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Category Archives: Writer Resources

REVIEW: On the Frontlines of the Television War by Yasutsune Hirashiki

March 14, 2017

(From JayneB at Dearauthor.com)

REVIEW: On the Frontlines of the Television War by Yasutsune Hirashiki

JayneB REVIEWS / BOOK REVIEWS20th century / Japanese / non-fiction / Photographer / Vietnam / War / Military2 Comments

On The Frontlines of the Television War is the story of Yasutsune “Tony” Hirashiki’s ten years in Vietnam—beginning when he arrived in 1966 as a young freelancer with a 16mm camera but without a job or the slightest grasp of English and ending in the hectic fall of Saigon in 1975 when he was literally thrown on one of the last flights out.

His memoir has all the exciting tales of peril, hardship, and close calls as the best of battle memoirs but it is primarily a story of very real and yet remarkable people: the soldiers who fought, bled, and died, and the reporters and photographers who went right to the frontlines to record their stories and memorialize their sacrifice. The great books about Vietnam journalism have been about print reporters, still photographers, and television correspondents but if this was truly the first “television war,” then it is time to hear the story of the cameramen who shot the pictures and the reporters who wrote the stories that the average American witnessed daily in their living rooms.

Review

“The basic essence of war is death.” – David Snell

ABC News David Snell after Landmine explosion

David Snell (1967) after landmine. Recovered well.

I grew up watching this war and when, in the forward, it’s described as the Television War, I said “yes, that’s it exactly.” Every night my parents had the 6 pm nightly news with Uncle Walter (Cronkite) on. I remember the video footage and the body counts even though I wasn’t even 7 years old. When the last helicopters lifted off the embassy roof, I wasn’t even a teenager but I recall those images vividly, too. I’ve read plenty of memoirs of the war from military sources but until I saw this book, it hadn’t dawned on me that I’d never read any by the journalists who covered it and produced what I saw on the nightly news. Here is the story of a man behind the camera who gives the journalistic experience told from the POV of a SE Asian photographer.

Continue reading →

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‘Fess Up: Do You Understand ANY of these Terms?

A list of 10 words your graphic designer wishes you knew by Rebecca Swift, on iStock.

  • Swipe file or tear sheet
  • Proof
  • Negative space
  • Alignment
  • Serif
  • Copyfitting
  • Resolution
  • Raster image vs. vector image
  • Hero graphic
  • Color

This was pulled out of an excellent article on Crappy Covers.

How to Avoid Cover Design Pitfalls for Indie Publishers

on Writer UnBoxed.

 

Seth’s Blog: Copyediting, line editing and the other kind

Copyediting, line editing and the other kind

The copyeditor will fix a misstated fact, spot a typo and get your prose clean.

The line editor will rearrange a paragraph and help you organize a thought more clearly.

And the editor who is your partner will tell you that the chapters are in the wrong order, that you must delete a third of what you wrote, or perhaps consider writing for TV instead. This kind of editor is the one who will tell you your time is better spent doing something else entirely.

It’s easier (but not easy) to find a good copyeditor than it is to find someone generous and brave enough to help you figure out your strategy, whether you’re working on a book, a career or the structure of your next project.

The copyeditor can tell you that you mangled a few facts early in your presentation. The line editor will help you untangle a complicated story near the middle. And your strategic editor will help you see that a one-on-one meeting would have been better than a presentation in the first place.

Sure, fix my typos, thanks a lot, but what’s truly precious is someone able to fix your plan.

Worth noting that most critics and journalists are comfortable being metaphorical copy editors, but it’s rare you find someone who speaks up with sensible thoughts about your strategy.

Treasure the folks willing and able to develop a point of view about the big picture.

Seth’s Blog: Copyediting, line editing and the other kind.

How journalists can use Storehouse to build media-rich stories | Media news | Journalism.co.uk

The new iPad app, launched last week, allows anyone to integrate large images, video and text into immersive articles for free

 

 

Large images, emotive video and feature-length text have become hallmarks in a new wave of media-rich, long-form storytelling from news organisations and the wider web.

The approach to digital storytelling has been both the subject of industry awards as well as ongoing debate as to the merits of the medium, but news outlets continue to create them apace, as highlighted by this public Google doc created by Matter’s Bobbie Johnson.

Stockhouse

Storehouse, a free app currently exclusive to iPad that launched last week, is looking to democratise that process, joining platforms with similar endeavours such as ScrollKit and Shorthand, which is yet to be launched as a public tool.

“A lot of the more long-form creation tools are really designed for people that are really technical in nature,” says Mark Kawano, chief-executive and founder of Storehouse, told Journalism.co.uk.

“So they either know how to code or they need to be really well versed in graphic design and know how all the page layout programs work, those storytelling platforms that utilise multiple photos or videos. That was a big bottleneck.”

With Storehouse he aims to make the process of visual storytelling more intuitive to those who may not have any technical training but have the content and media that can be used to tell stories.

Users can link their Flickr, Instagram and DropBox accounts, as well as any iCloud or camera roll media, to import photos or video into a story. Videos are limited to 30 seconds and play on a constant loop, like a Vine or GIF file with audio, while each article can hold up to 50 media objects.

For a lot more click the link How journalists can use Storehouse to build media-rich stories | Media news | Journalism.co.uk.

Writer Unboxed » Three Top-Secret Secrets to Designing Your Own Book Cover

Three Top-Secret Secrets to Designing Your Own Book Cover

Hacks for Hacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WU Admin note: Enjoy a little humor this Saturday morning.

Whoever said “Don’t judge of book by its cover” probably had a lousy cover designed by some art-school reject he’d never met. How could anyone else know enough about your book to make a cover that does your book justice. You don’t need to shell out big bucks to a graphic designer. I’m’a serve up some hot tips that those fat-cat graphic designers DON’T want you to know about.

Tools of the Trade

If you’re on a budget and don’t know anybody who can pirate you a copy of Photoshop, Microsoft Paint is a perfectly fine program for illustration. Otherwise they wouldn’t install it on every computer.

They say a bad carpenter always blames his tools. The solution to this is to buy tools so good, you can’t screw things up. Instead of having to shell out $700 bucks for a version of Photoshop or Illustrator that will be obsolete in a year-and-a-half, you can now get Adobe’s powerful suite of graphics programs for a mere $50 every month, for the rest of your life (which is totally worth it, since you’ll probably write four, maybe even five books before you die, right?). If you’re on a budget and don’t know anybody who can pirate you a copy of Photoshop, Microsoft Paint is a perfectly fine program for illustration. Otherwise they wouldn’t install it on every computer.

You’ll need some serious processing power to keep up with the advancing graphics technology. Whatever size monitor you have, you’ll need at least one size bigger. Or get a bunch of them, like this guy. This is a good excuse to buy that fancy Alienware laptop you’ve had your eye on. Those things could probably handle a shuttle launch–not to mention some sweet games. You might want a nice headset, and possibly a joystick, too. Wait, what were we talking about?

Effects are In Effect

Now that you’ve got some software, put that high-end computer of yours to work by adding some photo effects. Lens flares are always a good decision, even when your protagonist is indoors. Don’t forget the posterize button, which won’t make your cover look like a poster, but does…well, I don’t really know what you call it, but you should probably do it anyway.

Taking Stock

Can’t draw? Who needs God-given talent and years of practice when you have a whole internet’s worth of random photos at your disposal? Stock photography and clip art are the Dragon Punch and Hurricane Kick in every aspiring designer’s repertoire of moves. You can find stock photos that will evoke pretty much any dramatic situation in your book–and may spark some ideas for how to make your book even better.

Don’t shy away from clip art, either. Sure, everyone’s seen it a thousand times before, but audiences respond to what’s familiar. Remember getting misty-eyed during Don Draper’s nostalgia-laden Kodak Carousel pitch on Mad Men? You can get basically the same effect by using that stick-figure question-mark guy from those unending PowerPoint presentations at work. Clip art has “art” in the title, and they wouldn’t be allowed to call it that if it wasn’t gallery-quality, wine-and-cheese-type stuff.

Show Your Stuff

Did my advice lead you to create the Great American Novel Cover? Of course it did! Show off your creation in the comments section so the entire internet can judge your book by its cover.

via Writer Unboxed » Three Top-Secret Secrets to Designing Your Own Book Cover.

From the Desk of Phylis Johnson: 7 Reasons Your Favorite Books Were Banned

phylis

7 Reasons Your Favorite Books Were Banned.

Risqué-averse readers, cover your ears. Sunday marked the beginning of this year’s National Banned Books Week, for which libraries and bookstores across the country will promote and celebrate commonly censored titles. The organization calls its cause a “celebration of the freedom to read.”

According to BannedBooksWeek.com, 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982, when the event was launched. What constitutes a “banned” book, as opposed to a “challenged” book? The American Library Association explains:

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.

Last year’s most frequently challenged or banned titles included a mix of Young Adult books, literary classics and romance novels, such as “Gossip Girl,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

This year’s list includes a few stalwarts, such as Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” and Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Nickel and Dimed,” and a few titles that have recent or forthcoming film adaptations, such as Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” and Stephen Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”

So why are these stories, many of which are venerated award-winners, being scorned, and in some cases, pulled from shelves? Here are some of the reasons that have been cited:

Offensive language
“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” is one of the most frequently challenged books as of late, and the commonly aired complaint that Alexie uses profanity, including the “F-word” and “N-word.” You know who else used those words? Henry Miller and Mark Twain, respectively. Yes, vulgar language popping up in an academic setting can be jarring. But when a writer is discussing weighty topics, like the troubling state of schools on Indian reservations, jarring is a suitable approach.

Sexually explicit
According to the ALA, this is the No. 1 reason for banning books in the past decade. Margaret Atwood’s “A Handmaid’s Tale” was challenged by a North Carolina high school for being “sexually explicit,” because clearly high school students are mature enough for sex ed, but not for feminist literature. Ironically, the book discusses the issues with censorship.

Homosexuality
“And Tango Makes Three” is an illustrated children’s book in which a zookeeper witnesses two male penguins performing mating rituals and gives the pair an egg to hatch. The result is Tango, a female chick. Sadly, this story has ranked among the top 10 most frequently challenged books for the last few years. Last year, it was marked for removal in a Davis, Utah, school district because “parents might find it objectionable.”

Violence
Books deemed “violent” are challenged about a third as often as books described as “sexually explicit,” but so-called violent stories have been spotlighted recently. Nixing gratuitous fighting is understandable, but many of the flagged books use violence as an allegory for, well, nonviolence. Richard Connell’s short story “The Most Dangerous Game” features two big game hunters who grow tired of their animal targets, eventually turning their aggression toward each other, but a Colorado school claimed it “only serves to promote school violence.”

Religious viewpoint
The Harry Potter books and the Twilight series aren’t the only ones targeted for their “ungodly” content, though they certainly are attacked often). Lauren Myracle‘s YA book, “ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r,” and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s “Dangerously Alice” are challenged for the same reason. Oddly enough, even Aldous Huxley’s dystopian critique of modern society, “Brave New World,” has been banned for its religious viewpoint.

Drugs
Books advocating the use of drugs are, of course, frequently censored titles; But even books that serve as warning signs against the dangers of drugs have been removed from school libraries. A prime example is “Go Ask Alice,” by Anonymous. Written in the ’70s, it’s been banned in schools from Texas to Michigan. But the protagonist and her friends do not make drug use look fun. On the contrary, their partying ruins their grades, and their lives, in almost propagandistic, “Reefer Madness”-style prose.

Nudity
Descriptions of nudity is cited as a separate reason from sexually explicit content, because apparently teens can attend an art museum or read a biology book, but not experience fictional naked bodies. Last year, Dori Hillestad Butler’s “My Mom’s Having A Baby!: A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide” was one of the most banned books. Although the book is an instructional guide to what happens when a woman is pregnant, it has been challenged for including nudity.

If you’re interested in doing your part to promote non-restrictive reading, head over to the ALA’s site. The New York Times also has a nifty list of creative ways to celebrate.

 

8 Punctuation Marks That Are No Longer Used | Keith Houston

English: gnaborretni ("⸘" U+2E18, tu...

English: gnaborretni (“⸘” U+2E18, turned interrobang) for use in Spanish, Asturian and Galician Deutsch: Gnaborretni (“⸘” U+2E18, auf dem Kopf stehendes Interrobang) für Spanisch, Asturisch und Galicisch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The "SarcMark" is used to e...

English: The “SarcMark” is used to emphasis sarcasm in a medium where tone of voice is not evident. Similar marks have been proposed, such as the File:Irony mark full.svg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Exclamation comma

Exclamation comma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: irony mark – a punctuation mark...

English: irony mark – a punctuation mark to indicate irony (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pilcrow

The pilcrow (¶) is the poster child of abandoned punctuation marks. With roots in ancient Greece, the pilcrow started life during the fourth century BC as the paragraphos, a horizontal line drawn in the margin of many a papyrus scroll to indicate that something of interest lay in the corresponding line. The reader was left to determine precisely what that something was.

pilcrow

Tironian et

A modern writer seeking to abbreviate the word “and” will doubtless reach for the ampersand (&). Things were not always thus, however, and for much of its two-thousand-year existence the ampersand was up against a rival mark boasting a conspicuously elevated pedigree. The 7-shaped “Tironian et” was the brainchild of Tiro, secretary to the famed first century BC orator Marcus Tullius Cicero.

tironian et

Virgule

Buoncompagno da Signa, a twelfth century man of letters, took a stab at creating a system of punctuation comprising only two marks: a slash (/) for short pauses and a horizontal line (-) for longer pauses. Da Signa called his marks virgulae, from the Latin virga, meaning “rod,” “staff,” or even “penis.”

virgule

Manicule

For centuries after its invention, punctuation was the province of the reader, not the writer. The average ancient Greek or Roman struggled through texts devoid of commas, periods, and even word spaces, punctuating as they went to help pick apart the words and their meaning. Well into the medieval ages, even after punctuation had been established as the writer’s responsibility, readers continued to annotate their books with symbols to help index and recall the information therein. The manicule (☞)–or, if you prefer, the hand, hand director, pointing hand, pointing finger, pointer, digit, index, or indicator–was a favorite of Renaissance scholars, inked into the margin as a bookmark or aide-mémoire.

manicule

Percontation Mark

When punctuation was first invented by Aristophanes, librarian at Alexandria in the 4th century BC, he suggested that readers could use middle (·), low (.), and high points (˙) to punctuate writing according to the rules of rhetoric. Despite this, it took another two millennia before the eponymous rhetorical question got its own mark of punctuation. Worried that his readers would not catch such a subtle figure of speech, in the late sixteenth century the English printer Henry Denham created the percontation mark–a reversed question mark–to address the problem.

 

 

percontation

Interrobang

Don Draper has nothing on Martin K. Speckter. The head of his own advertising agency, and with the Wall Street Journal on the books, in 1962 Speckter tried to sell the world a new mark of punctuation. Writing in “Type Talks,” Madison Avenue’s journal of typography, Speckter described the “interrobang” (‽) as a combination of a question mark and an exclamation point (or “bang,” as printers called it) and said that it should be used to punctuate an excited or rhetorical question.

snark

interrobang

Snark

The need to punctuate irony–whether a rhetorical question that is not a question at all, or a common-or-garden sarcastic quip–runs deep in the veins of writers and typophiles.

snark

Ironieteken

Perhaps the most convincing modern irony mark is a European invention. Commissioned in 2007 for the Dutch national book festival, the ironieteken was created by Bas Jacobs at the type foundry Underware. His graceful zig-zag exclamation mark was designed to blend in with existing marks of punctuation and to be easily written by hand.

ironieteken

 

Keith Houston is the author of the new book Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, and Other Typographical Marks.

For the Entire Story Click Here 8 Punctuation Marks That Are No Longer Used | Keith Houston.

Writer Unboxed » How to Create Your Perfect Pen Name

How to Create Your Perfect Pen Name

(The True Story of Terry Irving Became Mike N. Mauss is at the end.)

Bill Ferris on Aug 17 2013 | Filed under: Humor

Nom de plume. Pseudonym. Literary double. Even the term “pen name” has pen names. Now you’re thinking of using one; maybe your real name is hard to spell, or you want to differentiate your brand, or you don’t want your ex-wife to know about some extra income. You thought naming a baby was hard? Try naming yourself when there’s money and fame at stake. Robert Galbraith nearly died of starvation before J.K. Rowling gave him a cot and fed him three squares a day. Then there are genre concerns — you can’t write about a street-smart private eye if your pen name is Mellificient Elfwing, and Dashiel Hardcase presents problems if you’re writing fantasy about unicorns. Here are some time-tested methods to create a pen name that will be more famous and successful than whatever nonsense is on your birth certificate.

Nom de plume

photo by Amy Strachan

Method 1: Found Object

Picture your protagonist’s bedroom. What’s the first thing she lays eyes on when she wakes up in the morning? If you write horror, it could be a writhing eldritch horror creeping toward…yikes, let’s start over. If you write YA, the first thing your protagonist sees is probably a book — nobody loves books as much as protagonists in young adult novels. From there you can free-associate names like Henrietta Papercut or Penelope Inksmudge or Elizabeth Spinecrack or Angelique Deadtree or Daphne Dustjacket. Easy as pie. (Those names are up for grabs, by the way. You can claim them in the comments section.)

If you come up with Ke$ha L. Ron Rico, please stop writing, because you have terrible taste in everything.

Method 2: Use a Formula

Quick, what’s the first name of your protagonist’s favorite singer? What’s the first initial of your least-favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle? Now tell me your favorite brand of liquor. For me, Robert Plant plus Raphael plus Kraken rum gives me Robert R. Kraken — I’ve already harangued my parents for not giving me this name. You’re on the right track if you end up with something like John D. Morgan or Nico R. Dubonnet. If you come up with Ke$ha L. Ron Rico, please stop writing, because you have terrible taste in everything.

Your pen name will need her own website and Twitter account. Her own book tour. Her own wardrobe. Family history. Government-issued ID card. Passport. Swiss bank account. A chalet in the Alps far from your obligations and creditors.

Method 3: Easy as A, B, C (but mostly A)

Method 4: The Mary Sue

For the Rest CLICK HERE – Writer Unboxed » How to Create Your Perfect Pen Name.

[Terry: As for Mike N. Mauss, it was extremely complicated. My dog’s name is Mike and the cat’s name is Mouse. Mike ‘n Mouse. Mike N. Mauss.]

Meet The Press: Shrewd Tips for Book Publicity | Digital Book World

From Digital Book World

shutterstock_66133597Ebooks are available up to four months earlier than their print counterparts. Those digital editions can be delivered to the media for review or story research very swiftly and without the delays of printing and shipping. And, professional readers can easily have hundreds of digital titles available at once on their screen.

Despite these conveniences, not all reviewers and journalists want digital copies, according to Sandra Poirier-Diaz, president of Smith Publicity, a book promotion and marketing services agency that’s clients regularly appear on prominent television and radio shows and are consistently featured in well-regarded print publications also.

Knowing who prefers a digital copy and who wants the hardcover can go along way to getting the right books in the hands of the right professional reader.

Digital or Print
Meeting the press halfway between digital and print means knowing who wants what. And while that may come down to individual preference, Poirier-Diaz shared some trends that the publicists at Smith have observed.

“Faster deadline media, such as online news [sites]” that publish author interviews or will be requesting expert commentary from an author generally want ebooks. Digital review copies are also more often requested for nonfiction titles, which tend to get media placement in feature stories rather than book reviews.

By contrast, professional readers requesting novels, explained Poirier-Diaz, are likely to prefer hardcopies. A notable exception: romance titles, like those published by Smith Publicity client Ellora’s Cave. Ebooks make reading less public and perhaps reviewers prefer not to broadcast that their work is to read romance, surmised Poirier-Diaz.

Related: DBW’s interview with Raelene Gorlinsky, Publisher at Ellora’s Cave

Meet The Press: Shrewd Tips for Book Publicity | Digital Book World.

Five things you should know when designing with type

The Next Web

Typography in Ten Minutes

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Lower case ‘a’ from Adobe Caslon Pro, superpos...

English: Three different fonts that aren't nor...

Serving as the intro to Butterick’s Practical Typography, an impressive guide created by type designer Matthew Butterick, Typography In Ten Minutes is a simple list of rules to follow to use type in a meaningful way. In Butterick’s own words: “If you learn and follow these five typography rules, you will be a bet­ter ty­pog­ra­ph­er than 95% of pro­fes­sion­al writ­ers and 70% of pro­fes­sion­al de­sign­ers.”

Nonogram2

Butterick acknowledges this is a bold claim, but, meaningless stats aside, this introductory list covers essentials in an incredibly concise way. This includes: body textpoint sizeline spacing, and font choice. In other words, it’s well worth a look:

➤ Typography In Ten Minutes

Typography Friday

via Typography in ten minutes: Five things you should know when designing with type – The Next Web.

How To Fight — For Writers Who Need to Write & Not Fight

Zevon in a promotional picture from 2000.

Zevon in a promotional picture from 2000. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OK, I’m not a Mixed Martial Artist or a SEAL but occasionally your fictional hero pretty well has to “hit somebody” (Warren Zevon song about hockey players). Now, I have a problem with a couple of things about both book and TV/Movie violence.

1. My understanding is that if you hit someone in the face with an unprotected fist, the fist is likely to lose. It you cut your hand on the teeth, your hand will blow up like a balloon from the infection.

2. How do these people know precisely how hard to hit someone on the head with a pistol to keep them unconscious for exactly 3 hours with no lasting effects? 4 years of Med School?

3. Hitting someone over the head with an object (say a tire iron) would seem to risk a Murder rap.  Or at least years of paperwork and civil trials.

4. Anyone who discharges a firearm anywhere but a firing range is in serious trouble. A cop is going to be doing paperwork for years and, from what I read, killing someone is a major traumatic act (for the killer! I know it’s traumatic for the victim!) So when is firing a gun an acceptable risk?

5.  Every time I get a “wound,” (say a hangnail), it doesn’t go away when I shake it off. And I really  doubt that a “flesh wound” means that you can go through a 15 minute bar fight in the next couple of weeks, let alone hours.

So, I did buy “Throwing Lead: A Writer’s Guide to Firearms (and the People Who Use Them)” on Kindle and LOVED it. It tells you which revolver will probably break your female protagonist’s wrists, where those pesky bullets go after they miss the target and why hiding behind any part of a car but the engine block is completely useless.

and now, I watched this guy Travis Roesler of the Fight Smart Training Program run a bunch of neighborhood toughs ragged by simply dodging their punches. He’s also got a YouTube subscription channel that essentially shows you a series of ways to win a fight in a rational way or simply avoid one. (I once had an Aikido teacher who said it’s very effective to just keep slipping blows until the other guy just starts laughing)

So, just because you’re a wuss (like me,) is no excuse for having silly-ass slugfests or bullets that end up killing some 3-year-old a half-mile away. Here is a short list of stuff from Kindle
The Gun Primer: A Writer’s Guide To Firearm Facts For Fiction
Science Fiction Weaponry: A Guide for Writers (Throwing Lead Singles)
Writing Fight Scenes
Write The Fight Right
Armed and Dangerous: A Writer’s Guide to Weapons (Classic Wisdom on Writing)
and, of course, if something does go wrong.
Books, Crooks and Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure

These probably aren’t the best books (and I would greatly encourage suggestions) but at least it will keep your protagonist from simply looking like an idiot when you really want to look cool.

Lifehacker: Our List of the Best iPhone Apps

Lifehacker Pack for iPhone 2013:

Our List of the Best iPhone Apps

The iPhone has the largest selection of apps on the mobile side, but that means it’s also the most frustrating to find what’s worthwhile. For our fourth annual Lifehacker pack for iPhone, we’re highlighting the apps

Original iPhone and iPhone 3GS. The original o...

that help you stay productive, connected, informed, and entertained.

via Lifehacker Pack for iPhone 2013: Our List of the Best iPhone Apps.

[Terry:  Seriously, you have to read this if you’re running on an iPhone. I get new apps all the time and I’ve never heard of half of these but I’m about to install them. Lifehacker has a sensible attitude about what works and what’s just Klunky and they look for the things that will make your life easier.]

How To Sell Books: An Interview With PR Nick Wale | Novel Ideas

How To Sell Books: An Interview With PR Nick Wale

 

Roberts HIT

Nick Wale turned “Reprisal: The Eagle Rises” into a hit overnight.

Interview undertaken by interviewer  Alex Laybourne and reblogged on several sites including http://www.nickwale.org

Ever hear the song “Hungry Like The Wolf”? Well, this guy is hungry for the hits. It becomes a struggle when you have written a book—a good book, no less! What do you do? You can hire some PR guy or girl who takes thousands off you and does nothing. You can pretend you wrote the book for your family. You can say that “there’s no money to be made in writing.” You can be the emo writer with a chip on your shoulder.

You should meet the “Hitmaker.” He has just sailed into the top twenty on Amazon, again, with “Reprisal! The Eagle Rises.” The writer is Cliff Robertsand the PR is Nick Wale. I caught him for an interview! What sells? Let’s get some free advice from a guy near the top of the pile.

Q) Hi, Nick, how are you taking to being the “Hitmaker”?

A) Hola! Who the hell came up with that? I thought that was an album by Burt Bacharach. I like it though. The “Hitmaker” is doing just fine… Just getting by, I guess.

Q) Modest? You are currently in the top twenty again? Is that just getting by?

A) No, Cliff Roberts is in the top twenty. Nick Wale, Hitmaker, or whatever you call him is still the dude who promotes books.

Q) Let me ask you—how do you take to all the stuff you’ve been called? You were “King of the Author Interviews,” then you were “Winner Wale,” and now you get called the “Hitmaker.”

A) I don’t really take it. It just is. I don’t let that stuff get out of proportion. If people believed half the hype in the world, we would all be driving Gremlins.

Q) So, what is a hit book?

A) A hit book sells. It sells because it has something about it. It doesn’t have to be perfectly edited, it doesn’t have to be THAT commercial. It just has to have that IT factor. It catches on. The trick for a PR is to identify WHAT will make it sell, and then exploit that. For Roberts, it’s the fact that he writes excellent stories. For Chris Keys, it was an eye for detail. Terry Irving has a unique way of writing. It’s different for everybody. All books aren’t born equal. A good PR realises that each book will have weaknesses, and people will pick on that. You just have to work hard to make sure the good stuff gets to the majority of people.

Q) What do you do that other PR services don’t do?

A) Nothing. I just do it with class, and I don’t make people take out mortgages to hire me. I don’t tell them that they will sell a million copies, either. I do what I can, and when the magic elves help me—it clicks! Don’t believe the hype when a PR agency tells you that if you spend ten thousand dollars you will have a hit. You probably won’t. A hit shouldn’t cost any more than time, patience, hard work and working with a professional who will charge you professional prices. The problem with the majority of PR services is simple—they don’t get hired that much—so the person who DOES hire them has to pay them a lot of money to make up for it.

Q) How often are you inwork?

A) All the time! Results, a good eye for clients, a good list of authors, strong candidates for hit novels keep me inwork. A good reputation helps. I think the biggest factor is that I just bring in the results—be it sales, strong interviews, opportunities, chart placings—whatever. I just bring them in.

Q) What should people look for in a PR?

A) Someone new, someone who doesn’t give you a spiel about how rich and successful they are. I was told by a great friend of mine, Jacob Singer, who is a top stock market analyst, “If you are told by someone that they have the tips to make you a million dollars—ask yourself—why aren’t they using them themselves?” That has always stuck with me. If someone is telling you how successful they are, question it. Look for evidence. I always try to tell my clients that anyone promising a number one tomorrow is lying through their teeth. Number ones take time.

Q) You are a conservative guy by nature, aren’t you?

A) Totally. I never rush into anything because that’s a good way to end up broke. I don’t rush, I don’t take people’s word for anything. I look at what they have done. I look at what they have achieved and where they are headed. I try to follow the example of a writer and businessman named Tom Blubaugh. Tom is a genius, but he never rushes into anything. He makes good decisionsand he makes them after giving them a lot of thought. I try to do the same. I ask myself, “Is this good for my business?” “Is this good for me?” and most importantly “Do I need this stress?”

Q) Did you get coached in the art of business?

A) No, not really. I just copied off successful people I know. I tried to see what worked for them. I worked for a writer called Mike Trahan, he was another guy who never rushed into anything. You had to explain things through and through. No funny business. Guess what? I took that to heart, and now I ask more questions than my clients. You can’t leave anything to chance.

Q) So, I guess you made mistakes, too?

A) Sure! I have passed up some great manuscripts. I have lost business through making mistakes. I have screwed up interviews. The important thing is that I got back up and tried again and again. I learnt from my mistakes, and that is what’s important. If something doesn’t work with your promotion—give it another shot! Try something else! Do anything, but don’t sit on your fanny wondering where it all went!

Q) How should people begin their promotional efforts?

A) Look at a budget. Look at what you can afford, and then look at what will sell your book best. Will it be a Facebook ad that will get you a new audience? Will you spend advertising money on your Facebook page? Will you buy an auto-tweeting client? Will you hire a PR? What will your budget allow you to do? Then look at where the market is… Are thrillers selling? Are memoirs? What is number one on Amazon? What does your book has that makes it stand out? Who are you? Do you havepersonality? What are your past experiences? Were you in the Service? You need to look at every angle. I will explain why.

The reason you need to look at every angle is simple. You need to know what groups you can join, military writers groups—for example. If you join one of these groups to promote your book—you will be more likely to be accepted if you have a military-themed book or background. You need to look at who you are and what you have to offer.

Q) What would you do with Joe Bloggs aged twenty-six with no job, a loan to pay for your services and a book about skateboarding?

A) I would get Joe on the youth groups, skateboarding groups. I would have him on webinars talking about skateboarding. He would be promoting his book the old fashioned way—with personality to an audience that wants to hear about his work. Not just spammed links all over the Internet. Joe would also be running a sample book; he would have professional interviews and double interviews with relevant people. Joe would be busy—too busy to remember that he has no job.

Q) Do you really think “spamming” is a bad idea?

A) Yes. It’s a bad idea all around because it ruins your reputation. You only get one reputation—bestselling writer or spammer? Your choice.

Q) How can you account for the success of “Reprisal! The Eagle Rises”?

A) I can’t. The readers can. Cliff Roberts and I have no idea why it took—we just did the right things. We promoted it the old fashioned wayand now it’s roaming around the top echelon of Amazon. Why did it hit? Where to flies go in winter? What happened to perms? Nobody knows, and frankly, nobody cares. You just have to do the right things to make the hits happen. Seriously, analyse yourself, your book and look where it will sell. Get yourself professional interviews, professional representation and exploit your books strengths. That’s how the magic happens. It worked for Lloyd Tackitt. I helped move 2900 of his books in one month. It happened for J.W. Northrup when his short stories went wild with sales. It happened for Cliff Roberts when he broke the top twenty on Amazon. It happened for Carol Bond. It can happen for you.

Q) Last question—where can people contact you?

A) Get to me via email at Nicholas.Wale (@) hotmail.co.uk or you can write to me at Nick (@) nickwale.org. You can also find me at my website www.nickwale.org . It will be a lot of fun meeting you!

How To Sell Books: An Interview With PR Nick Wale | Novel Ideas.

Writer Unboxed » Two Words Writers Should Avoid

Two Words Writers Should Avoid

Two words to avoidOver the years I have witnessed and/or contributed to critiquing many writers, through my longtime participation in online writers’ forums, through reading agents’ blogs, and through attending some major writers’ conferences.

In my experience, the most brutal critiques tend to come from established literary agents, who typically pull no punches in criticizing the first few pages of aspiring writers’ manuscripts, or in evaluating the effectiveness of their queries, pitches, or loglines. Watching how these agents tear apart the work submitted to them – like a hungry spider relentlessly dismembering a fly caught in its web – reminds me that this whole writing-to-get-published thing is a full-contact sport, and not for the faint of heart.

Writer Wordart

Writer Wordart (Photo credit: MarkGregory007)

Conversely, the most gentle critiques I’ve seen were posted in well-moderated online writers’ forums like Backspace, where rudeness is not tolerated, and even harsh critiques are expected to be delivered with diplomacy, helpfulness, and – this is important – accountability. (This is something you’ll find in a forum with a paid member base, where the site administrators know who everybody is, which in turn helps eradicate the vicious posting behavior that internet anonymity enables in some rather poopyheaded people.)

Whether delivered with a sledgehammer or with a spoonful of sugar, these critiques will often inspire a knee-jerk response from the writers, particularly those who are relatively new to this pursuit. And regardless of what genre they are writing, their response almost always begins with two words:

“Yeah, but…”

When a novelist is challenged on something he likes – one of his darlings – the first two words out of his mouth are almost always Yeah but.

~ Stephen Kingwhat are word for?, On Writing

 

It’s understandable to want to defend your own work, and that’s what most people do the first time its quality has been called into question. As Stephen King notes in his wonderful On Writing, “When a novelist is challenged on something he likes – one of his darlings – the first two words out of his mouth are almost always Yeah but.”

I bet many of you have run into this. But if not, here are a few examples of what I’m talking about – see if any of them sound familiar:

 

 

 

 

  • Yeah, but it gets funnier after the first five pages.

  • Yeah, but James Patterson did this exact same thing in a book that sold a bazillion copies.

  • Yeah, but you needed to know that this character used to be a professional ping-pong player 20 years ago – it’s essential to you understanding his arc!

  • Yeah, but it’s just that I’m no good at writing queries. The book itself is totally awesome, believe me!

  • Yeah, but the protagonist becomes much more sympathetic after the first couple hundred pages – honest!

  • Yeah, but you just didn’t “get it” – that’s why you don’t think you’re interested in my awesome book.

Much MORE on  Writer Unboxed » Two Words Writers Should Avoid.
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The English pleaded, the Scots pled « Grammar « Glossophilia

The English pleaded, the Scots pled

NewsOK ran this interesting article earlier today about the past participles and past tenses of weak and strong (or irregular) verbs, and variations in their usage amongst the Brits.

I’ve been meaning to write a post on ‘hung’ and ‘hanged’, ‘sung’ and ‘sang’, ‘lighted’ and ‘lit’, and other treacherous conjugations. Stay tuned for more on this murky subject of the past tense …

http://newsok.com/the-english-pleaded-the-scots-pled/article/3603469

The English pleaded, the Scots pled

BY Gene Owens    Comment on this article 0

Published: September 13, 2011

As she watched a televised account of the Casey Anthony trial, Katherine Lawrence, of Edmond, heard a reporter say, “She pleaded guilty to the charge of lying to officers on the whereabouts of her child.”

“I would have said, ‘She pled guilty to the charge,’” said Katherine, as Buck bled her brake lines at Curly’s Soonerco. “I’ve noticed this same thing for other irregular verbs. What do you think?”

The question is whether “plead” is a “weak” verb or a “strong” verb. Weak verbs form their past tenses and past participles by adding the suffix “-ed.” Strong verbs form theirs by making internal spelling changes. So the past tense of the weak verb “walk” is “walked,” and the past tense of the strong verb “think” is “thought.”

In American practice, “plead” is used as both a strong and a weak verb. Most standard American dictionaries lead off with the weak version: pleaded. But they also allow the strong version, “pled.” The Associated Press Stylebook, the usage bible for most American newspapers, regards “pled” as colloquial and directs AP writers to use “pleaded” instead.

“Pleaded” became established usage in England centuries ago, but the independent-minded Scots adopted “pled,” and it became standard in their dialect. The Scots-Irish settlers who populated so much of the United States brought “pled” with them, and Americans tended to like it. It is, after all, one syllable shorter, and it follows the standard pattern of “bleed-bled,” “feed-fed” and “lead-led.”

“Have you readed my last message?” asked Betty Jean Hackberry in a text message to Thurmond Barnswallow. “I’ll be in Lawton the night of the VFW dance.”

“I read it, but I don’t believe you,” said Thurmond as he pleaded with Betty Jean not to break their date again. He knew she was standing him up for Milford Birdsong.

Send questions for Buck to Gene Owens, 315 Lakeforest Circle, Anderson, SC 29625, or e-mail him at BucksEnglish@aol.com. Let Buck know what town you’re from.

via The English pleaded, the Scots pled « Grammar « Glossophilia.

  • Past Tense (learnenglishinsimpleway.wordpress.com)

44 Essential Twitter Hashtags Every Author Should Know | Author

44 Essential Twitter Hashtags Every Author Should Know44 Essential Twitter Hashtags Every Author Should Know

Connect With Other Authors –

  • #AmWriting
  • #AmEditing
  • #WordCount
  • #WriterWednesday (or #WW)
  • #WritersLife
  • #YALitChat
  • #LitChat (every M/W/F)
  • #MemoirChat (every other Wednesday at 8 pm ET)
  • #BookMarket (Thursday’s at 4 pm ET)
  • #ScriptChat (Screenwriters)
  • #PoetTues
  • #ZineChat
  • #WritingParty
  • #IndieAuthors
  • #WriteChat
  • #NaNoWriMo
  • #WANA (We Are Not Alone community)
  • #PBLitChat (Picture books only)

Connect By Book Genre –

  • #RomanceWriter
  • #SciFiChat
  • #KidLitChat
  • #RWA (Romance Writers of America)
  • #ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers)
  • #MGLit (Middle Grade Lit)
  • #SCBWI (Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators)
  •  #MemoirChat
  • #FlashFic
  • #Romance
  • #Horror
  • #FanFic
  • #YA
  • #History
  • #Biopic

Tweetables –

Get Industry Information –

  • #WritingTip
  • #WriteTip
  • #GetPublished
  • #BookMarket
  • #BookMarketing
  • #PromoTip
  • #SelfPublishing
  • #SelfPub
  • #Publishing
  • #AskAgent
  • #AskAuthor
  • #AskEditor
  • #EBooks
  • #IndiePub (or #IndiePublishing)
  • #BookMarketing
  • #PubTip

Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

  • #WritingPrompt
  • #StoryStarter
  • #WordAThon
  • #Creativity
  • #WIP (work in progress)
  • #1K1H (write one thousand words in one hour)

Connect With Readers

  • #FridayReads
  • #BookGiveaway
  • #MustRead
  • #LitChat
  • #StoryFriday
  • #MustRead
  • #TeaserTues
  • #BookGiveaway
  • #FreeBook
  • #FreeDownload
  • #Kindle
  • #Nook

via 44 Essential Twitter Hashtags Every Author Should Know | Author.

Novel Writing Tips and Techniques — Excerpt: Organizational Tools | Second Wind Publishing

Novel Writing Tips and Techniques From Authors of Second Wind Publishing — Excerpt: Organizational Tools

EXCERPT FROM NOVEL WRITING TIPS AND TECHNIQUES FROM AUTHORS OF SECOND WIND PUBLISHING

Organizational Tools: Name Charts

By

Coco Ihle

Author of:

She Had to Know

As a reader, quite often I find in my hurry to get into a new book, I race over character names and then get confused later about who is doing what. When character’s names start with the same letter, the confusion is compounded. I’ve had to discipline myself to take my time learning the names as they are introduced, thus avoiding backtracking. My reading experience is also enhanced by investing my thoughts in these people from the start.

As a writer, I decided to make it as easy as possible for readers to meet my characters in a way they would remember. To accomplish this, I introduced married people as a couple, gave some distinguished description for the lone individuals and made sure names were not similar. I also wrote out a background profile for characters who appeared, both major and minor. That way, their names fit their personalities and thus are easier to recall for the reader.

A really handy tool I used early on was a chart I made, divided into two vertical columns. The left heading read: “First Names of Characters.” The right, “Last Names of Characters.” I started with the letters of the alphabet on the extreme left, A-Z down the page and did the same for the right column. Next to the alphabet letters I filled in my character names, first names in the left column and last in the right column. This gave me a visual of what letters I used for my names. It’s quite easy to repeat letters unconsciously and this is an easy way to catch those repetitions. I had to change character names as a result of this exercise, but it has eliminated problems for my readers. I even included page numbers (in parenthesis) next to a name of a lesser used character in order to find him/her later when rewriting or editing.

***

Novel Writing Tips and Techniques is available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon (Print & Kindle), Barnes and Noble (Nook), Smashwords (all ebook formats including palm devices)

via Novel Writing Tips and Techniques From Authors of Second Wind Publishing — Excerpt: Organizational Tools | Second Wind Publishing.

Writer Unboxed » An Abundance of Ideas

English: Pronghorn Antelope Herd, Yellowstone ...

English: Pronghorn Antelope Herd, Yellowstone National Park, December 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you ever need one or a thousand writing ideas, drive across the country. Seriously. I can tell you it works, because as you read this, I’m on the road—quite literally. In fact, I just finished a 4000-mile road trip, and I’m sitting in a house overlooking the Pacific Ocean, on the opposite coast from where I live in Maine.

You see, my daughter graduated from college last week, and as a gift she asked for a mother-daughter cross-country road trip to her new job in San Francisco. I happily obliged. Mostly because my daughter and I always have a wonderful time on trips like these. But also because I love road trips and I knew it would give me lots of ideas for things to write about…

And I was right. Here are just a few of the things that have sparked story ideas:

Las Vegas Strip (Panorama)

A guy in Las Vegas sitting on a bench right inside a casino entrance—he was sitting there when we entered the casino and he was still sitting there when we left (an hour later), staring at some distant spot on the wall. He looked as though he lost his best friend…or his car…or his house…

Praying mantis, Sphodromantis viridis. Picture...

American Bald Eagle fall mating ritual

The Noah’s Ark of animals we’ve seen along the way: a coyote, three bald eagles, many hawks, lots of magpies and swallows (and many other birds), several deer, two burros, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, many thousands of cows, many hundreds of sheep, tens of hundreds of horses, and a baby praying mantis.

Driving through the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains it was 113 degrees with no cell phone service for hundreds of photo copy 3miles, and we saw many abandoned cars. I couldn’t help but wonder what might happen to someone whose car broke down…how would they get help? What would they do if they couldn’t?

more AT Writer Unboxed » An Abundance of Ideas.

From the Desk of Phylis Johnson: Writing Tips: 31 Most Invaluable Pieces Of Writing Advice From Famous Authors

Writing Tips: 31 Most Invaluable Pieces Of Writing Advice From Famous Authors:

Many avid readers are also avid writers. It only makes sense that someone who loves the beauty of language would want to make a craft of it. However, even the best writers get stuck from time to time, and it’s always nice to get a push in the right direction. Most authors agree that the first draft is going to be horrible, but as Sylvia Plath says, “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” So push through that writer’s block, and get inspired by these amazing tips from famous authors. Pick up that pen, and begin writing. After all, “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” (And we hope you’d trust a quote from Stephen King).

Terry Pratchett at Worldcon 2005 in Glasgow, A...

“Let grammar, punctuation, and spelling into your life! Even the most energetic and wonderful mess has to be turned into sentences.”

Ernest Hemingway in Milan, 1918

Ernest Hemingway in Milan, 1918 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Terry Pratchett

“Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.”

English: Jonathan Franzen at the 2011 Time 100...

“It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.”

via Writing Tips: 31 Most Invaluable Pieces Of Writing Advice From Famous Authors.

 

phylis

Having trouble finding your story? Look for your quest. » Doyle McDonald

English: Erik Pevernagie, painting. Representi...

English: Erik Pevernagie, painting. Representing the quest of the definition of happiness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having trouble finding your story? Look for your quest.by Megan McDonald Posted on May 21, 2013 A couple of you wanted to know the difference between a quest and a story. That’s an excellent question.First—and most important—is that while the heart of a story is its quest, a single quest can generate many stories. “Quest” is also a more clearly defined term than “story.”Don’t believe it? Compare the definitions of “story” …

def of story 2

AdventureQuest

AdventureQuest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With the definitions of “quest,” as defined by the Bing dictionary:

  1. search: a search for something, especially a long or difficult one
  2. adventurous expedition: a journey in search of something, especially one made by knights in medieval tales
  3. something sought: the object or goal of a quest

Stories run the gamut from factual accounts to outright lies, while quests are always true.

A story is also thought of as a concrete entity, with a set beginning and end. A quest, on the other hand, is an ongoing and evolving adventure—full of unexpected twists and turns, setbacks and victories. Just like organizations’ (and individuals’) lives.

Tarzan's Quest

Tarzan’s Quest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In addition, starting with your organization’s quest—rather than attempting to tackle its entire story—is both more manageable and more immediately helpful. It is the critical component to any story that you might develop or discover, and is usually the easiest element for everyone to agree on.

For all of these reasons, we strongly recommend starting with defining your organization’s quest.

via Having trouble finding your story? Look for your quest. » Doyle McDonald.

Writer Unboxed » Hacks for Hacks: The Basics of Author Branding

BrandThe highway to publication overflows with cars: luxury behemoths; sensible hybrids; nondescript, windowless vans with strange dents that protrude from the inside. Each bears the logo of the mechanic who brought it to life. You’ve built a car, too, with good mileage and a cherry spoiler. [Author’s note: The cars are a metaphor for your books.]

But when you get your baby on the highway, you can’t ignore that a metallic paint job and tilt steering is all that differentiates your vehicle from every other car in its class, no matter what shiny-metal totem adorns its hood. How does your creation stand out? You don’t need a better insignia. You don’t even need the car metaphor. You need to remake yourself. You must become the deer sprinting headlong across the road. When your book crumples someone’s hood and cracks their windshield, rest assured you’ve got their attention. And that’s pretty much the Tab-A and Slot-B of branding.

via Writer Unboxed » Hacks for Hacks: The Basics of Author Branding.

From the desk of Phylis Johnson: Proofreading, self-publishing, tips

Interrobang big

Interrobang big (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every writer on CompletelyNovel has the option to order proof copies of their work at cost price so that they can thoroughly check their book before it goes public. We’re seeing many of our authors do this and it’s something we are really keen to encourage!

If you are self-publishing then proofreading your manuscript is a really challenging task and you’ll kick yourself if you find a mistake after you have told everyone about the book.

No matter how many times you have read through your work it’s amazing how often errors can sneak through to the final stages. The problem is that you are so familiar with the text that you see what you think you have written rather than what you actually wrote. For this reason, at the very least it’s good to ask a few friends to help you proofread.

Don’t forget to carefully proofread the cover, copyright and title pages as well as any indices, tables of contents and dedications. We have noticed that mistakes in these areas happen surprisingly often!

So, short of hiring a professional proofreader, what else can you do to make sure that your book is as close to perfect as you can possibly make it?

Here are 10 tips for proofreading your book:

Put your writing aside for a while. This allows you to see things with fresh eyes that are more likely to spot errors.

Look at your weaknesses. Do you regularly misspell or repeat words? Do you make particular grammar or punctuation errors? If you are aware of these weaknesses you can take extra care to search or spot them.

Read your work out loud. If you read aloud, your ear might catch errors that your eye may have missed. You could also use text-to-speech software.

Try proofreading backwards! To spot typographical errors, read your work from the end to the beginning, either word by word, sentence by sentence or paragraph by paragraph. This disconnects your mind from the content and helps you focus on the text. Particularly useful for checking the cover.

Keep style and usage handbooks readily available and use them! Our favourite is the Guardian Style Guide.

Watch out for those pesky contractions, apostrophes and homonyms.

Run the spell check to catch any obvious errors. However, don’t rely on this alone as it can’t always be completely accurate.

Highlight all punctuation marks so that you can evaluate each one for accuracy.

Proofread a printed version of your work. People read differently on screen and on paper, so print out a copy of your writing, either on paper or into a book using CompletelyNovel.

Get someone else to proofread it. A fresh pair of eyes is a great way to spot errors.

via Proofreading, self-publishing, tips.

phylis

Goodreads | Carrie Vaughn’s Blog – things I’ve learned about wine – May 08, 2013 08:01

English: A colorful bottle

English: A colorful bottle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Goes with anything.

Pay attention to what you like. I remember drinking cabernet and chardonnay because that’s what everyone drank, until one day I realized they don’t taste good. Zinfindel and pinot grigio for me! Also, merlot, riesling, malbec, shiraz…

If you order a bottle at a restaurant that you really like, take a picture of the label so you’ll remember it.

Ordering wine off a menu takes practice. But if you can do it with confidence, you’ll impress everyone at the table.

When the waiter pours you a taste from the bottle you ordered, you don’t have to stare at it and sniff it and swirl it around and pretend like that’s telling you anything. Just take a taste to make sure the bottle isn’t off.

via Goodreads | Carrie Vaughn’s Blog – things I’ve learned about wine – May 08, 2013 08:01.

 

 

» New York Times 50 Most Challenging Words (defined and used) – StumbleUpon

New York Times 50 Most Challenging Words (defined and used)

New York Times 50 Most Challenging Words (defined and used) The New York Times recently published a list of 50 fancy words that most frequently stump their readership. They are able to measure this data thanks to a nifty in-page lookup mechanism, which you can try here. Try double-clicking the word “epicenter”.

Since the NYT didn’t include definitions of these words, I decided to post a job to MediaPiston to produce an article defining and using each word in the list. Voila! Just a few hours later, here it is. So avoid coming across as jejune and laconic in your speech. Dive in to this list with alacrity!

The New York Times 50 Fancy Words (defined and used)

1. Inchoate: just begun and so not fully formed or developed; I am glad your inchoate proposals for integrating the company were not accepted this time, thus saving us face.

2. Profligacy: recklessly wasteful; wildly extravagant, profligate behavior; Anderson’s profligacy cost him his job and its better you tighten up your belt before you go the same way.

3. Sui Generis: being the only example of its kind, unique; Mr. Bill Tandy generated his sui generis theory based on little research and more hypothesis, thus finding no takers for his pet project.

4. Austerity: severe and morally strict; the quality of being austere, having no pleasures or comforts; Every major war on this planet were followed by many years of austerity.

5. Profligate: using money, resources, etc., in a way that wastes them; The firm’s profligate spending only hastened its downfall.

6. Baldenfreude: Satisfaction derived from the misfortune of bald or balding individuals (coined by NYT columnist Maureen Dowd); Humpty Dumpty’s antics remain a constant source of baldenfreude for children and adults alike.

» New York Times 50 Most Challenging Words (defined and used) – StumbleUpon.

Novel Writing Tips and Techniques From Authors of Second Wind Publishing — Excerpt: Captivating Settings | Second Wind Publishing

One of the most important elements for any writer is to establish a “voice”—one that is recognizable, and somewhat expected by the reader as you continue to present more works. The ideal way to imprint your particular voice, cadence, tempo, tone is by setting your scenes. Once you truly place the reader at the location, whether it is a city, neighborhood, store or house, they become comfortable and willing to take the journey with the characters you present.

I write psychological suspense thrillers, therefore ominous settings are crucial in my novels. In this chapter you will find examples from STACCATO and SNARE to give you an idea of my personal writing voice when it comes to settings.

It is important to put the reader at ease and to give them a visual at the beginning of each chapter, especially the first time the location is presented.

via Novel Writing Tips and Techniques From Authors of Second Wind Publishing — Excerpt: Captivating Settings | Second Wind Publishing.

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