Tips on Writing a Friendly Business Letter

Every business letter is of course unique and everyone needs to write those annoying little suckers. By following my few simple tips, you can make your letters really stand out.

  • Don't abbreviate. Ever.
  • Set a tone for your letter that conveys your message. Does it need to be so formal? Can you use a few conjunctions? Is it friendly, polite, serious, full of bad news? Know before you begin what you need to say and then use the words to convey this message.
    For example, a letter that begins with:
    will have a very different tone than one that begins with:
    I am happy to report
  • Just be yourself. This is the most important rule I'm giving you. Don't be someone you aren't. 
  • Don't promise things you can't do.
  • Don't ask questions that you know the answer to.
  • Say what you want and get out.
  • Read it over. Read it again. Read it one more time. Read it out loud at least once.
  • Spell check.
  • Print it and read it one more time.
  • Have someone you trust read it once.
Sounds like a lot of work, but it should be a lot of work. If a letter is required, it's important, take the time it deserves and do it right.

Let's take a quick peek at the layout.

Address info
Date (no abbreviations)

To/Attention/Dear, (use proper title and spell names properly. Double check)

Introduction should quickly tell the reader why YOU are writing them. How does the reader know you and what do you want? Are you responding to something you read or a phone conversation? This is the time to be specific. Don't use your name, it's at the end. Don't use your title it's at the end. Just the specifics.
In response to our telephone conversation on January 13th, I'm sending you the list you required for the project titled, "How to Build a Store in Four Days".
I am customer #783627, and I am requesting a refund on item #89988 which I purchased on January 15th at said store.
The core or body of your letter should give a little more details. Why? When? How? Benefits? Whatever you want to say is said here professionally, once, and clearly. Have someone else read it to make sure they understand what you want to say. No more than two or three paragraphs. Be polite. Be honest. Imagine  you're reading this letter. How does it make you feel?

Closure is two paragraphs that are very short. A simple invite welcoming them to respond and a thank-you. Don't try to be fancy or creative in this part. Nothing ruins a perfectly professional letter than someone saying, dynamically yours at the end. Yuck. Just say thank you and get the heck out of there.

Feel free to contact me any time with any questions or concerns you may have.
Finish with all your contact information including your name and full title. (don't abbreviate- did I mention this already? I can't stress it enough, it makes you look lazy.The reader might not even notice it, but what if their subconscious does?)

Now. These are my tips, but I welcome more. Please, feel free to add your thoughts. How do you make your business letters shine?

And here are a few other links to help you in your letter writing. Of course, they don't take the same approach I do:
For the outline and formats: Purdue OWL: Basic Business LettersHUNTER COLLEGE
For what tone or words to use: Letter Writing GuideBusiness Letter Writing Basics

Have fun and happy writings!!

A Peek Into Your Life- Samantha Sotto

A peek into your life, is a segment spotlighting authors, specialists, and friends who brave my countless questions day in and day out. It's the best way I can share with you all, the many people who taught me the bizarre things I know, who satisfy my thirst for knowledge and adventure, and who keep me motivated.

Actually, Samantha stumbled on my blog before she was all famous and she left a real impact on my writing. Here's why-- I was at that time searching magazines and history books looking for a picture to inspire me. anything. I was stuck. And then......... hey! Samantha shows up and got me out of a funk and back writing about a goddess who whispers to water. lol! The character she inspired has evolved a little since then, but, still. There's a peek into my life for ya! ;)

Regardless, as her book promises, life tends to have magical moments like that, and one can't escape them but should really take advantage of them.

Samantha runs her own fun blog, HERE. She always has a great assortment of photos to go with her adventures that make me chuckle.

When her book came out, I ORDERED IT the day it was released because I loved the idea. Here's my review:

Having to continue to breathe after her husband dies is almost impossible, yet somehow, Shelly does. One little gasp at a time, until those breaths open the door and standing there is her husband. Well, not really, just a man his age who looks too much like him. This stranger claims to be her husband’s grandson. How could he have a grandson the same age as him? As she journeys to find the truth, she discovers that her answers are in the magical stories he’s shared.
Intriguing enough, yet it’s the characters that had me hooked. Shelly is too much like me and her husband is the person I thrive to be. He knows the secret to life, and he enjoys it with every breath he earned. Fantastic story that left me guessing right to the last word and gave me this weird craving for eggs with a couple drops of...

Anyway, this is one I recommend to everyone. You’ll find a touch of yourself in these pages and a touch of who you want to be. 
Magical tale that begins at the end, after a slight detour.
I laughed, I cried, I sat tense, and I never wanted someone to find a moment of happiness so desperately. Honestly, the title didn't make sense to me until the last word. And then I went, "oh. gee. cool. Let's do that again!"

Cool idea right? Was this woman's husband immortal? Why would he leave her if they loved each other so much? I just had to find out.

I never read it until my holidays because I've been so busy editing my own little pieces. I'm sorry I waited so long. I've been complaining for weeks that I can't find a decent book to drown myself in, and here I had it by my bed all this time. INCREDIBLE. This book is everything I love; magical, daring, breaks the rules, and brought up my cholesterol just reading it.

But I'm blabbering when I know you just all want to peek into her life. But! Let me say that if there is one book to read this year, this it. I loved it. It took me away on the best adventure I've ever had and gave me this huge appreciation for life and for those little moments with my loved ones.

Without further ramblings, let me introduce my guest, Samantha Sotto and let you peek into her life. 

So Samantha, what are you currently working on?
I'm busy wrestling, er, writing my new book. It has me in a headlock.

I have to admit, I'm a little excited to know more magic is on the way. In your debut novel, I was sold at the idea of her husband being dead but his grandson showing up at her door the same age as him. It really had me curious, so curious I had to read it.  
Where did the idea come from?
I wish I had a clever story about how I got the idea for the book. Max's story literally just popped into my head while I was stuck in traffic. Can I squeeze in a couple of chain-smoking leprechauns to make my answer more interesting?

Actually, the stuck in traffic idea beats how I got one of my ideas (staring up my dentist's nose), so go with that. 
This story held some great messages. It's these messages that make me recommend your book to every soul I meet. As if they might find answers in your magic. 
Live and love in the now really stuck with me, but as the writer, what was one of the messages you wanted to pass on? Did you feel this message emerge on its on or did you plan it?
I started out writing a comedy but Max and the gang had other ideas. Full credit for all the life lessons in the book goes to them. I just wrote them down.

Ah magic like that could be what makes it so great to me. I'm tired of reading plots I know the answer to, or that the love feels fixed. Ah love. Yes, the other reason I was entranced by your book was the incredible love story. There is never a doubt in my mind that they belong together in the ever after, even through all the conflict and trials they face. 
The best scene for me to read was the chicken soup one. I felt Max's desperation, his eternal struggle. I could feel how he really wanted to grow old. And this warmed me inside and made me want his love for Shelley to work even more. Yet it gave me a sense of sadness for him, because he was essentially doomed. It was so powerful.
Having said all that, what was your favorite scene to write and why?
The entire flashback in Herculaneum was my favorite because it had been living in my head for a very long time. It felt great to finally get it down on paper. It was like giving birth - without needing an epidural.
I hear ya. I can only let scenes like that build up for so long and then they explode onto the world.

So, what did you learn about life while writing this book that you'd like to pass on to others?
The biggest lesson I learned in the book is summed up in the dedication I wrote for my children:

While you may only see one name on the cover of this book, this is a gift from Mom and Dad to both of you - so that you will always believe that you can hold your dreams in your hands.
Yes. I love that message. It's the one my dad tried so hard to drill into me. Plus, I love how you throw in the part about it taking a team to make this dream real. I might not have a book to hold yet, but I'm living that dream, and it's magical just the same.

Well, enough about writing, tell us seven random things that prove how awesome you really are.
Seven random things that will either make me look cool or very, very strange:
1. I got engaged after jumping out of an airplane.
2. I can do a sideways belly roll.
3. When I grow up, I want to be Neil Gaiman.
4. Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham is my favorite book.
5. If I could surf EVERY.SINGLE.DAY, I would.
6. One of my most treasured possessions is a numbered Doctor Who Tardis bobble head.
7. I'm taking my kids to the different European settings in the book at the end of the month. It will be a family friendly version of "The Slight Detour."

Hahahaha. Water goddess indeed! Maybe you'll take me surfing one day since that is a dream of mine, and well, here in Saskatchewan we really don't have oceans to practice on. Actually, I've only ever seen the ocean twice, and both times I stood there in awe, unable to walk in, forget surf it. It's so powerful, so enormous, the idea of surfing it is like a challenge that screams to me.

Thank you so much for stopping by and be sure to enjoy that surf for me between wrestling sessions.

How about y'all? Any questions for Samantha? Any comments on her book? Honestly, if you haven't read it, don't miss out, I'm still dreaming out it.


Okay. I’m back. Not fully recovered yet, but blogging ready just the same. So what happened to y’all while I was gone? Geesh. I feel like I missed so much.
First, let me take care of a little business. Okay, not so much business, but let’s have some fun.
I've been tagged a couple times while I was off and about having adventures and getting surgery. It looked like so much fun, I decided not to break the tag and give a shout out to these great bloggers who have really changed my life in one way or another. Thanks Vicki and Richard.  

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to answer the 10 questions I created at the bottom of this post. Tag your friends and notify them that you've tagged them. Not all your friends. Geesh. three to five will do. Finally, create 10 questions you'd like them to answer.

These are the questions for me to answer;

1. Where were you born? A small town on the prairies; Redvers, Saskatchewan

2. Do you speak more than one language? Which other? Fluently, I speak French and English. I studied German for fun but can't pronounce anything properly.

3. Do you play a musical instrument? Which one? Does my computer count?

4. Which is your favorite city in the world? Why?  Not a big fan of cities. I prefer the romantic setting of open spaces that let me breathe. If I had to pick one, it's only natural that I'd pick a nice quiet one, with friendly people and a fun history. Yes, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

5. Who is your favorite author? I hate this question. I really don't have a fave. I go through phases, where I study a particular author until I find out exactly what it is they're doing that has me hooked. I once thought Eric Wilson, Lisa Jackson, and Stephen King were the legends. Then Anne Rice and Jean Auel introduced me to a new way of seeing the world. Then Dean Koontz and Tom Clancy came along all exciting and thrilling. Oh and then there was the Catherine Coulter, Sandra Brown phase... the Tolkien and Agatha... okay but who is it now? Right now in this moment... I've been reading a lot of debut novels, so I can't say if any are my favourite authors since they have only touched my life for a brief moment, but one book in particular rocked, especially for a first one:  Samantha Sotto. I've recommended her book to a few souls, and I look forward to having her by for an interview!!!!

6. What was your favorite subject in school (high school, college, whatever)?  Looking back I liked something about each class. History allowed me to replay what I was reading in my mind as if I was there. (I like real fantasies like that.) Math and geotrig were cool because it was impossible to be wrong. (I like being right.) French, English, and German fascinated me. Why did we create all these rules to express our freedom of speech? Oh and Chemistry was great because I got to blow things up and study why that would happen.

7. At what age did you first become aware of yourself as a person? How did it come about? hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.  Okay, dirty mind aside, that is a good question. I'm pretty sure I'm still an illusion. Honestly, it's about memories, because I always knew I was me. Just how I remember me changed over the years.

8. Would you like to travel in outer space? Why not? I can't think of one reason why that would suck.

9. Do you believe in astrology?  It works as a great writing tool. I pick my character's birthdays and chart their personalities based on their signs.

10. What is your astrological sign? I am a Gemini. Born to balance the universe and see both sides to every problem. Takes on more than she can stand and changes moods from one moment to the next. Yup. That's me. But! I don't really believe in crap like that.

Thanks to Vicki at  Writ of Whimsy and to Richard at Writing and Living for tagging me; now it's my turn to tag:
Vicki from All the World's in Words
Letters from Valentina Hepburn
Teresa at Dreamers, Lovers and Star Voyagers

And here are my questions to get to know you better:
1. What is the title of your current WIP? Tell us about it.
2. When did you start blogging and why?
3. If you could do anything tomorrow, what would you do?
4. Describe your happy place.
5. What was your first happy memory?
6. What is the scariest thing you've ever done?
7. What is the funnest thing you did today?
8. What is the strangest place you've ever gotten an idea for a story?
9. Where do you write?
10. If you just won a ticket to anywhere in the world but had to take me, where would you take me? Why?

Ohhhhh that was fun!
So. Tell me what you've been up to? And everyone who leaves a comment should answer question 10. I need another holiday but can't afford one, so take me on an imaginary one. Please!!!! lol.