Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Just blogging this afternoon to wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween, and please watch for little ones if you are out driving tonight. Wishing you lots of sweets and treats!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Research Via Movies

With WATER completed, I am now turning my attention to research for the next book, AIR, and getting a little research done on story as well.

An easy way to get a handle on story - plot, structure, characterization - is to check out movie commentaries featuring the writers or directors. In particular, pay close attention to what scenes they say they edit or delete, and why. I find this an invaluable reference for the art of tight storytelling. Sometimes they will also mention why a scene needed to be added. This is important especially as an aid to character continuity. You don't want your character to jump from point B to point Q on his arc, or your reader (or viewer) will go, "Huh?" Hence, the addition of a missing scene to illustrate character growth.

Movies and tightly plotted books are not all that different. The tools are a bit different, but you are still telling a story, and cutting away the deadwood helps your story shine. The next time you watch a movie you've seen before, make sure you watch it with the commentaries enabled. You might be surprised how much you learn!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Barnes & Noble Launches PubIt

Barnes & Noble has launched a self-publishing program called PubIt!, which allows authors to send their material straight to eBook on their Nook reader. You can learn the full scoop here:

Royalties are given at a scale, so eBooks that sell for $2.99-$9.99 will net you 65% of the List Price. Anything outside that price range, with a low limit of $0.99 and a high limit of $199.99 (the range limits at which B&N will sell your book) gets you 40% of the List Price. That's pretty hefty either way. But there are ...


1) Content - B&N reserves the right to determine whether your material is acceptable for publication, meaning it cannot be "illegal, libelous, infringing, offensive, harmful or potentially harmful, threatening, harassing, legally obscene, defamatory, or intentionally hateful in any regard (see link above)." Nor can it contain advertisements, or solicit action from the reader (i.e. reviews). It also cannot contain the author or publisher's contact information, which I assume means that if your reader is looking for you on the web or through E-mail, you're out of luck putting that in your manuscript. The onus is on the author to determine whether content is compliant with all applicable laws, where it pertains to legality of your content.

2) Limited Distribution - Your book is only going to be available through B&N and its Nook reader, and is only offered in the United States. Anyone with a Kindle or Sony, etc., is probably going to be out of luck for reading it. Remember that your data is only good as long as you can read it. Ya gotta have the right gadget to get a PubIt! book. They did make some allowances here: you can read it on your "PC, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, or Android smartphone enabled with our free NOOK eReading software (see link above)."

3) No Printie - It's eBook only, so you won't be able to get your book in print as well, unless you are an author whose books would also normally be available through brick and mortar stores (i.e. mass market).

4) No Marketing (Maybe) - B&N chooses which eBooks they will market, which means you will have to do the advertising legwork yourself ... which is a little harder when you can't put your contact info in your eBook.

5) Rights - Not mentioned with enough specificity for my comfort, anyway. They do say that if they find someone selling your eBook, i.e. infringing on your rights to sell it, "we will make commercially reasonable efforts to remove the eBook in question from future sale through PubIt! and we will make all commercially reasonable efforts to pay you the royalties due in connection with any sales of the eBook. This will be your sole and exclusive remedy (see link above)." This sits a little funny with me. "Commercially reasonable efforts" seems rather open-ended. There's also no spelled-out rights-reversion clause. I find that bothersome. Call me an old dog, but I like everything spelled out on paper before I give up my books.

6) Longevity - Recently, news came up that the B&N empire would be up for sale. With that up in the air, I wonder about the longevity of the company and its Nook reader. Again with the rights-reversion question.

So, in short, writer beware. Before you go into this with guns blazing, check and double check. The pay looks good, but you'll have your work cut out for you both before and after. Cheers!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

LASR Halloween Scavenger Hunt!

The Long and the Short of It is having a Halloween Scavenger Hunt! The celebration will run 10/30/10 – 10/31/10 - two days of trick-or-treat fun - and spotlights ghosts, shifters, vampires or witches (or anything else that goes bump in the night). LASR offers a slew of great prizes, including a $50 Amazon or BN gift certificate, and lots of treats from participating authors! For more information, visit LASR by clicking the banner below:

No costumes necessary. Happy trick-or treating!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Website Back Up!

My website ( is back up and running. Whatever technical problems it was having seem to be resolved, but if you have trouble accessing it, you can always reach me here at my blog or on Facebook. Thanks for your patience!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Main Webpage Down

Look like my main website is down ( My web host is aware of the problem and is working to resolve the issue. I apologize for the inconvenience, and I'm hoping they have it back up and running soon. Sorry, all!