HSW September 2021 Newsletter

Next HSW Meeting 

Saturday October 9th at 10 am at Scheels

Google Meet will also be used for those who can’t attend in person.

Program is not set yet, but Matt is working on it. Once we have a confirmation, we will post it on our website and Facebook.

We will use Google Meet again and get it set up correctly this time so that those who are watching from home can see the computer slides or pages and we can see the people at home. We apologize for the setup last time. We had a miscommunication. I will be sending the join code out before the meeting and it will be on the website and Facebook.

First Pages: We will be doing First Pages at this meeting, so if you have the first page of a manuscript you would like critiqued, send it to mattbayan@aol.com by 7 pm on Friday, Oct. 8. Please make sure it is  12 point Times New Roman and double-spaced on an 8×10 -inch page. Include the name of work and the genre. Do not include your name.

From the President: Matt Bayan


I think it would be helpful to contrast two key elements of a story: setting and immediate scene. Immediate scene is writing that occurs in the moment. It’s a close POV where the reader is experiencing what is happening as it happens. 

Dialogue is usually immediate scene, unless the dialogue is recounting something that occurred off-stage, out of the sight of the reader. Usually something in the past.
Traditionally, stories started out with a description of setting. In both movies and books this was called “exposition.” However, in recent years, exposition has shrunk more and more. We have shorter attention spans. We want things to get moving. We don’t want a long explanation of background.

That’s why “immediate scene” has become more important to readers and moviegoers. Audiences want to get right into the story, be immersed in it. The challenge for writers is to plunge in, yet introduce the details of setting without bogging down the scene.

Think of TV shows such as, Law and Order, CSI, Gray’s Anatomy. The show usually starts with some kind of emergency or a murder. The audience doesn’t know the context at the start. The pieces start to get revealed as the show progresses.

How do James Bond movies start? With an action scene. In Casino Royale, the first ten minutes–the teaser–involves Bond chasing some operative in the most spectacular footrace I have ever seen. It looks like they’re in the tropics, but we don’t know where. We don’t know who the guy is who’s running from Bond. We don’t know why Bond is chasing him. This is a far cry from Dickens who would have given the dates of birth of pursued and pursuer, walked us through their grammar school days, and given the shoe size of everyone in the scene.

I’m NOT saying to start a novel with an action scene. I’m saying to get the reader into what’s happening right away. Forget prologues, world-building, data dumps, and a lot of description right up front. Work the setting and world-building into the story in pieces as you stay in immediate scene as much as possible.

The teaser that launches immediate scene is now expected by audiences. When we send queries to agents, they expect immediate scene too. The slow burn is something bestselling authors can afford because they’ve already captured an audience who is more willing to give them some leeway. But if you’re starting out, immediate scene is your best friend.


November’s Program Will Appeal to Your Artistic Side

Do you want to add more interest and color to your blog posts and newsletters? Want to get your book cover front and center to draw attention to it? 

For our November program, we will have Kathleen Sweeney from Book Brush on Google Meet to show us how to use Book Brush to improve your marketing. The program works for designing graphics, like the one I posted at the top of this article, and other elements to take your marketing up a notch.  At the training, Kathleen will be focusing on two areas of their training.

  1. Professional Looking Images- We want to highlight how to use Book Brush to produce images that look professional. 
  2. Unique Images – We know the Templates and Instant Mockups that Book Brush has can lead to several authors having similar looking images. It doesn’t have to be this way! Kathleen will help you discover how to use the Templates and Instant Mockups as a starting point for you to customize and make unique and amazing looking images!

She’ll also tell your more about Book Brush and answer questions. Join us at our November meeting to learn about  this.

Matt came up with an idea to help our authors reach potential readers within our own group. The idea is to get a free published book from up to 20 High Sierra Writers. While you may not read all the books offered, we’re asking you to review the ones you do read on Amazon and/or Good Reads or wherever you usually buy books. 

To make this easy, we will put all the books, listed by genre, on a flash drive with a short description. All books will be in pdf format. If you want to read it on a Kindle, you can use the Send to Kindle app on your computer to convert it to mobi format. 

Here are the guidelines to follow for submitting a book and getting a book flash drive.

  • All books on this drive should be published. They are copyrighted books. 
  • Submit only 1 book only per person. If you have a series, make it your first book. 
  • State genre, keywords, and a short book blurb when submitting to make it easier for readers to choose your book to read.
  • Submit the book cover image and the book via PDF. If you can’t convert it, contact Rene.
  • If you take a book drive, review any of the books you read from it. The author is giving you a free book, please be kind enough to write at least a short review on Amazon. 
  • Do not copy or share the book drive with others. This is for High Sierra Writers only. You may copy the books to your own computer, flash drive, or tablet.
  • Return the flash drive at the next meeting after you receive it. That way, we can give it to more members who wish to read.
  • To participate as an author, please submit your published book as stated above by November 1, 2021. Send them to RPAverett@gmail.com or mattbayan@aol.com

Authors: If you are willing to bring in a few print copies for those who abhor digital books, it would be appreciated. Make sure it is the same as the one on the book flash drive.

Questions? Please email either Rene or Matt.

An Update on Kindle Vella

By Rene Averett

It’s ironic this program is called Kindle Vella since it isn’t, at this time, available to Kindle’s readers. This may be one of the several issues in the newest reading platform from Amazon KDP. 

The episodic stories published on Vella are available on readers and phones that support iOS or a computer going directly to the link. For phones and tablets that support iOS, you can download the Kindle iOS app. 

Since the program is still in the beta stage, it lacks other features, which could make it better for the authors and readers. Finding stories can be difficult if you’re looking for a specific book or author since it doesn’t have a search option within the Vella section. If you know the name of the story and the author, you might be able to find it on the Amazon search in Kindle. I’ve had mixed results with this.

If you locate a story you want to follow, you can click the follow button. But, it seems to be hit or miss if you’ll get a notice when a new episode is uploaded. Some readers report getting notified on their phones or tablets, but not always. If you are using a computer to read, you don’t get anything. 

Right now, Vella is only available in the United States. British and Canadian authors are anxious to give it a try, but I think when the beta period ends, they will have better results than the U.S. Guinea pigs.

(This is a long article, so if you want to read more, please go to my blog at this link.)

To my knowledge, three High Sierra Writers are publishing on Kindle, Kitty Turner, Russell Jones, and me (under Lillian I. Wolfe). We could sure use your help to get more traction on the system, so if you would go to Vella and read, then give a thumbs up, it would be appreciated.  If any other HSW authors are on Kindle, please let me know. I am adding a page to the website with the stories and links to Vella to make it easier to locate the stories. 

Here are the stories and links:

Kitty Turner 
Financial Freedom Through Writing

Rene (Lillian Wolfe)
Cynara’s Destiny

Russell D. Jones
Call of the Void

To find the Vella stories from your computer or tablet, go to this link:

Oh, did I mention you get 200 free tokens to read a few episodes after the first three free ones?

High Sierra Writers has quite a few published writers in the group. We have a page featuring the various books grouped by author under genre. These are under HSW Writers link. As our authors release new books, we’ll feature them here . 

Please support our authors by reading and reviewing their books.

On Oct. 11, Gavin Black’s novel, Crop Burner: The Tale Of Fearn & The Deamhon, will be released on Amazon. This is an imaginative fantasy novel. Here’s a shortened description from the Amazon page.

Despite his humble farming roots, Fearn displays incredible powers. Blessed by Dainua to harness the strength of every soul surrounding him, he’s known as an Asinta. But Fearn finds he is distrusted by the superstitious villagers, even his own father. Only his mentor believes in him. 
 When wickedness arrives, Fearn discovers the cost of love and loyalty, and of hate and betrayal. In venturing to save his land, he runs the risk of losing himself as deamhons play for keeps.

The book is available now for preorder at this link


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