Amazon Kindle, Books

An Exciting October Surprise in Books

Hello October! Hello, overcast skies and cooler weather. I missed you!

The first two weeks of September in California were miserable. Too darn hot and sticky, especially without central air conditioning.

When the media promoted pumpkin spice latte’s during the heat wave, I thought they were unusually cruel. All I could think of was chilled drinks.

But I had a fantastic following two weeks of September because I traveled overseas. More on that in the October newsletter.

Because of jet lag, I woke up super early today. Catching up on email led me to my Amazon page.

Look what I found. An October surprise:

Amazon Ranking

#1 New Release in Teen and Young Adult Hispanic and Latino American Fiction eBooks.

I don’t know how that happened, but thank you for taking the time to pre-order. It’s an act of faith, and I appreciate your support.

I’m grateful to each of you who ordered the novel.

The advanced reading copies may be available in the next couple of months. I’ll list the dates in the newsletter and where they will be available.

And speaking about the newsletter, I hope you found my library link to free e-books helpful.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on

My newsletter listed children’s books for Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month (HLHM) Since HLHM isn’t over until October 15th, and for me, it’s never over, here are a couple of more lists.

The top 50 Hispanic/Latinx books from GoodReads.

The New York Library’s top Adult, Youth, and Children’s books for HLHM.

October is a great time to fill up the Kindle, laptop, or iPad, snuggle up with a hot beverage, and read for hours.

Happy reading, and enjoy the cooler weather.

“And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.” 

Oscar Wilde
Amazon Kindle, Character building, Encouragement, show don't tell, Writing, writing tips

Three Ways To Skyrocket Blah #Writing To Amazing

"Life in the Wall" project, by M. Ali, photo by Tim Green,
“Life in the Wall” project, by M. Ali, photo by Tim Green,


Last night I read my short story to an audience of 80+. My son, brother, and some friends came out to hear me read and accept my award, which made me a little nervous but their presence meant a lot to me. The positive comments afterward helped lift me up from the weariness I and other writers often experience since we usually work in isolation.

Most writers want to write AMAZING prose. Words so delicious that readers can’t wait to scoop up every tasty morsel and flip the page for more.

We want readers to feel emotion when we compose our sentences, to get goosebumps and shivers of excitement. We want readers to be inside the story. We want them to see what we see, hear what we hear, and be right where we are in our head.

Writers want to take the reader into the ghostly forest, a medieval castle, far-flung flung planet, or inside a prison.

So how do you amp up your writing?

  1. Describe what the characters experience without telling them the emotion, i.e. fright, sadness. Describe the sensory details. Use the five senses: Sight, sound, taste, smell and touch. There are really six, but more about that one later.

    Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. Anton Chekhov


This is my stack of books on writing. The ones by Stephen King, Ann Lamott, and Natalie Goldberg are hiding somewhere:

books on writing, books on revision
My Books on the Craft of


All of these are great books for the mechanics of writing but my go to book isn’t in that stack. It’s on my Kindle.

book on writing craft, emotions thesaurus, writers companion on character expression
The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi

This book describes the sixth sense: Emotions. There are 75 emotions described by the possible body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for each. I also have the companion e-book called Emotional Amplifiers. (The latter book is free). 

2. Create compelling characters who have strengths and weaknesses, who are unique in their own way, and who have qualities worth rooting for or caring about. Show some physical characteristics, some language quirk and some personality. Give the reader a character worth remembering.

3. Create the mood by describing the setting. Again, the reader needs to be immersed in the story by visualizing the scene.

Here are some helpful tips on how to incorporate sensory details in your writing:

Creating sensory details in fiction
Tips for Creating Sensory Details


And here’s some handy tips for creating the mood of your scenes.

Tips on creating mood in stories
Tips on How to Describe and Create a Mood in Fiction Writing


These books, The Setting Thesaurus, aren’t out yet, but I’m watching Writers Helping Writers website for the launch date, which right now is June 13, 2016. I’m excited and marked my calendar for their arrival.

I’ve pinned these charts to my “Writing Tips-Fiction” on my Pinterest boards for future reference. You might want to do the same.