Monthly Archives: October 2013

Happy Halloween

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The year, 1993.
The place – a small, public library in south central Pennsylvania.

I was working as the cataloguer for a small public library in south central Pennsylvania. The library is housed in an 1880 mansion that was donated to the town for the purposes of establishing a free library. The office where I did my cataloguing was in what used to be the butler’s pantry – what we would today call the kitchen. The shelves were deep, to accommodate what was originally china and serving dishes. They were perfect for storage of the books that I worked on.

When I was hired, my boss jokingly told me that when I came in each morning, I needed to say hello to Mr. Stewart, the resident ghost – and former owner of the mansion. I chuckled, but waved vaguely in the direction of the shelves and what would be my workspace and said “Hello, Mr. Stewart. It’s nice to meet you.”

Then I got to work.

Being the superstitious sort, as I came in each morning, I greeted Mr. Stewart, chuckling to myself, but still… I did greet him.

Then one morning, I didn’t. It was a bad morning already with sick kids and deadlines to meet and all the stuff that goes with life. Things that can make a person cranky in the morning.

And my books fell off the shelves. Puzzled, I picked them up and set them back on the shelves and brought up my computer. I chalked it up to a heavy truck rumbling by outside – though usually that didn’t cause books to go flying. A few minutes later, they all fell off the shelves again. This time, there were no trucks rumbling by. I checked the shelves to make sure they weren’t wobbly – they weren’t. And that there was nothing slick on the shelves to make the books fall – there wasn’t. I replaced the books once more and got back to work.

Then they fell again.

By this time, I was beyond frustrated. My boss walked in the door and looked at me sitting on the floor trying to put all those books back in order and she chuckled.

“You didn’t say good morning to Mr. Stewart, did you?”

I stared at her from my spot on the floor. “I… um… no. I guess I didn’t.”

She helped me replace the books on the shelves and I turned to the room. “My apologies, Mr. Stewart. May you have a pleasant day.”

The books stayed put for the rest of the day. And I never forgot to greet Mr. Stewart after that.

What’s your Halloween story?

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Books: Anson Barber!

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AnsonPicWhat genre do your books fall into or is it a genre blended?  I like to mix it up.  I have a bit of everything.  Paranormal, mystery, suspense, contemporary, sci-fi.  I have one historical and even a children’s book I wrote for my niece. 

What inspires you to write?  Anything can spark an idea.  While having lunch with a friend, we started discussing reproductive issues and before too long I had an idea for a book. 

Do you listen to music or set the mood somehow to get writing?  I don’t listen to music when I write, I find it distracting, but it does set the mood and give me ideas.  Right now I’m working on a book that was inspired by a Rob Zombie song.

Do you come up with the plot or characters first?  Definitely the characters, they move into my head and tell me what they’re feeling, thinking and doing.  They build the plot for me.

Do you have a favorite book of yours?  I like The Mistake, mainly because the characters came to me so strongly.  It was an easy book to write.

Who would you consider an influence on your writing?  My sister.  She was the first person who read anything I wrote.  If it wouldn’t have been for her encouragement, that might have been it for me.  Being my sister, she’s not afraid to tell me the honest, brutal truth, which is why I still take things to her for her opinion.  

Tell me something quirky about yourself.  Just one thing??  Well, people are usually blown away by the fact I don’t like potatoes.  Apparently, that is odd.

What do you aim to make people feel when they read your books?  I want to say I hope to make them laugh, but when someone tells me one of my books made them cry, I do get a strange pleasure in that, too.  I guess I want people to identify with the characters so strongly they feel whatever the characters are feeling. 

SparkFinalWhat’s next for you? I just signed a contract for the second book in the Racing Hearts Series. 

Do you sing in the shower?  Of course.  Isn’t that why showers were invented?

 

Author website:  www.ansonbarber.wordpress.com

Author Facebook: Anson Barber

Author Twitter: Anson Barber

Bio:

Anson Barber grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southern Pennsylvania and now lives near Hershey, Pennsylvania with her husband. She enjoys going on long motorcycle adventures, and recording the experiences in scrapbooks.

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Spark-Doubt-Racing-Hearts-ebook/dp/B00FVIF5U6/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1381782202&sr=8-7&keywords=spark+of+doubt

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spark-of-doubt-anson-barber/1117075115?ean=9781622100347

Liquid Silver Books: http://www.lsbooks.com/spark-of-doubt-p835.php

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/spark-of-doubt

Books: Diane Burton!

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Diane BurtonWhat genre do your books fall into or is it a genre blended?

Most of my books are science fiction romance. My newest book ONE RED SHOE is romantic suspense. Actually, all my books are romantic suspense. The SFR books happen to take place on starships or on alien planets.

What inspires you to write?

My Muse. LOL However, I think she took a trip to the Bahamas or Timbuktu because she hasn’t been around much lately. To tell you the truth, I think she took one look at all the boxes from our recent move and bailed.

Do you listen to music or set the mood somehow to get writing?

Usually not. I’m very comfortable with silence. If I do listen to music, it can’t have lyrics. Too distracting.

Do you come up with the plot or characters first?

Depends. Usually, a rough plot comes first. With the book I’m writing now, it started with the characters.

Do you have a favorite book of yours?

That’s like asking me which of my children is my favorite. My son says his sister is. And she thinks he is. They’re both right. LOL My new romantic suspense ONE RED SHOE started many years ago and went through so many revisions I’ve become very attached to it. I’m so glad it found a home with The Wild Rose Press.

Who would you consider an influence on your writing?

Jayne Ann Krentz because of her deft handling of suspense and character development. Writing as Jayne Castle, her science fiction romances are top notch. Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, and Daphne duMaurier showed me how to keep the reader guessing about the villain.

Tell me something quirky about yourself.

I love Pixar movies—Toy Story, Cars, Brave. I like to say I’m buying them for my grandchildren, but I watch them even when the kiddies aren’t around.

What do you aim to make people feel when they read your books?

That they are part of an adventure.

What’s next for you?

I’m writing the second book in the Outer Rim series, which is about strong women on the frontier of space. The Chameleon features a character who is not what she seems.

Do you sing in the shower?

Nope. I sing in the car.

 

Bio:

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing science fiction romance. Besides the Switched series, she is the author of The Pilot, a series about strong women on the frontier of space. One Red Shoe is her first romantic suspense. She is also a contributor to the anthology How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and two grandchildren.

For excerpts from Diane Burton’s books, go to http://dianeburton.blogspot.com/p/excerpts.html

Website: www.dianeburton.com

Blog: http://dianeburton.blogspot.com/

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/dmburton72

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/dianeburtonauthor

Goodreads: Diane Burton Author

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/dmburton72/

Amazon author page: http://amzn.com/e/B00683MH5E

Be Nice

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I am a writer. No big news there. But what many of you don’t know is that I’m also an editor. I’m the content editor for one of the larger online publishers. I’m not an acquiring editor (I don’t buy the manuscripts or offer contracts), but I do all the rest of the work. I go over the manuscripts I am sent line by line, word by word. I look for misspellings, inconsistencies, plot holes, grammar, etc. I go over each manuscript I do a minimum of four times, with the author. I research things I don’t know, or ask the author (in bubble comments) for clarifications. I’m the person who looks for your mistakes.

I’m not infallible. I make mistakes too. Which is why we have a second editor – a line editor – who goes over it another time to find anything we (the author and I) missed. Though I attempt to make your book the best book it can possibly be, I am human. Things slip through.

But there are times…

I recently was working on a manuscript that the author had previously self-published and it had now been bought up by my publisher. No surprise. It happens every day. I went over the book with a fine tooth comb and found some issues that needed to be addressed. I pointed them out to the author.

And got royally creamed by the author’s higher than mighty attitude. Her comments to me were belittling and, in one case, cruel – basically that I didn’t know what I was doing, etc. I will cede one of her points. I’m not fluent in the language she was using (some European dialect) and though I googled the term, I could not find it in any online dictionaries. So I questioned it. And was taken to task for my stupidity and given a link where to find it. She was correct and I admit to my error, but degrading me for an error does not endear you to me.

So to all the writers out there – I ask you this – please be nice to your editor. We work hard to make your books better. Yes, we have off days (everyone does!) and we make mistakes, but we do our best. We do this job because we love stories, not because we’re getting paid well (trust me, we’re not!). If your editor has made an error, discuss it with him or her nicely, don’t malign them. It is possible to point out your reasoning without being nasty. We could all use a little more nice in our world these days. Help an editor out. Be nice.

 

Vicky