Friday, March 13, 2015

A Common Writing Mistake - and How to Fix It!

While getting my Tal'Avern fantasy books prepared for paperback editions, I've had my fair share of frustrations -the latest one being in how 'clean' they look.

Choosing the font, the size, and what kind of paragraph layout you want are fairly easy personal choices.  But what I want to focus on in this blog is one of the most common 'mistakes' writers make.

I just did it in that last paragraph, actually. Do you see it?  I'll do it again. See the difference?

For some reason, it's very easy to get this mistake ingrained into your writing, and you may not even realize that it is a 'mistake'. It's putting that extra space before starting a new sentence. I know, shocking, right?

Look, I'm guilty of making this mistake, so if you're sitting there gasping and saying to yourself 'oh my God, I do that!' don't worry. You are not alone. I've been doing it for years and never realized that it was a mistake until tonight.

Being my own worst critic, I want my paperbacks to look flawless. Perfection is what every author strives for, after all. It's the reason we could easily edit our work forever and never feel that it's perfect.

Luckily, that need for perfection is how I found out I've been making this mistake, and I wanted to share it with you all because there are certainly others out there that make the same simple mistake. Like me, you may be guilty of the 'two-spaces-before-every-sentence' habit as well. And the first step to solving a problem is knowing that the problem exists in the first place. Until tonight, I didn't know about it.

Now, you may be thinking 'it's only one extra space, what's the big deal?' That extra space before a sentence is what will keep your books from looking clean. Like many authors, I use Word, and I can tell you from experience, Word does not like that extra space. It completely throws off the justification, and you can literally spend hours trying to 'fix' it. Again, I'm speaking from experience.

So how do you fix something like that? A 300-500 page document with thousands upon thousands of sentences will take weeks to go through, sentence by sentence, hitting that delete button and taking out that extra space before every single sentence!

I actually started doing that. Yes, I honestly thought that was my punishment for not realizing I had made such a simple writing error. But after two pages, I thought to myself, maybe there's an easier way to go about it. A simpler way. Okay, maybe 'simpler' isn't the right word. 'Sneakier' is more appropriate.

Word has a wonderful tool called Find, and another called Replace. I've used them on occasion. I am now in love with the Replace tool.

So for those of you who have that habit ingrained in you as well to put two spaces before every sentence, here's what you do to save yourself a lot of time, grief, frustration, and retain a full head of hair rather than pulling out entire handfuls at a time:

Click on that Replace tool, and in the 'find' section, start at the beginning and hit the spacebar twice and then A. Tab down to the 'replace' section, and hit the spacebar once and type A. It will look something like this:

      Find:  A
Replace: A

Now just hit the 'replace all' button, and let Word do all your work for you fixing every sentence that starts with A by taking out that extra space before it. I had 583 replacements in my document, if you were wondering.

Obviously you'll want to go through and take care of the rest. B, C, D... every letter of the alphabet should get checked for a fix.  And don't forget to do a fix for any sentences that have two spaces in front of a " (I just remembered to do that one myself!)

In the end, all of my sentences were fixed. I didn't keep track of just how many times I made this simple mistake. Suffice it to say, the document was over 350 pages long. It was a lot of 'mistakes.'

Now, is this going to change that bad habit of putting that extra space before every sentence? Honestly, I don't think so. For this blog, I had to consciously tell myself 'one space once space' before each sentence.

And yes, I did go back and 'fix' a few two-space-sentence-starters. I'm just so used to putting those two spaces before each sentence that I'm not sure I can break that habit, so don't feel bad if you find yourself doing the same thing.

But as long as you remember to take a few minutes to fix this common error when you're all done writing the world's next best-seller and looking it over, it will come out looking that much closer to perfection.  And that's what we strive for. Oops. Ahh well, nobody is perfect.




Saturday, February 28, 2015

New Covers and Tal'Avern

Hello, readers!

I haven't updated for a few months as I've been writing and editing the next book in the Tal'Avern Chronicles series.  That has all been completed, and the new book will be publishing on Amazon soon.  I'm aiming for a mid to late March release.

First, I'd like to show off the new covers for Books 1 and 2.


 
 
The artwork was done by an extremely talented illustrator named Mat Sadler (www.matsadler.com).  As I write this, he is working on the cover for the next book in the Tal'Avern Chronicles series.
 
Both books are available now on Amazon, while Book 3 will be as well as soon as it is published.  Right now only digital copies are available, but for those of you who prefer physical books, take heart!  Paperback editions are next on my To Do list!
 
To stay updated, you can follow me on Twitter @ScottBorgman and/or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/saborgman.
 
Aside from showing off the covers and trying to help Mat get some well deserved exposure, I wanted to say something about the world of Tal'Avern.
 
* * *
 
So changing gears, allow me to talk a bit about the world of Tal'Avern.  Now, it's certainly not the first fantasy world, nor will it be the last.  So what sets it apart from others?  What makes Tal'Avern unique?
 
These are the questions many readers ask themselves when they're looking for something new to read.  Obviously, the book cover images are the first thing you see.  They look amazing.  But the covers only catch your attention.  You need more to be compelled to step into the world, am I right?  What is it about Tal'Avern that may just help you decide to see what awaits?
  
And so I offer a peek into the world for you, so that you can have a better understanding of what lies within the pages.  Like many fantasy worlds, Tal'Avern has its share of common fantasy themes.  Magic, dragons, elves and dwarves, twists and surprises (to name a few).
 
What sets it apart however, are the characters.  Traditionally, the 'heroes' of fantasy books have been male.  A few of the most famous characters many fantasy fans recognize are Drizzt and Elminster.  I could list others, but you get the point.
 
Sure, there are always female characters in those stories, but even though they may be portrayed as a 'main character', I kind of feel like most of the time they tend to walk a step behind.  Now, there are always exceptions.  I merely suggest that this is usually the case.
 
 
 
 
What makes Tal'Avern unique is that many of the main characters are female.  They're not perfect.  They struggle, they have flaws, and sometimes they fail.  It's what makes them so memorable and so easy to believe in.  They don't hide behind the male characters, but they stand beside them as equals.  Many times, even a step ahead of them.
 
When I created the world of Tal'Avern, that was my goal.  To break away from the mold, from tradition.  Soldiers and city guards in Tal'Avern have women within their ranks.  Some command armies, are leaders of noble houses, one in particular is unique among all others in the magical community.
 
They fight just as hard, their victories are celebrated just as much, and their deaths are mourned with just as many tears.  Some attain the highest respect and others commit the darkest of deeds. 
 
With a cast of compelling characters, some you may love and some you may despise.  Some you may cheer for, others you may turn the page, hoping that they are about to fall.  Some you may share laughs with, and others cry alongside.
 
So if you're looking for something new, something different, and something that I believe is a break from tradition in the fantasy genre, below you'll find the links to the first two books.  If this will be your first trip to Tal'Avern, I recommend starting with the first book in the series, Province of a Thief.
 
The second book, Darkness and Dragons, continues the story.  It brings back many of the characters that you meet in Province as well as introducing new ones.  The third book in the series I am hoping to have published by the end of March 2015.
 
I truly hope you enjoy the journey.  It is my honor to say to you:  Welcome to Tal'Avern.
 
* * *
 
US/Canada (Amazon.com)
 
Province of a Thief: www.amazon.com/dp/B00KR140EO/
Darkness and Dragons: www.amazon.com/dp/B00LSWNHPO/
 
UK (Amazon.co.uk)
 
Province of a Thief: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00KR140EO/
Darkness and Dragons: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00LSWNHPO
 
 
 

 

 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

It's a Christmas Holiday Promotion!

It's the holiday season everyone!  I hope everyone is ready for the holiday, whether you live in an area where you'll be celebrating a white Christmas or an area that doesn't get any snow, it's time to be festive!

Many of us, myself included, enjoy the holiday season.  Kids opening their presents, running around wildly from too much sugar, snowball fights, building snowmen, and looking at the twinkling lights of houses and trees is all part of the holidays.

It's also a time to reflect on the year.  Like every year, it's had its ups and downs.  For me, this year had quite a bit to look back on and smile about.  I made a decision to move my publishing to Amazon.com, and have had a wonderful experience with them.

I finished the second book in my Tal'Avern fantasy series, and had that published on Amazon.  In August, I had the delightful experience of being able to speak at the Marshfield Public Library in Marshfield, WI. about my passion for writing, and met some wonderful people.

I've connected with several others along the way through my Author Page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/saborgman), on Twitter (@ScottBorgman), and had several mentions on Vision and Verse, an amazing site that focuses on art and authors (www.visionandverse.blogspot.com).

The year would not be complete, however, if I did not do something to show my appreciation for everyone.  As I am fond of saying, I breathe life into each and every character within the stories that I write.  But it is the reader who gives them their souls.

Because of the readers, Tal'Avern has come to life not only within me, but in others.  Currently, I'm working on the third book in the Tal'Avern series.  In light of that, I am running a special holiday promotion on Amazon.com.


Starting at 12am PST on Dec. 20, and going until 12am Dec. 25, both digital books on Amazon.com in the Tal'Avern series (Province of a Thief and Darkness and Dragons) will be on a Countdown Deals.



What does that mean?  Well, for the first 2 1/2 days, both books can be purchased for only $.99 each.  At 12pm PST on Dec. 22, the price will increase to $1.99 per book, and the promotion will end on Dec. 25 with the two digital books returning to their regular price of $2.99.

Here's a quick link to get you where you need to go when it starts!  http://www.amazon.com/Scott-Borgman/e/B00KROBR4W

With that, I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season!  Thank you for your support, and trust me - I'm working on the third book as much as possible... I want to find out what happens too!  (I've already had a few shockers and unexpected twists that even I was surprised at!)


All My Best,

Scott

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Whoops, I better update!

Hey everyone!

I had no idea it's been about 2 months since I last posted a blog!  Where does the time go?  So I need to catch everyone up on things!

First and foremost, the world grew a little dimmer, while the sky grew a little brighter.  My wife's nan, Gwen Howse, passed away recently, so we've had some sadness to cope with.

Though I never had the privilege of meeting her, I know she was a strong, loving, and wonderful person.  I see that in her granddaughter, who I am lucky enough to call my wife.

In honor of her, my latest fantasy book which I am currently writing is dedicated to her.

As for the book itself, work continues on it.  Whether it's going fast or slow depends on one's point of view I suppose.  I'm one day closer to completing it, I know that!  What day that may be, however, still remains a mystery.  At least at this particular point in time.

The story is a continuation in my Tal'Avern series, which some of you may know begins with the first book, Province of a Thief, and follows with Darkness and Dragons, Volume I, taking place immediately following the ending of Darkness.  Some of you may know that there was a time span of roughly two years between Province and Darkness.

Of course, I can't give any spoilers (sorry!), however, this is by far my biggest project to date, larger than Darkness was.  Multiple story lines are taking place as the companions that you have met and travelled along with have been forced apart along different paths.  Some are together, while others are on their own.

I just hit the 50k word count mark last night, which of course means very little since who knows what the end count will be!  More often than not I really don't use word count for any reason, since it really doesn't matter.  A story is done when it's done, whether it takes two thousand words or two hundred thousand words.

I will say that thus far, however, it has been an AMAZING journey.  Some interesting twists, turns, revelations... ahh, I better not say anything else, lest I break my 'no spoilers' rule.

I did post an excerpt from the book on my Facebook Author Page if any of you would like to get a teaser on the new book.  However, please remember that the book is still in the writing stages, and anything could change during the editing stages.

Here is the link to my Author Page on Facebook:

www.facebook.com/saborgman

If you haven't had a chance to step into the world of Tal'Avern yet, there's no better time to do so!  The cold weather keeps us all indoors for the most part, and what better thing to do than curl up with a book?  Digital copies are available on Amazon.com, and actually now is the PERFECT time to pick them up.  Province and Darkness are only $2.99 now.

If you're looking for something a little different, then grab the Exiled trilogy.  Each of those three books are only $.99 each!  They're a unique blend that mixes modern day, angels, mythology, some fantasy/supernatural and adds a touch of thriller/horror.

http://www.amazon.com/Scott-Borgman/e/B00KROBR4W

So that's where things are at.  Book 3 in the Tal'Avern series is being written (just came off a 10 hour writing session in fact), books 1 and 2 are available on Amazon (digital only, physical copies are on my list of things to do, though!), as are the three books that make up the Exiled trilogy.

With that, I am off!  To write some more, to sleep, to get something to eat, or maybe just to relax and perhaps play a game.  Have a great day everyone, and if I don't blog again before the holidays, have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

All My Best,

Scott

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

3-Day Promo Wrap-up

Well the 3-Day Promo where readers could pick up the first book in my Tales of Tal'Avern fantasy series, Province of a Thief, has ended.

I'd like to say thank you to everyone who took advantage and picked up Province for free.  I hope you enjoy your first steps into the world of Tal'Avern.

Province takes place in only a part of the world, and introduces you to characters that I hope you enjoy reading about and following along with as they are thrust into a dark plot that has been planned for long years.

If you missed out on the special promotion, that's okay!  Province is available in digital format on Amazon for only $3.49.  Part of the reason why I chose the digital path is because it allows you, the reader, to pay far less than you would for a physical copy.  I'm a firm believer that digital books are the way to go.  Without adding in printing costs and other factors, it gives you the opportunity to read the same story for much less than if it were in print.

That's not to say I'm opposed to print books!  I'll be the first to say that there's just something about holding a book in your hands that can't be duplicated.  And yes, I am very seriously considering making the books available in print eventually.

Right now, I'm concentrating on working on the 3rd book in the Tal'Avern series.  I'm only about 25k words into it as of this blog, but already I wish I could type at 1000wpm. 

I'm truly excited about where this next part in the series is going, and I hope that those of you who have read/are reading/are going to read Province will continue on with the follow-up, Darkness and Dragons: Volume I.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't invite you to let myself and others know what your thoughts are on the books by leaving a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

I appreciate every thoughtful review, whatever rating you give the books.  Some of you may love them, some may not.  That is the nature of reading.  But by all means, let us know!

At the end of my books are several links:  My Twitter, my Facebook Author Page, etc.  Don't be shy!  Get in touch with me if you'd like to!  That is why those links are at the end of my books.  I write because I love being a storyteller, but it is my greatest honor and pleasure that you allow me into your lives and give me the opportunity to entertain and delight you.

My readers truly mean a lot to me, and I love hearing from them and connecting with them.  Even if it's just a simple hello, I always take time to respond to my readers.

With that, I shall end this particular blog.  The world of Tal'Avern is in turmoil, and I must get back to it and write down the events so that you can read about them!

Have an amazing day everyone!


All My Best,

Scott

Saturday, September 20, 2014

3 Day Promotion

Hello everyone!

It's been some time since I posted anything.  Life sometimes has that side-effect.  So a quick update - the Library Campaign ended Aug. 31st.  It didn't do nearly as well as I had hoped it would, however I did do a speaking engagement at the library on Aug. 14th which generated some nice donations toward the library, so overall while it all wasn't as successful as I had hoped, it was a success nonetheless.

On to new things.  I've begun working on the third book in the Tales of Tal'Avern series.  Province of a Thief is the first book in the series, and Darkness and Dragons: Volume I follows up.

I mention this because yesterday (Sept. 19th) was my birthday, and so to celebrate I'm giving all of you a gift!  I've begun a special 3 day promotion, which I just checked and it HAS gone active, so from now through Sept. 22 you can pick up the first book in the series, Province of a Thief

FOR *** FREE ***

Note the capital letters which suggest shouting and the asterisks which highlight the word FREE even more.  Because the promotion is only going for 3 days, everyone.  So take advantage!!!

For convenience, here is the link to the US Amazon site:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KR140EO/

UK readers will need to go to the UK Amazon site which is here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00KR140EO/


And now, if you will all excuse me, the world of Tal'Avern is in turmoil, and so I must return to it and get back to working on the third book in the series!  Have a great day everyone!

Monday, August 11, 2014

20 Days Left

A month ago I began my Library Campaign with high hopes.  In that month, those hopes have begun to sour.  True, there is still 20 days left - the campaign runs through August, but if the next twenty days are indicative of the past month, it will end with disappointment.

The whole focus behind the campaign from the very beginning has been to donate a healthy portion of digital book profits to a local area library (50%) that needs close to $2mil in order to begin construction on a new building that is needed in order to meet the changing times and technology.

From the very first day, I had hopes that the campaign would be a success.  I was sure that the support would be there.  I posted about it on my Facebook Author page, my personal Facebook page, and took to Twitter, where most of my focus was aimed, since Twitter has the potential to reach an unbelievable amount of people.

The catch with Twitter is that people have to respond.  They have to retweet in order to help spread the word.  Such a simple thing to do, nothing to lose and so much to gain for the library.

But the hard truth is that as simple as it is, only a few people have stepped forward and supported with retweets.  One person more than anyone else.  One.  Among how many?

'Why retweet?  There's nothing in it for me.' 'I don't have the time.'  'Someone else will do it.'  'I'm not interested.'  This is the general feeling I've gotten from the Twitter community.  And if I sound harsh, it's because I guess I had high expectations.

I thought others would feel as strongly about helping a community, doing something worthwhile.  I've been disappointed, and feel like there's more selfishness than selflessness in the world.  Part of the reason for the campaign was not just to help the library, but to turn heads and show the world that with all the bad that goes on, we are still capable of doing something great - together.

The pyramids weren't built by a handful of people.  Neither was the Great Wall of China.  These are extraordinary examples of what we can accomplish together.  Each person doing a small, seemingly insignificant part of the greater picture, but each one as important as the next person.

We are surrounded day in and day out by negativity, yet every day there are sparks of kindness throughout the world that are done.  And though these small acts of kindness are rarely seen by the masses, they are remembered forever by those that were affected by them.

Buildings are built every day, but for the most part they are funded by a company, or perhaps a small group.  That's why I had such high hopes for this campaign.  It went against the grain.  The funds would come not from a company or a small group of people, but by the masses that pulled together, each doing a small part.  Together, those small parts would add up to something extraordinary.  A single building that not only was funded by a mass of people, which in itself is an amazing accomplishment, but a building that would be a place for generations of children and adults to come to - to study, to read, to learn... to grow.

And maybe a part of this campaign could be looked at as a social experiment as well.  An experiment in humanity.  Do we exist for ourselves, concerned only with what we can get?  Or when an opportunity passes our way, do we seize the moment and do something that will benefits others?  The answer to that as I write this, is the former.

But we still have time.  Time to make a difference.  Time to do something extraordinary.  In all honesty, last month I thought that together we could hit that mark, that seemingly impossible amount of money needed yet for the library.  Do I think so now?  That would take a miracle, like winning the lottery.  It's possible, but sadly, I don't think practical.  It would take millions of people who truly care about making a difference as much as I do.

Is that harsh?  No.  It's hard truth.  We're all so used to the negativity that bombards us every day, that when something good and decent and worthwhile comes along, we're blinded to it for the most part.  Or we don't care, because there's nothing in it for us.

So, we have 20 days left.  20 days where we can still make a difference.  The opportunity is slipping through our fingers, but it's not quite out of reach.  We can still make a difference.  But it takes effort.  It takes people caring enough to take a few seconds to retweet, and pass the message on to their followers, who can pass it on to their followers, and so on.

And obviously, the retweets are not what increases that donation amount, but the digital book sales.  But the retweets gets the message out there.  It gets it to those who will choose to help do their own small part, either with their own retweet or perhaps picking up one or more of the digital books.

So we have 20 days.  If you want to help with a retweet, please follow me on Twitter @ScotttBorgman and retweet any of my tweets that deal with the library campaign or link to my blog.  If you choose to help increase that donation amount, all of my digital books are available on Amazon (5 in all, ranging from $2.99 - $3.99.)

How this campaign ends, ultimately, is up to each one of us.  The opportunity to do something extraordinary is there, but it's fading fast.  Seize it, or let it slip away?  Let it slip away, and it will be forgotten in a matter of days.  Seize it, and what was done will be long remembered.