Mystery Inmate: Solved! Mystery of Skinny Girl Cocktails: Still Out?

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to this ridiculously HOT edition of Thirsty Thursday! It’s the 26th straight day of 100+ degree heat here in Dallas/Fort Worth and, honestly, I’m thinking of wedging myself into my freezer to cool off. I just hope Tropical Storm Don can bring us some relief. Viva Don! Viva!

So, this past Mystery Monday, we talked about the mystery man who was arrested in Utah and refused to give his name to authorities. Consequently, he had been held in jail for three weeks. Well, the mystery has been solved. Was he a government spy? A member of the witness protection program? Hiding out from his wife? Nope. His name is Phillip Todd Beavers and it seems that he lost his job in New Mexico and had taken a bus to Salt Lake City. Some times a man just has to get outta town and be left the hell alone. But, it was fun to come up with the possibilities, wasn’t it? And alotta people did. The story spread all over the globe with everyone throwing in their two cents about who this guy was.

Speaking of popularity of news, stories, and the like, I have a mystery that is baffling me on this Thirsty Thursday: does anyone think the Skinny Girl Margaritas taste good? For those that don’t know, reality star Bethenny Frankel of the Housewives of NY fame, created the Skinny Girl cocktails which take 500+ calorie drinks, like Margaritas, and slim them down to around 100 calories. I think she also managed to squeeze the taste out of them as well. But that’s just me.

However, what Frankel managed to do along the way was parlay her celebrity into selling the Skinny Girl drink line for an estimated $120 million. Okay, I’ll shut my mouth right about now. But, while the verdict might be out on how these drinks taste, Frankel found a way to use her name to get an incredible deal. Her name is her logo. I bet if some Madison Avenue whiz compared her name against Skinny Girl to see which is the more powerful brand, her name would win hands down every time. Name as a brand? Hmmm, what other occupation does that sound like?

As writers, our name is our brand. We should hold it as dear as the Coke people hold their secret recipe. But, the $64,000 question is, how do you get that brand out there? Should we go with comedy, like the guy who does the debt rap? That’s a double edged sword. While people always like people who make them laugh, if you’re writing serious mysteries, would people be turned off by your nutty sense of humor? Should we use Facebook ads? People say that once they get on Facebook, they want to stay there, so they don’t pay attention the FB ads. Should we try to get on a reality show like Frankel did? Highly improbable unless you look as great as she does posing nearly naked on top of a NY skyscraper or your personal life is an absolute train wreck. What about creating a video trailer for our books? Maybe that’s the way to go. Now how can we find someone to make a truly compelling tralier that will get thousands or even millions of hits on Youtube for next to nothing. That might be the biggest mystery of all… 

*****************************************************************************************

Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author whose latest, award-winning suspense thriller, The Brink, is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

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

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

“Mark Fadden is the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

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

PRWeb press releases – all Gnews is good Gnews

 

If you grew up in the 80s, you know the TV show The Great Space Coaster. One of the featured characters was Gary Gnu, a news reporter known for his catchphrase, “No Gnews is Good Gnews with Gary…Gnu”. On this App Wednesday, I must disagree with Gary. As writers, all Gnews is good Gnews because all Gnews gets the word out about your project.

Perhaps the best way to get the word out about your project, especially if it’s a timely piece of non-fiction or a a novel that could be “ripped from the headlines,” is by writing a press release and sending it out over PRWeb.com.

So how does PRWeb work? It’s pretty easy to use. You write a press release about your project and they distribute it to every major news site and search engine on the Web, putting your in front of consumers and journalists.

I’ve used PRWeb twice now, once in Oct 2010 and once last week (July 2011) to try to get the news out about my latest thriller, The Brink. For my latest release, the numbers are pretty big: over 41,000 headline impressions on various news websites and the full-page version was downloaded over 1,200 times so far. Not bad for a week. The cost for all this publicity? $200. Was it worth it? My sales #s from my publisher are tallied quarterly, so I won’t know for a few weeks. But, as we all know, the Internet has an infinite memory. Anytime in the future when someone Googles my name or my books, they will come across this press release. As The Brink is a novel about a global financial conspiracy, the press release contains all kinds of tags about the current debt crisis, which will probably remain in the public lexicon for a while and hopefully keep my name relevant as well.  

And while PRWeb sends out the news release to its partners and subscribers, whose to say you can’t send it out to the local news folks you know? It’s yours. You created it. You paid for it. Use it however you want. Need help writing a press release? PRWeb even offers templates to help you get started. Now go on and get the word out about your sweet baby!  

*****************************************************************************************

Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author whose latest, award-winning suspense thriller, The Brink, is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

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

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

“Mark Fadden is the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

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

Peer Pressure and a Looming Deadline

It takes a hell of a lot of motivation to pump out a novel. And sometimes, scratch that, most times life can and does get in the way. If you’re serious about writing something that is at least 50,000 words and probably around 75,000 or even 100,000 words, you find little nooks and crannies of time to work on it: waking up early, going to bed late, a few hours on the weekends, maybe even taking some vacation time from work. Maybe you use the carrot and stick approach – you’ll let yourself eat a bowl of ice cream, but only after you bang out 5 pages for the day.

But I’m here to tell you that there’s another approach to a writer’s motivation. Peer pressure and a looming deadline. But how does that work, you ask? Writing is a solitary profession. Enter the writing/critique group and NaNoWriMo.

Now I haven’t been a huge participant in writing groups. Ok, I’ve never even been to one. But this past year, I attended the DFW Writer’s Conference and it resonated with me. A bunch of us knuckleheaded masochists gathered together to talk shop and learn how ebooks are going to tear down the ancient walls of the publishing world. But I also networked. I also built some pretty solid relationships. As writers, we need each other. As sounding boards. As critics. As friends of the pen. Critique groups not only provide much-needed critique of your work, which you may be looking at through rose-colored, or gin-soaked, glasses, they also make you write. If you know you’re meeting on Wednesday night, by gum, you better have pages to show by then.

And that brings me to my little advertisement for the ultimate event of peer pressure for writers: NaNoWriMo. Perhaps the best way to describe National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is from the description on A Real Bookstore’s website. Incidentally, I’ll be hosting free workshops in August, September and October to get area writers ready for NaNoWriMo. Ain’t that a funny coincidence? 

“Every November, aspiring authors around the country participate in a marathon writing event: 50,000 words in 30 days. Yup, you heard right.  is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing and the goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page, or a little less than 6 pages a day) novel by 11:59:59, November 30. Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. This approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly. Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down. As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.”

Peer pressure and a looming deadline. It could just make the difference between you, The Author and you, the writer.

*****************************************************************************************

Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author whose latest, award-winning suspense thriller, The Brink, is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

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

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

“Mark Fadden is the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

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

Mystery Monday – The Prisoner Who Wouldn’t Reveal His Name

 

Call it the right to remain silent, to the extreme. A man who was arrested for trespassing in a Utah parking garage remains in jail three weeks later, all because he has refused to reveal his identity.

The full story is here, but I can almost hear the grinding noises of all those cogs in heads of writers out there. He’s part of the witness protection program. He’s some black ops government agent who had his fingerprints removed. He’s a serial killer who can be tied to 30+ murders in other states.

But those ideas of who this guy is aren’t the ones that came from writers, necessarily. These guesses are the ones posted on the MSNBC comment section about the story.

While this is a great premise for an exciting mystery or thriller, the serial killer/govt agent/witness protection thing has been so done before. At this point, it’s cliche. So let’s try to come up with a plausible, and exciting, reason why this guy won’t reveal who he is. Oh and by the way, let’s not do the alien thing either…Illegal or Extra-Terrestrial!

To the keyboards!

*****************************************************************************************

Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author whose latest, award-winning suspense thriller, The Brink, is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

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

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

“Mark Fadden is the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

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

The Classic Margarita and 100 degree heat – The Starsky and Hutch of Thirsty Thursdays

 

Ummm, on this the 21st straight day of 100 degree heat in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, I thought about how the heat and Texas are a classic relationship. And on this Thirsty Thursday, it got me thinking about the classic margarita. I’m not talking about the nuclear waste, Slurpee variety crap that’s served to us at our neighborhood franchised Tex-x joint. I’m talking about a cocktail, something that should be sipped, enjoyed, and envied. What’s best is that it’s simple to make, 5 minutes tops. Trust me, I’m a writer, I know how to make good drinks.

We’ve already covered the variations of the margarita on this blog (the jalapeno margarita), but no, now that we’re in the “ridiculous” portion of the heat-wave-o-meter, I wanted to concentrate on something that will take the bite out of the long, hot day. And I’m all about self sacrifice, so I took one for the team and had one of these earlier this evening. Just one I promise, but Sweet Fancy Moses, it did the trick.

So, without further ado, here’s the recipe:

2 oz silver tequila (upon the suggestion of my local “spiritess” I used Lunazul blanco, a moderately priced tequila)

1 oz orange liqueur (I used Patron Citronge)

juice from 1 big ass lime (or 2 smaller Mexican ones)

Put chipped ice halfway full in a metal shaker, add liquids and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini glass, your favorite tumbler, or, if in a pinch, a bed pan will even do. If you’re at home by yourself, the vessel doesn’t really matter. If you’re with people, especially those you want to impress, go for the chilled martini glass. You’re supposed to sip it, but when it’s over 100 degrees, you’ll be done with this bad boy before you can ask your spouse or roommate, “was that glass clean?”

Now that your melon is well lubed, might I suggest a little light reading? Ok, Brad Thor isn’t light, you’ve got to pay attention. He’s like Tom Clancy meets James Patterson – technical stuff at warp speed. I just started reading Foreign Language yesterday and I’m already 50+pages in. I think you’ll like it.

And by the way, the classic margarita is a potent sucker, so if you have more than one and must venture out, call a friend or a cab. If not, have a few and watch some Spongebob Squarepants. It actually seems relevant after 3 classics. Enjoy the jumpstart on your weekend my friends!

 *****************************************************************************************

Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author whose latest, award-winning suspense thriller, The Brink, is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

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

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

“Mark Fadden is the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

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

App Wednesday – Evernote

 

 

 

For writers, inspiration can strike at any moment. On the way to work. Riding a bicycle in our neighborhood. Mowing the lawn. In the past, the suggestion was given to always keep a pad and a pen with us to be ready to write down said inspirational idea before they get ejected into space and lost forever. 

Probably one of the best apps is the notepad app that most smartphones come standard with. With a few taps on the screen, we can save our idea from obscurity with the same device we carry around anyway. Say bye-bye to the old pad and pen!

Evernote is a product that takes the smartphone notepad a few steps further. The description on their website says it all: “From creating text and ink notes, to snapshots of whiteboards and wine labels, to clips of webpages, Evernote users can capture anything from their real and digital lives and find it all anytime.” Not only can you capture just about anything you see or any idea you have, Evernote automatically organizes it so it is easily searchable later.

And best of all, it’s free! So check it out and let us know how you like it!

*****************************************************************************************

Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author whose latest, award-winning suspense thriller, The Brink, is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

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

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

“Mark Fadden is the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

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

Tools for Tuesday – What Good is Winning a Writing Contest?

We all love winning awards. In my son’s soccer league they don’t keep score and everyone gets a trophy at the end of the season. Each of those little boys’ faces lights up when they wrap their little hands around that trophy. Then, it’s up on the dresser or, as many parents I know have had to do, up on the custom built trophy shelf that rings their child’s room. But, once it’s up there, that’s it. The trophy does nothing else for them. All it’s doing is taking up space. And don’t even get me started on having to dust the darn thing…

As writers, we don’t get awards as soon as we type ‘The End’ on our novels. We may pop open the cap on a particularly good beer or cork a great bottle of wine as thanks to ourselves for a job well done, but that’s about it. However, once that novel is finished, we can enter it into a contest to see what the world, or at least a few literary-types acting as judges, thinks of it. The reason? Beyond the “I just want to know if it’s good enough” sentiment, there could be gold at the end of the writing contest rainbow.

Winners, the top three who place, or even honorable mentions in certain contests could and do get publishing contracts. Or they may get agent representation. Or, at the very least, they can use that award in their marketing efforts. I’ve won two awards from my publisher and I use them all the time. As someone who has yet to hit the best seller list, mentioning that I’ve won awards does lend credibility to my work.

I recently came across a press release for an IndieReader contest. IndieReader touts itself as, “the essential consumer guide to self-published books and the people who write them. From professional book reviews and their “Where Indies Count” bestselling list to publishing services and IR Selects (which gets indie books onto the shelves of indie bookstores), IR’s goal is to introduce book-lovers to great indie books, while creating opportunity and exposure for indie authors.” If you’ve self-published a novel, I suggest you cough up the $150 entry fee and send them a copy of your Great American Novel. Don’t think IndieReader’s contest is right for you? Google “writing contests 2011” and you’ll get over 6 million hits. I’m sure you’ll find one of those that tickles your fancy.

*****************************************************************************************

Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author whose latest, award-winning suspense thriller, The Brink, is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

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

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

“Mark Fadden is the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

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