Monthly Archives: January 2015

Meg Rosoff on “Your Writing Voice

Your writing voice is the deepest possible reflection of who you are. The job of your voice is not to seduce or flatter or make well-shaped sentences. In your voice, your readers should be able to hear the contents of your mind, your heart, your soul.
 – Meg Rosoff, Novelist, Author of How I Live Now

True or false?  Discuss.

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Tomorrow on Bookshelf Battle…

I’m going to have a special announcement.

Will it be…

a)  So big that it will take people’s attention away from the big sporting contest I hear will be taking place?

b)   that all of my readers will get free Kindle fires?  Even my Aunt Gertie?

c)  that the dawning of the Age of Aquarius is finally here?

d) that I have acquired a guest spot on Game of Thrones, in which I inspire everyone with my near victory, only to be murdered in a gruesome and unexpected manner?

e)  None of the above?

Whoa nelly, such suspense!  Stop by tomorrow to find out!

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Author Colleen McCullough’s Obituary

So, if you’ve been taking a break from Twitter, you may have missed the backlash of #myozobituary.

Colleen McCullough, a celebrated doctor in addition to being one of Australia’s most respected authors, passed away recently.  Her book, The Thorn Birds was turned into a TV mini-series that was popular in the early 1980’s.

I’ve always felt that obituaries should be held sacred, and since they are, for obvious reasons, a person’s last hurrah, newspapers should be careful to get them right, and make an effort to be as respectful as possible.

Alas, here’s what Australia’s major newspaper, The Australian had to say:

““Plain of feature, and certainly overweight, she was, nevertheless a woman of wit and warmth. In one interview, she said: ‘I’ve never been into clothes or figure and the interesting thing is I never had any trouble attracting men.’”

– The Australian 

Hmmm.  Well, I mean, had the woman never even written a word, she still would have had a lot to be congratulated on when it came to her contributions to the Australian medical community.  But on top of that, she was a writer, and her work was enjoyed by many.

So, it is pretty sad that a newspaper would start an obituary with a line that, if you break it down, basically reads, “It’s amazing that this fat ugly woman found a way to be happy.  Because, you know, she was fat and ugly, and fat ugly people shouldn’t be happy.”

I can’t remember who it was, but one twitter user it put it best, by saying something like, “At least it was better than the paper’s rough draft, “Fattyfatfat book lady dies.”

Sigh.  The world is becoming a sad, looks-obsessed world, isn’t it?  To paraphrase another twitterer, “Thank God Abraham Lincoln was born before television.”

Read more on the story at the Huffington Post

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Best Websites for Writers

SA Mulroney provides a list of websites for writers, wanted to reblog it mainly so I remember to check them out. Has anyone checked out Grammar Girl? Her site is suggested to me often. I will have to check it out.

S.A. Mulraney

Top10

The Writer’s Digest 2015 Writer’s Yearbook provided a list of 101 best websites for writers (available only to subscribers or folks who sign up for their newsletter). What follows is my own personal top list of websites based on their selections, with a few additions of my own. In no particular order:

1. thestorystarter.com – This is just plain old writing fun. Need a writing spark? Head over to story starter and click the button. Sure, what you get might be nonsense, but it might also get your gears turning. You never know what will spark your next story idea or plot development.

2. Grammar Girl – I am not a grammarian. Most people… even writers aren’t, but it’s an important part of what we do. Have a grammar question? Like, “Is my participle dangling?” Head here. Grammar girl has the answers.

3. Joe Konrath (or A Newbie’s Guide to…

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Blog Contests

Has anyone ever run a blog contest before?

Something like, oh I don’t know, the next twenty people who subscribe to bookshelfbattle.com have the chance to win a prize?

I don’t know what the prize would be. A book? A toaster? A date with Charlize Theron?

Yeah like I’d give that away.

I’m just curious – if anyone out there has run a successful blog contest, how do you do it?

Comment away if you have advice.

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Your Favorite Vampire Books

I just picked up a copy of Seth Grahame-Smith’s The Last American Vampire.  I’ll review it as soon as I read it, and I know, will actually stun everyone by posting a book review on my book blog.

But while we’re waiting for that, what are your favorite vampire books?

Is the vampire genre too saturated, or is there still room for a new, unique twist?

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Author Interview: Sean Platt, Self-Publishing Podcast

Reblog of Justin Sloan’s Author Interview with Self-Publishing Podcaster/Author Sean Platt

CREATIVE WRITING CAREER

Photographic ArtistIf you are anywhere in the self-publishing world or considering self-publishing, you should definitely know about Sean Platt. Sean and his buddies on the Self-Publishing Podcast were a large inspiration in my decision to self-publish, and their names cover the walls of Amazon like crayons cover my walls at home (I have a two year old at the time of writing). Sean Platt is the founder of the STERLING & STONE STORY STUDIO, creators of remarkable content for people who relish the art of storytelling.

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Does my selfpublished book need an ISBN?

Must Use Bigger Elephants

The question of ISBNs in self-publishing comes up a bit. Traditionalists are adamant that an ISBN is ?essential? and that it make you look ?professional?.

I have to admit to being a bit allergic to that latter word: ?professional?. It?s a word that?s making a beeline for my list of hated words, because it?s so often used to put down ?people who disagree with me?.

In the 1990?s in the heydays of my non-fiction bookselling, I dealt with a publishing company in Germany. They had about 40-odd books out and made  a living from this. None of their books had ISBNs. To me, it was a small pain in the arse, because I listed their books on websites that liked to get ISBNs and that put their books in the dungeon of the pre-1960s books that did not have ISBNs. Bookshops need ISBNs to enter books in their system, and…

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Let’s Talk Sci-Fi – What’s the Difference Between an Android and a Robot?

Gonna go out on a limb here and guess this is a robot.

Gonna go out on a limb here and guess this is a robot.

Geeks, dweebs, nerds, and poindexters of the world, assemble, for I have a doozy of a question for you.

What is the difference between an Android and a Robot?

As we’ve previously discussed, I’m working on a science fiction novel, and seeking the advice of nerds everywhere for help.  Don’t be offended by being called a nerd.  It’s a badge of honor, really.  Frankly, who wants advice about robotics from a non-nerd?

This is total nerd stuff, baby.

I find that in the science fiction world, the words “android” and “robot” are often used interchangeably.  But should that be the case?

The best advice I’ve found thus far:

“A robot can, but does not necessarily have to be in the form of a human, but an android is always in the form of a human.”

– Edmond Woychowsky, TechRepublic – “The Difference Between Robots and Androids, 2010

Click here for Woychowsky’s Full Article

Well, wait a minute.  That sounds simple enough at first, but what about C3P0?  He and his buddy RD2D are invariably referred to as “droids” in the Star Wars universe.  Haven’t you heard the infamous line from Obi-Wan Kenobi, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for?”

C3P0 has a torso, arms, legs, a face with eyes, he is definitely modeled after a human, but he’s also built out of a golden colored metal, his arms and legs only move so much, his eyes are pretty much just sockets, and there’s just a slit where his mouth should be.

That’s not exactly a human, is it?  What did Edmond have to say?

“It can be argued that an android should be able to pass as a human in natural light. So, if you subscribe to this belief, C-3PO from Star Wars and R. Giskard Reventlov from Isaac Asimov’s The Robots of Dawn are robots, not androids.”

Seriously?  So George Lucas got something wrong?  In addition to Jar Jar???

So, if you take this android vs. robot information seriously, then C3P0 is a robot.  The robots from the film I, Robot, starring Will Smith, are robots (that’s a given, since they didn’t call it, I, Android).

Rosie, the Jetson family’s maid, is a robot.  C3P0, Rosie, and the I, Robot bots, all might have human-inspired designs, but if you were to see them, you would say, “Hey, that’s a robot!”

Apparently, the question of whether an “artificial being” is a robot or an android boils down to whether or not you can tell when you first meet said being.  As Woychowsky notes, Data from Star Trek: Next Generation, does appear to be a human, “albeit with an odd complexion.”

As an additional example, I would submit that Ash from the original Alien movie is an android.  He was so passable as a human that this is actually a major plot point of the film – he was passing as a crew member but in secret, was an android with a special mission.  For part of the film, the audience doesn’t even know he’s not a human.

So what say you, readers?  I need your nerdy opinions, because the novel I am working on, and sadly, procrastinating on, might feature robots, or it might feature androids, but I want to make sure I’m using the right terminology so that my nerd credentials are not questioned.

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Ghostbusters Reboot

I wish it was a continuation (i.e. a sequel) rather than a reboot.

It could start with Ray (Dan Akyroyd) and Winston (Ernie Hudson) selling the old firehouse to a new group of female Ghostbusters.  After the cash is handed over and the papers are signed, Ray and Winston retire to Florida where they, oh I don’t know, become fishing boat captains.  Or buddy cops.

Perhaps this is overly-nerdy of me, but I feel like a reboot wipes out the past universe of a movie franchise, whereas a sequel continues it.

Unless you’re into varying timelines.  Or aren’t a nerd who spends too much time thinking about these things.

What say you, readers?  What are your thoughts on the Ghostbusters reboot?

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