Important notice regarding pricing and charitable donation!!!

November 26, 2011 at 4:41 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Well…hopefully no one interested in buying the book will be too annoyed….

When Shades of Grey: Prologue comes out, it will retail for $2.99 USD at both Kindle ( and Smashwords.

Kindle apparently sets a minimum price for a book of that length ($2.99) that I couldn’t alter on the pricing page, and in all fairness to both Kindle and Smashwords, i can’t charge less at one place than the other…forgive me book lovers…I’m still learning how this all works.

distributes about 2000x the amount that Smashwords does, so yes – I am basically selling myself out to the better distributor, playing the publishing game by their rule sheet…

Thank you for your patience and understanding during my growing pains as a self-published author of adult fiction.

Sincere regards and Happy Reading!

Amanda M. Holt

Completely Apologetic, Surfer of the Learning Curve and Aspiring Household Horror Icon

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Dragon Naturally Speaking…Naturally, I am AMAZED, DELIGHTED and INSPIRED!!!

November 18, 2011 at 5:44 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

…..I am dictating this blog post with Dragon naturally speaking and so far I am pleased with what I see.there will be some growing pains.but software keeps a fairly quickly with what I have said.and there seem to be minimal spelling and punctuation issues so far.however, now I am going to attempt to use some more punctuation, such as, this, and this, and this, and – this and “I wonder how long it will take before Dragon makes its first error or I make my first error.”

now as I look at what I have dictated I see that I haven’t been leaving spaces after my periods. and I haven’t been capitalizing words after the periods. So, this is a kind of tricky environments, you have to be very conscious of what you’re saying. And space I imagine that once I get dictating with the the wireless Bluetooth headset, there will be even more interesting situations.

That being said, Dragon naturally speaking his have really really space-space read that is really really cool piece of software.I just have to learn how to use it properly.

not bad for a first attempt out!

“I wonder how the software will do when I began preparing dialogue for my characters,” Amanda mused aloud. “I think it’s going to be tricky working out all the dialogue takes thought..although come to think of it, Jay by editor at ecstasy books always told me to avoid the use of dialogue tags wherever possible, as they can be annoying for a reader to navigate.”

wowsers! Pretty impressive so far!

I’ll leave you with this, because I have got some dictation I would like to make, and some serious writing to do!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Happy reading!

Sincere regards,

Amanda M.Holt
Awestruck Dragon NaturallySpeaking user, aspiring author and truly inspired Creatress

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Committing to 1k a day…

November 16, 2011 at 3:42 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

…..I’m trying my best to commit to writing at least 1k a day. That’s 1000 words of fiction, or roughly 2 pages of 500 words or 3 pages of 333.333 words 😉

And I seem to be doing fairly well keeping up with my goal.

Mind you, it’s only two days into my “New And Improved Writing Career”.

And I’ve written approximately 2.5k, as well as blogged, searched for and purchased cover art at ($90 for 6 licenses yesterday; $15 for one license today), went back to Staples for more supplies (I just could NOT resist a 30% off sale and caved in and decided to buy Microsoft Office 2010 instead of using Open Office [free software] — it was only $99 after my 30% sale discount….sadly, my gain is Staples loss [going out of business sale]…

And I know that some writers would consider it a form of “cheating”, but I also bought Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition software, in the hopes of boosting my productivity in the area of idea generation. Approx $225 taxes included after 30% discount :). Hopefully, it will be worth the $$$ cha ching $$$ I paid for it…If I don’t make use of it I am going to be super-pissed at myself!!! It came with a digital voice recorder that you can use to take dictation anywhere (i.e. breaks at work, where I intend to do a little dictation when i get story ideas or character ideas or what have you).

Cool thing about Dragon Naturally Speaking is it takes the dictation you made ont he recorder and TURNS IT INTO TYPED TEXT in a word document when you’re done. I’m assuming there will be TERRIBLE growing pains with punctuation and grammar and the like, but i’m not too concerned. Part of my self-discipline issue as a writer (the reason i procrastinate sometimes) is because sitting down and typing things out, or writing them out, especially when you’re skirting the edges of a possible writer’s block — this can seem like a huge thing to overcome or sit down and do. I seem to have the gift of gab, so with any luck, gabbing away at the voice recorder will help me get my ideas down and into typed text in a very efficient, time-saving, and well, smart way!

Dragon naturally speaking works well with a wireless Bluetooth enabled headset, so provided i don’t get a brain tumor, dictating around my apartment should be great!!! I’m really looking forward to using the software — i’m setting it up on my laptop after I wake up from night shift on Thursday. SO EXCITED!

Two more night shifts to go and I can spend some serious writing time, with a dash of exercise thrown in for good measure. The 25lbs I lost between New Years and now was a nice start, but i want to increase productivity in THAT area of my life as well. Maybe I should do a progress log and “Get It Done” chart for exercise, as well as for writing?

Actually, that’s not a TERRIBLE idea! It’s a neurotic idea, an OCD idea, but not a terrible one! Whatever will keep me on track (literally, I think the walking track will be a great way to increase cardio health and burn calories), whatever will work with minimal impact on my hedonistic ways and non-masochistic tendancies is just fine by me!

I will let you know how Dragon naturally Speaking works out for me.

It will either be the best thing since sliced bread, or the worst thing since rancid dairy. Either way: I’m being productive, learning something new about writing and about myself every day and making progress with polishing my skills as a writer!

Maybe if i commit to 1k of writing a day and 1k of walk-run-walk-run-walk-run a day, i will see great improvements all around? If I end up committing to the same for 2k a day, or even 3k a day of both — wow….imagine the stories i could write and then i might actually fit back into my size 10 plaid Le Chateau pants one day!!!

Anyway, that’s about it for now.

I have to eat and head in for a night shift.

For those of you who left comments: thank you for your kind words and encouragement! I appreciate it! For those of you who are fellow authors: what are you doing reading my Blog when you could be writing your masterpiece??? GET TO WORK!

Happy reading!

Sincere regards,

Amanda M. Holt
Anti-Procrastination Nazi-in-Training, Idea Machine (Sometimes on the Fritz) and Hungry RN

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Official Grand Re-Kindling of My Writing Career: TODAY!!!

November 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

…..after reading some articles and links to articles on Charlotte Dillon’s website (which has a HUGE section devoted to aspiring and established authors), I found myself going: “Why has my writing career gone stagnant? Why haven’t I sent anything in for publication lately? Why haven’t I been producing those k’s and k’s of word count that i used to?”

There are a few simple statements that can answer the above questions in absolute truths:

– procrastination/laziness on my part.
– new “real” career as nurse.
– termination of 4-year fling.
– lack of organization in work-life balance, meaning sporatic poorly planned writing sessions, and rare ones at that!
– too many ideas, not enough sit-down time to develope them.

So what was my solution to my little problem?


Not think, but act – do.

And do in an organized, damned-near professional approach.

See, my theory is this: if I want to be a successful author, I need to treat my writing career as just that — a career. Which isn’t to say I’m going to quit my day job (which is really a night/day job 🙂 ), it just means that I am going to buckle down and use some of Charlotte’s strategies and Plain Jane common sense to take those bountiful ideas and turn them into fiery electrons on my laptop – treat my writing business like a business, and hopefully be rewarded with hundreds of thousands possibly millions of words worth of sellable, marketable, publish-worth tale-telling!

One of Charlotte’s strategies is to use a “Get It Done” chart…a simple 7-day a week log of your activities, i.e. word count writted, edits, research, promotional activities you’ve done. I have printed this out and am going to give it a test run — try it for a few months and see if my productivity increases.

I have also started a series of journals where I outline my expenses (i.e this morning’s purchase at Staples — 30% off of everything in store, guys and gals! Closing out sale! — and yesterday’s purchase of six licenses for cover art for six of my novels from Jimmy Thomas’ site; my writing income; my communications with i.e. publishers, agents, other writers, cover artists; my writing To Do list; all stories to date (gotta keep track of those possibly best-selling first chapters of works-in-progress somehow); and what/where/when of published works.

I am keeping track of all of my receipts, and soon applying for a US IRS tax number, and trying to navigate my way through an understanding of the US tax system and how it will affect my Canadian Income Tax return when/if I begin to accumulate more US sales (which is my hope when i self-publish my work to Kindle and Smashwords, for starters).

I am also soon going to be hitting the library to make inquiries as to whether or not there are any writer’s groups in my area (i.e. critiquing circles, reading circles, author’s lounge, etc) — and if there aren’t any, I am damned well going to start one, as i see a purpose and need for it! Just the other day, I was chatting with a restaurant server who at 10K words of her story expressed a similar concern about keeping on task, writing wise – and wondering how to break into the industry, potential markets, the processes, the formatting of manuscripts, etc. I really feel that she is not alone in this City — I know more about the publishing process than the average Amanda, but I have a lot of unanswered questions too. Plus, it’s nice to bounce ideas for stories off of a nice live person instead of emailing or blogging or posting… Which is why I was totally thrilled when one of my co-workers read and gave feedback on a first four pages I’d just gotten excited about (gypsies getting their tongues cut out and exacting revenge for it — thanks JPS for your input! “Suspense” wasn’t what I was shooting for, but damn — what a compliment, i always consider suspense a very difficult thing to write! Thanks!).

Long story made shorter — if an author’s group doesn’t already exist here, i am going to start one. Even if it’s just a group of a couple of us lone wolves….at least it’s some input/support to benefit the pack.


So that’s about it for now….my fourth night shift is beginning to catch up with me.

time to head to bed before I start dotting my t’s and crossing my i’s.

I’m crossing my eyes as it is…


Sincere regards,

Amanda M. Holt
Neophyte Author With Nebulous Talents and Improving Ambition

p.s. charlotte dillon’s website can be found at

I found to be of particular use.

The Get It Done log chart can be found at

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