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GD Deckard
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 8:06 AM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


Carl E Reed asked "Have you ever noticed that some of these threads have thousands of drive-by readers who never comment upon the subjects being discussed?"


So I travelled the wasteland and -serendipity!- stumbled upon this exchange (an answer?)

http://www.bookcountry.com/Community/Discussion/Default.aspx?g=posts&t=8589935722


Ian Nathaniel Cohen 

Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013 1:38 PM

...any tips for an author's website if said author hasn't published yet?  Do any of us unpublished authors have a website of their own I could take a look at as an example?  (Or can anyone point me in the direction of one?)


 

 May 

Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 12:23 AM

Hi Ian,

YAY! Something in my area of expertise biggrin I apologize, in advance I know this is going to be long winded and probably way more than you wanted, but I'm a digital strategist so I love this stuff.


May then proceeded to write an instructive and useful reply. Anyone wanting their first author's website should read it.


But

the

point

is, why did May reply? Because she knew it would be valued.

 

How do we get more readers to join in the discussions? I don't know but if you have any suggestions, please join this one.


Voran
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 9:16 AM
Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 57


I can't speak for others, but although I'm more than willing to contribute to posts, I find myself hampered by my own lack of expertise. I think a lot of us come here to learn, but some may be afraid to hazard uninformed opinions, especially when there are people on this site who really know their stuff. Maybe bookcountry should consider some sort of point system for frequent posters that will increase their visibility on the site?
GD Deckard
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 10:56 AM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


Good idea, Voran, "Maybe bookcountry should consider some sort of point system for frequent posters that will increase their visibility on the site?"


The old Book Country tracked Discussions on the Home Page, in a manner similar to this site's "Featured Manuscripts." That allowed any visitor to easily spot discussions of interest to them. And one is always more likely to contribute to a discussion of personal interest.

"Featured Discussions" would also encourage viewers to start a discussion on topics they do know something about, and, it would give them recognition on the site -we writers are strange that way, we like to see our names in print


It is feasible to rank discussions by number of replies and feature the most popular ones for all to see. That alone would breathe some life into the corpus.


What say you biggrin Book Country?


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 11:06 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@Voran: Nice to hear from you! I suspect you speak for many "lurkers" who refrain from contributing to on-going discussions here on Book Country. I would only suggest that people comment, question and interact with others according to their comfort level. Almost everyone has a particular genre or area of writing that they're passionate about; that might be a good place to jump in and start interacting with others. Oracular poses, withering scorn and/or narcissistic self-regard (with a concomitant contempt for other "lesser" literary lights) not required; a love and enthusiasm for the craft of writing and an openness to the wide range of human experience much preferred. By this little scritch-scribbling monkey, anyway! 

 

 

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 9/24/2014, 11:06 AM--


Janet Umenta, Book Country Assistant
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 11:29 AM
Joined: 4/7/2014
Posts: 142


@Voran: Thank you for your suggestion. We'll consider it in our next development phase.

 

Until then, try connecting with fellow writers and ask them to join in the discussion (Thanks, GD!) You can search for writers to connect with on our genre pages


GD Deckard
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 11:38 AM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


@Carl

Um, you may have misplaced your last parenthesis -didn't you mean to move it forward by two words?

Or am I being counter productive here again?

 

@Janet

Yes! Great idea, Janet. Please do consider Voran's excellent suggestion. And ... ands can be better than 'buts"... include the writers in the next development phase. BookCountry.com could become the most popular site for new writers if we combined this sites best features with a little artistic soul.

 

--edited by GD Deckard on 9/24/2014, 11:41 AM--


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 12:06 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@GD: No error there. That is a parenthetical thought. Within the parentheses, quote marks around the word "lesser" indicate that I am using the word in an ironical fashion. I am gently rebuking the dismissive arrogance of those on-site who think they're so far above their authorial colleagues that no "lesser" literary lights have anything to say to them. I hope that's clear. If not, thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify.

 

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 9/24/2014, 12:09 PM--


GD Deckard
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 12:37 PM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


@Carl

Ack! It was clear cool I was just pulling your string.


Mimi Speike
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 12:57 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014


I am all too aware that I am a lightweight here. And that my comments run more in the way of being entertaining than substantive. But that is not what stops me from commenting. I am also aware that I have a tendency to whine (about my problems with Sly) and I'm trying to keep that in check. Luckily I have a buddy in Tokyo who is glad to let me unload on him. Arnbar! Somebody, read his thing, eh? Exodus, Stage Left.

.

My fascination with style probably does not beguile others like it does me, but style vs. story I would pounce on in a heartbeat. And, I am so intrigued by this city of the mind thing that Dhalgren will go on my buy list.

.

Not to digress, screw it, I'll (as usual) digress: A fascinating piece of info on Mark Knopfler I picked up just last night: His celebrated finger-pick style, it came by accident. In early years, working with used, sub-par instruments, he got hold of one so decrepit that the only way to play it was to have it strung very loosely, the arm (or whatever you call it) would not stand up to heavy tension. Even then, he could only play it with fingers, not with the standard picks. He said, "that night a light bulb went off in my head, I found my voice." Does this happen with a writer, a happy accident? I just bet it does. Let's hear about that.

.

Another discussion I would love to see: How many here expect to see their thing published, and how many write without that expectation, because they can't not? (This has probably been covered way back, I don't recall.)

.

I'm coming dangerously close to whine-speak, so I'll bow out.

 

 

--edited by Mimi Speike on 9/24/2014, 7:14 PM--


Lucy Silag - Book Country Community Manager
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 1:46 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


I kind of think of it like walking into a coffeeshop you've never been to by yourself. It's a friendly space and folks seem to be having a lovely time. You can see little tables peppered with people (writers!) you might like to know, but it's not like you would sit down with a random group of friends who've known each other for a long time and say, "Hey, guys! Here's what *I* think about the sci-fi book you're chatting about!" It's just not that easy to be sure that your comments would be welcome. If that were me, I'd worry I was missing some context, or wouldn't be quite sure where to start.

 

For that reason, some discussion threads are much easier to jump in on than others: "What's everybody reading this week?" or "How are you feeling about your writing, right now?" are the type that get a good mix of folks weighing in, even years after they were originally posted. If I'm hanging out in a coffeeshop, and someone stands up and asks the whole crowd a question that anyone can answer, I feel pretty comfortable contributing--after all, it was clear that I was being asked.

 

Not to take my coffeeshop metaphor *too* far, but let's say I was going to a coffeeshop, and I knew someone was going to be there that I had exchanged reviews with online. We knew each other's work and we'd messaged back and forth a bit. If I saw that person having a fun conversation--even one I didn't have the full context of--with their friends, I'd probably swing by to say hi and put in my 2 cents, maybe hang out for a bit. Maybe even all afternoon.

 

The point, alas, of this metaphor is that a lot of ice-breaking can be done by reviewing each other's work, and I really think that makes these discussions even more useful, relevant, and entertaining. If you're feeling like you want to meet some new folks on BC, you might start by given them feedback on their work and getting to know them a bit.


Atthys Gage
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 2:09 PM
Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 467


I confess, I was a long while away from these pages. Frankly, the site lost something when it was revamped, and although I think the good folk who run and manage the site are responsive and open to suggestion, I didn't have anything to suggest. I have no knack or understanding for how these things are made, so I assumed my lost, what-the-heck-happened-here? feeling was just my own befuddlement. I wasn't alone, of course. The problem is, once people wander off the reservation, they tend to find something else. I didn't go to other writer workshop websites (www.www) but I did drift into other obsessions. When I'd wander back, it seemed like no one was around.  (My announcement about Spark's publication was viewed over 2,200 times, but the 9 comments represented 4 people, one of whom was me.)  That's sort of how Book Country feels to me right now. Thousands of people coming and going, but somehow it's still like an empty office building at night. 

 

I accept some of the blame for my own failure to seek out and engage, but like most people, I'm not a great reacher-outer. It's all too easy to just change the channel. But I can tell any browsers who might be feeling shy, these are good people. No one is going to make you feel foolish for any comment (at least it never happened to me, and it easily could have, given a different set of folks). Mostly, we're all here for the same reasons.

 

 We write. We like to talk about writing.

 


Atthys Gage
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 2:14 PM
Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 467


I don't disagree with anything Lucy said.  Truth is, I haven't reviewed anything for a long time, so it's sort of silly for me to complain about the lack of repartee. But doing a real review takes so much more time and work than hanging out of a forum and posting random smart-ass comments!

 

Alas. 


Lucy Silag - Book Country Community Manager
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 2:19 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


Ah, Atthys. Funny you should use an "empty office at night" metaphor . . . I'm bleary-eyed today from being here working on Book Country stuff so late last night. So that's not quite how it feels to me . . .

 

Let me know if I can recommend some new folks to connect to you.


GD Deckard
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 3:28 PM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


@Mimi

You're a real character, Mimi, and we writers just love a good character.

 

@Lucy

Oh WoW you nailed it, Lucy! You'd be welcome at any table where you had provided someone there with a helpful review of their book. No further introduction necessary. 

 

Like Atthys said, new writers wander in and wander out. Probably because no one welcomes them with a review and invites them into our discussions.

 

So... I propose The Lucy Challenge!

Lucy, name any book you want me to review and I will review it within one week and attempt to entice that writer into our discussion group.

 

I know Carl can do this -we just have to make sure the writer he brings in doesn't think we're all craz- er, that the new person knows there are all types of talent here. Atthys may find time to do a review. Voran may be willing to do one. And Mimi has the time while she's at work if her boss doesn't notice. That's 5 reviews of 5 new writers. Get them to do one each & we go exponential!


Lucy Silag - Book Country Community Manager
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 3:44 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


First book that popped into my head was KINGS OF CARNIN by DCLabs. It's a traditional fantasy.

 

I reviewed the book over the summer and put together a blog post with some takeaways about what I thought was working and suggestions for the next draft.

 

Dan is awesome and I think you should definitely connect! Looking forward to seeing your review of the book, and swapping ideas about how reading it sheds light on our own writing.


GD Deckard
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 3:50 PM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


@Lucy

I'm on it.


Lucy Silag - Book Country Community Manager
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 3:51 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


Nice! biggrin

DCLabs
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 6:23 PM
Joined: 10/15/2013
Posts: 78


Are you guys talking about me behind my back?  Geez I go away for two short months an look what happens, pushed right off my seat at the coffee table

 

I welcome the reviews, I've long thought my manuscript was missing a)a read counter (how many people have seen it/are reading it) and b) more feedback!  It certainly is nice having the feedback en masse to really cause the "non-personal taste" stuff to boil to the surface.  It also gives a better nib rating on a work since you may have one one nib review but actually a three nib work!

 

Anyhow, more discussion is great.  Some parts of the discussion boards have seemed a bit crickety.


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 7:59 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@Lucy: Love your metaphor of the collegial coffee shop! With one reservation: some beginning writers aren't ready to have their own work criticized; they're looking for unconditional acceptance and encouragement of their self-identity and worldview, not the manuscript they've ostensibly offered up for critique. This puts an empathetic but discerning reviewer in a hell of a bind: Do an honest, truth-telling review and suffer the slings-&-arrows of bruised-ego retaliation (I've been called a "book assassin"; Mimi was told by one posting writer via private e-mail to "shelve her hit piece"--heh!--soooo want to read that . . . ); or write a hopelessly-compromised, vague, mealy-mouthed review that says nothing and helps no one.

 

You're absolutely right about one thing though: Mimi, GD, Atthys, Herb, myself--and many others--bonded through our critiques of each others' work. I respect them for their intelligence, humor, candor, decency and aesthetic sensibilities. To borrow a phrase of Stephen King's: We told the truth; we never truckled. (In our reviews of each others' work or discussion comments to each other.) We are as wont to disagree as agree on any given topic, but always in a spirit of cheerful good humor and in-the-trenches-together camaraderie.

 

You're advice is spot-on, though--for emotionally mature adults who don't freak out at the first hint of anything less than glazed-eyed, fist-pumping, hoarse-shouted acclaim of their many variegated scritch-scribblings. Which acclaim and approbation, to be honest, is what many of us are after. (And money. God knows let's not forget about money!) Writing is, after all, performance art done for an audience. It's just that after decades of trial-&-terror many of us have learned to have an, err . . . more realistic expectation of how our writing will be received by others.   

 

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 9/24/2014, 10:40 PM--


GD Deckard
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 9:02 PM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


@Carl

A couple years ago, you were going on about, "...a 48-hr. TV marathon of car crashes, rebel yells, buffoonish cops and big-breasted, pant-hooting girls in daisy-dukes." I knew two things then. One, I'd happily buy you a beer if we ever met and two, I really wanted to see a pant-hooting girl in daisy-dukes.

 

I had to look up "daisy-dukes" because I've lived a sheltered life and my heart is pure. Anyway, you are exactly right about respectful friendships forming here. After reading Atthys' eloquent insights into Dhalgren, I'd be honored to share a table with him. And Mimi? She's a literary EMP. Havta have her join us. Voran, Herb, DCLabs who just popped in, and so many more, including those we have yet to meet are welcome here. We just have to get the word out.

 

--edited by GD Deckard on 9/24/2014, 9:27 PM--


Voran
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 9:07 PM
Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 57


@Carl: you are so right about beginning writers not wanting anything but unconditional acceptance. It took me well over a year before I could get over my first Jay Greenstein review But I have to say I've learned a great deal not only about writing, but about myself when I actually participated in forums and reviewed other people's work. I just wish I had more time to spend in this great coffee shop! 

 

@DCLabs: I'm taking up the Lucy Challenge


GD Deckard
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 9:25 PM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


Voran! I know what you mean about reviews. Writing a good review is hard work.

Usually, I only review books I like because I don't understand books I don't like. If the author seems to find the review helpful and encouraging, I'm happy.


r-Erik
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 9:51 PM
Joined: 8/22/2014
Posts: 9


Why do some writers, like myself, avoid discussion boards. The answer is: avoiding trolls.  I have been to a few writers community boards and the trolls have managed to destroy serious topics for discussion.  
I guess, people would be enticed to add a new topic or a comment if they felt they owed something back from reading other writers' experiences, such as: 'Lesson Learnt' or 'Info to Share'.  Maybe, for stress relieve purposes, some writers would add their comment to a category called,  'Rants and Raves'.

Other than that, a person may not get involved in any discussion because they feel time is fleeting, 'There is so much to write and there is little time to write.'
Mimi Speike
Posted: Thursday, September 25, 2014 4:15 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014


OK, GD, here's the comment I deleted. I often second-guess myself, asking, am I being an ass again?

.

I've been called a character all my life. Some people mean it nicely, indulgently, I'm a bit off the wall but generally entertaining. Some people don't know what to make of me, find me an erratic annoyance. My sister likes me as I am, my brother, I'm not so sure. My husband loves me, again, as I am, but he's a rare wonderful bird like I am. Thank God we found each other.

.

So GD, what kind of character am I to you? Don't worry about hurting my feelings, when you get to sixty-eight you pretty much don't give a shit what people think of you. I'm only asking in case I ever decide to clean up my act hereabouts, attempt to appear normal. I tried that once, in my teens and early twenties. It didn't work, so I settled back into the odd bird status that I have become very comfortable with. 

.

I'm just reading a review of John Lahr's new bio of Tennessee Williams, and I see a phrase, wild at heart. That's me, I think. Wild at heart because I never fit in, anywhere. Possibly, hell, probably the result of natural instability and a very troubled family. I finally met my glorious husband, he has been my happily-ever-after.

 

--edited by Mimi Speike on 9/25/2014, 4:26 PM--


GD Deckard
Posted: Thursday, September 25, 2014 4:36 PM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


@Mimi

Hmmm, what kind of character are you? Auntie Mame comes to mind; a strong Rosalind Russell and a vulnerable Lucille Ball. A loveable eccentric with strength of character -a phrase you and I and anyone else born right after WWII understands.

 

That was fun. Let's characterize someone else. Pick anyone here that you like and characterize them!


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Thursday, September 25, 2014 5:11 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@Mimi: Feel free to caricature me after I respond! (Also: if you wish me to edit this response to your query into a complete null-&-void deletion, I will do so. No disrespect intended or desired; I simply hope to amuse.)

 

How do I see you in my mind's eye? As a bright-eyed, blinking ostrich stalking over its own Hell's half-acre of pilfered books. As the spirit moves you, you dart a long, slender neck into haphazardly-piled stacks of literary treasure: WHAP! A book is beaked open. THWIP-THWIP-THWIP! Yellowing pages riffled. Something catches your eye--you freeze in place, eyes rapidly scanning the lines, bright black pupils gleaming like spot-lit marbles.  A tufted clump of feathers on your head vibrates as amusement shakes your entire bird-like frame. CACKLE-CACKLE-CACKLE! You throw back your head and guffaw into a sky of cartoon-character clouds. 

 

BUT HOLD! An intruder in the nest! A sly-faced jackal has loped up and gummed one of your books into its slavering maw, turned and begun to trot away.

 

You're on him in a flash: stilt-like legs scissoring over the sandy ground, absurd wings furiously whirling as you repeatedly strike that larcenous jackal with a dagger beak: THWOK! THWOK! THWOK! Ya bastid! THWOK! THWOK THWOK!

 

The jackal howls, drops the book and flees, tail tucked between its legs.

 

Triumphant, you snatch the leather-bound volume up in one of your claw-like feet and hold it before your narrow, preternaturally-intelligent triangular face. O rapture! O joy! Tis a work of Pynchon's!!! The pages are rapidly riffled with a winged hand; beady eyes tick-tocking the book's text till they alight upon a lapidary phrase so byzantine, hyper-polished, lustrous and true that you can't help but fling the book into the air in exaltation as your feet beat a triumphant tattoo on the skirling sands. CACKLE-CACKLE-CACKLE!!! 

 

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 9/26/2014, 12:10 AM--


GD Deckard
Posted: Thursday, September 25, 2014 6:24 PM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


LOL, Carl, that is cool. Kinda the way I'd imagine Terry Gilliam would have Dr. Seuss do the characterization.

 

 

--edited by GD Deckard on 9/25/2014, 6:25 PM--


Mimi Speike
Posted: Thursday, September 25, 2014 6:38 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014


Carl, you've got that nailed. I salivate over a well-phrased book like our cats do (yeah, cats don't salivate, figure of speech. OK, one cat drools, but that's a different issue) over the eats on our dinner table. Eberhard sees to it that they get a serving of the best we have. His motto is, we eat well, they eat well. Their thinking nevertheless is, if it's on the people table it's got to be superior.

.

And I do clutch marvelous finds to my breast at those library book sales and I do often cackle with glee and my husband often pretends not to be with me.

.

Thanks, you guys. GD, the words 'a real character', I say that of myself, laugh with me, not at me, etc., but it's been code for 'a real nutcase'  so often that I react poorly to it.

 

--edited by Mimi Speike on 9/25/2014, 6:45 PM--


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Thursday, September 25, 2014 7:45 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@Mimi: You're a good sport! 

 

A character with character, and--to borrow a phrase from Robert Frost--that makes all the difference.  

 

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 9/25/2014, 7:52 PM--


Atthys Gage
Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014 2:09 AM
Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 467


I've only known Carl a year or two, and only through these pages, but I've always pictured an average day in his life something like this:

 

      In the dim, uncertain hours—too late for night, too early for morning—a singular creature sits, bent over a massive and ancient table carved from a single block of wood.  Hunched and muttering, fingers busy with unseen calculations, he works by the light of a drippy candle. 

     "Yes!" Suddenly upright, he slaps the table top with a misshapen paw. "Yes!" Eyes bright with a manic gleam, he rattles a sheet of ochre parchment, and calls out: "Melchoir! Wake up, you worthless beast! It is today! Look!"

      Beside him, curled on the seat of a stool, an impossible cat yawns and stirs. Cat? The long, flat muzzle is white-striped, the eyes gleaming ebony beads.  A digger's paw scrabbles a rounded ear. The impossible cat is an improbable badger. 

     The mad-eyed man-creature laughs and fluffs his unkempt beard with all nine fingers. "Five days, Melchoir! Five days! In that time, I have consulted twelve dozen volumes, filled three reams of parchment, drank five times the draught of the dreamwalkers, and five times plunged my face into the brimming bowl of waking! The sums are right! The oracles agree! Today is the day!"

     The badger watches, one irritable eye still lidded. The odd man draws himself to his full gnomic height, rolls back the frayed sleeves of his ash-grey robes, and stuffs his over-large hand into a crude, stone-hewn chalice. He pulls forth a clenched fist, then turns his opened his hand to catch the candle light. On his mottled palm, four oddities gleam and glint. Each one is smooth and regular. Each one an undescribable shape. Polyhedrons with regular faces, but in impossible numbers: a seven-sided die of black obsidian, faces marred by obscure glyphs; a die of quartzite chalcdeony, each of its thirteen faces glowing with a different lambent hue; a near-sphere of burnished brass, etched with the twenty-three letters of a long forgotten alphabet; and a lump of bleach-whte bone, with, somehow, three perfectly symmetrical, perfectly congruent faces. 

     His brow twisted in ecstatic concentration, the man closes a loose fist about  the precious talismans. "Reveal!" he shouts shaking. "Reveal yourself to me!" Shaking harder, robe-sleeves flapping, panting out guttural, animal grunts. "Come, muse! Papa needs a new pair of shoes!" 

     He lets fly. Bone, stone and metal rattle the tabletop, clattering finally to silence. Hushed and hurried, he leans forward, splayed hands planted, squinting in the candlelight. A gasp escapes his chest. "Look, Melchoir! Look!" He points a thick finger. "It's a word!"

     The badger peers at the wild faced man, blank and bleary. 

     "That's the word I've been looking for!" The man exults. "Five days! Think of it Melchoir! Another word!"

     The badger yawns, recurls, settles back into sleep. The man-creature gives a little hop, and scurries to an even darker corner where a small notepad sits on an upholstered arm chair. With infinite pleasure, he takes up an inkpen, finds his place in the humble pages, and scratches a careful word. He reads it over several times, nods his head, and recloses the note pad. Stretching, yawning, grinning, he returns to the massive wood table, scratches Melchoir behind one round ear, and sits again. He returns the dice to their stone cup.  

     "So," he says, drawing out a fresh sheet of parchment, eyeing he towering bookshelves that wrap the high-ceilinged room, "what word do I need next?"


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014 3:08 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@Atthys: ROFL!!! That was insanely, melta-brainly hilarious and, err . .  scarily, startlingly apropos. 

 

Yes, I still do write my stories clenching a fistful of dice in the right hand; every ID-inspired sentence wrestled onto paper or screen accompanied by the rattling clatter of an off-cast die into a Barnes & Noble mug displaying the visages of "The Greats": Hemingway, Melville, Joyce, Nabokov, Kipling, Parker, Shelley, et. al. I do indeed write by subdued lighting (albeit via a low-wattage bulb in a tall bronze floor lamp; not candlelight, heh!) in a leather-upholstered armchair with notepad beside me in a 2nd-story room crammed floor-to-ceiling with books, busts and eclectic statuary: Greco-Roman, Egyptian, Norse, Aztec, Indian. Innumerable stone gargoyles crowd Detective Comics action figures; Godzilla abuts a grinning skull beside a bust of Socrates above a shelf displaying a greenish-black bust of Zeus opposite Green Hornet & Kato dolls over-watched by a bronze sculpt of Rodin's "The Thinker" squaring off against a golden dancing Shiva and broad-winged, armored Valkyrie reposing with sword alongside a grim-jawed Roman centurion.

 

The ancient, invisible badger-like creature you astral-spied me interacting with is a Schrodingian walker of worlds and fleet-footed user of dimensional time gates. He/she is both dead and alive; conscious and unconscious; star-fired incandescent and squid-inked, obsidian-statue-sunken-five-fathoms-deep black; depending on the resolved quantum indeterminacies and interlocking cosmic strings set ringing when summoned by Sumerian chant and invocation of Sagan. (Yes, that Sagan--Carl Sagan.)

 

But hold! A silken rustling of purple curtain; my air conditioning unit just kicked on--else the gibbering demon-thing exorcised at twilight has returned to finger my tomes . . .

 

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 9/26/2014, 12:10 PM--


GD Deckard
Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014 3:32 AM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


@Atthys

@Carl

It's 3 o'clock in the morning guys & in case you've forgotten, Earth One has only one sun. I've evolved a nocturnal habit called, sleep. Still, some disturbance in the ether excited my phone & dispelled my aforementioned slumber. I knew who -well, not exactly but suspicious it was somebody in Lucy's Cafe, I picked up said phone and read ... your wonder-full characterizations. Loved them! Thank you! Now, I'm going back to sleep. Frack off.

 

...See what you started? Mimi!


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014 10:31 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@GD: Your cell phone rings when Book Country gets updated?!
Atthys Gage
Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014 10:54 AM
Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 467


@ Carl.   Honestly, the details of your actual inner-sanctum are much more entertaining than my scribblery. If I missed a few details, the late hour can be blamed. I'd guess your gallery of totems, icons and statuary has been a source of inspiration on a few occasions. What next?  Hmm.  Well, Zeus walks into a bar...
GD Deckard
Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014 11:55 AM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


@Carl

It burbles. I bought a new Nexus 5 because Google knows all & I want to learn about social networking (I'll work on the "social" part next) because I suspect I'll soon be involved in promoting The Phoenix Diary. Emails get pushed to my phone and Book Country emails me whenever someone participates in a subscribed discussion. Hence, the cursed thing burbles at me in the dark.

 

I also have in the dark, a Sig Sauer w/Triton night sights. That phone has been warned. Twice.

 

--edited by GD Deckard on 9/26/2014, 9:54 PM--


Angela Martello
Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014 4:29 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


You folks crack me up! I have been looooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggggggggggggggggg overdue for a good laugh. It's been a very rough 6 months (hell, it's been a rough 2 years, starting with the death of my father and the first re-org at my former employer). But I have been exploring, thinking, reconnecting.

 

I haven't even been one of those people who wonders through the Book Country aseptic bus station barely glancing at others waiting on soulless stainless steel benches or standing before digital boards clutching tickets and watching arrivals and departures. I have realized during these last 6 months that, if I didn't have a dog who lives for our daily patrol of the neighborhood (where I do my best to assert my role as Pack Leader) and if I didn't have my weekly (sometimes twice or thrice weekly) jaunts to a local art center/school where I take classes and regularly volunteer with our mobile art studio tricked up van, I could very easily develop hermit-like tendencies. Safely tucked away in my home/art project with my books, my writing, my art supplies, and DVDs, sitting at the kitchen table with my laptop and a cup of tea and listening to the birds who convene in my tiny urban garden, a green oasis in a sea of cinder block, brick, and stucco.

 

Social media and e-mail (and, yes, daily long walks) have kept me connected to the world. Book Country, once upon a time, did have more of a social media feel to it (hell, even LinkedIn has more of a social media feel to it than does Book Country - and I've been spending a LOT of time on LinkedIn). I'm not necessarily saying that that was a good thing, but it wasn't necessarily a bad thing. There are some technical quirks to the new site that gave me pause (for example, I'm nearing the end of the reply box and know that I will soon have to start scrolling to see the next line as I type it - especially if I hit "enter"), and contributed to my lack of participation. But those aside, LIFE contributed most of all. My art classes feed my soul. Hands coated with clay dust or stained with printing ink or sticky with silicone gel or Weldbond make me feel alive.

 

So does writing - whether I'm reworking one of the three books in my trilogy or working on the new book I've started or writing a post for a discussion thread. I promise to be a more active member - to actually go INTO the bus station and look for that little comfy coffee shop tucked away in the corner and reconnect with familiar faces. I'll even sit at a table. I'll be the one with the mug of tea and the "are you sure I'm not the pack leader?" dog sitting by my side waiting patiently for me to set the mug down on the floor so that he can lap up the last few sips.


GD Deckard
Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014 4:35 PM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


 biggrinWe missed you too, Angela.

Welcome back!


Lucy Silag - Book Country Community Manager
Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014 4:56 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


The candor of this group makes me smile. I love that this is a place where writers are forthright and honest.

 

Angela, I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your dad and then the loss of your job. It’s really lovely to hear that writing and art have been enjoyable to you during this time, and I’m glad to see all your Book Country buddies so thrilled to see you here, too!

 

It does make me a little sad to see Angela likening BC (which is, after all, how I spent the bulk of my waking hours, and a community I feel very passionately about) likened to an aseptic bus station. I hope you’ll take a look around at all the wonderful books that have been posted, the generous, insightful, constructive reviews that have been given, and the fun, talented, and curious writers who’ve joined us, and perhaps feel a little differently.

 

But if not, no worries--we're always glad for feedback.

 

On that note, happy weekend to everyone! May it be a productive and restful one.


Angela Martello
Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014 5:16 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Hi, Lucy - Didn't mean to offend with my bus station analogy! Web site redesigns are daunting tasks (I've worked on e-only products with crazy online content management systems and I used to evaluate web sites). The simultaneous complete redesign of both the underlying bus trafficking system and the customer-facing passengers' waiting area is bound to uncover some glitches and rattle some senses. happy

 

Have a great weekend!


GD Deckard
Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014 5:30 PM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


@Angella

I know exactly what you mean, I've been saying the same thing. Penguin demolished their old charming writers cafe & put up a McDonalds. Our warm, friendly and energetic forum became a fluorescent web site. In Lucy's favor, I have to say she makes up for much of the site's physical lack of charm because she is herself an artist we can all relate to.


GD Deckard
Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014 5:32 PM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


ADVICE TO NEW WRITERS

I combed the net for these tidbits. I hope they prove helpful.

 

Avoid alliteration. Always.

Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.

Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.

The passive voice is to be avoided.

Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.

Do not put statements in the negative form.

Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.

If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.

Last but not least, avoid clichés like the plague; They're old hat; seek viable alternatives.

 

(Courtesy of Karyn Hollis, Pofessor, Villanova.edu)

http://www19.homepage.villanova.edu/karyn.hollis/prof_academic/Courses/common_files/jokes_about_writing.htm

 


Lucy Silag - Book Country Community Manager
Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014 5:35 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


Hey GD--these tips are great. You might also post them here, in the board that we created for folks who are new to writing.
Lucy Silag - Book Country Community Manager
Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014 5:36 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359



And haha, thanks for this characterization, too. This artist is off to have a beer. Cheers!
GD Deckard
Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014 9:39 PM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


Oh, um, Angela Martello, Atthys Gage, Carl E. Reed, DCLabs, Janet Umenta, Lucy Silag, Mimi Speike, r-Erik & Voran -I volunteered you:

http://www.bookcountry.com/Community/Discussion/Default.aspx?g=posts&t=8589936562


Mimi Speike
Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014 11:12 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014


OK, GD. I'll do what I can. I just have to get through a review on another site, that I just can't get into. But I promised a review, so I'll give it my best shot this weekend, try to explain what's shutting me down. This is a guy out of one of those big-time creative writing programs, so I have to assume he knows what he's doing. But his thing does nothing for me. It's all boom-boom-boom, action, action, action. I have no feel for who these people/wizards/what-not are. Someone else has given the thing five stars. I have to try to figure out what's so great about it.
.

Yes, it's another slow night at work. I'm gonna milk what I have till 1am at least. I'm sick and tired of putting in slips for an hour here, two hours there, using up what's left of my vacation time for the year.

.

I sure could use a beer right now.

 


Voran
Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014 11:48 PM
Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 57


Sure thing! What a great idea, GD!
Lucy Silag - Book Country Community Manager
Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2014 1:28 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


I'd like to introduce you all to Andree Robinson-Neal, who's been on the site for a while and is ready to connect and get some helpful feedback on her collection of SciFi stories--I thought this crowd could help! They'll entertain you at the very least, LOL.

 

Andree, I've recommended some connections to you. I think you might enjoy exchanging feedback with some of these folks. Take it away, Book Country members! Do your thing!


Andree Robinson-Neal
Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2014 1:42 PM
Joined: 3/12/2014
Posts: 7


Hey there everyone and thanks so much for the intro, Lucy! I am one of those who lurk from a distance...I hope to get more active in this community and welcome your feedback and advice, for sure! I have three WIP (whew!) and a blog, and recently joined a local writing group. I have self-published and partnership published, but look forward to the day when I am with a traditional publisher as well

 

More as it develops!

 

Andree'


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2014 2:08 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@Hi, Andree! So nice to hear from an actual, real-life "lurker", heh!

 

I assure you, unlike some (amateur, semi-pro and published) writers who are mean as vinegar-dipped rattlesnakes on a three-day meth bender, this bunch is kind, collegial and ever-welcoming to Book Country newcomers.

 

We share the same goals. I've been published in Black Gate and Newwitch magazines. I self-published these stories years afterward, along with new work critiqued by the gimlet-orbs of other reviewers here on BC. (GD, Atthys, Angela, LeeAnna, Herb, Mimi and others--all have helped improve my work.) I hope to have six new stories up for review in the next 60 days. 

 

And an offer from someone, somewhere, to publish my writing in a collection comprised of both the weird tales (Part I: Night Terrors) interpretive stories (Part II: Pitiless Dawns) and select poems (Part III: Blood, Flesh & Bone).

 

:::fingers, eyes, toes and [censored] crossed::::

 

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 10/9/2014, 4:56 AM--


Lucy Silag - Book Country Community Manager
Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2014 2:35 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


Hey Carl, that is fabulous news! My fingers are crossed, too!
 

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