TSM Recommends: Blog Posts on Marketing, Editing, and Writing

TSM Recommends

The Internet is full of writers looking for and offering an array of tips to make it in the writing industry. This past month, I’ve read a few blog posts via Twitter (and Tweeted them myself) that give some interesting insights and advice on marketing, editing, or writing. Below you’ll find a few of them. Of course, you’re always welcome to see what the Muses have been writing about this month, too!

71 Ways to Promote and Market Your Book by Kimberly Grabas:

This article is from 2013 and I know the market is always changing, but if you’ve published a book and want to find ways to give it an extra promotional push, maybe you’ll find something new here to try.

How Writers Can Remix the Past by Drew Chial

Some good advice from a previous script reader. This post illustrates how to use and balance events from the past to the advantage of your story and probable misfortune of your characters.

Top 7 Ways Authors Are Using Instagram by Adrienne Erin

Let’s face it, many people respond better to visual stimuli. That’s one reason Instagram works so well. Curious as to how it works for writers? Pick up some tips from Adrienne’s article.

4 Ways to Plan Your Writing by Jacqui Murray

I’d say most writers are familiar with the plotter/pantser terminology, but I’d hazard to guess that at some point, no matter what kind of writer you are, some planning will come into play when developing your story. If you’re curious to know of a few ways to go about this, check out Jacqui’s post.

Five Ways to Spot the Wrong Proofreader by JuliaProofreader

If you’ve finished a story, you’re familiar with the process that comes after: betas, editing . . . more editing. But after the editing phase, what’s next? Proofreading. You want your manuscript as polished as possible. JuliaProofreader gives some advice on what to look out for when choosing your proofreader.

Have anymore post suggestions? Share below! We’d love to check them out!


TSM Recommends – Novels, Short Stories, and Other Wordy Things

TSM Recommends

I don’t know if you guys remember this, but for a while last year I posted weekly recommendations from blog articles and books to videos and other wordy-based things. I will now be returning to this series, albeit on a monthly basis (or every four weeks). As I get back into the blogosphere, I will be reading some of the amazing posts you all are putting out there so I can share them with our readers; however, given my rather terrible blogging style as of late, I’ve been reading mostly books — or offline in general — so my recommendations for this month are more from the outside publishing realm, rather than the blogging one.

Below you’ll find the most recent readings and recommendations. Robyn and Chris have kindly contributed their recommendations for the month, as well.

Happy Reading!


Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

This one is Robyn’s recommendation, your friendly neighborhood writing mentor. She says: No one is potentially more afraid than the creative person about completing and sharing their work. Daring Greatly isn’t just for artists and writers. It’s for anyone who deals with vulnerability and/or shame and is a guide to getting out of your head. Brene Brown has a warm style and a great knack for explaining her research, but it all comes down to this: being vulnerable makes us stronger and more resilient than holding back or protecting ourselves.



The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohoe

This chilling tale of a troubled boy trapped inside the confines of his home and tormented by the endless need to draw monsters had Chris resigned to sleeping with the lights on. With creepy visions and beautiful, fleeting descriptions, this book is a masterpiece in psychological horror.

Literary Historical

Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch

Apparently the Muses have a thing for darkness, because though this novel starts off lightly enough, bathed in the adventure we dream of as kids and touched with a poetic London in a by-gone age, it quickly transforms into a haunting coming-of-age tale, rocked with tragedy, but held aloft with hope. Part of this book’s charm is the voice of Jaffy Brown, the main character, but the other part is the imagery. Birch has the ability to turn a phrase that paints this dark adventure into a mesmerizing reality.


Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie

The final book in the Imperial Radch trilogy. I put the last one here since it was published most recently (and I also read it recently); however, I hope if you haven’t read the first two that you will start from the beginning. The main character, you discover, is not your typical sci-fi heroine. The first novel in the series, Ancillary Justice, won pretty much every speculative fiction award available, including the Hugo and Nebula Awards.


Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith

This book of poetry won the Pulitzer Prize in 2012. Though the title may invoke thoughts of space or science fiction, these are poems that are very much about our life here on Earth. Highly recommended to any lovers of poetry who enjoy a touch of the universe — both the one in which we inhabit and the one in our heads.


The Day the World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

This speculative short story (published by Lightspeed Magazine), interestingly enough, has a rather low rating on Goodreads. It was originally on the list for the Hugo awards. I quite liked it. Chris and I even had a discussion on how we wish we had thought of the idea ourselves. Well, you know how it goes. Though the main character isn’t your traditional likeable hero, I thought he suited the story, and I do think he grows by the end. So, mission accomplished. Give it a go and see what you think.

Have any other book recommendations? We here at TSM are always looking for more to read. Let us know your current favorites in the comments below!


Indie ReCon and the Self Publishing Summit

indierecon logo Summit logo final cropped

Two weeks ago I attended the Indie ReCon online. If you are interested in publishing, I highly encourage you to bookmark indierecon.org or get on the mailing list for next year’s ReCon.

The event is a nice mix of video and post and included such indie powerhouses as Belle Andre & Barbara Freethy, Joanna Penn, H.M. Ward, many others. There were also several Twitter Q & A sessions using the #indierecon hashtag.

I believe everything is still available at the indierecon.org website. Registration allowed attendees to enter for prizes and I won two: Indie and Proud by Christine Fonseca and a year’s subscription to the Bublish dashboard, which I’m really looking forward to exploring.

Topics ranged from marketing to income to a wonderful Thirteen Reasons You are Not as Successful as You Should Be.

The Self-Publishing Summit was also ongoing in April, with another set of video interviews put together by John Tighe, author of Crush it With Kindle.  Most of the videos are available on his YouTube channel.

The best part about these free, online events is that you are not required to attend live. Both of them provided emails to alert you to a beginning session or provide you with the link for the playback. I did attend as many as I could in case I had questions for the guests, but watched just as many on playback.

If you aren’t sure you are interested in publishing (writing is a calling. Authorship is very much a business), it’s worth your time to check some of the presentations and educate yourself on what is involved. If you know already that you want to publish, you’ll find information for both beginners and those already on the path along with a nice mix of practical tips and strategy.

I’ll put up another announcement next year when registration opens for those who are interested. In the meantime, check out the contents of these events at IndieRecon.org and Self Publishing Summit.


Did you attend either event? What was your biggest takeaway?

Amanda Headlee and The Martin Lastrapes Show Podcast Hour

Martin Lastrapes Podcast with Amanda Headlee

Our own Amanda Headlee recorded a podcast with Martin Lastrapes not long ago and it aired this morning. Martin had lots of nice things to say about The Sarcastic Muse and Amanda herself. He quoted from her post, Where Is Your Telescope, and said the interview was one of his favorite conversations on the podcast.

In addition to discussing horror and the horror stories that they love, Amanda and Martin talk about pantsing vs outlining, indie vs traditional, the differences between writing short stories vs writing novels, and H. P. Lovecraft.

Martin was having so much fun he let the interview run to 90 minutes. Listen to the podcast here on Martin’s site or at iTunes, Stitcher, or here:


TSM Recommends: Author Advice, Amtrak Residencies, and Plotting Methods

TSM RecommendsMost of the following links (all but one) are brought to you by Robyn, who probably reads more articles in a week than all the rest of the Muses combined. But who can blame her? She has a knack for finding the interesting informational tidbits.

Creating an Author Business Plan: Identifying Your Audience by Marcy Kennedy over at Fiction University

How the WordPress Philosophy Can Help You Write a Masterpiece by Thomas Umstattd

For those interested in a possible Amtrak Residency (ya know – the one for authors), then Ksenia Anske has started hers and is writing about it: Amtrak Residency Day 1

A gamer myself, I found this particular article an interesting comparison: Five Reasons Why Gaming Has Its Place in Literature by Christina Lewis

You’ve heard the pantsing/plotting debate. But Valerie Comer has added three more types in her article 5 Plotting Methods for Fiction. Which are you?

Read anything interesting this week that you’d like to share with us?  Let us know in the comments!