Friday, July 29, 2011

Catching UP

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

CATHERINE'S RING, by Elena Dorothy Bowman

SECOND REPUBLIC, by Steven Clark Bradley

NIGHT UNDONE, by K.S. Brooks

Galleys sent out or sent out again this week:

GOOD FRIDAYS, by Diane Marquette

MY DEAREST FRIEND, by Hazel Stratham

YOUR PLACE OR MINE, by Lynette Hall Hampton

Work continued on:

ROUGH WATERS, by Gianni Hayes


Waiting on Galleys to be returned:

A GRANDFATHER'S GIFT, by Hugh Carter Vinson

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dialogue on point -- writing tip

Question: My writer's group says my dialogue is not on point. They tell me I need to "stop being repetitive" and to "get on with things." But isn't dialogue supposed to be written the way people really talk?

Answer: Yes and no. Dialogue should be written the way people really talk, but leaving out the boring parts. Most of what people say IS boring. Stick with what is important and tell (YES TELL) the rest in narrative.

For instance, take this story situation:

In Scene one, Sally’s brother John was in a 40-car pile up on the Interstate. He lies for hours, pinned in the car, then finally is picked up by helicopter and taken to Shock-Trauma. There he is rushed into surgery while (end of scene hook) a nurse tosses his wallet to the ward clerk, yelling, “Call his next-of-kin.”

In scene two: Sally, having learned the news, hangs up the phone, rushes out of the house and meets her neighbor, Paul, a friend of John’s. Here’s scene two:

Sally hung up the phone, grabbed her jacket and headed for the door, frantic to get to the hospital and find out how badly John was hurt. (Opening Hook, and there's no need to play out the hospital person giving her the news--the reader already knows that.) It wasn’t until she actually got into the garage that she remembered John had been driving her car the night before, because his was in the repair shop. (Character-building, shows confusion caused by the emergency situation.) Without a second thought for her damaged car (Character-revealing, shows her first concern is her brother’s life), Sally hurried out to the street and all but ran toward the bus stop.

Half a block down the street, Paul Anderson, a friend of John’s, put down his rake and caught up with Sally. “Where are you going in such a hurry? What’s wrong?” (Now in reality he would probably have said, “Hey, Sally. Wait a minute. I want to talk to you.” But that would not have moved the story forward. Dialogue should always move the story forward and it should be about something important). No small talk.

“It’s, John! He’s in the hospital.” Sally told Paul about the accident. (Narrative used. No need to repeat all the action about the 40-car pile-up, what the person on the phone told her, and John’s being pinned in the car for hours — the reader already knows that.) You have to tell the reader everything, but you only have to tell them once.

“No wonder you are upset. Come on, I’ll drive you.” Paul took off his gardening gloves and ran for his pickup. By the time he got the door open, Sally was already waiting inside.

“Hurry!.” Sally gave Paul a worried look. “I have to find out how he is.”

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Squash Cake -- recipe

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
2 c. cooked yellow squash, cooled (drain well & mash about thickness of pumpkin)
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp,. baking soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients, beating until smooth. Spoon batter into greased (not floured) angel food pan. Bake 45-50 minutes in 350 degree oven. Cake very moist. Good unfrosted. May substitute pumpkin for squash.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Let the Buyer Beware on e-bay - writing tip

Author Rowena Cherry reported to EPIC this week more piracy going on at eBay.

Regarding: EBay auction item
11,000 Romance Novels eBook Pdf on 2 DVDs Free Shipping
Item Id: 230633024011 (and other auctions)
Seller bhsucreoriginal (574) aka Mr Eng B El-Sokkary, 10295 Lynches River Road, Lynchburg, SC 29080 <>&item=230641699430#

The seller alleges that he has reseller rights.

He is also selling other collections of 17,000 e-books, and various other genres of fiction.
He insists that he has the rights to these DVDs. He also includes "copyright text" asserting his own copyright over the DVDs.

Rowena did complain to him and said she sent him a "cease and desist" letter, as her titles did appear on his disk.

In selling these items he is violating the rights of many authors and their publishers. I did read the list and didn't find any of my authors in the first few letters -- however there were thousands of names.

Rowena mentioned that she has complained about this guy under several different names now, and had him kicked off eBay, only to find him turning up, with the same products, again and again, under new seller IDs. Quite a simple thing to do, just register as a new member of eBay, with a different name. They do no background checks and ANYone can join the site. I could easily register my cat as an eBay user.

It would be nice, as Rowena suggests, if EPIC and other author's associations were to get involved in trying to stop this kind of abuse of our legal rights as authors. The Author's Guild, the only organization with enough clout to do it, takes little note of e-book authors, requiring an advance from the publisher of "at least $1000" for an author to have membership, let alone representation. With this requirement, they exclude not only almost all ebook publisher and authors, but those with small press publishers as well.

I'd like to say there's something we can do. But in reality--though I have played my part as a publisher in sending "cease and desist" letters and making (sometimes successful) threats of legal action to protect our authors in the past, in reality there is little we can do to stop these thieves. You can get a server to deny them privileges by complaining that they are breaking the law, yes, but there are thousands more servers, many outside the United States who are not subject to our copyright laws, and there is no coordinated list where ISPs can check whether a business registering a domain with them is legitimate or not.

There is no Better Business Bureau on the web. And, like the poor, the dishonest will always be with us.

So what can we do about them? Not much. We can only pray that honest customers will come to realize --as they have already realized with all those letters from bankers' wives in Nigeria, promising them millions if only they will send a thousand dollars--that if a deal on the web sounds too good to be true, it is probably operated by someone dishonest.

I have long deplored the "buy books from your branded device only" philosophy followed by the makers of reading devices, all of whom have developed their own formatting language and operate "stores" and who make it almost impossible for you to buy formatted books from anyone else and read them on their brand of reader.

However, I can't help a smirk or two when I think about the person who pays this pirate for "11,000 Romance novels" and then finds he can't read a one of them on his Kindle, Nook, or eBookWise reader, but must sit hours staring at the computer screen to read them....

In the phrase of the old Civil Law Court -- "Let the Buyer Beware...." :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Salad Dressing - recipe

With all the gardens coming off, we thought this might be of interest...

David Smith’s Caesar salad dressing

1/4 cup wine vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh grated Romano cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ½ inches Anchovy paste - which about covers the bowl of a regular ice tea spoon
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (fine, fresh ground black pepper is best)

In an empty jar with a top, put the 1/4 cup wine vinegar, stir in the Anchovy paste (try an ice tea spoon), add the dry ingredients, stir well, then add oil the 1/2 cup of oil. Cover and shake well just before use.

Serve over salad greens and croutons.

Contributed by David Smith, author of Falling Below the Line... a non-fiction book that examines what you can do to survive in hard times....

Friday, July 22, 2011

Catching UP

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

RANDOM APPLES, by Terry L. White

TRAVELER, by David Yates


RED EMERALDS, by Spencer Dane

Galleys went out on:

FACEPAINTER MURDERS, by Virginia Winters

YOUR PLACE OR MINE, by Lynette Hampton

GOOD FRIDAYS, by Diane Marquette

Galleys still out on:


PLAYING WITH FIRE, by Tonya Ramagos

Work continued on:

ROUGH WATERS, by Gianni Hayes

CATHERINE'S RING, by Elena Bowman

Best Sellers at Fictionwise in the last 20 Days

Based on data gathered within the last 20 days. Icon explanations
1. Long [82178 words]Memoirs of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs [People]
2. Long [55230 words]Ghost Meets an Angel [Shannon Delaney Paranormal Mystery Series, Vol. 3] by Elizabeth Eagan-Cox [Mystery/Crime]
3. Long [112291 words]Return of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle [Mystery/Crime/Classic Literature]
4. Short [21781 words]Timequake by Patricia Uletilovic [Children's Fiction]
5. Mid-Length [44390 words]A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle [Mystery/Crime]
6. Long [51134 words]A Ghost of a Chance [Shannon Delaney Series Book 1] by Elizabeth Eagan-Cox [Mystery/Crime/Romance]
7. Long [82956 words]Spirit of Wind [Spirit Series Book 3] by Arline Chase [Historical Fiction/Mystery/Crime]
8. Long [56504 words]A Ghost from the Shadows [Book 2: Shannon Delaney Paranormal Mystery Series] by Elizabeth Eagan-Cox [Mystery/Crime/Mainstream]
9. Long [61324 words]High Places by Nina M. Osier [Science Fiction]
10. Mid-Length [43236 words]Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle [Mystery/Crime/Historical Fiction]

Highest Reader Rated books at Fictionwise

Rated for
Based on highest average ratings by at least 5 readers. Icon explanations
1. Long [66889 words]A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett [Classic Literature/Children's Fiction]
2. Long [121796 words]Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen [Classic Literature]
3. Long [61049 words]Minder's Oath [High Places Series: Book 2] by Nina M. Osier [Science Fiction/Mainstream]
4. Long [98906 words]Ghost Dancer by Arline Chase [Historical Fiction]
5. Long [113180 words]Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini [Suspense/Thriller/Classic Literature]
6. Long [57142 words]The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie [Mystery/Crime/Classic Literature]
7. Long [75310 words]The Secret Adversary [Tommy and Tuppence Book 1] by Agatha Christie [Classic Literature]
8. Long [68911 words]Dark Elf: [Book 2 of the Red Knight Chronicles] by Ray Morand [Science Fiction/Mainstream]
9. Long [70408 words]Slow Dancing with the Angel of Death [Hollis Ball and Sam Westcott Series Book 1] by Helen Chappel [Mystery/Crime/Humor]
10. Long [76981 words]Tortured Souls [Arbiter Series Book 2] by Matthew L. Schoonover [Horror]

Catching UP

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How does e-book distribution work? - writing tip

Question: I know Write Words is the publisher, but you also say you "distribute" your books. How does that work, exactly? Just curious.

Answer: Technically, we "publish" the book when we prepare the files and put them up for sale on our web site for all the world to see. But if we only sold your books in our own store, we wouldn't sell very many of them for you.

"Publisher" is also a job title for the two partners who run the business under the corporate umbrella, Write Words, Inc. Write Words also lists your title for sale at various sites (on line book stores and their affiliates) run by the manufacturers of the different brands of reader. Each reader requires a different format of file, so that it can be read. So most customers buy from only ONE place. Therefore it's important to be in as many places as you can.

YES. Write Words is a publishing company and the company will publish the book, prepare the files, Invest about $350 in staff time to prepare a file that meets each individual distributor's requirements (yes MANY files, and they are all different!) and get your title to as many on line book stores as possible -- just like publishers of mass market books do with paper books.

(Everyone is paid this quarter. Hooray!)

We also track sales on all the venues, collect the money and send you your royalties. Amazon is a distributor. They have "affiliates" like that also list the book for sale. If someone goes to and wants to buy your book, they are linked back to and THEY collect the money, then pay US, and target, and we pay YOU.

We SELL in PDF format on our OWN site at but prepare files for other book distributors and stores in whatever format THEY require. Each brand of reader-device requires a different format. Kindle owners buy books in Kindle format, so to be listed at, our books have to be prepared for a Kindle reader and posted there. Nook requires Nook format. Etc.

Nook owners can't buy from though, as the Kindle files will not work in a Nook machine. Nook owners have to buy from the Barnes & Noble site. Each machine requires it's OWN format. This has not changed. The industry has been looking for a "universal format" since 1998 and the closed they have come is PDF. ( I know some folks disagree with that. This is America. You can disagree if you want.)

PDF, the format we sell on the web site will work in most of the machines, but it requires the owner of the device to jump through hoops. For my Kindle for instance, I'd have to download the file from the site into my computer, Then run the Kindle conversion files, find all the appropriate connecting wires and connect the Kindle to the computer (not easy in a house with cats who like to play with cables). Then I could move the file into my Kindle for reading.

If I buy from the Kindle web store, I can connect wherever I happen to be (works wherever a cell phone works), push the "buy" button and it downloads automatically into my device then and there. I can buy a book and start reading in the line at the super market, in the Dr's waiting room -- almost anywhere.

That's instant gratification, folks. No wires. No connecting. No reformatting. No transferring. It's all done for me in the blink of an eye. I push the button and I'm ready to read. Any wonder why I like it?

But if we only listed at the Kindle book store, we'd miss out on all those folks who have a Nook, or an Ebook-Wise, or a Franklin, or such. So it's important to hit as many formats as we can. That gives you, and us, the best chance at earnings.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Angel Hair pasta - recip

Katrina’s Angel Hair Pasta with a fresh sauce ... (for two angels)

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Vidalia Onion
1 vine ripened tomato diced
a shake or two of sea salt
a dash of pepper

In a frying pan, add about two tablespoons of olive oil (I add a fresh sprig of rosemary and two cloves of garlic to my bottle of oil to flavor it) one half of a Vidalia onion, cut up fine.
Cook onion in the oil till almost transparent. Add one vine-ripened chopped up tomato
Cook only for a few more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Boil enough angel hair pasta for two angels. It only takes a few minutes, so do not over cook.

Use this fresh sauce over the cooked angel hair.
Top with freshly ground Parmesan cheese (Reggiano).

Contributed by Jay Hughes, author of Delivery Road...When the town fool is run down by cold-blooded killers, a new brand of terror begins .... And Katie Alexander, who emerges from Kaluga's Killing Grounds with a bewildered sense of purpose, drives innocently into town one night, past the intrigue....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Personal Opinion Essays? -- Writing tip.

Question: Thanks for the handout, Arline. Do you still have the one on writing personal experience essays, too? Regina.

Answer: Sure do, Regina. Here 'tis:

Personal Opinion? Baloney!

The two easiest kinds of articles to write are personal experience and Opinion essays. Each of us has a lifetime of personal experiences from which to draw. Opinions are like noses. Everyone has one.

Personal experiences can be shared with your children and grandchildren, with old friends, or just with yourself as a journal entry. They also, if you are willing to share them with others, may make good columns for publications from national magazines right down to your local newspaper.


The lead is the most important thing you have to say about the subject. If you can tie it up with a hook, so much the better. A good lead for an article on how paramedics saved your life would be, “I died three times on Christmas eve and lived to tell about it.”

The Body:

Then put the details of the medical emergency and the Certified Emergency Technicians' response in the second paragraph. Then just tell the story as it happened to you, with your own thoughts and feelings.

The Point:

Every article has a point. The personal experience / medical emergency article outlined above might be used to point up the importance of funding for emergency services in areas like the one where you live.

Personal Opinion differs very little, except instead of writing about yourself, you would choose to write about an issue – Say, baloney. Here’s the outline:

The lead: Make a statement about something
The price of baloney is $3.89 a pound. and write a couple of lines about how it used to be 10 cents a pound, and was still expensive in a time when the average man’s salary was $1 a day.

The body: Give examples and tell anecdotes
People used to say they were spreading baloney if someone told lies or exaggerated the truth. (And give some examples of people who have told lies, some amusing, some serious. Girls who’ve lied, or to whom guys lie, politicians and how many lies they tell, the way government cuts medicare, and SSI, but buys $800 toilet seats for military bases, instead of going to Home Depot.)

Make your point:
Lots of people will hand you baloney.

The conclusion: Use the lead to confirm your point and make the piece come "full circle."
Think about the baloney people slice for you every day. Even when people give it away for nothing, baloney can be very expensive.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Spicey Tea Punch -- recipe

Barbara J. Cooper’s Spicey Tea Punch

2 1/2 cups boiling water
5 tea bags or 5 teaspoons loose tea
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
1/3rd cup lemon juice

Pour boiling water over tea and spices. Let steep (covered) 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and add sugar, stir till dissolved and cool. Add remaining ingredients, chill. Server over ice cubes. Makes about 7 cups of delicious spicey tea. Good summer drink.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Catching UP

Published this week:


Galleys still in process or waiting on the following:

RANDOM APPLES by Terry L. White

TRAVELER by David Yates


FACEPAINTER MURDERS, by Virginia Winters

Work progressed on the following

CATHERINE'S RING, by Elena Bowman

GOOD FRIDAYS, by Diane Marquette

Also I am reading a lot of stuff just now as I volunteered to judge again for the EPIC Awards. No worries, I cannot, by the rules, judge anything any of you wrote, but must choose from categories where we do not publish -- childrens, non-fiction, and so on. It's time-consuming, of course, but something I have done each year since I joined EPIC. I don't participate much in the message boards there, nor do I volunteer time to committee any more -- but I do try to lend support where I can....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dramatic Structure - writing tip

Question: Years ago, you sent me a handout on dramatic structure that you used in your college classes. I've moved three times since then. Do you still have a copy?

Answer: Good to hear from you Regina. Congrats on the publications, too. A copy of the structure handout is below. I will e-mail this as well, but you might want to join the blog. Lots of good stuff comes up in there....

Writing in Scenes – Dramatic Structure
and Use of Narration

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 or topic sentence in an essay, 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 forever)
(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 most people 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 line, 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.

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 action.

Wednesday, July 13, 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...Emmanuel Adams has trouble believing he is one of the last six “real” people on earth....then he meets a biker called “Snake” in a bar, his wife tries to kill him, and Manny discovers the world he has always known is only a prop. Set in 1984, this alternative reality novel is the real thing.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Flashbacks - writing tip

Question: My book has a lot of flashbacks It has been turned down by several agents with a "too many flashbacks" note. But what happens in the past is important to my story. How do I tell that without using flashbacks?

Answer: Well, I can't say this about yours, not having read the ms., but one thing we often see in manuscripts with flashbacks is that the translitions are not always clear. It's important never to let the reader be confused about when something happened....

Flashbacks also tend to distance the reader from the action. Useful for child murders, if you don't want the reader to feel it too keenly, but it does distance them.

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 in the past for a line or two, then going on with the present scene, has to do with the importance of the information conveyed.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cranberry Jelly - recipe

Joan Bramsch’s Home Made Cranberry Jelly

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 package (12 oz) Ocean Spray fresh or frozen cranberries

In a saucepan, mix sugar and water. Stir to dissolve sugar. Bring to a boil. Add cranberries. Return to boil, reduce heat, and boil gently for 10 minutes or until jelly starts to gel: stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and cool completely at room temperature - then refrigerate. Makes approx. 2 1/4 cups. Serve with hot biscuits or it’s equally good over vanilla ice cream.

Contributed by Joan Bramsch, whose books are available on Kindle

Friday, July 8, 2011

Catching UP

No books went to press.

No galleys went out.

Have been working all week only on author payments for the quarter.

Sales are down, overall, but that always happens in the spring, when moe people are outdoors and doing other things than reading.

Best Sellers from Fictionwise for the last 20 days are only listings for our small company. The good news is you can add "best selling author" to your credits, if you are listed here. The bad news is, our company sales are a miniscule part of the overall sales at Fictionwise, so don't expect large numbers....

Best Sellers

1. Long [68192 words]My Dearest Friend by Hazel Statham [Romance/Historical Fiction]
2. Long [82178 words]Memoirs of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs [People]
3. Long [52579 words]Beer Cart Girls SAve the World by John Piccarreto [Suspense/Thriller/Mainstream]
4. Long [70411 words]Doing Dead Man's Time by Matthew L. Schoonover [Suspense/Thriller/Mainstream]
5. Long [80495 words]Spirit of Fire [Jack and Jill Mystery #2] by Arline Chase [Mystery/Crime]
6. Long [54691 words]Dead Birds Don't Sing [Alex Masters Series Book 1] by Brenda Boldin [Mystery/Crime]
7. Mid-Length [25003 words]What's Cooking? Favorite Recipes of Authors at by Editors [General Nonfiction]
8. Long [88268 words]Spirit of Earth: Book One of the Spirit Series [Jack and Jill Mystery Novel] by Arline Chase [Mystery/Crime]
9. Long [61695 words]Jailbird [Alex Masters Series Book 2] by Brenda Boldin [Mystery/Crime]
10. Mid-Length [40583 words]Swan Song [Alex Masters Series Book 4] by Brenda Boldin [Mystery/Crime]

Highest Reader Rated

1. Long [68192 words]My Dearest Friend by Hazel Statham [Romance/Historical Fiction]
2. Long [82178 words]Memoirs of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs [People]
3. Long [52579 words]Beer Cart Girls SAve the World by John Piccarreto [Suspense/Thriller/Mainstream]
4. Long [70411 words]Doing Dead Man's Time by Matthew L. Schoonover [Suspense/Thriller/Mainstream]
5. Long [80495 words]Spirit of Fire [Jack and Jill Mystery #2] by Arline Chase [Mystery/Crime]
6. Long [54691 words]Dead Birds Don't Sing [Alex Masters Series Book 1] by Brenda Boldin [Mystery/Crime]
7. Mid-Length [25003 words]What's Cooking? Favorite Recipes of Authors at by Editors [General Nonfiction]
8. Long [88268 words]Spirit of Earth: Book One of the Spirit Series [Jack and Jill Mystery Novel] by Arline Chase [Mystery/Crime]
9. Long [61695 words]Jailbird [Alex Masters Series Book 2] by Brenda Boldin [Mystery/Crime]
10. Mid-Length [40583 words]Swan Song [Alex Masters Series Book 4] by Brenda Boldin [Mystery/Crime]

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Isn't writing reserved for the talented? -writing tip

Question: Dear Arline, You were my teacher and know that I have been in therapy for some time now. My doctors and friends are urging me to write about my experiences, but having studied writing, I KNOW I am not a talented writer. Bottom line: writing is an ART. And I'm no artist. Nor am I vain enough or intellectual enough, or educated enough to expect to succeed at this. So how could I presume to write my story for others to read?

Answer: I do believe that writing is an art. But it’s also a craft. You have learned that craft and were a good student. Your biggest problem was to learn to trust your own abilities.

No one else can write your stories as you can. Grandma Moses didn't paint like Picasso and some of us are pleased by that. No matter which one we may like best personally, both had something unique to convey to the people who see their pictures.

No one can create a work exactly as you can. No one else on earth has your “voice,” an element that grows out of your own experiences. We are all the sum of our experiences, not the sum of our possessions. Even when they are unpleasant, some of us may use those experiences to help others who may face a similar problem.

There are tips and little techniques that you have learned to make the work easier for you. Just as an artist learns to mix colors, what glaze or wash will make the water look "wet" and the sand look dry so, with practice, will a writer learn how to get her story across to the reader.

You have studied hard and have the experience necessary to write your own story. It won't be John Grisham's story, or Nora Roberts's story, or even Ernest Hemingway's story. It will be yours.

Practice your craft. No one can promise any writer a successful career as far as earnings go. But for me, as for many others, success is in the act of creation, whether a piece ever sells or not, if I finish it, I have succeeded.

Go ahead and write your story. You will feel better for having done so.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Broccoli Casserole -- recipe

Jay Hughes’s Broccoli Casserole

2 sm or one large package chopped broccoli
8 Ounces of Cream Cheese
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
3/4 Stick of butter or margarine
½ cup chopped onion
1 roll Ritz crackers, crushed

Saute onion in butter until tender. Remove onion and add to casserole dish with other ingredients, except crackers. Mix well. Saute crackers in remaining butter. Sprinkle crackers on top. If any excess butter, add to casserole.

Bake at 375-F or 190-C degrees for 20 minutes or 350-F or 177-C degrees for 30 minutes.

Contributed by Jay Hughes, author of Kaluga’s Killing Ground.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sales Reports question - Writing tip

Question: I see some sales listed for me at Can I expect to receive payment for them this quarter?

Answer: tracks some, but not all book sales. And it tracks the retail Order transaction only, but not returns, and keeps no track of sales that might not go to completion because of books being ordered by mistake and subsequently returned or card difficulties (expired dates), etc. So it will give you an idea, but not a completely accurate accounting.

Also that site does not allow for the delayed payment policies of some distributors. Our authors are paid at the first of the quarter following, the receipt of payment. But some distributors withhold payment for as much as a whole a quarter. So if a book sells in March, and shows as a sale on when the order is made, you may not be paid until October of that year, depending on the sales venue.

Therefore, if you sold only 1 book and in March and received no payment from us for it in July, you may still receive your payment in October, the first quarter after we have received payment from the distributor.

Sounds strange, but that's the way it goes. We collect royalties for 200 plus authors from 8 different sales venues and some of them redistribute (take orders through) hundreds of different affiliate websites. For instance, if you see your book on, it's that processes the order, collects the money, and pays us. Then we pay you the first quarter after we are paid.

I am in the process of doing the sales reports for the April 1 to June 30 sales period, one of my favorite chores, though very complicated. But that certainly does not mean all the books were sold between those dates. It just means we are paying out author's royalties for whatever we have collected during that period.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Mock Barbecue Chicken

Maggie Dix’s Mock Barbecued Chicken

½ to 1 whole chicken
cut in parts
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
½ cup brown sugar
3 tbsp. butter (or lite margarine)

Place chicken pieces in a greased baking pan. Sprinkle with condiments and sugar. Dot with butter. Bake one hour in a slow oven (about 325-F or 163-C ).

Maggie Dix, author of A Day in the Marsh

Friday, July 1, 2011

Catching UP!

Print books that went to press this week:


BONES OF THE DRAGON, Margery Doughty

Print Galleys that went out this week:

CATHERINE'S RING, by Elena Bowman

PLAYING WITH FIRE, by Tonya Ramagos

NIGHT UNDONE, by K.S. Brooks

YOUR PLACE OR MINE, Lynette Hall Hampton

FACEPAINTER MURDERS, by Virginia Winters

Work continued on:

GOOD FRIDAYS by Diane Marquette

ROUGH WATERS, by Gianni Hayes

Work began on:

My Dearest Friend, by Hazel Stratham

Everything will stop again next week, while we do payroll for authors.

Happy July Fourth, Everyone!