What does your dreamy writing place look like?

As a fan of scary books and an enthusiast horror writer, I like my dreamy writing place to be this way:

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I like writing in a small room with a window which opens to a dark, foggy forest with broken trees and dark green tussocks. I want the room to be on the second floor of an old, wooden hug. I prefer the window to be open when I’m writing or reading under the gray, dim light. Also like the cold wind gusts through the window, papers and my hairs. The bookshelf must be in front of my bed, beside the writing desk.
And finally the most important part, an IR (interested reader). What’s an IR person? It can be anyone, your best friend, a member of your family or your husband/wife. A person who reads your manuscripts and criticizes your writing. A person whose critics come from deep in his/her heart and they are important and constructive for you. This loved person for me is my future lovely wife who stands beside me through days and nights, honest and true. But is there any girl who be brave enough to live in such horrible place with a mad writer like me?!!

I’m not sure:)

NOW WHAT’S YOUR DREAMY WIRING PLACE? Can’t wait to read about yours!

Amir.H.Ghazi

Tips for editing your writing

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No matter what type of writing you do, it can be easy to miss your own mistakes in the editing process. Since you wrote the words, you often read what you intended to write (and not what is actually written). You can’t see any flaws in your writing because you’re just too close to it.

Use these five tips to edit your own work more effectively — and to improve your writing.

1. Let Your Writing Rest for a Few Hours or Days

The more distance you put between yourself and your writing, the easier it is to make improvements and find mistakes. When possible, let important writing sit for a few days. When you pick up the material again, it’s almost like proofing someone else’s work.

If you don’t have the luxury of letting your work sit for days, then a few hours will have to do. Find another activity that will help you distance yourself from the writing. You might want to take a jog, wash the dishes, or take your dog to the park. Do something that clears your mind. Ideally, you can approach the work from a fresh perspective.

2. Read Your Writing in a New Format

Seeing your writing in a different format can help you correct everything from misspellings to poor word choice. If you have access to a printer, make a paper copy that you can use to note changes.

If you don’t have a printer, you can get a fresh look at your text by changing it to a different font, color, or size. You can even convert your text to HTML for a new perspective. It’s almost like reading someone else’s work on the web.

3. Read Your Writing Out Loud

This is a helpful tip for writers of all skill levels. Brains are tricky machines that often see what they want to see. Reading silently makes it easier for your brain to correct mistakes and fill in gaps. If your brain expects to see the word “off,” then it will quietly transform similar words, such as “oft” or “of,” to match those expectations.

Reading out loud disrupts your brain’s attempt to make everything look perfect. You will likely find yourself stammering through poorly worded sentences and pausing at misspelled words. If you have difficulty reading a section, then you know you’ve found a piece of writing you could improve.

4. Read Backwards

Disrupting narrative flow can help you find mistakes you would otherwise miss. Try reading your work backwards, starting with the last paragraph and ending with the first. This approach forces you to pay careful attention to details and makes it harder for your brain to correct mistakes. When you’re fully engaged in reading, you’re more likely to see opportunities for improvement.

5. Use Grammarly to Find and Avoid Mistakes

Grammarly is an automated proofreader that acts as a fresh set of eyes to look over your work carefully and spot spelling and grammar mistakes. Grammarly checks more than 250 advanced rules to find mistakes such as:

double negatives

run-on sentences

comma splices

sentence fragments

double pronouns

dangling modifiers

Writers who use Grammarly can also avoid future mistakes. The proofreader acts as a grammar coach that points out common writing problems and explains how to correct them. After Grammarly proofreads your work a few times, you’ll start to see common weaknesses, so you know what skills you need to improve.

Amir.H.Ghazi

Tips for self-publishing your book

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If you want to be a successful self-published author, here are 10 tips that you should pay close attention to:

1) In addition to following this site, join self-published and/or Indie writer’s groups both on and offline. Go to your favorite search engine (notice how I didn’t automatically assume you ‘Google’ everything?), and type in “Independent Writers Group” or “Self Published Writers Group” and watch the world come alive! These are the ‘doers’ of the world, and you can get plenty of advice on anything and everything you ever wanted to know about self-publishing but were afraid to ask. And you don’t need to wait until you have a book out to join! Join now…watch, ask, and be informed.

2)I know this is subjective, but please write a good book! There is too much crap cluttering cyberspace as it is, so put your heart into your book. If you feel you have done your best, then that is all a man can ask.

3)You need to have a good title and a good cover. Remember that last comment about cybercrap? Well if you want to stand out amongst them, do yourself a favor and create an eye-appealing, professional-looking cover. Your cover should not only look good large, but it should catch the eye when it is set as a thumbnail, because if you sell online it’s likely that people will only see a thumbnail of your book.

4)Have your book proofread! You can have a great book, but if it is filled with typos and grammatical errors, guess what comments will be left on Amazon, B&N, iTunes, etc.? Do yourself a favor, even if you can’t afford to pay a lot for a professional, you should be able to 1) use spellcheck and 2) ask a friend or family member to take a look. A new set of eyes will go a long way.

5)BEFORE you hit the “go” button to get 1,000,000 copies printed, be sure to get a proof of your book first! Getting a proof is different from having it proofread. Once your book is finished and at the printer of your choice, request or purchase a copy of it before it goes into full production. When your proof arrives give it a thorough looksy. This is your labor of love, if something doesn’t look right, change it. Better make those changes now than having a garage full of books with your name spelled wrong.

6)Make sure the Price is Right! No, I’m not talking about the television game show with Drew Carrey. It’s important to make sure that your book is priced appropriately. If you are using a Print on Demand service such as CreateSpace, they will kind of force your hand by telling you the minimum price you can sell your book for. Anything about that should become profit for you. But don’t get crazy.

If you are selling an eBook, keep in mind that the “sweet spot” for eBooks is usually around $2.99. You may consider starting at .99 cents, letting your book get a little momentum then gradually increasing it to $1.99, then $2.99. If you are selling on Amazon, familiarize yourself with their Royalty policy since they have 35% and 70% rates.

7)Unlike at a bookstore or in a library, online potential buyers can’t thumb through your book so they will rely on other people’s reviews. Solicit reviews on Amazon.com. How? Easy, send free copies to anyone who may have an interest in your genre or topic (including family or friends) and ask that they write a review at Amazon. Getting reviews will help with your book ranking. If Amazon sees that people are reviewing your book, they will rank it higher.

8)And no matter what site you use to sell your book, make sure that your book description and your publisher’s comments are well thought out. Potential buyers will also look to these areas to decide whether they will buy your book or not. If the description doesn’t provide them with enough information on your book, they may likely pass on it. This is especially true when you don’t have many reviews.

9)Create a website for your book (or better yet, yourself!), and link it to any of the places that you may sell your book. Now that you are a self-published author, you are a brand, and no brand is complete without its own website.

10)Market, Market, MARKET! How can you sell your book if they don’t know it exists? There are 1001 ways to market, so find the best ways for your book. And don’t just think online, think offline marketing as well! I will have quite a few posts about marketing, so stay tuned.

Amir.H.Ghazi

The Black House

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Twenty years ago, a boy named Jack Sawyer travelled to a parallel universe called The Territories to save his mother and her Territories “twinner” from a premature and agonizing death that would have brought cataclysm to the other world. Now Jack is a retired Los Angeles homicide detective living in the nearly nonexistent hamlet of Tamarack, WI. He has no recollection of his adventures in the Territories and was compelled to leave the police force when an odd, happenstance event threatened to awaken those memories.

When a series of gruesome murders occur in western Wisconsin that are reminiscent of those committed several decades earlier by a real-life madman named Albert Fish, the killer is dubbed “The Fisherman” and Jack’s buddy, the local chief of police, begs Jack to help his inexperienced force find him. But is this merely the work of a disturbed individual, or has a mysterious and malignant force been unleashed in this quiet town? What causes Jack’s inexplicable waking dreams, if that is what they are, of robins’ eggs and red feathers? It’s almost as if someone is trying to tell him something. As that message becomes increasingly impossible to ignore, Jack is drawn back to the Territories and to his own hidden past, where he may find the soul-strength to enter a terrifying house at the end of a deserted track of forest, there to encounter the obscene and ferocious evils sheltered within it.

Amir.H.Ghazi

Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas to all my Christian followers!!

On this most blessed day, I wish you love for all your kindness, and I hope the new year will bring you many days of happiness. May the light of love shine upon you, and may your life be filled with blessings in this Christmas season. I hope you know how much I value your friendship. I wish you a very merry Christmas and may we enjoy many more years together as friends. On this joyous day, and throughout the coming year, may your life be filled with good luck and prosperity. On this joyous day, and throughout the new year, may your life be filled with an abundance of love.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Amir.H.Ghazi

The Last Sherlock Holmes Story

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For fifty years after Dr Watson’s death, a packet of papers, written by the doctor himself, lay hidden in a locked box. The papers contained an extraordinary report of the case of Jack the Ripper and the horrible murders in the East End of London in 1888. The detective, of course, was the great Sherlock Holmes – but why was the report kept hidden for so long? This is the story that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle never wrote. It is a strange and frightening tale . . .

Amir.H.Ghazi

Happy Yalda

Yalda is one of the most celebrated traditional events in Iran which marks the longest night of the year.

Every year, on December 21st, Iranians celebrate the arrival of winter, the renewal of the sun and the victory of light over darkness on Yalda Night.
Family members get together (most often in the house of the eldest member) and stay awake all night long in Yalda.
Watermelon, pomegranate and dried nuts are served as a tradition and classic poetry and old mythologies are read in the gathering.
Getting a ‘Hafez reading’ from the book of great Persian poet Shamsu d-Din Muhammad Hafez-e Shirazi is also practiced in this night.
Central Asian countries such as Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and some Caucasian states such as Azerbaijan and Armenia share the same tradition as well and celebrate Yalda Night annually at this time of the year.

Amir.H.Ghazi

History of Horror Stories

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horror story, a story in which the focus is on creating a feeling of fear. Such tales are of ancient origin and form a substantial part of the body of folk literature. They can feature supernatural elements such as ghosts, witches, or vampires, or they can address more realistic psychological fears. In Western literature the literary cultivation of fear and curiosity for its own sake began to emerge in the 18th-century pre-Romantic era with the Gothic novel. The genre was invented by Horace Walpole, whose Castle of Otranto (1765) may be said to have founded the horror story as a legitimate literary form. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley introduced pseudoscience into the genre in her famous novel Frankenstein (1818), about the creation of a monster that ultimately destroys its creator.

In the Romantic era the German storyteller E.T.A. Hoffmann and the American Edgar Allan Poe raised the horror story to a level far above mere entertainment through their skillful intermingling of reason and madness, eerie atmosphere and everyday reality. They invested their spectres, doubles, and haunted houses with a psychological symbolism that gave their tales a haunting credibility.

The Gothic influence persisted throughout the 19th century in such works as Sheridan Le Fanu’s The House by the Churchyard and “Green Tea,” Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone, and Bram Stoker’s vampire tale Dracula. The influence was revived in the 20th century by science-fiction and fantasy writers such as Mervyn Peake in his Gormenghast series. Other masters of the horror tale were Ambrose Bierce, Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, H.P. Lovecraft, and Stephen King. Isolated masterpieces have been produced by writers not usually associated with the genre, such as Guy de Maupassant’s “Le Horla,” A.E. Coppard’s “Adam and Eve and Pinch Me,” Saki’s “Sredni Vashtar” and “The Open Window,” and W.F. Harvey’s “August Heat.” Some of the best-known horror stories owe their power to full-bodied characters that develop in realistic social environments and to the very absence of a mysterious atmosphere. In this category are Aleksandr Pushkin’s “The Queen of Spades” and W.W. Jacobs’s “The Monkey’s Paw.”

Amir.H.Ghazi

The world’s highest-earning authors, according to Forbes

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1. E.L. James: $95 million
In addition to record sales from her sultry Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (bolstered by strong e-book sales), James earned an extra $5 million for the movie rights to the book, Forbes says. The film is slated to release in 2014.

2. James Patterson: $91 million
The prolific thriller author can boast that one out of every 17 hardcover books sold in the U.S. bears his name. Part of his secret to success? Releasing around 10 new books a year—often with the help of cowriters. When collaborating on a book, Patterson creates an outline, a cowriter does the first draft, and he finishes up with whatever other drafts are necessary. “Some people can’t get past the word cowriter,’’  Patterson told Parade last year. “Lots of shows and movies are written by teams, so it’s not such a strange thing.” But the Maximum Ride and Alex Cross author is no laggard: “I write seven days a week,” he said.

3. Suzanne Collins: $55 million
Her Hunger Games series was already popular before the film starring Jennifer Lawrence became a sensation. But now, the former children’s television writer has reached the “Olympian heights of J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer,” Forbes writes.

4. Bill O’Reilly: $28 million
Who knew the Fox News pundit had become such a successful writer? His nonfiction books Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy soared to the top of best seller lists, and Forbes predicts his next, Killing Jesus, could be even bigger.

5. Danielle Steel: $26 million
The romance novelist publishes an average of more than three books per year, totaling more than 600 million copies.

6. Jeff Kinney: $24 million
Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is one of the most popular kids’ titles in recent memory. Plus, there have been three movie versions adapted from the books.

7. Janet Evanovich: $24 million
The writer made her millions thanks to the New York Times bestselling Stephanie Plum detective series, as well as twelve romance novels and the Alexandra Barnaby books and graphic novels.

8. Nora Roberts: $23 million
The longtime romance novelist has become “the queen of the e-book,” Forbes writes, with the 3.2 million digital copies sold in 2012 (she’s second only to E.L. James).

9. Dan Brown: $22 million
Though Inferno, Brown’s latest Robert Langdon novel, didn’t reach the kind of success The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol achieved, it was still the best-selling book of the first half of 2013.

10. Stephen King: $20 million
The master storyteller has written best sellers and literary fiction that have made the leap to film, TV, and the stage. Still, he says it’s not the monetary rewards that keep him writing. “The major job is still to entertain people,” he told Parade in May. “That’s what we’re supposed to do—writers, filmmakers, all of us.”

11. Dean Koontz: $20 million
With more than 450 million copies sold, Koontz has turn his suspense novels (Odd Thomas, Intensity, and Watchers, just to name a few) into a fortune.

12. John Grisham: $18 million
After 18 novels, the iconic author is still going strong. The Racketeer was the second best-selling hardcover last year, and he’ll publish another book, Sycamore Row, in October.

13. David Baldacci: $15 million
All 26 of Baldacci’s novels, including Absolute Power and The Camel Club, have been best sellers.

14. Rick Riordan: $14 million
One of the most beloved children’s book authors, Riordan’s fantasy adventures, including the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the Kane Chronicles, and the Heroes of Olympus, rocket their way to the top of bestseller lists.

15. J.K. Rowling: $13 million
Even after the Harry Potter series ended, Rowling still remains one of the world’s top authors. Last year, her first adult novel, The Casual Vacancy, was the best-selling hardcover book, and this year, The Cuckoo’s Calling, which she wrote under a pseudonym, could do the same.

Amir.H.Ghazi