Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

Squee! for Kathy

Kathy is my critique partner. Actually, she’s a member of the Moxie Quartet, four women born in the mid-1960s who all decided to write fiction seriously about the same time and to get together once a month or so to read and critique each others’ stuff.

That was in 2001, but Kathy had been writing seriously for years before that. And going to conferences. And taking workshops. And submitting. And getting rejections. In the meantime, she’s acquired an agent, she’s gotten noticed and recommended by a NYT bestselling author, she’s given a few workshops locally and she’s completed four more books.

She had not, however, received an offer of publication (because the market is very tight, because the editors are lovely people making poor decisions, because the moon hasn’t been in the correct phase of a Tuesday afternoon, but most definitely NOT because she doesn’t write well enough or tell stories well enough).

Until today.

Kathy’s short story about the secrets of a Tarot reader in the far future will be published in the Warrior Wise Woman III anthology from Norilana Books, in June 2010. If the rest of the anthology is as good as Kathy’s story, it will rock most seriously.

This is her blog: http://www.khurley.blogspot.com/
This her miniature books website (they are amazing hand crafted Medieval-style bound books only an inch tall): http://www.pookatales.com/

Idaho Writer’s Guild Launches New Series

The publishing world is changing daily, it seems, and interest in non-traditional forms of publishing is rampant. As “Writers Working for Writers,” the Idaho Writer’s Guild is proud to launch a new program series, “Random Readings,” for writers and readers to explore together what publishing means to them and how to go about it. 

Random Readings kicks off on Saturday, Jan. 30, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at The Cabin in downtown Boise. This series will be held on a quarterly basis, and each will focus on a different theme. At each Random Reading, featured writers will share their experiences moving words from their muse to the printed page. 

They will read from their books, with commentary about how they tamed their material. Plenty of time will be left for asking questions and sharing thoughts about the nuts and bolts of the publishing processes they chose. The afternoon includes refreshments and time to socialize. 

On Jan. 30, Bonnie Dodge, Dixie Thomas Reale and Patricia Santos Marcantonio venture from their Magic Valley homes to Boise to share how they wrote and published “Voices from the Snake River Plain.” A collection of short stories, poems and essays published in 2009, the book has been described as “a small treasure….we learn there is beauty in the landscape around us and people with stories to tell.” Tales by these award-winning writers touch on disparate subjects: a jackalope, an old Mexican ghost story, haunting landscapes and a road trip with Louis L’Amour and Zane Gray. 

Boisean Valerie Robertson reads from her debut novel, “Blade’s Edge.” She is a former president of the Coeur du Bois Chapter of Romance Writers of America, and the founding and current president of the Popular Fiction Association of Idaho, which produces the Murder in the Grove mystery conference. Valerie also organizes the Boise Speculative Fiction writer’s support group.  

Also from Boise, Ken McConnell is both traditionally published and self-published.  A software test technician, Ken wrote and published “Starstrikers” in 2008. His first novel is “a military space novel that takes place between two galactic civilizations.” He also wrote “Null Pointer,” a mystery novel about a programmer sleuth.

“Random Readings” will take place in the Jean Wilson Reading Room, on the garden level of The Cabin, 801 S. Capitol Blvd, Boise. Admission is free; non-members are welcome. For further information contact Diane Graham at diane@idahowritersguild.org. Information about the Idaho Writers Guild is available at http://www.idahowritersguild.com.

Who says readers have trouble with semicolons?

Several years ago I read something written by an editor who stated she always takes out all colons and semicolons when editing fiction manuscripts, because readers don’t know how to read them. This really bothered me at the time (really, are readers that stupid? I think not), and as I was editing a work in progress over the last several days and adding a couple of semicolons, it popped up from my memory to bother me again.

How is it possible for an adult American who is literate enough to read for pleasure to not know how to read a semicolon? It’s a comma that’s been working out, my friends. That’s all. No mystery, no secret handshake, no two-year contract. You pause mentally, just a little longer than you would pause for a comma, and then you go on. And whatever comes after the semicolon is related to what came before it, just as it would be for a comma, but the pause is longer.

A full colon is a comma on steroids. You pause longer than you would for a semicolon, but not as long as you would for the nuclear option (that would be a period). The information after a colon is still related to the information before the colon, such as this construction: a category, followed by specific items in that category. See how cleverly I sneaked in that colon? And I’ll bet that all you lovely, intelligent readers didn’t stumble at all.

Maybe if we tell people it’s a deep, dark secret, the knowledge will spread. A semicolon is a buffed-up comma. A colon is a comma on steroids. A period is, well, a punctuation A-bomb. (The exclamation point is the H-bomb of punctuation, the place nobody should ever go unless he/she is willing to risk the Mad Max consequences.)

Back to the editing….

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