Archives for posts with tag: Lisa Mason on Facebook

You’ve written a book that—I hope!—contains all the elements set out below. How you layer them into your story is another topic altogether that I’m not going to touch on here.

Now the challenge: to distill your book into a Book Description that will intrigue the potential reader enough to buy it. The reader must grasp what your book is about in order to determine whether he or she is interested.

I trust I don’t insult your intelligence by stating the obvious, but you’d be surprised how many indie authors believe that merely telling potential readers in their Book Description that their book is wonderful will make sales.

It won’t.

But don’t the Big Publishers do that? you want to know.

Of course they do, but in a roundabout way. They send book galleys out to famous or critically acclaimed authors and ask if the authors would like to “blurb” the book. In return, the publisher will cite the author’s latest book on the book jacket so the author receives free promotion.

No wonder so many authors do it. I’ve blurbed books by Jamil Nasir, Linda Nagata, Kay Kenyon, and others for Bantam Books.

Still, even famous authors’ endorsements, if you’ve got them, go on a different section of your book’s Product Page, the section for Reviews. Endorsements do not belong in your Book Description.

What does? Precisely and concisely as possible, set out:

Time
In a contemporary memoir, literary novel, or romance, Time may not be important enough to mention in your Book Description. But you should establish Time in your book, and if you think the Time will intrigue the reader, state it. This can be especially important for historical fiction of whatever genre (romance, mystery, literary, fantasy) and science fiction.

Place
Other than in experimental fiction (and how boring is that?), the place or places where your story unfolds is essential, including in fantasy set in an imaginary world.

Premise
This is the core idea that probably inspired you to write your book, the Big What If? What if adults of all ages, from all walks of life, were accepted by the Berkeley College of Magical Arts and Crafts to learn Real Magic as in The Garden of Abracadabra. What if an oppressed housewife in 1896 is compelled into murder and intrigue and a passionate romance as in Celestial Girl (A Lily Modjeska Mystery).

Lead character or characters
If you’ve got only one lead POV character, identify and describe him or her precisely and concisely. Same for any other lead POV characters.

Villain or evil
Your villain or impending evil (or abusive family) may be described specifically or merely hinted at. But make sure your hints are specific.

Inciting Incident
The action that kicks your book into gear and draws your readers into the story. Precise and concise in your Book Description, please!

Plot questions
Sum up the urgent plot questions that follow from your premise and inciting incident in an intriguing way, but do not describe the whole plot. The whole plot is why you want your readers to buy your book!

If the work was published in a magazine or anthology, a citation to the original publication
This is, I think, completely appropriate in a Book Description, and not to be confused with professional critics’ or readers’ reviews, which properly go in the Reviews section of your product page.

Your credentials and awards
Also appropriate, but insert any  laudatory language of the award in the Reviews section of your product page. A citation to the award is enough in your Book Description.

Now for some Examples. I’m pointing out the Essential Elements.

An earlier version of this Book Description for Summer of Love was written by Bantam for the print edition. This is a long, deeply researched, complicated book in which the time period and the setting are vital.

I adapted the publisher’s Book Description and improved upon Bantam’s version for my ebook by adding a few more specific details and the overall story question (that Bantam didn’t address in its version):

The year is 1967 (Time) and something new is sweeping across America: good vibes, bad vibes, psychedelic music, psychedelic drugs, anti-war protests, racial tension, free love, bikers, dropouts, flower children. An age of innocence, a time of danger. The Summer of Love.
San Francisco is the Summer of Love, where runaway flower children flock to join the hip elite and squares cruise the streets to view the human zoo (Place).
Lost in these strange and wondrous days, fourteen-year-old Susan Bell, alias Starbright, (First POV Character) has run away from the straight suburbs of Cleveland to find her troubled best friend (Inciting Incident). Her path will cross with Chiron Cat’s Eye in Draco, a strange and beautiful young man who has journeyed farther than she could ever imagine. (Second POV Character and Premise)
With the help of Ruby A. Maverick, a wise, feisty half-black, half-white hip merchant, (Third POV Character) Susan and Chi discover a love that spans five centuries (Plot Question). But can they save the world from demons threatening to destroy all space and time? (Villain or Evil)
A Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Recommended Book. (Awards)
From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (A New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book), The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, Celestial Girl (A Lily Modjeska Mystery), and Strange Ladies: 7 Stories. (Credentials)

Here is the Book Description for Every Mystery Unexplained, a novelette published in a hardcover anthology. Note that because of the shorter length and single POV lead character, the setting is less important and the protagonist’s conflicts are set out. The Description includes the novelette’s original publication and the other famous authors published in the anthology.

The year is 1895, and Danny Flint is a young man living in the shadow of his controlling father, a famous stage magician whose fortunes are fading. Uncle Brady, Professor Flint’s trusted assistant and business manager and Danny’s best friend, cannot stay in the same hotel as them—Uncle Brady is African-American. Danny is grieving over his mother’s recent accidental death, for which he feels he is to blame.
When a mysterious beautiful lady comes to them for help, Danny and his father will confront the ethical dilemma between spiritualist séances and faked séances performed by stage magicians like them.
He will learn to reconcile himself with his grief and guilt, learn the secret of Uncle Brady’s identity, and assume his place at center stage as a talented magician in his own right with the help of the mysterious beautiful lady.
Every Mystery Unexplained was published in David Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible (HarperPrism), which also included stories by Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, and Kevin J. Anderson (Original Publication).

So there you have it, my friends. Put some thought and care into your Book Description. You won’t regret it!

Tomorrow:
How to Write a Compelling Book Description Part 4: Problems with Book Descriptions and How to Solve Them Lisa Mason #SFWApro

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a  title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

Now, then. I started out my thoughts about Book Descriptions in late December 2013 at http://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/01/17/how-to-write-a-compelling-book-description-part-1-my-first-impressions-lisa-mason-sfwa-pro. As I noted there, I’ve had a chance to read many indie author’s Book Descriptions in the course of Tweeting their links.

Your Book Description is the first thing a potential reader sees when he or she goes to your book’s product page. If you’ve also got a print book, you’ll insert your Book Description on the back cover, as the Traditional Publishers do. There again, your potential reader sees that first before he or she opens the book.

I cannot emphasize enough how vital it is that your Book Description be the best it can be.

I’ve published six novels with Random House and HarperCollins, and have had book descriptions written for me. Here’s how it works: you turn in your manuscript to your editor. Your editor may ask for revisions. You respond, turn the revised manuscript in, and your editor signs off on it.

Your manuscript then goes to a cover artist, a copy editor, the marketing staff, and a Book Description writer. This person typically has a degree in advertising or marketing and labors all day long churning out Book Descriptions for the Publisher’s books.

The Book Descriptions are generally very good and hit all (or most) of the Essential Elements I’ll set out tomorrow. I encountered one that had a grievous misspelling that infuriated me so much, I called my literary agent and my editor at midnight California time to point the error out. (I’m like that.)

What is most interesting about this process is to see all these objective eyes observing your work and responding with their feedback or interpretation of what you’ve written.

Now I write my own Book Descriptions for the traditionally published titles I’ve republished as ebooks, for stories, novelettes, and novellas published in magazines and anthologies that didn’t receive an individual Book Description and now require one because they are books on their own, and for the new titles I’ve published through Bast Books.

If you haven’t had the experience of having someone else write your Book Description, you may wish to try this as an exercise to hone your skills. Pick out a book you’re totally familiar with. Write a Book Description, then compare your Description with the Publisher’s or on a retailer’s site and/or the back cover of the print book.

You’ll notice a mass market paperback only has so much room for a Book Description on the cover. It may be more useful to check out the Book Description on a retailer’s site.

Not all professional Book Descriptions are that great, by the way. But you may find the exercise helpful in approaching your own work.

Many indie authors who haven’t worked with publishers do just fine with their Book Descriptions. I’ve been impressed.

Many more need a little work. In some cases, a lot of work.

Tomorrow and the day after:
How to Write a Compelling Book Description Part 3: Essential Elements of a Book Description Lisa Mason #SFWApro
How to Write a Compelling Book Description Part 4: Problems with Book Descriptions and How to Solve Them Lisa Mason #SFWApro

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a  title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

Now that I’m almost done updating my list, I wanted to tell you about creating a navigational Table of Contents in your ebook. All the retailers require this these days, so if you’re uploading a new book, updating an edited version of your previously published book, adding new titles and links to your list, or adding new reviews, you’ll need to bite the bullet.

I must tell you, I resisted the new functionality for months. I argued against it. “Readers can already bookmark their ebooks in their ereaders, why should I add another layer of complexity?” And “This is fiction, not a textbook in which the reader may want to skip around to various chapters.”

Forget about arguing with Apple. “We require it, and that’s that,” they said. So does everyone else.

Smashwords offers a free video you can download that walks you through how to do it. I didn’t download it. After my laptop got seriously hacked last summer, I download as little as possible from the Internet.

And I don’t know about you, but my eyes glaze over reading Help on Microsoft Word. Plus, I found a major instance in which the Help didn’t provide the latest or the easiest information.

Once I’d worked out the kinks, I really love the Navigational Table of Contents. It turns out to be a helpful tool in a reader’s ebook and makes your presentation more professional. It’s not difficult, just time-consuming.

First things first.

After your front matter page (book title, author, the usual disclaimer language, date of publication), insert a page and set up your Table of Contents. I think centering this looks best.

Type “Table of Contents,” then the headings, typically “Praise for Books by You,” “Contents of Your Book,” “About You the Author,” and “Books by You,” and any other special features your book may contain that you’d like a reader to jump to, such as a “Dedication,” “A Introductory Poem or Quotation,” or a “List of Sources.”

Shaken has a List of Sources, for example, because I did a lot research about earthquakes for that book. Same for The Sixty-third Anniversary of Hysteria, in this case research about women Surrealist artists in Mexico, 1941.

But keep your TOC simple, with a bare bones of headings. You don’t want to overwhelm the reader on the second page of the ebook!

Tip: If your ebook is divided into a few Parts, I think the Part titles work well in the Table of Contents. The Garden of Abracadabra is divided into three titled Parts, with chapters labeled only with numbers. Tesla, A Worthy of His Time: A Screenplay has five titled Acts.

That’s a small enough number of headings in addition to the basics not to overwhelm. Be sure to type the exact title of the Part, spelled correctly.

Tip: What if your book has only chapters with numbers and not titles? I’ve seen some TOCs in which the author has dutifully listed and centered the chapter numbers and linked to each. Trust me, that does nothing for the reader. The retailers don’t require it.

What to do? Set up your TOC as suggested above, including a heading, “Title of Your Book.” Then insert “Title of Your Book” on the first page of text above the first chapter, Bookmark and Hyperlink it as set forth below, and you’re good to go.

Tip: What if your book has numerous parts and chapters with titles?

Do not put them in your TOC.

Instead, link “Contents of Your Book” in your TOC to your Contents page with the Part numbers and titles, and Chapter numbers and titles. Then, on the Contents page, you may Bookmark and Hyperlink each part or each part and chapter.

Summer of Love has seven parts and twenty-one chapters. The Gilded Age has numerous parts and twenty chapters. I Bookmarked and Hyperlinked everything for those books.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four Books in the miniseries and maybe a hundred chapters altogether. I Bookmarked and Hyperlinked only the Books and left the chapters alone.

Next, the techie part.

This is for those of you who work with MS Word and have a .doc file for your ebook. This is the Gold Standard, uploadable on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords, which ships to Apple, Kobo, and Sony.

[If you’re working on an Apple device, I can’t help you.]

Step One: Bookmarking 1: Do this first. Select Table of Contents on your TOC page. On the top toolbar, click Insert. You will see the menu for various Inserts. In the middle of the toolbar, find Hyperlink and Bookmark.

Click on Bookmark. You will see a menu cuing you to name the Bookmark and an Add, Delete, Cancel list to the right.

Always start the Bookmark with a capital letter. No punctuation, no spaces, but you can capitalize letters within so you can easily identify the Bookmark when you go to Hyperlink to it.

Example: The first chapter in Summer of Love is “She’s Leaving Home”. The Bookmark for the chapter is “ShesLeavingHome”.

The menu will then cue you to Add.

Since we’re still on the Table of Contents heading on the TOC page, type in TOC and Add it. The Bookmark must always be TOC.

Tip: Be sure to Bookmark TOC properly. Neither the Smashwords Style Manual, the Amazon format guide, nor the MS Word Help state this!

When I uploaded my first updated ebook on Amazon, I got a Quality Notification stating that the GoTo function in the ebook wasn’t functioning. The Quality Team sent me a link to hellishly complicated MS Word instructions for an automated Table of Contents functionality. The Instructions, when I printed them out, were 6 pages long!

In fact, Hyperlink-Bookmark is simplicity itself, and I sent them an email to that effect. Some kind soul replied that all I needed to do was Bookmark the Table of Contents as TOC.

I really doubt the automated Table of Contents works across the many platforms you need to upload your ebook to. Don’t go there.

Step Two: Bookmarking 2: Next, you want to move on through your ebook and find each heading you want to Bookmark. That would be “Praise for Books by You,” “Contents of Your Book,” “About You the Author,” “Books by You,” and special features your book offers, Part titles and Chapter titles. You want to do this first to make sure you match the Bookmark to the heading.

Select the text, Click Insert, Go to Bookmark, type in the Bookmark name, and click Add.

Tip: If, on the Bookmark menu, you see a little box to the left checked “Hidden bookmarks,” it means MS Word, in its mysterious way, has generated a line of code that will interfere with your legit Bookmarks. (Why oh why do they do that?) Click a couple of times on “Hidden bookmarks,” not the checkbox, and you will see in your list of Bookmarks, one or more bookmarks beginning with _. Delete those bad boys! Delete them all!

Step Three: Hyperlinking: This is the fun part.

Go back to your Table of Contents page. Select a heading under Table of Contents and click on Hyperlink. You will get the Hyperlink menu. Click on Place in this Document to the left of the menu and–lo!–your list of Bookmarks will appear.

In the “Text to Display” box at the top, the selected heading should appear, but if it doesn’t, carefully type it in. Then find the Bookmark name you’ve given for the place in your book, click on it, add it, and save your file. You’re done!

Almost done.

Tip: Be sure to test each Hyperlink. Select the text, left click on it, and MS Word should zoom you to the right spot.

I have three different Books by Lisa Mason for each of the main retailers with different links and specialized text. I paste each in depending on the version of the ebook. When I do that, though, the Books by Lisa Mason Bookmark gets nullified and I have to reBookmark and reHyperlink it to make it work.

So there you have it, my friends. Creating a navigational Table of Contents in your ebook takes a little extra time—which none of us has!—but you’ve got to do it. I hope my trials and errors will help make the task a little easier for you.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India,

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by Tom Robinson, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a  title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership

New! The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is now on Apple. We waited a long time for this link.

“Rollicking. . . .Dazzling.” Locus Magazine

“Should both leave the reader wanting more and solidify Mason’s position as one of the most interesting writers in science fiction.” Publisher’s Weekly

The year is 1895 and immigrants the world over are flocking to California on the transcontinental railroad and on transoceanic steamships. The Zoetrope demonstrates the persistence of vision, patent medicines addict children to morphine, and women are rallying for the vote. In San Francisco, saloons are the booming business, followed by brothels, and the Barbary Coast is a dangerous sink of iniquity. Atop Telegraph Hill bloody jousting tournaments are held and in Chinatown the tongs deal in opium, murder-for-hire, and slave girls.

Zhu Wong, a prisoner in twenty-fifth century China, is given a choice–stand trial for murder or go on a risky time-travel project to the San Francisco of 1895 to rescue a slave girl and take her to safety. Charmed by the city’s opulent glamour, Zhu will discover the city’s darkest secrets. A fervent population control activist in a world of twelve billion people, she will become an indentured servant to the city’s most notorious madam. Fiercely disciplined, she will fall desperately in love with the troubled self-destructive heir to a fading fortune.

And when the careful plans of the Gilded Age Project start unraveling, Zhu will discover that her choices not only affect the future but mean the difference between her own life or death.

“A winning mixture of intelligence and passion.” The New York Times Book Review

“Graceful prose. . . .A complex and satisfying plot.” Library Journal

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India,

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by Tom Robinson, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a  title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

I’m rerunning this blog to catch everyone up. I haven’t yet drafted the next blogs in this series, but give me some time, and I will.

I love Twitter and have been very active over the past year, building up my list of Followers to over 7,000. I’ve come to prefer Twitter to Facebook, in fact. I like the interactive quality, the brevity, the lack of pretension and cliques you often find on Facebook. I like how other authors are so supportive and practice reciprocity, which I often don’t find on Facebook, even with 5,000 Friends.

Thanks to the marketing savvy of two independent authors, Claudia Burgoa @yuribeans and Roberta Goodman @RobertaGoodman (you should follow them!), I’ve learned how to click on the book links of authors I Follow, zip straight to their books, recopy the link with a distillation of what I observe, and Retweet their books and their Twitter handles.

For example, in the case of Claudia and Roberta, I not only Retweet their own Tweets and Tweets posted about them by other people, but under my own handle I’ll post–

For a heartbreaking character study of human emotions read A Sojourn in Hell by Roberta Goodman @RobertaGoodman at http://www.amazon.com/A-SOJOURN-IN-HELL-ebook/dp/B00DBFA2F4

and

For the lovely heartfelt debut novel by Claudia Burgoa @yuribeans, don’t miss Where Life Takes You at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EA6UIP2

Why do this? Because this technique enables me to utilize three different forms of Tweets in support of my Followers. And they Retweet my Tweets, other people’s Tweets about me, and the personally endorsing Tweet described above. It’s very effective marketing.

I usually look at someone’s book description on his or her product page on Amazon.com (or wherever) and compose a 100-character pitch for the book to fit with the link.

And therein lie the problems, which led me to compose these blogs in an effort to help other authors, especially indie authors, to improve their book descriptions.

I’ve published six novels through Big Publishers and have had book descriptions written for me.  I’ve had the experience of being intimately familiar with a book and then observing how someone else composed a pitch for it that goes on the cover and on the retailer’s product page.

Now I write my own Book Descriptions for traditionally published titles I’ve republished as ebooks and for new titles I’ve published through Bast Books.

Your Book Description is the first thing a potential reader sees when he or she goes to your book’s product page. I cannot emphasize enough how vital it is that your Book Description be the best it can be!

Forthcoming over the next couple of days—

Part 2: Traditional Publishing versus Independent Publishing Book Descriptions

Part 3: Problems with Book Descriptions and How to Solve Them

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a  title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

Now fully navigational with a linked Table of Contents!

As I mulled over my published short fiction, I found seven wildly different stories with one thing in common–a heroine totally unlike me. I’m the girl next door. I have no idea where these Strange Ladies came from.

In The Oniomancer (Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine), a Chinese-American punk bicycle messenger finds an artifact on the street. In Guardian (Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine), an African-American gallerist resorts to voodoo to confront a criminal. In Felicitas (Desire Burn: Women Writing from the Dark Side of Passion [Carroll and Graf]), an illegal Mexican immigrant faces life as a cat shapeshifter. In Stripper (Unique Magazine), an exotic dancer battles the Mob. In Triad (Universe 2 [Bantam]), Dana Anad lives half the time as a woman, half as a man, and falls in love with a very strange lady. In Destination (Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction), a driver takes three strangers from a ride board on a cross-country trip as the radio reports that a serial killer is on the loose. In Transformation and the Postmodern Identity Crisis (Fantastic Alice [Ace]), Alice considers life after Wonderland.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

“Hilarious, provocative, profound”

5.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com Great science fiction short stories! November 1, 2013

“Fantastic book of short stories. All have some science fiction/fantasy elements. One is about a road trip with strangers, a bit more on the horror end of the spectrum, another is more humorous, based on Alice in Wonderland. One is a fascinating imagining of alien gender, and how it might differ from human. All have been published in various magazines and anthologies before, but were hard to find until this great collection. Recommended.”

From Jeanne-Mary Allen, Author on Facebook and the BookBrothers Blog: “Kyle Wylde and I are thrilled to have found such a talented, dedicated, and brilliant collection of shorts in Strange Ladies: 7 Stories…Your style/craft is highly impressive.”

From the San Francisco Book Review: “Strange Ladies: 7 Stories offers everything you could possibly want, from more traditional science fiction and fantasy tropes to thought-provoking explorations of gender issues and pleasing postmodern humor…This is a must-read collection.”

From the Book Brothers Review Blog: “Lisa Mason might just be the female Phillip K. Dick. Like Dick, Mason’s stories are far more than just sci-fi tales, they are brimming with insight into human consciousness and the social condition….Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is a sci-fi collection of excellent quality. If you like deeply crafted worlds with strange, yet relatable characters, then you won’t want to miss it.”

From Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America:
Lisa Mason’s new collection, Strange Ladies: 7 Stories features science fiction and fantasy shorts published in top magazines and anthologies worldwide. The San Francisco Book Review said, “This is a must-read collection.”

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India,

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by Tom Robinson, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a  title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

As I mulled over my published short fiction, I found seven wildly different stories with one thing in common–a heroine totally unlike me. I’m the girl next door. I have no idea where these Strange Ladies came from.

In The Oniomancer (Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine), a Chinese-American punk bicycle messenger finds an artifact on the street. In Guardian (Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine), an African-American gallerist resorts to voodoo to confront a criminal. In Felicitas (Desire Burn: Women Writing from the Dark Side of Passion [Carroll and Graf]), an illegal Mexican immigrant faces life as a cat shapeshifter. In Stripper (Unique Magazine), an exotic dancer battles the Mob. In Triad (Universe 2 [Bantam]), Dana Anad lives half the time as a woman, half as a man, and falls in love with a very strange lady. In Destination (Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction), a driver takes three strangers from a ride board on a cross-country trip as the radio reports that a serial killer is on the loose. In Transformation and the Postmodern Identity Crisis (Fantastic Alice [Ace]), Alice considers life after Wonderland.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

“Hilarious, provocative, profound”

5.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com Great science fiction short stories! November 1, 2013

“Fantastic book of short stories. All have some science fiction/fantasy elements. One is about a road trip with strangers, a bit more on the horror end of the spectrum, another is more humorous, based on Alice in Wonderland. One is a fascinating imagining of alien gender, and how it might differ from human. All have been published in various magazines and anthologies before, but were hard to find until this great collection. Recommended.”

From Jeanne-Mary Allen, Author on Facebook and the BookBrothers Blog: “Kyle Wylde and I are thrilled to have found such a talented, dedicated, and brilliant collection of shorts in Strange Ladies: 7 Stories…Your style/craft is highly impressive.”

From the San Francisco Book Review: “Strange Ladies: 7 Stories offers everything you could possibly want, from more traditional science fiction and fantasy tropes to thought-provoking explorations of gender issues and pleasing postmodern humor…This is a must-read collection.”

From the Book Brothers Review Blog: “Lisa Mason might just be the female Phillip K. Dick. Like Dick, Mason’s stories are far more than just sci-fi tales, they are brimming with insight into human consciousness and the social condition….Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is a sci-fi collection of excellent quality. If you like deeply crafted worlds with strange, yet relatable characters, then you won’t want to miss it.”

From Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America:
Lisa Mason’s new collection, Strange Ladies: 7 Stories features science fiction and fantasy shorts published in top magazines and anthologies worldwide. The San Francisco Book Review said, “This is a must-read collection.”

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India,

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by Tom Robinson, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a  title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

Happy New Year! Now that everyone is earnestly making resolutions for the year ahead, we asked authors Kevin J. Anderson, Lisa Mason, and Linda Nagata to chat about fitness and writing. We’re focusing here on diet. (And we won’t mention this topic again for at least a year, promise!)

Q: Do you follow a diet?

Kevin: My wife (the author Rebecca Moesta) and I have been on a low-carb diet for years, but just over the summer the Mayo Clinic strongly encouraged her to modify that to the Paleo Diet, which is an even stricter low-carb diet. Basically meats and vegetables, avoid processed food, no breads, pasta, rice, flour, dairy.

Lisa: I’ve been seeing a lot about the Paleo Diet, Kevin.
Since my parents died fairly young after decades of the typical American diet of red meat, butter, refined grains, and sugar, my husband, the artist Tom Robinson, and I have committed to an extremely low-fat, low-sugar, high fiber, mostly vegetarian diet.
That amounts to lots of vegetables, some fruit, some nuts, fat-free plain yogurt, olive oil, fat-free evaporated milk and fat-free egg whites for cooking, a sprinkle of low-fat cheese for garnish, whole wheat, and brown rice. Some seafood for me (but not for Tom; he’s totally vegetarian).
We eat a lot of vegetarian meat substitutes, which I suppose amounts to “processed food” and is concocted of soy, corn, whole wheat proteins, and some fat-free milk (I think). Morningstar Farms products are delicious, sugar-free, low fat, zero cholesterol, and high fiber. I also like a butter substitute called Smart Balance Lite, which is made of flaxseed and canola oils and has 30% of the calories of regular oils. For me, keeping the fat as low as possible is important.

Linda: A few years ago my husband and I spent two months trying out a very low-fat diet, and I’ll admit I dropped seven or eight pounds that I didn’t need—but it wasn’t something that either of us were dedicated enough to stick to. So while we don’t follow any specific diet regimen, we do try to eat generally healthy, with whole grains and vegetables and lower-fat meats. Neither of us likes to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so we tend to do what’s easy and convenient, but we avoid high-fat, high-sugar processed foods, and desserts are usually limited to special occasions.

Lisa: Linda, I’m curious—and forgive me if this sounds rude—but is it true Hawaiians eat a lot of Spam?

Linda: Yes, Spam is quite popular in Hawaii and I really like it—but rarely eat it because of the fat and salt. The most common way to eat Spam is in a “Spam musubi.” There are variations, but the basic idea is a block of sticky rice with a slice of fried Spam on it, and a strip of nori—seaweed—to hold it together.

Q: How has the diet worked out for you?

Kevin: I’ve always had to keep an eye on my cholesterol levels, and after three months on the diet I had a full blood chemistry panel and got the best test results in my entire adult life. Rebecca also had blood work done and *hers* was the best blood chemistry she’s ever had in her life. We know other people who are following the regimen with amazing and obvious results, so we can see that it works. We’ll stick with it.

Lisa: That’s great, Kevin. And great for Rebecca!

We’ve followed our vegetarian diet for over twenty years. Tom recently had a complete physical; his cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure were textbook. At six feet tall, he weighs in at about 158 pounds.
As for me, I’m comfortable eating this way. I feel good. I never have nasty digestive problems. I’m trimmer than I was in college. Though I admit when I want to trim a bit these days, I cut the grains.
It certainly doesn’t follow that just because you don’t eat meat, you’re healthier. Vegetarians who gulp down sugary granola, smoothies, yogurt with fruit jam, whole-fat cheeses, and sugar-fatty whole-grain muffins need to rethink their regimen.

Linda: My not-trying-too-hard diet works all right. Cholesterol hasn’t been a problem (thanks Mom and Dad!). I’m healthy so far and I’m not gaining weight—but I’m not losing it either. The amount of calories it takes to sustain a middle-aged woman is incredibly small! So I’m starting to make changes: more vegetables, more protein, fewer carbs.

Q: Do you eat breakfast? What do you have?

Kevin: I eat breakfast every morning before I work out. Usually eggs, breakfast meat, fresh fruit, some munchie vegetables (bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes). Sometimes I make a really good Paleo hot cereal made from blended nuts, bananas, coconut milk, cinnamon, topped with fruit. (Since we’re not allowed the grains, we can’t eat oatmeal or other hot cereals, but this one hits the spot.)

Lisa: Breakfast is, of course, the meal that literally breaks the fast of your sleep time. Your blood sugar is very low. I can’t think of anything worse than the typical American breakfast of coffee with milk and sugar, orange juice, and some sugary cereal. What a sugar shock to your system! No wonder people are starving by mid-morning.
Actually, I can think of something worse. The late, great Charles Brown, the founder of Locus Magazine, once told me he loved Coke for breakfast as a kid. That’s worse.
That said, no, I don’t usually eat breakfast. I just don’t like eating early in the day. Half a cup of black coffee and I’m good to go.
When I do need to eat something, I’ll whip up a nice little bowl of microwaved fat-free egg whites. Yummy. I actually like scrambled egg whites (proof that human beings can adapt to anything). I especially like how the pure protein makes me feel fueled without any sugar rush. Protein takes longer to digest in small intestine, which staves off hunger.

Linda: Low-sugar cereal with low-fat milk for me. Easy and convenient, right? Of course this means I’m hungry within a few hours, but by then I’m willing to put a little more time into preparation, so lunch is a more significant meal.

Q: What about dairy?

Kevin: On the Paleo we’re not supposed to have dairy, but I don’t want to be a diet-nazi about it. I put half and half in my coffee and sometimes we like cheese or yogurt. If your diet is so strict that it’s more like medicine than food, then you won’t stick to it. (Sorry, Lisa, but if I had to eat those nasty meat substitutes you talked about above…yechhhh.)

Lisa: Hah! Egg whites do take some getting used to, but Morningstar Farms products are quite delicious. Spicy black bean burgers, sausage links, sausage patties, and bacon are our favorites.
Dairy, as Kevin mentioned, is forbidden in the Paleo Diet and in vegan diets, as well. Many people have dairy allergies. Dairy is sugary. Even my fat-free plain yogurt has 6 grams of sugar per cup. That’s a lot of sugar.
When I was a child, I hated milk and cheese. Hated. Since the conventional wisdom was “Drink your milk to build strong bones,” milk-drinking (or lack thereof) was a constant source of rancor between my mother and me. Which is probably why I have problems dealing with authority figures to this day.
It turns out that children with milk allergies get lots of earaches. I got earaches all the time.
I do eat a bit of yogurt for the calcium and a sprinkle of Parmesan on my pasta.

Linda: We don’t do a lot of dairy, in part because my husband can’t digest milk—so that eliminates the temptation of all kinds of cream sauces, ice cream, etc. We do eat hard cheeses though, and I use low-fat milk on cereal and will drink a glass at night if I’m having a hard time sleeping. It really does help.

Q: What about diet while you’re traveling?

Kevin: Because I travel a lot, sometimes it’s hard to keep to a strict diet when somebody else is cooking. Traditional low-carb diets are fairly easy to stick to even in restaurants; you order extra vegetables instead of the potato/rice/pasta accompaniment, skip the sandwiches and pizza and chips. For breakfast, I usually go to a Starbucks to get my coffee, a Greek yogurt and a banana. I try to behave, but I’m not super strict about it.

Lisa: Oh I agree, keeping to a diet can be difficult on the road. In places like New York and Los Angeles, where hotels and restaurants are savvy to vegetarians and our preferences, I usually have no problem finding something to eat. In other places, like Grand Forks (where I was guest of the Science Fiction Research Association), Philadelphia (where I was a guest of the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society), and even Chicago (where I was a guest of the Library Information Technology Association and the American Library Association) I’ve faced more challenges. This is when I’ll eat turkey (I dislike chicken so that’s not an option) or whole eggs. Decent seafood may be difficult to find, and I always have to ask the cook not use butter. Sometimes a bag of peanuts and a can of V8 will have to do.
Speaking of nuts, everyone is allowed to eat them—Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, and omnivore. The only caveat is nuts do contain a lot of fat—but it’s monounsaturated, which is good fat—a bit of fiber, and beneficial minerals. A decades-long study of Seventh Day Adventists, who eat nuts several times a week, found that nut consumption correlates well with very low rates of heart disease. Proof there is some justice in the world.

Kevin: And note that fat isn’t a bad thing (contrary to the dietary misinformation we were given growing up that we should eat lots of white bread, pasta, and Minute Rice, which were all “good” for you because they were low fat). It’s the empty carbs and junk food that has made Americans fat.

Linda: Traveling is hard. I’m sure I consume far more calories when we’re on the road, but then I tend to be more physically active too. My husband actually handles himself better than I do. He’ll order salads for dinner, while I eat whatever looks interesting.

Q: Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Kevin: I am a big fan of microbrew beer, in particular hoppy IPAs. Beer is high in carbs, and strict diets tell me I should avoid it. That is my exception. I can give up the ice cream and cookies and potatoes and bread, but I allow myself a beer when I want one. Oh, and a lot of high-and-mighty diets insist you should cut out coffee and in fact all caffeine…but that’s just plain crazy talk.

Lisa: Moderate coffee-drinking is associated with all kinds of health benefits, including lower heart disease, less depression, even less diabetes. And let’s face it—who could live without that cuppa?
The guilty pleasure for me would be wine. Strict health enthusiasts avoid all alcohol, of course, and too much alcohol can certainly cause a lot of damage. But wine with food is one of my pleasures in life. Wine is made from grapes, grapes are good, therefore wine is good (or at least not so bad). How’s that for a syllogism?

Linda: Coffee, wine, and dark chocolate—those make up a basic food group, right?

Lisa: Absolutely!

Q: Do you follow the latest research about diet and nutrition?

Kevin: I subscribe to Mens’ Health and Mens’ Fitness, and I have friends who are “nutritionally aware” (but they seem to come up with a trendy new good or bad food every week). I think the key is not to go overboard and get fanatical about it (trust me, your friends will hate you if you become a proselytizer). LIVE your life, but if you’re healthy and if you feel good, you’ll be able to do more things and enjoy it more.

Lisa: I follow the research, too. I’m always curious to discover what new insights come up. My mother was a professional nutritionist. She always had nutrition magazines around, which fascinated me.

Real Age is a great site. So is Web MD. You always have to remember, though, there’s lots of misinformation, disinformation, and information funded by vested interests.

Fads on the fringe never work. Remember liquid protein? That vile stuff literally caused people to have cardiac arrest. Or how about honey, oil, and vinegar (the HOV diet). Proponents wanted people to drink the stuff three times a day before meals, claiming they’d lose weight. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people lost their lunch.

Linda: It’s probably easy to deduce by now that I don’t follow nutrition news too closely. I’ve heard so much advice over the years, and so much of it completely contradictory, that my primary dictum is simply “moderation in everything.” So far, so good.

So there you have it, my friends. People take different approaches to diet (sometimes very different approaches) depending on their needs and what works for them. Find the diet that suits you best and stick with it.

We thank Kevin J. Anderson, Lisa Mason, and Linda Nagata for a lively and provocative discussion. Be sure to visit them at their websites and buy their books.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

Kevin J. Anderson has published 125 books, more than fifty of which have been national or international bestsellers. He has written numerous novels in the Star Wars, X-Files, and Dune universes, as well as a unique steampunk fantasy novel, Clockwork Angels, based on the concept album by legendary rock group Rush. His original works include the Saga of Seven Suns series, the Terra Incognita fantasy trilogy, and his humorous horror series featuring Dan Shamble, Zombie PI. He has edited numerous anthologies, including the Five by Five and Blood Lite series. Anderson and his wife Rebecca Moesta are the publishers of WordFire Press. Wordfirepress.com.

Lisa Mason is the author of ten novels including Summer of Love, A Time Travel (A Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (A New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book), as well as dozens of stories published in magazines and anthologies worldwide. Her latest release, Strange Ladies: 7 Stories was called “a must-read collection” by the San Francisco Review of Books. Visit her at Lisa Mason’s Official Website.

Linda Nagata is the author of multiple novels and short stories including The Bohr Maker, winner of the Locus Award for best first novel, and the novella “Goddesses,” the first online publication to receive a Nebula award. Her story “Nahiku West” was a finalist for the 2013 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. Though best known for science fiction, she writes fantasy too, exemplified by her “scoundrel lit” series Stories of the Puzzle Lands. Her newest science fiction novel is The Red: First Light, a near-future military thriller published under her own imprint, Mythic Island Press LLC. Linda has spent most of her life in Hawaii, where she’s been a writer, a mom, a programmer of database-driven websites, and lately a publisher and book designer. She lives with her husband in their long-time home on the island of Maui.
Find her online at:
MythicIsland.com
twitter.com/LindaNagata

facebook.com/Linda.Nagata.author

From Lisa Mason, the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India,

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by Tom Robinson, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a  title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

Happy New Year! Now that everyone is earnestly making resolutions for the year ahead, we asked authors Kevin J. Anderson, Lisa Mason, and Linda Nagata to chat about fitness and writing. We’re focusing here on exercise. (We promise not to mention this topic again for at least a year.)

Q: What is your philosophy about fitness?

Kevin: I live by the philosophy that it’s easier to *stay* in shape than to *get* in shape. I keep myself moving, work out, expend the effort to keep myself healthy because if my body doesn’t function well, then I can’t DO the things I want to do.

Lisa: Yes. You have only one life and one body: Take care of it!
I was really active as a child, climbing trees, bicycling, dancing ballet, swimming, riding horses. I walked several miles to school, even in three feet of snow. In college, I hiked and biked all over the sprawling campus at the University of Michigan.
But when I started working as a lawyer, all that activity dwindled to walking to the office in downtown San Francisco from my apartment on Telegraph Hill. When we and the office moved to East Bay, we bought a home where I could walk to work again, but it wasn’t enough. I didn’t feel comfortable in my body anymore.
On my birthday in 1996, I made a vow to get back in shape and, as Kevin says, stay that way. So far, I’ve been doing pretty well. If I used to walk to school in three feet of snow, now I’ll go for my walk in pouring rain. I’m committed!

Linda: I’ve always enjoyed being fit. I competed in swimming in high school, ran track one year, did a lot of hiking. In my early twenties I was into weight-lifting/strength training on my own machine, but I stopped when I had children. I was just too worried they would venture near the moving weights and get hurt. After that, fitness became an intermittent thing. Lots of heavy-duty yard work, occasional jogging, some hiking, but it wasn’t until my late forties that I got serious again, returning to weight-lifting and fairly regular running. My philosophy is to aim for both cardiovascular fitness and strength. My quirk is that when I do work out, I like to work out hard. I’m not sure that’s really a good idea now that I’m 53 years old, but it keeps the routine from getting boring.

Q: What is your exercise regimen?

Kevin: I am 51, last summer I did two segments on the Colorado Trail out in the deep wilderness (38 miles in two days), climbed a couple of 14,000 ft mountain peaks, and did some other strenuous hikes. This winter, I plan to do some great snowshoe hikes.
I have a weight room in the house and I do about a 45-minute workout every day when I can (and because I travel a lot, sometimes it’s hard to keep the schedule.)

Lisa: Wow! You’re one of a kind, Kevin.
I speed-walk 3.5 miles carrying 6 pounds of weights four to seven days a week. I always carry a pencil and notepad and jot down ideas, paragraphs, snippets of dialogue.
On days when I don’t do the long walk, I’ll walk to chores (we’ve got a fabulous Whole Foods a few blocks away), use the stationary bike and the stepper in my office.
I don’t run marathons or engage in extreme exercise. I’m mindful of my joints, which are good. I want to keep them that way.

Linda: It sounds like I’m the only gym rat here! I am utterly without Kevin’s discipline, and I’m sure if I had exercise equipment at home, I wouldn’t use it, but I love to go to the gym. Even if I don’t particularly feel like working out, once I walk in the door I almost always get into the flow. Getting your head set to want to workout is critical to staying in shape and for me, the gym does that. And the people at our gym are terrific, and very inspiring to watch.
The problem with the gym, for me, is that I live outside of town, so it’s a twenty-five minute drive to get there—which means I only go if we have other business in town.
I’m supposed to go jogging when I can’t get to the gym. Sometimes I’m dedicated about that, running five miles or so in hilly terrain, but sometimes I let weeks go by in-between runs. I try not to be too critical of myself, and do what I can.
There is a terrific book called Younger Next Year, which I highly recommend. It’s very inspirational. It lays down a regimen of exercising an hour a day, six days a week. That’s what I aim for, even if I rarely actually meet that goal.

Q: Where do you exercise?

Kevin: There’s too much to see and do out there in beautiful Colorado; what’s the fun in a sedentary life? I don’t much like to drive to a public gym and work out with a bunch of other sweaty people, so I’m glad I have my own equipment in the house. I also try to walk as much as I can, and I prefer to take the stairs rather than waiting for an elevator. I see people (without physical handicaps) take the elevator up one floor. Really? I don’t get that.

Lisa: Oh yeah, there are so many opportunities to walk, to take stairs. And I’m not a gym person, either.
I grew up with an old-growth forest in my backyard, so I too have a deep appreciation of nature. I’m fortunate now to live on the edge of a park with a hundred-year-old bird sanctuary and a lake with an excellent trail around it. Giant eucalyptus, pines, palms, oaks, and other greenery line the paths. I love watching the mallards, snowy egrets, and Canadian geese gracing the lake, along with the occasional swan, great blue heron, and red-tailed hawk.

Linda: I live on the island of Maui, which sounds like it ought to be a great place to work out, but things aren’t always what they seem. I live “upcountry” at an elevation above 3000’ where nearly all the roads have a significant grade, so jogging is either uphill or downhill—neither of which is easy!—but when I break out from the trees, the views are beautiful.
I almost never jog outside at lower elevations. Even though I’ve lived in Hawaii almost all my life, I’m a wimp when it comes to the heat and humidity we have at sea level. Even jogging in the evening down at the coast is a slog for me—but strange as it may sound, I really like running on the treadmill at the gym. The terrain is flat and nothing gets in my way, so this is where I do my “speed” workouts. I put “speed” in quotes, because fast for me isn’t going to be fast to someone else, but on good days I can run 3.5 miles in under 32 minutes, and I feel pretty good about that.

Lisa: I used to jog on my 3.5-mile trail. Then I caught my toe on an uneven edge and down I crashed on my right knee. Nothing broke or tore, but my leg turned an interesting shade of green for a week. After that, I started speed-walking, with the weights for calorie burn. The problem I have with jogging is your torso is tilted forward so your center of gravity is off. When I walk, I keep my torso centered over my hips. For me, it’s more balanced.

Q: How does exercise affect your writing?

Kevin: I have to stay healthy because I do most of my writing by dictation as I hike the trails. If I’m not moving, I’m not writing. I also find it very energizing and inspirational to be writing as I’m out in the mountains or forest. (This method doesn’t work, however, on a busy and noisy city street.)

Lisa: I feel more alert and just generally better after my daily walk, which segues into more and better writing. When ideas and words aren’t flowing as freely as they should, it’s good to get out of the office and exercise a different muscle in my brain.

Linda: I’m envious of writers like Kevin who can think and work out at the same time. For me, it’s rare to come up with any useful story ideas while exercising, or even when doing yard work. Mostly I just zone out. But exercise still benefits my writing, in part just by making me feel physically better and stronger, but it’s also an emotional boost. I just feel happier when I’m working out regularly—and I’m a much better writer when I’m happy.

So there you have it, my friends. Writing may be a sedentary occupation, but you don’t have to live a sedentary life. Find the exercise regimen that suits you best and stick with it.

We thank Kevin J. Anderson, Lisa Mason, and Linda Nagata for a lively and provocative discussion. Be sure to visit them at their websites and buy their books.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

Kevin J. Anderson has published 125 books, more than fifty of which have been national or international bestsellers. He has written numerous novels in the Star Wars, X-Files, and Dune universes, as well as a unique steampunk fantasy novel, Clockwork Angels, based on the concept album by legendary rock group Rush. His original works include the Saga of Seven Suns series, the Terra Incognita fantasy trilogy, and his humorous horror series featuring Dan Shamble, Zombie PI. He has edited numerous anthologies, including the Five by Five and Blood Lite series. Anderson and his wife Rebecca Moesta are the publishers of WordFire Press. Wordfirepress.com.

Lisa Mason is the author of ten novels including Summer of Love, A Time Travel (A Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (A New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book), as well as dozens of stories published in magazines and anthologies worldwide. Her latest release, Strange Ladies: 7 Stories was called “a must-read collection” by the San Francisco Review of Books. Visit her at Lisa Mason’s Official Website.

Linda Nagata is the author of multiple novels and short stories including The Bohr Maker, winner of the Locus Award for best first novel, and the novella “Goddesses,” the first online publication to receive a Nebula award. Her story “Nahiku West” was a finalist for the 2013 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. Though best known for science fiction, she writes fantasy too, exemplified by her “scoundrel lit” series Stories of the Puzzle Lands. Her newest science fiction novel is The Red: First Light, a near-future military thriller published under her own imprint, Mythic Island Press LLC. Linda has spent most of her life in Hawaii, where she’s been a writer, a mom, a programmer of database-driven websites, and lately a publisher and book designer. She lives with her husband in their long-time home on the island of Maui.
Find her online at:
MythicIsland.com
twitter.com/LindaNagata

facebook.com/Linda.Nagata.author

From Lisa Mason, the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India,

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by Tom Robinson, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a  title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

I love Twitter and have been very active over the past year, building up my list of Followers to over 7,000. I’ve come to prefer Twitter to Facebook, in fact. I like the interactive quality, the brevity, the lack of pretension and cliques you often find on Facebook. I like how other authors are so supportive and practice reciprocity, which I often don’t find on Facebook, even with 5,000 Friends.

Thanks to the marketing savvy of two independent authors, Claudia Burgoa @yuribeans and Roberta Goodman @RobertaGoodman (you should follow them!), I’ve learned how to click on the book links of authors I Follow, zip straight to their books, recopy the link with a distillation of what I observe, and Retweet their books and their Twitter handles.

For example, in the case of Claudia and Roberta, I not only Retweet their own Tweets, Tweets posted about them by other people, but under my own handle I’ll post–

For a heartbreaking character study of human emotions read A Sojourn in Hell by Roberta Goodman @RobertaGoodman at http://www.amazon.com/A-SOJOURN-IN-HELL-ebook/dp/B00DBFA2F4

and

For the lovely heartfelt debut novel by Claudia Burgoa @yuribeans, don’t miss Where Life Takes You at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EA6UIP2

Why do this? Because this technique enables me to utilize three different forms of Tweets in support of my Followers. And they Retweet my Tweets, other people’s Tweets about me, and the personally endorsing Tweet described above. It’s very effective marketing.

I usually look at someone’s book description on his/her product page on Amazon.com (or wherever) and glean a 100-character pitch for the book to fit with the link.

And therein lie some problems, which led me to compose these blogs in an effort to help other authors, especially indie authors, to improve their book descriptions.

I’ve published six novels through Big Publishers and have had book descriptions written for me so I’ve had the experience of being intimately familiar with a book and then observing how someone else composed a pitch for it that goes on the cover and on the retailer’s product page.

Now I write my own Book Descriptions for traditionally published titles I’ve republished as ebooks and for new titles I’ve published through Bast Books.

Your Book Description is the first thing a potential reader sees when he/she goes to your product page. I cannot emphasize enough how vital it is that your Book Description be the best it can be!

Forthcoming over the next couple of days—

Part 2: Traditional Publishing, Independent Publishing, and Book Descriptions

Part 3: Problems with Book Descriptions and How to Solve Them

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a  title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,507 other followers