Friday, July 30, 2010

Catching UP--

FROM JESUS TO HEAVEN WITH LOVE by Barbara Garro went to press this week.

Galleys went out again on the following:
IRIS DESTINY, by Daniel Carr

Work continues on:
UNWORTHY, by Jeanine Malarsky
EASTERN SHORE LIFE AND LURE, Anthology by the Writers' Bloc

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Revision - writing tip

Sometimes, I use a method I call "layering." That is, I write in layers, concentrating on one thing at a time and going through the material several times with a single objective in mind. This method works for me. It might not work for you, but if it does, help yourself to the idea.

My usual practice is to write the first draft hot -- slash and burn straight through to the end of the story or scene -- not stopping for anything. Then I go back and layer in every image I can think of. I'm only working on images at this point. Show, show, show, show, show!

Then I go back again and cut prepositional phrases.

Then I go back again and rewrite the transitions, and end of scene hooks, to make sure I've not left out anything important. I have a one-track mind and sometimes that jumps the track. I can't think of everything all at once. Thank goodness, in writing, we don't have to.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Russian Tea - recipe

Mary Cox-Bilz’s Russian Tea

2 1 qt. jars Instant Iced Tea Mix, sweetened, with lemon (any brand you like)
1 qt. Jar Tang
3 tbsp. Cinnamon

Since I am a quadriplegic, for this tea, I get someone whose fingers work to mix all ingredients well and store in an air tight container. I use one I can flip open with my mouth stick, but any cannister, or even a large Ziploc bag works well. Mix two teaspoons with half a glass of water. Add ice, and enjoy a refreshing treat any time you like.

You can also use it as an instant hot tea. Or we sometimes make it by the pitcher using 3/4 to 1 cup of mixture to a 2 quart container.

Contributed by
Mary Cox-Bilz, author of AT THE GATE CALLED BEAUTIFUL...Quadriplegic author Mary Cox-Bilz tells of Jesus’s healing from the New Testament Book of Acts....Read a new account of the story of Jesus, told through the eyes of the disabled people he healed, at the “Gate, Called Beautiful.”

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Flashbacks - writing tip

Flashbacks tend to distance the reader from the action. Therefore, I believe it's good policy not to put anything in flashback, unless you have information that can't be told any other way, or action that can't be shown sequentially. Instead, use mini-flashbacks to relate action that happens before the beginning of the story, and is too previous to be moved to a later time frame. Just in case I need to explain, the difference between a real flashback, which is a whole scene shown out of time sequence, and a mini-flashback, which is having a character remember something that happened before for a line or two, then going on with the present scene, has to do with the importance of the information conveyed.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Vampire Killer Chilli - Recipe

Jonathan Amsbary’s Vampire Killer Chilli

1 - 2 pound coarse ground beef (or turkey if you like)
1 large yellow onion -- chopped.
16 oz Chilli hot bean
16 oz. can crushed tomatos
8 oz. tomato sauce
8 oz. cold water
1 small can Jalepeno peppers (The green ones) or 4 green chillis chopped
2 tablespoons red chilli power
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon ground cumin
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon mesa or 2 Teaspoons of corn starch if you can't find any mesa.
1/4 teaspoon salt

Fry the beef, Onions and Garlic until brown—drain. In a large pot (I use a crock pot) add everything else. Then add the beef and onions. Bring to a boil and then simmer until enough water evaporates to get the thickness you like. In a crock pot cook on high for one hour and then low for at least three.

Serve hot. Goes great with cold beer and cornbread. Garnish with cheese or sour cream as desired.

Contributor’s Note: A word about hotness. There are a few ways to adjust the hotness to your liking. First of all you can add or subtract from the chilli powder. Second, choose the hotness of the Jalepenos. The milds have very little kick (but lots of flavor) and the Hot ones can be used to strip paint off your old cars. If you're a real masochist, you can use habenero chillis, but do so at your own risk and especially in a well ventilated kitchen (I'm not kidding about this, the fumes can knock you out, literally).

If you made the chilli and it's too hot for you, add more sugar and salt. Both cut the sting.

If you eat hot chilli (or anything too hot) DO NOT reach for the water, reach for some bread and butter. Most hot foods let the fat of the food carry the chemicals into your mouth. Drinking water is much like pouring water on a grease fire, it only spreads it around. The dough of the bread and the fat in the butter will calm your mouth very nicely.

There are a million variations to chilli, experiment and enjoy.

Contributed by: Jonathan Amsbary, author of The Kit Chronicles and Cyber Blood...David is a submissive and looking on line for a Mistress to dominate him.... What David finds instead is a vampire. This is one computer geek who definitely doesn’t find his heart’s desire in the Dominance and Submissive (D/s) chat room.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Catching up --

New print galleys went out this week to Erin Aslin for THROUGH THE CLOUDS.
Work began on corrections for Daniel Carr's IRIS DESTINY.
Layout began in the Writers' Bloc Anthology EASTERN SHORE LIFE AND LURE.

All of them are long and complicated jobs, but worth the effort.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Definitions may vary - writing tip

There is a difference between the dictionary definition of a word, and the connotation it takes on in a reader’s mind. For instance the dictionary defines “bad” as objectionable, offensive action or behavior, spoiled food, etc.

But if one character says of another, “He’s one bad dude!” Bad may actually be interpreted as good. Because the character when described as “bad” in the Leroy Brown sense of the word, is understood by the reader to be strong, reliable, quick to defense, able to defeat adversaries, and so on.

Do you see what I mean about the difference between the dictionary meaning and the meaning that may be invoked in a reader’s mind by the way a word is used?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Teriyaki Chicken - recipe

Tanya Ramagos’s Teriyaki Chicken

4 boneless, skinless Chicken breasts cut into strips
½ green bell pepper sliced 1/4 cut
½ red bell pepper sliced 1/4 cut
½ onion sliced 1/4 cut
2 tbsp. Vegetable oil
Teriyaki sauce

In a large skillet toss and brown the chicken breasts in the oil over high heat, about 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers and onions; saute and toss until the vegetables are lightly browned. Add the teriyaki sauce; toss until heated through.

Contributed by Tonya Ramagos, author of, MR. RIGHT IN TURNOUTS, book 1 of the Stockland Fire Department series.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Watch pauses - writing tip

Watch pauses. In general there are three kinds of pauses. You can hyphenate within a word to indicate the speaker is using an accent, when one word modifies the other, or for emphasis. A hyphen is a very short pause and can also be used to indicate the speaker is talking-very-fast or running-his-words-together, if you hyphenate words that would otherwise have a space between them. An em dash (—) is named for the old typesetter's measure, because it is one em long. It is a short pause, or indicates an interruption or a change of thought. If you don't have a font with an em dash, you can indicate it in a manuscript by typing two hyphens (--) side by side with no spaces at the end. The third pause indicator is the ellipses (. . .) typed as three dots with spaces between, but not at the ends, and it indicates a longer pause than an em dash. Quite a long pause, long enough to count to three, though not as long as, "five minutes later." Also when you use ellipses to indicate a pause and they come at the end of a sentence or in a place where other punctuation might be appropriate, the three ellipses dots should be followed by the appropriate punctuation, a period, comma, or even a question mark.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Maine Potato Candy - Recipe

Nina’s “Writer Who Has a Day Job” Variation on Classic Maine Potato Candy for Busy People

Mix thoroughly:
2/3 cup mashed potatoes (without butter, salt, or anything else added)
2 pounds powdered sugar
1 large package shredded coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla

Butter a 9 x 9 inch baking pan, and spread mixture in it evenly. Then melt in a quart-sized microwave-proof bowl (or on the stove in a double boiler) 1 large package of semisweet chocolate chips, with 1 stick of butter or margarine. Spread evenly over the potato mixture, and then chill for about 15 minutes. “Mark” the chocolate (which hardens quickly) with a knife so you can cut it more easily later. Chill until firm, several hours at least, before cutting into small pieces (these are very rich!). Keep refrigerated until ready to use, and refrigerate the uneaten pieces if you have any…but you won’t.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Catching up

Corrections have been made in the print file for Barbara Garro's FROM JESUS TO HEAVE WITH LOVE, and continue on Erin Aslin's THROUGH THE CLOUDS.

Meanwhile, for those of you who have written with concern, my health continues to improve now that I'm no longer taking the medicine that was making me sick.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Accept and Except - writing tip

Watch accept and except. Accept means you agree with something. Except means you disagree, or that something is an “exception” rather than the “usual.”

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Green Beans with Sesame Seeds - recipe

Ray Morand’s Green Beans with Sesame Seeds*
(Saya-ingen no Goma-ae)

½ lb. green beans, washed and trimmed
4 cups boiling water
2 tsp salt

Sesame Dressing:
4 Tbsp. black sesame seeds
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. light colored soy sauce

In saucepan boil water with salt, add beans and cook over high heat. Rinse and run under cold water to retain color and crispness. Drain and cut into 2 or 3 pieces. Set aside.
Grind seeds using mortar and pestle or coffee grinder. Add sugar and soy sauce and mix well. Add to beans and toss lightly. Serve in small bowls.

Contributor’s Note: I have served this cold and hot. Guests liked it both ways.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Then and Than - writing tip

Then and than are use incorrectly often. They are not the same.

They are very close, but are two different words, with different meanings. Then is used when you describe another time – as in That was then, this is now. Than is used for comparisons, as when something is different than something else.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fresh Tomato Soup - recipe

Barbara J. Cooper’s Fresh Tomato Soup

6 tomatoes, skinned
4 tbs butter
4 tbs flour
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbs fresh parsley
1 tbs fresh basil
salt/pepper/red pepper

Melt butter and cook onion until soft. Add skinned tomatoes and garlic. Add flour, blend well. Then add chicken broth and whisk well. It will thicken slightly. Simmer about 20 minutes. Either put in blender or use hand blender just a few seconds -- salt and pepper to taste. Add cream, parsley and basil. Serve with dollop of sour cream. You may enhance tomato taste by adding 2-3 tbs tomato paste.

Contributed by Barbara J. and Grover C. Cooper.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Catching up

Everyone is paid every last cent. With more sales than ever before this is a long and involved process. Some made a lot, some very little, but we continue to follow the practice of paying everyone, every time, however small the amount due.

This week print galleys went out to:

Andy Nunez for GHOSTS II




Friday, July 9, 2010

Narrative - Writing tip

They always tell us in the beginning to write in scenes and "show don't tell" and narration is "telling." But you can't show everything in the space allowed. So my advice is to narrate the mundane, or the action in scenes that space doesn't allow. Basically your story scenes should be like shining jewels and the narration like the silver wire that strings them together. Most writing texts don't get into how to do narration and it was years before I figured it out. I think in this story, if you foreshadow well and narrate carefully, you can keep it down to two or three scenes, which is about all that will fit comfortably in a 2,500 word short story, unless some are very short. Beware of that solution, as too many very short scenes can make a story feel "choppy" to the reader.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Grapeful Chicken - Recipe

Beverly Jennings’s Grapeful Chicken:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can condensed mushroom soup
1 large can French-style string beans
1 package slivered almonds
Large bunch of seedless white grapes (approx ½ pound)

Saute chicken breasts until almost done. Cover bottom of a casserole dish with half a can of mushroom soup. Add layer of white grapes. Add string beans. Add slivered almonds, layering them over the string beans. Add chicken breasts to top of mixture. Add remaining mushroom soup. Cover and bake approximately thirty minutes or until chicken is done and the sauce is bubbling.

Serve over steamed rice. Yield four servings.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Turning Point - Writing tip

A good story really only should have one crisis (or dramatic high) or climax, just before the resolution. What most have is three turning points with the last resulting in the crisis. A turning point is the place in the story where something changes forever. Good stories have a single conflict. Somebody wants something, they try different ways to get it, and their third try results in the “bleak moment” – when it looks as if they will never have it – and the crisis that leads to the conclusion, where they either do get it, or they know they never will.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Still paying authors

This time paying authors for book sales is taking longer and that's good news for some of us as there have been more sales. Shelley is helping as well as part of her "learn the whole business" training.

In case I haven't mentioned it, Shelley is learning all aspects of the business in case I become ill again, so that things should continue as before. Words cannot say how grateful I am to her for taking this on.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Baked Striper - recipe

Liz Hamlin’s Baked Striper*

1 4-5 pound striped bass (in season, of course)
3/4 cup melted butter
2 cups dried bread or stuffing cubes
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 small onion, grated
½ tsp. Sage
1 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Pepper
1/4 cup white wine (optional)

Wash and dry fish and place in a shallow baking pan lined with aluminum foil. Mix 1/2 cup butter with remaining ingredients, to form stuffing. Fill fish cavity and lace shut. Cut three or four gashes on each side of fish and baste with remaining butter. Bake at 400-F or 204-C degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

*Works almost as well with other kinds of fish

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Verbs and Tenses - Writing tip

Verbs are action words, everyone knows that. And it’s a good idea to use the active form of verbs whenever possible. One thing that will instantly make your writing read better is to avoid gerunds and verb participles, by using the active form of the verb. That helps keep you in "active" voice. Almost all "ing" words follow a "to be" verb–is, was, were, are– one that's in static, if not exactly passive voice. In fact if you look for was, were, etc. you can pick up on those passive phrases and turn them around pretty easily. Instead of "He was still chuckling as he closed the trunk...," try "He chuckled as he closed the trunk." It’s more direct, more specific. Better writing. Do you see what I mean? This is no big thing, but the writing will feel more “participatory” to the reader if you do that.

Some modern fiction is written in present tense, but that is fast going out of style. Once
it was the province of the Very Literary in writers’ programs at ivy league schools. But once the likes of Patricia Corneal adapted whole novels into present tense, it quickly
went out of fashion as a literary device. Critics now find it passe and quite a few editors hate it, because they can’t be certain at first glance whether the writer meant to do it, or if he or she doesn’t have a clue about verb tenses. Few editors are patient enough to read far enough to find out. They have a whole stack of stories to get through.

My advice is to only use present tense in narrative only when writing synopses and outlines. By it’s very nature, a story that is written down happened BEFORE it was written down. Therefore it should be in past tense. Likewise references using the word NOW can be harmful. Now is when the reader is reading the story. It gives me a “time out of place” signal every time I see it. Kind of like seeing old movies with shots of the Twin Towers.

Usually, narrative is written in past tense, dialogue in present tense (because the people are speaking in present time of the story, even if it's historical fiction), and flashbacks in past perfect tense to distinguish them from the regular past tense of the story narrative.

For instance (verbs in bold):

Present tense (used in experimental fiction):
I walk toward town. The distant buildings shimmer beneath the summer sun. "This is a hot day!" I say, though there is no one around to hear me.

Past tense, used in most fiction:
I walked toward town. The distant buildings shimmered beneath the summer sun. "This is a hot day!" I said, though there was no one around to hear me.

Past perfect tense, used in flashbacks:
I had been walking toward town. The distant buildings had shimmered beneath the summer sun. "This is a hot day!" I had said, though no one had been around to hear me.