Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Literary Couples

by Donna K. Weaver

I don't always write romances, but I always have a romantic element in my books. Probably why it's never appealed to me to write Middle Grade.
But sometimes, literary couples don't work. It might be the intent of the author that they're a bad couple, but other times it's just that it doesn't work for me.

Couples I hate:

Andrew "Ender" Wiggins and Novinha
This is the one I hate the most. I absolutely loath this toxic relationship. Ender deserved so much better (from Speaker for the DeadXenocide, and Children of the Mind)
Catherine and Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights
Enough said.
Perrin and Faile in The Wheel of Time series. 
What can I say? This woman was so not good enough for him. I will concede that in the last book, she finally started improving but, seriously, I would not have grieved if she'd died (as so many beloved characters did).
Couples I like:

Jane and Rochester in Jane Eyre
Anne and Gilbert in Anne of Green Gables
Lucy and Nicholas in Moonrakers Bride

These are a few of mine. What are yours?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Banned Books Week and Other News

photo from http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/
It's Banned Books Week
If you don't know what this is, here's the wicki answer:

  1. Banned books are books to which free access is not permitted. The practice of banning books is a form of book censorship, and often has political, religious or moral motivations.
We read/love them anyway. 
There are many books that have been challenged, Harry Potter,The Giver, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Girl, James and the Giant Peach, A Light in the Attic, even Charlotte's Web. Here's a list of banned books, pulled from the American Library Association's website.
 How many of them have you read? Tell us in the comments below.

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son, by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
38. All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
48. Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
53. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
55. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
57. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron
64. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
66. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
73. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence
80. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
84. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
88. An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
97. Rabbit, Run, by John Updike 

In the Other News section, Save the Date! 
Our next writing Retreat in Heber, Utah will be on March 26-29th Classes focusing on Marketing you and your book. Come join us for classes, friends, writing and great atmosphere! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Anthology Call for Submissions

"Hidden Identities" 
Contemporary Romance 
Anthology Project!

Although this is not sponsored by iWriteNetwork, you are the first people we thought of to invite! 

Here are the deets:
• Genre: Contemporary Romance (Sorry, no YA and it has to be clean)
• Theme: Hidden Identity (of a main character)
• Size: 10,000-15,000 words
• Purpose: Getting your name out there. If the anthology makes a little money, it will be used first for advertising to spread the contributors' names through ebook-dom. Beyond that, the proceeds will be returned to the contributors to defray their cost for producing the novelette they submitted.
• Scope of Project: Novelettes will be included in the anthology for 3 years from publication date. After 90 days of the anthology's publication date, novelettes can be published by the contributing authors in other mediums.
• Submitted works must be original and not already published in some form somewhere.

How do you get involved?
Letter of Interest: Send an email to 2anthologies@gmail.com that includes your synopsis and first page, embedded in the email.

Time Frame 
• Story synopsis and 1st page are due October 1, 2014
• Submissions accepted will be notified by October 15, 2014
• Full drafts due for critique on January 15, 2015
• Return all critiques to contributing authors by February 1, 2015
• Complete revisions and edits on your story from the critiques returned to you on Feb. 1st, too
• Have (you pay for) a professional line-edit completed on your story by February 28, 2015
• Submit author bio and back cover blurb for your story with your finished story on Feb. 28, 2015

• Meet deadlines
• $20.00 upfront for marketing, This will be paid back as funds become available from book sales.
• Critique all works accepted for publication, and you will receive critiques from all authors for your submission, too!
• Submit your story to critiquers and for final submission in Word doc or docx using 1" margins, 12pt Times New Roman font.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It's vs. Its

We all know that an apostrophe creates a possessive, right? In other words, Mandy possesses a dog, so it would be known as Mandy's dog.

But there is a time when this is not the case, and it trips up a lot of authors until they memorize the rule.

That is the curious case of "its" vs. "it's."

"It's" is never, ever a possessive.

Take a look at this sentence:  The dog licked it's bowl.

This is incorrect. The dog has a bowl, yes. But "it's" is not a possessive.

So, what is it, then?

"It's" is a contraction, just like "let's" and "wasn't" and "shouldn't." It's the joining together of the words "it" and "is."

Correct:  Mandy's dog licked its bowl. It's such a cute little dog.

My next few blog posts will be about punctuation. As a line editor, I spent most of my time correcting punctuation, so I know it's an area that is helpful to address. So stay tuned for that.  :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Formatting for Dummies

You may or may not know this, but after your book is written and edited, you still need it to be formatted. 

Formatting puts your book into the right form to be printed and/or made into an eBook.

Formatting for printing is very different from formatting for an eBook.

So, how do you do it? Let us count the ways-be aware however, that formatting has the potential to drive you mad...at least at first-but, it's a common thing here in authorland.

1.  You can take classes at a conference like IndieReconLive.com to learn how to do it yourself. Only $40 dollars right now to register for 2 days of classes. Oct. 10-11th-just around the corner.

2.  Buy a book, like P.O.D Like a Pro, (print formatting only) by Heather Justesen. This is an awesome reference and it's inexpensive.

3.  Use a product like Scrivener (this does both print and eBook formatting). There is a learning curve, but once you’ve got it down, it’s pretty darn slick.

4.  Maybe you have an experienced friend who can walk you through it-this will need to be a very good friend. 


5.  HIRE it out. There are tons of people who can do it for you to save you time for the thing that is most important-your writing. Just ask a friend who is an author for a name.

Keep in mind that some formatters only format for eBooks, others just for print, while still others do both. It's usually most economical to have someone do both for you. Average cost for someone to do both? $120-140

I do my own print formatting and hire out my eBook formatting. To give you an idea of cost, I pay $35. This gives me a Smashwords ready file, a .mobi (for Amazon) and a .epub file (for Nook and all others). Make sure the formatter guarantees his/her work.

If you are paying someone, make sure you get on their schedule as soon as you can.  And, if you are going to learn from a book, another person, or a class, give yourself plenty of time to learn. Each time you do it, it gets easier and you will get faster. Don’t give up on yourself.  Above all, be patient with yourself.

What about you? 
Have you ever formatted for yourself? Do you hire it out?  
Or, if you're new to this self-publishing world, are you going to try it out for yourself or are you going to hire it out?