Benefits of Writers’ Groups

Are you a writer? Are you a member of a writers’ group? You should be…unless you can’t find one locally that suits your needs.

What are the benefits of a writers’ group?

1) You learn a lot about writing and the writing business.

2) You become exposed to the writings of others.

3) You gain support with your writing because let’s face it, writing is a solitary activity, and it’s difficult to always get the inner strength to support your writing.

4) You become inspired by just talking about writing and rush home with a million ideas in your head that you can’t wait to get down on paper.

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A Promise of Spring

The rain predicted for Friday afternoon arrived as snow. The low temperatures meant it stuck around, and Saturday’s showers were flurries.

Freezing temperatures aren’t entirely horrible. They turn mud into solid ground, which translates into less slipping and sliding and dirty boots.

Below zero Celsius temperatures also mean those nasty parasites that dwell on top of the soil and in short grass will die, making the pastures safer places for our goats. Goat safety is high on our priority list.

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Diane the Writer

I’ve been off now for eleven days. Each day brings a new challenge, a new chore and thoughts of getting back into what I love to do: writing, blogging and publishing.

It feels like I’ve been away for ever; that I’ve lived in a different body in another world. I had not written one word of fiction since the end of March. This is so unlike me.

But it was necessary to complete the commitment I had made to an employer so many months ago. Although I loved my job, by the middle of summer, it had exhausted me. That’s what seasonal jobs do; you work long hours almost every day because everyone knows it doesn’t last forever.

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Update on Canada Tax Information with the United States

Something amazing happened during my seven-month hiatus away from writing: the tax worries and hassles that plagued writing entrepreneurs in Canada had eased. In fact, it’s so darn easy now that no one—absolutely no one—has an excuse for not completing the tax form to prevent the IRS from claiming 30% of your royalties from your books.

More than a month ago, CreateSpace sent a message to update my tax information. I meant to take care of it, but like many things since March, it got lost in the chaos of life. The deadline came and went, but fortunately CreateSpace—who really wants my business—extended the deadline.

If I didn’t update my tax information, I would no longer be able to sell through CreateSpace. They certainly didn’t want that to happen, so a grace period of thirty days was awarded. This time I took advantage of the notice and stayed up late one night to see what the fuss was all about.

The questions were straight forward and easy to answer: Was I a US citizen? Did I have a business in the US? Etc.

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In the Village: EBSNS supporting young artists

Originally posted on Libby Schofield, Author:

“Think of the long trip home. Should we have stayed home and thought of here? Where should we be today?”
― Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop is one of those poets few people know about, but there’s no particular reason she isn’t a household name. A writer who went on to earn international acclaim, she spent some of her childhood living with her grandparents in Great Village, NS. I’m not entirely sure why every Nova Scotian isn’t yelling her name from the rooftops, but Great Village is one place where Bishop is praised and raised proudly to the lips of many of the people I’ve talked to.

I first became involved with the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia (EBSNS) three years ago when I entered their writing contest for the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Festival, celebrating the poet’s 100th birthday in 2011. The contest revolved around the theme of home, an homage to…

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MIA Somewhere in Nova Scotia

April seems so far away yet it was only four short months ago. Since April 2nd I’ve worked non-stop…practically every day; in some cases twice a day for two different employers. When I set out to find a part time job this spring, I had no idea I’d end up working fifty to sixty hours a week and using seven to eight and a half hours of my week driving to and from work.

That chews up a lot of life…a lot of writing time.

The only writing I’ve accomplished in the past four months is a few blog posts and my weekly genealogy column. I attempted to edit a short thirty thousand-word novel but failed when my weary schedule got the best of me.

Now with my seasonal job slowing down slightly, I am more likely to get two days off, which means I work only 45 to 48 hours a week. This gives me time to tend to the garden, start a new pasture for the goats and upgrade the chicken coop…but it doesn’t allow me time to absorb myself into fiction writing, which is what I need to accomplish anything.

On the bright side, my job ends in October, leaving me all winter to write, edit and catch up on many things I’ve missed.

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Scrivener vs MS Word Posts

Soap DishI came upon two posts today discussing Scrivener. This is a word processing program that is aimed at writers. Some writers have embraced the program while others find the learning curve too steep to bother with.

If you’re me, you simply prefer one over the other. I didn’t want to spend more time learning a program to replace a program I already knew well and gain very little benefit. So opted to stick with Word. Scrivener appeared too disjointed for the way I see the world.

Also, the many things people praise Scrivener for are things I’ve already learned to do in MS Word. Except it was easier to figure out in Word.

The first post today comes from The Book Designer: Scrivener, Is it Really Worth the Bother?

This is actually a post leading up to a post for a later date to explain how the author solved his issues with Scrivener. You see, the author didn’t exactly embrace Scrivener either. The reason: too steep of a learning curve. I could write a book for the amount of time it would take me to learn Scrivener.

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Goodreads Giveaway Ends Today

If you haven’t entered the Goodreads Giveaway for Fowl Summer Nights, today is your last chance. The giveaway ends tonight at midnight (not sure which time zone). So far 491 people have entered.

UPDATE (7:00 pm, Nova Scotia time): With just nine hours to go, there are now 632 names entered in the giveaway.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Fowl Summer Nights by Diane Lynn McGyver

Fowl Summer Nights

by Diane Lynn McGyver

Giveaway ends April 11, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

The Great E-book Pricing Question

Diane Tibert:

Pricing is always something self-published authors must give great thought to. David does a great job of explaining how you should go about it.

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

soulsale There’s more guff written about pricing than almost anything else, resulting in an extremely confusing situation for new self-publishers. I often see them pricing too low or too high, and the decision is rarely made the right way, i.e. ascertaining their goals and pricing accordingly.

Price/value confusion

Before we get to the nuts-and-bolts, it’s time to slay a zombie meme. Much of the noise on this issue springs from conflating two concepts, namely price and value.

Authors often say something like, “My book is worth more than a coffee.” Or publishers might say, “A movie costs $10 and provides two hours of entertainment. Novels provide several times that and should cost more than $9.99.”

Price and value are two different things. From Wikipedia:

Economic value is not the same as market price. If a consumer is willing to buy a good, it implies that the customer places a higher value…

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The Intricate World of CreateSpace Royalties

I’ve got this nagging peeve that I wanted to use my page here to beef about. It has to do with the royalty payment structure Createspace uses with Canadian authors. I find it quite unfair.

The situation is this: When a Canadian author self publishes a paperback version of their book with Createspace, we aren’t given the option for Direct Deposit for royalties accumulated. Our only option is to be paid by cheque…and their is a HUGE drawback. Royalties paid to Direct Deposit accounts are paid soon after royalties accrue past ten dollars, pounds, euros, depending on the currency books were purchased in.

…to read more of this blog post, visit D. G. Kaye’s site and read her post CreateSpace for Self-publishing and Sticky Royalty Payments for Canadian Authors.

Certain Amazon has not made it easy for Canadians to collect royalties from sales. We can only hope CreateSpace goes the way of Kindle and allows Canadians to have Direct Deposit.

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Monthly Roundup of Accomplishments

Monthly Roundup of AccomplishmentsMarch was a long, busy month. I can’t say I’m sad to see it go. It has never been my favourite month.

The biggest accomplishment in March was the publication of my novella Fowl Summer Nights on March 15th. It is now available through several outlets in both paperback and eBook. This strikes off another goal in my 2014 Challenge Stories I Hope to Publish.

Here are other tasks I accomplished during the 31 days.

I wrote 6 posts for this blog.

I wrote and edited four Roots to the Past genealogy columns. Besides the usual Tuesday snippet of the current week’s newspaper column, I added 3 posts written by me to Roots to the Past blog.

The Perfect Pedigree Chart
How to Record Major Life Changes
Across the Vastness of Ocean and Space

I planned and executed my first virtual book launch. The launch for Fowl Summer Nights took place March 28th on Quarter Castle Publishing’s Facebook page.

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Virtual Book Launch Winners

Book LaunchYesterday I launched Fowl Summer Nights on Quarter Castle Publishing’s Facebook Page. Anyone who shared the event, Liked the Quarter Castle Publishing page, Liked a comment or left a comment had their name entered into a draw.

The first name drawn won a paperback copy of Fowl Summer Nights.* The winner was Cathy MacKenzie.

The second name drawn won an eBook copy of Fowl Summer Nights. The winner was Pat D’Entremont.

Congratulations Cathy and Pat. I’ll be in touch.

If you were not a winner and would like another chance to get a free copy, check out the Goodreads Giveaway. The deadline is April 11, 2014.

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Fowl Summer Nights Virtual Book Launch

Book LaunchThe virtual book launch for my novella Fowl Summer Nights is taking place today at Quarter Castle Publishing’s Facebook page.

Pop over to see what’s going on. You might win a book!

If you Share the event and either Like a status or leave a comment, your name is entered into a draw to win an eBook copy or paperback copy of Fowl Summer Nights.

During the virtual launch, I’ll post the following news:

Goodreads Giveaway: Enter to win a paperback copy of Fowl Summer Nights through Goodreads. Deadline: April 11, 2014.

Free Promotion on Kindle: To celebrate the launch of Fowl Summer Nights, the short stories The Man Who Reads Obituaries, Mutated Blood Lines and Dancing in the Shine are available for free at Amazon (Kindle). The links to these promotions are found at the launch.

A short time ago, I posted a video of me reading from Fowl Summer Nights. I’ll talk about the making of the video in a future blog post. For someone who’d rather be behind the camera instead of in front of it, this video was a real challenge. I learned a lot, however, so I’ll be able to apply the knowledge to future projects.

To participate in the book launch visit Quarter Castle Publishing.

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Book Review: Shadows in the Stone!

Diane Tibert:

I’d like to share a wonderful review by Libby Schofield for “Shadows in the Stone”. Thank you, Libby. I’m so happy you enjoyed the boy. The characters are dear to my heart.

Originally posted on Libby Schofield, Author:

Hello, internet! It’s been a while (once again) since I’ve stopped by, and I’ve really fallen behind on reading all the wonderful blogs I follow. With today’s snow day (snow week?) I thought I’d catch up on some things.

Back in January, Diane Lynn McGyver was kind and generous enough to give me a copy of her debut novel Shadows in the Stone (Quart Castle Publishing, 2012) to review. I feel awful that it has taken me so long to get around to it, but here I am!

Corporal Bronwyn Darrow is an honour-driven, hard working young dwarf (and not a Tolkien-esque dwarf, either) who is dedicated to rising in the ranks of the Aruam Castle. When he comes to be the legal guardian of Isla, a hauflin child, he learns, among other things, that there is more to life than work and status. Alaura of Niamh, a young enchantress…

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Sony Reader Store Closes in Canada and US

New FlashToday while checking to see if my novella Fowl Summer Nights had been listed on Sony Reader Store, I discovered the outlet had closed its doors on March 20, 2014.

Sony announced in early February that Reader Store in the U.S. and Canada will close on March 20, 2014, and transfer customers to Toronto-based eReading company, Kobo. We will send an email in late March with instructions on how to transfer to Kobo.

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Publishing 101: Get Ready to Upload

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 Days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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Once you have the interior and cover formatted and saved in PDF, it’s time to upload to CreateSpace.

If this is your first encounter with CreateSpace, you’ll need to set up an account. It takes only a few minutes, a few pieces of information, a password and username. CreateSpace is a division of Amazon. It’s a Print on Demand (POD) service that will print paperback books (both children’s books and novels; both full-colour interior and black and white interior).

After you sign into your account, go to the Member Dashboard (in the drop-down menu under My Account). Here you’ll see the list of books you’re both working on and published. You can navigate your books to find or change information by clicking the title. The Member Dashboard is also where you Add a New Title.

Adding a new title takes only a few minutes when the interior and cover PDFs are ready. Here is the information you’ll need to enter:

  • Project Title
  • Type of Project: Paperback (because CreateSpace also creates Audio CDs, MP3s, DVDs and Video)

Set up Process (Until you get used to adding new titles, choose Guided)

Click Get Started

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Why Everyone Loves Loki

Loki 5x5I just spent ten days with three young children on spring break. The weather outside was frightful…at times, so we were cooped up inside most of the week. Besides the usual errands, project writing and cooking adventures, those children of Midgard kept busy watching their favourite movie series of superheroes. They even invited stray children from other households to join them in a movie fest of mammoth proportions.

Between explosions, realm hopping and fighting to save Midgard (for those uninformed beings: Earth) emanating from the livingroom, I heard laughter and impressive one-liners. I discovered the Midgardians sprawled across the chesterfields gripping half-eaten bowls of chips, Cheesies and popcorn not only liked the evil guy named Loki, but they adored him. They thought he was just as great as the superheroes who were saving the planet.

This piqued my curiosity. Why did they love this Loki guy? What did he possess? Charisma? Charm? Awesome power? A brave and loyal steed?

Evil doers were supposed to be disliked, perhaps even hated. Movie-goers are supposed to cheer when the bad guy goes down, but not the Midgardians in my house. They instead cheered him on, laughed at his expressions and repeated his dialogue until it echoed in my head for days later: “Mmm, Brother, you look ravishing!”

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Virtual Book Launch: Fowl Summer Nights

The launch will take place at Quarter Castle Publishing’s Facebook page.

Poster

Publishing 101: Formatting the Interior

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 Days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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There are several options available to format the interior of a paperback book. They include:

  1. Hiring someone to format it for you
  2. Purchasing a preformatted template
  3. Formatting from scratch in a word processing program
  4. Using one of CreateSpace’s templates

I’ll briefly describe the top three and then provide more information about the option I chose.

Hiring someone to format your novel

This may be the easiest method for individuals who are not software savvy or who do not want to take the time to learn how to format the interior of the book themselves. The increased popularity of self-publishing has created a demand for this service, so it’s much easier now to locate someone to format your manuscript than it was fifteen years ago.

Formatting prices depend on the size of the project (word count and complexity of text) and the individual offering the service. I’ve seen it as low as $35, but that was a few years ago.

Formatters can be found by searching the web. You can also post the job to eLance and choose the bidder that best suits your project.

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The Book Thief

Diane Tibert:

SPOILER ALERT: The complete story line is revealed in this wonderful post, so if you plan to watch the movie, don’t read this. I don’t expect to see the movie for a few years, and will have forgotten the details, so it does me no harm.

- Diane Tibert

Originally posted on Stephen Liddell:

Yesterday I went to the cinema as I often do on a Tuesday morning, one of the benefits of working from home.  Usually the cinema is empty with the staff outnumbering the movie-goers but not yesterday.

The cinema is exactly 12 minutes walk away and there are usually 15 minutes of trailers before the film starts so I cut things fine and leave home about 2 minutes before the trailers start as there aren’t many variables on the way.  This time though there was a small queue of people buying tickets and when I made it into the auditorium of the screening I was seeing, there was around 20 people inside.  20 people at 11am?  ‘Why isn’t everyone at work?’ I wondered.  I pondered how unusual it was just in before the film started, it was The Book Thief.

The film is based on a best-selling book by Markus Zusak…

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