Monday, February 29, 2016

Easy Way to Write a Bibliography for Books

Most of my nonfiction books have a bibliography. It makes my books look well researched and professional. however, my dirty little secret is that I never have to stress about how to write a bibliography. I cheat.

Fast and Easy Bibliography Maker

Back in the days when I used a typewriter or when the internet was fairly new, I had to write out my bibliographies while using a college writing handbook as a reference. It was a pain in the rump, but it had to be done.

When I started writing and publishing books for Kindle, I knew there had to be a better way to do the bibliographies. Then my teenage daughter showed me Prayers answered.

How to Use

When you go onto the BibMe page, you will be able to enter a title. Select book, magazine, newspaper, website, journal, film, or other. Click on the find button.

You will then get a list of source matching your title. Select the correct one. You will get a page that shows the source information. Click add to my bibliography.

In the side bar, the bibliography for the book or source that you entered will appear. You can choose which format you want it in: MLA, APA, Chicago, or Turabian. Copy and paste it into your file, making sure your sources are listed in alphabetical order. That's it.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

47 Halloween eBook Ideas

Halloween ebooks are fun to write and, if well written, they can sell wonderfully during the Halloween season. There are many different Halloweenie things you can write about to attract the Halloween crowd.


Halloween craft books are very popular. You can write about:

1. Knitting patterns
2. Crochet patterns
3. Papier mache masks
4. Papier mache decorations
5. Paper cut-out decorations
6. Sewing costumes
7. No-sew costumes
8. Glass etching
9. Painting patterns
10. Halloween inspired soaps
11. Quilt patterns
12. Applique patterns
13. Magnets


Some people go all out when decorating for Halloween and many other people want to know how they can do it.

14. How to make a haunted house
15. How to turn your yard into a graveyard
16. Pumpkin carving
17. Making scarecrows
18. Halloween window scenes
19. Candle-scapes


Halloween recipe books are popular among moms.

20. Cakes
21. Cookies
22. Creepy dinner recipes
23. Candie recipes
23. Cupcakes
24. Haunted gingerbread houses


There is nothing boring about the history of Halloween.

25. The origins of Halloween
26. How Halloween is celebrated worldwide or in just a certain country
27. The magical broom (cauldron, scarecrow, etc.)
28. Cats and Halloween (bats, owls, toads, etc.)

Witchy Books

Halloween, called Samhain by Wiccans and Pagans, is a favorite holiday for the followers of many diverse religions.

29. Halloween spells
30. Halloween charms
31. Halloween chants
32. Candle spells
33. Pagan/Heathen Samhain celebrations

Scary Stories

Who doesn't want to get scared out of their wits on Halloween?

34. Ghost stories
35. Monster stories
36.  Zombie stories

Halloween Businesses

For those who are looking to start a side business, you can write about how to start up a Halloween business.

37. How to start up a ghost walk tour
38. Haunted house business
39. Costume rental business
40. Custom costumes
41. Handmade spooky signs
42. Making and selling Halloween props
43. Pet costumes
44. Custom trick or treat bags


45. Illustrated children's books
46. Halloween games
47. Ghost stories for children or teens

Sunday, February 14, 2016

9 Tricks to Get Rid of Static Hair

When winter comes, static is in the air and in our hair. We wake up to static, we wash and dry our hair and there is static. It can attack us at any moment, giving us a bad case of flyaway hair. There are “cures” for static hair and plenty of quick and easy ways to get rid of static cling whether we are at home or at work.

1. It Rubs the Lotion On Its Hair

This is a great trick if you carry hand lotion in your purse when you are out and about. If static is troubling your hair, put a dollop of lotion on your hands and rub it onto your palms and fingers. Gently run your hands through your hair. A little of the lotion goes a long way, so don’t coat it on.

2. Mist-ify

If you keep getting zapped and your hair is sticking straight up, an easy fix to the problem is to set up a dehumidifier. This will put moisture back into the air and get rid of the static. If you don’t have a dehumidifier, you could also simmer some water on the stove and let the steam add humidity back into the air. Just keep watch on the pot so that it does not simmer away all of the water before you are able to refill it or turn the burner off.

3. Dryer Than Sheets

Got dryer sheets in the laundry room? Then you have a solution to flyaway hairs. Simply rub a hair comb with the dryer sheet and use the comb on your hair. If you don’t use combs, just dab the dryer sheet directly onto your hair until the static is out of it.

4. No Poo

Shampooing your hair on a daily basis dries it out. Then, come winter and the dry air, your hair is going to get even more dry, brittle, and full of static. One quick trick to help get rid of the static in your hair during the winter months is to cut back on shampooing. Instead, switch to washing your hair every other day unless your hair absolutely needs washing.

5. Frizz Spray

If you already have a bottle of frizz spray, it can be used to get rid of your static hair. I have used TRESemme Smooth & Silky No Frizz Shine Spray with good results.

6. Coconut Oil

I use coconut oil on my hair, skin, and I even rubbed some on my... squeaky door hinge the other night (got rid of the squeak perfectly). A small amount of coconut oil can also help get the static out of your hair. Simply rub a small amount of coconut oil on your hands and touch the oil to the ends of your hair. Be careful when dabbing your bangs. Too much oil on your bangs makes you look like you haven't showered in a week.

7. Hairspray

When you are in a pinch to get the static out of your hair, try hairspray. One trick is to spray a touch of hairspray on your hair while it is still damp. Otherwise, give it a quick spray whenever your hair is starting to stand straight up.

8. Use a Conditioner

Even if you don't normally use a hair conditioner in the warmer months, use one in the winter. Static is everywhere in the winter and using a conditioner in your hair in the winter will help reduce static head. Hair masks, used once a week, will moisturize your hair and also work to prevent hair static.

9. Plain Old Water

Get a clean spray bottle and fill it with water. Whenever you get full of static, just give yourself a spritze. This works best for people with straight hair and for people with short hair. Those of us with curly or frizzy hair should only use a spray of water if we style our hair naturally. This also works well with clothing, although after the water has evaporated, the static will come back.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

20 Hobbies for Writers That Inspire Creativity

Every writer needs a hobby or two. Here is a list of great hobbies that can inspire your creativity.

1. Wood Carving

From a block of wood and some simple carving tools, you can create the most beautiful pieces of artwork. The similarity between writing and wood carving is that you start with a blank and fill it in with imagery or words.

2. Hiking

Many people find hiking to be a very inspiring hobby that not only sparks creativity, but gives writers the exercise they need. Hiking trips can be planned ahead of time, alone or with groups. The only things you really need are a good pair of hiking boots and thick socks. If you are hiking alone, take pen and paper along with you for those spur of the moment inspirations.

3. Jewelry Making

Jewelry making is a very relaxing hobby that allows you to explore different colors and bead shapes. Make period pieces or take a dive into steampunk. Create jewelry for every mood and season.

4. Bird Watching

Bird watching is not only a relaxing hobby, it also puts you in touch with interesting people who share the same hobby. Learn about the birds you spot, learn the myths surrounding their existence, as well as the old superstitions, and weave the hobby into your next series of mystery novels.

5. Painting

It doesn’t matter if you can’t pick up a pencil and draw the shape of a horse to perfection. When you paint, the rules of drawing go out the window. Find artists that inspire you and learn different techniques. Explore different mediums and use what you learn in your next book.

6. Gardening

Gardening can be very relaxing and buying flower and herb plants for the garden is exciting. Gardening can inspire your writing in many ways, from the lore and superstitions to gardening as an occupation.

7. Running

Running burns off excess energy and the day to day stress of writing. You don’t have to run for miles or enter into a marathon to enjoy the benefits of running. Many writers enjoy this hobby as a way to clear the mind and to come up with new ideas.

8. Video Games

Yes, video games. They aren’t as bad as we are made to think. I enjoy playing the Elder Scroll games and find them to be relaxing as well as inspiring.

9. Yoga

Stretch, pull, twist, and relax. Yoga is a calming and physically beneficial hobby that can inspire many ideas. Some writers I know practice yoga every morning before they sit down to write. They find that it helps them prepare for the day mentally and it increases their creativity.

10. Knitting

I knit between between articles and blog posts. Lately, I have been knitting hats to donate to a women’s crisis center. Knitting is one of the ways that I “cool down” after I finish writing something or after I hit a certain word count on my book. It’s a moment of relaxation and knowing that I am giving back by donating my knitted items to those in need.

11. Acting

Do you have problems creating believable dialogue or getting your characters to interact casually? Acting can help you with that. From setting the scene to the creating the mood, acting lessons and trying out for stage plays will give you a deeper insight into the building blocks of story telling.

12. Candle Making

A lot goes into making candles. There’s more than one kind of wax, numerous different colors, wicks, and candle scents. Then there is the shape of the candle. You can use pre-made candle molds or you can make your own, original molds. By the time you are finished, you will have a beautiful candle to light up and create the right atmosphere for your next book.

13. Dancing

Sometimes you just got to get up and move about. Dance alone, learn to dance by DVD, or take a dance class. You never know when you can put some dancing into your story.

14. Genealogy

Genealogy will take you down many roads, from family stories and strangely beautiful photos to wars and forgotten customs. Researching your family’s past will open your eyes up to the world and the lives of the past. All of this is great inspiration for novels of all genres.

15. Cooking

Cooking has long been a hobby of mine, and it is what landed me my job at as the bread baking expert.

Cooking not only sparks creativity, it is also tied in with your production levels. You can cook in bulk and prepare meals ahead of time so that you have plenty of healthy meals to heat up while you are working on a writing project.

16. Model Building

Model building isn’t the popular hobby it used to be, but the things you can build will spur an endless array of story ideas. There are model kits for so many things, from buildings and ships to rockets and cars. Any item you build can inspire a story or several.

17. Playing an Instrument

Were you in a band back in school? Have you ever had an interest in learning to play an instrument? Learning to play an instrument takes time and determination, but it can also be a very relaxing and enjoyable experience.

18. Sewing

Years ago, when my two oldest children were small, I would sew them costumes for playtime and for Halloween. Dressing up and creating a magical world for them was fun and enabled me to write up a number of sewing articles. Now that I have a new little one, I am getting back into sewing costumes and dreaming of magical things.

19. Astronomy

Staring up at the stars at night and learning the myths surrounding the constellations is a beautiful way to use your free time. This hobby can inspire numerous book ideas, from science fiction to tales of mythic proportion.

20 Ghost Hunting

Heading out and searching local haunts will not only inspire your creativity, you will also learn about local history and catch up on old gossip. Many ghost hunters have turned to writing books, both nonfiction and fiction.

Friday, February 12, 2016

16 Short Book Ideas You Can Use Right Now

Can’t think of anything to write about? Here is a list of 16 different ideas and numerous non-fiction niches to get your writer’s brain churning.

1. Preparing for Disaster

People who prepare for a natural or manmade disaster are called preppers. I recently wrote four short books for this group of people and the sales are fantastic. Preppers are eager, fast learners. It is estimated that there are over 3 million preppers in the United States, and many of them buy Kindle books to help them in survival situations. To tap into this market, consider what you would have to do if a disaster struck your area. What makes you and your situation unique? How does someone in a wheelchair prepare for a disaster? How about families with infants or small children? Find an angle and research it to the max. Preppers are not idiots. In fact, many preppers I have talked to are highly intelligent people.

2. Psychiatric and Medical Conditions

Whether it is learning to overcome depression or diabetes, people want true, heartfelt personal accounts and inspiring help. Think of your own problems. How have you overcome them? If you haven’t overcome your problems, research the subject and begin working on yourself. Keep a journal of your experiences and write about it. It doesn’t matter if you’ve suffered from something as simple as acne or a fear of heights, there are always people with these same problems looking for a solution.

3. Making Money

Books that show different ways to make money are always popular. You can focus on a small business idea, such as how to start a fruit tart bakery, or you can focus on one of the many ways to make money online. If you have experience building wealth in the stock markets, find a unique angle or choose an audience and tailor the book towards them. People you will want to focus on include teenagers, women, new parents, and grandparents.

4. Life Changing

People are constantly searching for ways to improve their lives, their health, their outlook on life, and their situations. If there was one thing you could change about your life, what would it be? Let’s say you are a chronic night owl, but you want the benefits of being an early riser. Come up with a step-by-step plan to become an early morning riser, test it out, and write a how to book on the subject. Or how about the habits of successful people? If you or anyone else were to adopt these habits, how would it change lives?

5. You Look Beautiful!

Are you a genius when it comes to eye makeup? Are you up to date with fashions? Do you know how to sculpt eyebrows or do a total makeup transformation? People pay good money to look beautiful, so why now write a series of beauty guides?

6. Crafts

Are you good with crafts? Explore different types of crafts and start writing holiday craft books and themed craft books, from Easter to magic gnomes. Craft project books sell pretty well and if you are good at writing clear, step-by-step instructions, you’re well on your way to writing a pretty decent craft book.

7. How to Do Anything

How to short books are extremely popular and there are an unlimited amount of topics you can write about, such as how to build a chicken coop, how to crochet left-handed, and how to build a multi-million dollar empire online. Take a look at the things you do and have done. Your life is filled with how-to’s. Discover what they are, research the topics, and start writing.

8. Teach a Skill

Telemarketer, customer service representative, retail manager, and camp counselor: all of these people have skills that they can teach to others. Things are tough in the job market, but if you are already actively working, you have the knowledge to teach others about your job or how to get your job. Examples: how to break into car sales, providing the best customer service, and the opportunities available for anyone who wants to become an RN.

9. Real Estate

Most people first turn to books when they are interested in anything regarding real estate. This includes real estate as an investment, buying a first home, a vacation home, or a retirement home, buying commercial property, and how to build a rental empire. There are numerous niches within real estate, including flipping, home repairs and increasing the value of a home, how to show a home, and the elements of building a home and working with a contractor to get the most for your money.

10. Organic

Newspapers report that “organic” is finally mainstream and more and more consumers are actively seeking out only organic products. As a writer, you can teach readers how to jump on the organic bandwagon and make and sell organic products. There is also organic farming and cooking with organics. The list is incredibly long. Your best bet is to do some research on the word “organic” (type “organic” into Amazon’s search and see all the products that come up) and work on a list of possible ideas.

11. Remedies

What’s worse than having a problem? Having to go to the doctor’s office. Remedy books have always been popular with a high focus, currently, on curing cavities and anti-aging solutions. There are also the mainstays: getting rid of warts, acne, and varicose veins. Natural cold and flu remedies are popular during the autumn and winter. Sunburn remedies are popular, of course, in the summer.

12. Break a Habit

Smoking, sugary foods, and nail biting are all examples of habits that people want to quit. If you have any experience in getting rid of bad habits and replacing them with positive habits, this is the right market for you.

13. Ufos and Aliens

That’s right! If you can hit on a new topic, angle, or dig for a conspiracy niche, you are ready to start producing an out-of-this-world book series. I admit to having a collection of mostly 1970s otherworldly books. Many of the new books seem to rehash all of the old stories. Bring something new and fresh to the table. Make some waves.

14. Losing Weight and Building Muscle

Aren’t we vain? Yes, we are! Losing weight and building muscle are forever popular subjects. How about exercise books geared towards apartment dwellers? They can’t bounce around as much because of the neighbors and need to do more stationary exercises. Or how about losing weight with the raw food diet? The paleo diet is another popular diet that sells very well. Losing arm fat, getting abs, and working towards a tighter butt are also popular subjects.

15. Vacationing

Help people plan their next vacation to Amish Country, Atlantic City, or even the Cayman Islands. If you live near a popular tourist attraction, you are all set to write a vacation book for people interested in visiting your area. Include all the local historical sights, restaurants, campgrounds, and hotels.

16. Pet Care

There are zillions of dog training books on the market, but how about teaching a parrot to talk? Can you really train a cat? And how about making homemade food for the many different, popular pets? If taking care of pets is your true love, find a unique angle to pet care (how about starting a turtle, rabbit, or snake shelter?) and start your research.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

11 Creative Ways Writers Can Motivate Themselves

Just can’t seem to motivate yourself to write? Here are eleven great ways you can boost your motivation and increase your daily word count.

1. Gotta Pay Those Bills

Writers have bills to pay, just like everyone else. Use those bills to motivate yourself to work and work harder. If you have to, post the bills up on the wall and only take them down when you have earned enough to cover each bill.

2. Dream Board

Dream boards are a very popular motivational tool. Take a large piece of cardboard or buy some poster board and begin cutting and pasting (the old fashioned way) pictures of the things you want. These things can include a dream house, a yacht, a pure bred dog, and a dream vacation. Whatever you want, glue it to your board and keep the board in a prominent place in your work area. Whenever you need a kick in the pants, look at your board and at all the things you can buy if you keep on working.

3. Pin Up Those Quotes

I like to post a new quote each day in my work area. Some people post multiple quotes all over their homes. Find quotes that inspire you and put them in prominent places so that you can read them whenever you need a mental boost.

4. Join a Writer’s Group

Join a writer’s group that is all about helping each other out. The best writer’s groups not only offer writers a hideout, it is also a way to recharge, discuss problems, and it’s a great way to hold yourself accountable to your writing goals.

5. Refuse to Fail

Are you stubborn? Prove it to yourself. Refuse to give up, quit, and whine about it. Set your jaw firm and become one with your determination, even if others are saying you will never make it.

6. Create a Legacy

Will your name live on long after your physical body kicks on the wiffle tree? Set yourself up to be remembered and take pleasuring knowing that your grandkids will be living off your writing talent for many years to come.

7. Set a Master Goal

I often write about setting small goals and making them easy to reach. You should also have one master goal. If you don’t, choose a large, awesome goal, write it down, and post it somewhere in your work area where you will be able to read it each day.

8. Creative Visualization

Before you sit down to work, close your eyes for a moment and visualize yourself doing the work. See and feel yourself completing all of the day’s tasks. Creative visualization is used by many successful people, from athletes to entrepreneurs. Being a writer, creative visualization will come naturally to you, and you are probably already doing it and calling it daydreaming.

9. Deep Breathing Exercises

Taking deep breaths of air brings more oxygen to your brain. It also helps you relax and regain focus. Whenever you are feeling overly worked, anxious, or you just feel as though you need a break (a breather), take five minutes to practice deep breathing. Slowly inhale through your nose, letting your belly expand as you take in air, hold your breath to the count of two or three heartbeats, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Hold your breath again to the count of two or three heartbeats and repeat.

10. It’s a Matter of Pride

Take pride in what you do and how you do it. Anyone who can sit down to write, voluntarily, for any length of time should automatically be proud of themselves. Take that pride a step further and show your self-pride by working on your latest book - a task most people will never complete.

11. Break Out the Exercise Ball

When all else fails, I like to sit on my exercise ball and bounce for a bit. In fact, stepping away from your work and getting any kind of exercise is good for you. It increases oxygen to the brain and helps you reduce your stress levels so that you can sit back down and refocus on your work.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

14 Places That Will Give You Great Book Ideas

Looking for a boost of creativity? Visit these places for inspiration and story ideas.

1. Bookstores

While buying books online is great fun, nothing compares to browsing the latest bestsellers at a local bookstore. If you are looking for ideas on what to write about, check out what is selling. Do some market research while you are browsing for a few more books to buy.

Used bookstores are also a great place for getting book ideas. If you are a craft writer, buy older craft books to study. Think of ways your can update the crafts and patterns, then do it.

2. Farmer’s Market

How many books have a scene in a farmer’s market? Too many to count. Whether you write nonfiction or fiction, the farmer’s market will provide you with plenty of ideas. It is also a great place to do some people watching.

3. Museums

The Smithsonian is an awesome museum, but you probably have a number of local museums you can visit. Browse your local museums (and support them in the process). Museums are filled with interesting fast and images that can easily inspire your next novel.

4. Hardware Store

Getting lost in the hardware store is not that difficult. It not only inspires creative ideas for hands-on projects, but you can also plot the murder of novel’s victim.

5. Libraries

Spend a few hours browsing the local library or spend a day visiting all the local libraries because they are not all the same. If you’ve depleted your book allowance for the month, libraries are a great place to get inspiration for free.

6. Historical Sights

Visit all the local historical sights in your area. Local sights are the source of inspiration for countless works of fiction and nonfiction.

7. Bars

I’ve been to bars fewer times than I have fingers, however each experience has been unique and memorable. Bar scenes are common in novels and the people there can provide you with countless hours of entertainment.

8. Local Festivals

Get the flavor of a local culture by visiting festivals. Festivals are not only fun, they attract a wide variety of people. Where I live, the local pepper festival is a pretty big event. There’s also a redneck festival where my sister lives. These events can inspire a great number of novel ideas.

9. Cemetery

Visit old, historic cemeteries. These places are a great source for names and a great place to dream up the lives of those who’ve lived and died.

10. Flea Markets

Yard sales are fine, but flea markets are where the true gems are found. Knickknacks of all sorts can inspire ideas for new plots and nonfiction projects.

11. Planetarium

The Reading Public Museum has a great planetarium where people can go, relax, and learn. I find the entire experience exhilarating and I’ve enjoyed a number of their shows.

12. Amusement Parks

Amusement parks are the perfect setting for crime and mystery novels. Visit an amusement park and take notes of the scenery, the sounds, the smells, and, of course, the people.

13. Craft Store

It is only too easy to get lost in a craft store. There’s not only an endless supply of inspiration for craft books, but you can create a mystery novel series with crafting as a general theme. Got a sleuth in mind? Make him a knitter (and why not?). Give that diabolical axe murderer a latch hook project to complete the final piece to the murder puzzle.

14. Parks and Hiking Trails

This is where I get the bulk of my inspirations. That little nook in the rocks over there is the perfect place to hide a body. That woman that just walked by with the two dogs? She just threw the gun she used on her brother-in-law into the river.