Category Archives: Publishing

I’m published!

noboundariescover-frontonly

 

Here’s a holiday selection

From my collection

(changed slightly to accommodate Thanksgiving)
**** 

Holiday Dinner

Chicken runs round the farm yard,

Wishes he was the duck.

Duck runs round the barn yard,

Wishes he was the pig.

Pig runs round the pig sty,

Wishes he was the horse.

Horse smiles, relaxes in stall.

Thanksgiving Eve, he’ll mourn them all.

****

My collection includes Family and Friends, God Bless Our Military, Limericks, Beautiful Earth, Art, Imagination, & Miscellany, Haiku, and My Funny Bone.

To order, go to “No Boundaries” at Amazon.

 

 

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Filed under Book Cover Design, E-books & E-publishing, Personal Articles, Prose & Poetry, Publishing

A little push for “Painted From Memories”

Barbara Forte Abate PFMY’all know I worked with Barbara Forte Abate on her “Painted From Memories.” I feel so strongly about this novel, I have been assisting with the promotion of it.

Reviews

A great way to get the word out about your novel is to give the book away to a handful of people who will write a review (hopefully a good one!). Elizabeth H. Cottrell of Heartspoken.com writes wonderful, in-depth reviews about the books she reads.

Read Elizabeth’s “Painted From Memories” review.

Interviews

Another good way to get your novel into the hands of others is to participate in author interviews.

Shells Walter posted a great interview with Barbara Forte Abate on her Shells Interviews blog.

With Shells’ permission, I am sharing that interview below.

***

Could you please briefly tell the readers what “Painted from Memories” is about?

Catherine is the emotionally fractured casualty of a hideous childhood tragedy, and yet she’s found happy-ever-after in the person of Grayson Barnett. With the promise of a freshly polished future in her grasp, she feels compelled to bury the poisonous trail of her past beneath the purposeful lies and omissions she offers her new husband.

Now, with the inherent shame of her traumatic history secreted away and losing hold, Cat finds herself increasingly troubled as Gray falls into an erratic pattern of late night wanderings through the house, painting the bare walls with extravagant murals. And only when the unthinkable happens—a devastating blow which leaves her broken and spiraling, and an unexpected arrival on her doorstep, bearing a cache of impossible revelations—is Cat forced to question whether the man she so desperately loves is in truth a stranger, and their beautiful life a gross falsehood constructed upon a foundation of lies.

Catherine seems like a very layered character. Where did the idea of her character come about?

Cat is a composite of several people who have passed through my life and left a mark. While I purposely steer away from writing anything autobiographic, it would be a big fat festering lie to say Cat exists only in fiction. She is determined and strong, yet vulnerable and weak. She is as deeply conflicted even as she is resolute. A survivor without her consent. The more she evolved over the progression of the book, the more I felt I knew her. I absolutely loved writing her and was fully absorbed in worrying how things would turn out for her!

What did you find the most difficult when writing “Painted from Memories?”

Getting the words right! How to write a story with characters who love one another madly, yet without truly knowing each other? Who are equally strong and, purposeful, yet deeply vulnerable. As passionately as Cat cherishes her future with Gray, there is the inescapable awareness that she has, and continues to be, dishonest and deceptive. And so was the quandary of how to convey all of this while keeping these characters sympathetic and inherently likeable.

There seems to be a lesson in this story. How do you feel this would help women who may be in this same situation?

Can anyone hope to build their own “happy ever after” on a foundation of carefully placed falsehoods? Cat created what she believed to be a perfect life with Gray by purposely omitting all those things she believed too hideous to reveal. It’s pretty much saying that as much as she cherished his love for her, she didn’t trust it as being true or durable. Real love is honest love. Many, if not all of us, carry around a quietly concealed box of secrets, but it’s the big things we keep hidden under the stairs that can emotionally cripple. Cat holds to the erroneous conviction that certain stains on her history have left her hideously flawed—a lie that is altogether counterfeit to the promise and purpose of real love.

If you had one thing you wanted readers to get after reading “Painted from Memories,” what would it be?

That we’re never as alone as we sometimes believe we are. There are experiences in life that can leave us feeling very isolated, hideously damaged, or eternally soiled. But life’s unfortunate events do not necessarily define us. Truth, honestly, love, trust … these are the things we can claim and in turn offer. Unconditional love—what an awesome gift to give another person.

Where can readers buy “Painted from Memories?”

Barbara Forte Abate

Barbara Forte Abate

“Painted from Memories” is available in print from your favorite online retailers, or can be ordered through brick and mortar booksellers. The eBook is exclusive to Amazon—but only for a short while—after which you’ll find it hanging out in all the other places where books are sold.

Are there any future works you would like to share with the readers?

I am currently weeding through notebooks scribbled to bursting with a tangle of ideas—so I’m still percolating the next book. I do wish I was a faster writer, but I’m more the tortoise than the hare.

***

Shells Walter reviews

Shells Walter, author of horror and bizarro, does writer interviews at her blog, Shells Interviews. To contact Shells about interviews, click here. Her interest in learning more about Jack the Ripper has found her in many a site and involved in many adventures.

 

 

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What do you expect from an editor?

DSC01710And what do you expect it to cost?

My last several potential clients strung me along for a while, asking questions, getting feedback and critique…

When I finally told them my fee, they all balked.

My fault

This is my fault. I should ask straight up –

Have you budgeted for an editor?

What do you expect to pay your editor?

What do you expect to get from your editor?

What do you expect the turn-around time to be?

Full stop, wheels screeching

I’m changing my game plan! I’m going to stop wasting my time (sorry, but it’s true) on writers who know nothing about editing, the costs involved, or what they might expect from a really chop-chop-I-am-taking-an-axe-to-your-novel kind of editor.

Subscribers – can you help me? DSC01711

I have a few questions for you –

Have you budgeted for an editor?

What do you expect to pay your editor?

What do you expect to get from your editor?

What do you expect the turn-around time to be?

No, you’re not having déjà vu – I typed those questions twice.

If you have been edited

What did you get for your hard-earned money?

Were you satisfied?

Was your previous editor not what he/she promised? (Please, don’t mention by name.)

What did he/she miss and when did you discover it?

If this feels icky

If you feel uncomfortable posting comments here on the blog, you can email me – karenrsanderson@midco.net.

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Filed under Blogging, Editing & Proofreading, Publishing

Do you have to stick to “write what you know?”

DSC01541

This blog was inspired by a post I read at Indie Plot Twist, Write What You Know.

Living a dull life?

Danielle Hanna (half of Indie Plot Twist) and I both live in small towns in North Dakota. Just because it’s a small town, doesn’t mean it’s dull.

Read the newspaper

Unfortunately, you will find political intrigue, shootings, explosions, train wrecks…

Local police department

Have you ever done a ride along with the P.D.? I haven’t, though I did volunteer at my local police substation back in Albuquerque (and I still have contacts at the P.D. in case I have police-procedure questions).

Community events

Nearly every weekend, even in small towns, there are holiday events, festivals, or ethnic events.fargo

How about a conference, like the Annual Bloggers and Writers Conference in Fargo, North Dakota?

Everywhere you look, you see history

What’s the history behind that building that houses the art museum?

What’s the history of Main Street?

What events changed your town? The flood of 2011 comes to mind.

Your past life

Most of my short stories and poetry reflect my knowledge, memories, experiences – both good and bad.

I have plenty of fond memories from my long-ago life – growing up on the east coast with Mom and Ang and brothers, building snow forts and skating on the local pond, Christmas caroling with friends, summer vacations. Even if you don’t want to write about long ago, you can use these memories to enhance your current characters and stories.

img002 (3)Look at old pictures

I have taken thousands of photos over the years. When I go back and study them, I see things I never noticed before. Old photos are great if you want to remember how the hair styles and clothing styles were for that era (if you are old enough to have another era). I also have a slew of old photos from my mom’s generation and beyond.

Jobs in your past

Most of us have numerous career experiences. I’ve worked a bunch of different jobs – dry cleaners, large corporations, small-town government, uniform warehouse, conference planning, loading dock, accounting, school for the deaf, and more. Tap your memories!

So many contacts

We all chat online via Facebook and LinkedIn. Why not utilize some of these contacts for their knowledge, information on their jobs, and their day-to-day challenges? We are all connected to professionals like doctors, lawyers, bankers, chefs, etc.

What if we want a character that does something we know nothing about?

Say, a character who is an archaeologist? That’s okay because I’m taking an online class in archaeology right now through Coursera. I’m learning just enough to be dangerous (or at least enough to include some of my newly-learned tidbits in my prose).

Or, conduct research at your local library or historical society.

Small town life

While I was writing this blog, an article about life in a little town popped up on Pamela Wight’s Rough Wighting blog, In My Little Town.

 

What experiences in your life have inspired your stories or characters?

What local happenings have inspired events in your stories?

Have any of your previous jobs made it into your stories?

Are you in a small town or big city?

 

A plug for my inspiration

Danielle HannaDanielle Hanna learned how to read and write at age four and knew she wanted to be an author by the time she was seven. She now writes Christian mysteries. When she’s not riveted to her computer, you can find her camping, hiking, and biking with her German Shepherd/Rottweiler Molly. Danielle and Carrie Lynn Lewis partner at Indie Plot Twist.

 

 

carrieCarrie Lynn Lewis has been writing for personal enjoyment most of her life. Her favorite genres are mystery, suspense, and political thriller, with manuscripts in the works in each of those categories. She is also an active critique partner for other authors, both published and unpublished. Carrie personal writing blog can be found at Writing Well.

At Indie Plot Twist, Danielle and Carrie are recording their journey to independent publishing. They host free classes on the blog five to six times a year and encourage readers to participate in the comments section.

 

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Writing is like baseball

DSC02103

Writing has been compared to many things: creating great food from a recipe, a long, arduous journey, a trip to the circus.

I once compared it to Family Court – The writing life is like family court only family court was more fun.

My favorite comparison is Vaughn Roycroft’s What building my house taught me about writing. A must read for every writer!

I was struggling with a short story while watching a baseball game (Go Phillies!). And boing! I realized, “Hey, writing is like baseball!”

The writer is the pitcher

Consider the writer as the pitcher – the dude on the mound. But the pitcher is not the only player on the field.

Long fly ball or an infield out

You pitch the ball and the batter hits it. It’s a long fly ball! The center fielder snags the ball, throws it to the cut-off man, the cut-off man throws it to the plate – runner out!

You pitch the ball. The batter hits it. The shortstop snags it, flips it to the second baseman, the second baseman throws to the first baseman. Double play!

You may have pitched the ball, but you weren’t the only player handling it.

Your pitching coach

Do you have a pitching coach – an expert editor? She/he tells you where the ball was dragging, where it was too high, where you lost control.

Your team DSC01384

Is the pitcher the only player on the field? No! The pitcher has eight other guys on the field with him and a load of other players in the dugout.

Think about all the friends and associates who follow your Fan Page, your beta readers, your blog followers, the people who allow you to guest post. These people are your team.

Looking good on the mound

Let’s not forget the uniform guys. The ones who make you look good when you go out on the field. Imagine what a book cover designer can do for you.

GehrigThe Iron Horse

Lou Gehrig played for the Yankees until his stellar career was cut short by ALS, now commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Gehrig played from 1925 to 1939 and made it to the field for 2,130 consecutive games. This streak was considered unbreakable until Baltimore’s Cal Ripken, Jr., broke Gehrig’s record in 1995. Ripken went on to play 2,632 games.

Moral of the story…writing – and incredible baseball stats – is a long-haul sort of thing.

Don’t be an ass-terisk*

A few players are listed in the baseball record books with an asterisk. Why? They cheated to achieve their monumental goals (remember the writer guy who paid a few thousand people to write awesome reviews for his book?).

Let’s keep it simple – do not cheat.

See you at the Series

No player gets to the World Series by playing just one or two games. You have a long spring training and a long season ahead of you. And sometimes, you might have to wait several seasons to get the recognition you deserve.

So wind up, and keep pitching.

What other activity can you compare to writing?

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Writers’ conference tips

Lara and Stacy at a great conference (not in Vegas).

Lara and Stacy at a great conference (not in Vegas).

I attended a conference in Vegas a few years ago, and I was appalled at how people were dressed. T-shirts, shorts, flip flops. The chick at the greeting table wore a blouse cut down to her navel. I didn’t need my imagination.

Fifty percent of the people I met didn’t have a card.

Most of the people I met were dressed like beach bums.

Unfortunately, about 50% of the people I met and mingled with were drunk most of the time (okay, it was Vegas, but still!).

A bad impression? You bet!

Where to start?

If a huge conference in Vegas or NYC scares the heck out of you, look for a smaller, local conference. Better to flex your conference muscles when you’re not too overwhelmed.

What do you wear?

I wear a blazer and nice blouses over new jeans. Wear comfortable shoes – my comfortable shoes are dress Oxfords.

What do you have?

Have cards or bookmarks to hand out. If you don’t have a publication, you can still print your name, blog address, Twitter handle, etc., on a card. Collect cards from everybody and follow up with these people when you get home with a simple note.

After you collect a card or bookmark, remember a few specifics about that person (editorial chat, historic book chat, where you met, we laughed over the buffet). Jot these notes on the back of their card.

One-sheet

Also helpful, a one-sheet. Suzanne Hartmann has a great article (with her own example) on her blog. Click here for Suzanne’s example of a one-sheet.

Who do you talk to?

Try to talk to as many people as possible. Even if the first few people you meet are crazy-fun, hop around. Participate in as many activities as you can.

imagesCA1H24ZQWhat do you carry?

I suggest a carry-all for what you collect along the way – books, bookmarks, brochures. Consider a satchel with a shoulder strap in case you need two hands (one for coffee, one for shaking hands).

Since electronic devices are not 100% dependable, carry a small pad and a few pens.

Hydrate!

Carry water and a few small snack bars. It may be hours before you get a decent meal.

How should you behave?

Show up on time for sessions. Turn off your cell phone. Pay attention and participate in discussions.

What do you talk about?

Don’t talk only about yourself, your blog, your book, your this and that, but do have a sentence memorized about your book or project, in case you are asked. Don’t be pitching all the time – ask others what they are working on.

Know the presenters

Before the conference, Google the scheduled presenters and write a few small facts about them on note cards. I did this for the Vegas conference and consulted these cards before each session – it was helpful in a few cases when I got to talk one-on-one with a presenter.

At the bar Beer-Bottles-

With most conferences, alcohol gets introduced into the equation. My advice – don’t drink too much. One glass of something then switch to bottled water. You don’t want to leave a bad impression because you made a fool of yourself.

Find the right genre

It would be silly if you wrote only horror and went to a women’s lit writing conference or if you wrote only poetry and attended a mystery writers’ conference. Check out these conference lists and you are bound to find the right conference, in a good area (close to home), and for the right price.

Poets & Writers, conferences and residencies

NewPages.com, writing conferences

Association of Writers and Writing Programs, programs and conferences

Opening photo from Stacy Stenberg Jensen. Stacy is a writer and blogger in Colorado. Her new website goes live in September.

Lara Schiffbauer is a writer and blogger. Her first book, Finding Meara, is available on Amazon.

***

Have you attended any writers’ conferences? What advice would you add?

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Filed under Branding & Platform, Publishing, Social Networking

Quick Editorial Tips VII – For Poetry!

Nash

Nash

I have edited and proofread some poetry, both for clients and as a favor for friends. Poetry is tough to critique honestly!You don’t want to crush the muse, you don’t want to offend (as poetry is so personal), but you do want the writer to reach a little, experiment with words and sounds, show true emotion.

I have a poetry collection coming together – hopefully I will publish this year with the help of editor Shawn MacKenzie Shawn MacKenzie and my book designer Elizabeth H. Cottrell.

I’d like to share some of my critique notes on poetry I have edited and proofread. Perhaps a few of you can refer to these notes when you beta read my poetry collection! Or perhaps you have decided to write or edit your own poetry.

Struggle for rhyme

Don’t struggle – it will be evident. Try to make the rhyme flow. Rhymes don’t necessarily have to be the same letters like in “ease” and “please.” Rhymes can come from similar vowel sounds. For instance – try “verse” with “search.” Or “son” with “become.”

Echo…echo

Look at your collection – does it use a lot of the same old common words?

Reach for it! Pull out the thesaurus and open up your vocabulary. Don’t use familiar words over and over (people reading your collection will notice).

Thoreau

Thoreau

Tickle a funny bone

How many collections have you read where all the poetry is the same – sadness, depression, lost love, loneliness. It’s depressing to read, too.

Try a little humor! What makes you laugh? Try to tap into this laughter with a light-hearted piece or two.

Does this comma make me look fat?

A comma adds a pause and changes the cadence; it changes the way a reader reads the lines and the piece. Along those same lines…

…Try reading your own work out loud

I do this for clients and friends, and I also do it while reading a “finished” piece or my own. I often change things around a bit after I’ve heard it out loud.

Have a friend read it aloud to you. You can hear where the reader stumbles and pauses.

Change the sequence of words

Instead of “I lost my love,” try “the love I lost.”

Instead of “the worm squiggles and wriggles,” try “the squiggly-wriggly worm.”

Auden

Auden

Caps or no caps?

The use of caps at the beginning of a line or a sentence within a poem is a personal choice. Sometimes we don’t want to use any caps, nor do we want to use any punctuation. But consider it both ways.

Would the piece be enhanced with a few caps along the way?

Would it read better with some additional (or less) punctuation?

Left justified all?

Consider lay-out and indents. Are all your poems left justified?

Experiment! Put a few lines left justified then poke the fourth or fifth line into right justified or indented.

Haiku anyone?

Look at your poems. Do they all look like blood relatives? Are they all laid out the same way? Few lines and a break, few lines and a break…

Throw in some haiku or a long-paragraph prose piece. Study and employ alternative poetry forms.

What have others written?

Read others’ poetry. Search for your favorite poets online.

I’m inspired by Ogden Nash (what a hoot), Auden, Poe, Thoreau, Thomas.

Poe

Poe

Is there a theme?

Some of my poems have a theme, like the sea and waves or art and canvas.

Put a theme into a few of your pieces; use of similes and metaphors can make it more real to a reader.

Smell is the strongest sense

When someone talks about warm apple pie or the lilac scent drifting through the bedroom window…do you remember? Can you smell it?

Darn tootin’ you can!

Interject some smells into your poetry to get the reader more involved.

In your comment

Feel free to include links to your favorite poets, one of your own poems, or a poetry site you especially like.

LET’S HAVE SOME FUN!

I’ll start a poem, you add to it. Poem stanzas will be in ALL CAPS.

If you don’t want to add to the poem, no problem (try it, you might like it!). You can still comment!

Here goes…

I THINK MY BONES HAVE GONE WEAK AND BRITTLE,

THEY’RE NOT AS BENDY AS WHEN I WAS LITTLE,

All photos from Wikipedia.com.

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Filed under Editing & Proofreading, Prose & Poetry, Publishing, Quick Editing Tips