March is a busy month.

Mar 14 2017, 2:38 pm in , , ,

As I mentioned in a previous post, it’s National Women’s History Month.

Spring break for a lot of schools. Here in Florida we’re bracing for the influx of sun and fun lovers and those escaping winter storm Stella.  

There’s March madness. If you’re not into college basketball you probably know nothing about that.  If you are into college B ball no need to say more.

The Feast of St Joseph is March 19th.   Big day for Italians.

March 17th is St Patrick’s day. The Irish in the US celebrate BIG time.

We lived in Kansas City and there was a huge parade and other activities that may or may not have included adult beverages. A very Irish friend had an uncle visiting from the ‘old country’ and that was the first time I realized the day wasn’t celebrated (at that time early 80s) all that much in Ireland. The man was quite taken aback with the celebration. He was recounting all he’d seen when he paused, looked at us all serious and said, “And that green beer.” He shook his head. “They’ll be peeing green for a month I know.”

My characters from Under Fire: The Admiral, Gemma and Ben, shared an experience they had a few months ago while visiting Ireland.     

They were in the Irish countryside on a very dark, stormy night–really it was–in the middle of nowhere. They’d stopped at a local pub for dinner and were enjoying the food, pints, and conversation when the pub door slammed open. A soaking wet, obviously upset young man stood in the doorway. He rushed in babbling about a horrible experience.

He was settled into a chair and given a pint. The beer was half-gone before he could string words into sentences and answer the many questions. The young man explained he was backpacking through Ireland and on a deserted road with rain pelting down so hard he could hardly see a few feet ahead. Finally, a car came slowly towards him and stopped. Desperate for shelter and thinking he was being offered a ride, he got in and closed the door only to realize there was nobody behind the wheel. Even though the engine wasn’t on, the car once again started moving. Ireland’s many ghost stories rumbled through his brain and fear paralyzed him. That is until he looked at the road ahead and saw a curve looming. Gathering courage, he prepared to jump. Then, through the driver’s window, a ghostly hand appeared out of gloom. In terror, he watched as the hand turned the wheel, guiding the car around the curve.

The lights of the pub appeared and gathering strength, he jumped out of the car and ran for it.

A silence enveloped the pub when everybody realized he was crying.  

Once again the door slammed open, startling everyone, and two men walked in from the dark and stormy night. They too were soaked and out of breath. Looking around, and seeing the young man sobbing at the bar, one said to the other…

“Look ….there’s that fookin idiot that got in the car while we were pushing it!”

 

March is National Women’s Month.

Mar 6 2017, 9:19 am in ,

As a  writer I’m asking you to take some time and talk to the women in your family to get the other half of the story. Other half of the story? Yes. World events, disasters, family triumphs and celebrations told from their point of view.  And write it down. The vast majority of historical events is written with a male perspective. Hearing a woman’s point of view can be enlightening.  Where they were, what they thought when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. Who in your family remembers rationing during WWII?  Ask how difficult it was during that time to go months without letters from a loved one. Find out what it was like to have a family member in Vietnam and, for the first time in history, see the war every evening on the news. What they remember about Jackie Kennedy. Their first car. Boyfriend. The time they met Elvis. The real reason Aunt Gertrude left town. How Uncle Johnny got all his money. Have you ever spoken to your mom about the day you were born?  Do you know the black sheep of your families?  How did the women in your family meet the love of their life? What they thought when they did. I asked this question at a ladies gathering. One gal shared how she met the love of her life and then told us how she met her husband. Do you want your children to know how you met their father?

My Aunt was going to reveal a huge—her word—family secret to me. We’d set up a time for me to go over and hear this secret. She died before she could tell me. I’m left with a bazillion questions and a great deal of regret. Don’t have this happen to you. Transfer your family stories to words on the page so they will never be lost.

There is a perfectly wonderful National Women’s History Museum web site to learn more about women of this country and inspire you. I particularly like the online exhibits page.  

I write about strong female characters. Women at the top of their fields. On the left in the scrollin bar you can see the courageous women who have inspired me.  

Win Books and A Kindle Fire

Feb 27 2017, 9:30 am

Hello everyone.

I have a fun surprise. You can win my novel Under Fire: The Admiral, plus all these books from other fantastic romance authors.

 

Someone will win this huge collection of seasoned romances, that is, romances featuring characters over forty, PLUS a Kindle Fire!  Will it be you?

Enter the giveaway by clicking here

Good luck, and enjoy!

                                         Rita

Authors and Creativity.

Feb 19 2017, 1:15 pm

Lately, in writers groups, there has been some discussion about keeping the joy in our writing. There are a bazillion answers as to how this can be accomplished. I think one is by indulging our other creative talents.  Yeaph. OTHER creative talents. Authors are very creative people. Think about all the other talents you have and how those creative outlets can nourish your writing. 

Here are a few.

Sewing. BTW I hear it’s coming back as a thing.

Knitting and crocheting.

Setting a proper table is now considered an art. You’ll notice there is no place for a cell phone.

Family wrangling. You parents know all about that.

Cooking. Look at all the TV cooking shows.

Painting as in, on a canvas and the walls. 

Carpentry.

Sketching.

Coloring.

Gardening.

Decorating.

Giving Parties.

Yeah. I hear you asking what these creative endeavors have to do with writing.  When you begin writing a new book you write a synopsis. Make a plan. Develop a structure or a pattern.  Look at the talents I mentioned above. How many need a plan, a pattern?

When sketching a face you start with the basic features everyone has, head shape, jaw, ears, nose eyes. But, it is how we shape those features that makes the face unique. Take sewing a dress. You begin with a pattern. Each one has an opening for the head and sleeves, but think of the creative possibilities in achieving the finished product. Same with a book. Plot, setting, characters, conflict, goals motivation, and so on. 

When you begin to write every word inside you doesn’t rush out like a water fall onto the page at once. It’s like knitting and crocheting. One stitch/word at a time culminating in this great design/book.

I believe spending a few hours, minutes, a week with your other talents can help feed the writing beast. As for me, I’m sketching again. Drawing my characters. Although I have to admit I sometimes use the Flash Face app to get the basics. I color in the big girl books. I click the knitting needles and crochet with basic stitches.

Garden.
My chain saw skill is getting better. A new design, other than out of control jungle, is emerging in the back yard. New skeeter repellant recipes are being tested and I write.   

What are your other creative talents? Take one of yours and examine it for similarities with writing.

Do you think enjoying all your creative venues can help keep the joy in your writing?

What are yours?

Lighthouses and Life Saving.

Feb 10 2017, 12:23 pm

I associate lighthouses with the Coast Guard because before automation the Coasties maintained the lights. I associate the Coast Guard with protecting our shores and water rescues. After the Civil War the public demanded the government do something about the loss of lives and property at sea and the precursor to our modern Coast Guard was born, the US Revenue Cutter Service.  Today the Coast Guard has cutting edge equipment, fast boats, helicopters, highly trained and dedicated men and women with grit and courage. Lifesaving rescues are made weekly.  

Travel back to the late 1800s when the service first operated.  In 1897, eight whaling ships were trapped in Arctic ice surrounding Point Barrow, the northernmost point of Alaska. With a dwindling food supply, the whalers had little chance of surviving.

The Bear, a cutter commanded by Captain Francis Tuttle, sailed from Port Townsend, Washington. It was too late in the year for the cutter to push through the ice, so it was decided a rescue must go overland. The rescue party led by Lieutenant Jarvis traveled the distance to Point Barrow overland from Cape Vancouver, roughly 1,500 miles. They traveled on snowshoes and skis and carried the provisions using sleds pulled by dogs and reindeer. 1,500 miles with temperatures below zero! No down coats, hand and feet warmers, super-duper tents camping heaters and stoves. They saved the lives of 265 whalers. Now that’s courage and dedication.  

The rescue team.

 

In 1880 the service appointed Captain Richard Etheridge, a Union Army veteran, as the keeper of the Pea Island Life-Saving Station in North Carolina. This station is a few miles north of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse. Soon after Etheridge’s appointment, the station burned down. Determined to execute his duties Etheridge supervised the construction of a new station. He also drilled his crews in rigorously enabling them to tackle all lifesaving tasks. His station earned the reputation of “one of the tautest on the Carolina Coast,” with its keeper well-known as one of the most courageous and ingenious lifesavers in the Service.

On October 11, 1896, Etheridge’s rigorous training drills proved to be invaluable. A three-masted schooner, caught in a terrific storm was blown a 100 miles south off course and grounded two miles south of the Pea Island station. The storm was so severe that normal beach patrols were suspended and it was by chance one of the station crew saw the ships distress flare.

Etheridge and his crew hitched mules to the beach cart and hurried toward the vessel. They found the ship’s captain and eight others clinging to the wreckage. Unable to fire a rescue line because of high water Etheridge directed two surfmen to tie themselves together with a line. Grasping another rope, the pair moved into the breakers while the remaining surfmen secured the shore end. The men reached the wreck, tied the line around one of the crewmen, and all three were pulled back through the surf by the crew on the beach. They did this until the all nine were safely on shore. Can you imagine going into what had to be a hurricane surf with nothing but a rope for safety? What incredible courage. It also makes me very glad that the Coasties of today are better equipped so they can go home safely to their families every day.

The Pea Island Crew.

 

Here are a few of the rescues made in the last week bu our Coasties .

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. The Coast Guard rescued three fishermen Tuesday after the fishing vessel they were on caught fire 1 mile east of St. Catherine’s Island, Georgia.

02/06 SAVANNAH, Ga. — The Coast Guard rescued two teenagers and their dog Monday after their canoe became stuck in a marsh on Wilmington Island.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of a Coast Guard HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod rescued an Austrian boater Sunday from a life raft in the Atlantic Ocean.

NEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard medevaced a 76-year-old male aboard the cruise ship Norwegian Dawn approximately 10 nautical miles south of Southwest Pass,

WARRENTON, Ore. – The Coast Guard rescued three commercial fishermen after their vessel began taking on water at the mouth of the Columbia River early Sunday morning. MIAMI – Coast Guard rescued seven people Wednesday from a 180-foot motor vessel taking on water about 46 miles west of Great Inagua, Bahamas. At 5:20 a.m.

 

Thank you United States Coast Guard for the lives you’ve saved and all you do.   

 

 

 

Lighthouses in Winter

Feb 5 2017, 11:36 am

Just going to leave it here for you to see these lights and think about the men and women who, a hundred years ago, walked the stairs and lit the oil for the lights to protect others.

                                                              Beaver Island Light MI. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                    The Light at White Harbor Maine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nantucket MA. 

 

                                                             Grand Haven MI.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                        Point Betsie MI.

 

                                                                                                             Marblehead Light MA.

 

 

 

 

 

Burlington VT breakwater light. 

 

Thank you to all the courageous light keepers.

A Chinese New Year Story

Jan 27 2017, 11:58 am in ,

Many year ago, in a galaxy far, far away we lived in Hawaii. My husband was station there with the Marine Corps. On the Chinese New Year we took our children, ages six, four, two and seven months, to Honolulu’s Chinatown festivities. It was all very exciting. Lanterns hung everywhere, firecrackers exploding, the paper dragon snaking through the streets. The children were mesmerized.

My husband caught sight of two Marines who worked for him and who frequently found themselves in scrapes. Being big daddy marine went to caution them to stay out of trouble. I stayed back with the children. A few feet from us, one of those ten foot long strips of firecrackers was lit. The children and I were enveloped in a thick smoke with bits of paper flying everywhere. I maneuvered the stroller with the two youngest against the wall and did my best to wrangle the two older children behind me for protection.

A young Chinese woman came to the door a couple of feet away and shouted to me to come in. I went. She helped me hoist the stroller up the steps and inside to an elaborately decorated room. I thanked her profusely and we stood just inside waiting for the smoke to clear. Soon five or six young women appeared with Chinese sweets for the children who snarfed them down. All the ladies were gushing over my beautiful children.

I see my husband standing on the sidewalk frantically looking for us and called out to him. He turned and through the smoke he looks in at me with the most god awful look on his face.

One of the ladies motions for him to come in. He stood frozen, staring at me. The lady who had invited us inside called to him to come in and have a beer. That did it! He came in and in seconds he’s offered a beer, which he took without a word and I might say still starting at me.

“What?” I asked him.

He took a big swallow, leans to me and says, “This is a whore house.”

I looked around and realized he is right. All I could do was smile up at him and shrug. He sighed, shook his head and gave me his patient smile. Finally he wrapped a long arm around me, pulled me close and graciously thanked the lady for the beer.

A sound at the door caused us to turn. There in the doorway were the two Marines my husband had caution to stay out of trouble. The look on their face when they saw him with his family inside was priceless. Recovering, they ducked their heads and silently disappeared back into the smoke and chaos on the sidewalk.

I would love to know what the young men told their fellow Marines the next day about going to a Chinese whore house and finding him and his family inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Send The Winter Blahs Packing With A Home Spa Day

Jan 16 2017, 11:36 am in

A day at the spa can be expensive. You can create a much less expensive day of relaxation at home.   

 Items Needed:

Two hours with no one home. (You CAN do it. You deserve this.)

Device to listen to soothing music.

Book or magazine.

Plain oatmeal.

Paper towels.

Witch hazel.

Lavender bath salts, or lavender or rosemary sprigs.

Favorite body oil or cream.

Lawn chair.

Lots of towels.

Robe.

Space heater if you have one.

 Set up

Mix oatmeal with warm water making a paste and set in bathroom

Turn on music.

Turn space heater to high and close bathroom door. If you can lock it!

Fill tub with hot water. Put in lavender or rosemary.

While tub is filling set up lawn chair and cover with towels.

Bathroom should be getting toasty by now.

Get nekked and soak in tub until water begins to cool.

Climb out and slather body with oil or favorite lotion. Drain tub.

Wrap in a couple of towels or heavy robe.

Cover face and neck with oatmeal paste.

Sit in the chair, prop your feet on the edge of the tub and chill. Listen to calming music or read for 30 to 45 minutes.

Use damp paper towels to remove oatmeal.

Take a long hot shower until the water runs cold.

Use witch hazel on your face (toner).

Re-oil or lotion your body.

Turn heater off.

You should feel like a cooked noodle. Limp and relaxed, ready to get back to writing, reading and dealing.

Enjoy.

ON WRITING

Jan 12 2017, 9:17 am in , , ,

 People ask, “how do I get published?” Simple answer, write a good book. Okay, how do you write a good book? Definitely not a simple answer. First, I believe you must be a good storyteller. Ask any author how long they’ve been writing. Most will tell you since they were children. We wrote our stories down, acted them out in plays, created picture books, or told them to our families every chance we got.

So, you’ve established you’re a good storyteller, now what? Presenting that good story in a manuscript takes some doing.  Would you be surprised to learn books follow a story structure? There are rules to follow?  Some will say following those rules takes the creativity away. I say… well, let’s say I don’t agree. 

Story structure is vital. In many ways writing a good book is like building a house. With blueprints you build a house. The basics: a foundation, walls, roof and some way to get in an out are a given. Then you get creative. You decide if the design is colonial or modern, where you put the windows, what color paint is your choice.

With a book there are basics also. You set up the story, how the story turns and how the characters resolve the issues. You decide the story goal, motivation, and conflict. That is, what do the characters want?  Why do they want this?  What is going to get in their way of reaching their goal? Where you set your story, this world or another, in the Scottish highlands, Las Vegas or the inner offices of a metro police station you need those things. If you heroine is tall, short. A blonde or redhead, a cop or a milkmaid, your choice. Be creative. That is the story telling part.  

I do not assume to tell you how to write or how to reach your publishing dream. This is your career you have to figure out the best way for you. What I can do is share what I’ve found to be helpful on my writing journey and hopefully will help you. Do the work, research and do more research. Research is a double edged sword. It provides you with a wealth of information about your career.  It also requires a lot of time. Time taken away from your writing.  In an attempt to reduce the time for you I’m posting links to instructors, blogs and web pages I find helpful.  You will discover excellent and free information on the pages I suggest.

 

     Enjoy.

 

FOR BEGINNING AUTHORS

BEYOND THE BASICS

Mary Buckham’s web page, newsletter, online classes and lecture packets. 

 http://www.marybuckham.com/

Margie Lawson’s web page, newsletter, online classes, workshops and lecture packets. 

http://www.margielawson.com/

Bob Mayer’s web page, newsletter, online classes, workshops. 

http://www.bobmayer.org/

 

BLOGS

For Writers By Writers

Ruby Slippered Sisterhood. The 2009 Golden Heart® Finalists of which I am a member. We are multi-published in print and e-book from traditional published to Indi published. We write in all genres. We talk about all aspects of writing and are willing to answer your questions or find someone who can.

Story Fix by Larry Brooks.  Clear concise novel writing and story structure tips 

http://storyfix.com/

Bob Mayer ~ All things writing.

http://www.bobmayer.org/

Writers Unboxed about the craft and business of genre fiction.

http://writerunboxed.com/

J A Konrath

http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/

Dean Wesley Smith on writing and publishing

http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/

James Scott Bell ~ For Writers 

http://www.jamesscottbell.com/styled-7/index.html

 

BOOKS

GMC ~ Deb Dixon

Goal Motivation and Conflict

Hooked ~ Les Edgerton.

Writing a book that grabs readers at page one and never lets go.

Writing the Breakout Novel and The Fire in Fiction ~ Donald Maass.

Insider advice. Purpose and techniques to make your novel great.  

Who Dares Win ~ Bob Mayer

A plan to build self confidence

Stephen King On Writing

Stephen King on the craft

Any and all of James Scott Bell’s books on writing.

 

 

Publishing Industry Terms

Jan 5 2017, 9:00 am

Sometimes authors and those in publishing rattle off industry terms and acronyms forgetting not everyone knows what they mean. So I’ve listed a few. I’m sure I’ve left out some. Feel free to add, or ask about those not included in the comments.   

TYPES OF FICTION

Commercial Fiction- Fiction written in ‘plain’ language that focuses on plot and content rather than prose.  Commercial fiction, also called mainstream fiction, focuses on plot and character development and has a narrative structure.

Dystopian Fiction – Dystopian is the opposite of Utopia.  Dystopian Fiction focuses on a world that is completely different from what one would consider to be an ideal world.  It features a futuristic projection of a world (usually a government) that perceives itself as or is striving toward being a utopia, and the book/series is frequently about the unraveling of either that world view or the government itself.

Genre Fiction- A genre is a label that describes a particular kind of story.  Within commercial fiction, genres break the books down into smaller categories such as Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, and so on. Within a genre there are often sub-genres, or even narrower categories. For example, the Romance genre has sub-genres such as Paranormal Romance or Historical Romance.

Literary Fiction –Literary Fiction is considered to have ‘literary merit’ as opposed to wide commercial appeal.  Generally focused more on the writing style or ideology than the content.  Often the prose is admired for its lyrical quality.

Romantic Fiction – A type of genre fiction. A book that has a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.

Steampunk – A genre that originated during the 1980s and early 1990s and incorporates elements of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, horror, and speculative fiction. It involves a setting where steam power is widely used—whether in an alternative history such as Victorian era in Britain or the US Wild West, or in a post-apocalyptic time —that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy

 Women’s fiction- A commercial novel about a woman on the brink of life change and personal growth. Her journey details emotional reflection and action that transforms her and her relationships with others, and includes a hopeful/upbeat ending with regard to her romantic relationship.

Young Adult—Novels geared toward young adult readers.

New Adult—Aimed at readers in their early 20s

ACRONYMS

 ARC Advance Reader Copy dispersed by publishers and authors before the book is actually released

BCB – Back Cover Blurb

BIC- Butt In Chair

BICHOK — Butt In Chair Hands On Keyboard

GMC —Goal, Motivation, Conflict

HEA – Happily Ever After

H&H — Hero and Heroine

IMO – In my opinion

ISBN – International Standard Book Number

ITA – I totally agree

MS – Manuscript

NA – New Adult

POD – Print on Demand

POV – Point of View

ROTFL – Roll on the floor laughing

ROTFLMAO – Roll on the floor laughing my a** off

RTF – Rich text format

RWA – Romance Writers of America

TSTL – Too Stupid to Live

w/a –  Writing as

WIP – Work in Progress

YA- Young adult

PUBLISHING TERMS 

Anthology- A book or other collection of selected writings by various authors, in the same literary form, of the same period, or on the same subject. It can be a collection of selected writing by a single author.

Advance – Money the publisher pays when buying a book is an advance against royalties.

Auction-A literary agent sees there is more than one book publisher or editor interested in a book project, the agent holds an auction inviting publishers to bid on the book. A publisher may make pre-emptive persuading the agent to take the project out of auction

Backstory- Anything that happens before page one of the book.

Backlist- A list of older books that are still available from a publisher.

Black Moment – When it appears all is lost and the H&H will never get together.

Boiler Plate – A standard form contract

Blurb- A couple of paragraphs on the back cover that entice a reader to buy the book.

Character Arc – The internal journey a character take throughout the story.

Conflict- Everything that keeps the H&H from getting what they want 

  • External conflict – external events that get in a characters way of meeting the story goal
  • Internal conflict – Issues coming from within the character that prevent them from being emotionally complete

Copy Editor – Edits for typos, grammar, and consistency.

Copyright -A publisher is granted rights to publish, but it’s the author who holds copyright.

Critique – Read another’s manuscript and offer advice on grammar, punctuation, spelling, story structure

Dialogue – Discussion between characters used to move the story forward, reveal the past, develop character, illuminate theme, or define tone.

Dialogue Tag – Tells the reader who is speaking and how the speaker is saying it.

Digital Device- Anyone of a number of devices with a screen to read an electronic book. Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Sony have products allowing you to store books, magazines, newspapers, listen to music and audio books. Many smart phones can do the same.  

e-book – A book available to read on a digital device.

Full Manuscript request – Agent/Editor will ask to read a completed, edited and polished manuscript.   

Galley – Is the manuscript after it has been typeset.

Genre Fiction– Romance, mysteries, science fiction, Westerns, horror, and thriller novels written to entertain.

Goal – What your characters want to achieve in the story.

Head Hopping – Frequently switching POV from one character to another in a scene.

High Concept –A story that has a different twist, is universal, has an intense emotional pull and can be explained in a few words.

Hook – An unexpected end of a scene and chapter designed to keep the reader turning pages.

Inciting Incident- sets your story in motion once your foundation is solid. Is a life-altering event for the protagonists. It forces the protagonist to choose between their old world and an opportunity that will change them.

Indi Publishing or Self-publishing- The publication of any book or other media by the author of the work, without the involvement of an established third-party publisher. The author is responsible and in control of entire process including design (cover/interior), formats, price, distribution, marketing & PR.

Info Dump- A large chunk of narrative giving backstory information that slows the forward motion of the plot. 

Literary Agent- A publishing professional working with/for an author to sell books to a publishing house.

Literary Novel –Book written with a goal to enlighten

Manuscript – An unpublished book

Mass-Market Paperback– Mass-market books are designed to fit into the racks set near the checkout counter at supermarkets, drugstores, hospital gift shops and airport newsstands. They are priced affordably so they can be bought on impulse.

Mid-list Author- Authors who consistently publish good but not bestselling books.

Motivation – Why a protagonist wants something.     

Novel- A work of fictional narrative prose in the romance genre of at least 40,000 words as determined by computer word count.

Novella– A work of fiction of 20,000–40,000 words as determined by computer word.

Pacing – Speed of forward motion of the story.

Pantser- An author who does not plan/plot a story. 

Partial Manuscript request-An agent or editor, based on a query letter or pitch will request to see the first three chapters or fifty pages of the manuscript.

Pitch- Authors speaking with an editor/agent about the main characters and plot of their book. Elevator pitch is telling the story in a couple of sentences.

Plotter- An author who plans and plots an entire story and writes according to this plan.   

Plot points – Key scenes to the story line that add complications to the initial goal set by the protagonist.

Plot point one the moment something enters the story in a manner that affects the protagonist’s status, plans and beliefs, forcing them to take action in response, and from that point forward everything changes for them. This event occurs in the 20 to 25 percentile of the story.

 Plot point two – the final point where new information may enter the story.  Where the protagonist receives everything they need to bring the story to an end. This occurs around the 75 percentile of the story.

Point Of View –Which character is sharing internal thoughts are being shared and what tense is being used to tell the story.

Proposal- Sent to and editor by a published author to pitch a new book.  A big name author may receive a contract for a concept. Most will send a description of the proposed book, including an outline or sample chapters.

Protagonist – A story’s principal character, who changes and grows the most in the story, the one with whom the reader identifies with the most

Query letter – A professional one page email sent to an agent or editor showing who, what, and why the story is unique to hook them into reading the full manuscript.

Ragged Lay Down No this is not a description of a steamy sex scene — it’s a description of the way a book is released for sale to the public. It means that the book will be available before its actual publication date. This is a huge issue for big name authors, because to get on the New York Times or USA Today best-seller lists, you want most of your sales to come in a two-week period. So having books sell before the actual publication date, is not a good thing.

Royalty – A percentage paid on sale of each book, most often based on the books cover price, and generally paid quarterly.  Some publishers have semi-annual payments.

Scene – A unit of story structure

Small Press –A term often used to describe publishers with annual sales below a certain level. Commonly, in the United States, this is set at $50 million, after returns and discounts. Small presses are also defined as those that publish an average of fewer than 10 titles per year, though there are a few who manage to do more.

Synopsis – A short overview of the main story plot points.  What the characters want, why they want it and what’s keeping them from getting it. (GMC)

Slush Pile – To be read manuscripts on an editor’s desk. Generally unsolicited, unagented, manuscripts.  

Tag-As in Amazon tags. A tag is a keyword or category label. Tags can both help you find items on the Amazon site and provide an easy way for you to “remember” and classify items for later recall. You can add up to 15 tags per item.

Tagline – A sentence that tells your story. The fewer words the better.  

Tense – The authors chooses to tell the story.

  • First person
  • Second person
  • Third person
  • Deep third person
  • Editorial omnipotent
  • Limited omniscient

Three Act Story Structure-Simplified definition.

  • lified Act 1—Setup
  • Act 2—Confrontation and response
  • Act 3—Resolution

Trade Paperback– Are generally printed on more expensive paper and with sturdier binding. Are higher in price and often (not always) printed in smaller numbers trade paperbacks are sold in bookstores (“to the trade”) and are shelved with their spines facing out.

Troll- For our purpose not the critters who live under a bridge. Troll and its associated verb trolling are associated with Internet discourse. Trolls post inflammatory, messages in an online community, such as a forum, review, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking an emotional response.

Universal theme – Touches something primal in all of us and pulls us deeply into a story.

Unsolicited Manuscript – A complete manuscript sent to an agent or editor without a request.  

Voice – How an emotional connection is made with the reader. Showing the reader life thorough the authors eyes

 STORY WORD COUNT

NOVEL                   OVER 40,000 words

NOVELLA             17,500-40,000 words

NOVELETTE        7,500-17,500 words

SHORT STORY    under 7,500 words

MAJOR PUBLISHING HOUSES

Simon & Schuster (a subsidiary of CBS Corporation)

HarperCollins (a subsidiary of NewsCorp)

Penguin Random House (a subsidiary of Bertelsmann and Pearson)

Hachette Livre.

Harlequin TORSTAR

 

 

 

 

 

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