Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sticky Notes: Deadlines

The ultimate inspiration is the deadline. ~ Nolan Bushnell

I'm writing under deadline.  Pray for me.  LOL! No, really!
See you when I come out of my cave.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday's Fortune

Today on my occasionally featured Friday's Fortune you'll find some great tips boster your writing and marketing techniques.

Donna Brennan shares Ways to Make Your Writing Stonger.

Mike Hyatt explains How to use Twitter to Sell Your New Book.

Literary Agent Steve Laube found a few useful tools that help check repetitive phrases and words in your writing in his post Every Word Counts.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blog Haul: New Old Books!

I recently went on a little online shopping spree to obtain some much needed — and desired — research books on the Colonial America.  So here is a "blog haul" of some of my spectacular new finds from eBay.  Old books, but new for me! So please indulge me while I show you my new toys.
"Wear the old coat and buy the new book."
~  Austin Phelps

Home Life in Colonial Days by Alice Morse Earle. Mrs. Earle was an author from the 19th century wrote many books on historical times, especially the colonial period most likely in an effort to preserve the history of the unique culture of the day. I first came across her original books that are non-copyrighted, transcribed and available online (Google Books and elsewhere). This 470 page 1974 reprinting of her 1898 book was only $2. 

What can I say? Aren't they beautiful! These two volumes of Men, Women & Manners in Colonial Times by Sydney George Fisher, published in 1897 at the original price of $1.50 each, are in amazing condition with silver-gilt embossed covers, deckled edges, and tissue covered lithographs. Although I unintentionally purchased Vol. 2 at the cost of $21, I luckily found Vol. 1 for only $1.99 and am now delighted to have this rare set, having obtained it for about $23. 

I wish I could hear authentic language from the colonial period and translate that into my writing, especially the dialect of the area of my setting.  I would like to write in such a fashion, not solely, as it surely would be far too cumbersome to read, but sprinkled judiciously for effect.  But since they did not have devices to make recordings back then I must rely on the language itself, and being a wordsmith I have discovered these tools — glossaries of Colonial English.

Colonial American English by Richard M. Lederer, Jr., published in 1985, is a much sought after tome filled with words and phrases that were used in America from 1608 - 1783. This may be the only books on this topic, this particular period (at least that I could find), and thus some of them went for up to $218.  Since I've long considered trying to obtain this book,  my purchase price of $27.99 was a bargain.

You may wonder why I invested in A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.  I promise you, the term vulgar denotes unsophisticated rather than, well, raunchy.  This is an edited version (1992) of English Capt. Francis Grose's infamous 1785 collection of common and slang used in the 18th century.  Who knows, I might find some interesting words to use for a lower class or unsavory story character. And all for $2.99.

So there you have it . . . well, almost . . . I do have one book I cannot show you lest I give away my secret plot for a forthcoming series that I'm developing.  I know, I'm so mean.

Have you found any book treasures lately? Ever?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I'd Rather be Writing

I've only been home for a few weeks now and already I'm getting into trouble.  Tonight I ventured into the kitchen to bake 7 dozen cookies that supplied for the Under the Son concert at my church this Saturday. We are expecting about 1,000 people at this outdoor event and the food folks put out a call for 150 dozen cookies. Yikes! I answered the call . . . against my better judgement.

Although I can write HTML and plot stories in my sleep, you should just name me "Keep her out of the kitchen Carla" as I have a ridiculously difficult time managing myself in that dreaded room. But the need was so great I decided to lend a hand this time, even if cooking isn't my forte.  Both my sons are excellent cooks are employed as such, the gift must have skipped a generation. My Mom was a home economics teacher for years (while they still taught that in school). I do have a few specialties. But baking cookies, not so much. I'd rather decorate them.

Emergency call to Mom. "The cookies are flat, they spread out over the whole cookie sheet. Was it because I sifted the flour and it didn't call for that?" What was I thinking? Part of my problem is getting too creative and not sticking with the recipe, which my mother is a stickler for. (Always listen to Mom!) After adding some more flour and then refrigerating the dough I gave it another shot, with almost the same result. My squarish looking cookies didn't look too bad once they were cut away from each other and cooling, but they are not your typical round cookie for sure. At least I didn't burn them . . . not all of them anyway.

As I said, I do have a  handle on a few recipes and I tend to stick to what I know.  My family doesn't have to wonder why I serve them the same foods over and over again (though they never really get the exact same version every time).  But as I tend to shy away from the kitchen and am more comfortable with pen in hand, I have generally learned to decline areas of service where I'm not gifted.  But there are those times that we are compelled to help and I do so with good intentions.  But this exercise reminds me that I do need to stay on task and get back to completing my novella as I'm writing on deadline. And truly, I'd rather be writing!

What are some of your gifts and talents?  Do you stick to the areas where you are gifted or do you serve in any capacity?  How do you feel about that?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We'll Never Forget

"Now, we have inscribed a new memory alongside those others. It's a memory of tragedy and shock, of loss and mourning. But not only of loss and mourning. It's also a memory of bravery and self-sacrifice, and the love that lays down its life for a friend-even a friend whose name it never knew. "
- President George W. Bush,
December 11, 2001

Some of us use our words to express our grief and feelings.
And sometimes there are no words...but His.

Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Digging up Character Names

Sorry I haven't been around of late, those headaches are still plaguing me. Still planning to share more about my trip. But today I'm posting at Colonial Quills today on resources to help find names for characters in your stories. I  hope you'll stop by and see me there.

Digging up Character Names