgasbord of experts in various fields, directly or indirectly related to writing. On Saturday afternoon, I fell into the…

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How To Write A Damn Synopsis

With election season upon us, I conducted a completely unscientific poll geared toward writers. The question: “Would you rather write a synopsis or undergo an IRS audit?” The results: 64% of authors chose the audit, 32% were undecided, and 4% of write-in votes said they rather pump out a septic tank. Okay, I made that up, but based on anecdotal evidence gathered over decades, the vast majority of writers hate to write a synopsis. Why is it so damn hard?…

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