Saturday, December 21, 2019

Last-Minute #Christmas Gift Ideas for #Writing Friends #amwriting

With Christmas only a few days away, maybe you realize you need an extra gift or two. Did you know you can purchase a Kindle book for someone and have it delivered on Christmas? 

You can do this even if you don't have a Kindle. If they don't have a Kindle, they can read the book on the Kindle app. They can also exchange it for something else of equal value.

If you have writing friends – or people who have expressed an interest in writing but don't know how to start – may I suggest Advanced Plotting or You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers? 😃

Advanced Plotting is designed for the intermediate and advanced writer: you’ve finished a few manuscripts, read books and articles on writing, taken some classes, attended conferences. But you still struggle with plot, or suspect that your plotting needs work.

You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers is available for the Kindle, in paperback, or in Large Print paperback.

Remember the magic of bedtime stories? When you write for children, you have the most appreciative audience in the world. But to reach that audience, you need to write fresh, dynamic stories, whether you’re writing rhymed picture books, middle grade mysteries, edgy teen novels, nonfiction, or something else. This book will show you how.

Amazon provides instructions for purchasing and sending a Kindle book as a gift: 

Note: In order to gift a Kindle book title, you will need a valid 1-Click payment method for your account. You can set this up by going to Manage Your Content and Devices, selecting the Settings tab, and then clicking Edit Payment Method below Digital Payment Settings.
To purchase a Kindle book as a gift:
  1. From the Kindle Store in your desktop browser, select the book you want to purchase as a gift. Note: Free books, books on pre-order, and subscriptions cannot be gifted at this time.
  2. On the product detail page, click the Buy for others button.
  3. Enter the personal email address of your gift recipient. Tip: If you are unsure of the email address for your recipient, you can select Email the gift to me before placing your order. This allows you to forward the gift email or print and personally deliver it to your recipient. The gift recipient can enter the Gift Claim Code from the email, after logging in to their Amazon account.
  4. Enter a delivery date and an optional gift message.
  5. Click Place your order to finish your gift purchase using your Amazon 1-Click payment method.
Learn more at "Purchase a Kindle Book as a Gift."

Get both of these books, or any of the Chris Eboch middle grade novels suitable for ages nine and up, from my Amazon page.

For your cat-loving friends and family – or yourself – check out my new sweet romance series written as Kris Bock, which starts with Coffee and Crushes at the Cat Café.

Monday, December 9, 2019

#Holiday Gift Guide: #Writing Advice! #amwriting

You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers

When you write for children, you have the most appreciative audience in the world. But to reach that audience, you need to write fresh, dynamic stories, whether you’re writing rhymed picture books, middle grade mysteries, edgy teen novels, nonfiction, or something else.

Learn how to find ideas and develop those ideas into stories, articles, and books. Understand the basics of character development, plot, setting, and theme – and some advanced elements, along with how to use point of view, dialogue, and thoughts. Finally, learn about editing your work and getting critiques.

You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers is available for the Kindle, in paperback, or in Large Print paperback.



Advanced Plotting is designed for the intermediate and advanced writer: you’ve finished a few manuscripts, read books and articles on writing, taken some classes, attended conferences. But you still struggle with plot, or suspect that your plotting needs work. This book can help.

This really is helping me a lot. It's written beautifully and to-the-point. The essays really help you zero in on your own problems in your manuscript. The Plot Outline Exercise is a great tool!

I just read and—dissected—your well written  book: Advanced Plotting. It's now highlighted in bright orange and littered with many of those little 3M sticky labels.  GOOD JOB. There are too many just-for-beginners books out there. Yours was a delight.

See these and more at www.chriseboch.com or my Amazon page.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Write Better Next Year - #WritingTips

The holiday season can be a crazy time, when it’s hard to get any writing done. Still, it’s not too early to think about your writing goals next year. 

Maybe you have a NaNoWriMo manuscript to edit and polish. Or perhaps you have other projects that could use a boost before you send them out. Consider giving yourself the gift of improved writing knowledge, so you can reach your goals for the new year!

If you need help shaping your novel, or identifying problems, consider getting a professional critique. You can find my rates and recommendations here (short version: developmental/content editing at $2 per page for a novel, $40 for a picture book).

Stacy Whitman, Editorial Director of Tu Books, provided this list of professional editors who work directly with authors. Karen Sanderson, "The Word Shark," is an editor and proofreader who also has an Editor Spotlight series on her blog.

Writing books on writing is its own industry, providing many books that can give you advice on every aspect of writing.


Advanced Plotting is designed for the intermediate and advanced writer: you’ve finished a few manuscripts, read books and articles on writing, taken some classes, attended conferences. But you still struggle with plot, or suspect that your plotting needs work.

This book can help.

The Plot Outline Exercise is designed to help a writer work with a completed manuscript to identify and fix plot weaknesses. It can also be used to help flesh out an outline. Additional articles address specific plot challenges, such as getting off to a fast start, propping up a sagging middle, building to a climax, and improving your pacing. A dozen guest authors share advice from their own years of experience.

Read the book straight through, study the index to find help with your current problem, or dip in and out randomly — however you use this book, you’ll find fascinating insights and detailed tips to help you build a stronger plot and become a better writer.

"This really is helping me a lot. It’s written beautifully and to-the-point. The essays really help you zero in on your own problems in your manuscript. The Plot Outline Exercise is a great tool!"

Here are some other writing craft books I like. The links are to the authors’ websites or blogs. If you want to buy, it might be faster to go to your favorite online retailer and paste in the name, or ask your local bookstore to order the book.

My brother, scriptwriter Douglas Eboch, is co-author of The Hollywood Pitching Bible. While it’s targeted at scriptwriters wanting to sell screenplays, a lot of the material is helpful and interesting to novelists as well, especially if you are trying to find your book’s “hook” or write a query/synopsis.

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne and Dave King is one of my favorite writing craft books. Each chapter covers a specific tip for improving your style, and exercises at the end (with answers in the back) help you see if you are really “getting it.”

There’s a good book by Nancy Sanders called Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career, which points out that we typically write for three reasons – the emotional satisfaction of getting published, to make money, and for the love of writing. She suggests separating those three goals, so you don’t put pressure on yourself to sell what you are writing for love, and you find more practical ways of approaching the other two goals. She then addresses how to target each goal.


The Idiot’s Guide to Children’s Book Publishing, by Harold Underdown, is an excellent overview of the business. It explains the different genres, the difference between a magazine story and a picture book manuscript, how to find a publisher, etc.

Scene and Structure, by Jack Bickham, has a lot of good advice on pacing. Plot & Structure, by James Scott Bell, may also be of interest. Both of these are published by Writers Digest.

I found some interesting tidbits in Manuscript Makeover, by Elizabeth Lyon.

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression, by Angela Ackerman, is often recommended.

I’ve heard several authors talk about Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One, by Les Edgerton and The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile, by Noah Lukeman.

I’m a big fan of using close/deep point of view. Jill Elizabeth Nelson has a book called Rivet Your Readers with Deep POV.

And if you need help with grammar (or know someone who does), these have been recommended by writing teachers I know:

Things That Make Us (Sic), by Martha Brockenbrough
Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss
Painless Grammar, by Rebecca Elliott
Grammatically Correct by Anne Stilman


Please share your other favorite books in the comments. I hope you’ll be able to give yourself some writing gifts this year – and perhaps share the knowledge with other aspiring writers you know!


Chris Eboch’s novels for ages nine and up include The Eyes of Pharaoh, a mystery in ancient Egypt; The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan adventure; The Genie’s Gift, a middle eastern fantasy; and the Haunted series, about kids who travel with a ghost hunter TV show. 

Her writing craft books include You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers, and Advanced Plotting. Learn more at www.chriseboch.com or her Amazon page.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

#Holiday Gift Guide – Great Books for Middle Grade Readers #Christmas



Middle Grade Novels with History


Oh the weather outside is… not that bad here, actually, but it’s still feeling like the holiday season is in full swing. If you have a young reader on your shopping list, consider one of these titles from Chris Eboch, appropriate for ages 8 to 15.

The Genie’s Gift 


This lighthearted action novel set in the fifteenth-century Middle East draws on the mythology of The Arabian Nights. Shy and timid Anise determines to find the Genie Shakayak and claim the Gift of Sweet Speech. But the way is barred by a series of challenges, both ordinary and magical. How will Anise get past a vicious she-ghoul, a sorceress who turns people to stone, and mysterious sea monsters, when she can’t even speak in front of strangers? 


The Eyes of Pharaoh

Ancient Egypt in 1177 BC comes to life. When Reya hints that Egypt is in danger from foreign nomads, Seshta and Horus don’t take him seriously. How could anyone challenge Egypt? Then Reya disappears. To save their friend, Seshta and Horus spy on merchants, soldiers, and royalty, and start to suspect even The Eyes of Pharaoh, the powerful head of the secret police. Will Seshta and Horus escape the traps set for them, rescue Reya, and stop the plot against Egypt in time? See this and more at www.chriseboch.com or her Amazon page.

The Well of Sacrifice 


A Mayan girl in ninth-century Guatemala rebels against the High Priest who sacrifices anyone challenging his power. 

Kirkus Reviews called The Well of Sacrifice, “[An] engrossing first novel….Eboch crafts an exciting narrative with a richly textured depiction of ancient Mayan society….The novel shines not only for a faithful recreation of an unfamiliar, ancient world, but also for the introduction of a brave, likable and determined heroine.”

Watching this unorthodox 12-year-old girl outwit a high priest, escape jail, rescue her sister and more makes for a fast-paced read. An author’s note describes the historical context for the tale. - Publishers Weekly

Jesse Owens: Young Record Breaker and Milton Hershey: Young Chocolatier 


These inspirational biographies in Simon and Schuster’s Childhood of Famous Americans series are written under the name M.M. Eboch. 

Jesse Owens would be especially suitable for young athletes, while Milton Hershey might appeal to kids who struggle in school, as Milton did. They are full-length books at a middle grade interest level, but written at a third-grade reading level.

See these and more at www.chriseboch.com or her Amazon page.

Middle Grade Contemporary Novels


The Cousins in Action Series by Sam Bond begins with Operation Golden Llama


Dumped at their eccentric Grandma’s, Cagney, Olivia, Aidan, Lissy and Tess are convinced they’re in for a boring summer. But when Grandma gets a series of mysterious phone calls, and a highly unlikely pet sitter arrives, the cousins find themselves jetting off to Peru, where much to their surprise they find their adventures have only just begun.

You'll want the sequels, Operation Tiger Paw, Operation Jewel Thief, Operation Pharaoh’s Curse, and Operation Dude Ranch!

Visit Sam Bond’s website or her Amazon page.



The Sweet Spot, by Stacy Barnett Mozer


When thirteen-year-old Sam Barrette’s baseball coach tells her that her attitude’s holding her back, she wants to hit him in the head with a line drive. All stakes now rest on Sam’s performance at baseball training camp. Placed at the bottom with the weaker players, she will have to work her way up to A league, not just to show Coach that she can be the best team player possible, but to prove to herself that she can hold a bat with the All-Star boys.

Don't miss the follow-up novel, The Perfect Trip, a road trip adventure!

Visit Stacy Barnett Mozer’s website or her Amazon page.

Middle Grade Contemporary Fantasy Novels



The Galaxy Games Series by Greg Fishbone:


The Challengers

Things are looking up for Tyler Sato (literally!) as he and his friends scan the night sky for a star named for him by his Tokyo cousins in honor of his eleventh birthday. Ordinary stars tend to stay in one place, but Ty’s seems to be streaking directly toward Earth at an alarming rate. Soon the whole world is talking about TY SATO, the doomsday asteroid, and life is turned upside down for Ty Sato, the boy, who would rather be playing hoops in his best friend’s driveway….

The Amorphous Assassin

Thirteen-year-old Tyler Sato has lied, cheated, and scammed his way into the Galaxy Games. Now, on the eve of the galaxy-spanning sports tournament, Tyler’s past is catching up…with a vengeance!
Earth’s team of international all-stars is at each other’s throats. A shadowy conspiracy is on the move. And a shape-shifting alien assassin has Tyler in his sights.

Can Tyler step up his game to become the leader Earth needs? Or will the world finally discover that Tyler isn’t quite the hero that everyone believes?

Visit Greg Fishbone’s website or his Amazon page.

The Magic Mayhem Series by D. D. Roy


Jinnie Wishmaker

Six-time USA Today bestselling author Deanna Roy mixes adventure and magic in her first series for middle grade readers. In Jinnie Wishmaker, an eleven-year-old girl discovers she can grant any living thing its one true wish. The trouble is, once she grants the wish, she can’t control the results.

Get the sequels, Marcus Mender and Elektra Chaos.

The Magic Mayhem series begins with Jinnie Wishmaker. However, each book can be read as a standalone book.

Visit Deanna Roy’s blog or the Magic Mayhem Amazon page.