Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Technique and Personal Experience in Writing

If a writer wants to learn more about his craft he will find many, many books and articles available which discuss the techniques of writing.

Personally, I've read dozens of books about writing. Most of them are good. Like many other writers, I have a few favorites. These treasured teachers helped me a great deal in the beginning of my career. One or two of my old friends assist me with every project I write.

Despite the fact that an abundance of good writing books are available to inquisitive writers, it seems we are always looking for more helpful advice from fellow writers and editors. Why? Because writing is a very complicated job. Because writing good books is a difficult job. And because writers are sensitive people who often lose confidence in their abilities and need "coaching" occasionally which will reassure them that they do have the ability to continue to produce quality work--provided they are willing to work hard enough to reach their goals.

However, as important as it is to keep writing skills honed by reading good books and articles on writing, it is an author's heart which enhances the specialness or uniqueness of any literary creation.

Technique, skill and a good command of language are very important to the production of quality writing. Equally important are the one-of-a-kind insights a writer brings to her project. No one has lived the life of a particular individual except that person. No one has seen things the way he sees them. No one has made his identical choices, experienced his life history, related to his particular parents as he has.

So, writers, read, study, learn your craft well, then use what you've learned in books and in life. Let your heart guide your stories as completely as you let your intellect integrate your crafting skills into your next project. The more personal your story, the more enjoyment you'll give your readers.


Fran Shaff, Award-Winning Author

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

E-Book Reading Devices

When e-books first arrived on the scene we read them on our computers or PDAs. Now we can read them on multiple devices.

Recently I downloaded the Adobe Digital Editions software for reading e-pub formatted books on my computer. Terrific clarity, very user friendly.

PDF files have always been nice to read on computers, and they continue to be a top choice for readers.

A few months ago I bought a Kindle. I totally LOVE it. It is a very impressive device. Readers can download books directly from Amazon to their Kindle or they can access books from other retail websites via their computers and then transfer these Mobi files to their Kindle. PDF and other text files are also transferable and readable on the Kindle. I'm sure there is much more a person can do with their Kindle, but I'm still learning.

(Readers, please add info you have about the Kindle and other reading devices to the comments. Thanks!)

Amazon reported this week that they are now selling more Kindle books than print books at

Barnes and Noble has the Nook reading device. I have heard nothing but good comments about this reader. People seem to love their Nooks as much as Kindle users love their reading devices.

Sony's reader is also quite popular. Again, I've heard nothing but satisfaction from readers of the Sony device.

Don't forget the I-Pad. Users of this fairly new device seem to love it, and Apple's I-Books are selling well.

In addition to the above devices many phones are also capable of carrying e-books. I have no personal experience with reading e-books on these devices. Since they are growing in popularity, though, I would guess people are enjoying newspapers, books and magazines on these slick devices too.

If you've been hesitant about getting an e-book reading device because you aren't sure you'd enjoying reading on it as much as you like reading hard copies of books, I want you to know that I am one reader who finds my Kindle books easier to read than paperbacks. The font size is adjustable, and they are less glaring than paperbacks when I'm reading in the sunshine. In fact, the Kindle doesn't glare at all in sunshine. Do indeed check out the reading device you think would best suit you and find out how terrific it can be. You'll be so glad you did.

Then begin to enjoy your summer reading.


Fran Shaff, Award-Winning Author

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More Free Reads

Last week I posted links to sites which feature free e-books. This week I want to expand on that a bit.

Special sites and major distributors aren't the only places on the Internet where you'll find free stories to read. Many publishers also have free books/shorts for their readers. Sites dedicated to promoting certain genres also provide links to places where readers can download free reads.

Some publishers and genre sites where free reads can be found include:

The Wild Rose Press:

Romance Junkies:

Wings ePress:

Coffee Time Romance:

The Long and Short of It:

Romance Divas:

Read Free Romance Stories:

White Rose Publishing:

Lillibridge Press:

Check your favorite publisher's home page or your favorite genre website and see if free stories are available. Chances are, you'll find something you'll enjoy.


Fran Shaff, Award-Winning Author

Monday, June 6, 2011

Free E-Books

Many authors are now releasing e-books free of charge. It's our way of introducing our work to prospective readers.

As a reader I love to "test the waters" with an author unfamiliar to me. If I like what I read, I'm likely to download other books from the author, free or not.

As a writer, I find offering a free download of my historical romance "Change of Heart" has induced many new readers to download my other books and stories or to buy them in paperback.

The availability of free books is a win/win situation for readers and writers.

Amazon, B&N, Sony, Kobo Books, I-Books and many more sites have free e-books available which include public domain books and newer stories from contemporary authors.

Other sites which specialize in offering free reads include Bibliotastic, ObookO, Get Free Books, Feedbooks and many more.

Check out this location for a list of places where free reads are available:

Each location has its own formats available. Some may have only PDF, others may also have Mobi (for Kindle), html or e-pub.

Get out your reading device and enjoy summer reading at hot free price!


Fran Shaff, Award-Winning Author