As a gift to you, the next chapter of The Highest Hope is now live on Wattpad! Go check it out!
We hope all our readers are having a very happy holiday season.
As a gift to you, the next chapter of The Highest Hope is now live on Wattpad! Go check it out!
As I'm sure most of you in the indie publishing world have already heard, book social media site GoodReads announced yesterday that they will begin charging to list giveaways. The prices will be $119 just to list a basic giveaway and $600 for a premium package. The service was previously free.
While we have enjoyed listing giveaways on GoodReads over these last few years, we do not see how these changes will benefit small presses like us, other indie authors, and readers who discover amazing new books this way. In fact, it disproportionately hurts us. The ability to give away Kindle books and some of the other features, such as e-mail reminders for recipients to leave a review, are very welcome, but we firmly believe $119 should be the cost for the premium features, not the cost of entry.
Because of this, once the new program goes live, Loyalty Press will no longer host giveaways on GoodReads. We still plan to do giveaways, but we will have to reassess how we will do them going forward. Karen will still remain active on GoodReads as a user.
We have a handful of paperback copies of Imagine Someday we were planning to give away closer to the release of Remember Yesterday, but we have altered our plans to run the giveaway before the changes go into effect. We will post more info once we have it.
If this new policy upsets you, as either a reader or an author, tell GoodReads about it in their survey, like we have! (We think it's telling that they've turned off comments on the initial announcement post...)
Lots of people have a hard time staying awake while reading. Even if they’re devout bookworms. Even if it’s early or the middle of the day. I sometimes have this problem too (though for me, it’s usually more of an issue to find a comfortable reading position). Loyalty Press is all about supporting dedicated readers, so we’ve put together this post in the hopes that it will make staying awake while reading a little easier.
Trying to read while lying down or reclined will, understandably, make you feel sleepier. Particularly if you are in a warm space or covered by a warm blanket. Try reading primarily while sitting up.
When you start to feel tired, take short breaks to wake yourself up again. Drink a cold beverage, walk around for a bit, do some chores.
Get More/Better Sleep
If you get sleepy normally, not just while reading, there might be something wrong with your sleep patterns/habits. There are a number of causes for this, ranging from stress to letting pets sleep with you. There are also more than a few fixes, such as simply going to bed earlier or turning the thermostat down at night. Try different things and see what works for you.
For some people, listening to an audiobook might make them fall asleep even faster, but for others, it might be the solution to their reading woes. You can listen while doing your daily exercise or chores – doing something while listening will make it harder to fall asleep.
Drop Unsatisfactory Books/Series
This can be hard for some of us (me included), but if a book just isn’t grabbing your attention, seriously consider putting it down and moving on to something else you’re excited to read.
Read During A Period Of The Day When You’re Most Awake
For most of us, this would be the late morning or early afternoon. Don’t wait until bedtime. Reading before bed can not only make it more likely you’ll get sleepy, but might actually make it harder for you to get to sleep too.
Caffeine might work for some people but generally it’s not the best answer to this problem, because it increases your heart rate and keeps you awake without really engaging your brain.
So there are our suggestions. Agree? Disagree? Have other techniques that work for you? Start a conversation in the comments!
The psychology of dropping a book (or worse, a series) is very interesting. There are some people who absolutely feel they HAVE to finish anything they start, and others who start something and drop it at a moment’s notice if it doesn’t immediately grip them.
But the reality is a lot more complicated and certainly far from the black and white of those two extremes.
For example, there are some books/series that I just picked up on a whim, have no attachment to, and have no problem dropping even fifty pages in if they fail to interest me. There are others where I just can’t bring myself not to finish the book, even if I’m not particularly impressed and probably won’t be picking up the next installment. Then there are series that I’m legitimately emotionally invested in and I get actually angry and conflicted about dropping it when something major happens that I don’t agree with or that makes little sense. I’ve cut series some slack and am very hard on others because of how personally invested in them I am and the quality I expect from the creator(s).
On the other hand, I’ve had plenty of series that didn’t impress me to begin with but grew on me over time, or I found the ending really impressively tied everything together. I’ve seen far more series that started out strong and then got worse over time. In fact, I’m having a very bad run of luck lately when it comes to falling in love with a series and then later being highly disappointed in the endings or the directions they take.
So dropping a series is not always as simple as the standard advice (“well, if you’re not enjoying it, stop reading it”) makes it out to be. A lot of it depends on that particular book/series and what it means to you. Just because this is fictional doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect us, sometimes in profound ways. For the most part, I’m in the “finish books you start” camp. I feel that unless there is absolutely nothing about a book that interests you, you should finish it. It might surprise you – a particular plot might get interesting or a character might intrigue you. Sometimes it’s really hard to drop a series, especially one you’ve been invested in for years. But if it’s really no fun anymore and you just can’t stand it, it’s time to drop it and look for something new that’s more to your liking. Or write it yourself.
What about you? Are you a “finish the book no matter what” type, or a “drop it on a whim” type? What circumstances change your answer? Let us know!
Flash fiction is a form of very short fiction – usually defined as being less than 1,000 words, though often even shorter (it largely depends on the market). It may sound very challenging to tell a complete story in such a short amount of space, and it is. Nonetheless, it’s possibly one of the most useful types of writing for authors and can be a lot of fun.
The single best and most useful thing about flash fiction is that it forces authors to be mindful of exactly what they put on the page. You can’t be wordy in a flash fiction or spend time on unnecessary characters or plot tangents. You simply must say more with less and that requires you to tighten, which often leads to bettering, your writing. Every sentence, every word must be carefully chosen, and less wordy writing is often more impactful anyway. This helps you learn how to edit your own writing, which is a skill all good writers must develop.
You can use flash fiction to practice an area of your writing you consider your weakest. For example, you could do a flash fiction consisting of only dialogue. Or you could work on setting a mood and atmosphere from the first sentence. It also gives you a satisfying sense of completeness if you have a difficult time completing projects, and gives you more work to submit to publications. This will hopefully build up your publishing credits without having to sink as much time into writing longer short stories or novels.
Like short stories, flash fiction can also serve as the beginning or springboard for considerably longer works. Characters that come to you in a flash fiction might intrigue you and make you want to write more about their world. It can inspire you to create more, or capture a fleeting bit of inspiration that wouldn’t be suited for a longer work.
So how do you write a flash fiction when you even struggle to prevent short stories from becoming novellas or novels? The key is to focus on a particular snapshot of a moment in time rather than trying to tell a complete story. Rather like a written picture. You generally want to focus on just an element, an emotion, a brief occurrence, a character or two. You can write just a beginning or an end, or even capture the middle of a story. Flash fiction lets you break a rule or two.
Flash fiction is a great type of fiction for developing your skills as a writer, perhaps the most useful. I didn’t even know it was a thing until my creative writing adviser in college had us do flash fiction exercises, and I’ve been appreciative of it ever since. It’s sure helped me. So if you haven’t ever tried it before, or find it difficult, give it a try. It’s an excellent challenge for writers that only stands to improve your writing.
Beginning tomorrow, December, the first novel in Karen Lofgren's exciting space opera adventure The Souls of the Stars Saga, will be on sale for $0.99 at all major ebook retailers! The sale will run through 6/22.
Over a hundred years in the future, Earth has fallen under the invasion of a hostile alien race—the Drevi. Half the population has been captured as specimens, while the rest are fighting for their lives in a resistance movement that has achieved more defeats than victories.
Ted Anderson, a 42-year-old information specialist from the American States, thought nothing could save him from his new life. In spite of being an aide to a leading Drevi scientist who treats him well, he is reminded every day what he truly is. A specimen. An Inferior with no future.
Then two strange new aliens arrive as representatives of their government, wanting to free humanity from the invading force. And all of Ted’s dreams come true. He’s on a starship, shooting through space at speeds he never before imagined. And most of all, he is free again.
Now Ted is drawn into a dangerous conflict to save all he knows and loves. But the fate of more than just humanity might rest on his shoulders.
In this stunning new science fiction epic, author Karen Lofgren weaves a tale of the human condition, and how even in the darkest of times, it can shine through into the future.
As summer starts to heat up, get ready for July, the second novel in the Souls of the Stars Saga and the highly anticipated sequel to December. July is just about finished being written and is slated to be released later this year.
In other news, Karen Lofgren is now on Wattpad! She intends to post work there frequently, as well as move some of her serialized stories over there. Past, Present, and Future has already been posted for free, and we hope to host The Highest Hope there as well. Previews of other works will also be available to peruse there, so be sure to follow her for all the latest updates!
Loyalty Press proudly presents to you a working draft of the prologue of the work Karen Lofgren considers to be her magnum opus - the Janitsaverse. Tell us what you think!
The beauty of the mountains was unrivaled in the glow of the morning sun, perhaps because the scene before her didn’t exist.
That isn’t exactly true, Susannah thought to herself. Because it did exist. The mountains were right there in front of her. She could feel the warmth of the sun on her skin and breathe in the fresh, pine-scented air through her nose. She could reach out and touch the trees and the cool clear water of the large, slow-moving river that wound its way through the mountain valley. And yet none of it seemed real.
Am I dreaming?
Because that was what it felt like. The colors seemed more vibrant and saturated, as if she could pick up every detail of the world around her in a way she’d never been able to before.
One moment she’d been wandering along a road by a grassy field in northern Minnesota. The next a blinding flash of silver light had filled her world and she’d found herself on a mysterious forested path. Behind her, she somehow knew, was the world she’d just left behind. Ahead, through a gateway filled with silver light, she couldn’t even begin to imagine.
Never sure what possessed her to venture forth, Susannah had gone through the gateway of light and ended up here, in these strange mountains.
A soft but strong voice suddenly rang out from behind her. “I thought I sensed something.”
Susannah jumped at the sound and whirled around. A woman, who was somewhat tall and had long, flowing golden hair, stood behind her near the base of some trees. But her face was the most striking. She was remarkably beautiful, with red lips and clear skin. And her crystal blue eyes held both a great joy and a great sorrow, as if she had seen into the core of reality itself.
“W—Who are you?” Susannah gasped, unable to think of anything better to say. “Where am I?”
“You’re in the Dream-Like State, a small pocket universe within our main one. My name is Maria.”
This post is going to be on the subject of the popular Hemingway App, and several things writers need to be aware of when using it. The intent here is NOT to say that the Hemingway App is a bad tool for you to use in your writing, but that’s just what it is – a tool in your (hopefully) varied arsenal.
The two biggest issues with the Hemingway App you need to know are:
1. It Can’t Replace An Editor
First off, the Hemingway App can only look at sentence structure and word usage. It can’t evaluate the merits of a story, characters, narrative, etc. Nor is it going to point out errors in punctuation usage, wrong word usage, and more.
For example, here’s a passage I threw together with a bunch of intentional errors to see how the App graded it:
"Mark and Amy, ate some sandwiches by the see. “Gee, the weather really nice today” Mark said smiling. “Yes, it is,” Amy replied she leaned back and soaked in the sun."
Hemingway App graded this passage as a 2, which it considers “Good.” This passage contains nothing it dislikes, except for one adverb, which it considers acceptable. In spite of the fact that it’s riddled with errors.
So no, in no way is it a suitable substitute for a human editor.
2. Some Of The Greatest Works Of English Literature Fail The App
My favorite example of this is the absolutely astounding final paragraph of “The Dead,” which is the last story in James Joyce’s masterpiece Dubliners.
"It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead."
As some will agree, this is one of the most beautiful passages ever written in the English language. So how does the Hemingway App grade it?
It says no phrases have simpler alternatives and that there are no uses of passive voice, which it likes. However, it found four adverbs, which the Hemingway App isn’t fond of – it tells Joyce to aim for one or fewer. And of the three sentences here, one is considered hard to read and the other very hard to read. And yet, these hard to read sentences are so lyrical and beautiful (particularly the last one) that it’s really hard not to see the literary merit of them.
Overall, Hemingway App grades this passage a 10, or an “OK.” (It wishes Joyce had been a 9.) It wishes James Joyce had been a better writer. I suspect other authors who have been hailed as classics, namely Charles Dickens, would fare even worse. Feel free to try out passages from some of your favorite books and see how they fare.
So remember that at the end of the day the App does help you take a second look at your writing and weed out some potential problems, but, you, as the author, have to decide when to follow the “rules” and when, for the sake of art, it’s best to break them.
Don't forget - today is your last day to enter our Goodreads giveaway for one of eight autographed copies of December, the first book in our sprawling The Souls of the Stars space opera series!
Be sure to enter for your chance to win!