A New Brain Spasm: A Hodgepodge of Useful Bits & Pieces

Posted November 30, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Hodgepodge Newsletter

I keep coming across useful bits and pieces and it seemed silly to put out a blog post with only a few lines. So I thought I’d try out this hodgepodge of bits and pieces — let me know what you think!

In General

8 Resources for Writers

I found this to be a great list of “Eight Resources No Author Should Be Without” by Michael LaRocca. Authors should check these out!

Especially the “Tracking Tutorial” (#6). I agree with Michael. I cannot imagine editing my clients’ work without it!! I’m working on a video podcast on how to use Review in Word 2011…stay tuned!

Just for Fun

Saturday—Dec 1— is Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day

Hey, get your kid addicted! As a book junkie, I personally believe that reading is a much more informative addiction than heroin. Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day is a great excuse to head over to your favorite bookstore or even the library and get that addiction started. And it’s great quality time for both parent and child.

Jenny Milchman started this “holiday” three years ago (she has a debut novel coming out in January, Cover of Snow) and she wants “to encourage other parents to share the joy of being in a bookstore with their children” (Publisher’s Weekly).

Be warned, Milchman’s book is NOT for kids! Not with Lee Child writing a recommedation!

Sourcebooks’ 25 Days of Christmas

Sourcebooks is having an eBook spectacular with specials every day and the chance to win a couple books and/or an eReader for yourself and a friend. Could take care of one person on your gift list!

It is an eclectic mix of not-so-well-known books.

Send-Up by Kristen Lamb

Omigod, ya gotta read Kristen Lamb’s post on “Why Settle for Your Reader’s Wallet When You Can Get in Her Pants“. It’s a funny send-up of how to grab readers’ attention.

The Polar Express Delivers the Books

Head on over to Houghton Mifflin’s HMH Kids Facebook page and like Chris Van Allsburg’s The Polar Express. Until December 25, each new like will result in up to 25,000 new books donated to a child in need in a join effort by HM and the nonprofit literacy organization First Book.

Writing Tips


Lea Scott has “In the name of research…Part 3 – Characters“, a great post on fleshing out your characters by interviewing them and different ways of “visiting” them.

Then Tim Sunderland writes about how “I Play Hookey from My Critique Group and Learn Something from Diana Wagman” about creating a more interesting villain…bwa-ha-ha…*giggle*.


Critters “is a member of the Critique.org family of on-line workshops/critique groups, and is for serious writers of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. You get your work critiqued in exchange for critiquing the work of others”.

From the little I saw of the website, it looks pretty amazing.

Furrin’ Places

I subscribe to Boots’n All which is a Round-The-World (RTW) travel site. It’s a cheap way to experience foreign travel these days and I got to thinking this could be a good resource for writers setting their story in different places all over the world including the U.S.

One post I particularly enjoyed was a look at 11 traditional breakfasts from all over the world. Imagine something you want to know, and Boots ‘n All probably has a post on it from “How to Get Drunk Around the World: 5 Countries & Their Drinking Rules” to bargaining in different countries to what’s acceptable to…well, your imagination is the limit.

The Publishing Business

Another Platform for Children’s Authors

Kids’ book authors might want to contact Put Me in the Story and take advantage of another angle for their books. Put Me in the Story adds a child in as the character in a popular, already-in-print book. And they’re looking for more authors.

As near as I can figure it out, the iPad app is free and comes with a digital book, Marianne Richmond’s The Night Night Book which allows the buyer to try it out. The parent can buy two other books at $4.99 each right away—Marianne Richmond’s If I Could Keep You Little and Dream Big Little Pig by Kristi Yamaguchi; its said that more eBooks will be available once a month (what “once a month” means, I dunno). If you don’t have an iPad, you can also order a print copy for $29.99 through a print-on-demand company, Ingram Book Company (Leslie Kaufman, NYTimes).

The article in Publisher’s Weekly by Claire Kirch went on to explain that “they can also manipulate background animation and sound effects…use…a daytime/nighttime sensor. …shar[e it] on Facebook and Twitter. …[and it]…includes two options to “Read to Me” or “Read by Myself.”

What’s Next for 2013?

Ruth Harris of Anne R. Allen’s blog has a post by “Laurie McLean, a senior agent at the Larsen-Pomada Literary Agency who writes about “What’s Next in Publishing“. She has a short recap of 2008 when Amazon came out with the Kindle and how that affected the publishing business. She continues with what’s been happening this past year with a prediction for 2013. If you’re an author, indie publisher, agent, marketing specialist, anything to do with writing or reading…read this!

Author Solutions

Bri Clark of Belle Consulting has a rather scary post on “Are the Gatekeepers Desperate for Publicity” which discusses Simon and Schuster’s Author Solutions (now owned by Penguin), a self-publishing division that seems to be somewhat hinky.

Preditors and Editors

This is one of those resources you want to bookmark for future (and often) reference, Preditors and Editors, which posts information for “Artists, Composers, Game Designers, Poets, and Writers of all persuasions”. Including that of known scammers.

They are having some legal problems with organizations that don’t like what Preditors and Editors say and they’re requesting donations. This button is from their website. If you do want to donate to their defense fund, you can click the button below or the link to their home page above.

Piers Anthony’s Experiences with Publishers, Etc.

Omigod, this is fabulous! Go to Piers Anthony’s page on Internet Publishing and Services for a no-nonsense list of publishers (e and print) as well as a wide range of services.

Marketing News

E.L. James is Person of the Year

E.L. James of Fifty Shades fame has been named the Publishers Weekly‘s Publishing Person of the Year for 2012 for having “sold over 35 million copies in the U.S. alone (combined print and digital), bringing in more than $200 million in revenue to the publisher. Because the success of the series continues to reverberate throughout the industry in a number of ways–among other things, the money it’s brought in helped boost print sales in bookstores and turned erotic fiction into a hot category…” (Publisher’s Weekly)

It’s appalling news considering how awful her writing is, but you have to admit, her marketing was superb. Anyone who can sell that many horrible books is doing some good promo.

And, on the plus side, when they make the movie, it can only be an improvement! Ooh, meow…