Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Surfing

Blog Blitz: A cool idea that DL Hammons over at Cruising Altitude had. to Acquire Goodreads

Is it Really Time for Authors to Stop Blogging?

Dontcha Know How Ter Write Dialects, Y'all?

7 Reasons Agents Stop Reading Your First Chapter

Being Enneagrammatically Correct Part 1 and Part 2

Don't forget the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. It begins on April 1 (tomorrow!)  My theme will be "I Love Sci-Fi/Fantasy Because..." I look forward to reading your posts!

And finally, check out this monster wave off the coast of Portugal. It was estimated to be 100 feet high! And someone is surfing it!

If you encounter a post or article that you believe would be of benefit or interest to other writers, let me know.  Leave a comment. Send me an email. Catch me on Facebook or tweet the link to me on Twitter including the hashtag #SundaySurfing and I'll check it out.  As most of you know, my schedule is always a crap shoot and I undoubtedly miss some great links.  I'd hate for others to miss out too!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Easter!

Just a brief post to wish everyone a Happy Easter!

Of course, any excuse for a holiday from work is okay in my book.  But this holiday not only permits grandparents to fill tiny little bellies with sweets, it encourages it!  Then we get to send the little hyperactive road runners home with their parents! 

How awesome is that?

So, whether you're stuffing yourself or your grandchildren with chocolate, do enjoy!  And accept my sincerest wishes of a happy holiday for you and yours!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Surfing (And a Status Update)

Probably everyone but the cave-dwelling hermit living in the canyon over yonder knows this, but the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is drawing nigh.  Many are participating this year.  Be sure to sign up if you're interested.  You will be welcomed.

One Simple Trick That Makes Editing Less Painful

Juggling Genres...Brilliance or Pure Folly?

So You Want to Use Song Lyrics in Your Novel? 5 Steps to Getting Rights to Lyrics

Honorary Geekdom membership requires that you view the new Star Trek Into Darkness trailer. (Platinum-level membership requires you to view it at least twice.)

And although I haven't written much prose lately, I have been writing a good deal of code.  Below is a screenshot of Magic Muse's current state of development.  I have much more to do before I can switch to it as my primary writing workbench, but I am making progress.

The DotNet version of Magic Muse

I'm still working on interface issues rather than the actual text editing and formatting functionality.  After all, the structure must be constructed before running the wiring and plumbing.

I'm hoping to have it ready for some initial testing within a few months, should anyone be interested in test driving it.

So, what have you been doing lately?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Top Ten Movie Countdown BlogFest

Ninja Captain Alex is hosting the...

And I decided to participate.  A true countdown requires ranking, but I cannot, in all fairness, truly rank these.  The rankings would change with the wind.  These are ten OF my favorites today.  Listed in no particular order, they are...

 Lord of the Rings trilogy (duh!)
The Two Towers was my favorite movie, but the Mines of Moria was my favorite scene.

Star Trek (the entire gambit)
But nobody does bad as good as Ricardo Montalban does.

Star Wars (yeah, all six!)
Let's hear it for the Wookie!!

The Avengers
I don't believe they could have done a better job with this movie.

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars
I cannot tell you how many times I've watched this. I so miss the series.

Serenity (The Firefly movie)
From a series that died before its time. Not shiny!

Several Merlin/Camelot adaptations vied for this slot; Sam Neill's portrayal won.

The Bourne Series (Identity, Supremacy, Ultimatum)
Not Sci-Fi/Fantasy, but close enough. My favorite changes with time.

A Knight's Tale
This one starred an actor that died before his time.

The Sixth Sense
The best thing (IMHO) Bruce did after Moonlighting.

I have watched these movies so many times.  I can quote way too much from way too many of them, and there is much within them worth quoting.

Any of these make your Top Ten list?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday Surfing

ASK PZM: March 2013 - Pricing

Clarity In Writing & The Curse of Reader Assumption

The Unnecessary Shame Writers Feel When Getting Feedback

Daisy Carter is running a nice series called Writing 101

On Dystopians and First Lines

Kelley Lynn wrote a nice post on Accepting Critique

For grins and persuasion:
Here's what happens to your body during a good giggle

And of course, the moment I get comfortable with a "new" technology, it's either outdated or obsolete.  Such appears to be the case with the discontinuation of Google Reader come July 1. (And I'm still lamenting the loss of Google Calendar Sync for Outlook.)

After a bit of research, I found alternatives discussed (and linked) within the following articles:
Google Reader alternatives (ExtremeTech)
Google Reader is dying, but we have five worthy alternatives (c|net)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Passing Time with Ellie Garratt

Passing Time: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre

Nine dark fiction stories that may just give you nightmares.

A man lives to regret Passing Time. A father will do anything to save his son in Expiration Date. An author finds out her worst nightmare is back in The Devil’s Song. A woman gets more than the claim fee when she takes out vampire insurance in Luna Black.

In Dining in Hell, the Death Valley Diner becomes the wrong place to stop.

A serial killer wants to add another file to his collection in The Vegas Screamer. In Eating Mr. Bone, an undertaker could meet an unfortunate end. A con man meets his first ghost in Land of the Free. And will truth finally be set free in The Letter?

Excerpt from Dining in Hell

I sat down and placed my head in my hands. I didn’t think the situation we’d found ourselves in could get any worse, but I was about to be proved wrong for the second time in one day.

“We should leave,” Callie said. She was staring at me and then at the other patrons of the diner. “They scare me.”

She had not touched the drink she’d been given, and I could see why. The glass may have been clear and shiny once, but now it was worn with age and dirt. It was difficult to see what it contained. It might have been the milk Oleg promised, but whatever the drink, a thin layer of mould floated on top, and it smelt putrefied.

“No,” I said, picking up the glass and placing it at the edge of the table. “We’re going to stay and find out what the hell is going on here because unless I’m very much mistaken these people do know what’s going on. What’s more they had something to do with it.”

“Damn Russians,” Hank declared.

“Okay. This place is like the arse end of a donkey, but I don’t see how these people had anything to do with what started on the other side of America,” Logan said. He was trying to reason and or placate me. It wasn’t working.

“If that is true and they don’t know anything about the plague, why did Oleg laugh at Hank’s questions?” I said.

“No disrespect intended, Hank. But perhaps he thinks we’re a little crazy?” Logan said. “I mean, who’d ever seen a zombie until this week? In a movie, yes, but not for real.”

“Okay. Then tell me why a hand-written message advertising the coming apocalypse is on the restroom wall?”

“A message?” asked Hank.

“Yes.” I recited its contents word for word, and then Hank did something none of us expected – he decided to turn heroic.

About Ellie Garratt
A life-long addiction to reading science fiction and horror, meant writing was the logical outlet for Ellie Garratt’s passions. She is a reader, writer, blogger, Trekkie, and would happily die to be an extra in The Walking Dead. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and online. Passing Time is her first eBook collection and contains nine previously published stories. Her science fiction collection Taking Time will be published later in the year.

Author and Book Links:
Amazon UK,
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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Surfing

21 Rhetorical Devices, and their tricky names

Author Crit Partner Connection

5 Tax Tips for Authors

Somehow, I kinda suspected most of this: Procrastination Nation

One example of what makes this community great.  And another.  And Elizabeth summed it up nicely here.

What being published has taught me

Maybe one day I can put this advice to good use: Book Signings That WOW

Sara linked to Pixar's 22 Rules of Phenomenal Storytelling on Friday. I've seen it debated in places, but it's definitely worth the read.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Seek to Critique - March IWSG

I'm a big fan of critiques.  I like receiving them.  And I like giving them.

The benefits of receiving them are obvious.  The benefits of giving them, however, are varied and not always immediately evident.

I gave my first critique less than two years ago.  A dozen different insecurities flooded my mind as I did so.

  • Who am I to recommend that this be changed?
  • What if my suggestion ends up being the worst suggestion in the history of critiquing?
  • How can I make sure my feedback will be received in the spirit intended?
  • Did I word this comment so that its meaning won't be misinterpreted?
  • Am I sure the writer's intent didn't just fly over my head?
  • Maybe that section really is perfect and I'm just too dense to recognize it??

And on and on the doubts came and set up residence in my mind.  But had I never sent the critique, that residency would have become permanent.

As with anything we do in life, we improve with practice.  We grow more confident and strengthen our skills, both in analyzing another's words and in conveying ours.

But I've found that I'm the one who benefits most from the critiques I give.  I learn or reinforce grammar lessons.  I see the importance of word choice, sentence and story structure.  I discover new terms, new techniques, and get a feel for what works and what doesn't.  I find myself flagging a writer for something that I still do myself, and promptly make a note to change it in my own manuscript.

Critiquing enables a writer to view his own writing from different perspectives, making possible a more objective assessment of his own skills and tendencies.

Providing a good critique takes a fair bit of time if done well.  And when handled properly, the results will encourage as well as enlighten the writer who wrote the words under your microscope.

Almost two-thirds of my time reading over the past year has been for critiques.  And I do not regret it one bit.  I can only hope those who have received critiques from me have benefited from them as much as I did.

While receiving a critique benefits the receiver, giving a critique benefits everyone. So do everyone a favor. Seek to critique and learn from the experience.

(My apologies if this publishes as new again. I somehow managed to "unpublish" it.)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Won Fowl Knight

Once upon a time their lived a knight. Won day he stood alone, fraught with despair. The battle had lasted for daze. His comrades fought wail, but the enema had keeled awe his friends.  Despair enveloped hymn on that fowl night.

Then, from fir above, descended a maiden most fare.  Her words where song and blew was her hare.  "What troubles ewe, most valiant night?" she asked. "Your countenance is lo and worries are grate."

"My friends are know more," he cried. "How can I carry own?"

"I'll whisper a spell if you swear never too tale.  You're friends wheel live own and you'll weep four them never a gain."

She sad her words and his sorrows fled.  He saw them then, atop the heel. And marry his heart be came.

The End.

A smile of contentment spread across Jeff's face.
A job well done took him to his happy place.

His prose was tight and his words so slick,
He'd soon be rivaling that Rowling chick. 

And that night dreams most grand did abound,
For within his tale, nary a misspelling was found.

May all your spill checks be perfect!