Daily Archives: January 30, 2015

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


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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