Friday, June 29, 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 beat-up truck.

Helen also juggled the debut of her full length novel, Angel Sometimes, at the same time as The Corner Cafe made its appearance. For more about Helen and her book, click here for her Amazon Author Page.

Here's what Helen divulges about her part in the project:

1) What surprised you about this endeavor?
One thing I learned and was surprised about is that chaos can be organized. Fifteen authors, two editors, one instructor, one artist doing the cover, rewrites, bios for each story, technical details from beginning to end, a huge month-long blog tour, and somehow it all came together.

2) What seemed the most difficult?
From my viewpoint, the promoting of The Corner Café is the most difficult. Getting the word out about how great the stories and authors are is a new area for me. On the other hand, it's a learning experience and, in the end, is worth it all since proceeds from sales go to charity.

3) What proved the most satisfying?
I have four published books, not counting The Corner Café. The short story anthology was my first experience in this kind of a group project. At times it was a bit chaotic, but we all worked together, both on getting the book ready and on promoting it.

4) What did you learn?
I learned that this kind of project is not easy, but it is doable. A lot of work, but doable.

5) Would you do it again?
Yes, I would do it again. I think no matter how many group books I participated in, I would learn something new and valuable in the process.

Please welcome Helen by leaving a comment about her answer(s) or her new book.
Click Here To Order The Corner Cafe: A Tasty Collection of Short Stories
Interviewer: Morgan Mandel, Contributor to

The Corner Cafe: A Tasty Collection of Short Stories

Look for "What Nice Blessings" and "The Closing of the Corner Cafe" by Morgan Mandel in The Corner Cafe:A Tasty Collection of Short Stories.

Find Morgan's Full Length Books at
Amazon Author Page:

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  1. Hi Morgan. Thanks for hosting me. Your two stories were both great. I know I'm a bit biased on this, but there wasn't a story in The Corner Cafe that I didn't like.

  2. I remember the organized chaos when I was coordinating with seven other authors for my non-fiction book. It can be done and it's fun.

  3. Well, I'm mightily impressed with your endeavor, Helen, but the fact that you'd 'do it again' leaves me wondering about your ability to learn from experience.

  4. Yes, and artists call that organized chaos "creativity"! We welcome it for the surge of energy - and teamwork made it a lighter workload, no question about that. Helen and I edited this collection, and that actually took less time than reformatting the various Word files for the Kindle. Still, the latter was much easier than I expected. I agree the hardest part is marketing. Last week of the blog book tour and the team has kept that going! You are all awesome!

  5. I guess I'm a slow learner as well. I'm looking forward to working on the next one!

  6. Christopher, you should be worried. But you had best be worried about my sanity.

  7. Nice to get the perspective of one of the editors. I think our part in just writing a story, then jumping on board to promote was probably a bit easier than trying to format the book.

    Any suggestions on making files that talk to each other when submitting stories? Maybe writing them in Notebook, or some other comparable program that doesn't insert hidden code like Word does? I'm sure there has to be a way and there is some geek out there just dying to tell us how. LOL

  8. Helen: As an editor, did you discover that any of the stories were so similar that including both wouldn't be good for the whole? Or was the minimal prompt—the inclusion of the words "Corner Café"—along with the varying personalities and writing styles enough to ensure a good mix?

  9. I didn't find any of the stories to be similar! I wouldn't have bumped anyone though, just arranged them so they weren't next to each other. The total page count was 100, so it would have been a true curiosity had their been a lot of similarity. I knew before I issued the challenge that the astounding assortment of genres within the group would take care of any concerns along those lines. Helen and I did leave comments within the mss. before returning them, suggesting improvements (or in a couple of cases, instructions to follow the rules!), but it was completely up to the authors whether they would take the advice we offered. When they resubmitted, I took their mss. back without question and arranged them for formatting to Kindle. Well, actually, I did a few round of "could you please delete the editing marks so these are ready for publication?" LOL.

  10. And I'll give the first person who finds a big editing whopper in that last comment a mug from the Blood-Red Pencil!

  11. " would have been a true curiosity had [their] been a lot of similarity..."

    there ;-)

  12. You all have done a wonderful job of writing, putting together and marketing this anthology. Congratulations to everyone!

  13. Hi, Ginger and the others. I read the sample from the Gila Monster and I'm hooked. However, I don't have a Kindle, (or other e-reader)... yet. I'm finding more and more books that are only e-books and I realize I will have to get an e-reader soon. The budget needs some reworking. In the meantime... Is there another way to read e-books?

  14. Oops, sorry, Helen. I do know you are Helen Ginger. I've subscribed to your newsletter for over a year. I'm tired today and my cognitive processes are slipping a few cogs.

  15. Hi Diana,

    There is an app available from Amazon's site that will allow you to read Kindle ebooks on your PC:

  16. Elle, no fair - I meant readers, not BRP staff! :D I'll have to find another gift for you to send halfway around the globe! ;)

  17. Oops! Sorry. I'm in editing mode...


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice.