Month: April 2012 Page 2 of 3

The Test

New kids’ fiction now available from AmazonSmashwords, and Barnes & Noble,with other sites to follow (Kobo, Apple, Sony).

I’m trying something new…

This is actually a two-story pack, with “The Test” and another kids’ story set in a fantasy world, “The Scaredy Wizard of Theornin.”  Both play around with Grimms’ fairy-tale themes.

The Test

by De Kenyon

Mari von Ingler is good for nothing, not making sausages or sewing a straight line or anything of use in her village, so her father arranges for her to be an apprentice to a mage…but only if she can pass the mage’s test.

But when the mage arrives, he only sends her out into the forest with no instructions but to come back and tell him whether she passed. She means only to stomp off into the woods and hide for an hour, but now she’s so lost that it would take magic to find her way back…

Mari von Ingler leaned gently against the warm white wall of the inn on the bench made out of half of a tree trunk that nobody but travelers sat on. She didn’t dare move an inch more, or the splinter poking through her thick wool skirt and linen underthings would bite her. She closed her eyes and tried to swallow back the rotten taste in her mouth. She wished she hadn’t eaten Mama’s good food; she wished she couldn’t smell the roast turning on the spit, inside the inn.

The Test

New kids’ fiction now available from Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble,with other sites to follow (Kobo, Apple, Sony).

I’m trying something new…

This is actually a two-story pack, with “The Test” and another kids’ story set in a fantasy world, “The Scaredy Wizard of Theornin.”  Both play around with Grimms’ fairy-tale themes.

The Test

by De Kenyon

Mari von Ingler is good for nothing, not making sausages or sewing a straight line or anything of use in her village, so her father arranges for her to be an apprentice to a mage…but only if she can pass the mage’s test.

But when the mage arrives, he only sends her out into the forest with no instructions but to come back and tell him whether she passed. She means only to stomp off into the woods and hide for an hour, but now she’s so lost that it would take magic to find her way back…

Mari von Ingler leaned gently against the warm white wall of the inn on the bench made out of half of a tree trunk that nobody but travelers sat on. She didn’t dare move an inch more, or the splinter poking through her thick wool skirt and linen underthings would bite her. She closed her eyes and tried to swallow back the rotten taste in her mouth. She wished she hadn’t eaten Mama’s good food; she wished she couldn’t smell the roast turning on the spit, inside the inn.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-04-15

  • Into the heart of deepest Style Guide…the meat of the indie writer's copyediting checklist begins. http://t.co/HgnDNLJA #

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R.L. Stine Tweets Friday the 13th

Goosebumps writer R.L. Stein wrote a short, bug-infested Twitter story in honor of Friday the 13th:

  1. Well, it’s Friday the 13th—my national holiday. To celebrate I wrote this story exclusively for you. It’s called THE BRAVE KID.
  2. Michael had no fear of Friday the 13th. His house was at 13 Endless Darkness Road. He was 13, and he was born on Friday the 13th…

Check out the whole thing at the link.

Beware the Easter Moon

New fiction!  This is another book that’s going up on Kindle Direct Select, which means I’m leaving it up there exclusively for three months (until July 9).  I’ll announce when it’s available on other sites, but for now it’s at Amazon.com.

If you buy an Amazon copy but need an additional file format, contact me at publisher [at] wonderlandpress [dot] com.

Inspired by a discussion with one of Ray’s school crossing guards about the madness that was Easter on her grandparents’ farm–including finding last year’s Easter eggs.  And from Britney’s mention that they put out 500 eggs for their day-care Easter party.  500!  Which only worked out to five eggs per kid.  The joke at the beginning…well, that’s from Lee, which should surprise nobody who knows him.

Beware the Easter Moon

by De Kenyon

Colin’s tired of Grandpa stealing kids’ chocolate Easter eggs.  So he hatches a plan to make his Granpa eat one of last year’s Easter eggs.  One of the regular kind.  That stinks when it gets rotten.

It was a terrible plan.  But it was also a great plan.

He just shouldn’t have gone outside at the farm to get the egg on the night of the full moon before Easter.

Colin sneaked out of his grandpa’s big old creepy white house with the tree branches that scratched the windows and the heaters that went hunk hunk hunk all night long while his pile of cousins slept, drooling and farting and snoring.

Grandpa didn’t lock his doors, because he lived a long ways away from anybody else, but his shotgun was on a shelf in the closet, too high to reach unless Colin dragged one of the big silver and green chairs out of the sunroom and into the entryway and stood on it to see. Grandpa always said it was for coyotes.

But all Colin wanted to do was get his egg.

Beware the Easter Moon

New fiction!  This is another book that’s going up on Kindle Direct Select, which means I’m leaving it up there exclusively for three months (until July 9).  I’ll announce when it’s available on other sites, but for now it’s at Amazon.com.

If you buy an Amazon copy but need an additional file format, contact me at publisher [at] wonderlandpress [dot] com.

Inspired by a discussion with one of Ray’s school crossing guards about the madness that was Easter on her grandparents’ farm–including finding last year’s Easter eggs.  And from Britney’s mention that they put out 500 eggs for their day-care Easter party.  500!  Which only worked out to five eggs per kid.  The joke at the beginning…well, that’s from Lee, which should surprise nobody who knows him.

Beware the Easter Moon

by De Kenyon

Colin’s tired of Grandpa stealing kids’ chocolate Easter eggs.  So he hatches a plan to make his Granpa eat one of last year’s Easter eggs.  One of the regular kind.  That stinks when it gets rotten.

It was a terrible plan.  But it was also a great plan.

He just shouldn’t have gone outside at the farm to get the egg on the night of the full moon before Easter.

Colin sneaked out of his grandpa’s big old creepy white house with the tree branches that scratched the windows and the heaters that went hunk hunk hunk all night long while his pile of cousins slept, drooling and farting and snoring.

Grandpa didn’t lock his doors, because he lived a long ways away from anybody else, but his shotgun was on a shelf in the closet, too high to reach unless Colin dragged one of the big silver and green chairs out of the sunroom and into the entryway and stood on it to see. Grandpa always said it was for coyotes.

But all Colin wanted to do was get his egg.

Beware the Easter Moon

New fiction!  This is another book that’s going up on Kindle Direct Select, which means I’m leaving it up there exclusively for three months (until July 9).  I’ll announce when it’s available on other sites, but for now it’s at Amazon.com.

If you buy an Amazon copy but need an additional file format, contact me at publisher [at] wonderlandpress [dot] com.

Inspired by a discussion with one of Ray’s school crossing guards about the madness that was Easter on her grandparents’ farm–including finding last year’s Easter eggs.  And from Britney’s mention that they put out 500 eggs for their day-care Easter party.  500!  Which only worked out to five eggs per kid.  The joke at the beginning…well, that’s from Lee, which should surprise nobody who knows him.

Beware the Easter Moon

by De Kenyon

Colin’s tired of Grandpa stealing kids’ chocolate Easter eggs.  So he hatches a plan to make his Granpa eat one of last year’s Easter eggs.  One of the regular kind.  That stinks when it gets rotten.

It was a terrible plan.  But it was also a great plan.

He just shouldn’t have gone outside at the farm to get the egg on the night of the full moon before Easter.

Colin sneaked out of his grandpa’s big old creepy white house with the tree branches that scratched the windows and the heaters that went hunk hunk hunk all night long while his pile of cousins slept, drooling and farting and snoring.

Grandpa didn’t lock his doors, because he lived a long ways away from anybody else, but his shotgun was on a shelf in the closet, too high to reach unless Colin dragged one of the big silver and green chairs out of the sunroom and into the entryway and stood on it to see. Grandpa always said it was for coyotes.

But all Colin wanted to do was get his egg.

Editing for Indie Writers: Copyediting Checklist Part 2 (Line Edits)

The indie editing series continues (starts here but the collective posts are here).

Line-editing the text in a work is what most people think of when they think of line edits.  And most people think of it as being relatively straightforward.  You check for correctness.  Either it’s correct or it isn’t, right?

No.  It’s more clear-cut when it comes to non-fiction, but even then it’s not black and white.  Correct is only one of a good copyeditor’s goals.

Remember your six Cs*:

  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Correct
  • Comprehensible
  • Consistent
  • Communicates the author’s vision

Which one is #1 on this list (unless you’re writing corporate stuff)?

  • Communicates the author’s vision

The problem with editing your own stuff is that if you don’t know what you’re doing with grammar and style, then it’s impossible to sort out what communicates your vision and what is simply an oopsie that you’d rather not inflict on your readers.  Another problem with editing your own stuff is that even if you do know what you’re doing with grammar and style, you may not be conscious of everything you do or the reasons you do it–you might find a missing comma and add it without a second thought, when that missing comma was exactly what was needed.

Don’t believe me?  Go read some Stephen King.  There are technical “errors” all over his manuscripts.  And yet his copyeditors–and his proofreaders–let them pass.  Because he needed them.**

So if you don’t think that you can deal with editing your own stuff because you don’t want to think too consciously about how you write or you don’t know grammar and style?  Then hire a good copyeditor.

I suspect a good way to do assess copyeditor quality is to ask for a sample style sheet (discussed here).   They won’t be as thorough as the style sheets that I advocate, but they should have all kinds of notes about things that are technically wrong that the author wants left alone.  Like, “Allow sentence fragments” with some page numbers to note some instances of sentence fragments used the way the author wants them used.

But.

If you know grammar and you’re willing to think consciously about why you break the rules (although you shouldn’t do that while you’re writing, really), you can line-edit your own stuff.

In this checklist, remember that communicating the author’s vision is always more important.  Err on the side of leaving it alone–if you feel like some comma must be so, even though you know it shouldn’t be so, then it must be so.

These are not rules.  They are guidelines.

You will see all kinds of things in this list that you disagree with.  Good.  Make a note of your disagreements and add them to your style sheet.

This is the long checklist.  I’ll do a shorter checklist later to sum up and actually be useful while you’re working.  The purpose of this checklist is to identify your weak spots–if you’re not sure what I’m talking about, you should probably look it up–and to identify what you’re going to add to your style sheet as an exception, because you’re not going to do it.

General Grammar

  • All sentences are complete, with a subject and a predicate.
  • All verbs match their nouns (plural/singular).
  • All sentences are in the correct tense.
  • Pronouns refer back to the correct noun (the noun immediately before it).
  • All modifiers are placed to modify the correct word(s).
  • All sentences are easy to read, with as few modifiers as possible and no more than 20 words.
  • All sentences begin with correct capitalization and end with correct punctuation.
  • All sentences reflect the correct POV (first person, second person, third person and their variations).
  • If using a subset of POV (“tight” third-person POV), the correct voice is used throughout (e.g., no “he thought” or addressing the reader).

Nouns

  • Proper nouns are capitalized correctly (add to style guide).
  • Compound nouns are hyphenated and pluralized correctly (add to style guide).
  • Nouns reflect the correct number (singular/plural).
  • Possessives are correct and consistent (add irregular cases to the style guide).
  • Appositive nouns, nouns that rename another noun, should be set apart with commas.
  • Pronouns agree in number with their antecedents and agree with their gender.
  • Pronouns are in the correct form (I, me, mine). I is capitalized.
  • Pronoun possessives are used correctly (its vs. it’s).
  • Pronouns are correctly used in the nominative (who) vs. objective (whom) forms.
  • Who/which/what/that used correctly (person/living thing or thing/non-living thing/all of the above).

Adjectives

  • Proper adjectives capitalized correctly.
  • Definite (the) vs. indefinite (a)  vs. omitted articles used correctly.
  • Articles removed from nouns that make up a group (vs. a series of nouns, which take individual articles).
  • Dates used as adjectives punctuated correctly.
  • Adjectives placed to modify correct nouns.
  • Adjectives in predicate used correctly (no “ly”).
  • Participial adjectives correctly refer to the subject of the sentence (Bad: “Dangling ferociously, the lion ran rampant”).
  • Degrees of comparison in adjectives used correctly (good/better/best), including not comparing uncomparable adjectives (like “perfect”).
  • Past participial adjectives (“satisfied smirk”) used and modified correctly.
  • Adjectives in a series coordinated correctly (“a big, red house”).
  • Phrasal adjectives hyphenated, except when appearing in the predicate, as a proper adjective (“Monte Python style”), or a two-word phrase beginning with an adjective (“a quickly raised house” vs. “a not-so-quickly-raised house”).
  • Adjectives used as other parts of speech (“collectibles”)  or vice versa checked against dictionary for correctness.

    Cripes.  I think this is going to take a while.

    *Traditionally, it’s the Five Cs, but they left out the most important one.  Discussed here.

    **Sentence fragment.

    Can’t find your favorite authors at your library ebook site?

    Great!  Because the publishers don’t want you to.

    Pikes Peak Library District is calling out big publishers about not providing library copies of ebooks…or charging over $100 a copy…or only letting the library check out the book 26 times before they charge the library for a new copy.

    See their Facebook NOT eNOUGH page for a form letter to send to your favorite publisher today!

    Or just pull off a copy of the letter here:

    Join our letter-writing campaign!

    Is your favorite author here?
    Penguin Group (http://tinyurl.com/d8eaxb2)
    Hachette Book Group (http://tinyurl.com/d9o65xy)
    Simon & Schuster (http://tinyurl.com/d4q2zb)
    Macmillan (http://tinyurl.com/c272f5f)

    Send them this letter.

    Ms./Mr. <insert author’s name>;

    As a patron and supporter of libraries, I have long appreciated the opportunities that technology has granted libraries in the pursuit of providing information and entertainment to their patrons. The fact that we can access information 24/7 through our library’s website equates to a service of inestimable proportion. Likewise, the opportunity for libraries to share electronic copies of books – both in text and audio format – has been a great boon to the public’s ability to access information. Electronic reading devices, as you are well aware, are now a massive part of the way many people consume literature and information, and libraries need to be able to provide that content as they have always done. Over the last two years, the demand for eBooks has grown by leaps and bounds, and many library patrons are moving to eReaders as their choice for content delivery.

    With that said, I want to express my displeasure with your publisher, <insert publisher’s name>. Rather than helping their longtime partners, public libraries, this publisher (and others like it) will not sell to public libraries. This disenfranchises public library users and cuts them off from your work. Patrons request that libraries provide this content constantly, but libraries have no recourse but to turn them away. Given the explosive growth of e-content, if public libraries cannot meet the needs of their patrons, libraries have less value in our communities. These publishers are, in effect, engaged in business practices directly detrimental to the survival of the public library in this country.

    I understand that publishers are nervous about their property and intellectual rights – and authors are, too. What I do NOT understand, however, is why your publisher is apparently refusing to work with libraries at all in regard to e-content. There is already a secure DRM (Digital Rights Management) solution provided by all providers of e-content to libraries. I cannot believe that you, a popular author, do not want the public reading your materials, or to be able to borrow your materials, through the method that they prefer: from a public library.

    I would ask you, as a prominent author, to bring pressure to bear on your publisher to open their e-content to public libraries. Failure to do so will deny public library patrons like myself access to your materials and other valuable content in the format that they desire. If the libraries of the future cannot provide content to patrons, they will truly die. That will be a very sad day for this country and for those who depend on the equitable access to information that they provide.

    Sincerely,
    <insert your name>

    Pick your author, google them, and send them a nice letter.  More than likely, the author’s already on your side…and has a more direct line to the editors than you do.

    Hit the Ground Running: Back from Oregon

    So it’s been a busy couple of weeks.  I went to a workshop out in Oregon:  The Character Voice & Setting Workshop with Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Katherine Rusch.

    As always, I’m left with the impression that I love the ocean, but being next to it for too long would be bad for me.  A bunch of us went for walks by  the ocean, and I’d wander off in the middle of a conversation or something.  I managed not to bring home a bunch of those rocks with the holes in them, because they freak out security every time.  Plus, being near the ocean means the only way I can make it through the day is by drinking (Kip’s excellent) coffee in the morning.  I didn’t have any problems with withdrawal when I was back, which always strikes me as funny.

    So take two people who have been studying, as writers, for years how to screw with readers brains both consciously and subconsciously, and have them apply immersive learning techniques (is that an official thing?) on twenty-odd suicidally dedicated writers for a week, and mix.

    I am not the same person as I was when I left.  I mean, I don’t even read the same.  For example, I picked up A Cureable Romantic off the bookshelf in my cabin, sat down on the red velvet armchair with arms that went up past myarmpits, and read the beginning when I first got there:  I had to have it so bad I wrote down the title in my notebook, because I knew I’d forget about it by the time the week was over.  I didn’t read more than the first page, though, because I suddenly remembered that I shouldn’t read fiction while I was there.

    You don’t want to indulge in any drug of choice while you’re there, or there are some days you’ll want to drug yourself into a stupor.  And books are my drug.

    Anyway, towards Thursday, I picked the book up again to try out an analysis technique–and loathed it.  The crazy,  post-modern puffins with eyes like black Target symbols stared down at me from their paintings and said, “Good luck reading that.”  (It was a surreal kind of cabin.)  The author struck me as a one-trick pony–someone who knew how to write description.  Paragraphs and paragraphs of pointless description.

    Today, I skimmed over the beginning again at Amazon.  Eh, it struck me as better than I thought that Thursday, but my eyes still slide off those paragraphs.  Great sensual detail.  Great way to handwave people into not realizing it’s just walking them along to the real beginning. Durrrr.

    I went, I lost my new Kindle on the plane while talking to a math teacher who was teaching out in the sticks of Colorado after being brought up with money and having gone through several very prestigious careers and now knew that her calling was to teach but she was going to get her PhD in either cosmology or astrophysics anyway and explained dark matter to me as the opposite of gravity–so can you blame me for being distracted?–took the class, came back, and worked my ass off last week.  No blogging until I had the fires put out.  And no blogging during writing time.

    So now: fires banked but not out.  And I wrote 8K today (if not on the novel, see below), so I get to blog.

    I started a new novel, April Fool’s Day, as a way to kill time while traveling back.  It was supposed to be a short story and got out of hand, because I’m going to have trouble pacing for a while.  The temptation is to stick too much in at this point. And I determined that I’m going to start doing the weekly story challenge again, if for no other reason that I have new toys in my toybox to play with–but also because I need a break from this novel.  I don’t know what made me think I had to write a romance, but I did, and now a guy’s the main character, which (I know) you’re not supposed to do.  Fortunately I have a couple of guys who will read the thing for me and tell me whether it works.  I mean, the main character’s not even that macho!  But I’m trying to write it using different techniques–pantsing it, for one thing–so I guess it’s all right to be nervous and all herky-jerky.  It’s nonlinear, too, which I never do.

    And now for some photos!

    Oregon Coast.  Heavy winter storms the previous week had thrown all kinds of tree trunks up on shore.

    One of my cabin’s decorations, a miniature diver’s helmet, has a new hat.

    Deja Thoris statue?  Totally in my room.  Staying at the Anchor is like staying at The House on the Rock, only with MUCH better food.

    Bookstore owner Sheldon McAurthur demonstrates his Civil War-era tonsil snipper with glee.  Stop in at North by Northwest Books if you get a chance, and ask him what you should read.  He’ll mail for you.  I just got my box of books this afternoon.  Glee!

    Still a-life with tree trunk, Spanish Head Inn, and Horror Writer Rebecca Senese.

    An update on the Kindle:  either someone has genuinely found it, or it’s a trap.  At any rate, I got an email supposedly from United’s Lost and Found department asking me to send them my credit card information.  I winced and asked them to set me up with some kind of link from the United site. Then I called customer service and spent about half an hour on the phone with a very helpful person with a very heavy Indian accent.  But we muddled through, the box should come COD, and I didn’t have to give out any personal information that United didn’t already have.  Or my credit card information.   We’ll see.

     

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