Tech Talk – Start Writing Like a True Scrivener

by P. H. Solomon


Thanks to the Writing Prompts Crew for hosting me today – it’s a gracious opportunity. I’m honored that they thought of me to write about Scrivener today as part of their ongoing series regarding the tech side of writing. On that note, let’s get started…


WPTI Scrivener An artist’s work area can seem rather messy with paint, brushes, and other tools lying in seemingly haphazard order. There are finished projects, at least one painting in progress and several waiting in the wings nearby the easel. But if an artist doesn’t keep track of important tools and ideas then time and creative energy can be lost.

Writing is much the same way. There are various project ideas waiting to be written. There are notes lying around to do research, corrections for scenes or any other writing tasks. It can get overwhelming to an author. This is where Scrivener is most helpful. The software is an outstanding organizational tool that engenders an author’s creativity such that less time is spent sifting through disorganized projects. As a result, you can spend more time doing what you love – writing. Think of it as a virtual studio.

How Scrivener Helps

So what are several ways Scrivener improves your writing? For me it helps in the following ways (these are based on my blog post: 8 Ways Scrivener Aids My Writing):

  1. WPTI-Scr-1I’m better organized from the beginning of projects.
  2. I can easily make changes to structure.
  3. I can turn out short projects at a faster rate.
  4. I can use different media to assist my efforts.
  5. Since I’m more organized and faster with short projects I have more time for longer projects.
  6. In relation to number 5, I don’t waste time staring at a blank screen since all the preliminaries are out of the way.
  7. In relation to number 2, I can edit more effectively which is a plus for a novel.
  8. It’s my multi-function tool. As I’ve written in earlier posts, the software is so flexible I can use it for any type of work that I’m doing as a writer.

Where To Start

WPTI-Scr-2For many people Scrivener is a new way of developing their content whether it is fiction or non-fiction, short or long projects. So here are some ways to approach using Scrivener:

  • Take time to work through the tutorial. You won’t remember everything but it helps get you started.
  • Learn to use project templates which are extremely helpful based on the nature of your content.
  • Learn to use document templates which are even more helpful. These templates are internal to your project and allow you replicate documents easily by embedding common formatting and content.
  • Take time to format your projects and documents well to avoid lots of frustration later.


There are numerous ways to use Scrivener and I readily admit that I continue to learn about using it. But I’m committed to gaining proficiency so I can be a better writer. Fortunately, Scrivener has a lot of great help tools from the manual to forums. Also there are numerous blogs where people share their knowledge and resources. You can access some of my own posts via Archer’s Aim. Also try joining the Facebook group for Scrivener users. Never tried Scrivener before? You can download it for a free trial – the tutorial loads by default.


About P. H. Solomon

  1. PH SolomonP. H. Solomon is a fantasy fiction author who lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a computer whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. He is currently finishing the first book of a fantasy series, The Bow of Destiny and hopes to see it in print soon.


His blog/website features articles about Scrivener, writing and fantasy. You can connect with him via any of his links below:

Twitter  Facebook  Goodreads  Website

Pinterest  Google +

VIP Member, Rave Reviews Book Club

New email followers to his website can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of his book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

Bow Destiny WPTI

Just as a note: I am not affiliated with Scrivener in any official capacity. For support questions, pricing and other concerns please contact the vendor.

“Loony” for Looney Tunes

By Betty Boyd

“What’s Up Doc”?  This was Bugs Bunny opening line in many of the cartoons he starred in. I grew up watching many cartoons, but my favorite is Looney Tunes, by Warner Bros.

Elmer_FuddThe Looney Tunes cartoons had a way with sarcasm that was unique to them.  Bugs Bunny was wise beyond his years. He always had many tricks up his sleeve when he confronted Elmer Fudd and convinced him not to shoot.

Tweety Bird had a sweet disposition but knew how to make sure that Sylvester never got the better of her.

No matter how hard Daffy Duck tried, he could never outsmart Bugs Bunny.  Yosemite Sam was my brave cowboy of cartoons. Foghorn Leghorn kept the chicken hawk at bay. While watching the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote I had the desire to visit the Southwest. While I lived in Arizona I did see a real roadrunner, it just wasn’t the same as in Looney Tunes.

My favorite of all is Bugs Bunny. The carrot he ate was more like the carrot and the stick concept. Bugs always seemed to get his way, and get out of some tight spots he always got himself into.

I cannot image myself not growing up and watching these marvelous cartoons.  They made me laugh and cheer them on when it looked as if all was lost. Today’s young children are missing out on such an iconic legend as Looney Tunes.

Even though they have made movies with the Looney Tunes characters, and I did enjoy those, it is just is not the same as the originals that aired on television for so many years.

I will treasure my childhood more, knowing that for a brief time each Saturday morning I could laugh, and marvel at how Bugs Bunny was going to get out of his latest predicament

“That’s all Folks”

Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings!

Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

 Writing Prompt:  Stanley gazed at his editor’s face as she read the latest post on his blog. After what seemed an eternity, she looked up. “You know what you need to make this post really interesting?” …

“Elmer Fudd” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –

3 Questions Wednesday with Tracy Ruckman

Today’s 3 Questions Wednesday guest is Tracy Ruckman of Write Integrity Press, Pix-N-Pens Publishing, and Imaginate Magazine.

Tracy Ruckman HeadshotWe’re so glad you could join us, Tracy. First question:

Which author would you never get tired of, and why?

Tracy:  Would it be cheating to say all our authors? :) However, if you mean authors other than our own – I’m not sure I have an answer. I love series, so I read from series to series as I can. Right now, while I’m in graduate school, all my “fun” reading consists of screenplays and textbooks.

I appreciate your love of your own authors’ books, since I am one of those authors! Now…

Who is your favorite fictional villain?

Tracy: My head seems to be in TV shows as I think about the answer to this question. A few years ago, after some recommendations, we binged on a couple of series we’d not previously seen. Both series consisted of ensemble casts, with numerous villains, and some of them became my favorites.

When we were watching Prison Break, I felt guilty the entire time I watched because I kept rooting for them to break out. At the time, I remember thinking what great writers they had – to make people like me (normally not lawbreakers at all) – cheer on the “bad guys.” Of course, Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows weren’t villains, but the heroes of the story, even though they were in prison. But the villain that still boils my blood is the character of Theodore ‘T-Bag’ Bagwell. Robert Knepper did such an incredible job with the character that to this day, if I hear his voice, I get the creepies up my spine.

Lost is the other show we binged on. Sawyer will always be my favorite – and Josh Holloway is from the county where I live! – but Linus is the unforgettable villain. Anytime I see Michael Emerson on screen, I want to yell at him! LOL!

You’ve chosen some great villains. I’m in complete agreement with Linus. One last question:

What project are you currently working on?

Tracy: So many projects, so little time. :) Our Valentine book goes to press the week I’m answering these questions, so look for The Love Boat Bachelor on Kindle. Then, in the next few months, we’re launching new releases by Joan Deneve, Tammy Blackburn, Fay Lamb, Betty Thomason Owens, Marie Wells Coutu, and … I know I’m forgetting some. Bookmark the blog to get the latest updates:

We’re also in the process of launching a new digital magazine for readers and writers. IMAGINATE will include articles for writers, as well as creative pieces like short stories, flash fiction, poetry, and special features for readers. We’re currently accepting submissions and advertising, with a deadline of April 1. The quarterly magazine will debut on June 1, 2015. For more information, visit our website:

This is exciting! You have some wonderful projects in the works. The Writing Prompts Crew wishes you great success on all of these. And thanks so much for taking the time to complete our 3 Questions.

Readers, please read Tracy’s bio then leave a comment to win (drum roll) a three – book bundle (Kindle E-books)! Reader’s choice of three books in a series, or three separate books from Write Integrity Press or Pix-N-Pens Publishing (see the list below–some links are supplied so you can see them). Again, please leave a comment to be entered to win this valuable prize. The winner will be contacted via email and you can let us know at that time, which three (3) books you’d like.

More about Tracy Ruckman:

Tracy Ruckman is publisher, student, screenwriter, wife, and mom. She’s seeking her MFA in Screenwriting, and stays busy with her three publishing companies. In her spare time (in her dreams), she loves to cook, travel, explore.

Books from Write Integrity Press and Pix-N-Pens Publishing

Amazing Grace Series by Fay Lamb:

Stalking Willow

Better Than Revenge

Ties That Bind Series by Fay Lamb:



Nonfiction for writers: The Art of Characterization, Fay Lamb

The Sisters Redeemed Series, Jerusha Agen:

This Dance

This Shadow

This Redeemer

For Such a Moment, Marie Wells Coutu

Cracks in the Ice, Deanna Klingel

Towdah, Sheryl Holmes

Imperfect Wings, Elizabeth Noyes

Entrusted (Adirondack Surrender Series), Julie Arduini

Amelia’s Legacy (Legacy Series), Betty Owens

Multiple Authors:

A Dozen Apologies

A Ruby Christmas

The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt

Cartoons, Interviews, and Winners…Oh My!

springSpring is officially here and we’re kicking it off here at the Writing Prompts Blog with a winner. Marlene won Kelly Ann Riley’s latest book For the Birds and the $10 B & N gift card. Congratulations Marlene!

Don’t miss any of our posts this month on cartoons. Make sure to leave a comment on a Monday or Friday post and be entered to win the $25 Amazon gift card to be given away on May 1st. Use our writing prompt in your comment and be entered twice.

It’s that easy!

Our interviTracy Ruckman Headshotew tomorrow is with publisher Tracy Ruckman. You’ll have a chance to win 3 ebooks from Write Integrity Press or Pix-N-Pens Publishing. See you there!

What Makes a Cartoon Classic?

For your entertainment and enlightenment, I am interrupting our regular posting schedule to provide a look at a classic cartoon (via YouTube).

What makes a cartoon a classic, besides the obvious fact that it’s old?

Writer’s prompt: Watch this cartoon (or you can fast forward through it if you don’t have time to watch all of it).

  1. What classic elements does it contain?
  2. Can you guess the era?
  3. Is there a message?

Remember: Completing one of our Writing Prompts gains you an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

Tech Talk with Kimberly Rae


Today’s Tech Talk addresses the issue of self-publishing. Have you considered self-publishing, but freeze up in total terror before taking the first step? Kimberly Rae might have an answer for you.

Kimberly, I’m so glad you’re here to help our readers find out more about self-publishing. First, please share three things about yourself with our readers.


(1)   I’ve been to twenty countries–got to see Mt. Everest, raft the Nile River, and eat cow brains!

(2)   My first romantic suspense series on international human trafficking led to a human trafficking training ministry.

(3)   I had to leave the mission field due to Addison’s Disease.

Wow! You’ve definitely lived an interesting life. Why did you decide to pursue a career in the field of publishing?

Kimberly: I’ve been writing since childhood. When I was 10, my parents gave me a kid’s typewriter for Christmas. I used to pluck away writing my own little Nancy Drew stories. Then I’d tape them all together. I’ve been writing ever since, but never thought that’s what I’d be doing “for real.” I am so blessed!Deb Norton Angels Cover2cropped

After my husband and I learned enough to produce my own series of books, authors we knew started asking us for help. Some of them had spent thousands on subsidy publishing that had left them without much say in their cover artwork, book pricing, marketing etc. We praised Amazon’s Print-On-Demand option but many of them did not want to have to do the formatting and design themselves. That’s how we got started creating books for other authors and we’ve been doing it ever since.

I wouldn’t know myself where to start. So tell me, why do people find it so hard to professionally self-publish?

Kimberly: I think people are hindered from self-publishing for several reasons:

  1. The old stigma that self-publishing means your book isn’t good enough for traditional publishing. Fortunately, that stigma is changing drastically thanks to Print-On-Demand publishing and the huge popularity of e-books.
  2. The cost. Self-publishing used to mean spending several thousand dollars–money most authors would not be able to recover with sales. Now, thanks to Print-On-Demand, authors are able to create paperbacks and e-books with little cost.
  3. The design. Most authors are not artists as well, and a book cover that screams “homemade” is a big deterrent.
  4. The learning curve. To produce a book yourself means learning about formatting for the paperback, creating a cover, and HTML coding for the e-book. A lot of authors don’t want to spend that much time doing something that’s not writing.

Stolen Woman front coverSelf-publishing seems to be changing daily. What makes a self-published book attract attention to the viewer?

Kimberly: A great cover. People say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but we all do. If I’m looking at books on Amazon, I will click off a cover that looks homemade before even considering the book. If the cover is sloppy, people assume the writing will be as well.

What makes a cover look great? I wrote a whole article on that once. You can check it out here:

That is so true. I won’t purchase a book by someone I don’t know if the cover is unattractive.What are the advantages of hiring someone to help, compared to do-it-yourself templates or services?

Kimberly: Do-it-yourself templates can often end up looking like you did them yourself. Again, for an author who doesn’t want to put a lot of time and effort into learning to be a designer, hiring someone is a great way to get your book out on the market and let you continue to focus on your writing.

Another advantage of hiring someone is the personal attention to you and your book, as opposed to, say, using a POD company that already has hundreds of clients in their system.

We writers do need our time to write. What other computer or book services do you provide for your clients?

We have a full sheet of options where authors can choose services such as:Katherine Ann Following Amy Cover

Making their Createspace and Kindle accounts.

Creating a paperback with Print-On-Demand.

Creating an e-book with Kindle.

Creating a cover using their ideas, one they can be proud of.

Library of Congress number


Our author’s books are their own. They never have to get permission from us to use anything about their book to market or promote or even use in other books. I have friends who can’t use their own cover image without red tape and I feel that is wrong. It’s your book. It should belong to you.

We also walk our authors through the process of how to use the accounts, order books, do free days on Kindle, etc. Our publishing program is very small and we like it that way. That’s why we don’t have a website and work only through personal requests or referrals. Our authors get our personal attention and we like making books they are proud to present to the world.

I love the fact that you give the authors personal attention! Anything else you’d like to say regarding your field?

Kimberly: Whether you want to do it yourself of hire someone, I would definitely recommend Print-On-Demand over subsidy publishing. With POD, you get to make the choices about your cover, your interior, and your pricing. If you want to make changes down the road, you can for free (with subsidy, you often have to order hundreds of books up front, and if you find a typo, you’re stuck with it). Also, you have the freedom to market with the Kindle free day option, and you can use your cover art anywhere without copyright issues. I’ve been very happy with Amazon’s Createspace and Kindle programs and highly recommend them to other authors.

Happy book making!

Thanks for dropping by, Kimberly! If you’d like Kimberly to help you publish your book, she is offering a 10% discount to any author who mentions hearing about them through the Writing Prompts blog.

Author of 20 books, Kimberly Rae has been published over 300 times and has work in 5 languages. Her series of suspense novels on international human trafficking and missions (Stolen Woman, Stolen Child, Stolen Future), all self-published, are all Amazon bestsellers. She also has a series of non-fiction books on living joyfully despite chronic illness. Rae lives at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband and two young children. Find out more or contact Kimberly at

I Am Beautiful Cover new design 4 2014 (1)

2015 Price Chart

How NARROW WAY DESIGN can get your book into your hands for less:

Interior Book Formatting:
This is putting your manuscript into the correct format to make a book with Createspace: 215.00 
Book Cover:
Depending on your preference and budget, here are the cover options:
1. Cover fully created, but using your photos and design–this is if you have the idea and pictures, but we make a full cover using them 325.00
2. Cover from scratch–this is if you have nothing and we work with you to create a cover you can be proud of. 435.00
Formatting and uploading your book for a Kindle e-book  185.00

Interior Photos:
If you have photos to go inside your book, cost is $2 per photo for paperback.
$1 per photo for Kindle book

Createspace Account:
You can create your own account, or we can, including your Amazon book’s page info, keywords, and category. (You will need to put in your desired payment info, but we’ll walk you through that.)

KDP Account for Kindle:
Again, you can do this through your personal Amazon account, or we can create your KDP account either using your current Amazon signup information, or a separate account using new signup info.

Library of Congress number for your book:

Not necessary but looks more credible and is useful if you want to market your book to libraries. $35.00

When Cartoons Went Primetime


by Tammy Trail

As a kid growing up with only four television channels, I don’t remember my parents having to pay attention to what we watched on the tube. The Peanuts gang was the first cartoon I remember watching that wasn’t part of a Saturday morning line up.

Then about the time I entered junior high there was an animated program called, “Wait Till Your Father Gets Home.” It surrounded around the antics of an average family who allowed Dad to feel like he was in charge, most of the time. It was meant to be a comedy, the laugh tracks let us know when the funny parts took place. Later on when cable television came along the prime time cartoons took a sinister turn.

That’s just my opinion mind you, but I don’t appreciate “The Simpsons” like some people do. One description of “The Simpsons” is that its a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. Mark Groening created a dysfunctional family based on members of his own family, he just changed the names to protect the innocent. It has also been argued that it represents a more realistic view of life than “The Cosby Show” where Dad fixed everything before the end of the episode. Time magazine also named it the best television series of the 20th century.

I tend not to agree. I don’t embrace the use of humor to make fun of anyone because the way they live their life is different than my own. I get that satire can be used to show misguided or weak tendencies in society. Adult humor and situations  are just not the stuff for kids.

Unfortunately, there are children who watch this show for entertainment because it’s a “cartoon.” My first experience with foster care brought this straight into my home. These kiddos had no boundaries given to them as to what was appropriate television viewing for children. They were very upset when I explained that we don’t watch “South Park, Family Guy, or The Simpsons” in our home. Heck, we don’t even have cable television. I still remember their reactions, you would have thought I had taken away their birthdays! TomandJerryTitleCardc

There are even some cartoons out there today for kids that I don’t think are worth taking the time to watch. Even some of the animated movies have included some adult humor to appeal to parents that sit through a show with little ones. Why can’t we just let kids be kids? I had to explain that just because the program is a cartoon doesn’t mean it is meant to be seen by kids, or that it’s good. Some adults may need to learn the same lesson. I really do miss Tom and Jerry!

Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

DSC_0061Writing Prompt: It’s a picture prompt!

Use your imagination and

write a sentence or short paragraph

about this picture.

Have fun!