Monthly Archives: November 2013

A Thought for the Biggest Shopping Day of the Year in the US

29 November 2013

There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.

Jane Austen

A Short History of Self-Help, The World’s Bestselling Genre

29 November 2013

From Publishing Perspectives:

Self-help has been around for thousands of years, and it has been loved and hated for just as long. The earliest progenitor of self-help books was an Ancient Egyptian genre called “Sebayt,” an instructional literature on life (“Sebayt” means “teaching”). A letter of advice from father to son, The Maxims of Ptahotep, written circa 2800 B.C., advocated moral behavior and self-control. Ancient Greek texts offered meditations, aphorisms, and maxims on the best ways to live.

During the Early Middle Ages, Middle Ages, and Renaissance, Mirror-of-Princes books told stories of kings whose behavior should be imitated or avoided.

. . . .

During the 1600 and 1700s, Conduct books told men how to behave in polite society, and were popular in Italy, France, and England. In France, they were known as “savoir vivre” books. Historian Jacques Carre argues, “their spirit was lost, and only a mechanical application of some isolated recommendations, supposed to procure immediate gentility, was proposed to the unsuspecting reader.” Topics covered included “Loathsome and Filthy Things,” “Blowing the Nose,” “Hair Cut Round Like a Bowl-Dish,” and “Beards of a Frightful Length.”

. . . .

In 1913, GK Chesterson wrote a screed against the popularity of books telling people how to succeed. “They are books showing men how to succeed in everything,” he wrote; “they are written by men who cannot even succeed in writing books.” Chesterson concludes his very entertaining diatribe with the following wish: “At least, let us hope that we shall all live to see these absurd books about Success covered with a proper derision and neglect.”

. . . .

Many of the most ancient self help texts are still in print. Sun Zsu’s The Art of War, an ancient Chinese military treatise is popular among American businessmen; Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations is a bestseller in contemporary China. Self-help books created from one culture can be just as popular in another: Wayne Dyer is popular in the Netherlands. The Secret (by the Australian author Rhonda Byrne) is a bestseller in Iran.

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives

Amazon: Sunday Deliveries Will Be Ready For Christmas (In London)

29 November 2013

From The Huffington Post:

Amazon has confirmed that it will begin delivering on Sundays in London in time for Christmas.

. . . .

“As part of our Amazon Logistics programme we work with local and regional carriers from across the capital who will be making deliveries every day of the week for the remainder of the festive period.”

Link to the rest at The Huffington Post

How to write 50,000 words in a month

29 November 2013

From The Guardian:

The letters shine brightly, white on black, from an open laptop placed prominently in the window of an Irish sports bar facing Madison Square Garden: NaNoWriMo. Inside, a crowd of perhaps 40 people, young women and men in casual dress, are drinking beer and conversing loudly. The discussion, predictably, is dominated by issues of plot, character and writer’s block, for this is the first New York City social of 2013’s National Novel Writing Month.

NaNoWriMo – even the acronym suggests writing in a hurry, and no wonder: the objective of those taking part is to complete a novel of at least 50,000 words in the course of November. What is written seems of less concern than how much; after all, as one of the project’s gurus puts it: “The path to quality is quantity.” Participants are encouraged to download specially designed word-count widgets to create graphic displays of their progress. Completed manuscripts can be submitted to the organisation, which, to forestall any anxiety (or perhaps hope) that they might be read, jumbles the words automatically before counting them. A certificate is sent to those who hit the quota in the allotted time.

. . . .

Anything resembling artistic pretension is confidently eschewed by NaNoWriMo. The organisation’s logo comprises a heraldic shield featuring quatrains with bold drawings of crossed pens, a laptop, a sheaf of paper, and a steaming cup of coffee, all topped, incongruously, by a Viking helmet. The prevalent aesthetic – particularly when displayed on the range of sweatshirts and hoodies it offers for sale – is more sports club than literary salon.

. . . .

“If you want to hit the word target,” he explains to me, “you have to lock away your inner editor.” I say I can see that, and marvel openly at the speed at which participants must write: “What is it?” I hesitate, trying to do the maths, “2,000 words a day?” “1,667,” Andy corrects me. “But some people can produce much more. Quite a few write two novels in the month; one guy even turned in 500,000 words.” I whistle incredulously at the vastness of this accomplishment; Andy honours it with a nod and a deep draft of Anchor Steam. “I can’t compete with that,” he shrugs, placing his beer back on the table and holding up both hands with fingers bent to form crooked claws: “T-rex typist.”

Andy brings over Claire, who tells me she works from home as a freelance content manager for an educational website. I ask what her novel is about. “It’s sort of a sci-fi story, set in a post-economic collapse.” She looks past me as she speaks. “But there’s mystery and fantasy elements, as well,” she adds quickly, in a way that suggests she believes the range of genres may add value to the project. This isn’t her first shot at NaNoWriMo. Last year she wrote a “zombie apocalypse” novel and she’s written others, too, not just in November. I ask if she has ever attempted to get them published. “No, not yet,” she smiles tersely. “I’m following the advice of Kristine Kathryn Rusch” – an Oregon-based writer who has published dozens of books under various pseudonyms. “She says you need to write a million words of crap before you can produce anything original. I’m still making my way through the crap.”

. . . .

[T]his short article has taken me several hours to write. Please don’t mention that to NaNoWriMo.

Link to the rest at The Guardian and thanks to Veronika for the tip.

Have an Idea for a Children’s Book? How to Get Started Writing

29 November 2013

From Working Writers and Bloggers:

Once you have an idea in mind for a children’s book, the hard part has just begun. Now it’s time to start writing, illustrating, and finding a publisher.

. . . .

The term “children’s book” can cover a wide age range, so once you have a topic, it’s important to establish the age for which you’ll be writing. Children’s books can be anything from one word or sentence per page, to short stories or novels. Keep the topic or plot in mind. Your idea may be inappropriate for younger readers, or too simple for older children.

. . . .

If you plan on including pictures in your book, sketch your ideas to give to the illustrator. If you’re illustrating the book yourself, it’s still a good idea to sketch out the pictures you’ll be including on each page.

Complete some extensive research on illustrators in your area. Each one may have a unique or individual style, so make sure they mesh well with the topic and audience. An established illustrator should have a portfolio you can view online before you take the time to reach out. Photography is another option if you don’t feel that illustrations would suit your book.

Link to the rest at Working Writers and Bloggers

My Writing Life: An Adventure

29 November 2013

From author Patricia C. Wrede:

You are standing in a hallway at nine in the morning, facing a dining room/kitchen to the south. To the west are stairs up. To the north is an office.

Your head feels rather fuzzy.

>Go north

You are standing in a cluttered office, full of paper, books, and office supplies. There is a desk here. There is a chair here. There is a cat here.

The cat jumps onto the chair and looks at you expectantly.

>Sit in chair

You can’t sit in the chair; there’s already a cat in it.

>Pet cat

The cat purrs.

>Pet cat

The cat purrs. It doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

You are standing in a cluttered office, full of paper, books, and office supplies. There is a desk here. There is a chair here. There is a cat sitting in the chair.

>Squint at desk

The desk contains a computer, a cordless phone, a printer/scanner, three DVDs loaned to you by friends, an overdue library book, a pencil holder full of pens, a cookbook, and a stack of papers.

>Leave office

Hey! Where are you going?

>I can’t deal with this right now.

Oh, all right. You are standing in a hallway. To the south is a dining room/kitchen. To the west are stairs up. To the north is an office.

Your head still feels rather fuzzy.

>Go south

Link to the rest at Patricia C. Wrede

PG says this is one of those posts you will either immediately recognize or will completely baffle you.

Thanksgiving – A Proclaimation

28 November 2013

October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States

A Proclamation

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United Stated States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

Abraham Lincoln

T’was the night of Thanksgiving

28 November 2013

T’was the night of Thanksgiving,
But I just couldn’t sleep.
I tried counting backwards,
I tried counting sheep.
The leftovers beckoned,
The dark meat and white.
But I fought the temptation,
With all of my might.
Tossing and turning,
with anticipation.
The thought of a snack
became infatuation.
So I raced to the kitchen,
Flung open the door,
And gazed at the fridge,
Full of goodies galore.
I gobbled up turkey,
And buttered potatoes,
Pickles and carrots,
Beans and tomatoes.
I felt myself swelling,
So plump and so round.
‘til all of a sudden,
I rose off the ground.
I crashed through the ceiling,
Floating into the sky,
With a mouthful of pudding,
And a handful of pie.
But I managed to yell
As I soared past the trees
Happy eating to all,
Pass the cranberries, please!!
May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump.
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious,
May your pies take the prize
And May your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off of your thighs!


« Previous PageNext Page »