Ban Blind Alleys by Outlining Your Novel


Personally, I’m a pantser, meaning I (generally) write by the seat of my pants, allowing the story to take shape by itself. But my way is not the only way. Many writers swear by outlining, giving themselves a road map to get from blinking cursor on a terrifyingly blank screen to final words. While I love the thrill of writing without a net–at least, that’s what I tell myself–it never hurts to have more tools in your writing took kit.

Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success by K.M. Weiland. Amazon for $2.99. et outlines help you write a better book!

Writers often look upon outlines with fear and trembling. But when properly understood and correctly wielded, the outline is one of the most powerful weapons in a writer’s arsenal. Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success will:

Help you choose the right type of outline for you

Guide you in brainstorming plot ideas

Aid you in discovering your characters

Show you how to structure your scenes

Explain how to format your finished outline

Instruct you in how to use your outline

Reveal the benefits:
Ensures cohesion and balance

Prevents dead-end ideas

Provides foreshadowing

Offers assurance and motivation

Dispel misconceptions:

Requires formal formatting

Limits creativity

Robs the joy of discovery

Takes too much time


At Amazon, the Book Buys You


OK, that’s not entirely accurate. Or remotely accurate, but I couldn’t resist the joke.

Normally, about now I’d be telling you about a book you can buy from Amazon, but today I figured I’d flip that. I don’t know if you know, but Amazon will buy your books as well. It’s like a big, natural circle of reading. Amazon pays for shipping, so it won’t cost you anything. Current best-sellers are probably your best bet, but at least that takes some of the guilt out of buying a full-priced new book.

And it’s not just for books, either. You can trade in movies, video games and other things, and get an Amazon gift card in exchange. When I logged in, it even told me what some things I’d bought from Amazon were worth, which is nice to know, not that I’m parting with my Zumba World Party, which is the most fun game ever, but I digress.

So you can use books to feed your reading habit. It’s beautiful, in a way.

Anyway, thus concludes this public service announcement.




Learn How to Make Your Own Natural Kitchen Cleaners


I love knowing that virtually anything in the kitchen can be used as a cleaner. Well, except for peanut butter. I can’t imagine that peanut butter would be any good at cleaning anything. Jelly too, though it might make for a pretty decent adhesive. Anyway, if you’re interested, here’s how you can make your own cleaners.

Natural Kitchen Cleaners :The Ultimate Guide – Over 30 Green & Eco Friendly Solutions by Danielle Caples. Amazon for $2.99. Mixing up a safe non-toxic natural cleaner for your kitchen is a rather simple process that requires only a few ingredients, probably already stocked in your pantry. With the addition of a few essential oils to the mixture, your natural kitchen cleaner will be fragrant and contain anti-fungal, antibiotic and antiseptic properties without all of the harmful fragrances and chemicals added to commercial cleaners. We have collected the most green and eco friendly cleaning solutions from around the world. Enjoy!

Dreaming of California Gold? Here are Fascinating Facts, Mysteries and Myths About U.S. Coins


Coins are far more interesting than they may look. With all the talk of gold coins centering around a California couple who found a rusty can full, it’s a great time to dig into some of the tales and legends revolving around the not-always-so-humble coin.

It’s also a good time to learn a new word: numismatics, the study of coins.

Fascinating Facts, Mysteries and Myths About U.S. Coins by Robert R. Van Ryzin. Amazon for $9.39. Who were the models for the Indian Head nickel?
Why is it called the Orphan Annie?
What is the King of American Coins?

Fascinating Facts, Myths and Mysteries about U.S. Coins is a compilation of some of the more intriguing stories in the history of U.S. Mint coinage. Some are based on facts. Others are hobby myths. All of them make for entertaining reading. Read about:

The five-known 1913 Liberty head nickels
Augustus Staint-Gaudens and his famed gold $20
The short-lived 20-cent piece
The $1 million coin exhibit
The reason for the Liberty cover-up on the Standing Liberty quarter

The Lego Movie the Book


Most of the time, movies are based on books. This time, a book is based on a movie, “The Lego Movie,” to be exact. Engage young readers (and older readers alike) enthralled with the movie that has won small, brick-shaped hearts everywhere.

LEGO: The LEGO Movie: Junior Novel by Kate Howard. Amazon for $4.61. The first ever LEGO(R) movie hits the big screen February 7, 2014! This animated, family-friendly movie has an all-star voice cast.

Includes full-color insert!

Written and directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), The LEGO(R) Movie is a hilarious adventure that takes place in a world made entirely from LEGO bricks. Emmet, an ordinary LEGO Minifigure, is mistakenly thought to be an extraordinary Master Builder and he is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil tyrant (Lord Business) from gluing the universe together, thus destroying creativity. Now Emmet and his friend Lucy need to go on a quest through various LEGO lands to save the world.

The movie is being produced and distributed in conjunction with Warner Bros and has an all-star cast including Chris Pratt (Emmet), Will Ferrell (Lord Business), Elizabeth Banks (Lucy), Liam Neeson (Bad Cop), Allison Brie (Uni Kitty), Nick Offerman (Pirate), Morgan Freeman (Wizard), Will Arnett (Batman), and more!

Oh Ho Ho It’s Magic (Tricks)


Maybe you’re a nascent Barney Stintson in training (hopefully not. But maybe you are). Maybe you’ve just always wondered how they did that. Maybe you like to mystify children. Or maybe you’re not a fan of small talk.

Whatever it is, everyone needs a hobby. Why not magic?

Magic Tricks – 50 Simple, Fun and Quick Tricks Book (How To Be the Life of the Party) by Joshua Minute. Amazon for $3.99. Magic Tricks 50 Simple, Fun and Quick Tricks

Having a few magic tricks “up your sleeve” can go a long way in making you the life of the party – and that is what we want to do – provide you with varying types of knowledge that you can use to entertain and have fun.

Now the quickest way to do this is to learn some easy magic tricks and then go and challenge your friends with a trick or two.

Here is one example of a baffling and entertaining trick. Learn The Impossible (and Impassable) Corks. This trick baffles just about everyone that it is shown to. In fact, you can actually show the people how to do it and they, still, won’t be able to do it. This trick has even stumped Ph D’s in engineering for hours.

If you want something less challenging, read about how to levitate a cup. We guarantee you that as soon as you are done reading the trick you WILL be able to make that cup float.

If that trick isn’t enough, learn how to call a coin flip, correctly, one hundred percent o f the time. Again, those around you will never guess how this trick is done either.

The magic tricks in this ebook were purposely selected to accomplish three things. They had to be easy to do, they had to be fun and challenging, and they had to use something that you would find at a party or at a dinner in a fancy restaurant (or have on you, like a deck of cards.) Other tricks use bottles, napkins, coins, paper money, straws, bread, utensils and more).

Dream of Spring with Garden Design and Landscaping


We can dream of spring, right? Even if, right now, it’s a fantasy? Because it has to arrive eventually. I think.

We hope.

So round out your Free Book Friday with this gardening guide from Rachel Mathews. It’s going to come in handy. Someday.
Garden Design and Landscaping – The Beginner’s Guide to Successfully Landscaping a Garden by Rachel Mathews. FREE from
This book will explain what’s involved in successfully landscaping a garden. In order to create a fantastic looking landscaped garden, you need to know about what’s involved and how much it’s likely to cost you. If you’re not sure if you should DIY your garden or work with landscape professionals, this short book will give you all the information you need and will save you a great deal of money!