1,000 Words A Day...

…To Create A Writing Empire

Category: Books (Page 1 of 5)

The Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

Here’s what are considered to be the Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy books of all time. I’d have to say the list is spot on, and I was surprised to find that I had read over half of these books over the years.

1. The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien

2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card

4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert

5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin

6. 1984, by George Orwell

7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

8. The Foundation Series, by Isaac Asimov

9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

Read More

Abridged Classics for Lazy Readers


Preparing for NaNoWriMo 2012

How are you preparing for NaNoWriMo 2012?

Are you making notes, creating an outline, sketching out ideas?

NaNoWriMo is about having fun writing among a community of other writer’s.

For some of us the fun also includes a serious opportunity to realize the dream of being a published author. For those who take their fun seriously, putting a publishable story together takes know-how and a plan. After 11 NaNoWriMo’s I’ve found the following resources to be very useful during the October preparation period leading up to the November 1st start.

To get your story right there’s no better guide than Larry Brooks Story Engineering

This book is a master class in novel writing. It presents a story telling model that keeps the writer focused on creating a dynamic living and breathing story from concept to through story structure and writings scenes. It’s brilliant in its simplicity and its originality. Following Larry’s process is guaranteed to elevate your writing to a higher level.

If you want to create a story outline quickly and easily then Holly Lisle’s Professional Plot Outline Mini-Course. Holly takes you by the hand and shows you how to quickly come up with a story idea populated with interesting characters in seven small lessons.

Holly provides personal examples for you to use as a template. She even provides you with companion worksheet downloads. This guide cuts out all the fluff and gets right to the point. You’ll have a story idea and characters ready to go in no time. For $0.99 cents you get a whole lot for so little.

The best stories are all about memorable characters. In order to create your most memorable and compelling characters Holly Lisle once gain can help you get there with her Create A Character Clinic: A Step-By Step Course in Creating Deeper, Better Fictional People

As with her other book she takes you by the hand step-by-step, giving you her own personal examples plus she not only provides you with her awesome downloadable worksheets, she also gives you an MP3 audio file where she guides you through her Shadow Room writing exercise.

Following this clinic, you’ll be creating interesting believable characters in no time. Highly recommended.

So, how are you going to prepare for success?


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The Ever Growing Trend of eReaders

This is not a fad, it IS an inevitable trend. Embrace the changes eReaders are here to stay…and become dominant.

The Rise of eReading: Are Books Going to Become an Endangered Species?
Courtesy of: Schools.com

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The Hobbit – 75th Anniversary

The Hobbit written by J.R.R. (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkien was first published 75 years ago today (September 21, 1937). Tolkien created Middle Earth and several languages including Elvish, and has enchanted the minds of millions for generations.

First Edition slip cover of The Hobbit. The cover art was drawn by Tolkien himself.

What’s your favorite scene in The Hobbit?

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In Tribute to Ray Bradbury

Today story writing takes a back seat as I pay tribute to Mr. Ray Bradbury, who passed away at the age of 91, on June 5th, the same day I finally announced to the world “I am a writer.”

Tonight his ever hopeful IBM Selectric typewriter now knows Ray will never regain the motor skills he lost in a stroke. It sits forever quiet – the energy and surge of Bradbury’s words will never again weave another story.

The first Bradbury novel I read as a teenager was Dandelion Wine, followed soon after by the Martian Chronicles. I’ve been a fan ever since.

I’ve managed to read most of his novels and only about a third of his more than 600 short stories, novelettes and collections.

He wrote engaging and enthralling stories with unforgettable characters like the fireman, Guy Montag in Fahrenheit 451, the sinister Mr. Dark in Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Illustrated Man and Pipkin in The Halloween Tree. He had the ability to put you right in the story.

The thing I love(d) about Bradbury was his absolute passion for the writing process and the love of story creation. Most writers sound like martyrs when talking about the writing process: opening up veins onto the page, sweating drops of blood from the forehead and other tales of toil and torture of writing – but not Ray Bradbury. He loved it.

I’m a big fan or Stephen King, and still think his book On Writing, is hands down the best on the subject, but no other author has inspired me to be a writer more than Ray Bradbury. He always expounded on the possibilities of story and the magic of the writing process. He always made it sound fun.

When I created this blog, I named it in honor of Ray Bradbury in my About page. The title taken from one of my favorite Bradbury quotes:

“Write 1000 words a day. You’ve got to be madly in love. Don’t listen to your friends – they can’t help you. Write whatever you love–Science fiction, romance, soap opera–it doesn’t matter.”

~ Ray Bradbury ~

A couple of my early posts also refers to a different version of this quote:

1,000 Words A Day

1 Million Words or 10,000 Hours?

Mr. Bradbury – Thank You. It was a life well lived…


How will You remember Ray Bradbury?

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A little more than a month ago I did a book review of Jeff Goins book, You Are A Writer [So Start Acting Like One]

At the end of the review, I declared that You Are A Writer. What I failed to do is declare myself one.

I’ve been writing blogs since 2000, and I’ve written freelance articles for custom motorcycle magazines, and I’ve written several books (which were never published), so I guess I am a writer.

Several people have told me I am a writer including a business writing coach and more importantly, the senior editor of a regional newspaper, who taught an expository writing course when I attended night school.

People have told me I’m a writer, and I have written, but for some reason, until now, I felt uncomfortable declaring myself a writer.

Neil Gaiman recently gave a commencement address at The University of the Arts. At one point he talked about when someone asked him how to do something they felt would be difficult, he said, “Pretend that you are someone who could do it, Don’t pretend to do it, but pretend you are someone who can.” Write it out, put it up where you can see it every day – and it will help.

Jeff just began a Great Writers Series, where over the next 15 days he will share actions you need to take to form new habits that will help you become a Great Writer.

So in keeping with with Day 1, I’m declaring that…


Whatever it is you want to do – declare it – and become it. There is a beauty in the momentum of taking action.

What are you declaring today?


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Neil Gaiman Interviews Stephen King

How cool is this?

Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Coraline, The Graveyard Book) recently posted an interview he had with Stephen King, on his blog.

It’s the best King interview I have ever read.

From my mid-teens I’ve been a fan. The first Stephen King book I ever read was The Shinning. It scared the shit out of me and I’ve been hooked ever since.

There was a time I used to read everything King ever wrote, but that desire faded over the last 10 years. I obtained an early autographed copy of Under the Dome in late 2009, and that was the last King novel I’ve read.

However, after reading Neil’s interview with King, as both a reader and a writer, it has rekindled a whole new interest in catching up on what I’ve missed over the past 2+ years.

Here are some gems I took away from that interview:

I think the most important thing I learned from Stephen King I learned as a teenager, reading King’s book of essays on horror and on writing, Danse Macabre. In there he points out that if you just write a page a day, just 300 words, at the end of a year you’d have a novel. It was immensely reassuring – suddenly something huge and impossible became strangely easy. As an adult, it’s how I’ve written books I haven’t had the time to write, like my children’s novel Coraline.

As of right now, if I died and everybody kept it a secret, it would go on until 2013. There’s a new Dark Tower novel, The Wind in the Keyhole. That comes out soon, and Dr Sleep is done. So if I got hit by a taxi cab, like Margaret Mitchell, what wouldn’t be done, what would be done. Joyland wouldn’t be done but Joe (his son) could finish it, in a breeze. His style is almost indistinguishable from mine.”


Why would he write a sequel to The Shining?

“I wanted to write Dr Sleep because I wanted to see what would happen to Danny Torrence when he grew up…He is going to be one of those people who says ‘I am never going to be like my father, I am never going to be abusive like my father was’. Then you wake up at 37 or 38 and you’re a drunk. Then I thought, what kind of a life does that person like that have?”


I told him about the peculiarity of researching the story I was working on, that everything I needed, fictionally, was waiting for me when I went looking for it. He nods in agreement.

“Absolutely – you reach out and it’s there…That was The Green Mile…I started writing it and I stayed ahead of the publication schedule pretty comfortably. Because…” he hesitates, tries to explain in a way that doesn’t sound foolish, “…every time I needed something that something was right there to hand.”

“When John Coffey goes to jail – he was going to be executed for murdering the two girls. I knew that he didn’t do it, but I didn’t know that the guy who did do it was going to be there, didn’t know anything about how it happened, but when I wrote it, it was all just there for me. You just take it. Everything just fits together like it existed before.”


“I never think of stories as made things; I think of them as found things. As if you pull them out of the ground, and you just pick them up. Someone once told me that that was me low-balling my own creativity. That might or might not be the case. But still, on the story I am working on now, I do have some unresolved problem. It doesn’t keep me awake at nights. I feel like when it comes down, it will be there…”


King writes every day. If he doesn’t write he’s not happy. If he writes, the world is a good place. So he writes. It’s that simple.

“I sit down maybe at quarter past eight in the morning and I work until quarter to twelve and for that period of time, everything is real. And then it just clicks off. I think I probably write about 1200 to 1500 words. It’s six pages. I want to get six pages into hardcopy.”

Hop on over to Neil’s blog and read the unabridged Stephen King interview

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Book Review: You Are A Writer by Jeff Goins

Years ago when I was a stockbroker, a funds salesman gave a presentation called, “You Are the Product”. It basically stated that as important as the investment instrument we were selling was, ultimately we were building a long-lasting, trusting relationship with our clients. This is what You Are a Writer is about.

You Are a Writer by Jeff Goins, inspires the writer in each of us and reminds us that we are in fact…writers. We’re writers because we love to write, and we write because we have to. It’s through our writing that we build a relationship with our readers.

This book is about leaving a legacy. It’s about falling in love with the writing process, about writing for passion – and not for accolades or attention. Once you stop trying to please other people and write with passion, it will change your writing life.

Don’t just think and talk about writing – write. When is it that you become a writer? As Steven Pressfield told Jeff, “You are when you say you are.”

Jeff uses stories well to exemplify his points and covers topics such as:

  • The significance of finding your Writer’s Voice.
  • How to un-clutter your life and make time to write and to make it your focus
  • The importance of finishing what you’re writing
  • Overcoming fear and that it’s okay to fail
  • Building a community

Jeff covers what it takes to write a book, but before attempting to do so, he outlines key things you need to do first. He makes the point that if you want to live the writer’s life, then you need to think about it as a business. He discusses:

–  Building a Platform – what it is and how to do it
–  Branding yourself – being memorable
–  The value of building Channels of relationships to get your work out there.
–  Setting up a writer’s blog
–  Cultivating friendships, fans and patrons

There were a few issues:

First, the book could have been edited more carefully. There were a few misspellings, but nothing that detracted from the quality of the information in the book. Secondly, if you’re a reader of books about writing like I am, you’ll recognize some common and tired passages, but it’s always good to be reminded of them.

Thirdly, the flow of the book did confuse me somewhat. A little more than a third of the way into the book Jeff writes:

“Everything I’ve learned about writing query letters and
book proposals has been thrown out the window. I’m no
longer pounding on publishers’ doors, pleading to be

He further stated: “I had now become the gatekeeper.”

Then In the last quarter of the book he goes into detail about pitching article ideas to magazine editors and writing query letters (with examples)?!

This threw me a bit. Early on in the book it gave me the sense of freedom, doing away with the gatekeepers and embracing this golden era of self-publishing. Then I’m reading about pitching editors and writing query letters. I understand that this is the process that will eventually lead to that freedom, but it changed the tone of the book for me.

Overall I really enjoyed You Are a Writer, It’s an information dense book and shows Jeff Goins knows what he’s talking about. You can use this book and his experiences as a template to build your own writer’s life.

Get started now. Get the book then tell everyone you know, better yet, announce it to the world that…

“You Are a Writer!”

Check out Jeff’s information packed website and blog Jeff Goins Writer. His frequent blog posts are brief and  impactful. While there, grab a free copy of The Writer’s Manifesto and you too will become a fan.

Join Jeff on Facebook and Twitter

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Book Review: Pentecost by J. F. Penn

Pentecost is Joanna Penn’s debut thriller novel and it’s a good one.

The hero, Morgan Sierra, is a biblical scholar and an Oxford trained clinical psychologist. Before becoming an academic she was a member of the Israeli Defense Forces, where she was trained in combat and uses the self-defense art of Krav Maga to kick some serious ass in this fast-paced religious thriller.

Morgan and her sister are keepers of two of the 12 Pentecost stones once carried by the Apostles. The stones came from the rock that covered the tomb of Jesus and together the stones are believed to hold incredible mystical powers.

Morgan’s sister and niece are kidnapped by Joseph Everett, a wealthy and sadistic madman, who wants Morgan to find the rest of the stones and bring them to him – so he can use their power to resurrect his dying brother.

This mission sends her on a globe-hopping, rollercoaster ride of adventures, tracing the footsteps of the Apostles, to find the stones of the Pentecost – before her sister and niece are sacrificed.

She’s aided by Jake Timber from the ARKANE group, a secret British government agency. They specialize in locating powerful paranormal and religious objects, and keeping them safe from other groups like Thanatos (the Greek personification of death), who seek to use the stones for their own evil ends.

Joanna Penn’s passion for the subject is evident by the in-depth research she conducted to craft this story. Given the rich descriptions of places in the story, it’s obvious she’s been to many of them.

As you read the book you’ll feel influences of Dan Brown thrillers and Indiana Jones adventures. The characters are richly drawn and stand out every bit as much as those in Clive Cussler novels. Pentecost will definitely appeal to all thriller fans.

The story is immediately engaging and has you caring not only for the main character, but even finding sympathy for the antagonist. It hits the right plot points and has some good twists and is well-paced, increasing in intensity right to the explosive ending.

This was a very solid first effort, and I can only imagine the novelist Joanna will evolve into as she continues to thrill her fans. I can hardly wait to see what adventures Morgan faces in Joanna’s new thriller Prophecy.

Pentecost is a real pager turner. Get it, read it and you too will become a fan.


Joanna has a fantastic writer’s website and blog The Creative Penn. It’s filled with great articles on the topic of writing stories and has a wonderful collection of informative podcasts with authors from many different genres.

You can join Joanna on Facebook and Twitter and visit her author website for J.F. Penn

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