About Margaret Duarte

Although warned by agents and publishers that labeling her work Visionary Fiction was the “kiss of death,” Margaret Duarte refused to concede. “In a world riddled with fear, misunderstanding, and lost hope,” she says, “I believe there are people prepared to transcend the boundaries of their five senses and open to new thoughts and ideas. The audience is ready for fiction that heals, empowers, and bridges differences.” Margaret joined forces with other visionary fiction writers to create the Visionary Fiction Alliance, a website dedicated to bringing visionary fiction into the mainstream and providing visionary fiction writers with a place to call home. In 2015, Margaret published BETWEEN WILL AND SURRENDER, book one of her "Enter the Between" visionary fiction series, followed by book two, BETWEEN DARKNESS AND DAWN, in 2017. Through her novels, which synthesize heart and mind, science and spirituality, Margaret encourages readers to activate their gifts, retire their excuses, and stand in their own authority. Margaret is a former middle school teacher and lives on a California dairy farm with her family and a herd of "happy cows," a constant reminder that the greenest pastures are closest to home.

Build Your Own Author Website—Step 6: Video Review

Build Your Own Author Website : Video ReviewFor a super quick review of what we’ve covered so far in “Build Your Own Author Website” steps one through five, here’s a video created by Daniel Piechnick, a professional web designer and trainer.

In less than ten minutes, he’ll explain

  • Domain Name
  • Web Hosting
  • WordPress

He’ll then take you step-by-step from purchasing your domain name through installing and logging in to your WordPress website.

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Build Your Own Author Website—Step 5: Administration Panel

Build your Author Website: Administrative PanelThis is the day you log into your WordPress.org Administration Panel.

For those of you who’d prefer instead to stick with WordPress.com, we part ways here, and I leave you with the following message: WordPress.com is a hosted service, which means that you don’t have to deal with finding a web host or downloading and installing the WordPress software. All is done for you. So I don’t blame you if you choose to start with a casual blog through WordPress.com rather than self-host a complete management system (CMS) through WordPress.org.

If you choose to go with WordPress.com, as I initially did, I’m sure you’ll be happy with the service it provides as you familiarize yourself with the world of blogging. Perhaps you’ll be so happy that you’ll never feel the need to expand your reach—or your control. I wish you the best.

For help in getting started with WordPress.com, I again urge you to purchase WordPress for Dummies, which covers all you need to know. I have also written posts about blogging (developed through the publishing platform Blogger), starting here: Setting Up a Blog, Part 1. Or you may choose to follow some of the excellent videos and information online. As I mentioned in a previous post, creating a hosted blog on WordPress.com (or Blogger) is amazingly easy. So go for it! And have a ball!

If you’re still undecided about which version of WordPress to use, here is yet another site offering an unbiased, well-researched comparison between the two: WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com: A Definitive Guide for 2015.

For those of you who have decided to plunge ahead with WordPress.org and have successfully installed its software onto your preferred hosting … Continue reading

Build Your Own Author Website – Step 4: Installing WordPress

Installing WordPressNow that you’ve registered your domain name and found a home (Web host) for your website, you only need to follow one more step before you can begin working with WordPress.org., which is:

Installing WordPress on your domain and hosting account.

This is a one-time procedure, so hang in there.

You’ll be amazed at how easy this step is, and therefore how short this post.

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Build Your Own Author Website – Step 3: Domain Name

Build Your Own Author Website: Step ThreeWhen you hear the word “domain,” you likely think of something you own or master like an estate or territory.

In most cases, your domain amounts to your home, to which you attach a name and address so that people can locate you.

When it comes to your website, you, too, need to claim ownership and mastery by giving your “domain” a name and unique address.

In other words, you need to purchase and register the DNS (domain name) portion of a URL (uniform resource locator) that people can type into their browser to get to your website. The URL is the full address to your webpage, which usually starts with http:// followed by www. and your domain name.

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Build Your Own Author Website – Step Two

Building Your Own Author WebsiteIf you’re still with me after Build Your Own Author WebsiteStep One, I assume you agree that, as an author, you need a marketing hub open twenty-four seven as the foundation for your marketing platform.

With an author website as your base, you can incorporate all the strategies available to you as an Internet marketer, such as social media, blogging, and video.

At this point you could hire a website developer to do the job for you, as I initially did—only to regret it later.

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Build Your Own Author Website – Step One

Build Your Own WebsiteWhen I was asked to speak at the California Writer’s Club/Sacramento  last year about how I’d built my website and decided on my platform and marketing strategy, my first thought was: Hold it! You’re talking to a technological greenhorn here—Miss trial and error, Miss whoops that didn’t work out too well, Miss if you don’t at first succeed, try, try again.

In other words, I’m hardly qualified.

But then I thought: Maybe that’s the point.

It’s no secret that many writers take on website building and marketing strategy because they must, not because they have a talent for it or even remotely want to. So there was a strong possibility that many of the writers attending the CWC meeting would be favorable to hearing how an amateur managed to accomplish a task that at first seemed overwhelming.

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Three Fun and Easy Kindle Tips for Writers

Kindle Tips for WritersHave you ever wished that you could preview and proofread your Microsoft Word (.DOC, .DOCX) manuscript on your Kindle before uploading it to Amazon KDP, or maybe find a convenient, low-cost way to ship your manuscript to beta readers for their feedback and have them ship their notes and highlights back to you?

Less than a year ago, my reaction to the above wishes would have been, “Yeah, right. I don’t have the time or patience to learn new techie tricks.”

Well, I have some good news for you. The following Kindle tips for writers are not only helpful, but also fun—and easy.

Tip 1. How to send a Word document to your Kindle

  • To find your Send-to-Kindle e-mail address, log into your Kindle account. On the Manage Your Content and Devices page click “Your Devices.” There you will find your Kindle type, its serial number, and your Kindle email.
  • Before you can send documents to your Kindle, you need to register the personal e-mail address you intend to useFrom the Manage your Content and Devices page, click “Settings.” Scroll down to Personal Document Settings, which looks like the example below.

Personal Document Settings

Kindle Personal Documents service makes it easy to take your personal documents with you, eliminating the need to print. You and your approved contacts can send documents to your device by e-mailing the documents to your Send-to-Kindle e-mail address. 

Send-to-Kindle E-Mail Settings

You can e-mail personal documents to the following Kindle(s) using the e-mail addresses shown.

Name E-mail address Actions Your Name Your Kindle email address Edit

Planning a Successful Author Event

How does one create a successful author event–you know, the book launch, the coming out party, the please buy my book fair?

Back in 2011, I drove to Chateau LaMair in Granite Bay to find out.

author eventFormer senior editor at Random House and co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published, Jennifer Basye Sander, and certified special event professional, Ingrid Lundquist, were “sharing the secrets writers need to know about how to best move books, get publicity, and enjoy face-to-face success with readers.”

Jennifer started with a pronouncement.  “No one cares about your book.”

No surprise there.  After fifteen years of writing and revising four novels and five years of inducting myself into the world of social media, I’d pretty much figured that one out on my own. My books are about as useful as lemons until they’re made into lemonade and served on a scorching hot day.

“Great,” Jennifer said, “you wrote a book. Wow, now you’ve published it. Next step is to have a book signing, right?”

Well, yeah, isn’t that how things work?

“Wrong,” she said.  “Announcing to your friends and the rest of the world that you are having an author signing to sell your book is the worst way to create excitement and produce sales.”

There goes the lemonade stand.

The hard reality is that after publication, and even before, the difficult job of book marketing begins. It’s time to MOVE the treasure that demanded so much of your hard work, time, and love.

Fortunately, the class was limited to eight, because, as I soon discovered, one size does not fit all when it comes to an author event.

Setting Goals for An Author Event

For starters, … Continue reading

5 Ways to Shape Your Success as a Writer

Success as a WriterWhile reading an article by Kathleen McCleary titled “5 Ways To Get Luckier,” it hit me that the very same strategies she listed for shaping the good fortune in your life could also be used to shape your success as a writer.

Take, for instance, McCleary’s first way to open yourself to good luck and serendipity.

Pay Attention

Bet you’ve heard that one before. Writers need to take in life’s details as though peering through the lens of an optical microscope at ten times magnification. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but observe we must. And one way to do so is to turn off that smart phone, step away from the computer, and look around. Who knows what opportunities might arise—yes, from out of nowhere, when we least expect them—while we’re paying attention.

I’ve finally reached the point where I understand the value of descriptive details in making my writing come alive. And in order to add descriptive detail to my writing, I’ve learned to focus on everyday objects and occurrences, zero in on the seemingly unimportant details, and write them down.

Open Your Calendar

Success as a WriterMcCleary’s second way to make it more likely for serendipity to strike in your life is to open your calendar to down time.

Down time? There aren’t enough hours in a day to complete our “must dos,” let alone make time for our “want to dos.” Right?

Funny thing is, serendipitous moments, those instances of happenstance when we make fortunate discoveries by accident and find something valuable or delightful … Continue reading

Interview with Dean Koontz: “Metaphysics are the ink in my pen.”

Genre is a subjective marketing category that often misleads rather than informs.

Some books defy classification, especially books by Dean Koontz.

How do you pin down stories that fit at least a dozen marketing labels, including: Action, Adventure, Crime, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Philosophical, Science Fiction, Speculative, Thriller, Urban, and, yes, Visionary Fiction?

Dean KoontzNo one could have been more surprised than I was at finding principles of quantum mechanics and elements of visionary fiction in the work of mega-popular author Dean Koontz.

On reading my first Koontz novel, titled Watchers, I was prepared for the kind of “rip-roaring, rattling-good story” that “keeps you so far out on the edge of your chair that you have butt bruises from repeatedly falling to the floor” (Dean’s words, not mine). However, it delivered much more. I found myself repeating “Wow!” over and over in reaction to the depth and meaning interwoven almost subliminally throughout the book.

In the afterword to Watchers, Dean Koontz said, “We have within us the ability to change for the better and to find dignity as individuals rather than as drones in one mass movement or another. We have the ability to love, the need to be loved, and the willingness to put our own lives on the line to protect those we love, and it is in these aspects of ourselves that we can glimpse the face of God; and through the exercise of these qualities, we come closest to a Godlike state.”

Yet, no matter how much I’d like to claim Watchers as a prime example of visionary fiction, it does NOT contain all the elements … Continue reading