Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Note on Copyright and stuff

Notes from Arline...

First, a note on health...

I do want to apologize for being away from my desk so much, lately.  Usually, I try to post at this blog at least five times per week, but I have been a bit under the weather in August and expect this to continue during September and possibly October.

As most of you know, I'm no spring chicken and have a lot of boring, chronic illnesses -- all irritating, but none really life-threatening. Usually, work takes my mind off them, so the publishing gig is a blessing. Most of you are patient and cooperative and make my days much more enjoyable than sitting idle...

Many of you knew of my son's illness, and death, earlier this year (thanks so much for all the kind wishes and support) and all of you have been gracious about delays, but I must mention another small problem. My chronic ulcer is acting up again, and has resulted in a low blood count, causing symptoms of weakness, loss of concentration, and dizzyness. I will get better, but it may take some time. Thanks for being patient.

Second, a note on the Present Copyright Issue...

Several of you have noted the Author's Guild's publicity campaign, and other media articles,  about Copyright Changes and have written to ask what the problem is, how it affects authors, and how it affects Our Authors in particular.

I was a writer long before I became a publisher. I am a member of the Author's Guild and I see it every time they post Yet Another Warning about Unfair Publishers. The issue, has to do with Contracts and Rights.

The following is not Legal Advice, but a simple explanation!

Some Book Publishers contract for "All Rights." And Some Book Publishers, send out "standard contracts" that insist on surrender of all "subsidiary rights" for the duration of the contract. That means The Publisher can then refuse to return the copyrights to you after the book goes out of print. He can keep them, or sell them to another business...

Worse if the publisher goes out of business and you have signed away your rights, you may Not be Able to Get Them Back. A lot of small publishers went out of business in the last ten years, especially e-book publishers. Authors who signed with them, can find themselves in a "gray area" as most contracts say that after your book goes out of print, you can "ask the publisher to give your rights back," but that's hard to do when the publisher no longer exists. If the publisher can't even send a letter telling you the rights are returned, you can't claim a clear title to them.

Worse, a reprint publisher may refuse to take your book because you don't have a clear title to the rights.

When you sign off on "all rights" with a Publisher, they can THEN SELL your movie rights, your paperback rights, your serial rights,  and so on, and only if they spell it out in the contract, do they HAVE TO PAY YOU ANYTHING! The contract may say you can "ask" but it doesn't bind them to any return policy. Again, If it doesn't State a Percentage that you get paid, then you don't Have to Be Paid.

You can see, that kind of situation leaves itself open to all kinds of abuse.

If you die, Your Copyright holds until 75 years after your death. This is why you should always specify a literary executor, to handle your copyrights should you become too ill to do it yourself.

In America your book is copyrighted upon completion, whether it is registered to the US Copyright Registration Office or NOT. Your copyright should be Registered by YOU, not the Publisher, then the rights will be Yours for life, plus 75 years. If the publisher registers, then the contract should state clearly, when it expires.

Copyrights can be renewed by your estate for another 75. That means a bad contract has a potential to tie up your earnings potential for 150 years.

Therefore, YOU SHOULD:

Read all contracts carefully! Beware of language that discusses "subsidiary rights" and "all rights" and be careful about the language surrounding the "return of rights." Ask for explanations, if you don't understand. Keep all correspondence.

Look for an "escape clause" that allows You to cancel the contract, as well as the publisher. If at all possible both parties should be able to cancel after a reasonable period of time.

If you CAN make sure to insert language that your rights will be returned to you automatically, if the publisher goes "out of business," OR the book "goes out of print."

What about Write Words, Inc. Authors?

Our contract licenses your rights, it does not buy them. We do not register your copyright. It is YOURS. We only license the right to use your work for a single print and a single e-book edition, and asks that you keep subsidiary series books with us. Your copyrights are yours, and yours only, and it says so on the copyright page of your book.

If Write Words, Inc. goes out of business, all contracted publications are automatically cancelled. No further books may be produced, and  ALL PUBLISHING RIGHTS, automatically, go back to the authors!

Our contract is for Three Years from the date of publication, and is self-renewing yearly after that.

All subsidiary rights remain with the author. If a movie producer comes along, it's YOUR Business to negotiate! Get an arts attorney, or an agent, and work out the best deal you can. When they send the contract, Read it Carefully before you sign anything!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Good Read and a Recipe

Someone in the quiet suburb of Pineview is torturing and killing average citizens in a manner that sickens and shocks the most seasoned police officers. Only when the body count starts to rise do the police identify a method to the madness - each victim’s death is associated with their occupation.

Kathy Sear's Favorite Cinnamon Rolls



  • Prep
  • Cook
  • Ready In
  1. Stir 1 tablespoon of the sugar and the yeast into the warm water in a small bowl. The water should be no more than 100 degrees F (40 degrees C). Let stand for 5 minutes until the yeast softens and begins to form a creamy foam. Whisk together the cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl; set aside.
  2. Beat together the eggs, applesauce, salt, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the yeast mixture. Beat in half of the flour mixture until no dry spots remain. Stir in the remaining flour, a 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition to form a sticky dough. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until fairly smooth but still sticky, about 8 minutes.
  3. Lightly oil a large bowl, then place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a light cloth and let rise in a warm place (80 to 95 degrees F (27 to 35 degrees C)) for 30 minutes. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
  4. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a 16x20 inch rectangle. Spread the honey over the dough; sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon sugar and raisins. Beginning with the long side, roll the dough tightly into a log shape, and pinch to seal the seam. Cut into 12 equal size pieces. Place the rolls into the prepared pan cut side up. Cover the pan with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Catching UP!

Books that went to press, or back to press this week:

IRIS DESTINY by Joseph Daniel Carr. 
   To almost everyone Colin Craft is an average kid in the 9th grade. But secretly, he is the crime fighting “Newspaper Myth,” a phenomena most people think is a publicity stunt. Few believe he can really read minds, create ice, manipulate flame, and even teleport objects with his mind. While the Myth is discounted by the public, one man knows the truth...a crooked cop named Allen Crestmere identifies him and becomes his first real enemy, fighting him not as a human, but with the same supernatural powers.

 BOOTS AND THE BRANCH BOYS, by Marjorie K. Doughty.
   Eleanor Hadley, better known as “Boots,” welcomes the “Branch Boys,” veterans from her Maryland home town, back from WW II. All of them have changed and many use alcohol to dull the pain from the devastation they’ve experienced. She falls in love with one, but thinks that marriage to him might be unwise.

Gallleys that went out, are still out, or went back out this week:

PAYBACK: Kathy Sear and Greg Hawkins Series, Vol. 5, by  Michael Field
   During a routine prisoner transfer a dramatic prison escape by four hardened criminals shocks the law enforcement community. A review of their extensive criminal histories reveals they all have one thing in common – Pineview Detectives Greg Hawkins and Kathy Sear are responsible for them being incarcerated.
   The detectives suddenly find themselves in a unique situation as the hunters become the hunted. They are forced to match wits with not only the escaped prisoners but also those that assisted and carried out the prison break.

THE MURDER OF SECRETARY Judd KANE: Adventures on Capital Hill Series, Vol. 2, by Christine Rose, Mariotti
   Second in the popular political thriller series.

Work began or continued on the following:

BLEEDING HEARTS: Killian Kendall Mystery Series, Vol. 1
   Winner of the Stonewall Society's 2002 Pride in the Arts Literary Award in the Whodunit Category! 

REVEREND CASTLE'S CRISIS, Rev. Castle series, Vol. 2 by Celine Rose Mariotti
   Rev. Castle is back in another cozy mystery.  

REAP THE WHIRLWIND: Killian Kendall Mystery Series, Vol. 2,  by Josh Aterovis. 
   Suicide, or murder? That's the question in the second Killian Kendall mystery. Will Smith suspects murder when an old childhood pal drowns, and asks his friend Killian for help in solving the mystery.

TRUTH OF YESTERDAY,  by Josh Aterovis

ALL LOST THINGS, by Josh Aterovis

CHANGE  OF WORLDS, by Josh Aterovis

Jack's News!

  by your bookstore cat, 
and gossip columnist!

 Author Nunez will be at Downtown Salisbury tonight. (Friday evening.)  He is there most weeks with copies of his very popular new book Pirates of the Eastern Shore and will have copies of most of his other titles, too.

The Bloc is invited to Sharptown Heritage day September 19 and Nanticoke River Jamboree at Handsell . More on these two events later.

Been a miserable week around here this week, for your favorite bookstore cat, I have to say. Their vet reports that Arline's ulcer has been bleeding again. Last time that happened she wound up in hospital for days. No hospital this time if she follows orders:  rest more, take a bunch of shots, and get plenty of sleep. 

She grumps that she "can't think straight!" Roger finds that no surprise. As far as I can see sleep is all she DOES do. Whenever I try to wake her up to get my treats, she just pulls the covers over her face and says, "Go away, Jack!" 

They are Grumpy! GRUMpy! GRUMPY!

Both Roger and Arline have have summer colds. Fortunately, Cats don't catch cold, but with all the coughing, sneezing, and grumbling back and forth, we cats have had hard work to get any notice at all.  Is that any way to treat your feline persons?

Please don't forget to let me know 
what you are all up to! 

Just send a message with 

 "News for Jack" 

in the subject line, and

I'll make sure it shows up right here. 


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Good Read and a Wrting Tip

When Caroline Potter visits Barclay Mountain to work on her new book she brings a suitcase full of heartaches and more questions than she knows how to answer about her own life. Her vacation suddenly becomes a quest for truth when she hears about an old mystery and uncovers shocking secrets hidden years before.

Question from the E-mail: What advice do you have about plots?

Answer: The Old Triple-O Outline technique I used to teach for Writer's Digest is still my favorite, with a little twist or two.  Below is the handout I used in my classes.

Triple O Plot Outline
Chase Version

Every story is about someone who wants something and whether they get it or not.  

Any story plot can easily be broken down into three parts: Objective; Obstacles; Outcome, sometimes referred to as the Triple-O Outline. There are hardly any new plots, so don’t be discouraged if “it’s been done.” The challenge, for any writer, is to make the characters so fresh and interesting that the reader forgets they have seen the plot before. 

Plots for short stories should be short. If too much action is incorporated, the story will grow longer and longer and may become unwieldy. If too many obstacles occur, the reader could grow impatient and give up.

Plots for novels should have a reason for everything. Be careful not to confuse “back story” (information needed to explain the characters personality and problems to the readers), with current plot action. 

Whatever has happened before the real action begins is “back story”.  Be careful not to confuse explanatory action, with a plot turning point. A plot turning point is always when something CHANGES. 

To use a classic example, in the story Cinderella her mother’s death and her father’s remarriage are all “back story”. The mean way the rest of the family treats Cindy is explanatory action used to set up the objective. Because the Objective for Cinderella, is that she wants to go to the ball. Until Cinderella decides she wants to go to the ball nothing has really happened, everything is going on as usual. Remember, plot always happens when something changes. When the character knows what he or she wants, that is the objective and the objective is always  the beginning of the story, the beginning of the plot. Now the character has a problem to solve – how to get what s/he wants. Once there is a problem statement, it’s time to get on with the story.

If there is no problem, nothing is happening, and there is no story. Stories are about overcoming something. If there is no “overcoming” then there is no satisfaction to the reader at the end. 

Here are The Triple-Os

Objective: The objective (some call it object, but I like objective better) is what the character wants. Once your character knows what s/he wants, s/he has an objective. Cinderella wants to go to the ball. Her sisters are going and she darned well wants to go, too!

Obstacles: Whatever stands in the character’s way of getting what s/he wants are plot obstacles. There's an old writer's axiom called the "rule of three" that tells us not to include more than three things in any one sentence. For hundreds of years three has been a magic number in our culture. Genies grant three wishes, Cinderella had two ugly sisters, there are usually three turning points or complications in a story plot, with the last one resulting in the crisis/bleak moment (some people call it the “black moment” and my friend Carla Neggers calls it the “big gloom”), just before the resolution. So it is unwise to plan more than three obstacles in any plot.

Cinderella’s obstacles are not the ugly step-sisters, the way she is treated by her mean and jealous step-mother, or her father’s inability to see through his new wife. These are her obstacles:
1. She has nothing to wear.
2. She has no way to get there.
3. She has a fairy-godmother (who solves the first two), BUT she must be home by midnight or the magic wears off!

As with most story plots, obstacles one and two are overcome, but obstacle three leads to what I like to call the bleak moment. In every story there is (or should be) that moment when it looks as if all is lost. For Cinderella, that moment happens when she’s waltzing in the Prince’s arms and the clock strikes 12.  She runs, for she knows that when the clock finishes striking, she will be standing there in rags. For Cindy, the party is over and she’ll never see the prince again. (Bleak moment)

Outcome: The outcome is simply how your story ends. Every story has an outcome. Some are happy, some sad, but whatever the outcome the main character or his or her circumstances should change because of it. In our sample story, the Prince finds the slipper. Truly smitten, he searches for Cindy until he finds her. And the Outcome, of course, is they marry and live happily ever after. 

Not every story has a happy ending, of course, but there must be a resolution and the story will be better received if that resolution is satisfactory to the reader. Take the movie version of Titanic. (Another Cinderella, story plot.) Unlike Cindy, Rose is rich, but she is also a victim of her family and of her abusive fiance.  Here, quoted from the movie, is Rose’s problem statement:

"I saw my whole life as if I'd already lived endless parade of parties and cotillions, yachts and polo matches...always the same narrow people, the same mindless chatter. I felt like I was standing at a great precipice, with no one to pull me back, no one who cared...or even noticed."-- Rose DeWitt Bukater

Rose’s Objective: Is to escape the life she lives and a loveless marriage so that she can find freedom. 

Rose’s obstacles:

1. Her family and fiancé  punish her when she doesn’t conform to their expectations.

2. Depression that leads her to consider suicide.

3. The ship’s sinking and Jack’s death (bleak moment)

Rose’s Outcome: Though Jack dies, Rose is rescued. 

Rose is Cindy in reverse. She’s a girl who has everything, money, position, and a millionaire fiancé. Yet Rose is severely depressed and feels confined by her life. Then she meets Jack, a free spirit.  

Instead of going to the palace ball, they dance with the peasants in steerage. Even though Jack dies when the ship sinks, Rose goes on to dump her fiancé, and to live out all the dreams she and Jack had planned together. 

This is evidenced by her photo collection, Rose as a pilot, on a roller-coaster, riding a horse, and treading the boards as an actress.  Not a happy ending to the romance, because Rose has escaped from the narrow-minded people and her confined life, to find a fulfillment for herself.

Even though the hero dies, Titanic is still a romance. The ending,
while sad, resolves the issues, and is satisfying

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Free for August

Free for August from
A newspaper's company picnic leads to murder, while an aging "girl-reporter" works with her younger male counterpart to solve the crime.

Assateague Picnic Chicken 
You can double or tripple the recipe
depending on the size of the crowd.

Ingredients Edit and Save

  • Salt Pepper and Garlic Salt season to taste.


  1. Take your cut up chicken pieces and skin them if you prefer. Put the flour and cornmeal in a large plastic bag (let the amount of chicken you are cooking dictate the amount of flour you use). Season the flour with paprika, garlic salt, regular salt  and pepper to taste (paprika helps to brown the chicken).
  2. Dip chicken pieces in buttermilk then, a few at a time, put them in the bag with the flour, seal the bag and shake to coat well. Place the coated chicken on a cookie sheet or tray, and cover with a clean dish towel or waxed paper. LET SIT UNTIL THE FLOUR IS OF A PASTE-LIKE CONSISTENCY. THIS IS CRUCIAL!
  3. Fill a deep skillet (cast iron is best) about 1/3 to 1/2 full with vegetable oil. Heat until VERY hot. Put in as many chicken pieces as the skillet can hold. Brown the chicken in HOT oil on both sides. When browned, reduce heat and cover skillet; let cook for 30 minutes (the chicken will be cooked through but not crispy). Remove cover, raise heat again and continue to fry until crispy.
  4. Drain the fried chicken on paper towels. Depending on how much chicken you have, you may have to fry in a few shifts. Keep the finished chicken in a slightly warm oven 180 f. while preparing the rest.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Last chance.
for August!

By C.M. Albrecht

When Hal Morrison goes to work at Marta's Place he doesn't just have to deal with customers; he has to deal with love, lust, detectives, drugs, murder, mayhem…and Marta!

Marta's Breaded Veal

4 veal cutlets, pounded flat            1 egg beaten with a little milk
add a pinch of salt and a pinch of white pepper to the milk mixter

For the coating, stir 1/2 cup flour  1/2 cup yellow corn meal  
together in a pie plate

Dip the veal in the egg/milk mixture and dredge in the flour and corn meal.  Fry in lard, in an Iron Skillet

Marta's Famous White Sauce

All Marta did was put flour and a little salt and pepper in melted butter and then add cornstarch and, brought it to a boil for a minute, then added a little salt, white pepper and some sugar.