sallyhanan’s blog

A writer’s blog

How to change your Facebook page back to normal October 30, 2009

Filed under: Social media tips — sallyhanan @ 4:00 pm

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Sometimes others just do a better job explaining things, and in this case, it’s Joanne Dolles of “The Facebook Insider.” She tells you:

How to stop annoying everyone else with lists of the groups you’ve just joined and the new friends you’ve just made. Unfortunately, it doesn’t tell you how to block seeing everyone else’s list of new friends, but for now, you won’t be the pariah.

How to see everyone’s updates, not just the 250 Facebook have decided are important to you.




Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

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Commonly misspelled words October 24, 2009

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There are written words that people misspell, and seeing them causes my fists to form and my brain to scream. . . . Here are the culprits:

There is no such word.
A lot
I ate a lot of candy.
Her brother is a lot nicer.
She jogs a lot.
Your (these things belong to you)
Your purse, your house, your car, your boyfriend.
You’re (short for you are)
You’re skinny. You’re kind. You’re smarter than I thought.
Affect (verb/action word)
He affects my heart.
Her sharp words affected my emotions.
Effect (noun/person, place or thing)
The swine flu had a bad effect on my lungs.
His kissing had no effect on me.
Used a lot but not correct
All right
She drank all right, and she felt sick the next morning.
Than (for comparison)
He is taller than her.
She is more beautiful than that actress.
Then (relates to time)
And then we quit writing.
We ate and then we drove home.
Further (abstract)
Don’t push me any further!
Her imagination went further than she wanted it to go.
Farther (distance)
The plane went 150 miles farther than the airport.
The coach made us run farther than we had ever run before.
(I remember this because farther has the word far in it.)
There (a place)
No, she doesn’t live here, she lives over there.
He went there yesterday.
Their (belongs to them)
Their testimonies are exaggerated.
Their kids are wild.
(This is also easy to remember because there has the word here in it.)
I can’t bear (carry) this heavy burden.
Love bears all things.
She bared (exposed) her soul.
Her feet were bare (shoeless).
Lose (used more often as a verb)
I can’t lose you, you cannot leave me!
And when did your husband lose the remote control?
Loose (used more often as an adjective)
Wow, your pants are really loose on you! You must have lost a lot of weight.
She’s a loose woman, a nymphomaniac.
Loose/loosen, when used as a verb
Loose (completely release) me, set me free!
Loosen (partially release) my shackles and I will run far from here.
Hopefully this will help those of you who are not gifted with good spelling.



Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      





Find a concept for your novel October 21, 2009

Filed under: Writing — sallyhanan @ 11:33 pm
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For my last novel and the one my mind is currently cooking up, I got the basic idea from quotes. Last time around, I found the following quote:

“We know the truth, not only by the reason, but also by the heart.” ~ Blaise Pascal

I had spent some time around a friend who had once been a sniper, and he talked a lot about the secrecy and mental stress of the job. I then formed my novel around those two things. It’s called We Know the Truth and is currently with an agent. Here’s hoping!

Find the right quote
This time around (because of gearing up for NaNoWriMo), I went looking for the right quote again. My story begins with a girl who gets pregnant at seventeen and her mother is not impressed, to say the least. I specifically went in search of baby quotes and found a perfect quote that I can use part of as my title.

My basic concept is that the girl runs off to America with the aid of a rich man, but there are strings attached. Eventually she hears of her mother’s cancer and returns home to heal the relationship. This idea is still sorely lacking, though, because there is nothing to carry the story. I need a plot, a theme; novels based on daughters reuniting with their mothers don’t really sell in droves.

What if . . .
What if she falls for the older rich man? What if she still pines for her boyfriend? What if that boyfriend is a player? What if the child dies? What if she gives her up for adoption only to change her mind when the child is two because the father wants to marry her? What if the child is kidnapped? All these questions depend on which genre I want to write in, but no matter which one I choose, the reader must want to keep turning the pages to find out information.

What genre?
I could do some paranormal thing—she could discover a gift of mind reading and cause a lot of damage. Perhaps she gets into astral projection and visits her ex to torment him about impregnating her. I could make it a love story and a hunk of burning love shows up and she is in love in three days (although I hate the absurdness of that)l; I could take the suspense angle and have the child kidnapped, I could write Christian fiction and save them all in the process of love/suspense/paranormal activity.

What’s the goal?
So what if the child dies and the MC really loves kids and really wanted this baby once she was settled? What if the rich guy wants kids with her but she does not want them brought up by him? What if her biggest goal is to have kids and he is the chief antagonist to her having them? What if no publisher in the world will touch a novel with the chief goal of the protagonist being to have babies?

This, my friends, is the way a writer’s mind works. If you have any helpful suggestions that will turn me into a multi-millionaire, um, an inspiring writer, please let me know. 🙂 In the meantime, see what you can come up with based on quotes you find.

All the best with your own search for a concept and plot-driven theme.



Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      





What Is NaNoWriMo? October 19, 2009

Filed under: Writing — sallyhanan @ 1:49 pm
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“National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.”

How do I sign up?
Fill in the details on this form.

How much does it cost?
NaNoWriMo is free to everyone BUT, naturally, these things cost money. Here is a list of expenses the NaNoWriMo team incurs, so even if you can only contribute five bucks, it will make a difference.

nano_09_blk_support_100x100_2What do I do once I’ve signed up?
Wait for the e-mail to confirm your participation.
Read the forums to get a feel of what the heck it’s all about.
With some writing friends (or on the forums) plot your novel.
Download a word count widget for your blog, forums signature, etc.
Add a web badge to any public web page you own.
And then what?
Start writing on November 1. You’ll need to write close to 2,000 words a day, but it doesn’t matter if all you write is total trash. All that matters is the word count, and the whole point of this exercise is not to write something perfect and stunning; it’s to just write. It’s an exceptionally good project for the perfectionists among us, and face it, most writers tend to lean on the side of perfectionism.

The time for editing and going over mistakes and dumb writing is not November; it’s after the first draft is complete. Most novelists never get beyond their first chapter because they keep going over and over and over the same few sentences. You may as well quit as a writer if that’s all you’re ever going to do. To be a writer you have to WRITE!

I took part in this in 2007, and I now have the results (after quite a few edits and rewrites) in the hands of an agent. It’s called We Know The Truth. I don’t know if I would have ever finished the first draft had it not been for NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo_Flyer_thumbnail_0Some things you can expect if you participate in this year’s NaNoWriMo
A lot of time away from other daily activities and loved ones
Bad writing
Feeling like a total failure

Some good things you can expect
The beginnings of a finished novel
A sense of accomplishment
The thought that perhaps you can be a writer after all
A greater appreciation for your computer and writing software

The goal
To have a novel that is eventually good enough to submit to an agent or publishing house

If you’re under eighteen, and the thought of writing with a bunch of old fogies is a huge turn off, NaNoWriMo has a page just for you. It’s also a big help to teachers who would like to have their students go through the writing meat grinder, um, I mean, enjoy the delectable process of writing a novel.

I’d like to be more involved in this
If you’re one of those project-oriented people who loves to help the world, you can print off NaNoWriMo flyers and put them in bookstores.

If you’re the competitive type, you can check your area’s word count against those of other states or cities.

Take advantage of the discounts for Schrivener, Writer’s Digest Shop, and Alphasmart NEO that are available to NaNoWriMo participants.

Subscribe to the NaNoWriMo blog.

There is more fun to be found on the NaNoWriMo site, but rather than spoil it all for you, I’ll leave you to look around for yourself. Once the last day of November comes around, I hope to see many certificates posted on your sites for the world to see. It’s a huge accomplishment to be able to write 50,000 words of anything.

Carpe diem!



Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      





The legacy October 17, 2009

Filed under: Writing — sallyhanan @ 9:29 am
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The soil hadn’t even dried over his dad’s coffin when we lowered his mother’s into the ground. Heaped like caramel-shortbread mix over the grave, the rich Irish earth covered eighty-seven years of two lives from a different generation of living.

Gerry’s hand gripped the corner of my waist and pulled me closer, as if the closeness of life would push away the sting of death’s loss.

The funeral party stood around the bottom of the small hilly graveyard, wiping away more tears as three handfuls of dirt were thrown onto Carrie’s coffin. People who had worked in the shop with Carrie, neighbors, people who saw them walk about town together, the doctor who had answered their every call in the middle of the night, clergymen who had seen them sit in the middle of the church in silence just to feel His presence; these people shook their heads and hurt for the sons.

“Ah sure they couldn’t live without each other,” so many of them said as they shook the two brothers’ hands, the two left behind to carry on the legacy of kindness, generosity, and a love for God. “They were soul mates. They always said they wanted to go together.”

Perhaps one can look on it as a romantic event, but death is never romantic because others who loved the departed must now look forward and figure out how to live without them. Today the two brothers must pack up everything in the house their parents left behind—sheets, paintings, coffee cups. Everywhere they look they will see reminders of lives once lived, of a marriage that lasted sixty-four years.

Please pray for them.

Me? I’m back home again in the US, back to the daily living of today’s generations. I have coffee to drink, a blog post to write because I didn’t write one while I was away, a house to clean. Sometimes the important things lose all significance in the face of death.

If you have living parents, please call them today. Tell them you love them. Tell them you miss them. Tell them you’re sorry if you still have things to say sorry for. Life really is just a series of constant breaths, and we are all one breath away from eternity.

Live your life with fervent determination to build your own legacy of faith, hope, and love; and love much. These are the things we need to last forever.



Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      





Testimonials and endorsements—new laws for bloggers October 7, 2009

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The Federal Trade Commission has recently passed an adoption of revised guidelines for bloggers and other forms of media advertisements. These new additions will become effective on December 1, 2009.

Why the new rules?
The FTC is worried that we, the American people, cannot figure out who is paid for a review or endorsement v. who is doing it out of the kindness of his/her heart. The review talks about celebrities being paid to promote products they never even use, and there is worry we might be duped into believing that the celebrity actually cares about the item he/she endorses. In the same way, there are many bloggers who receive free products to review, and if Johnny Moolah gets a free Xbox 360, we need to know about that before we read his stunning review (in which he may smarm up to the givers of such toys).

What does this mean for bloggers?
If you are paid to endorse a product, you must reveal that fact.
If you get a free book/product to review, you must disclose that.
If you simply review something you bought with your own money and want to tell the world how horrible/fantastic it was, you can do whatever you want.

“Endorsers also may be liable for statements made in the course of their

(This is only if you make claims about the product that are untrue, e.g. you will lose forty lbs. in two weeks with no exercise if you drink Disappear sodas.)

Is it all on me to disclose what I earn/get for free out of my review?
“The manufacturer should advise him (Johnny Moolah) at the time it provides the gaming system (or car or book etc.) that this connection should be disclosed, and it should have procedures in place to try to monitor his postings for compliance.”

The summary?
Basically you have to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, even if you think your readers can’t handle the truth. You cannot claim that reading my collection of flash fiction made your hair grow, or that reading it in the restroom gave you rabies—stuff like that. 😀

“Endorsements must reflect the honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experience of the endorser.”
Isn’t this all a bit silly?
Well . . . yes, in my opinion. As school is mandatory, and every child is taught some kind of basic education, I can’t see how necessary this really is. With the clichéd “dumbing down of America,” perhaps we now need a whole load of newer laws to cover our newer levels of stupidity. And now, I will shut my mouth. 😉 (And no, I was not paid to do that, although all monetary offers to do so will be gratefully received.)



Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      





How to find and list comparative fiction/non-fiction October 4, 2009

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A good book proposal includes a comparative fiction/non-fiction search. This is the part of the proposal where you list a number of books that sound as if they might cover the same story line or theme of your book. Here’s how to find those books:

Scour the bookstore shelves
Go to the section where your future book will stand. (Mine would go in the inspirational romantic suspense section. Fortunately, there are only about twelve feet of that genre in our local store.) One by one, look at the book jacket blurbs of all the books there. If a book contains any of the main keywords your book is about, and it seems to cover the same things your book does, jot down the name of the book.

Once back on your computer, go to a large online bookstore like Amazon and do a search for each of the books on your list. Look at the blurbs again, and cut and paste (into a new Word doc) all of the outlines that are closest to yours, along with the name, author, publishing house and pub. date.

Search the main online bookstores
Amazon and Barnes and Noble are probably the most well known. If your book is about how to parent in love, search for groups of keywords like “love, parents, parenting, kids,” etc. Again, find the books that seem to be most like yours and add the descriptions to your Word doc.

Now you are ready to make your list. Narrow it down to just one Word page of similar books and write them like this (without the pictures).

COMPARATIVE CATEGORY FICTION (Romantic suspense, Christian)

Dee Henderson, The Witness, Tyndale (2006). Amanda Griffin witnesses a multiple murder; Deputy Chief of Police Luke Granger befriends her. He fails to convince Amanda to come out of hiding, however. Three years later, Luke finds his interest in Amanda becoming more personal.

And The Guardian, (The O’Malley Series #2), Tyndale House Publishers, (2005). A judge has been gunned down, and someone wants to kill the only woman who saw the murder. Marcus’s heart gets a workout, too, as he finds himself charmed by the lovely speechwriter who witnessed the crime.

Irene Hannon, An Eye for An Eye, (Heroes of Quantico #2), Revell; (September 1, 2009) FBI Hostage Rescue Team member has a chance encounter with an old flame, Emily Lawson. But their reunion is cut short by a sniper. Now Mark must find the shooter before he tries to strike again. Can Mark put the pieces together, keep Emily safe, and rekindle a long-dead relationship at the same time?

Although the closest in story line, We Know the Truth finds the male MC tormented between his choice to run from his wife’s discovery v. protect her life. This is the one relationship his heart will not let him cut the ties to.
As you can see, I have added a comment under the second one to show how my novel is different. This is what the goal of your list is for—to show that you have come up with a new story line or new plot idea that is unlike anything else currently on the market.

When I did my own study, I was able to talk my husband into coming with me to the bookstore. It saved an aching arm and he found more comparative books than I did. I hope you can find some kind-hearted companion for your own search.

Good luck!



Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      





Andy Andrew’s book The Noticer October 1, 2009

Filed under: Book reviews — sallyhanan @ 12:07 am
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I recently signed up with Thomas Nelson to become a book blogger. I agreed to read and review a book in a certain time frame and in exchange I got to read the book—always a good deal for a reader. 🙂 This is my first review.

The Noticer reminds me of Dan Miller’s writing in a way—the writing in this little book is not as good, but the book is an easy read with deep wisdom in its pages. Sometimes it only takes one sentence to imprint destiny.

At times the advice is a bit trite, e.g. the way to get out of depression is to focus on happy thoughts, or that to make a marriage good all you need is the right love language. Andy Andrews uses simple descriptions and simple writing to back up his points, and sometimes that’s what we need. We make life out of big words and big bold statements with our lives, when, ultimately, all God wants is the little simple things, the small seeds that can change lives.

I’m not sure Andrew’s ending was in line with the rest of the book, but it certainly wrapped things up for the reader.

Overall this was impactful. Age-wise, I would recommend it for teenagers and up. It would be a perfect gift for those who are stressed out, worried or angry a lot of the time. Would I buy it for myself? No, but I would definitely leave it in the bathroom or on the coffee table for others to enjoy.



Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      





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