Monday, October 29, 2012
Monday, October 22, 2012
I ran into this problem while editing Why My Love Life Sucks: The Legend of Gilbert the Fixer (book one). It's lucky that I noticed it, because it's not the kind of thing spell check picks up.
As a visual learner, I realized the best way to remember which one to use is with a drawing.
Peek has two Es, which are like two eyes peeking. If you can see the eyes peeking, you've spelled it right.
Peak, when spelled with a capital A, has a peak in the middle, like a mountain peak. Remember that the A in peak is a mountain peak, and you'll get that one right too.
Pique has a Q in it, and a lowercase q looks like a monocle. Think of someone wearing a monocle whose curiosity has been piqued. If it helps, think of the i in pique as an upside down question mark asking, "What is that? It piques my curiosity."
peek, peAk and pique: now you can tell which one to use when.
I hope this helps you too.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
I often feel that if I have time to write and edit something, I should spend it writing and editing my next novel. Even as I'm writing this, I can hear Why My Love Life Sucks: The Legend of Gilbert the Fixer (book one) laying a heavy guilt trip on me, and it's not because I kill the main character off in the first few pages. It's because I really, really need to finish editing it, so people can finally read it. "So why," the story asks, "are you working on this blog post instead?"
But guilt trips aren't the only things keeping me from blogging. Sometimes I wonder if I have anything to say in a blog post, if anyone wants to hear it, and if blogging is really worth the time and effort. I know some bloggers have huge egos and think people will be fascinated by everything they do and think. I'm not one of those bloggers.
Perhaps you have similar issues.
Then I met Roxanne Porter, who told me every writer should have a blog. I asked her my favorite question: "Why?"
Below you'll find her response. Thanks, Roxanne, for giving me a little food for thought.
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
in the Wizard of Oz...
“Ding, Dong, the Witch Is Dead.”
Friday, September 07, 2012
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Thursday, August 09, 2012
I'm going to be sending out flyers for my funny, middle-grade novel, Dan Quixote: Boy of Nuevo Jersey to schools, and at the bottom of the flyer, I want to offer an option of Skype or local in-person classroom visits. Dan Quixote deals with the power of friendship and self-esteem to overcome peer pressure and bullying, so I want to offer a program focused on that.
This is the idea I have for the class. Each student will be given two pieces of paper.
I will start by talking about being a geek and what it means to me. I think geeks are people who are passionate about something to the point where they don't care what other people think. I'm a geek about books, Doctor Who, The Princess Bride, technology, Eureka, Mythbusters, and lots of other things. I just love them all so much. I love books so much that I have a huge library in my apartment with probably around a thousand books. I love The Princess Bride so much that I can quote about half the movie. Some people are geeks about the TV show Glee, which makes them Gleeks. Some people are geeks about Star Trek, which makes them Trekkers. There are also theater geeks, band geeks, rock-climbing geeks, and people who are geeky about pretty much anything you can imagine.
At the top of the first piece of paper, each student should write down something they're geeky about. I would point out that I think being a geek is a good thing, and I feel sorry for anyone who either hasn't found something they love that much or is too afraid to admit what they're geeky about. When they're done writing, I would explain that, in the book, the class queen bee bullies Dan for being a geek. On the same piece of paper, I want them to write three things a bully like the class queen bee might say to make you feel bad about the one thing you're most passionate about.
|Illustration from Dan Quixote: Boy of Nuevo Jersey--|
Sandy discovers Dan's beloved notebook after queen bee Jade trashes it
When the kids are done with that, all of those pieces of paper will be folded and put into a box. The students would then randomly pick out one of those pieces of paper.
I'll then say, "In my novel, Dan realizes that being a geek is a good thing, and Sandy steps in to show her support. She stands up for him. On the second piece of paper, I want you to pretend you're either Dan or Sandy, and I want you to write five things in response to the bully, focusing only on why it's good to be geeky about that one thing, not about the bully or the bullying. Just keep it positive. Pretend you're standing up for something you or your friend loves."
I would then ask each of the students to read out their five responses.
In the end, I would ask students how it feels to read the things they wrote and how it feels to hear these things. I would ask them to carry that feeling with them. Each one of them can be Dan or Sandy. They just have to believe in their own passions and support their friends' right to love the things they're passionate about. We're all geeks in some way, and that's a great thing, because passionate people make a difference in the world.
So what do you think? Does it sound like a good author visit and could it help combat bullying by building self-esteem?
Thursday, July 12, 2012
ComicCon is the big one: the biggest of of the various conventions for fans of much more than comic books. You'll find everything to make the geek inside of you happy--from blockbuster movies and awesome video games to, yes, awesome books for kids and teens.
It's been a dream of mine for quite some time to attend ComicCon in San Diego, and I've always been interested in what goes on behind the scenes. How are the panelists chosen? What goes into setting up a stall to sell your books at one? How much does it cost, and is it worth it?
Recently, I got to know Robert Collins, who has attended many smaller cons in various capacities as a science-fiction writer and indie publisher, and he agreed to answer my questions. Here is his guest post.
If you write science fiction, fantasy, or horror, you probably know about “Science Fiction Conventions,” or “Cons.”
Throughout the 1980s I went to cons, as a fan. I met people, I bought stuff, and occasionally I got things signed by famous actors. I aspired to be a writer, and dreamed about the day I’d be a con guest.
About five years ago I went to my first con as a guest. I was a published author, looking to promote my shiny new SF novel. For my first con as a guest, I ended up on several panels, and was designated the moderator of all of them. Somehow I survived.
I’ve been to several more since then. Cons offer opportunities for authors to promote their books, and they're a great way to meet fellow fans and authors. What I’ve learned is that, when it comes to plugging your books, you have two choices. You can be a program participant or a vendor. For the first, you’d be one of the guests and attend panels. For the other, you’d buy a table and sell your books.
Being a program participant means you’ll ask to take part in panels and readings. Start by going to the con website and contact the programming person. Contact them well in advance of the con, and include a link to a website where they can see what you write. Mention topics that might interest you, like the sub-genres you write in, related genre interests (gaming, TV shows, etc.), and aspects of publishing that you know fairly well.
Taking part in panels is fun. But you might not sell very many books that way. Panels don’t always attract the most con-goers. I’ve done at least one panel where the only ones in the room were me and the other panelist. Sometimes attendees are going from panel to panel, and don’t have time to buy your book, much less hear your sales pitch.
On the other hand, you’ll get opportunities to meet other authors, as well as editors and publishers. Being on a panel allows you to share information and experience. If you do enough panels at enough cons you stand a chance of making friends with your fellows.
If you want to sell books, you need to be a vendor. Every con has a “dealers’ room” where con-goers can buy everything from books to collectables. Being a vendor requires you to buy at least one dealer room table. A few cons have tables for as low as $50; $75-$100 is more common; but at some cons prices will be higher.
You can take part in programming and be a vendor. You need to let the programming person know that you’ve bought a table. If you feel that you can’t take part in everything you’re asked, just say so; they’ll understand.
There are two significant downsides to choosing to be a vendor: time and money. As a vendor you’re expected to set up before the con officially starts. Most cons open to the public sometime on a Friday afternoon, with any opening ceremony set for Friday night. You’re also expected to remain until the dealer’s room closes, usually Sunday afternoon.
You will also have to spend the money. That doesn’t just mean money for your table. Cons are in hotels, so unless you’re a local you’ll have to get a room for Friday and Saturday. Travel considerations may force you to get a room for Sunday, too. Your table commitment means you can’t leave the con to get lunch; hotel restaurants can be pricey. (That said, most cons will have a “con suite” with snacks; some will have more substantial food, too.)
Not every con will be right for you. There are many media cons, which are devoted to movies and TV shows in general, to specific shows, or to anime. Not all media fans are book readers. If the con is local, though, contact them and ask about taking part.
There are cons devoted to specifically to either science fiction, fantasy, or horror. They’re more likely to occur in the largest cities. If you don’t live within driving distance of one, you’ll have to consider if what you’ll spend on travel will be a wise investment.
Most cons are more general in nature. There might be media guests, author guests, and artist guests. Programming will cover all sub-genres and a variety of media. Aside from literary cons, these are the best for an author.
Is going to any cons worth the effort and expense? Yes! You go not to make money, but to make connections with readers. You go to network with other authors. You go to have a good time with people who share your interests. It’s those things that make going to cons worth your time and money.
Bio: I've had three SF novels published: Monitor, Lisa's Way, and Expert Assistance. I've also had a coming of age novel published called True Friends. I've had stories and articles appear in periodicals such as Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine; Tales of the Talisman; Space Westerns; Sorcerous Signals; Wild West; and Model Railroader. I've had two biographies published, one of "Bleeding Kansas" leader Jim Lane, and the other of a Kansas Civil War general, and I've had six Kansas railroad books published by South Platte Press.
FB Author page: https://www.facebook.com/RobertLCollinsAuthor
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Robert-L-Collins/e/B002SZCUI0/
Smashwords Author Page: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/rlckansas
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
At the time it was just something funny that happened on the bus. But, after a while, it seemed like an answer to a prayer somehow. A road map could get you anywhere, and they were available at the nearest gas station. Too simplistic to be profound you say? Nonsense! It’s as simple as this: if you don’t like your situation--job, relationship, prospects, whatever--and the process of change seems too complex, leave! Maps are available. They chart a path of both escape and renewal. Moreover, they are proof positive that wherever it is, you can get there from here. I have used this metaphor countless times to kick-start my life whenever I felt trapped.
I’m not saying that the “crown of the road” will one day compete with “road maps available at your nearest gas station,” but, over time, it may find meaning for someone. Consider that a path—any path—leads somewhere and can therefore lead you back if necessary. But taking your eyes off the path to a point too far ahead can lead you off the path in a hurry; looking back can as well. Therefore, staying to the rounded apex of the path and following that apex or crown as it moves from side to side can not only provide security against leaving it but also allows you to go faster. That is, should you desire to.
Well, I’m not saying that it will keep anyone up nights. But the first of many springs in my life, where I failed to notice the budding of the trees, spawned in me enough of a sense of wonder to notice the variances in what I have now dubbed “the crown of the road.” And if the “rounded apex of the path” thing seems too contrived, then consider that the crown of the road is only my observation. What you do with it is your business. I’m staying with “road maps available at the nearest gas station.”
W. Jack Savage is a retired broadcaster and associate professor in Film Studies who now writes full time. The Children Shall Be Blameless is Jack's third novel and fifth book. He and his wife Kathy live in Monrovia, California. You can find out more about him by clicking here.
Monday, July 09, 2012
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
|Hand-drawn sneakers with a romantic-theme park design|
What do you think of my new sneakers? I bought a cheap pair from Kmart and a bunch of Stained by Sharpie markers. I didn't know what I'd draw at first, but some friends suggested something from one of my books, so I went with a romantic amusement-park theme for Ride of Your Life.
|Put them together, and they spell "Ride of Your Life."|
I like the way they turned out.
|A roller coaster on one side and a Ferris wheel on the other.|
Someone suggested I run a contest where the winner will get a hand-drawn pair of sneakers like these, but in the winner's size of course. What do you think? Would you like to win a pair?
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Check it out, another great review for Ride of Your Life: "...With reading this whole story, it definitely gave me the urge to want to go to an Amusement Park with friends, and it will do the same for you, and oh eat some delicious food :) I don't know what else to say, but I left this story with a good feeling, and I think you will to, so do read this novel; it's a perfect Summer Read! "
Read my guest post and the rest of the review here: For The Love of Film And Novels: (Guest Blog & Review) Ride Of Your Life by Shevi Arnold
Monday, July 02, 2012
Yes, Ride of Your Life is a part of an exciting new teen fiction sampler put together by the amazing, super-creative Alicia Kat Dillman: Beautiful Dangerous Love.
Here's the blurb:
"Do you crave the dangerously beautiful worlds of paranormal suspense, ghostly romances, and otherworldly adventures? The you’ll be swept up in this sampling of six fantastic indie reads including Daemons in the Mist by Alicia Kat Dillman, Destined by Jessie Harrell, The Pack -Retribution- LM Preston, The Magic Crystal by Lorna Suzuki, Ride of Your Life by Shevi Arnold, Whisper by Chelsea M. Cameron."
So what are you waiting for? Start the summer off right by downloading this wonderful mix of teen fantasy, science fiction, paranormal and romance from Smashwords today.
I hope you'll follow along. This is my second Bewitching Blog Tour, so you can tell I was happy with the first.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
I’m delighted to have a wonderful, multi-talented writer as a guest on my blog today, Jeff Davis. Jeff is the author of a new YA fantasy novel, The Seeds.
|Matra from The Seeds by Jeff Davis|
Click here to check out drawings of Characters from“The Seeds”.
Do you find drawing from other mediums helps you with writing? If so, what medium, and how does it help? Do you have a picture of your main character or a place in your story? Does listening to a certain kind of music put you in the right mood? If you haven't thought of using pictures this way before, how do you think they might help you? What would you ask your main character, and how do you think your main character would respond?
Please leave your answers in the comments below. Thanks!