4 Free Spooky Ebooks (with Sound Effects!)

When I was about nine years old, I ordered a cassette tape of Halloween sound effects out of the back of a catalog,

But here’s how big of a sound-effects nerd I am:

It wasn’t even October. Seriously.

Today, enhanced ebooks from Booktrack.com combine two of my favorite things: sound effects, and reading.

So here are four free reads perfect for the Halloween season:

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Life Is a Filmstrip, Not a Snapshot

antique camera

Picture a snapshot of your future, and then you can find a way to get there.

We tend to think of life in moments, as if you snap a photo, and that’s your life.

Fixed, unchanging.

But it doesn’t work that way.

Life is more like a filmstrip. It’s constantly in motion. Wherever you are in life right now, next year will be different. It might be better. It might be worse.

More often than not, the difference depends on what you do today.

Five years from now, most people will be doing exactly the same thing they’re doing right now. Will you?

Or will you come up with a plan to make life better?

A plan doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t have to have all of the answers right now. All you need to do is start thinking about what you want the snapshot of your life to look like five years from today.

Once you figure out where you want to go, then you can make a plan to get there.

Figure out what you need to build a bridge from today to tomorrow.

You might need training. You might need to enroll in a class or an apprenticeship program.

That’s where a lot of people get hung up. I’m too busy, they say. My schedule is packed. I don’t have time.

The truth? You do have time.

Like everyone on this planet, you have 24 hours a day, 168 hours per week, the same as everyone else. If you sleep eight hours a night, and work eight hours day, that still leaves you 56 hours a week for everything else.

Turn the television off. Spend half an hour a night reading a book. Books will change your life.

The average millionaire reads a nonfiction book every month.

Before I became a full-time writer five years ago, I read hundreds of books.

Not just how-to books about writing, but also all of the novels I could find to use as models for my own writing.

I started reading the Wall Street Journal and business magazines, too.

Take your time. Reread something if you have to. Understand it. Everything you read makes a difference.

Reading will make your life better.

Whatever you read today will give you knowledge that you didn’t have yesterday. And that will help you plan tomorrow.

Changing your life doesn’t happen quickly. It takes time.

Success is a process of getting better.

Changing your life isn’t just one thing, but a series of things.

It’s not easy. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

The difference depends on what you do today. Picture that snapshot of your future. And start planning a way to get there.

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Categories: The Writing Life | Tags: | 2 Comments

What Do Men Really Think About Your Hair?

My next book is so new that even the title isn’t settled yet.

what men really think about your hair

Watch what happens when he runs out of shampoo.

But my agent sent me a nice note about how well I pulled off the simmering romantic tension between the lead characters.

Considering that the point-of-view character is a smart young woman, and I’m a guy (in my case, smart and young are arguable), this was quite a compliment.

And it got me thinking:

How do authors write about characters of the opposite gender?

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Spider Thief Steals Hibernating Tarantulas

pet tarantula

Just because it’s fuzzy doesn’t make it a cuddly pet.

Did you know that there’s a black market for stolen tarantulas?

Or that these spiders hibernate during the winter?

Can you imagine someone crazy enough to break into the dark, cobweb-choked crawlspace under a house and steal a bunch of giant spiders?

Yeah. My thoughts exactly.

Read the full article >

So, real life can be stranger than fiction. But still, I do my best to make fiction pretty freakin’ strange.

The Spider Thief: Omnibus paperback on Amazon >

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How to Be Creative First Thing in the Morning

If you want to write a book, why do it first thing in the morning?

how to be more creative

Are you more creative early in the morning?

Studies show that not only are we more creative in the morning, we’re also more optimistic.

In other words, we’re happier.

Sure, misery and angst have inspired plenty of creative geniuses.

But personally, I’d rather be creative when I’m in a good mood.

Wouldn’t you?

What’s the secret to getting creative?

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It Doesn’t Get Easier. You Just Get Better.

how to succeed at new years resolutions or die trying

Where do New Year’s resolutions go to die? Mostly, Cinnabon.

This is the week that New Year’s resolutions die.

I didn’t just make that up, by the way. I read it in The Wall Street Journal.

Also, there was something in there about bonds or treasuries or whatever.

So much for my financial resolutions.

Look, your New Year’s resolutions are doomed. But there’s a better way.

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Sneak Preview: Jack Campbell’s The Dragons of Dorcastle audio book

Jack Campbell Dragons of Dorcastle

Releases in 2015. Click for a free audiobook sample!

Let’s be clear: Jack Campbell is possibly my favorite author of all time.

That’s no hype. When he publishes a new book, I put the world on hold until I’ve devoured every last page.

The Lost Fleet series (and its spin-offs, The Lost Stars, and Beyond the Frontier) are beyond addictive. They’ll make you forgo food and sleep. They’re so good, they should come with a warning label.

Now, Jack is about to do it again with a brand-new series.

And you can hear the audio right here.

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Book Trailer Contest: Win an Autographed Paperback!

Help me spread the word about Conspiracy of Angels. Share the official trailer, and you could win a paperback book autographed by yours truly.

Come on, it’s fun. And it couldn’t get any easier to win.

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11 Tips for World-Building in Science Fiction and Fantasy

How do authors create an imaginary world from scratch? This weekend, I’ll offer writers some world-building tips at MileHiCon in Denver.

Can’t make it to the convention? No worries. Here are the answers to eleven of your burning world-building questions.

MileHiCon: How do authors go about building a world?

World Building, World Destroying Ray Gun

Don’t “zap” your story with world-building mistakes!

Laurence MacNaughton: Personally, I immerse myself in the strangest real-world research I can possibly find.

My novel The Spider Thief sprang from a real-life case of amnesia, a real lost city in the Amazon, a frighteningly real tarantula migration, and a scientific mystery about a real-life toxin that can steal your memories.

Truth is, of course, stranger than fiction. So the most interesting place to start a story is with the truth.

MHC: What are some mistakes other authors have made, and how do you avoid them?

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Categories: For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ask an Author: World Building and Exposition

Ever wanted to know how a science fiction or fantasy author builds an imaginary world?

What Is World Building?

How do authors create strange new worlds? Find out!

Authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephanie Meyer, J.K. Rowling, Frank Herbert, William Gibson and scores of others are renowned for the worlds they’ve created.

What makes them so intriguing?

I’ve been invited to join a handful of other authors at MileHiCon here in Denver this month to talk about the reasons why (and how to do it).

What Is World Building?

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