December 27, 2011

I Resolve...

I don't usually make New Year's Resolutions. It's too easy to break them when everyone else around you is breaking theirs. Generally, I take time near my birthday to review goals and set new ones for the coming year. Having a wild party with pointy hats and lots of cake and ice cream and friends coming over to play silly games is a lot more fun than goal-making, but the goal-making is a lot more grown up.

Sometimes New Year's Resolutions do get hung on to and worked on. In 2001 Anne's resolution was to submit something, anything, to a contest. She did, and won. The audio book of A Heart Full of Diamonds was the result of her resolution.

My Success for College teacher said that goals should be made on the "DAPPS" plan. That is, they should be Dated, Achievable, Personal, Positive, and Specific.

If you don't put a date on a goal, then you don't know how much time you have left.

Your goal has to be achievable, and measurable. "I will lose weight" isn't a good goal, because if you lose only one ounce, you have lost weight, although not enough to notice. "I will lose ten pounds" is something you can measure, and know when you have completed the task.

Your goal has to be personal, something you can do without the outcome depending on others. "I will get a promotion" is not achievable, because you can't control that. "I will ask my boss for a promotion" can be done, no matter what your boss decides to do.

Your goal should be stated in a positive manner. "I won't smoke" is a negative statement, while "I will quit smoking" is a positive one that will accomplish the same thing.

Finally, your goal should be specific. "I will write more" doesn't cut it. More than what? More than I have been? More than a house? "I will write a new manuscript" is specific, although it could get more specific if I added a word count to the goal.

This year, I resolve to:
·         Graduate from college.
·         Write a new manuscript, something I haven't had time to do since I started college.
·         Take a vacation someplace out of Arizona.
·         Hug my daughter every day.
·         Learn how to make book trailers and post them to YouTube.

Let's see how far I get.


December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I know there are many out there who don't celebrate Christmas for one reason or another. For some, it is for religious reasons; they are not Christian and Christmas is, after all, the celebration of the birth of Christ. For some, it is a disgust at the commercial aspects the holiday has taken on. Some even refuse to celebrate because it has been calculated that Christ was born in the spring, not in December, and that the origins of the celebratory date in December come from a pagan holiday.

Some people even get angry and lash out if you dare to offer them a "Merry Christmas", and greeting cards have taken to using the phrase "Season's Greetings" instead.

The fact is that nearly every religion in the world has a holiday in the midst of winter celebrating the coming of light into the world. At this time of year, let us put aside our differences and our contentions, and celebrate the coming of light into the world.

As a Christian, I celebrate by honoring the birth of Christ. My scriptures refer to him as "The Light of the World", among other titles. I celebrate his birth on the designated day, even though I know it wasn't actually his birthday. I try to keep the idea of Christmas in my heart all through the year; trying to do as Christ would have me do. I try to treat others how he would treat them; with love and kindness. I am not always successful, but I do try.

Today, I wish you a Merry Christmas. I hope you take it as given; that I wish you love, happiness, and pleasant memories of time spent with family. I wish you feelings of fulfillment in your religious observations, if you observe them. At the very least, may all of you enjoy peace.


December 13, 2011

Hear Here

This pair of homonyms is a fun one to write about and easy enough to keep straight if you just stop and think about it for a moment.

"Here" is a location. Like other location words such as "there" and "where", it contains the letters "ere".

"Hear" is what you do with your ear, and just to help you remember, it actually contains the word "ear", right after the "h".

A very short post today, but hopefully you'll now find it hard to confuse the two words.


December 10, 2011

Ebooks vs. Print Books

In most respects, print books are equivalent to ebooks. Both copies usually have the same content. With ereader devices such as Kindle and Nook, both are equally easy to carry around. You can carry more ebooks with you in a smaller space than you can print books. Most ebooks are less expensive.

The one area where print books had complete superiority over ebooks was that they could be autographed. I mean, where are you going to sign an ebook? On the back of the Kindle? On the screen?

Yesterday I came across a service which I totally dismissed, because I was sure there was a catch. The idea wouldn’t let go of me. It kept me up all night. Early this morning, I checked it out. If there’s a catch, it’s so well buried this cynical author can’t find it. I signed up.

It’s called Kindlegraph. It’s a way to collect autographs for ebooks. It’s totally amazing, and now all of my books are able to be signed. My print books have hand-made bookplates which anyone can have for the asking. My ebooks can be signed through the Kindlegraph site.

Here are the facts. A Kindlegraph is a PDF file containing the book’s cover image, a personalized note from the author, and their signature. It can be stored on your computer, printed out, or kept in a folder on your ereader. Because it’s a PDF file, most ereaders will display it. You don’t have to own a Kindle. You could even get Kindlegraphs for your print books, print them out, and glue them in the front, if you’d like. You don’t have to own or buy the book to get a Kindlegraph, because no one checks up on you. The Kindlegraph is a separate document; it is not inserted into the book. The author can choose whether to actually sign their name with their mouse, or use a font script. I sign with the mouse, even though it’s a little sloppier than with a pen, because then it is a real autograph. If you tell me you need it signed to a certain person, or you want the inscription to read a certain way, I will personalize the inscription to be the way you want it, just as I would at a book signing. Finally, Kindlegraph and I don’t charge you anything for the service. It is totally free, unless you use Amazon’s Personal Document Service to email it to your Kindle…but that fee goes to Amazon.

Requesting a Kindlegraph is easy. Go to, sign in with your twitter account, give them an email address where you want your document sent, locate the book you want signed, and click the request button under the book. I get a daily email informing me when I have requests. I write the personalization and sign it and send it back to you. That’s it! Easy as pie, and finally, a way to autograph an ebook!

December 06, 2011

Typographical Errors

A friend on Facebook commented that one reason she likes to follow authors was that she loves it when they share their typos with their fans.

My first thought was, “Ack! Share those little things I’m supposed to keep hidden? No Way!”

My second thought was, “Hey, how cool would that be to read typos committed by my favorite authors?”

I commented that I would keep that in mind, and then turned to editing my upcoming book, Assignment to Earth.

This is the final edit before publication, and the manuscript has been in process off and on for 22 years, so you would think I would be down to tiny things. I won’t bore you with the missing punctuation, the period that should be a question mark, and the double punctuation hanging around, but there are a few that made me laugh at the absurdity of what it actually said, and also give myself the “V-8 salute” that these had not been found earlier.

Trusting that you have a keen eye, I won’t tell you what the mistake is, but let you discover it on your own.

·         One character turns to her superior officer and says, “What do you us to do, Sir?”
·         “This must be the great-grandpappy,” he said with a grimly.
·         He bent to the task, determined to obtain answers to each and every one of his many and soon as she woke up.
·         He shook his head slightly, if trying to realign his thinking.
·         Chapter Thirty-two…Chapter Thirty-three…Chapter Thirty-three…Chapter Thirty Four…

I can understand how extra keys could get pushed, or not pushed fully down, but how entire words could be missing for years and never be noticed, is totally beyond my comprehension.

For those who really enjoy typo hunts, after I fixed the accidental typos listed above, I put a (different!) typo into Assignment to Earth just for you. Email me if you can find it!