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Showing posts from June, 2012

Helen Ginger Reveals Organized Chaos In the Making of The Corner Cafe: A Tasty Collection of Short Stories

CONTINUING SERIES - 18 Stories! 15 Authors! Talk About A Project! The Corner Cafe: A Tasty Collection of Short Stories is riding high in sales, after a spectacular performance at its first freebie weekend on June 9 and June 10, 2012. The book is ready, but the work's not over. Dani Greer, owner of The Blood-Red Pencil, along with Morgan Mandel, Helen Ginger, Maryann Miller, Shonell Bacon, and Audrey Lintner, all contributors to the collection and members of The Blood-Red Pencil, are sharing our ongoing experiences with you about the project in this series. Perhaps, what we've discovered will aid you in your own endeavors.  Helen Ginger Today is Helen Ginger's turn to share. She's a busy gal, being one of the collection's editors, plus a two-story contributor to  The Corner Cafe . Helen's "One Last Run" depicts a skiing couple on a black diamond run in a blizzard. Her "Gila Monster" reveals an unexpected possibility concerning a b

DRM - Is Digital Rights Management Right For You?

In the case of e-books, Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a type of technology, also known as a digital lock, employed by publishers to control how an e-book is used after it has been purchased. But digital copy protection has been around in software and gaming circles for much longer than in the publishing industry, and it is from these sectors that the greatest criticisms, and lessons learnt, can be found. Firstly, the point of DRM (and the benefits of using it) is to protect your e-book from unauthorised sharing, copying, or resale – in other words, it protects your copyright. Or does it? According to critics who have been through the same issue in the gaming and other software industries, DRM is ridiculously easy to crack (i.e. hacking for negative purposes), and is also a target for crackers who enjoy the (albeit apparently slight) challenge of disabling a digital lock . The worse news, however, is that once the digital lock on your book has been cracked the file is usually

Embracing Technology – Coping Mechanisms for the Non-Techie

Fact: The publishing industry has charged into the technology arena—full speed ahead. Fact: If writers don’t jump on that technology bandwagon, they may end up eating its dust. Fact: Not all writers are tech-savvy, and some still reside in the medieval world of manual typewriters. Fact: Some of us believe that “Twitter” is short for “twitterpated” (think Bambi), only birds “tweet,” Facebook must have something to do with a book cover, “Fan Pages” are just for movie stars, “WordPress” is a new publishing house, and “Pinterest” is a misspelled word. In other words, the world of technology is overwhelming with a capital “O.” Since eating the dust of that technology bandwagon doesn’t help us market our books, we need to be creative in our thinking. Option 1: We can forge ahead, plunging into all the above with great zeal and educating ourselves to get up to speed on the latest and the greatest. Option 2: We can take a course—or a number of courses—at a local college to catch up on

Author Visits by Skype

Can we writers stay abreast of technology? Not alone, we can’t. We’re too busy keeping up with that other huge demand on our time. What was it? Oh yeah—our writing. But if we each learn a little something, then network, we can help each other along. In that spirit of sharing, New York Times bestselling author  Jonathan Maberry  ( The Wolfman ,  Patient Zero ,  Rot & Ruin ) gave me permission to post a fun application of technology I picked up from him at his monthly Writers Coffeehouse held near Philadelphia, PA: author talks by Skype. Used for almost a decade by geographically challenged families as a work-around for long distance charges, this video conferencing application is now inspiring authors (among more than 660 million other registered users) to explore its uses. Last year I participated in an author reading in Connecticut alongside the real-time visages of Skyped authors reading from Israel, India, and California. I recently learned of another cool application for t

Audio Books - Another View

Unlike Kathleen, who posted last week about audio books, I have never embraced that technology. Maybe, like she said, it's because I don't process well audibly. Even when I was in critique groups where we read aloud for comments, I would have a hard time focusing if the reading went beyond seven to ten pages. I have tried to listen to audio books when my husband and I traveled. He seems to be able to focus better and always enjoyed the books. I would find myself glancing out the window at the passing scenery and my mind would go somewhere else. Then I'd realize I missed a whole section of the story. My husband would have to catch me up when we stopped for lunch. So it was a huge surprise when we decided to listen to the audio version of my book, One Small Victory when we took a recent trip, and I was able to stay with it the whole time. That may be due in part to the fact that I was driving and couldn't gaze out at the scenery and start thinking of some other sto

3 Vital Tips For E-Book Conversion

Susan Malone is our guest today sharing some great tips for converting books for reading on electronic devices. So this month we’re talking about technology, and everyone who knows me would hoot about me writing on the topic.  Being your basic neo-Luddite, I’m lucky to get my Word program going without glitches!  But one of the wonderful things about being in this business so long, is knowing exactly who to call in for help. Doris Booth, CEO of Authorlink , constantly stays on the cutting edge of technology, specifically technology that applies to books of all sorts. While we were both speaking at the Harriett Austin Writer’s Conference at the University of Georgia last year, I had the pleasure of attending her session on e-book conversions.  Most of it of course was like Russian to me, but a few points really caught my attention.  So I contacted her again to get the scoop of what writers truly need to know before diving into that vast sea.  First off, do be ready for a ton of work.

Technology Old and New

I’m old enough that when I took typing in high school, we had only one electric typewriter for the whole class. We had to take turns practicing on it. I was thrilled—I could type seventy words a minute! And when I typed up the school newspaper to copy on the mimeograph machine, I “justified” by typing slashes at the end of each line, then retyped everything with extra spaces in each sentence. When I graduated from college and went to work for a newspaper, we still used manual typewriters. We literally “cut” with a pair of scissors and “pasted” with glue when we needed to revise a story. I remember coming back from an evening meeting I had covered, and as I typed a few paragraphs, the copy editor would come to my desk and rip the page out of my typewriter to take it to the “backshop” to get it set so they could meet the deadline. After a few years, the newspaper went “high-tech.” The company purchased a few computers, which resided on wheeled carts. Since there were not enough for

Embracing Technology - Audio Books

Today we have a guest post from Kathleen Hagen , who is blind, and has been her entire life. When I asked her to write about her experience with audio books for our technology themed posts this month, I  did not know she was blind. I just saw her comment in a reader forum about needing to buy stock in and figured she could address audio books in a way that I cannot, since I don't often listen to audio books. I have used Braille since I was five years old, so I read it at a fast rate, but putting books in Braille is a very voluminous process, (the Bible, for example, is 16 large volumes). Starting in the 1930s, the Library of Congress hired actors to read books that would be available only to the blind. These were called Talking Books, and I still read some of them. However, the commercial audio market has provided a much wider market for me. I should own stock in . I’ve bought many hundreds of books since 2005, and I read constantly - in bed, while I’m doi

Embracing Technology - Word Is Not Your Enemy

Please welcome Terry Odell, our regular 3rd. Tuesday guest blogger. She has some good tips about using the Find/Replace function in Word. Thanks Terry. The theme this month here at the Blood Red Pencil is technology. Anyone trying to become a writer these days has to accept that learning to use a computer is part of the deal. Whether or not you prefer to write your manuscript longhand on legal tablets, eventually, you're going to have to get all those words entered into some word processing program. I'm hardly a technology wizard. I can remember our first computer (An Apple II) and breaking out into a sweat any time I had to do anything other than type words. I knew I'd hit a wrong key and either lose everything or blow up the computer. But as the industry standards change, we have to be willing to change with them. And once you're committed to using a word processor, you find that it does all sorts of nifty tricks . In fact, I have trouble writing with a p

Listen to the PDF Lady

Editors are often advised to read manuscripts aloud, as you will catch mistakes that you might not when reading silently. Last summer I got an excellent editing tip from the reader comments on this very blog that takes this advice one step further. I’ve been using it ever since. (This is another tip – read the comments on the Blood-Red Pencil as well as the posts! They often contain juicy nuggets of wisdom from other writers and editors.) Convert the manuscript into a PDF file, then on the View menu click the Read Aloud function. Adobe will read aloud to you. It’s true, the voice (mine is female, but some may be male) reads in a mechanical monotone, but this is a plus. You will hear each individual word that way. The first time I tried this, I was amazed at how much easier, faster, and more efficient this was. If you’re editing your own, or someone else’s work, I urge you to try this. Of course, it’s not perfect. Adobe has some strange ideas about pronunciation. The manuscript I fi

Dani Greer Spills About The Corner Cafe: A Tasty Collection of Short Stories

FIRST OF A CONTINUING SERIES - 18 Stories! 15 Authors! Talk About A Project! The Corner Cafe: A Tasty Collection of Short Stories is riding high in sales, after a spectacular performance at its first freebie weekend on June 9 and June 10, 2012. The book is ready, but the work's not over. Dani Greer, owner of The Blood-Red Pencil, along with Morgan Mandel, Helen Ginger, Maryann Miller, Shonell Bacon, and Audrey Lintner, all contributors to the collection and members of The Blood-Red Pencil, are sharing our ongoing experiences with you about the project in this series. Perhaps, what we've discovered will aid you in your own endeavors.  Dani Greer Dani Greer, owner of The Blood-Red Pencil blog, is the originator of the The Corner Cafe project. She's also provided the valuable services of editor, formatter, marketing leader, and contributor of three stories: "Home Away From Home" about a frequent visitor to a cafe who receives a surprise visit from the po

Resolution of the Major Thread

 Last month on The Blood-Red Pencil , I talked about taking control of your work . Even when the characters are in your head, talking and telling you their story, you have to know where the story is heading so you don't write a hundred thousand words and realize there's no end in sight. The same is true when you edit the book. You have to know the one major theme that drives the story in order to know what can be cut or used to move the story forward in order to tighten the story up. Keep in mind, though, that most books have multiple threads. There may be one overall thread or storyline, but the protagonist is not following one straight line to get to the end. She or he has other things going on in their lives that affect how they move forward. But in the end, it has to come down to that main task or desire or action that is the center of the story. The smaller threads of the book can be resolved as the book progresses. One or two may not ever reach absolute resolution,

12 Lessons I've Learned (So Far)

12. Without even trying, I can write really, really poorly. 11. Liquids and computer keyboards do not mix. 10. For every five minutes I spend tapping away on the keyboard, I'll have spent an equal amount of time staring at the screen. 9. Fear often disguises itself as writer's block. 8. If they had a third hand, many writers would use it to hold chocolate. 7. Resist the siren call emanating from the delete key. 'Cut and paste' will prove to be a far better friend. 6. Mistakes are easier to catch if I read my work out loud. Judgmental facial expressions add to the merriment. 5. I may not be as good as I'd like to be, but I'm not as bad as I could be either. 4. Don't look to the cat for approval. It will not be forthcoming. 3. I can type wearing the ugly clothes. However, it is prudent to remember to change before going out into the world. 2. As a deadline nears, my need to do house

Style Maven: That Which Confuses Us

Today we welcome our newest member of the blog, Audrey Sillett Lintner. Let's give her a big welcome! Greetings, all!  My name is Audrey, and I am your new Style Maven.  Hm?  Why am I wearing a bathrobe?  Because we’re dealing with a whole ’ nother kind of style today, so we had better get comfy.   Today we’ll consult the sixteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style to see what it says about the use of “that” versus “which”.  Both are relative pronouns, and their usage is often confused.  Let’s have a look at the— Oof.  This thing is heavy. Ah, here we are.  According to the manual, a relative pronoun is “one that introduces a dependent (or relative) clause and relates it to the independent clause.”  A literary matchmaker, if you will.  Let’s find out how to ensure that our matches are made in heaven, rather than an editor’s slush pile. Let’s look at that .  No, not that over th ere.  I mean that , here on the page.  Think of the word that as a gramma

Writing in 140: A Story with a View... or Two... or More

When’s the best time to shift point of view (POV) in a story? There is no hard and fast rule to this, but writers need to think about how POV shifts affect the readers’ immersion into the story and characters. Some writers think shifting POV at the beginning of chapters is the smartest move. Others are fine with shifting POV at the beginning of scenes. Some people are even OK with shifting POV at the start of a new paragraph. What about shifting POV within the same  paragraph, nearly the same sentence? Do writers run the risk of jarring readers out of a story? Although shifting POV can be a pet peeve , cause a manuscript to be rejected , and disconcert readers if handled improperly; writers still shift point of view. What say you about when to shift point of view? ~~~~~~~~~~ Shon Bacon is an author, doctoral candidate, editor, and educator. She has published both creatively and academically. Shon also interviews women writers on her popular blog ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES

Free Kindle Book

The Corner Cafe: A Tasty Collection of Short Stories is free to download this weekend. The Blood-Red Pencil bloggers who have stories in this e-book would love it if you downloaded the book, and shared your comments at the review page on Amazon. Help us reach #1 at Amazon! Here's the link: Thank you~