Thursday, March 31, 2011

Self-Publishing for Kindle? - writing tip

Nikki Leigh sent an email with a link to a review for an author who self-published a book that the reviewer said had lots of typos and grammar errors. And who then argued with the reviewer about the review:

and added by way of explanation:

Nikki Leigh: "The post is a review for a book that is published through Kindle -- and the review commented on the massive amount of typos and grammatical errors. The author went off over and over again on the reviewer and other people posting their comments. Her actions have definitely gone viral - on the 28th she had 10 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon, Now she has 97 reviews and the vast majority are 1 star. Just an interesting example of what happens when an author releases a book that isn't polished and when their behavior is very unprofessional. Just thought you might want to share with authors as an example of what NOT to do."

Now that Kindle has introduced it's own publishing platform, instead of picking up virtually all it's titles from, just about anyone can figure out how to publish a book on Anyone. But is that a good idea? The directions are simple, easy to follow--you can use a Word.doc file--and the product shows up looking like all the other products for sale on the site.
Self-publishing is not uncommon, but the plain fact is that most of us can't find the errors in our own work, because we just don't see them. We don't pick up on typos because we see what we think we typed.

In addition many authors don't know which style book to follow (or that books require a "style" at all) and go ahead and use whatever they were taught in English 101, while the rules for typesetting a book are very different than those for writing exposition. For one thing the period always goes INSIDE the quotation marks.

Then to complain when the reviewer pointed them out was, indeed, unprofessional. It's best to mind your manners with reviewers, even those who make you wonder if they read the right book, and to send notes of thanks to reviewers, even if their comments were not positive. Remember, any publicity is good publicity. If their experience with YOU is pleasant, they will remember and work with you again. Chances that they will remember whether or not they liked your book -- given the vast amount of titles they read -- are slender.

The number of this author's reviews posted since this controversy started indicates that she has, indeed, sold additional copies. But the readers were not happy with the product as indicated by their reviews. What do you think will happen when her next book comes out?

Will the present reviewer look at it? Doubtful. Because she will surely remember the arguments she got. Will the present readers want to spend their money again? Not likely, with all those one-stars that will remain forever on the amazon site. The review may have gone viral on the Internet, for now, and given the writer a lot of free advertising, but will it lead to fans??? Fans who will come back and buy the author's titles again, and again? What do you think?

Now everyone makes mistakes and even in our own professionally published books there are mistakes from time to time, though we do our best to make sure no one uses a "pear of scissors" and that the English spellings of words like cheque, neighbour, and colour are changed to American English and we do know that the Dedication ALWAYS falls on P. 5 and so on.

There IS no perfect book. And there is certainly a movement among authors these days, urging them to "keep control of the work" and to self-publish, because "what-the-hell, anyone can do it!" It is true that today, anyone can publish a book. But can they make it look professional enough to reflect well on their skills?

If you do self-publish, please don't think that "mistakes don't matter" in e-books. Mistakes always make a publisher or author look bad.

Most publishers attempt to put out a professional-looking product. They know the rules of grammar and typesetting, which authors do not, and should not be expectedto, know. They can at least discourage authors who want to do things that will make their book look less professional, like putting the dedication on the blank page opposite Chapter One.

Professional publishers use the Chicago Manual of Style as the standard for a well set out work. Professional publishers know that, however pretty a cover may look, it is less than useless if the title can't be read in thumbnail size. Something that even graphic designers, who work only with the actual book-sized cover and don't think about on-line buyers, may not take into consideration.

In short, e-publishing has its own rules. I have been an e-publisher for 10 years and knew absolutely nothing when I started. But I had help along the way from more-experienced publishers and I have learned a lot, though I still have to look stuff up all the time.

If you are planning to self-publish, my advice is to at least hire an editor who knows the business to look over the manuscript, before you put it on line yourself.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spam Shortcake - recipe

Spam Shortcake

1 can Spam
2 cans creamed corn
1 can regular corn or Nibblets
1 tsp butter
Sour cream to taste

Melt butter in a deep frying pan. Chop the can of Spam into small squares and add to butter. Add 2 cans creamed corn and regular can of corn or Mexican corn niblets. Heat to bubbly and add
1 heaping tablespoon sour cream.

Serve over hot corn bread squares.

Contributed by Karon Booth

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Confusing characters - writing question

Question from my e-mail: Arline my writer's group complain that my characters are confusing, that they can't remember who is who. It's true that the main characters are three young women all the same age, but the similarity ends there. And they even get confused about minor characters. How can I make my readers pay attention?

Answer: Good to hear from you, Donna. There are several things an author can do to avoid confusion among characters.

First be certain that the names and descriptions are all different and work with the personalities of the individuals. Each of the three should want something different. They should be different physically, too. They may be of an age, but make one a blonde, one a brunette, and one a redhead.

Be sure the names don't start with the same letter, so the eye won't be inadvertently confused as well. Readers, especially those who "skim," may often confuse characters whose names start with the same letter. They might even confuse Roger and Rhonda if they read quickly enough.

Then if a character turns up after an absence of some time, especially minor characters that the reader may not remember, then give an explanation of who they are when first mentioned anew, to cue the reader as to their place in the story. Here follows an example:

I was pleased to hear from Donna, an old student of mine, that three of the stories we worked on together had sold.

If this were part of a story, and"Donna" had been missing from the story's action for several pages, the cue -- an old student-- will place the character in the mind of the reader. These little cues and reminders go unnoticed if done right. They don't get in the way when the reader remembers. And they take up little space and keep away confusion if the reader has forgotten. Remember confusion is the first deadly sin of writing.

If you can get hold of a copy, you might want to read Dick Francis’s THE EDGE, and study his reader cues. It’s a mystery set on a train trip across Canada. He had several sets of characters: the detective and security people; the horse racing crowd — villain, suspects, owners, and horses, etc.; the train crew conductor, kitchen staff, etc.; and finally, the cast of a mystery play who were performing to entertain the party. He managed to cue the reader every time, with (I counted) upwards of 40 characters involved, that was not an easy task. But he is a masterful writer.

I hate it when critics say, “Francis is an excellent writer for a mystery writer.” As if mystery writers don’t have to be very good — or as if it’s a surprise that a mystery writer should be “excellent”. Francis is excellent, his images flawless, his attention to detail phenomenal, and his reader cues infallible.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Warning and Banana Bread - recipe

Warning: Arline is getting returns of e-mail she did NOT send. If you receive an email with the following message, it did not come from her:
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit  Greetings       Arline sent you a Care2 eCard on March 22, 2011.     It will be available for 14 days from the day it was sent.    You can also copy and paste this URL into your browser: 
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit  
If you received this e-mail PLEASE be sure not to click on the link or give any information, or even to collect the card. They use messages like this one to collect active e-mail addresses in order to spam the people they belong to. They can use any e-mail address they choose to type as the "return address" regardless of who actually sent the message. 
Because I do business on the net, my address is in a lot of people's address books, and gets pfished regularly. I don't want to change it, as I have had it for 20 years and all the students I have had over the years can still use it to find me.
This address will always reach me. If you direct it to your "spam" folder, you will no longer be able to receive e-mail from me as all my messages will go into your trash.

Dean Hinmon’s Super Healthy Banana Bread

2 1/3  Cups  flour - I use whole wheat
1/8  Cup sugar
1/4 Cup chopped walnuts (optional, I sometimes throw in some roasted, unsalted soy nuts)
1  Cup raisins
2  teaspoons baking powder
1  teaspoon  baking soda
7  large bananas pureed in the blender.
1  teaspoon vanilla

Notice that there is no oil, eggs, butter, and only a few grains of sugar in this recipe. Super healthy, yet delicious!

Thoroughly mix the dry ingredients, then blend the bananas, add vanilla and mix banana mix with dry ingredients. Pour into an oiled loaf pan and cook at 325-F or 163-C degrees for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. Depending upon your altitude and attitude.

Eat a slice and then you can leap tall buildings and fly at the speed of a bullet. Feed it to insensitive people and they suddenly take on the caring personality of guardian angels.

The banana bread has other uses. It can be used as a door stop, an anchor for the boat and can be attached to a steel pipe for weight lifting. It can be used as a step for reaching into a high shelf in the cupboard. There is a case reported recently of the woman who killed her husband by beating him over the head with a loaf and then hid the murder weapon by eating it. Generally, this use is not recommended. You can't make banana bread while incarcerated.

The banana bread IS recommended as a cure for all diseases known to man and woman kind, but for athletes foot, contrary to logic, it should be taken internally. One man applied the banana bread to his toes and an army of ants ate off his leg right up to his hip in the short time it took him to smack his lips after downing the remainder of the slice. There is a case reported in the AMA Journal of a woman in the last stages of terminal cancer who ate a fourth of a loaf of this banana bread and did not die from the cancer. She died from indigestion– only kidding, this bread is healthy and delicious.

Contributed by Dean Hinmon, author of The Fate of Haile Selassie’s Great-grandchildren... When foreign correspondent Mitch Hanley lands in Ethiopia he thinks that the game of death will be the same as in Vietnam and every hot spot he has covered since. He is wrong. In Addis Ababa he becomes a central player, in trying to save the lives of five children, caught in between the Marxist assassination squad and an unknown killer--an unnamed fellow correspondent who might well be the young woman with whom he is falling in love.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Catching UP

The BIG BAD news is that Shelley's computer had a major crash and she us unable to work on anything at all at present. A New computer is on order. April books will likely not appear until May, though she'll get them up for sale as soon as she can, and e-book production will be slowed considerably until everything in Hudson gets back to normal.

Also in Migrating all our titles from Mobipocket PERMANENTLY to, they somehow managed to DROP the bundle. All files were absent from sale for several days and no sales took place during that time, so expect a bit of a dip in the k listings when the new sales figures come out.

They recovered 466 titles published by and those are back up for sale, but Shelley estimates that we had listed well over 500 titles. Soooo some titles may still be missing! We have no idea which ones they might be. PLEASE check your name in Amazon's search engine (check all variations of your name, with and without middle initials, alternate spellings, etc. and again by title (I always check Arlene Chase for instance), in case of data-entry problems and so on. Be thorough. Be careful. And be SURE to let us know if any of your titles are missing, so we can reload them on the AMAZON DIGITAL platform. Which we can NOW do ourselves.

If you know authors who don't follow the blog, but are published by us, please pass this information along to them, as well.

There is a silver lining to every cloud and the good news is that we can now do something about missing covers and so on, that have been problematic at and which we were powerless to change before.

No print books went to press this week, but work continues on:


and we are still waiting for word on galleys from TRAVELER

and for a revised corrections list from Lisa Marie Mercer's LOVELAND.

Second galleys went out on Erin Aslin's:


and that will go back to press when she has approved the files.

Two new Bonus Classic e-books were completed this week,



And for everyone who is wondering what I'm doing in my spare time, I've been writing a bit myself. And in less than a week, we will start paying authors again. A time-consuming and involved process, but still my favorite thing to do.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Foreshadowing - writing tip

From the e-mail: Arline, an editor contacted me and said my manuscript was "close" but that events in the story happen "too suddenly." She said I needed to "let the reader know what was coming before dumping them in the middle of a crisis." Won't that ruin the suspense?? How can I keep the reader interested in finding out what will happen, if I tell them everything beforehand? Maia, your former student from Rome.

Answer: The trick is to hint at what will happen, without giving everything away. Because the hint will make them anticipate, and want to know more, Maia. I'm going to copy a handout that I used to use in my classes, that explains how to use that technique, which is usually called "foreshadowing." I'm surprised your editor friend didn't use that term.

Good to hear from you, Maia. Always good to hear from former Writer's Digest students.


The transition establishes where, who and when, and the hook leaves a question which must be answered. I'll use an example from my own work, so as not to embarrass anyone else. The initial hook can, and should, foreshadow (hint at) the first crisis. For example, the first transition in my novel GHOST DANCER, goes like this:

Fort Benton, Montana
March, 1890

"GHOST DANCERS?" Christianna Lawrence jumped as Jim Hill's rich voice boomed clearly through the closed door of the colonel's inner office. "Don't be an idiot, man! You can't think some religious tomfoolery amongst the Indians will be any problem to my railroad crew. The Indian wars were finished years ago!"

In the above transition, the "hook" is the possibility that the Ghost Dance cult may cause trouble during the railroad construction. It then follows that the first crisis should be a manifestation of that trouble and sure enough saboteurs attack the train and leave Indian sign behind. The foreshadowing is a hint -- no more. It doesn't tell everything that will happen, but it promises the reader action that will involve an "Indian War." That way, when the attack comes, the reader is fulfilled, because he anticipated it.

FORESHADOWING is a technique that leads the reader smoothly along, hinting at what is coming next without giving too much away. Foreshadowing makes future action more believable. Most of us don't notice it, but when it's not there, crises seem too precipitate, changes too sudden, surprises too surprising. Properly done, foreshadowing will increase both TENSION and SUSPENSE.

The term tension, in fiction writing, has to do with the amount of stake the reader has in your characters. The more the reader cares what happens to your protagonist, the more tension there is. Hooks increase tension. Editors have said (to me) that a manuscript with middle sag "lacks tension." If the first crisis is resolved and we're building toward the second crisis, but nothing much is going on, tension can be increased by inserting a scene that magnifies the danger to the hero or heroine. And any scene that makes it look like the protagonist is in danger of losing what he or she wants can increase tension. If the danger is a psychopath, show him hiding behind a bush plotting the protagonist's demise.

To a fiction writer suspense is keeping readers guessing what will happen next. The term suspense, denotes how involved the reader is in your plot. If he or she already knows what is going to happen, there isn't any suspense (critics call it "predictable"), and little reason to continue reading. To avoid trite plots, make a list of 10 things that might happen next and pick the least likely. Or brainstorm with friends to come up with suggestions for unusual and exciting twists. Remember, keep the readers guessing and let the answer be a SURPRISE.

Foreshadowing is vital if the following action will be hard to swallow for some reason. If you're going to "Raise the Titanic" on page 367, you have to foreshadow the action in the first third of the book. Clive Cussler put in a scene where someone had invented a new underwater sealant and the hero used it to successfully raise barges off an oil rig early in his book. That action took place BEFORE any of the events that made raising the Titanic a plot necessity. Even though we all know the big T is still down there, foreshadowing made the reader believe it was possible, and Cussler made us SEE the action when she rose.

One way to convince a reader improbable action is possible, is to juxtapose it with everyday things. Barbara Michaels always has her characters discuss their ghosts, satanic-possessions, and hauntings while eating hamburgers or pizza. The reader believes in the hamburgers and "swallows" the ghosts too.

Another technique that will help readers believe in the impossible is denial. The more other characters, especially the least liked ones, tell the protagonist he can't succeed at whatever impossible task he's aiming at, the more convinced the reader becomes the hero can actually pull it off. Remember, the reader is, or should be, on the hero or heroine's side.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pecan Pie - Recipe

Ed Petty’s Old Fashioned Southern Pecan Pie

1 9-inch unbaked pie shell
3 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
1/3 cup melted oleo
1 cup pecan halves

Preheat oven to 375-F or 190-C degrees. Combine eggs, sugar, syrup and oleo in a medium-sized bowl. Blend well. Stir in pecans. Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a knife that's inserted into the pie's center comes out clean.

Contributed by Edward Petty, author of NAKED.... Andy and Jason are longtime friends, but Andy has a secret. Will Andy's telling it break their seemingly inseparable bond? The truth comes out in NAKED.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to cut a long manuscript- writing tip

Someone recently submitted a 185,000 word manuscript and, though the sample appeared to be well-written, that is far beyond the limit of anything a modern day publisher would be able, economically, to accept.

I'm reminded of a letter of Mark Twain's where he told his correspondent, "I apologize for the length of this letter. I didn't have time to write a short one." Knowing what to leave out is not basic to a writer. We tend to write it all down, and then take out the unnecessary parts -- at least, I do.

And so I have developed a method for making cuts that I'd like to share here.

This is the method I use when cutting my own, admittedly verbose, work.

1. I look at each scene and ask myself what changes in it? What is the point? Is that point an important one? Or is it something that can be included in another scene, perhaps in a mini-flashback, by having a character remember that it happened earlier so the reader is informed without having to experience everything. If there is no point, or if the change is minor, then the scene goes, no matter how well-written.

2. After removing the scenes, make sure all the chapters are in one long file, then use your computer's search function to find the following words, making sure that both fore and aft parts of the sentence are needed:









in order, etc.

Anything that explains more about what was said. Basically less is more. Too much explanation is my downfall. Say what's necessary and leave out the window dressing.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Corn Fritters - recipe

David Core's Corn Fritters

1 can of corn
1 dash salt
2 tbsp. milk
2 tbsp. flour
2 egg whites
1/4 inch cooking oil heated in a deep frying pan
1 tablespoon honey for each fritter
strawberry (or any favorite) jelly

Drain the can of corn and dump into a mixing bowl. Combine the with the salt, flour and milk, and then set aside. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form then fold into the other prepared ingredients. When a drip of the batter sizzles and browns quickly, the oil is ready. Drop by the ladle into the hot oil and watch for browning on the edges. When edge is brown and bubbles stop forming in the batter, flip the fritter and cook until edge browns to match the top. Remove and drain on a piece of paper towel. The fritter will deflate like a fallen souffle. This is normal.

Serve and top with a mixture of the jelly and honey. Serves 5 to 8 depending on how large you make the fritters.

Contributed by J. David Core, author of the alternative reality novel Synthetic Blood...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Catcing Up

No books went to press this week.

Print galleys went out, or went out again on the following:

VIKING CROWN, by Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson


No word back from David Yates on TRAVELER, whose galleys were sent two weeks ago.

Ebooks completed:

TOM SAWYER by Mark Twain

Work continued on:

CRASH LANDINGS was retypeset, due to a glitch.

Corrections were made on VIKING CROWN.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Viewpoint Question - writing tip

Question: Okay I thought there were only two viewpoints -- an "I" narrator, or third person. Someone keeps telling me I'm "head hopping" -- HUH? Arline, you were my teacher, help me.

Answer: Well yes, and no. First and third are definitely two viewpoints. But there are more...

"First Person" is written with an "I" narrator, as if the story happened to you. Just as you said.

"Third Person" limited, is written in third person, but limited to a single character's point of view. No other character's thoughts or feelings may enter the narrative. This is the pov chosen for most short stories.

"Limited Omniscient," is written in third person, and limited to a single viewpont in any one scene, but is considered omniscient, because it shifts from one character's pov to another's at scene changes. This is the viewpoint chosen for most novels.

True "Omniscient" pov is the godlike view of a story told by a narrator who knows all, including all the characters innermost thoughts. This is the familiar pov of fable and fairy tale.

Finally, there is the "Camera-eye" or what is sometimes called the "Exterior Dramatic" viewpoint, in which no single character's thoughts are revealed and every part of the story is told only with action. This is the most difficult pov in which to write, but it forces the writer to produce images. It's a good learning pov for writers who are poor at description, but can produce cold and "unfeeling" stories unless you are very good at description.

"Head hopping" is usually defined as switching from one character's mind to another's during a single scene, usually without meaning to. The following is an example of "head hopping" taken from an early story of my own, so as not to embarrass anyone else.

"He thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world and she thought so, too."

As you can see, we are experiencing both characters' thoughts. That's hopping back and forth from one head to another.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cheese Biscuits - recipe

Joan Boise’s Cheese Biscuits

1 pound of sharp cheese (shredded)
1 ½ teaspoons of paprika
4 cups of self-rising flour
1 pound of margarine
3/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Pecan halves

Mix first five ingredients together, chill 1 hour. Do NOT skip this step. Roll out 1/4 inch thick and cut with 1 1/4 inch cookie cutter. Place on greased cookie sheet, 1 inch apart. Press pecan half on top. Bake 10 minutes or until firm (not brown) at 350-F or 177-C degrees. Yields 2 dozen.

Contributed by Joan Boise, author of Accepting Multiple Sclerosis...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Question from the e-mail - writing tip

Question:  Someone in my writing group commented that my protagonist isn't very likeable. He's really not a very nice guy, does he have to be likeable? Can't he just be who he is?

Answer: Usually the reader identifies with the protagonist. He is "for" the main character, who is usually a "good guy."  In some cases he may be an anti- hero. Someone who finds himself acting unexpectedly in a heroic manner, and we can all identify with an underdog, most of us having been one at one time or another.

There are exceptions, of course, but main characters who lie, cheat, steal, murder or otherwise do bad things are difficult for readers to identify with. Readers aspire, yes, nearly all of them, to be admirable.  So if the main character isn't nice-- or at least motivated well enough so the reader can say, "I might have acted like that-- then they will have difficulty identifying with that main character. 

Even those who love literary stories read to experience vicariously  lives, other wheres, and other times. It was no fool who said,  "We are the sum of our experiences, not the sum of our possessions." 

When we create a story, we also create an experience for our reader. Not all such experiences have to be pleasant, but when they are unpleasant,  we must give the reader plenty of reason to stick around. Scarlet O'Hara wasn't "nice" but we all understood why she acted as she did.

Understanding why the characters act as they do is often the key.

Monday, March 14, 2011

David Landrum’s Peach Kuchen-recipe

David Landrum’s Peach Kuchen

* A kuchen is an Amish pastry. Is not exactly a pie and not exactly a cake and has a
light, unique flavor.

1 1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup of margarine
1 can (16 oz.) spiced peaches, drained
3 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sour cream (or yogurt or a mixture)

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut in margarine with a pastry blender or fork, until mixture is crumbly. Pat into bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Arrange peach slices on top of crust in a single layer. Drizzle with honey, then sprinkle top with cinnamon. Bake at 400-F or 204-C degrees for 15 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Combine the beaten egg and sour cream, mixing well. Pour over peaches and bake 30 minutes longer. Serve warm.

*Note: yogurt may be used in topping rather than sour cream. I prefer sour cream for its
milder flavor. Yogurt will give the topping more of a tang. Or combine the two to your
particular taste.

* Other fruits such as cherries, apples, blueberries, or rhubarb may also be used. Fruits may
be canned or fresh.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Catching UP

Print galleys went out this week for:

TRAVELER by David Yates

VIKING CROWN, by Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson

Ebooks completed this week include:

Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells
Red Ink is no Picnic, by Arline Chase

Will be starting on a new arc of POD books as soon as I get these last few from the last arc finished up.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Song lyrics question-- writing tip from the e-mail

Question: I have quoted song lyrics in my novel and a publisher replied that she'd like to "see it again" but certain changes needed to be made and the song lyrics would definitely have to go. I like it that my characters sing and while I can see the other changes are necessary, why quibble over a few song lyrics?

Answer: Probably because they are copyrighted material. Quoting song lyrics does not fall under "fair use" as it's currently defined (and there are as many definitions as there are lawyers, but you can avoid all that court stuff by removing them). To be safe, you should never quote from any copyrighted material directly without permission in writing from the publisher (not the author). Your book publisher could get (and pay through the nose for) such permission, but it's expensive. Undoubtedly your gal isn't likely to take on such an expense for the sake of quoting the songs.

There are ways around it, however. You can just tell the reader the characters sang whatever song -- it's okay to use the title. Or you can easily paraphrase and have your character sing along with Kris Kristofferson“about being broke and hitching rides in Baton Rouge.” But you cannot have the character sing the actual words of Bobby McGee, as in , “Busted flat in Baton Rouge, headed for the train...”

It’s okay to quote from songs published before 1920, because that material is in the Public Domain. Dead songwriters cannot sue but their music publishers will certainly do so. And the Musician's Union will likely foot the litigation bill. Basically, it’s okay to paraphrase song lyrics, to quote song titles, or book titles, or movie titles, to mention celebrities by name (they are public figures), but not to copy directly from any copyrighted work and have it reproduced in your own.

Hope that helps.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tonya Ramagos's Hush Puppies - recipe

Tonya Ramagos’s Hush Puppies

2 cups yellow cornmeal
2 tbsp. Flour
1 tbsp. Salt
½ tsp. Baking powder
2 tbsp. Chopped or grated onion
2 ½ cups boiling water

Mix all ingredients, except boiling water. Slowly pour ingredients into rapidly boiling water, stirring constantly. Cook until mush-like. Remove from heat. Shape, while warm, into 2-inch balls or patties and place on waxed paper to cool. Brown in deep hot fat. May be made ahead and kept in refrigerator several hours before frying.

Contributed by Tonya Ramagos, author of DISASTER STRIKES

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

All Romance Cafe Open - writing tip

We received the following release from the owners of and We are passing along the information, because it might be a good place to talk about your books.


All Romance™ eBooks Opens the ARe Café™ to the Public:

eBook Lovers Finally Have Their Own Network

The digital eBook retailer All Romance eBooks (ARe™) opened the virtual doors of its ARe Café today to the public, finally revealing the new reader-centered social networking area integrated with the existing All Romance™/Omnilit™ retail sites.

Palm Harbor, FL (March 7, 2011): Finally, there’s a website devoted to the world of bibliophiles, including readers, authors, bloggers and publishers. While the Café functions much like Facebook and other social networking platforms, the ARe Café offers much more information, news, events, videos and podcasts from every corner of the book world.

The site features areas for eBook tips and help, for visitors to see what the most popular book bloggers are posting, what events their favorite authors or fellow readers are attending, and news, videos and podcasts from the book world gathered from all over the web and compiled in one place for easy viewing with a click of a mouse.

The information added from the All Romance/Omnlit retail site integration allows visitors to see in real time the last book purchased, as well as the latest reviews posted by fellow readers.

The Recommended Reads column, one of the most popular features in ARe’s Wildfire newsletter, will now have a permanent home in the Cafe. All of the columnists’ Top Picks, recommendations and reading lists are conveniently archived under the Books tab in the Café.

Social aspects within the Café include discussion forums found in the Groups area, and a Featured Author section where readers will find interviews with favorite authors. Visitors can also participate in the monthly book club led by Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blogger Sarah Wendell, and receive rebates on the featured book.

Once a visitor has set up a free Café account they can connect it to their Twitter and Facebook. Users can Tweet comments and Like topics. The Café Facebook and Twitter integration feature allows members to elect to push status updates out to their Twitter and Facebook accounts, all from within the Cafe .


All Romance eBooks, LLC was founded in 2006, is privately held in partnership, and headquartered in Palm Harbor, Florida. The company owns, which special izes in the sale of romance eBooks and, which sells both fiction and non-fiction eBooks.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pesto Sauce - Recipe

David Smith’s Best Pesto Sauce

* Pesto is best when fresh, once made it does not keep well, unless frozen right away. A minor drawback for such a great item.

½ cup fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup parsley leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
5 Tablespoons walnuts
Grated rind of ½ lemon
1/4 cup grated Locatelli cheese (optional. Locatelli cheese is a hard, strong tasting, grated cheese.)
(Try adding Thyme for a taste change)

In blender, puree oil, garlic and nuts. Add basil and parsley a little at a time. Add cheese and lemon. Puree until smooth. Serve over pasta, vegetables, or fish. Goes well with just about anything.

Yields: Approximately 1 ½ cups, takes about 15 minutes to make, coats one pound of pasta. Or serves as a dip, or a side dish, or, well...whatever.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Catching up

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

VIENNA PRIDE, by Terry L. White

Galleys that went out this week:


TRAVELER, by David Yates

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A call for writers - writing tip from the e-mail

From the e-mail:

We are seeking authors for a collaborative inspirational book, Turning Points: Changing Lives One Moment at a Time. Turning Points is a collection of vignettes from everyday people who have experienced extra ordinary results because of decisions they made to change their lives.

If you would like to share an experience and be part of this uplifting book that will inspire others to see their potential, contact us today. For more information, visit or call 772.233.7675

Thank you,

PC McCullough
Lois Arsenault

A short paragraph or two about a change can garner you an opportunity to publicize your books in your bionote.

Turning Points: Changing Lives One Event at a Time

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My friend says I used her -- writing tip

From the e-mail:

Question: I wrote a coming-of-age short story about two young girls on a trip together. My best friend, on reading it, said, "All you did was change the names and places -- that was US when we went to Vermont in 8th grade!" I do vaguely recall our trip to Vermont, now. But it was nowhere in my mind when I wrote the story. And I didn't think the second girl's character was at all like my friend. But physically there are similarities. How did that happen?

Answer: My guess is that you pulled it somewhere from your subconscious without knowing it.

In the beginning, I often based my own fiction on family history, but it was fiction. Almost all the stories in my first collection, THE DROWNED LAND, were loosely based on family folktales. But still...

Once I wrote a story about my great-uncle, Henry, who had taken on a man’s work at age 14 aboard a Chesapeake Bay dredge boat, back in the 1890's. I knew that, and that his goal then was to earn enough money to marry his sweetheart, which he did by age 16. But the story of their courtship, and that they subsequently lived together for 75 years, was all I knew when I began to write.

I surmised that a youngster would be hazed by the older crew members and wrote that part with no difficulty. Then I planned for Henry to do something to “prove himself" worthy of a full-grown man's wages.

I agonized for weeks, invented storms and tossed them out, bar fights and so on were also discarded. The man I knew was not a big man and though he must have been physically strong in order to do the work, I doubted if that gentle man had ever fought with anyone.

Finally, I settled on a fire in the hold of the boat. Henry duly distinguished himself by putting out the blaze, though his hands were burned in the process.

When my mother read the story, she handed it to me with disgust, saying, “Can’t you get anything right? It wasn’t Uncle Henry who burned his hands! It was Uncle Lou!”

I was absolutely certain I had made the whole thing up and had no conscious memory of anyone’s burned hands. But they must have been absorbed by osmosis and crept out on the page, as big a surprise to me as anyone. Regardless of whose hands had actually been burned, the dramatic moment worked in the story and “A Man’s Share” was one of the first stories I ever sold.

The ways of a writer's creativity are many and varied. Tell your friend that you didn't consciously "use" her, but that her friendship and the trip you took together must have had great meaning for you on some level, to have resurfaced in your story.

The words flow and we write them down and pray that they'll never stop coming. But normally we have very little idea where they come from. Inspiration? The muse? There are all kinds of theories and explanations for the creative act of writing.

But in the final analysis, I suspect the place it comes from may be as varied as the number of writers.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mary Bible’s Green Beans with Potatoes or Okra -recipe

Mary Bible’s Green Beans with Potatoes or Okra.

March is women's history month and today's recipe comes from the main character in a biographical novel, about a mother's experiences trying to raise a family alone, during the Great Depression.

Mary Bible’s Green Beans with Potatoes or Okra.

*Mary always believed in parboiling all green vegetables. She said if you didn't you could get sick from botulism.
4 cups of green beans broke or cut into small pieces about one inch. Parboiled for three minutes and rinsed in cold water.
3/4 teaspoon salt.
3 strips of bacon or a small piece of ham.

Put beans and meat into a large pot and cover with hot water. Stir salt in the beans and add bacon. While beans and meat are cooking, peel and quarter two medium size potatoes.

Cook the beans until water is almost gone. The last twenty minutes place the potatoes on top of beans and cook until the potatoes are done. You can cook okra on top of beans the same way. Good with cornbread.
Contributed by Dorothy Bible Kawaguchi, author of Her Name Was Mary...the story of a mountain woman’s struggle to raise her children alone, during the Great Depression.