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Showing posts with label Writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Writing. Show all posts

Monday, March 26, 2012

Free Book - The Everything Songwriting Book (K)

The Everything Songwriting Book: All You Need to Create and Market Hit Songs, by C. J. Watson, is free in the Kindle store, courtesy of Adams Media (sponsor of yesterday's Kindle Deal of the Day).
Book Description
The Everything Songwriting Book provides you with all the tools you need to create, perform, and sell hit songs. In easy-to-follow language, professional songwriter and consultant C.J. Watson gives you tried-and-tested instruction on choosing a song style, getting your story across, and finding the right music to match the words. From developing an idea and creating a hook to recording your songs and getting heard, The Everything Songwriting Book contains all you need to bring your talent to the next level. Features professional advice on how to: find and develop song ideas; formulate a catchy rhyme scheme; incorporate unique phrasing; create colorful imagery and word play; get compositions into the right hands; and much more. Whether you're just starting out or are looking for inspiration, The Everything Songwriting Book is your first step toward achieving songwriting success.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

4 Free Books from Story Merchant Books (K)

Small publisher Story Merchant Books currently has four books free in the Kindle store. Be sure to check the price before one-clicking, as I'm posting this one pretty late in the evening.

Demoneater (Demonkeeper), by Royce Buckingham
Seattle’s demons are scared and wreaking havoc in the rainy city. They’ve burned their way through the Seattle underground, threatened to topple the Space Needle, and sent a twenty foot statue rampaging downtown.

It’s up to Nathaniel Grimlock, the teenage Demonkeeper, to control them, but when he discovers what’s stirring them up—a legendary monster known as the Demoneater—he finds that he’s in over his head yet again!

Realms of Gold, by Terry Stanfill
In 1953 archaeologists near Châtillon-sur-Seine, France discovered a massive bronze krater in the grave of a Celtic woman. Although the Krater was discovered in Burgundy, it was cast in Southern Italy circa 510 B.C. and made its way to Vix, a village at the foot Mont Lassois, once Latisco, an important Celtic trading citadel. Bianca Evans Caldwell, a writer for a New York art magazine, came upon the Krater accidentally and becomes obsessed with the great vessel and with the princess-priestess buried with it. Since then, Bianca has returned to the museum in Châtillon-sur-Seine six times to admire the Krater of Vix.

It is July, 2007, and Bianca finds herself in Venice for a family wedding, where she meets Giovanni de Serlo, an Italian archaeologist. Neither Bianca nor Giovanni wanted to attend the wedding but they both felt a family obligation to be there and soon become friends. After the weekend Bianca returns to New York City, Giovanni to Puglia, where he is working on an excavation.

When Bianca enters her apartment she finds it has been ransacked, although nothing seems to have been stolen. She finds a strange symbol written on a scrap of paper in her kitchen, and learns that it might be a Mafia warning. After more frightening and puzzling occurrences Bianca decides she must leave New York. She flees to Italy to visit Giovanni, who had promised to drive her to Calabria to see the site of the no longer existing Sybaris, in ancient times a city notorious for its wealth and luxurious living. At Sybaris, Giovanni shows her his secret find in an old farmhouse, a discovery which startles Bianca.

Giovanni and Bianca learn that they might now be in danger if they remain, and decide that they will make the journey from Sybaris to Burgundy, following the ancient route of the Krater.

As the story unfolds Bianca begins to write about the Krater, how, why and with whom it made its journey from the south of Italy to be buried in the earth of Vix.
When they arrive in Châtillon-sur-Seine they learn of yet another remarkable recent discovery atop Mont Lassois. Bianca's intuitive conclusion of what the Krater meant to the ancient Celts, and its connection and significance to Arthurian legend bonds the two together in a romance that could just be forever.

Rainbows for Hana, by Kenneth Atchity
When our beloved tabby flew out the window to her death, our devastation was transformed by a mysterious series of events that seemed to us like miracles.

As we landed in Los Angeles after a trip to Rome, two events occurred nearly simultaneously: my granddaughter Meggie spotted a unique and most glorious rainbow, and my wife Kayoko received a call on her cell phone from a man who found Hana on the ground, unmoving. From that moment of agony Hana reached out from across the rainbow to displace the grief in our hearts with joy. It's a story that anyone who's ever loved a pet will not forget.

Write Time: Guide to the Creative Process, from Vision through Revision-and Beyond, by Kenneth Atchity
In this foundational guide to the writer’s mind and productivity used by thousands of writers worldwide since its original publication, called by The New York Times “the best…book on writing,” Dr. Atchity shows how the detailed steps of the creative process interface with the writer’s greatest asset, time, to provide both creative success and peace of mind.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Free Book - On Writing Fiction (K)

On Writing Fiction: Rethinking conventional wisdom about the craft, by David Jauss, is free in the Kindle store.
Book Description
Possibilities and Paradoxes in the Craft of Fiction

The pieces of a satisfying novel or story seem to fit together so effortlessly, so seamlessly, that it's easy to find yourself wondering, "how on earth did the author do this?" The answer is simple: He sat alone at his desk, considered an array of options, and made smart, careful choices.

In On Writing Fiction, award-winning author and respected creative writing professor David Jauss offers practical information and advice that will help you make smart creative and technical decisions about such topics as:
  • Writing prose with syntax and rhythm to create a "soundtrack" for the narrative
  • Choosing the right point of view to create the appropriate degree of "distance" between your characters and the reader
  • Harnessing the power of contradiction in the creative process

In one thought-provoking essay after another, Jauss sorts through unique fiction-writing conundrums, including how to create those exquisite intersections between truth and fabrication that make all great works of fiction so much more resonant than fiction that follows the "write what you know" approach that's so often used.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Free Book - On Writing Romance (K/N)

On Writing Romance: How to Craft a Novel That Sells, by Leigh Michaels, is free in the Kindle store and from Barnes & Noble.
Book Description
Sweep Readers Off Their Feet With a Romance They'll Never Forget

In On Writing Romance, award-winning romance novelist Leigh Michaels talks you through each stage of the writing and publishing process. From the origins and evolution of the romance novel to establishing a vital story framework to writing that last line to seeking out appropriate publishers, everything you ever wanted to know about writing a romance novel is here. In addition to a comprehensive breakdown of more than thirty romance subgenres, including such categories as historical, inspirational, Regency, and sweet traditional, you'll discover how to:
  • Steer clear of clichés and stereotypes by studying the genre
  • Craft engaging and realistic heroes and heroines readers will adore
  • Convincingly develop the central couple's blossoming relationship
  • Add conflict by utilizing essential secondary characters like the "other woman"
  • Use tension and timing to make your love scenes sizzle with sensuality
  • Get your characters to happily-ever-after with an ending readers will always remember
Plus, read a sample query letter, cover letter, and synopsis, and learn how to properly prepare you romance novel for submission to agents and editors. On Writing Romance has everything you need to leave readers swooning!
Get the free ebook from Barnes & Noble.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Free Book - Best of TOC 2012 (K)

For all the authors and publishers out there (and from my emails, I know there are quite a few reading), you might want to check out the O'Reilly Team's Best of TOC 2012, currently free in the Kindle store.
Book Description
Covering everything from ebook design to reading devices to social media strategies, best of TOC 2011 draws from O'Reilly Radar's extensive publishing coverage. This anthology highlights the important trends and developments that shaped the publishing world throughout 2011 and it points the way to publishing's near-term future.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Free Book (Kindle) - Bernhard Schlink on Writing ...

The Kindle Edition with Audio/Video of Bernhard Schlink on Writing The Weekend and the Short Story "The Little Fling", by Bernhard Schlink and Shaun Whiteside(Translator), is free in the Kindle store. The non-enhanced edition listed as an alternative is actually the novel, The Weekend, not a non-enhanced version of this same title. Keep in mind that all Kindle devices and apps can read a Kindle Edition with Audio/Video, but only iThings will have access to the enhanced content.
Book Description
Bernhard Schlink is the bestselling author of "The Reader." His new book, "The Weekend," tells the story of a group of people involved in the political upheaval in Germany in the 1970s and how it affects their lives today. In this Vook, he reflects on terror, politics and his writing process. Bernhard's reflections are paired with chapters from the novel to give insight into the history behind the story. As a special bonus at the end of this Vook, read Bernard Schlink's short story "A Little Fling."

The plot of "The Weekend" revolves around a group of old friends and lovers who reunite for a weekend in a secluded country home after spending decades apart. They excavate old memories and pass clandestine judgments on the wildly divergent paths they’ve taken since their youth. But this isn’t just any reunion, and their conversations about the old days aren’t your typical reminiscences: After twenty-four years, Jörg, a convicted murderer and terrorist, has been released from prison. The announcement of his pardon sends shock waves throughout the country, but before the announcement, his friends—some of whom were Baader-Meinhof sympathizers or those who clung to them—gather for his first weekend of freedom.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Free Book (Kindle/nook) - The Truth About the New Rules of Business Writing

The Truth About the New Rules of Business Writing, by Natalie Canavor and Claire Meirowitz, is a repeat freebie in the Kindle store and from Barnes and Noble, courtesy of FT Press.
Book Description
Business writing that packs a punch: Make the most of your message to get what you want!
  • The truth about supercharging your business writing
  • The truth about writing directly, clearly, and convincingly
  • The truth about writing in today’s varied business formats
Simply the best thinking


This book reveals 52 proven, bite-size, easy-to-use business writing techniques that work.
Get the free book from Barnes & Noble. Be careful if doing a search by title on your nook, as there are two editions and the other is full price.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Free Book (Kindle/nook/iBooks/EPUB) - Hire Me, Hollywood!

Update: 11/16/11 Now free from iTunes and Sony.
Update: 11/14/11 Now also free from Barnes & Noble.

Hire Me, Hollywood!: Your Behind-the-Scenes Guide to the Most Exciting - and Unexpected - Jobs in Show Business, by Mark Scherzer and Keith Fenimore, is free on Kindle.
Book Description
The secret to Stan Lee's writing processThe story behind Elmo's giggleWhat's for lunch on the set of The Walking DeadSquirrel training with Johnny DeppThink you know what it takes to get your favorite TV show on the air every week? (You'd be surprised.) Or what all those people whose names in the credits of the latest blockbuster actually do? (Including the Supervising Digital Colorist?) What better way to find out than from the who's who of Hire Me, Hollywood!Entertainment insiders Mark Scherzer and Keith Fenimore are here to give you a crash course in all things Hollywood through thirty sometimes funny, occasionally racy, and always revealing interviews with such industry experts as:- Ryan Randall, Hair Stylist/Makeup Artist (American Idol)- Sam Trammell, Actor (Sam Merlotte on HBO's True Blood)- Paula Davis, Senior Talent Executive (Conan O'Brien)- Mark Steines, Cohost (Entertainment Tonight)- Sara Holden, Stunt Woman (House, All My Children, How I Met Your Mother, Iron Man 2)- Cecilia Cardwell, On-Set Tutor (Titanic, Little Miss Sunshine, No Ordinary Family)- Michael Gelman, Executive Producer (Live! with Regis and Kelly)Whether you've always dreamed of yelling "Action" on a major movie set or you'd be thrilled just to get George Clooney his morning coffee, this book will give you inside scoop from craft service to the director's chair--and every take in between.

About the Authors
Mark Scherzer has twenty years of experience in the entertainment industry. A writer and producer, he also worked in comedy development at Universal. Currently, he's the in-house writer and producer for Reelz Channel and lives in New York City.

Keith Fenimore has been in the entertainment industry for more than a decade. He's worked at Reelz Channel and E! Entertainment Television. Today, Fenimore is a producer, writer, and director for Howard Stern, and lives in New York City.
Get the free ebook from Barnes & Noble.
Get the free ebook from iTunes.
Get the free ebook from Sony.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Free Book (Kindle) - Writing a Novel

Writing a Novel, Sydney March 2011-August 2011, by James Bradley, and Kathryn Heyman, is free in the Kindle store.
Book Description
In March 2011, a group of new writers gathered on the Terrace of Australian publisher Allen & Unwin for the introduction to the first ever Faber Academy at Allen & Unwin 'Writing a Novel' course under the tutelage of award winning authors Kathryn Heyman and James Bradley.

There was, on that night, a sense of thrill and also mystery. Six months later, as the work in this volume testifies, those writers have, to a one, demonstrated commitment, passion, willingness to work, to play, to create, to take risks and to trust.

This anthology records those achievements. The diversity of genre, subject and style in this volume is an eloquent reminder of the fact that despite our contemporary anxiety about the future of books and writing, literature hasn't gone anywhere: there are new and exciting voices emerging all around us, possessed not just of the desire to tell stories but to say something that matters, to articulate something new and important about the world.

Most of the names of the writers whose work appears in this volume are likely to be unfamiliar at present, but there is no doubt many will not remain so. They are: Adrienne Adams, Maralyn Bennett, Geoffrey Burgess, Georgina Crawford, Jami Crittle, Diana Daly, Fred Fink, Sally Gibbons, Deborah Guyon, Emma Harcourt, Rowena Helston, Debra Jopson, Elizabeth Jurman, Catriona Ling, Ann McCutcheon, Lyn McDonald, Kate O'Brien, Mariza O'Keeffe, Jo Riccioni, Jane Riley, Robert Scoble, Jacqueline Stack, Kerry Stephenson, Luke Sullivan, Carolyn Swindell, Brigitte Trenear and Susan Wyndham.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Free Book (Kindle/nook) - The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing

The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote and Sell Your Own Book, by Marilyn Ross, is free in the Kindle store and from Barnes & Noble.
Book Description
Bottom line: You want to get published. You want to control the future of your manuscript and your writing career.

Best-selling author Marilyn Ross and publishing expert Sue Collier show you how to make your own success —whether you're a published author, entrepreneur, corporation, professional, or absolute newcomer to writing. In this expanded and completely revised 5th edition of the "bible" of self-publishing (over 100,000 copies sold), they empower you to publish your own work with minimal risk and maximum profits. You'll find:
  • Complete step-by-step guidance on publishing and marketing a book
  • Ways to leverage social media marketing to build your platform and make yourself stand out from the crowd
  • A thorough explanation of the difference between POD self-publishing, subsidy publishing, and true self-publishing—and how to decide which is the best option for you
  • Practical advice on making the decision between offset printing and print-on-demand
  • How to leverage the Internet to create "buzz" and promote your book with killer PR
  • The latest information on e-publishing
  • A detailed marketing plan and timetable to keep you on track
  • Proven marketing strategies to get free publicity, reach nontraditional buyers, and sell books
  • Information-packed appendices with marketing contacts, organizations, and vendors, complete with names, addresses, and Web sites
  • Valuable case studies and examples of how other publishers excel
  • Dozens of tips and resources for publishing and selling books in Canada
  • An in-depth discussion of exclusive distributors, plus coverage of the most recent changes in bookstores and the book-selling industry
  • Thirty-one creative ideas for generating capital to launch your publishing company
The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing is the one book you need to take control of your writing career. Read it. Believe it. Do it. Your future depends on it.
Get the free ebook from Barnes & Noble.

Free Book (Kindle/nook) - Hooked

Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go, by Les Edgerton, is free in the Kindle store and from Barnes & Noble.
Book Description
The road to rejection is paved with bad beginnings. Agents and editors agree: Improper story beginnings are the single biggest barrier to publication. Why? If a novel or short story has a bad beginning, then no one will keep reading. It's just that simple.

In Hooked, author Les Edgerton draws on his experience as a successful fiction writer and teacher to help you overcome the weak openings that lead to instant rejection by showing you how to successfully use the ten core components inherent to any great beginning. You'll find:
  • Detailed instruction on how to develop your inciting incident
  • Keys for creating a cohesive story-worthy problem
  • Tips on how to avoid common opening gaffes like overusing backstory
  • A rundown on basics such as opening scene length and transitions
  • A comprehensive analysis of more than twenty great opening lines from novels and short stories
Plus, you'll discover exclusive insider advice from agents and acquiring editors on what they look for in a strong opening. With Hooked, you'll have all the information you need to craft a compelling beginning that lays the foundation for an irresistible story!
Get the free ebook from Barnes & Noble.

Free Book (Kindle/nook) - Getting the Words Right

Getting the Words Right, by Theodore Cheney, is free in the Kindle store and from Barnes & Noble.
Book Description
When asked by the Paris Review what compelled him to rewrite the ending of A Farewell to Arms 39 times, Ernest Hemingway replied, "Getting the words right." His answer echoes what every successful writer knows: The secret to all good writing is revision.

For more than twenty years, Getting the Words Right has helped writers from all professions rewrite, revise, and refine their writing. In this new edition, author Theodore Cheney offers 39 targeted ways you can improve your writing, including how to:
  • create smooth transitions between paragraphs
  • correct the invisible faults of inconsistency, incoherence, and imbalance
  • overcome problems of shifting point of view and style
  • express your ideas clearly by trimming away weak or extra words
You'll strengthen existing pieces and every future work by applying the three simple principles–reduce, rearrange, and reword. Once the secrets of revision are yours, you'll be able to follow Hemingway's lead–and get the words right!
Get the free ebook from Barnes & Noble.

Free Book (Kindle/nook) - The Complete Handbook Of Novel Writing

The Complete Handbook Of Novel Writing: Everything You Need to Know About Creating & Selling Your Work, by Editors of Writer's Digest Books, is free in the Kindle store and from Barnes & Noble.
Book Description
Get advice from the best in the business on every part of the novel writing and publishing process!

In The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, 2nd Edition, you'll learn from the invaluable advice of established writers. Discover new ways to generate ideas, implement intriguing techniques, and find the inspiration you need to finish your work. This fully-revised edition includes a revamped marketing section that covers the unique challenges of today's publishing market and the boundless opportunities of online promotion.

Inside you'll find expert advice from dozens of bestselling authors and publishing professionals on how to:
  • Master the elements of fiction, from plot and characters to dialogue and point of view
  • Develop a unique voice and sensibility in your writing
  • Manage the practical aspects of writing, from overcoming writer's block to revising your work
  • Determine what elements your story needs to succeed in a particular genre - science fiction, fantasy, mystery, suspense, inspirational, romance (mainstream and Christian), or historical fiction
  • Find an agent, market your work, and get published - or self-publish - successfully
You'll also find interviews with some of the world's finest writers, including Margaret Atwood, Tom Clancy, Brock Clarke, Cory Doctorow, Dave Eggers, Elizabeth George, Jerry Jenkins, Stephen King, Megan McCafferty, Audrey Niffenegger, Joyce Carol Oates, Chuck Palahniuk, James Patterson, Richard Russo, Anne Tyler, John Updike, and Kurt Vonnegut. Their words will provide you with the guidance and encouragement of your very own writing mentor.

The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing is your one-stop resource for everything you need to know about the craft and business of creating a bestseller.
Get the free ebook from Barnes & Noble.

Free Book (Kindle/nook) - Story Structure Architect

Story Structure Architect, by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, is free in the Kindle store and from Barnes & Noble.
Book Description
Build a Timeless, Original Story Using Hundreds of Classic Story Motifs!It's been said that there are no new ideas; but there are proven ideas that have worked again and again for all writers for hundreds of years.

Story Structure Architect is your comprehensive reference to the classic recurring story structures used by every great author throughout the ages. You'll find master models for characters, plots, and complication motifs, along with guidelines for combining them to create unique short stories, novels, scripts, or plays. You'll also learn how to:
  • Build compelling stories that don't get bogged down in the middle
  • Select character journeys and create conflicts
  • Devise subplots and plan dramatic situations
  • Develop the supporting characters you need to make your story work
Especially featured are the standard dramatic situations inspire by Georges Polti's well-known 19th century work, The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations. But author Victoria Schmidt puts a 21st-century spin on these timeless classics and offers fifty-five situations to inspire your creativity and allow you even more writing freedom. Story Structure Architect will give you the mold and then help you break it.

This browsable and interactive book offers everything you need to craft a complete, original, and satisfying story sure to keep readers hooked!
Get the free ebook from Barnes & Noble.

Free Book (Kindle/nook) - How to Be a Writer

How to Be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play, by Barbara Baig, is free in the Kindle store and from Barnes & Noble.
Book Description
Athletes practice. Musicians practice. As a writer you need to do the same. Whether you have dreams of writing a novel or a memoir or a collection of poems, or you simply want to improve your everyday writing, this innovative book will show you how to build your skills by way of practice.

Through playful and purposeful exercises, you'll develop your natural aptitude for communication, strengthening your ability to come up with things to say, and your ability to get those things into the minds (and the hearts) of readers. You'll learn to:
  • Train and develop your writer's powers?creativity, memory, observation, imagination, curiosity, and the subconscious
  • Understand the true nature of the relationship between you and your readers
  • Find your writer's voice
  • Get required writing projects done so you have more time for the writing you want to do
  • And much more
Empowering and down-to-earth, How to Be a Writer gives you the tools you need, and tells you what (and how) to practice so that you can become the writer you want to be.
Get the free ebook from Barnes & Noble.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Free Book (Kindle/EPUB/nook/iBooks) - Write That Book Already!

Update: 11/6/11 Now also free from Sony and on iTunes.
Update: 11/2/11 Now free from Barnes & Noble.
Update: 10/31/11 As expected, now free in the US.

Write That Book Already!: The Tough Love You Need To Get Published Now, by Sam Barry, is free for UK customers in the Kindle store. It is likely to be free in the US by morning.
Book Description
"How do I get my book published?"

Good question. Lucky for you, publishing insiders Sam Barry and Kathi Kamen Goldmark have laid out the blueprint for what you want--your book. From transforming an idea into a manuscript to finding an agent to working with an editor to marketing your book, BookPage's Author Enablers are here to assist you every step of the way. And they've brought some backup with original insight from literary superstars like Stephen King, Amy Tan, Rita Mae Brown, and more.

It's everything you would ever want--and need--to know about the industry from the inside out.
Get the free ebook from Barnes & Noble.
Get the free ebook from iTunes.
Get the free ebook from Sony.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Georgette Heyer pre-order $1.99 (nook) and Two Free Books (noDRM)

You may have noticed that I am posting a "Deals and Bargain Books" post each day. Besides the Kindle Deal of the Day, which changes, well, daily, I found that I was uncovering a number of bargain books that I never got around to posting, especially if a particular day had a large number of free books. With the new daily post (which I try to get out before the email update gets sent out), I am hoping to make sure that fewer of those bargain books get overlooked, while cutting down on those 60 bargain book posts at the end of the month. I will still post the free books as I find them and the occasional review, game or music post (just as before), but I'll try to limit the bargain posts to one a day. Of course, there will be exceptions and this post is one of them - I was afraid this pre-order price might change before I could add it to tomorrow's post.

Let me know what you think about the new posts - both the deals and the format/frequency. There haven't been many comments on them, yet (so far, a couple of thank-you's for a music selection and one person that now hates the blog, complete, it seems).

For all the Georgette Heyer fans out there, Barnes & Noble has just reduced the pre-order price of Toll-Gate ($9.99 Kindle; B&N link) down to $1.99. I've already reported the lower price to Amazon, but the more that do, the better the chance it will drop. If you missed the bit $1.99 sale, by-the-way, there are actually a number of Georgette Heyer's books that have dropped back down to that price range again on Kindle (a couple at B&N are still/again $1.99, as are a handful at Kobo).
Book Description
His exploits were legendary...

Captain John Staple, back from the battlefront, is already bored with his quiet civilian life in the country. When he stumbles upon a mystery involving a disappearing toll-gate keeper, nothing could keep the adventure-loving captain from investigating.

But winning her will be his greatest yet...

The plot thickens when John encounters the enigmatic Lady Nell Stornaway and soon learns that rescuing her from her unsavory relatives makes even the most ferocious cavalry charge look like a particularly tame hand of loo. Between hiding his true identity from Nell and the arrival in the neighborhood of some distinctly shady characters, Captain Staple finds himself embarked on the adventure-and romance-of a lifetime.

Over at Pocket After Dark, you can get a free download of a short story by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love, Fire Bound, which runs about 50 pages, plus an excerpt from their upcoming novel, Alterant, the second in their Belador Code series, following Blood Trinity
Book Description
A dangerous creature is on the loose. Evalle, Tzader and Quinn take a VIPER team just outside of Atlanta for a sting operation that takes a deadly turn. Killing the half-human creature would be easy, but national security is on the line until the team can discover who created the monster, and whether more like it are waiting in the wings to be unleashed on the human world. The op goes bad with Beladors in the middle of it, and nothing turns out as expected, least of all for Evalle.

Today is the last day to get a free copy of Jack Matthews's A Worker's Writebook: How Language Makes Stories, over on his website, or to take advantage of the 99 cent price at Amazon. Besides being an author himself, he was a distinguished professor of Fiction Writing at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio for over 4 decades, so should have a few good tips for aspiring authors (or even those who are already published).
Book Description
Jack Matthews has not only published more than 15 books of fiction, he taught classes in fiction writing to students at Ohio University for over four decades. This 75,000 word book consists of his teachings, insights, ramblings and ruminations about the art of fiction.

Many books have been written about the craft of fiction writing; how is this one different?

First, a Worker's Writebook: How Language Makes Stories consists of essays and dialogue (called interludes). These interludes punch holes in the rules and pronouncements made in the essays; they also help the book avoid seeming too dogmatic. The two voices in the interludes are not exactly "characters" but the author and a contrarian voice within the author. The comparison to Platonic dialogues is apt; Matthews received his undergraduate degree in classical Greek literature and has always found echoes of the classical age in contemporary art and life. Still, the "poetics" of Writebook is grounded less in Aristotle than Aristophanes.

Writebook touches upon some practical aspects of writing fiction (such as naming characters and writing speech cues). But Writebook focuses on helping the writer write more boldly and with more attention to the linguistic vehicles of thought. For Matthews, most stories fail through under-invention, not because the rules of narrative have been disregarded.

Chapter 2 (Taxonomies) and 3 (Structural Matters) cover various paradigms for plot and character development. These are worthy subjects and Matthews has interesting things to say (especially when he tries to analyze his story Funeral Plots with these same paradigms). At the same time Matthews recognizes that there is no magic paradigm or archetype capable of explaining what makes all stories successful – these are just guides. At some point you just have to trust writerly intuition. Writebook helps the potential storyteller to cultivate this intuition and be flexible enough to bend rules when necessary. Matthews writes, "Anything can be done if it's done in the right way: with style, panache and cunning."

Many writing books include a chapter or two listing literary cliches to avoid. For the most part, Writebook doesn't do that. Instead it goes deeper and analyzes why some metaphors succeed and others do not. The funny Parable of the Indifferent Ear provides a good case study about how linguistic inventiveness doesn't always translate into effective writing.

Literary insights from Writebook can be applied to drama, novels and poetry; but they are especially applicable to smaller forms like the short story (though Matthews' claim that a short story of more than 10,000 words rarely succeeds is sure to be controversial). Writebook introduces lots of new ideas and terminology: the non-sequential time opening, the Swamps of Antecedence, pointedness (which, as I understand it, is how stories gain enough momentum to escape the gravitational pull of the author), linguistic vehicles (the actual words which transport the thought) and why flat characters aren't always bad.

Matthews wrote Writebook in the mid 1990s (and distributed it to his creative writing students throughout the years). Since then, Matthews has retired and kept busy with various writing projects (described in greater detail in his 2009 interview in Chapter 7). At 85 years old, Jack Matthews is still writing fiction and teaching occasional writing classes.

One more thing. Writebook is wickedly funny. I won't spoil any of the jokes; suffice to say that one of his former students said Matthews was "so damn witty" in the classroom that he reminded her of Groucho Marx. Writebook has serious and even lofty aims. But this is fun reading. Matthew's style is playful and pedantic; Matthews enjoys inventing characters on the fly to illustrate his points and adding qualities to them until you begin to wonder if Writebook is going to veer into becoming a novel.