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Tuesday Snippets

Tuesday Snippets

I had a tremendously busy week last week and when I mean busy, I mean successfully busy, not one of those weeks where everything sucked because you couldn’t get anything done. I finished revising The Immersion Principle and put it back up on sale. It details a process I developed a long time ago to help me change things in my personal life. I’m currently using it again because I’ve drastically altered the way I’m eating.

This week I am doing the second draft of a book I just finished. It’s a story that absolutely fascinated me. I love when I get a plot in the middle of the night or the characters pop into my mind. This story unfolded for me as I wrote it. It’s unlike anything have written before, which means it’s a cross between a paranormal, a romance, and something else – maybe a mystery. The cast of characters are wonderful – at least in my humble opinion.

I’m trying to decide on a couple of strange things. One – videos. Yep, videos. As you know, I’m a card carrying introvert – except for this blog. However, I decided that it would be a good thing for me to venture out of my little shell. I have an intense dislike of Facebook, but I have signed up to mewe.com. I’d never heard of it before and know nothing about it. I have a Gab account and a Minds account but I hardly ever go there, let alone post. I don’t do anything on Twitter anymore and it’s funny because I’m blue checked on both Facebook and Twitter. Evidently, the checkmark is a big deal. Who knew? I’ll decide in a little while. Or you just might see a video from me.

Stanley has a new habit that he started last week when I was diligently glued to the monitor except for exercising an hour every day. He doesn’t necessarily want to take a nap, he just jumps up on my chair to be with me. I’ve started to give him full body massages so most of the time he wants a massage. He gets into position which is sprawled across my lap. When I finish on one side of his body he’ll flop over so I can get to the other side. I think I’ve created a monster.

I’m sending out some books this week – just to some random people. I’ll explain that later. So, if you get something in the mail, surprise!

Things I Don’t Understand

Things I Don’t Understand

That’s probably not a good blog post title, because there are a million things I don’t understand. Let’s narrow this topic down to books, writing, and authors.

By the way, I use writers more than authors. The word authors sounds pretentious to me. Like someone in a silk blouse with a limp bow declaring, “I am an auteur,” in a haughty voice. Well, la di da.

Anyway, back to the topic. Amazon sent me a recommendation for a book to read the other day. It was a book on writing by a woman who had only written one book – the book on writing. Okay. She had never written a novel, but she knew all about how NOT to do it. Sometimes, the perspective from an outsider looking in is a good one and can yield some insightful recommendations. However, in my humble opinion, writing is different. It’s like someone on the ground telling a trapeze artist how to feel for the wire and how to anticipate his partner. You kinda/sorta have to have walked a little in the moccasins of a writer in order to understand the process.

The other day I happened onto an essay written by a woman who wanted to tell all her fellow authors that she was, well, better than they were. She had a more literary mind. Her prose was superlative because it harkened back to the giants of yesteryear. She had schooled herself to appreciate the finer points of language and the classics. She knew form and function.

She had written one book.

In case you were wondering – they were two separate people. Writers who are evidently above the fray. All of us other hoi polloi writers, down in the trenches, can’t compare.

Rolling my eyes, shaking my head, while muttering two words under my breath (and they aren’t happy birthday). 🙂

The Writer’s Journey – a Rant

The Writer’s Journey – a Rant

There’s a new plagiarism scandal happening. It involves a woman who is independently published. I have no intention of mentioning her name. I don’t want to give her any more publicity. In the links I have below, you can follow up with more information and they divulge her name and other pertinent details.
 
I think there are about twenty-eight authors (including Nora Roberts) whose work has been plagiarized. Again, you can find the information on the links I’ve listed.
 
I’ve been fighting piracy since the first e-book was produced. For a number of years I fought it every day, giving two hours a day to the effort of trying to protect my books. I involved my intellectual property attorney and used DMCA rules to take down sites where they were sharing free copies of my books to 10,000 of their closest friends. Sometimes, when I successfully won a battle with a certain forum, the members of the forum would then post 10 to 15 links to my books, each one containing ten mirror sites.
 
I did a lot of crying, but I never gave up. I got a certain reputation for being tenacious as hell. I also put up some bogus books, just to try and trap – successfully – other pirates.
I now employ two very successful pirate hunting companies to do daily work for me. It isn’t cheap, but I pay them gladly.
 
Piracy is theft, pure and simple. People have tried to explain that piracy is publicity. What a load of crap. Other people have tried to explain that it’s like whack a mole, the more you successfully pull down, the more goes up. That’s true, for a certain time, until they get the idea that you’re not going away, that you’re tenacious as hell, that you will fight for your work, and that you consider piracy theft.
 
Strangely enough, a great many authors will tell you not to bother about piracy. Obscurity is the problem, they’ll say. Not piracy. What a load of crap, part two. Yet the same authors who will willingly allow their work to be stolen are having hissy fits about plagiarism.
 
I don’t see a difference, frankly. One is theft on a mammoth scale. The other is not only stealing your work, it’s taking credit for it. They’re both theft.
 
God help the person who steals from me. They’re going to need the Cloak of Invisibility.
 
For the last five years it is my sincere belief that Amazon has done everything in their power to reward cheats and thieves. The system of Kindle Unlimited as designed rewards those who pad their books, produce a new book frequently, and game the system. There are numerous examples of how to do it. The result is that fortunes can be made by scam artists. Trust me, they come out of the woodwork just like the whack a mole pirates. However, in Amazon’s case, they don’t banish them. They reward them.
 
There are algorithms in place to make a book more visible if the author generates a new book often. That encourages people to either write a new book every month or use Fivr or other ghost writing conglomerates. The forum for Kindle authors actively promotes ghost writing manuscripts available for $200 for a 70,000 words book and as little as $30 for a collection of short stories.
 
Using ghostwriters is the excuse of the latest plagiarist. She blames the ghostwriters for plagiarizing. What a load of crap, part three.
 
Unfortunately, most of these scams happen in romance because romance sells better than any other genre.
 
I don’t have any answers. All I can tell you is that if there is a way for people to cheat, some people will cheat. What’s doubly insulting is when someone steals from you and then calls herself an author. Jeesh.
 
I don’t buy other people’s words. I create my own.
 
Neither do I play in a playground where the games are rigged. That’s why I don’t participate in Kindle Unlimited. Once upon a time I did, but once I learned how unfair and how rigged everything was, I pulled all my books out.
 
In this new scandal I blame Amazon as well as the greed of unscrupulous people. They hurt other people – writers – and they don’t care. Nothing will make them care. Not chastising them. Not publicly shaming them. Not appealing to their better nature – if they have one. Amazon has made it worth their while and I don’t think anything is going to change anytime soon. Oh, this kerfuffle will blow over and a new one will take it’s place in a week or so. Or a month or so. Or however long it takes to catch the newest plagiarist.
 
Being a writer isn’t an easy occupation. It’s been made even more difficult in the past ten years. You feel like you’re fighting on all fronts and sometimes you are.
 
Twitter hashtag: #copypastecris (and, as you know, you don’t have to belong to Twitter to read tweets.) 
Courtney Milan is one of the authors whose work has been stolen. Here’s her blog filled with information: http://www.courtneymilan.com/ramblings/
Too Much Salt Kills the Broth

Too Much Salt Kills the Broth

It is a fact that, when writing descriptions, less is more. If you overload your descriptions with too many adjectives and pile them on, the reader’s eyes glaze over. I’m one of those readers who mutters,” Oh, for heaven’s sake,” and skips whole paragraphs or even pages.

I once read three paragraphs at the beginning of a book about the moon. The author was in love with moonrise and she just couldn’t shut up.

I just couldn’t continue.

Another funny thing is the F word. It has the effect of making words and even thoughts disappear. Too many F words in a paragraph and your eyes glaze over and you come to the conclusion that there isn’t a cogent – or sane – thought in the entire paragraph.

Most people, however, who use the F word liberally think that it peppers their words, gives emphasis to their ideas, and makes people pay attention.

It does the exact opposite.

It’s like salting a good broth too much. It ruins it.

Once More Into the Breach, Y’all

Once More Into the Breach, Y’all

I’ve always maintained that I’m not a programmer, developer, or coder. I haven’t a clue what I’m doing in the back end of my website and prefer to NEVER go there. I don’t DO PhP and I don’t mess with CSS, either. (I was really proud of myself when I finally got HTML, but wouldn’t you know, I hardly deal with HTML.)

I use the Genesis framework for WordPress to run my website. Genesis makes everything easier for coders, developers, and programmers and is very security conscious. If you’re not a coder, developer, or programmer you’re pretty much lost. My website has stayed the same for years because, well, I’m pretty much lost. However, I just discovered that I could change from the Genesis framework and Genesis child themes and go to something a heck of a lot more user friendly.

Color me thrilled.

I finished the book on Christmas night, so it has been put away for awhile to percolate. I don’t touch it during this time. My mind, however, is still thinking about it so I will be making notes to make sure I said certain things, or that character issues are spelled out, that descriptions are adequate, that sort of thing. January 15th I will start the final read of the book on my Kindle. I’ve already had the computer read it to me, so that’s done.

All of that frees me up to screw up my website to my heart’s content.

So, if you see things that look weird or broken, don’t panic. That’s just me messing everything up and hopefully having a wonderful time doing it. 🙂