Maxed Out Blogger!

Audrey Driscoll offers a fresh take on successful blogging, from a readers point of view.  When is a blogger blogging too often?   via Maxed Out Blogger!


The Irascible Indie. Part 5, Confessions of a Non-Marketer

How much work do you want to do to be a self-publisher? Here is one more thing you need to at least consider…

Audrey Driscoll's Blog

The Irascible Indie is back! She’s emerged from her dark and dusty corner (coughing and sneezing), insisting she must opine on that perpetual bugbear: MARKETING

I’ve just reread four blog posts from 2015, written by my grumpy alter ego, the Irascible Indie. They are mild rants about various aspects of being a self-published (aka “indie”) author. I was actually quite impressed with how well-written readable they are. Anyone who’s interested can find them here:

And now, here are the Irascible One’s views on marketing…

Not a day passes without at least one blog post popping into my reader about marketing — lists of tips and tricks, how-to articles, and stern warnings that failure to market means failure as an author. Marketing is the bitter pill you must swallow after…

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When Living on the Edge Gives You a Story to Tell

This is unlike any other living on the edge story you are likely to read.   It does not involve living in the fast lane, going outside your comfort zone, or even starting anything new.

It’s a heads or tails kind of story.  You flip a coin:  heads you do it one way and tails you do it another.  One time I was trying to decide what to have for lunch.  Heads would be go out, tails would be eat in.  I searched my pants pocket and pulled out a nickel.

I flipped the nickel.  It did not land on its head.  It did not land on its tail.  It landed on its edge.  Our old stereo had a plastic lid over the turntable.  We had moved and the movers had placed one of their inventory tags on the turntable.  When the tag was removed it  left a sticky residue which had never been cleaned off.  The nickel landed on that residue and did not roll off or fall over.

nickel--recreation of its side view

I have never seen a coin do that and have never heard anyone say that they have had a coin that landed on its edge.

This picture is a recreation of nickel that has landed on its side or edge.

Since the coin could not tell me what to do, I made a sandwich at home and ate it outside.  I am not sure that this would have worked with a smaller coin.  Any other coins I have ever tossed have either landed on their heads or their tails.

A gift of dreams – a short story for Christmas

Christmas Dreams can come true. Enjoy Andrea’s delightful original story of one Magical Christmas dream.

Harvesting Hecate

My food ran out days ago and there’s no prospect of rescue up here at the top of the world. I try to put up my tent, but the arctic wind bludgeons and tears at the fabric. My compass is gone, my GPS is behaving strangely and the whiteout obliterates the stars. I no longer know which direction to walk in. The next time I fall, I stay there, slumped in the snow, ready to give in to sleep at last.

I drift, watching flurries of snow dart past my goggles. The snowstorm cancels out any differences in the landscape. When my eyes close it’s darker, but that’s the only difference, it seems, between being awake or asleep.

There is something tugging me. Something rough and insistent. I try to shrug it off but it gives me no rest. I open my eyes to a blur of dark movement. It…

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Writing by Ear

“We should write the opposite way we talk.”

In the early 1980s, I briefly taught Social Studies to 5th-8th graders in a K-8 school about two hours outside Atlanta.  The original social studies teacher had to quit teaching in the Spring because of a problem pregnancy so I got the job sight unseen, thanks to a cousin who  already taught at the school.

The kids were bright, engaging, and spoke English with a thick Southern accent.  Most of them used a form of English that would have made Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer proud.  “He ain’t, we was, him and me are going” were typical phrases.  Even  the teachers’  kids were prone to using sloppy or uneducated English.

After repeated attempts by the English teacher to teach them to use the correct noun/verb combinations and to understand the difference between objective pronouns (I, he, she, we, they) and subjective pronouns, (me, him, her, us, them), one girl seemed to get the pictures.  “We should write the opposite of the way we talk,” she said.  I thought that was a really astute observation.

In the years since then, my own ability to speak standard English has deteriorated and I no long trust my ability to read written words aloud in hopes of picking out the correct way to write something.  It no longer always catches the typos, poor grammar choices,  or wrong versions of a word that it once did.  I now have to rely on programs like Grammarly that show me that despite having a decent vocabulary, my typos and grammatical errors put me in a low ability to catch errors that I used to be able to catch almost automatically.

Having said all this, I thought about my ability to hear the correct way to speak or write in Spanish (my second best language.)  I have no ear for educated or uneducated Spanish.  I can not detect regional accents.  The only thing I have going for me is a vague recall of the tenses that I memorized decades before in high school.

How can you become fluent in a language where you can not pick out the correct usage by sound?  That lack of ability is one of the reasons I say I am functional in Spanish, but not fluent, despite studying it for 6 years in school and 1 year in college.  How do you determine when you are fluent in a language?

Writing All Wrongs

quill pen and parchmentDoes the writer have an obligation to Write the Wrongs they see?  The muckrakers certainly righted several wrongs with their books.  One famous legend has President Teddy Roosevelt choking on his morning sausage after reading Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle,  about the  Chicago stockyards and slaughterhouses.  It resulted in the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.

Rachel Carson was another writer who changed things.  Her Silent Spring, written in 1962, documented the effect of the indiscriminate use of pesticides upon the environment.  It lead to the ban of DDT and the restoration of many species such as the California Condor.

Dian Fossey’s Gorillas in the Mist, highlighted the mountain gorillas of Africa.  The book was made into a movie starring Sigourney Weaver.  Earlier this month, one of the news channels talked about the gorillas making a comeback and being moved from critically endangered to endangered.

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin was a strong impetus to the Abolitionist movement prior to the Civil War. According to legend, Lincoln tells her, “so you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”

Why do you write?  Is it to entertain, to inform, to instruct?  Is it a case of Have Writing Implement (physical or virtual) and must write?  Do you want your writing to serve a higher purpose or is just having anyone read it for any purpose sufficient?   Does anyone have to even read it or do you just need to write it?

scale of justice