Monday, August 30, 2010

Printed Words and Musical Scores

Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on WritingReading Margaret Atwood's Negotiating with the Dead, A Writer on Writing I've come across some amazing thoughts. She says the printed word and musical scores have many similarities. It's not the words on the page that make the tale remembered it's how the author played a musician would play an instrument. They both find the song hidden in the notes or the story hidden in the words. So true.

Someone once said, and I paraphrase here,  it's not the musical notes played that make the tune, it's the spaces between those notes, the pauses, and my step father was quick to say it's not the printed word but what is written between the lines that we need to read.  The author crafts his tale the way he hears them in his head using words as his musical notes, his song in 3/4 time or 4/4 beat.

Elsewhere, Atwood, when speaking of duplicity as she claims all writers are - two different people, "Wanting to meet the author because you like his work is like wanting to meet a duck because you like pate." The person is not the author and vice versa. I tend to agree with that somewhat, my characters come from my mind but they are not necessarily about me personally. I didn't rob a bank to write about robbery, I didn't murder someone to write about murder...I didn't own an antique store as my current accidental sleuth does, or a cafe as the sleuth in another of my books does...I was never a rodeo clown or bronc rider, yet all of these are a part of the me on the page. Duplicity, a slippery eel, not even identical twins but more like Siamese twins I'm afraid. Joined together but not the same, nor do they necessarily think the same or look the same.

There is more to ponder on this, but I'm so enjoying Margaret Atwood, I wonder why I haven't found her before.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Negativity and The Butterfly

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
-- Eleanor Roosevelt
Positive Focus will create the life that you want to live!

Negative people are like human black holes. They drain your energy. They keep you from reaching your goals. They stop your life!
Brian Tracy...

And this is so true. It seems negativity spreads at the speed of light while happiness has to be sought out and captured on the run - well perhaps chasing happiness is wrong, maybe we need to stand still and allow it to come to the butterfly.   Your thoughts?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What Characters Can do For Your Fiction

It is said that fiction is life dressed up for a party and the writer controls the guest list. You can invite anyone, any type character you need or want into your story.

That makes writing a lot like acting--well, you see you, the writer, gets to play all the parts. Isn't that grand being behind the steering wheel all the time.

We think we are anyway. Sometimes, characters will jump in and just take over the ship - If you try to force them to go your way several things could happen.
1. You could alienate your readers because the story might not ring true to what your character would do in this situation you created.
2. You could wind up telling the wrong story and find yourself left blocked and never finishing the tale at all or it will not be the tale you are destined to tell.
3. Why fight it, go along with your character, at least until you see where s/he is heading. It may be a direction you never planned, but it may well be a better direction, a better what if. Try it!

When you create each character in your head you manufacture just enough details, enough information so that your reader can form his character to people your story that fits his mind or idea of the character. You will both be right...and it involves your reader.

Someone once said, "If your characters are having more fun than you, your on the right track." So roll out the red carpet and let your characters have a ball.
Writing WideWriting Wide: Exercises in Creative Writing or Writing Wider, More Exercises in Creative Writing

Monday, August 23, 2010

See Steve Ostrow in action.

If you've enjoyed the book review, but want more --here is a video link for you to see and hear Steve in action. - He turns his Printed Words into action.
Please be sure to check out his book it is a treasure trove of resources for every consumer and his style is a delight.
How To Sue A Telemarketer
When you are in the middle of writing that blockbuster novel or dynamite article you don't need to be interrupted by a telemarketer. Take action Steve can help. Click on the link above to buy his book. You'll be glad you did.

How To Sue A Telemarketer...

How to Sue A Telemarketer,
A Manual for Restoring Peace on Earth One Phone Call At a Time
Stephen I. Ostrow, Esq. and Ozmo Kramer
Reviewed by Billie A Williams

"Getting upset over a telephone call seems nitpicky. One termite is not a problem; left unchecked, better all the exterminator."

Tongue in cheek and a bit irreverent at times, How To Sue a Telemarketer combines strong ideas, and at times, strong language, with a clear and decisive call to action required by the reader. Lead, pushed and challenged to hit the telemarketer between the eyes for the interrupted dinner hour this book provides you with all the tools necessary to reclaim the peaceful family time without the unwanted interruption of the telemarketer.

From do not call lists to what telemarketers can legally do Ostrow and Kramer cover it all. A telemarketing worksheet is provided for you to be certain to get what you need to get from the telemarketer. From how to get the process rolling—to what forms you need to have in place before you arrive in court, you have it all in this reader-friendly, compact book.

In the appendix Ostrow and Kramer provide a complete Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) so that you can see for yourself what is protected and what is allowed in this telemarketing drama. Several of the forms that you will need to proceed with your plan to sue the telemarketer are also included.

Ostrow and Kramer provide a list of things that the telemarketer can be sued for – it’s not a blanket ruling that if someone telemarkets to you they can automatically be sued – if you are on the no-call list some telemarketers can still legally call you, but there are things you can do to stop them.

It’s not often you will find lawyer and humor in the same sentence let alone in a how to book, but this book offers them both. Sound legal advice from a couple of lawyers as well as it being presented with enough humor to take the edge off even the angriest consumer march to court.

An enjoyable read – and sure to give you a leg up on how to proceed when once again you are pestered while attempting to enjoy a quiet family dinner.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Organic Printing - you've heard of Organic Gardening -- Well...

 How About Green Printing? Shel Horowitz is the master of green -- Comments welcome.

Seven Weeks to A Greener Business
Week 1: Green Printing
By Shel Horowitz

Permission to Publish: As long as the biographical slug is
included unedited (or edits cleared with the author), permission
is freely given to republish and repost, in whole or in part. The
slug must be included.

HADLEY, MA: Printing is one of the easiest places to go more
Green in your business, whether creating documents on your own
office printers and copiers or buying commercial printing

In your own office:
•       Switch to duplexing printers, and train staff to print on
both sides of the page.
•       Buy only recycled printer/copier paper, with a high
percentage of post-consumer.
•       Use draft mode to consume less toner.
•       Consider, before printing, whether reading on screen is good
enough—do you really need a paper copy?
•       Rather than ordering (and then wasting) quantities of
letterhead, design electronic letterhead you can incorporate into
your document so it automatically prints each time you need it.

When buying printing services:
•       Specify recycled or FSC-certified paper.
•       Inquire about soy and vegetable inks.
•       Buy from a printer who is committed to eliminating or
reducing water pollution and paper waste.
•       Only print as much as you really need.

The primary author (with Jay Conrad Levinson) of the acclaimed
new book Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green,, Shel Horowitz is a marketing
and environmental consultant/speaker who helps businesses not
only go Green but also effectively market their Green commitment.
Emphasizing affordable, eco-friendly, and ethical approaches, he
has served clients across North America, Europe, and Asia. He is
the founder of the International Association of Earth-Conscious
Marketers and the Business Ethics Pledge. For a directory of all
his websites, please visit Reach him at
413-586-2388,, Twitter @ShelHorowitz

Accurate Writing & More, 16 Barstow Lane , Hadley, MA 01035, United States

Monday, August 9, 2010

Cardboard Characters?

If you are having trouble with your characters being flat and boring to your reader, you will certainly lose many that you could have called fans. "An attentive writer is midwife, nanny, uncle and undertaker to the story's characters." says Paul Raymond Martin in The Writer's Little Instruction Book. The title suggests there are 385 Secrets for Writing Well & Getting Published. and I certainly agree.

You must remember that your characters best side is reflected in their reaction/action from the detritus of personal experience.  Their deepest emotions are the stuff of reader enjoyment. If you can remember how it felt when you tripped on stage as you picked up your High School diploma, or caught your heel in your prom gown and nearly exposed your...well let the imagination fill in the blanks. Remembering your emotional reactions to certain situations are sure to give you methods and means to translate your characters emotions into real life for your reader. Don't squander that opportunity use it for all your worth. Create fallibly, memorable characters. Characters In Search of an Author could help you design that perfect mix of character and emotion.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Sinner's Guide To Confession

If that title doesn't peak your curiosity, what will? Phyllis Schieber takes us on a
sneak peak of her two outstanding books today.

A Sinner's Guide to Confessions
Kaye and Barbara are longtime friends, now in their fifties. Ellen, who is several years younger, develops a friendship with the other two women years later, solidifying this close-knit group. The three women are inseparable, yet each nurtures a secret that she keeps from the others.

Willing Spirits

Jane Hoffman and Gwen Baker, both teachers and in their forties, have a friendship that helps them endure. Years after Gwen is abandoned and left to raise two sons alone, she finds herself in love with a married man. After Jane is humiliated by her husband’s infidelity and Gwen must face her own uncertain path, the two women turn to each other. Now, as each is tested by personal crisis; Jane and Gwen face new challenges—as mothers, as daughters, as lovers. And in the process, they will learn unexpected truths about their friendship—and themselves.

To Young Women Everywhere
I came across a photograph of my friend Claire and I from the summer of 1969, the summer we spent touring Israel. I was sixteen, newly graduated from high school, and Claire was eighteen, almost nineteen.  Because I had skipped two grades, all of my friends were older. The photograph was taken at Eilat, Israel’s southern most city,  located at the northern tip of the Red Sea. Claire and I are horsing around in the water. I am perched on an inner tube, wearing a black and white bikini and a huge smile. I am trying to help Claire onto the tube as she struggles. She is also laughing. We look very happy. We had been camping on the beach for several days. It was incredibly beautiful. We were incredibly beautiful. When I stared at the photograph, I remembered my reaction when I first saw the photograph more than forty years ago. In those pre-digital days, you had to bring in the film and wait for the pictures to come back. I remember that I did not want anyone to see this particular picture because a little roll of fat was visible at my belly. I remember thinking that I looked so fat. I was always trying to hide some part of myself—my large breasts, my full thighs, my something, anything. I had a friend in graduate school who once told me that I look like a “Renaissance porno queen.” I laughed, but I did not want to look like that. I knew he meant it as a compliment, but I embarrassed by his observation. I should have been proud. What I would give today for that body… there are no words. And that is why I have a message for young women everywhere. I want you to look in the mirror and marvel at the tautness of your skin, the way your breasts stay high on your chests, and the lovely and luxuriant thickness of your hair. Stand naked in front of a mirror and appreciate your beauty, savor it, and celebrate it. It merits your appreciation.
These days I often think of all the times I was self-conscious about my appearance. I wanted to look like Claire. She was the perfect Sixties girl—tall and thin, long, straight, dark hair, and legs that began at her neck and just kept going. I had a crown of wild, curly hair. I also had a formidable chest, and curves that belonged on an older woman. It was a body that emerged when I was fourteen.  I bemoaned my appearance every time I allowed myself to take a peek at my naked body. My mother was adept at letting out the darts in blouses and dresses that were invariably tight. I straightened my hair, wore clothes that hid my full breasts, and dieted constantly, even though I was not fat (What I regret is not learning to exercise early in my life and taking something, anything into adulthood. Stand warned al you young beauties: exercise will prolong your beauty, and whether or not you believe me, you will be sorry if you don’t learn to exercise now). I also I wanted to look like Twiggy or Cher, the role models for
If I could go back to those years, I would flaunt my voluptuousness with abandon. I would never have straightened my hair (I used a horrible smelling product, Curl Free that made my hair coarse and lifeless. At night I would pull my hair up into a ponytail, roll it backwards onto an empty frozen juice can and secure it with long, metal clips. For good measure, I often ironed my hair on the ironing board, using my mother’s iron and a damp towel. My poor mother would monitor this process, fearful that I would set myself on fire!), and I would have looked more kindly on my body instead of wishing for thinner thighs, longer legs, and smaller breasts. The good news is that I have finally come of age. I am the woman I wanted to be then. It is true that my body has not followed suit, but I am comfortable with myself, a remarkable achievement. I practice yoga six times a week, whether I want to or not. And I ride a stationary bike at least three times a week. I’m working on that one.  I write about women like myself. We are friends, and wives, and mothers, daughters, and sisters. The women in my novels, WILLING SPIRITS and THE SINNER”S GUIDE TO CONFESSION are also the woman I am still becoming. I am ever mindful of how times passes, how much I have yet to do, and how grateful I am that I no longer straighten my hair. Of course, I am still critical of body, but I express that criticism with gentleness and humor. I know who I once was, and I know who I am now. It was good then, and it’s better now.

Sinners Guide to Confession and Willing Spirits virtual tour. To learn more about the tour, visit You can also learn more about Phyllis Schieber and her books at

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Please Join Us Tomorrow for a Special Event

Phyllis Schieber is an awesome woman with much to tell you. Her books The Sinner's Guide to Confession and Willing Spirits are not to be missed. Stop by tomorrow to find out more.