Posts Tagged ‘writing’

My unpatented approach to a wimpy attention span!

https://www.amazon.com/Dana-Mentink/e/B001JRXHXK?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_4&qid=1602597451&sr=8-4

What’s to be done with a flabby attention span?

I have a problem. I have trouble keeping my thought train on the track until it reaches the station, if you understand what I mean. You know what? It’s not getting better as I age, unfortunately. So how does a gal who is distracted by literally everything manage to write more than forty books? I have developed a system that works for me. When I outline it for you, you’ll probably think it’s completely ridiculous, but all I can say is it works for me. I call it…the mini goal method. Basically, I break my life into mini tasks instead of mighty ones. Allow me to illustrate. Below is a typical writing day for me.

Up and at ‘em! I am an early riser. Bible study, prayer time, walk the dog, feed the turtle. A quick check in with my Private FB group and I’m ready to brew some coffee and get started.

Write 1000 words in my armchair. No getting up. No checking the phone. Tushy in the chair and here we go!

My mind is wandering and I am antsy to move. Time for a snack. Put the laundry in. Take Junie the Wonder Dog for another walk. Drink some water. Plan out the next scene while you’re zooming around.

Write 1000 words in the garden. That text can wait. The phone will survive without attention. Stop looking at those birds. Okay, maybe a tiny peek at the wee little lizard because…I mean…he’s adorable!

Lunch! Woo hoo! Papa Bear is waiting. The porch will be perfect if it’s not too beastly hot. Listen to those hummingbirds.

Go for a walk without Junie. Ignore those sad terrier eyes. Walk fast. You’ll solve all your plot problems and get that poor woman out of the trunk you’ve placed her.

Write 1000 words now that you know how to get the heroine out of the trunk. Move the laundry to the dryer, post some afternoon social media content.

It’s 4:00 and time to “quit.” Look up and notice there are dishes to be done, laundry to be folded, and a dog to be snuggled. Return the box turtle to her night accommodations. Remember that you forgot to drink water all day. Start in on dinner preparations and think about how you’ll save the hero from that nasty bullet wound he incurred this afternoon.

The day’s almost done and I met my word count. Woo hoo! Mini tasks met and work count complete. Ready to get started tomorrow!

So you see? As my father always told me, “You can only eat an elephant one bite at a time!”…especially if you have a flabby attention span!

(You can find more of these pithy articles at Because Fiction Magazine.)https://www.becausefiction.com/dana-mentink/

Find out more about Dana at http://www.danamentink.com

Getting out some old school tools!

 

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I have always said that the truth is far stranger than fiction. This pandemic business has proved my point for sure. I thought I’d take a break from my my current inspy suspense series to bring you three observations about this wild and wacky time we are experiencing. 

  1. The old ways are turning out to be pretty handy after all! Last year I taught third grade and we finished the year remotely. Do you know what we did to help keep our third graders connected? We sent them postcards! Good old fashioned snail mail with actual handwritten jokes on them. You know what? They were THRILLED. A young teacher at our site wondered how the kids would stay in touch with each other. How about we try that old school technique known as…a phone call! Yep, the old dinosaur ways are still useful after all! 

2. Privacy is at a premium. We’ve got four people (two college kids and Papa Bear and me) living in a teeny tiny house along with a dog,  a box turtle and two frogs. There are online classes, work meetings, and personal calls going on all over the place. Having a private conversation is really a challenge. I have taken to sitting in my car in the garage to chat. Weird, huh? My mode of transportation has morphed into a private office! Stranger than fiction! 

3.  And the final strangeness…in order to celebrate our fifth graders graduation from school, we were asked to video tape ourselves clapping. You haven’t experienced awkward until you are cheering and clapping by yourself in the back yard while your hubby records you. Odd! Even weirder, my older bear cub is graduating from junior college and they were afraid the caps wouldn’t arrive in time, so they sent them a Snap Chat filter to photoshop a cap on their heads. 

In a million years, would you ever have expected the world to change so dramatically? Me neither. Stranger than fiction indeed! 

What strikes you as strange these days? 

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https://www.bookbub.com/profile/dana-mentink

 

Rein in those horses, writers!

 

Hi, all. Just saddling up for some last round final edits and I thought I’d share some hard won wisdom with you! Check out the video link below!

https://youtu.be/wEEjw0jgUs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow me on my Amazon author page for all the exciting announcements!

Dana’s Amazon Author Page

Author tip: top three ways to annoy people…

 

pexels-photo-958164.jpegYep, I worked real hard to land that first publishing contract and boy howdy, it wasn’t a piece of cake to land the other thirty plus either. Writing professionally is difficult and we authors have an obligation to trot our names, awards and five star reviews out into the world to encourage people to BUY OUR BOOKS, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. Writing books goes hand in hand with selling them, and if one is to continue in this biz, tooting our author horns is vital. But here’s the thing…it’s really important to keep the priorities clear when one is in this nutty business. In order that my head does not begin to put too much stock in my press releases, I remind myself that, at the end of the day, people will not remember my cover, my book, and my reviews no matter how many stars are attached. It’s not false modesty, it’s fact. Each year more than a million books are published,  so my meticulously crafted words are buried in an avalanche of plenty of other fancy syllables from a bazillion other wordsmiths a lot more talented than I. (#noraroberts, #irenehannon, #geronimostilton)

So now that I’ve eaten that slice of humble pie, let me just wrap my mind around three sure fire practices that might just annoy the beejeebers out of my friends. (Pay attention, Dana. You don’t have that many friends to spare.)

1. Make sure you bring up your fancy author career in every conversation. Yep, it’s sure as shooting that everyone you encounter wants to hear all about your wacky fiction writing accomplishments. Maybe you could have a tee shirt made…. “I’m An Author, Legend in My Own Mind.”

2. Be sure to promote yourself NONSTOP on all social media platforms. Don’t talk about anything else, or people might get distracted. (I’ve been told I should have at least 30,000 Twitter followers. Only 28,000 to go! Must remember to beef up tweeting schedule to fifty three times a day.)

3. Never stray outside your “writing brand persona.” You’re a suspense writer so ALL of your social media channels should reflect this. (Brace yourself, people of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. I am prepared to deluge you with every kind of intense, edge of your seat promotion. Repeatedly. Over and over. Until your brain memorizes the name Dana- Buy-My-Books-Mentink. (No humor or warm fuzzy sentiments allowed, people. It’s all deadly serious business.)

All kidding aside, people, I know that the reality is I need to self promote in person and on social media, but that’s my business, my real work is encouraging people. I will never forget during my student teacher days, assisting a sobbing kiddo who dropped her special belt into the toilet. Did I stick my hand in there and fish it out? Yuppers. Was that important work? Absolutely. At the end of the day, nothing I ever write will probably mean as much as fishing a belt out of the toilet for a distraught child.

I hope I never forget that lesson.

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Info about Dana’s newest suspense novel

Birthing a new book…or an ugly monkey?

 

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Well here we go, people of Earth! It’s launch day for the first book in four book series! Am I excited? Yes! Scared? You betcha! Launching a new book is like having a baby. You hope everyone will say, “Amazing! Spectacular! Look at those ear lobes!” At the same time, you worry that people will say, “Oh man. That baby is just plain ugly, a real wrinkly faced monkey!” Yep, it takes a thick skin to be in this business, let me tell you. It also takes a lot of time. Launch day is the culmination of countless hours of writing, but also booking time on people’s blogs, soliciting reviews, planning posts on various social media channels and creating memes, among other things.

Speaking of hours…I’ve got like a bajillion contests going on to celebrate this book/monkey launch. Here are links to a few, and I also host a giveaway on my YouTube channel and occasionally on Instagram (dana_Mentink) as well as one on Goodreads.

Celebrate Lit Tour and Giveaway

 

Booksweeps 25 Author Giveaway

 

 

 

Dear writers who kill dogs…

Dear Writers Who Kill Off  Dogs;

Not to be overly regulatory, but I believe if you are going to kill off a dog in a novel, you should have to put a little warning label on the cover. Readers are sensitive about many things, but there is nothing that gets down in their cockles like the mistreatment of animals. I know. In my first cozy series I committed the sin of wounding a bird in book one. The bird was damaged mind you, not killed. Though I diligently explained the bird’s road to recovery, I got more mail about that than the murdered characters. People love their animals in illogical ways, most of all, their dogs. Why is this? Perhaps it’s the fact that dogs have no voice and they are the epitome of unconditional love. I am not sure, but what I do know is if I’m writing a book about dogs, they’re going to live, by gum. If I’m reading a book with a dog as a character, I jolly well expect Fido to survive. Irrational? Yes. Unrealistic? Maybe, but it’s a deal breaker for me. If that critter dies in chapter five, I’m out, and I don’t care how riveting the plot.

So there you go. Am I alone in this? How do you feel out there writers and readers of planet Earth? Can you handle dead dogs in your novels? 

Info about Dana’s book Sit, Stay, Love

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Dear Angry Social Media People

 

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Dear Angry Social Media Venters;

We certainly live in a great age, don’t we? From any device, anywhere, we have the freedom to speak our minds and beam our seat-of-the-pants thoughts out into the cyber world. So quick, so easy, and the cost to ourselves? Nada! It’s intoxicating the unbridled power, is it not? It’s like being able to eat the entire chocolate cake and fancy frosting rosettes without gaining an ounce! Shivers!

However, when I am in the middle of dashing off that hostile comment (Giants, you’re SERIOUSLY killing me this season), or a review (I mean is that REALLY how Gone Girl was supposed to end????) this little voice in my head says, “Just because you CAN say it, doesn’t mean you should.” Well why not? Chocolate cake, as we discussed before, and no weight gain! I mean…

But…my little voice reminds me as I finger the ‘submit’ button for my scathing sports remark (Giants, seriously, torture baseball again?), that there is always a cost to angry words. Could it be that the other sports fans have feelings, even DODGERS fans? Could these players that are disappointing me actually have families, fathers, children? Might it be that an author READS their reviews of the books they sweated blood and tears over, even NY Times bestselling authors? (Surely they lost any kind of feelings once they hit that level, right?)

Bottom line, my words can fan anger into more anger, can make me feel powerful in the venting of it, but at the same time, cost me something at the soul level,  in the diminishing of another to encourage myself. I think, for this moment, I will hit the delete button instead.

Blog readers…what do you think we can do to harness the incredible power of social media to encourage instead of discourage? 

A thank you note to Ms. Rowling

 

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Dear Ms. Rowling,

Every once in a while there’s a person who elevates your whole profession. Jerry Jenkins did that for Christian Fiction. You, Ms. Rowling, did that for the entire fiction industry. On the 20th birthday of your Harry Potter series, it seemed fitting to thank you. Though I will never even approach your level of genius, I slog away within the little box of my genre. You, Ms. Rowling, wrote your fantastical series without regard for labels or genres. Perhaps that is why yours is the only book series I’ve ever encountered that enchants kids and their parents. Your series put the match to the reading flame again, reminding folks that an exceptional book can cross lines of age, race, geography, etc. And to think, Ms. Rowling, you produced your first Harry Potter novels without the obligatory Facebook following, Instagram horde, or even a You Tube channel. You unleashed your book on the world without so much as a hint of the crucial writer’s platform. You transported us with your words, your worlds and sent both old and new readers scrambling to pull up a chair and tuck into your stories. Thank you for changing the world of fiction, Ms. Rowling. We owe you a debt of gratitude.

Sincerely,

Dana Mentink

P.S. Blog readers, why do you think Ms. Rowling’s books captured the world’s attention?

I’m never bored. You? Giveaway!

 

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Suspense Sisters Blog

 

Blogging over on the Suspense Sisters about my superhero ability….I’m never bored! Stop on by and post a comment to win an Amazon gift card!

Test your spring trivia knowledge…

 

imageBlogging over on the suspense sisters today.  Do you know the answer to this question?

Of the eight U.S. Presidents who died in office, how many died in the month of April?  

Click the link to find out the answer and to learn of some wacky spring happenings!

Springing into a new season…and a crazy contest!