Monthly Archives: December 2012

Quotation for 12-22-2012


Philosopher and software developer Clif High says:

In all experimentation, as with life, which is THE Grand Experiment after all, two rules apply: first, that all things are difficult in the beginning, thus most of your mistakes are made early in any process; and second, Stupidity Can Hurt.

So watch out in the early stages of any new activity, when we mostly operate at the stupid level.

Uploading the Book to Amazon.com


I got a phone call today from Acorn Book Service that the Anthology has been uploaded to Amazon.com. I don’t think the book is immediately available for sale. Rather, the internal processes inside Amazon.com get set into motion by uploading the manuscript.

Similarly, the book will be uploaded to Barnes & Noble by next week.

Smashwords, I’m told, is much more user friendly, so I will work with one of the other members to upload the manuscript to Smashwords ourselves. That will be a learning experience. Smashwords is a distributor to other e-book retail outlets.

Amazon.com uses a .mobi file format. Barnes & Noble and Smashwords use .epub files. That is one of the services Acorn Book Services provides to the Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe, taking our .doc file and converting it to e-publishing-ready formats.

Next comes the marketing learning curve.

I will share with you how things progress. I’ll share what I learn and the mistakes I make.  We’ll learn together about this thing called self-publishing via the e-book.

A Writer’s Cash Cow


Are you looking for that writing topic that has the potential to turn you from pauper to prince?

Consider the doomsday story.

According to CUNY physics professor Michio Kaku, the doomsday story is a cash cow that cycles around with intensity about every ten years. Remember Y2K? Today it is the end of the Mayan calendar.

(Make a note to self to check pop culture in 2020 to see what doomsday buzz has turned into a roar.)

There are real problems that get eclipsed by doomsday stories. Some of those problems are:

  • Heating up of planet earth
  • Melting polar ice caps
  • Increasingly rapid migration of the magnetic poles
  • Real help for adults with mental illness
  • Curing cancer and other life-threatening illnesses
  • Financial solvency for governments
  • Clean water
  • Weather changes

That said, if you are strictly a commercial writer, you have three or four years to check your societal crystal ball and decipher the clues telling what the next big doomsday story will be. Then write your heart out and ride the wave. The last five years have been lucrative for the Mayan storytellers. Maybe you will be my new rich friend the next time doomsday cycles around.

What We Write About When We Write


What we write about when we write.

Please, please take the time to read this wonderful article (click the link above). It explores the agony of creation, the search for the perfect telling of the story, the revisiting of person, place and thing for the sake of getting it right.

Once I concluded my reading of it, I was revived to write. I realized that the wall I am hitting in my work is simply a part of the greater process. Now I embrace the wall, wrapping my arms around it, pressing my chest against its coolness, smelling the stale scents trapped in the paint. By entangling my essence with what stops my writing, I change both the obstacle and my response to it.

2012 Blog of the Year Award


Thank you, Rarasaur! I think I may have found the words for my tombstone.

In giving me the Blog of the Year Award 2012, Rarasaur said:

Fay: For over-thinking in the most engaging, delightful way possible:

https://faymoore.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/the-fear-of-being-forgotten/

Over-thinking. Oh, my, yes. That would be me. And it brings a tear to my eye to have that trait of mine considered engaging and delightful. (Tell that to my ex’s.)

So, I accept the award. With glee and waving of arms and dancing about the room. The word GIDDY comes to mind. And just in time, too. Two more days till the end of the world, if you believe those Mayans.

I’ll meet my obligations for the award on December 22. That way, if the world really does go poof, I won’t have to write the darn thing.

Blog of the Year Award 1 star jpeg

Celebrating the Skill of a Writer: A Quotation


From Lord Dunsany’s The King of Elfland’s Daughter:

“And little he knew of the things that ink may do, how it can mark a dead man’s thoughts for the wonder of later years, and tell of happenings that are gone clean away, and be a voice for us out of the dark of time, and save many a fragile thing from the pounding of heavy ages; or carry to us, over the rolling centuries, even a song from lips long dead on forgotten hills.”

Keep Up, Keep Up!


Moore’s Law says that computing power doubles every two years.

That premise has led to an explosion of technological advances to bring simplicity and convenience to our lives. In the old days when Radio Shack sold it’s first personal computers, the device was boxy and cumbersome. Cell phones were non-existent. One used a land line or payphone. Cameras used film, and sharing pictures with family required an envelope and postage stamps. To keep from getting lost, one went to AAA for a trip planner or carried maps in the car. When away from home, travel guide books explained what sights to see and what restaurants were good and cheap. All this stuff took up storage space.

Now I am amazed: a smart phone, the size of a deck of cards, handles all of those tasks via the Internet, GPS, and any number of applications.

I hear that the next big thing will be a device combining the word processing and spreadsheet capabilities of the laptop computer with the operations of the smart phone. Likely that device will also have an application to monitor my blood pressure, heartbeat and blood sugar levels, too.

Right now my husband’s pacemaker stores what’s happening in his chest in a microchip until, in the middle of the night, his telemetry unit remotely downloads the data from his pacemaker, connects to the land line and sends the information off to a medical office for interpretation. As advanced as that system is, it relies on my husband sleeping in his own bed AND having a land line telephone. In the future, my husband’s smart phone will house the ability to read and send his medical information to his doctor, allowing his condition to be monitored wherever he is, even afloat in the Chesapeake Bay.

How is this relevent to an author? I’ll explain.

On my radio, I enjoy listening to one of my favorite singers Adam Levine of Maroon 5. However, the lyrics of the recent Maroon 5 hit “Payphone” made me laugh out loud when I first heard it.

Payphone, I thought. When was the last time I saw one of those? Come on, Adam. Payphone?

Okay, okay. I realize the song is about an egomaniac loser oblivious to his useless state; the irony of his having to use a payphone is lost on his grey matter. In the song, the device of the payphone serves a purpose.

But as a writer, be aware the reader will also laugh out loud AT YOU if you use old technology, old-style language or anything else that is out-of-date in the story; UNLESS, as in “Payphone,” the “old” serves a purpose.

One helpful technique to spare yourself embarrassment: have a twenty-something read your manuscript and point out its flaws. Correct them before sending the work off to the editor.

Back in the Saddle


Boy, have I missed you! It’s been a hard couple of weeks, but today I am back to blogging about writing stuff. Check between now and Christmas for some helpful tips for your writing projects.

Thanks for your patience. I’ll share a bit more of the personal stuff in the coming days, too.

Now for some blatant self-promotion.

The Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe Anthology continues its progress toward publication. The formatting is complete. It is time to do the final check: missing commas, too many spaces between lines, spelling. . .aaarrrgghh. I have to turnaround my stuff in short order so that Acorn Book Services can upload the book to Amazon.com. More to follow.

How to make us worship you, and like it!


How to make us worship you, and like it!.

Rarasaur has taken a great deal of effort to help you, the blog writer, know what you need to do to  to make your readers love you through your blog. Take the time to look at yourself–and your blog–through a reader’s eyes.

Kid’s Stuff 2–Homemade Suet Cakes for Birds


As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I plan a Kid’s Stuff book sometime in the future. Here’s another project from the book suitable for the school-aged child. It’s a perfect activity for the Christmas break from school. It keeps idle hands busy, AND it teaches children about the winter life of birds.

In winter, natural foodstuffs for birds can be sparse. When the thermometer dips, birds need a source of fat, carbohydrates and protein to provide calories for warmth, flight fuel, and general health. Suet cakes offer a source for all three at one convenient location.

Children benefit from this project by:

  • engaging in a useful activity
  • learning about other creatures who share space with them on the earth
  • helping birds survive in winter
  • learning about bird nutrition
  • identifying the birds that show up to eat the suet
  • Understanding the thermodynamics of changing a solid to liquid (melting suet) and returning the same to a solid (freezing the suet cake)
  • following the directions in the recipe
  • working cooperatively with you to complete a project

The first item you need is a feeder. The hanging wire cage type of feeder, with an opening door on one side for reloading, is readily available where bird seed is sold. Or you can recycle (another child benefit) an aluminum pie pan to use as a flat surface feeder.

The second item you need is wax paper to wrap the finished product for freezing. You may substitute freezer wrap or other food wrapping material if wax paper is unavailable. Scotch tape is useful for sealing the package ends.

Ingredients list

  • jar of peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
  • 1-2 lbs beef fat (see the butcher at your grocery store). Any bits of beef still attached to the fat offer a source of protein, but you want the fat as clean of large pieces of meat as possible
  • 1 C flour (if you have old flour that has gotten buggy, that is perfect for this project)
  • 1 C corn meal (ditto on the “buggy” advice above)
  • Sunflower seeds or mixed birdseed
  • Raisins and/or finely chopped apple or cranberries

Assemble a square cake pan or small rectangular casserole dish, a large mixing bowl, a measuring cup and a large spoon for mixing the dough. Spray or wipe the pan surface lightly with oil to make it easy to remove the finished suet cake.

Instructions

Melt the beef fat, using a large pan over medium to low heat. You do not want the oil from the fat to sizzle. (Warning:  closely supervise your child to prevent the child from getting burned.)

When the beef fat is melted, add the contents of the jar of peanut butter to the fat and stir until mixed well. Turn off the heat under the pan.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal and chopped fruit. Carefully pour the hot, melted fat into the dry mix and stir, adding the seeds to help thicken the dough. You want a finished consistency of thick cookie dough. Set aside and cool until fingers can safely touch the soft dough.

Press the suet cake dough into the cake pan. Let it cool thoroughly. Slice it into rectangular blocks, sized to fit the suet cage feeder. Wrap the block in wax paper, tape it closed, and freeze until you are ready to put a block into the feeder.