Constructing Nonfiction Paragraphs

Constructing the ideal paragraph can be difficult. That’s why teachers start discussing the mechanics of it in elementary and continue right on through to grade 12. Solving the mystery behind paragraphs is a vital step in writing books.

A paragraph contains one subject only. This one subject is introduced in the first sentence, supported in the body and concluded in the final sentence.

  • The introduction sentence introduces the topic in a general manner.
  • The supporting sentences are where the meat of information is located. It contains specific facts.
  • The conclusion sentence wraps up the idea and summarizes the topic of the paragraph in a few words.

An Exercise for Creating a Nonfiction Paragraph

First Sentence: Introduce subject by answering: What is a chicken?

Points to Cover in the body of the paragraph:

  • Chickens are domesticated birds that lay eggs.
  • Female chickens are hens.
  • Male chickens are roosters.
  • Hens lay eggs.
  • What do they look like?

Last Sentence: Conclusion: And that’s what a chicken is.

Continue reading “Constructing Nonfiction Paragraphs”

Amazon’s New KDP Print Feature is Bad News for CreateSpace Users

The first news I heard about KDP Print was in an email from Amazon on February 15th. Since then, I’ve read articles, blog posts and comments about it and watched the praise given by Amazon for this service dwindle quickly.

In the email, Amazon announced they were making print book publishing easier for writers. They stated, “KDP prints your book on demand and subtracts your printing costs from your royalties, so you don’t have to pay any costs upfront or carry any inventory.”

That’s what CreateSpace does. Sort of. I believe CreateSpace takes the cost of the printing of the book from the sale price, then takes a cut of the royalties. Until I see the numbers and do the math, I am unsure which service will offer a better financial deal for authors.

The message also stated, “It also enables you to receive consolidated royalty payments for paperback and eBook sales. You can view combined reports and manage your print and eBook publishing from one website.”

Except, I’m okay with visiting two sites to get my sales reports. In fact, I prefer CreateSpace’s sales report much more than I do Kindle’s. Kindle’s is not straightforward and too clunky to find answers quickly.

Continue reading “Amazon’s New KDP Print Feature is Bad News for CreateSpace Users”

Halifax Chronicle Herald Buys Transcontinental Newspapers

This afternoon, I was informed Halifax Chronicle Herald purchased 28 publications (including one online) owned by Transcontinental. The CBC online article stated it bought all of their news outlets in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

As a genealogy columnist for The Citizen Record, Amherst, NS, I’m unsure of what the future holds for me and other freelance columnists.

During many changes years ago, Transcontinental presented columnists with a new contract that, if signed, would make their original contract with the publication null and void. I ignored the new contract, and they didn’t pester me to sign it. To this day, I work under the original contracts I signed when I began Roots to the Past in 2005. The purchase by Halifax Chronicle Herald may force me to do the unthinkable: end the column. That is, if they try to force me to sign a bad contract.

Continue reading “Halifax Chronicle Herald Buys Transcontinental Newspapers”

Canadian Authors and the Public Lending Rights Program

If you are a Canadian author with books published in Canada, you should ensure they are available to readers through the public library. There are many reasons why but in this post, I will focus on the Public Lending Rights (PLR) program and how it benefits Canadian authors.

I first learned about the Public Lending Rights program almost a decade ago from the late Jay Underwood. Although I had been writing for about a dozen years before that time, I had never heard another writer speak about the program and the benefits to authors.

What is the Public Lending Rights program?

From their website: “Each year millions of Canadians access books from their public libraries, free of charge. This free use we enjoy means that authors potentially lose revenues from sales of their books; readers who might otherwise buy a book can instead consult or borrow it from the library.

“The Canada Council’s Public Lending Right Program helps to address this inequity. Each year it distributes payments to authors to compensate them for the presence of their books in public libraries. The Program has grown steadily since it was established in 1986 and last year over $9.7 million was distributed among over 17,000 authors registered in the Program and the average payment to a registered individual was $568.”

What does it cost?

It is free to register books in the PLR program.

Continue reading “Canadian Authors and the Public Lending Rights Program”

Writer’s Income from Access Copyright

It’s that time of year again. It’s time to brush the dust off everything you had published in 2015 and claim it at Access Copyright.

Haven’t heard of Access Copyright? If you are a published Canadian writer, you should know about it.

What is Access Copyright?

From their website: “Access Copyright is a collective voice of creators and publishers in Canada. A non-profit, national organization, we represent tens of thousands of Canadian writers, visual artists and publishers, and their works.

“Through agreements with sister organizations around the world, we also represent the works of hundreds of thousands of foreign creators and publishers. This rich repertoire of content is highly valued by educators, students, researchers, corporate employees and others who need to copy and share content.”

What do they do?

Again, from their website: “We license the copying of this repertoire to educational institutions, businesses, governments and others. The proceeds gathered when content is copied, remixed and shared are passed along to the copyright-holders.

“These investments help to ensure the continued creation of new and innovative works.”

What does it cost?

Affiliating with Access Copyright is free.

Continue reading “Writer’s Income from Access Copyright”

HalCon Review – Author Panels

On Saturday November 5th, I attended HalCon, the biggest, geekiest sci-fi convention in Atlantic Canada. There were many wonderful demonstrations, vendors and author displays. There was also author signings, autograph sessions and endless streams of characters.

Shortly after I arrived, I sought out the room for the Editing and Formatting panel session. The speakers for the event included

The description of the session stated: To Oxford Comma, Or Not.  This and other questions about editing formatting will be answered.  If you’ve ever wondered about cutting parts, proper structure or when not using proper grammar is okay, then this may be the panel for you. Continue reading “HalCon Review – Author Panels”

A Busy Weekend of Events

There are many events going on around the province this weekend so if you live in Nova Scotia, you have plenty to keep you busy. Here are just three events I’m either involved in or wish I was involved in.

Craft Show: First up is the In Hants Craft Show at the Milford Recreation Hall, Milford Station, East Hants. The show hosts the creative works of more than sixty local crafters. You’ll find everything from quilts to cookies, from fancy hats to wooden carvings. You shop as if you’re in a gift shop, then pay for your purchase all at once at the check-out using cash, Visa or MasterCard.

This is the second year I’ve participated in the show. Last year I sold books and homemade goat milk soap. Only my books are there this year.

The hours of operation are Friday (9:00 am to 9:00 pm), Saturday (9:00 am to 5:00 pm) and Sunday (12:00 pm to 5:00 pm). I was there for more than four hours today, and a steady stream of people came and went, many carrying baskets of goodies and gifts out the door.

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Write Your Little Hearts Out

NOVELmberIt’s November 1st, and from my wee corner of the world, I can hear pens and pencils scratching on paper and anxious fingertips striking keyboards. It must be NaNoWriMo!

November is National Writing Month, a month set aside during the year to encourage writers to write up a storm. They might write something completely new or finish a work in progress.

The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Continue reading “Write Your Little Hearts Out”

A New Formatting Tool for eBooks

The world is always changing, and nowhere is that more prevalent than the publishing world. What was once great last year, no longer works this year, and the tools we use are constantly upgraded and changed to accommodate this rapid evolution.

When I first began publishing eBooks, I formatted them myself in MS Word. But I could not format ePubs. I’ve tried Scrivener to format the file, but I was unhappy with the results. Then I tried Calibre for ePubs, and that worked great for a few years. Last spring during my six-month review, I found formatting issues with eBooks available at a few online retailers. There were no issues with the files I had manually formatted, but the ePubs were a mess.

So I took the leap and rented InDesign. There’s a large learning curve, but once I conquer it, I’ll be able to create eBooks and print books professionally.

Continue reading “A New Formatting Tool for eBooks”

Stalked by Cats, Dogs and Food

guinea-fowlIs it just me, or are many other bloggers these days being followed by blogs that only post pictures of either cute cats, adorable dogs or tasty food dishes?

A few times a week, I get a notice about a new follower. I always visit the new follower’s page to see what information they are sharing with the world. Because my site is about writing, publishing and similar topics, sites that follow me almost always discuss the same subjects.

Except lately. For the past three or four months, I’ve been followed by individuals who only post pictures. The blogs have cute names such as “Cute Cat Pictures” or something similar. When I visit the site, I find posts that consist of only pictures and no words. This isn’t new because I’ve seen blog posts made up of images before. But what is new is the format and picture content: one picture per post consisting of an animal or food.

Continue reading “Stalked by Cats, Dogs and Food”

A New Year Has Begun at the Writer’s Desk

Good morning, everyone.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been here. After working every day for three years, I was in desperate need of a break. I should have taken one immediately after that seven-month out of the house, working every day for 12 to 14 hours job in 2014, but I didn’t. Instead, I jumped into a self-imposed every day, dawn to dusk working schedule of writing, editing, publishing and marketing. I squeezed in the other part of my life (family, household chores, animals, etc.) where I could.

So a break was necessary to reset my timer, recharge my batteries and reflect on what I’ve done and where I want to go next.

Continue reading “A New Year Has Begun at the Writer’s Desk”

Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 25

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

This story takes place in the late 1980s. I’ve decided to keep it there instead of updating it to 2016.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Word Count Comparison

Original: 515

Edited: 373

Difference: 142

Continue reading “Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 25”

Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 24

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

This story takes place in the late 1980s. I’ve decided to keep it there instead of updating it to 2016.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Word Count Comparison

Original: 508

Edited: 377

Difference: 131

Continue reading “Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 24”

Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 23

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

This story takes place in the late 1980s. I’ve decided to keep it there instead of updating it to 2016.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Word Count Comparison

Original: 430

Edited: 313

Difference: 117

Continue reading “Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 23”

Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 22

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

This story takes place in the late 1980s. I’ve decided to keep it there instead of updating it to 2016.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Word Count Comparison

Original: 435

Edited: 379

Difference: 56

Continue reading “Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 22”

Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 21

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

This story takes place in the late 1980s. I’ve decided to keep it there instead of updating it to 2016.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Word Count Comparison

Original: 451

Edited: 327

Difference: 124

Dust, Unsettled

Chapter 05 continued

Original Story

Jessica instantly tried to control her emotions, feeling all eyes were on her. She dried her eyes with her jacket sleeve and headed for the nearest exit. [I often have characters drying their eyes in their sleeve (it’s a habit of mine), but I’m working at new ways to dry wet eyes.] Down one of the service entrances, she swiftly walked, hoping to avoid any maintenance workers. She reached the outdoors and released her emotions.

Continue reading “Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 21”

Define Death

What is death?

I can only imagine the vast majority who walked the trails of Earth have asked this question at least once in their life. Yet there seems to be no real answer found.

Should we greet death with open arms or run from it as fast as our feet will carry us? Should we fear it or rejoice? People throughout the centuries have done all these and more.

But what is death?

Is it simply the death of the host body we call Earthling? Or does something more tragic happen? Do our souls die, cease to exist and do our screens go black?

More than a dozen years ago, my sister and I were driving on the highway. She mentioned that she feared death because there was nothing there. It all just ended in nothing. I asked her, “How do you know it ends and there is nothing there but nothing?”

Continue reading “Define Death”

Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 20

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

This story takes place in the late 1980s. I’ve decided to keep it there instead of updating it to 2016.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Word Count Comparison

Original: 410

Edited: 339

Difference: 71 Continue reading “Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 20”

Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 19

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

This story takes place in the late 1980s. I’ve decided to keep it there instead of updating it to 2016.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Word Count Comparison

Original: 412

Edited: 445

Difference: plus 33

Continue reading “Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 19”

Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 18

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

This story takes place in the late 1980s. I’ve decided to keep it there instead of updating it to 2016.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Word Count Comparison

Original: 392

Edited: 311

Difference: 81

Continue reading “Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettle” 18”