Conspiracy Friday – The Patriot Act…Patriotic or Tyrranical?

First, sorry for no post yesterday on Thirsty Thursday. I got hung up on a project. But, here’s a link I found that asks a very important question: Do liberals drink more beer? I myself don’t claim a party. If I must be labeled, I’m fiscally responsible and socially liberal, so I guess I’m a libertarian. Oh well, I’ll still drink a beer with a liberal, a conservative, a democrat or a republican and anyone in between. The only hang up I have is that the beer’s got to be a good one. 

For this edition of Conspiracy Friday, there’s been a lot of talk about President Obama renewing some tenets of the Patriot Act this week. Here’s Texas’s own Alex Jones, a great guy to follow if you’re into conspiracies, ranting on about marching on Austin due to the Patriot Act.

So, what are your thoughts on the Patriot Act? Needed legislation to ensure our safety? Or does it snuff out our freedoms? To the keyboards! And have a happy and safe holiday weekend! We return with Tools for Tuesday next week.

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author whose first non-fiction proposal just went out for consideration to a few NY houses! Fingers crossed! The Brink is my latest fiction offering and here’s what some folks are saying about it:

The Brink is a hell of a read.” – Bestselling author Sandra Brown

“Mark Fadden is a masterful storyteller.” – Writer’s Digest

“He’s the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

The Brink is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99! Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at http://www.markfadden.com

App Wednesday – Getting a Handle on Subplots

Chances are, your novel has subplots. It percolates with multiple characters that are multidimensional. Congrats! But, on a logistical level, when you’re outlining the thing, how to keep track of Female A who is dating Male B and sleeping with Male C that has a thing for Female D, who knows the precise piece of information that Male A needs to solve the mystery at hand?

Confusing? Oh yeah. While I have a pretty tried and true outlining method, I did come across an app called Storybook, that, in its description on its website, promises to be a, “free (open source) novel-writing tool for creative writers, novelists and authors which will help you to keep an overview of multiple plot-lines while writing books, novels or other written works. Store all information about your characters and locations in one place. Then, use the included Storybook features for managing chapters, scenes, characters and locations. A simple interface is provided to enable you to assign your defined characters and locations to each scene and to keep an overview of your work with user-friendly chart tools.”

Now, truth be told, I have yet to use this product. In fact, I use an Excel spreadsheet to outline my books. If I need to change something in the novel, many times it’s as easy as cutting a pasting a cell to a different location (B6 to B14). But, from just looking at the Storyboard website, it seems that it might have something for us creative types.

So, what say you? Would you use such an app? Is it too much to learn? Have you used it and it doesn’t have enough features? Are you sticking with the shoebox full of bar napkins and dumping them into a stiff wind to figure out your next novel’s timeline?

To the keyboards!

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author whose first non-fiction proposal just went out for consideration to a few NY houses! Fingers crossed! The Brink is my latest fiction offering and here’s what some folks are saying about it:

The Brink is a hell of a read.” – Bestselling author Sandra Brown

“Mark Fadden is a masterful storyteller.” – Writer’s Digest

“He’s the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

The Brink is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99! Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at http://www.markfadden.com

Tools for Tuesday – Why you need a QR code in your next book marketing campaign

 

I can almost hear many of y’all: “What the hell is that?” Others have probably seen them in newspaper or magazine ads and just didn’t recognize them or didn’t care. But these symbols, that look like a cross between a digital crop circle and the aftermath of the Apocalypse on a Pac-Man maze, are actually the link that could get readers to become Your Biggest Fans. Interested? Thought so.

The symbol above is actually called a “QR code.” QR stands for “Quick Response” and they allow people with smartphones equipped with QR code readers (which are free apps BTW) to scan a print ad with said phone and immediately get whisked away to whatever cyberspace spot that is linked to the code. QR codes can also launch emails, add events into the phone’s calendar, and send business card information directly into the phone’s contact list. Created in 1994 by a Japanese subsidiary of Toyota as a two-dimensional bar code for tracking parts during the manufacturing process, QR codes have been around for a long time is Asian countries. Finally, they are gaining enormous momentum here in the USA and me thinks they are here to stay. Why? Let’s take a look at the numbers from a recent nextdayflyers.com blog:

“The opportunities for QR codes are skyrocketing:

  • 80%+ U. S. consumers own mobile phones
  • 28% of those phones are smartphones
  • 71% of smartphone owners have scanned a QR code
  • Consumers who have scanned QR codes tend to be older, well-educated, and have incomes above the national average.”

Now, on that same NDF blog post, you’ll see pics of these codes on a newspaper ad, house for sale sign, and even on the side of a building. So, why not slap one on your bookmarks and business cards? Then, the next time you’re at a signing or event, people can scan your QR code right there and visit your website, your next event could get entered into their calendar, or they could purchase your ebook in seconds! Oh, and don’t forget that you can even incorporate a secret word into the code that will give the reader a discount when they order said book. Wunderbar!

I’ve mentioned Next Day Flyers before on the blog because I think they are the Motts when it comes to printers. 5,000 high quality, color on both sides, bookmarks for around $165? Try to beat that deal. Plus, their website is top-notch as far as a one stop shop for marketing info. You gotta check out their social media archive!  

Thoughts? Opinions on the future of QR codes? Have you used one yet? Would you in the future? Have you stared at one for a long time thinking it was one of those 3D puzzles that reveals a dolphin or unicorn after a while?

To the keyboards!

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author whose first non-fiction proposal just went out for consideration to a few NY houses! Fingers crossed! The Brink is my latest fiction offering and here’s what some folks are saying about it:

The Brink is a hell of a read.” – Bestselling author Sandra Brown

“Mark Fadden is a masterful storyteller.” – Writer’s Digest

“He’s the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

 The Brink is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle  and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

 Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at www.markfadden.com.

Mystery Monday – Too Many Suspects?

In AMC’s fantastic series The Killing, there are 24 suspects. 24. That’s a lot to keep up with. 24 personalities, 24 storylines, 24 motives. In fact, AMC has a website devoted to not only keeping track of each suspect’s bio, but they also allow fans to vote on which suspect they think is the actually killer. Which, by the way, is a great way to keep fans interested in the show. If there was a way to do something similar with a book, that would be awesome. But back to the dirty 24. So the question must be asked: is 24 suspects too many?

In my latest suspense thriller, The Brink, the major complaint was that there were too many characters introduced in the beginning of the book. Some people had to take notes to keep them all straight. So, for the next book, there won’t be this character dump right at the start. They will get introduced throughout the book, but there won’t be 24 suspects. Not nearly. I don’t even think I could keep that many straight. I don’t think there are 24 plausible reasons for wanting the same person dead. Unless you’re a really, really, bad person.

What are your thoughts? Are 24 suspects too many in any one story? Not enough? Just right? To the keyboards!

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author and here’s where he gets to toot his horn:

“The Brink is a hell of a read.” – Bestselling author Sandra Brown

“Mark Fadden is a masterful storyteller.” – Writer’s Digest

“He’s the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

 The Brink is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle  and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

 Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at www.markfadden.com.

Conspiracy Fridays – Was ‘The Great Seducer’ Set Up?

I’m sure you’re with me on this one…I love a good conspiracy. From Who Killed JFK? to Who Shot JR? Conspiracy theories are the source for such fertile fields of gold for us writers. Not only can we use a conspiracy theory that’s been floating around for a while as the foundation for a novel (as I did in The Brink), we can also use the concept of the conspiracy theory to whip up our own to introduce in a heart-pounding thriller or spine-tingling mystery.

So, for this inaugural CF, let’s take a gander at the current conspiracy theory du jour. For those who don’t know him, International Monetary Fund  head Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been charged with raping a maid in the posh NY hotel he was staying in a few days ago. Until his fall from grace, Strauss-Kahn was the front-runner to unseat French President Nicolas Sarkozy. And that’s exactly why the web’s been buzzing about how Sarkozy set him up.

Strauss-Kahn’s fall from grace has also inspired another writer to ask a bigger question: “Does the web make us more aware of conspiracies or has it encouraged the explosion of conspiracy theories?

We’d love to hear your feedback to those questions. First, to the keyboards! Second, have an awesome weekend!

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author and here’s where he gets to toot his horn:

“The Brink is a hell of a read.” – Bestselling author Sandra Brown

“Mark Fadden is a masterful storyteller.” – Writer’s Digest

“He’s the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

 The Brink is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle  and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

 Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at www.markfadden.com.

Thirsty Thursdays – Best IPA in USA? Agreed.

I couldn’t let the first ever Thirsty Thursdays post go by without talking about my favorite beer when writing. It’s the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. Esquire Magazine calls it, “perhaps the best I.P.A. in America.” It is, and I know I’ll get cuffed and stuffed by the cliché police for this one, but it’s a simple metaphor, it is…heaven.

I like many different kinds of beer, but they have to be at the right time. Miller Lite? Perfect at the game with a dog and some peanuts. Corona? An absolute must after mowing the lawn during a Texas summer scorcher. An outdoor Pat Green concert calls for Shiner Bock. Paulaner Oktoberfest? It’s gotta be out of some giant mug, I’m wearing my lederhosen and surrounded by like-minded folks dancing on tabletops to 80s music with a “Prost!” here and there. But there is no more perfect beer than the DH 90 IPA. Why? One word: TASTE.

Okay, it also has a ridiculously high alcohol content to lube the noggin, but it really does taste very, very good. Could it be that this beer, being born in the same state that I was (Delaware), were destined for each other? It could. I believe in such circular things. But there is something about cracking one of these badass, expensive ($12 a 4-pack – that’s the one lame thing about it, it’s packaged the same way wine coolers are) brews open after all the kiddos have gone to bed, sitting down in front of the computer in delicious silence and reviewing a rough draft, adding to an outline, or simply reading some sentences that I created that really aren’t half bad.

What about you dear readers? What libation do you use to get your write on?

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author and here’s where he gets to toot his horn:

“The Brink is a hell of a read.” – Bestselling author Sandra Brown

“Mark Fadden is a masterful storyteller.” – Writer’s Digest

“He’s the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

 The Brink is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle  and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

 Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at www.markfadden.com.

App Wednesday – Mind Map App – say that five times real fast…

 

Mind maps have been around for years. Go deep into the recesses of your brain, past the memories of leg warmers and Led Zeppelin albums and you probably faintly recall doing something like the above pic in some high school class. By using a mind map, you can identify and understand the structure of a subject. More than simply taking notes, you can see the way that pieces of information fit together. A mind map can also encourage creative problem solving because the format used can be something that your mind finds easy to remember and quick to review in the brainstorming process.

There are several mind mapping apps out there. I have an iPhone and I’ve found that, like many apps, the simpler the better. SimpleMind Xpress is a very simple way to create a mind map. I’ve used both an Excel spreadsheet to make outlines for my books and mind maps, and I can say that using mind maps really helps to “double check” my work, and make sure that every character’s story is correct.

So if you haven’t mind mapped since high school, give it a try. If you’ve got a smartphone, you may want to give SimpleMind Xpress a try. And of course, report back to us on how well you did!

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author. Bestselling author Sandra Brown recently had this to say about Mark’s latest novel, The Brink: “[The Brink] is a hell of a read. The chemistry between [the main characters] Danny and Sydney is terrific. The action sequences were heart-pounding!” Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at www.markfadden.com.

 The Brink is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle  and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

(Writers’) Tools For Tuesday – Self Publishing for audio books

Due to the overwhelming popularity of “App Wednesday”, “Mystery Monday” a new topic and a new day comes to Mark Fadden’s Blog – “(Writers’) Tools for Tuesday.” It’s all about tools that us writers can use to reach more readers, to make more fans and to kick the most ass we can.

So, the first up is a doozie. Ever wonder why no one is taking the self-publishing revolution to audiobooks? I mean, just like an ebook, it is a digitized platform, right? No publishers, trees, printing presses, or in this case, reel to reel tape or warehousing needed.

Well, it seems, like what happened with Napster and Facebook, someone a lot smarter than us beat us to the punch.  

Audible, one of the leading audiobook retailers, has come up with ACX or “Audiobook creation exchange.” Just like Amazon’s Kindle store and B&N’s PubIt!, they created ACX to give authors another outlet to self publish, and the royalty breakdown is very similar to those other services as well, aka authors get to keep more of the money in their pocket.

One big difference, is that since it’s audio, authors have a choice: choose who narrates their book, or narrate it themselves. Here’s a chance to show the world just how good your Somalian accent really is. 

And, to make sure I show the love to the website where I found out about ACX, its “Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.”  They review romance novels, so if that’s your thing, make sure to check them out.

Self publishing audiobooks, good idea? Bad idea? To the keyboards!

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author. Bestselling author Sandra Brown recently had this to say about Mark’s latest novel, The Brink: “[The Brink] is a hell of a read. The chemistry between [the main characters] Danny and Sydney is terrific. The action sequences were heart-pounding!” Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at www.markfadden.com.

 The Brink is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle  and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

Mystery Monday: The hottest sex offenders list. Really?

Sorry, I don’t know what happened. I published this last night, but it didn’t get posted. So I’m reposting this Mystery Monday post today.

Oh Houston Press, say you didn’t. The “alternative newspaper” from my beloved hometown of Houston, Texas decided to go with an article entitled, “The 10 Hottest Women on the Texas Sex Offender List.” Now, besides just being in bad taste, this article, as you could imagine, is stirring the pot quite a bit.

Not that I’m defending the writer, but he does bring up a good point in his defense of the article: “I can understand how some people might react to this. On the other hand, it’s a way of getting readers to look at the info, maybe get them to realize there are people out there like this and they all don’t look like the obvious stereotypical pervert.”

This article also brings up a good point for us writers to remember for Mystery Monday. These women are not the stereotypical characters we would imagine in our mind when we think of perverts. Just like some of the most memorable characters in mystery fiction are those that go against the grain: Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a respected, brilliant psychiatrist that just happens to eat his patients; an albino monk that kills in the name of God, etc. Evil is out there, dear friends. For writers, the best kind of evil lives where we least expect to see it.

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author. Bestselling author Sandra Brown recently had this to say about Mark’s latest novel, The Brink: “[The Brink] is a hell of a read. The chemistry between [the main characters] Danny and Sydney is terrific. The action sequences were heart-pounding!” Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at www.markfadden.com.

 The Brink is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle  and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

Increasing eBook sales: Is the Price always Right?

The weather was perfect here in DFW Texas today, so for this Feel Good Fantastic Friday, or “things that make you go hmmm” Friday, or free for all Friday, I had a thought bouncing through my grande cabesa (at 7 5/8, it really is big): In real estate, it’s “location, location, location.” In eBook sales, could it be, “price, price, price?”

I don’t really know how, but I’m on the Digital Book World email list and I’m kinda glad it happened. They seem to have everything anyone could ever want to know about eBooks, including this humdinger of a sales analysis on Vince Flynn’s latest, American Assassin.

From the graph included in the DBW analysis, you’ll see that the ebook, which was first offered at $12.99, slowly dropped down the bestseller list, but got quite a bump when he dropped the price to $8.99. Then sales dropped almost off the map when they shot the price back up to $14.99.

But it’s not just the example here that shows Flynn had a bump in sales when he put AA on a “fire sale.” Consider the self-publishing darling Amanda Hocking, who priced her novels between $0.99 and $1.99 and sold 900,000 copies in a month! Yes, that’s not a typo. And, she sold 400,000 more the next month. Oy Vey!

So, that begs the question, how important is setting a low sales price to your eBook sales?

To the keyboards!

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author. Bestselling author Sandra Brown recently had this to say about Mark’s latest novel, The Brink: “[The Brink] is a hell of a read. The chemistry between [the main characters] Danny and Sydney is terrific. The action sequences were heart-pounding!” Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at www.markfadden.com.

And speaking of reasonably priced eBooks, The Brink is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle  and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!