Sunday, October 26, 2008

Polishing the Pugs by Kathy Ide

I purchased Polishing the “Pugs” at the American Christian Fiction Writers
at the Dallas Conference. Kathy Ide is a professional freelance author, editor, and writers conference speaker. “Pugs” stands for punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling.

She also covers Rules for Book Manuscripts based on The Chicago Manual of Style and Rules for Article Manuscripts based on The Associated Press Stylebook.

My copy is full of the sticky tabs to note the sections I think are important.
I keep the copy on my bookshelf next to the computer for quick reference. It is also handy to review why waiting for the printer to finish printing.

I convinced two of my writer friends and some bystanders to buy one at the second Dallas Convention. My friends were glad they did.

Kathy’s website is and Treat yourself to a copy. You’ll be glad you did.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cross & Quill

Okay, Cross & Quill is not a book, but it is a great resource and inspiration for writers. This newsletter for The Christian Writer's Fellowship International gives new markets, new directions and tools for writing, good craft lessons, and introduces one of our successful writers. Since joining this group a year ago, I've eagerly anticipated each copy every month. Also, the publication itself offers a market to those who write articles or devotions.
For those of us writing fiction or non-fiction, for books or periodicals, Cross & Quill offers something of interest. Recent favorite articles of mine include "Ways to Win an Editor's Heart" by the editor Sandy Brooks, "Seeing Your Audience with Your Heart" by Janet Perez Eckles and "I Love to Write Day, 2008" by John Riddle. There's always an article about young adult writing, writer's groups and market changes or new markets. Each copy highlights upcoming Christian writing conferences or workshops.
Christian Writer's Fellowship not only sends out the monthly newsletter, but has an online loop along with annually sending extra writing tips and market info.
For a Christian writer this group and especially this newsletter is an invaluable tool on our journey to publication and beyond.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread: A novel by Don Robertson.

Every writer is a reader. We LOVE words. We love to discover new words or new ways to use old words. Many of us had a mentor who introduced us to the bliss of reading.

My sister taught me that if I had a book to read, I would never be alone. She was eleven years older and out on her own by the time I was eight years old. I used to love spending time at her apartment in a nearby town. She would take me to the library or read with me at home. We took turns reading chapters aloud.

One of the books we shared ended up being one of my favorites of all time. The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread by Don Robertson. The author takes his main character, nine-year-old Morris Bird III through the streets of Cleveland in 1944. Our young hero embarks on a fateful journey in search of his best friend whose family had moved to the other side of town. Unfortunately, Morris’s mother catches him before he gets too far, reminding him that he’s supposed to take care of his little sister. Grudgingly, Morris takes her, along with a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter.

During the course of their adventure, the reader is introduced to a number of other characters and subplots who will eventually be thrown together when a gas tank explosion rocks Cleveland.

The beauty of this novel is that the action doesn’t happen until the final chapters, but the author keeps the reader engrossed in the story as he develops his various characters. Of course, the book isn’t about the disaster, as much as it is about young Morris and his courage as he rises to the occasion of being a hero—dubbed The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread by one of the people he resues.

The Greatest Think Since Sliced Bread is a terrific first adult novel for the very young adult, twelve years old or so. The graphic descriptions of the explosion and the burn victims might be disturbing for younger readers, however, and parental discretion is advised. Stephen King says that he has this wonderful novel on the shelf next to The Outsiders and Catcher in the Rye. I believe it’s more than worthy to stand beside such great titles.

The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread was first released in the early sixties, which is when I first read it with my sister. I must have been around ten years old at the time. It had been out of print for many years. When Robertson passed away in 1999, his estate re-released GTSSB to another generation. Robertson wrote two sequels featuring Morris Bird II: The Sum and Total of Now and The Greatest Thing That Almost Happened, which became a movie.

Monday, October 6, 2008

FORMATTING & SUBMITTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT by Cynthia Laufenberg and the Editors of Writer's Digest Books

Are you at the point in your writing career where you are ready to submit your work? Or perhaps you want to submit a non-fiction piece? Do you know how to properly format articles for newspapers or magazines?

Recently, I found myself in a conundrum. I felt ready to submit an article for consideration. However, I had no clue how to properly format sidebars? To be honest, I didn't even know what sidebars where.

My dilemma didn't last too long. I turned to my bookshelf to find my FORMATTING & SUBMITTING Your Manuscript book. But it wasn't there. A friend had borrowed it. This book is a favorite book, which I lend to my writing friends.

The first thing I noticed about the book, which I liked best is the example letters. This book doesn't just give one or two, but page after page shows query letters, cover letters, proposals, outlines, and synopses. Also, there are plenty of examples of electronic submissions and the difference between them and traditional submissions.

The second thing I liked is the various genres it covers. This book shows how to write letters to submit in genres such as novels, personal essays, magazine articles, book proposals poetry, screenplays & scripts, short stories, children's books, and greeting cards.

Last, I like how the narrative is chunked into small information pieces. Reading long passages of scholarly text, bores me. However, this author uses bullets and short paragraphs to convey her thoughts. I can't say enough how much I appreciate chunked information. I learn best in this manner.

This book is a must have for any writer ready for the submission process. It will be the best $20 investment you can make in to your writing career.

Writing Tip of the Day