Friday, April 29, 2011
VIKING CROWN went to press last week.
Galleys went out (or went out again) on:
Work continued, or started on print editions of:
Playing with Fire
Question from the e-mail: My latest book is not listed at Barnes&Noble, though it is listed on their affiliate sites and at all your other sales venues. How can I get them to put it up for sale there?
Answer: You can't. Neither can I. One book, one author, one publisher means NOTHING in Barnes&Noble's grand scheme of things. That's the sorry truth. They are concentrating on getting a new business venture under way and will not stop to consider details.
There is nothing either YOU or I can do to make them pick a book up one bit faster, or more accurately, until or unless, the get a separate upload platform like the one amazon recently installed. Until then, the computers automatically update the information about once every three days and books can show up or disappear again whenever those updates take place.
As long as the computers are in charge of the data, information and communication, books will appear and disappear at whim, covers will display, or NOT, at whim. There is no way for them, or US to fix it until or unless the glitch in the operating software is revised. I do believe, in time, they will set up such a platform that will allow authors or publishers to make changes. It took amazon five years to do it after they bought out Mobipocket to get inventory and the reader program that later became Kindle.
B&N bought Fictionwise to get their books inventory and their e-reader, that later became NOOK. They wanted the inventory, and to get a store in operation as soon as possible. That was last July. Last July we sold $23 worth of books at B&N. Last January we reported $336.10 in sales through the Nook outlet (including reported sales from all their affiliates). So as you can see, B&N is building a growing customer base. Also they are doing a lot of Nook advertising on TV, another good sign, as far as I'm concerned
Thursday, April 28, 2011
3 pounds white flour
1 quart whole milk
½ pound of butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 wine glasses of fresh yeast (2 pkg. dry yeast dissolved in 1 cup lukewarm water)
Sift flour into a large bowl. Beat eggs in a separate bowl. Warm the milk and add the eggs. Add butter and salt to the egg-milk mixture. Fold the eggs, milk, butter and salt mixture into the flour. Gradually add the yeast to the whole mixture, a little at a time. Beat the whole at least four minutes.
Divide the mixture into two equal parts and place each in a pan. Cover the pans with thick cloths and put them in a warm place (originally, on a hearth). When the contents of the pans are raised and light, put them in two buttered loaf-pans.
Bake in a moderate oven, no more than 300-F or 148-C degrees, until a test straw comes out clean. Cut into slices, with the loaf left standing. Serve warm.
Warning! Real Sally Lunn never uses sugar or spice.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Answer: It could mean something as simple as that some of the scenes are out of sequence as far as the storytelling is concerned. It might also mean that the structure of the scenes is not properly configured. Only by looking hard at your manuscript, can you decide which.
In the beginning all writing teachers say three things. “Show don’t tell. Write what you know,” and “Write in Scenes.” That is good advice as far as it goes. What it doesn’t say clearly enough is that your story, or article should unfold in an organized fashion, letting the reader in on facts as they become important for the reader to know. Some people call this giving the work “structure.” This concept is usually easy to identify in non-fiction, but harder in fiction. In non-fiction you state a premise, give additional facts and then, in the final paragraph, sum up the concepts that support your premise. We all learned that doing essays in school.
Just like the “lead” in an article, a fiction transition is the most important sentence you can write. A transition is the first line when you move the reader from one place to another, or one scene to another, or from their chair into your story. A good transition, like the lead in a newspaper or magazine article, should answer the questions, Who? Where? and When? Otherwise it leaves the reader aware that something is missing and causes editors to write in their refusal letters, "This story needs to be better grounded in time and space!" I know. I have the letters to prove it.
Dramatic structure is a little more involved, though not as involved as one might think. Every scene has the same structure. Here it is:
1. Transition, preferably with hook. (Who, when, where, and end with an unanswered question)
2. Rising action and dialogue
3. Turning point of the scene (the place where something important changes)
(if there's no point, the scene goes, no matter how well written)
4. End/resolution of the scene, preferably with another hook. When we come to the end of a scene,
* * *
we indicate it with the double line break, at least two extra lines of "white space" and use the three stars, a line, or some other indication, in case the line break falls at the bottom of a page. Once the turning point is reached, then a final hook for that scene is set, and the scene ends. The Scene Ends Right There! Yes, as soon as the point is made, regardless of what else might have really happened later.
Say for instance a medical examiner is called to the scene of a murder. He looks at the corpse and at the uniformed cop on standby, then says, "He's done it again. This is the same as the last one."
That's the final point of the scene, because we have let the reader know a serial killer is on the loose. Now after this in real time, the criminalists may descend, take photographs and fingerprints, pick up blood samples, and eventually the body will be removed leaving the inevitable tape outline on the floor, but to show the reader all that would be anticlimactic, because the point had already been established. Once your serial killer is on the loose, end the scene, and get on to the next scene where your detective is hot on the trail instead of wasting your and the readers' time on pointless action, however well written. Most short stories have three major turning points and coincidentally three major scenes.
If you MUST include thescene with the criminalists (say there are clues embedded), then move the ME to the END of that scene, don't let him come at the beginning. That's making sure things don't come out of sequence.
Often there are things that happened in the past that affect the present. Sometimes this requires a flashback scene, but not usually. 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: A real flashback, is a whole scene shown out of time sequence, and a mini-flashback is having a character remember something that happened before for a line or two, then going on with the present scene’s action.
This can be the time for good use of narrative. They always tell us "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 pointless scenes if the reader has to know about it. 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.
Look at the following story synopsis:
After meeting her fiancé, Don, for lunch, Melanie buys an antique statue that strikes her eye in a small shop. After taking it home, she becomes conscious of an aura about it. It begins to affect her dreams. Over the next two weeks, as she goes to her job at a local library, at home, and even on dates with her fiancé, Melanie cannot get the little statue out of her mind. Don is disturbed by her lack of attention and his assumption that Melanie’s life should revolve around him is established when he presents her with airline tickets for a honeymoon on a date she has already told him she can’t get leave from work. He suggests she quit her job and devote herself to keeping him happy in the future. Melanie does some research and finds the statue was once the symbol of an African River god. She writes to the embassy asking more about the history of the river god and is referred to the Museum of Humanities. She calls the museum and makes an appointment to speak with the curator, an expert in African culture. He tells her the statue was stolen and that the three tribal factions of that area each blame the other two for the theft. War among them is imminent. Melanie decides to give the statue back. Melanie thinks about quitting her job, but the little statue looks angry and her dreams are filled with visions of airplane crashes for weeks. Her nerves are on edge when Don comes by unannounced and berates her for spending so much time on the darned statue. They break up. Don goes on their planned honeymoon alone and his plane crashes. Though he survives, Melanie has no desire to resume their relationship. Melanie learns from the museum curator that the statue is authentic and makes arrangements to ship it back to Africa.
Looking at the above, almost anyone would assume they’d start the story at lunch with the fiancé. Or at least with the purchase of the statue. But look at the three structured scenes outlined below, that have the needed background information embedded with mini-flashbacks.
Scene one: Melanie’s apartment. Quarrelsome phone call from Don. Problem Statement: Melanie’s relationship with fiancé Don is not going well. Melanie eyes the statue that looks like a humpbacked waterdrop with a head. The face keeps changing, sometimes male, sometimes female, sometimes faceless, depending on the angle of view. Mini-flashback: She remembers where she bought it and the feelings she’s been having ever since. Don shows up and they quarrel about his making honeymoon plans without consulting her schedule. Don leaves, angry. End hook, Melanie wonders if the marriage to him is going to be a mistake.
Scene two: Museum. Melanie meets the museum curator. Definite interest on his part. Mini-flashback to the dreams and how she got there. He’s nice and attentive. Gives her background on the statue and agrees to come and look to see if it’s the original. Curator makes a mild pass. Melanie mentions her fiancé. Curator suggests she return statue. Melanie is not sure whether she wants to let it go. She is becoming fond of it, despite its ominous aura of anger.
Scene Three: Melanie’s apartment. Curator calls. Statue is genuine. As he leaves, Melanie says she will consider a date and asks him to make arrangements to ship it to Africa. Don comes by and they quarrel again. He gives her an ultimatum, tells her to quit job. They quarrel. Don is very nasty. Melanie dumps him. Don announces he plans to go on the honeymoon trip he wanted anyway, on Flight 801, or some other famous crash number. Melanie tells him to go ahead. They are through. Don leaves. The statue then definitely looks female and smiling. As Melanie packs it to be sent home, she feels at peace for the first time in weeks.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Party Crab Dip
2 cans lump crabmeat
1 cup cheddar cheese grated
1 cup Vidalia or sweet onion chopped, not diced
1 cup mayo, or enough to make moist
white pepper to taste
pinch of tabasco
Mix together and served broiled on thinly sliced baguette. Note: it takes very little time under the broiler. Watch carefully. Or you can put them on Triskets and microwave. Delicious either way.
Monday, April 25, 2011
2011 Summer Conference
Remember the Magic
The 34th Annual Summer Conference
June 24 - July 1, 2011: (starts with dinner on Friday, ends with breakfast the following Friday)
The overall value of this conference...
is the creation of an atmosphere which stretches you:
- As a writer
- As a woman
- As a person
...to celebrate the feeling of being alive in the company of kindred spirits.
Open to all women regardless of professional portfolio
- 40 separate workshops held each day, unless otherwise noted
- Workshop directors culled from every part of the U.S., Canada and abroad
- Maximum capacity: 350
- Since 1976, the IWWG Women’s Writing Conferences have been responsible for the publication of hundreds of books in major houses
- Equal importance given to the use of writing as a tool for daily practice and personal growth
- All ages and backgrounds represented
- Get-togethers for mutual critiquing of work
All workshops are held once each day for the week-long period and are 90 minutes in length, unless otherwise noted.
The Art and Craft of Writing
- Play, Write and Playwrighting: Unmasking the Play Within You - Judy L. Adourian
- Plot: The Heart of Your Story - Lynne Barrett
- So You Think Your Life’s a Movie—Reel Magic! - Linda Bergman
- The Muse Salon: Bringing out the Depth in Writing through Music - Rainelle Burton
- Writing Fiction and Memoir: One Page at a Time - Pat Carr
- The Building Blocks of Popular Fiction - Zita Christian
- Discovering Your Characters: Listening Then Crafting (Sat., Mon., Wed.) - Susanne Davis
- Letters and Literature: Writing Life, Love and Longing - Rachel De Baere
- What in Goddess’ Name Is a Prose Poem? - Marj Hahne
- Copying the Classics: From Imitation to Originality - Richelle Mcclain
- Shimmering Images and Inherited Stories: Building a Memoir from the Truths They Tell - Lisa Dale Norton
- Poetry by Definition: Following the Masters - Carol Faulkner Peck
- Editorial Essentials: How to Edit Your Writing Before You Show It to Anybody - Natalie Reid
- The Blank Page: Writing Adrift, Writing A Draft - Eunice Victoria Scarfe
- The Wonder of Words: Writing for Your Life (Sat.-Mon.); Personal Writing Consultation (Tues.-Thur., by appointment) - Linda Leedy Schneider
- Writing Effective Dialogue - Judith Searle
- The Voice in Our Poems: How Are We Heard? What Can We Listen For? - Myra Shapiro
- The Mosaic of Creative Nonfiction: From Journaling, to Essay, to Memoir - Susan Tiberghien
- The Laughter of Women: Sublime to Outrageous and the Irony in Between - Anne F. Walradt
MARKETING AND PUBLISHING
- Legal Pitfalls: How to Protect Yourself and Your Work in Print and Electronic Publishing - Sheila J. Levine
- The New Rules of Book Proposals: How to Build Confidence, Community, and Connection in the Digital Age - Melissa Rosati
- The Smart Writers’ Guide: What to Know Before, During and After Writing a Book (Sat.- Mon.) - Carren Strock
- Open Critiques/Poetry - Susan Baugh
- Open Critiques/Fiction - Pat Carr and Rainelle Burton
- Open Critiques/Nonfiction - Susan Tiberghien and Lynne Barrett
- Open Critiques/Popular Fiction - Anne F. Walradt
TRANSFORMATION OF SELF
- Sacred Acts of Healing: Writing the Transformation Story - Stephanie Alston-Nero
- French… With Pleasure! - Jacqueline Aupetit
- Intensive Journal® Workshop ($41 workshop materials fee) - Joanne Hackett Ching
- Beyond the Margins: A Master Class in Writing in the 21st Century - June Gould
- Finding the Me in Memory: Tools for Women in Transition - Judith Huge
- The Image, the Word, the Story: Tools for Transformation - Jan Phillips
- Writing From the Natural World: An Exploration of Inner and Outer Nature non-linear Knowledge - Mary Reynolds Thompson
- Healing through Changing Our Home Environment - Terry Apicella
- How to Be a Diva - Claudia Clemente
- Inviting the Image to Speak: Writing from Soul Collage® - Judith Prest
- The Healing Spirit of Story: The Ancient Art of Dollmaking ($35 workshop materials fee) - Nina Reimer
THE ARTS, THE BODY & HEALTH
- Tai Chi in Between: Writing From the Dan Tian - Sandra Balint
- Writing from the Silence Space - eDeRuth
- Pen and Pose: A Workshop in Yoga and Writing - Yael Flusberg
- Raising Your Photography to a New Level - Making Your Good Pictures Great (Tues-Thur.) - Carren Strock
Friday, April 22, 2011
VIKING CROWN by Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson
Galleys that went out:
CRASH LANDINGS by Ray Morand
Everyone got paid.
Best Sellers (Just for OUR company) at Fictionwise:
|Best Sellers for ebooksonthe.net|
|Based on data gathered within the last 20 days. Icon explanations|
1. Return of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle [Mystery/Crime/Classic Literature]
2. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse [Classic Literature/Spiritual/Religion]
3. Your Place or Mine by Lynette Hall Hampton [Suspense/Thriller/Mainstream]
4. Vienna Pride: A Chesapeake Heritage Novel by Terry White [Mainstream/Mystery/Crime]
5. Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas ( Pere ) [Classic Literature/Historical Fiction]
6. Fire Next Time by Arline Chase [Mystery/Crime/Romance]
7. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain [Classic Literature/Children's Fiction]
8. Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain [Classic Literature/Children's Fiction]
9. High Country Hearts by Dolly Lamar [Romance/Mainstream]
10. Woman in the Glass by G.D Gaetz [Suspense/Thriller/Mainstream]
and by Reader Ratings
|Highest Rated for ebooksonthe.net|
| Based on highest average ratings by at least 5 readers. Icon explanations|
1. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett [Classic Literature/Children's Fiction]
2. Ghost Dancer by Arline Chase [Historical Fiction]
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen [Classic Literature]
4. Minder's Oath [High Places Series: Book 2] by Nina M. Osier [Science Fiction/Mainstream]
5. Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini [Suspense/Thriller/Classic Literature]
6. The Secret Adversary [Tommy and Tuppence Book 1] by Agatha Christie [Classic Literature]
7. Dark Elf: [Book 2 of the Red Knight Chronicles] by Ray Morand [Science Fiction/Mainstream]
8. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie [Mystery/Crime/Classic Literature]
9. Slow Dancing with the Angel of Death [Hollis Ball and Sam Westcott Series Book 1] by Helen Chappel [Mystery/Crime/Humor]
10. Tortured Souls [Arbiter Series Book 2] by Matthew L. Schoonover [Horror]
Please do remember, that while this listing allows you to add "best selling author" to your resume, it does not mean that vast numbers of books have been sold -- only that at Fictionwise, in the past 20 days, you sold ONE or TWO more copies than any other author at ebooksonthe.net
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Answer: Dear Isabelle,
Most courses offer such a sheet and advise the writer to prepare one for each character in the story, just to make their relative positions clear. The one I'm sending is one I developed on my own, not the one I used to send to WD students that was included in the course. I could no longer send that as it is copyrighted to Writer's Digest.
I'm not sure if this is the same one you had, but I hope you find it helpful....
ARLINE CHASE'S CHARACTER PLANNING SHEET
Plot should come out of character, evolving naturally from each character's beliefs, experiences, and desires. To understand your characters' feelings, take a look at the events that shaped their lives. Look first at the character's emotional life, then at world events.
Characters are shaped by personal experiences. If your character was verbally abused, or bullied, as a youngster that may affect how they behave as an adult. For instance, if such a character becomes a teacher, he or she will be more in tune with children who are the subject of bullying.
Characters are changed by the historic events of their lives. If your character was near ground zero on 9-11, he or she will be affected by that memory.
Use the following interview sheet to get closer to your characters. Remember, good characters do things for good reasons and bad characters do things for bad reasons, but all characters MUST have a reason to do what they do. Fill our a sheet for each major character.
Questions with a (*) must be answered:
Name, date of birth and place of residence? (*)
What does he or she want? (*)
What stands in his or her way? (*)
How will the character change by the end of the story? (*)
What is the character’s reason for taking action?
What are his or her strengths and weaknesses? (*)
What secrets does the character have?
What childhood or personal events shaped the character’s life?
What world events shaped the character?
Physical description: (*) (Hint from a workshop with LaVyrle Spencer: "Sometimes it helps to pick an actor to play the role. That way you can always see them.)
© 2003 Arline Chase
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Author David Berardelli, contributed his wife's recipe for this excellent Peanut Butter Chicken. David is the author of Demon Chaser, and Demon Chaser II.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Answer: Yes, and no. Every stringer MUST produce the goods just like a full-time newspaper reporter. If the goods aren't good enough the stringer will soon be unemployed -- just like any other news reporter. You are "real" enough for your current editor and you might want to ask him for some "Press ID" to carry and show it to your "friend."
You are also, to some degree, "freelance" and that is an advantage, not a detriment. It means you can reword and resell your stringer articles to another newspaper or magazine without compunction. Back in my stringer days, I interviewed a local boat builder for a B1 feature when he built a reproduction of a historic vessel. Later I took photos of the launch, and, using the information from the earlier interview and the photos of the launch, sold what was essentially the same feature, though rewritten, to a national boating magazine
The moral of that story is never throw your notebooks away. As for whether stringers are real...
Once at the newspaper we had a “stringer” who covered city council in a small town quite a distance from the county seat. Her lead was always the same, “The secretary read the minutes at the city council meeting in Hurlock on Tuesday.” Once when I was laying out the front for my (hung-over and nameless) editor, I pointed out to her that the meeting had ended with the mayor throwing a chair at the police chief and suggested she change the lead to “Violence erupted Tuesday night at the Hurlock city council meeting.” She told me not to be “interfering” and said her lead was right because the first thing that happened every week was that the secretary read the minutes.
The lead is the most important thing — not the first thing. Just like the regular editor, I changed the lead and went to press. Soon as they found another stringer who lived near Hurlock, that sweet lady came by crying because she’d been “let go” due to budget cuts. And she really thought it was due to budget cuts, too. But I didn’t think so. Do you?
The editor also bit the dust within the year. So it goes...
Monday, April 18, 2011
Ray Morand’s Scalloped Potatoes and Carrots
4 cups thinly sliced peeled potatoes
3 cups thinly sliced peeled carrots (or parboil baby carrots and use instead)
½ cup chopped onions
1/3 cup chopped parsley
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
¼ teaspoon dill
2 teaspoon seasoned salt
3 cups milk
Combine potatoes and carrots in casserole. Preheat oven to 350-F or 177-C degrees.
Saute onion and parsley in butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour, dill, and seasoned salt and stir in milk gradually. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Pour over vegetables in casserole, mix well.
Bake covered for thirty minutes. Remove cover and continue uncovered for one hour or until vegetables are tender.
Contributed by Ray Morand*, author of Modified... The year is 2106 and the human race finally united under one world government, but a slave race of Artificial Intelligence Clones want their freedom and genetically engineered soldiers were created to combat them. The Space Marines are fighting a losing battle and one genetically engineered female Navy Seal may be the secret to winning the war.
* Ray Morand is the pen name of Raye Carchia
Friday, April 15, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Question from the e-mail: I have a life, I'm the mother of teenagers, How can I ever find time to write?