The truth told slant: 5 tips for building a fantasy world your readers will love

by Paula Berinstein Great fantasy is like a chimera, the mythological beast that’s part lion, part goat, and part snake: it’s based on familiar components, but something is just a little off. Fantasy isn’t about making it all up. It’s about taking the known and tweaking it a bit. That’s because the best stories are the ones in which we can see ourselves--stories in which the protagonist and his world serve as a proxy for us. When that happens, we care. The more unfamiliar the world, the characters, or their problems, the harder it is for us to follow the story and empathize with the hero. In other words, our engagement depends on our ability to find the familiar in the story, whether it’s the setting, the problems facing the society, the characters’ dilemmas, or even the … [Read more...]

Meet Kobo Writing Life author Scott Steinberg

scott steinberg

Scott Steinberg wears a few hats. He’s the CEO of TechSavvy Global, a management consulting and market research firm, and serves as a strategic advisor to Fortune 500 corporations, non-profits, universities and start-ups. Plus, he’s a bestselling author of books including The Business Expert’s Guidebook,  The Crowdfunding Bible, and The Modern Parents’ Guide, a series on how technology affects kids and families. 1)      What was the first eBook that you published on Kobo? The Business Expert’s Guidebook – a complete guide to successfully starting, launching and operating any business using everyday, off-the-shelf technology solutions including popular apps, gadgets and online services. It’s been hailed by top editors, industry leaders and bestselling authors as “the one book every … [Read more...]

Getting it done — how to write your first novel


by Patricia McLinn Hands down, the top issue beginning novelists encounter is they don’t begin. This problem comes in two flavors: Not starting your writing session Not starting your novel. Take those in reverse order. Not starting your writing project. How should a writer start writing? With an outline/plan/synopsis? Or diving in with words? Countless would-be writers have spun writerly wheels deep into inescapable ditches while contemplating these questions. Don’t let wondering where is best to start keep you from starting at all. Some folks see this as Story vs. Craft or Characters vs. Structure. Pfft. Good writing needs both. I view it as writing from the Inside Out (from connecting with characters at a gut level out to story structure) or the Outside In … [Read more...]

Milestone or millstone? How the first book gets written, part 2

Few would-be authors ever manage to complete that first book. Odd, though, once they have, few stop at just one. Clearly finishing your first book is a major milestone. But how do you get there? We asked several of our authors what wisdom they gained from the process of completing their first novel. Published many times over, authors Michelle Leighton,  Barbara Freethy,  Hugh Howey,  Alison Brennan, Phyllis Smallman, and Olivia Cunning are as different as erotica and mystery. But they all share one important feature: there was a time when they hadn’t completed a single book. Here’s what the process taught them — lessons they still use today. Don’t fret, it’s just a draft. Hugh Howey: Keep in mind that you're writing a rough draft, not a finished product. Most writers come from a … [Read more...]

Live Chat with KWL Authors via National Post

Following the National Post's recent in-depth look at self-publishing via a reporter who has experienced it directly, Melissa Leong (AKA Wynne Channing), you can join a free live chat featuring three KWL authors. Melissa Leong (a.k.a. Wynne Channing, author of What Kills Me), joins Mark Lefebvre, director of self-publishing and author relations at Kobo Inc., plus fellow self-published authors Steve Vernon and Tina Folsom, to answer everything you’ve always wanted to know about self-publishing, but had no idea who to ask. Join the chat here on Monday, Dec. 17, at 10:30 a.m. EST! Click here to join the live chat! … [Read more...]

Judging Book Covers


We all know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but cover art is the first thing that a reader sees of a book, and is fundamental for marketing and attracting the right readers. So perhaps we can’t judge a book by its cover, but we should certainly judge the book covers themselves on their own merits and whether or not they do the job they’re meant to do. Jeroen Ten Berge is a talented New Zealand graphic designer who works in book covers, illustrations, and brand design.  We asked him for a few of his top picks for great book cover design, and here are the results: The Twelve: Appropriately dark and brooding. Simple, but very effective. Medal Of Honor: This mean mother f*****, and a medal of honor? Gotta read it. Dirty, gritty and bold. The Retribution: Colorful and … [Read more...]

My Writing Life – Steve Vernon


Steve Vernon is often described as Halifax’s hardest working horror writer. It might be because he seems to put out about a half dozen books each year.  His work is celebrated throughout the horror genre and Edward Lee (author of City Infernal) has said this about him: "It’s a rare thrill these days when the genre unleashes an utterly exclusive voice. Steve Vernon is indeed such a voice, a writer who knows how to manipulate the building blocks of the horror genre with the confidence of a veteran, while unveiling a style, a craft, and a creative perception that is excitingly original.” Steve, who has recently begun writing various different young adult works, answered a few questions about his writing, injecting his trademark wry humour into his answers. When did you first discover a … [Read more...]


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