Saturday, October 29, 2016

5 Things All Writers Should Know About

 I was recently asked if there are any awesome resources out there that I recommend to newer writers, and I realized that there are actually a bunch. So here is a list of some awesome websites, apps, and more that I highly recommend for every writer -- new or not. 

1. Baby Names Genius (free)
If you write fiction like me, you likely get sick of trying to come up with names for characters. Also, being named Stormy, I think I have some (unrealistically) high standards for a name to be fitting, unique, and interesting. That's why you need this app! The awesome thing about this app is that it not only presents you with a bunch of baby names at the touch of a button, you can browse by gender, origin, country, and more. My favorite feature, though, is the "genius" button, where you can thumbs up or thumbs down names, and using some sort of cool science-y algorithm, the app gives you more of what you like. And those names you thumbed up? They save so you can go through them later. MAGICAL.

2. (free)
I am a visual person, so I love seeing my characters come to life. With Hero Machine (also free!), you can do just that. It does take time, but you create animated versions of your characters like the one I have below. Once you're done, you can save in two ways - just a headshot or full body. The background is also relatively customizable, and the color choices are absolutely incredible! Check it out!
My main character, Eroyn Fairchild 

3. (free)

Again with the visual stuff. is a free tool that allows you to create quotes layered over images. Of course Photoshop does the same thing, but uh... it costs money. This website is obviously much simpler, but it gets the job done. And it lets you choose the format, whether it be a FB or Twitter cover or something else. Here's one I made for promo for my upcoming release The Elimination. 

4. The Creative Habit: Learn it and Use it For Life by Twyla Tharp ($11.80)
Okay, so now we're done with free stuff. But if you're truly a writer, you have to be okay with investing in yourself. This book is one investment that I really recommend. Even if you aren't a writer, the book is applicable to any creative outlet. In fact, the author was a dancer before she wrote the book. You can buy it here. Or pretty much any other book retailer. 

5. MiracleBind Notebook ($17.29)
This notebook is the stuff dreams are made of. The "MiracleBind" refers to the fact that the binding is made specifically so that you can remove and rearrange pages easily. On top of that, you can buy refill pages, so you can use the notebook as long as it will hold up. And so far, for me, it's been a year and still going strong. That may not seem like a long time, but if you knew the places I've dragged that notebook to, you'd be applauding it. The Blueline website carries the notebook, and I promise it's worth the money.

This list is not even scratching the surface of the resources I use on a regular basis, but it is a pretty good place to start. I'm sure that there will be a part II in the future, but for now, check these out! 
What do you use? 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Free Write Friday Winner #3

Hi all! As you may know, I have been accepting submissions for a #FreeWriteFriday contest! This is the second one that I've run, and this time, I did not include a prompt, so the entries were all over the place in the absolute best way.

And in an unprecedented instance of awesome writing, myself and my judges decided that there will not be one entry published but two. 

So today, I am so pleased to announce that Wesley Martin, author of "The Man Eating Hashbrowns" has won #FreeWriteFriday #3! The second place winner - Kit Jackson, whose piece is untitled - will be published later in the month because I and the other judges felt that it has an undeniably spooky Halloween vibe! So without any further ado, here is "The Man Eating Hashbrowns!" 

There is a man with me at Denny’s. He is sitting in the corner by the exit that faces the window. He is staring out at the street on which nothing particularly interesting is happening, and eating hash browns. I am not a big fan of Denny’s hash browns. They are kind of moist and don’t taste like anything. But it is not the hash browns that interest me, it was the way the man is eating the hash browns. He is shoving them into his mouth with such a vigor that little bits of hash brown went flying in every direction. I wish I was this passionate about eating at Denny’s.
I almost feel bad for the hash browns. They surely do not want to go in such a horrible way. I can almost hear their screams as they are torn into pieces, defenseless against this massive and powerful adversary.
The Denny’s is completely silent, save for the sound of the man devouring his hash browns and the distant weeping of the old gods. I ponder my pancakes, sitting there so lifelessly on my grime-coated plate at three in the morning at a Denny’s in rural Idaho. I do not know how I got here. No one ever knows how they end up at Denny’s, life just drops us here in the middle of the night. Perhaps it is fate that has brought me too this spot, or perhaps it is because I am completely drunk. Life is truly a mystery.

The man has finished his hash browns now. He gets up and leaves without paying for his food. No one stops him. No one cares enough to try. I finish my pancakes silently, the voices of the old gods serenading me.