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In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2012 10:23:17 PM PDT
Oldog_Oltrix says:
Hi Tim --

If you would edit "http://" in front of that "www", your blog URL would become an active link for us.

Posted on May 24, 2012 4:17:16 PM PDT
John Patin says:
SSP here: Two Tales from TOMORROW will be FREE for the next three days. Pick up a copy and see what you think.

Posted on May 27, 2012 12:51:29 PM PDT
Percy Kwong says:
I just write an ebook. Called: Surviving and Making Money in a Down Economy: A Guide to Coping with Unemployment and Finding New Opportunities [Kindle Edition]

It's Free for 2 more days. Hope It helps people.

Please review it! It's an easy read.

Surviving and Making Money in a Down Economy: A Guide to Coping with Unemployment and Finding New Opportunities

Posted on May 31, 2012 1:53:31 AM PDT
Oldog_Oltrix says:
It's time for the Cafe to offer another Author's Special, advice and information for those of us who find gratification in the art of literary composition; on the house, of course. If you don't care for advice in any flavor, then just walk on by this offer and try one of our other virtual beverages and taste treats.

I believe that every author ought to have a frequently-used copy of The Elements Of Style on their writing desk. This handy and inexpensive book resolves annoying little issues (and big issues) regarding the use of words and punctuation in writing Standard English. From the correct use of the apostrophe to "Words and expressions commonly misused", TEOS helps you keep your writing technically correct, straightforward, and attractive to the professional ear. You can choose from a variety of slightly different versions of the original editions by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. I just "upgraded" to Strunk's 2012 edition (45 pages) prepared by the author with input from his colleagues at the Cornell University English Department.

FWIW, I do not recommend Kindle editions of reference books. I find it ever so much quicker and easier to find what I'm looking for in a paper version.

Of course, this is not the only reference book a serious writer should have, but it is arguably the most essential.

Now the quiz. Which one of these 3 sentences is technically correct Standard English?
1. "He only found two mistakes."
2. "He found only two mistakes."
3. "Only two mistakes were found."

Posted on May 31, 2012 9:38:04 AM PDT
The People's Treasure - 662 pages

Before the first Emperor conquered the Han peoples and the world came under the sway of Heaven, the villagers of Yu-shui-ch'ien paid homage to the creatures under Mount Li, pledging to keep the ch'i world alive and the feathered-kin's lineage intact. In return, they received a great gift - a treasure that promised them power beyond aspiration. Now the China Hands hear this prophesy from the three women. Now Rowden Gray must gather the relics to redeem the promise - to awake the sleeping and the dead. It is the time for the heroes to seal this pact before the Moon days devour the Earth.

5 Book series - others published are:
The Third Peregrination (The Jade Owl Legacy)
The Dragon's Pool (The Jade Owl Legacy) and
coming June 2012 In the Shadow of Her Hem

Here's the opening paragraph to The People's Treasure:

The night birds perched in the shadow of the eaves, their stalking brought to rest. Their chicks peeped for succor - for night crawlers and fireflies, brought to the nest by attentive parents. Swallows knew how to hunt for night crawlers and the best places to dig them out. However, when it came to the fireflies, swallows took care, because when flying over the place called Campo Culadura, fireflies stalked the night birds as prey. So swallows learned new strategies that diverted the bugs far from the eaves. Tonight, however, the fireflies were calm, their luminescence easily dowsed by cutting bites - food for the wee chirpers.

Edward C. Patterson
author of The People's Treasure

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2012 11:05:55 AM PDT
Miss M says:
Lol - I gave my niece a copy for her twelfth birthday...may not have been what she was expecting...

But I will have to confess my own slackening of standards by admitting I can't decide whether #1 or #2 is actually correct. I prefer #2, but have a sneaking suspicion it's #1...

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2012 6:51:48 PM PDT
Oldog_Oltrix says:
No, your preference shows you have a good ear -- it's #2.

#3 is good English, but not Standard English so it has to be used with care.

#1 is bad English on 2 counts. First, the modifier "only" separates the subject "He" from the principle verb "found". Second, "only" is a conditional modifier which can modify conditions such as number, color, status, ages, etc.; it must be placed next to the number of mistakes which it modifies. You may have heard the phrase "misplaced modifier", which is what we have in #1.

"Adults will be hired and only may apply." -- misplaced; "only" modifies "adult" (status)
"Only adults will be hired and may apply." -- Standard English

Posted on Jun 1, 2012 6:32:10 AM PDT
THE ACADEMICIAN - Southern Swallow Book I 402 pages

An adventure of sixty years begins with this seminal work about Li K'ai-men, the first prize winner in the Sung Dynasty's national examinations, a distinction that starts him on a career of significance. This first book covers his life as a young man and superintendant of the city of Su-chou, followwed by his subsequent promotion to a post at the capital. As the Grand Tutor to the Emperor's Ninth Son, Li K'ai-men is cast into a precipitous role as the Dynasty begins to crumble. The Academician is the first book of a five book series (Southern Swallow) which also details the back story of The Jade Owl. Also available, the second book in the series - The Nan Tu - Southern Swallow Book II.

5 book series, also publiched are:
The Nan Tu - Southern Swallow Book II
Swan Cloud - Southern Swallow Book III
coming soon The House of Green Waters and Vagrants Hollow

Here's the opening paragraph to THE ACADEMICIAN - Southern Swallow Book I:

A bigger fool the world has never known than I - a coarse fellow with no business to clutch a brush and scribble. I only know the scrawl, because my master took pleasure in teaching me between my chores. Not many men are so cursed by a scholar and saddled with the baggage of literary aspirations. Still, what I know, I know. What I have seen, I have seen; so what I scrawl is no more than a witness and a guess on how things grew along my path, which was his path after all. Now that he raises his spectral cup in the Dragon's Pool with the Other, I can do little but sit on the riverbank, boiling the fish soft for my toothless repast and serve destiny with these recollections. Better men have managed it, so I am doomed to failure. So we begin with a flourish of the brush - with a big Nan and a giant Ya, my master's pen name - Southern Swallow. Then, we commence with . . . an ending. In fact, without an ending, this story could not begin; and it began at Su-chou inside the Superintendent's official residence.

Edward C. Patterson
author of The Academician

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2012 8:18:02 AM PDT
kb walker says:
Once Removed is contemporary fiction. This blurb will give an overview of the story:
Suspecting self-harm, newly qualified teacher, Abriella, risks everything for a troubled pupil. An incident with a craft knife and unexplained injuries are not enough to secure help for the girl. Unsure whether Beth is being bullied or has problems at home, Abby tries to win her trust and the two begin a friendship. But has the teacher gone too far?
In the midst of Abby's own complicated life, Beth disappears. Rumour and suspicion ignite, fanned into an inferno. Abby is arrested, suspended and targeted by vigilantes. Will either rise from the ashes?


Intent, she watched the thin blade press a shadowed hollow in her skin. With fractionally more force, the delicate tissue split. Red buds blossomed along the razor's trail. She repeated the macabre ritual three times. The breath gripped in the prison of her ribs sighed loose, as her wickedness dripped in the open where she could `treat' it. Only then could she see, with sickening clarity, what she'd done to herself. Her breath caught once more at the thought of what she might need to do the next time.


The shriek scraped down my spine. Hugging my black cardigan more tightly around myself, I stopped. The noisy teenagers flowing in the direction of the school cafeteria barely paused.
Scanning the crowd, I fervently wished for someone more senior. But only chattering children, shuffling and laughing, pushed past. A deep sigh deflated me. Tempted to pretend I hadn't heard, the memory shivered along my back and forced me to respond.
Wading into a shadowy side corridor, the small knot of gawpers melted away. Megan, a tall year seven girl, slumped against the grubby wall squeezing her hand in front of her like a gun. Blood dripped from two fingers pointed at the other girl. Freckles glared from Beth's pale face cowering beneath bushy ginger hair. The low growl of obscenities pouring from Megan's lips stopped when she saw me.
It didn't make sense. Megan was a pretty girl, confident and always followed by a crowd of hangers-on. She was too polite in class, all angel-eyes standing in the midst of the trouble she'd stirred up. Beth, on the other hand, sat alone in the furthest corner. Watching the river of young people cascade through the corridors, this girl seemed an island protected by a reef of sadness. Not your classic bully. A craft knife, glittered amongst the spilled contents of a discarded bag on the floor.
"Well?" I asked, pushing my dark rimmed glasses back up my nose and looking from one girl to the other. Brilliant, Abby, just brilliant, you are way out of your depth here. Trust you to land up in the middle of Marfield High School's first ever knife crime!
"It was an accident, Miss." Pulling herself upright, Megan flicked back her carefully styled hair. "I picked up Beth's bag by mistake. Isn't that right, Beth?"
I was surprised Megan's laser fierce glare hadn't set Beth's school uniform on fire. The child looked smaller than ever beside an in-charge Megan. The ginger head dipped in agreement.
"I was scrabbling around for my phone when I caught my fingers on that blade." Megan pointed with her dripping finger.
"Beth," my tone was as gentle as I could make it, "why did you have a knife in your bag?"
"Art class... didn't realise... must have dropped it in my bag without thinking."
Beth looked as though she'd been caught running naked down Marfield's High Street and would disintegrate if any more fuss were made. But she was lying.
Once Removed

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2012 8:24:54 AM PDT
kb walker says:
Thank you for this little piece of information. I prefer my grammar lessons in tiny bite-sized pieces, like this ;0). Another helpful book is Eats Shoots & Leaves. For various reasons I missed out on grammar lessons at school but have developed that "ear' you speak of through reading voraciously.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 1:41:17 AM PDT
Oldog_Oltrix says:
Hi kbw --

Steven King, in his memoir _On Writing_ , says that it is almost impossible to be a good writer without also being a frequent and passionate reader.

Posted on Jun 11, 2012 1:42:36 AM PDT
Oldog_Oltrix says:
Cherry Valley Road Ballads by Lawrence Cartwright.

The War Between The States, 1861-65, was notable for the number of boys enlisted in their teen years. This novel follows the life of Jeremiah James from abused child to cold-blooded killer for a unique Pennsylvania volunteer company of the U.S. Army, serving in a select squad of abandoned youths like himself. At the war's end in 1865, he found his way to a remarkable remote and isolated community at the end of rugged Cherry Valley Road.

Jeremiah James delighted in the joys of establishing a family and a successful farm, only to be crushed by disaster. The reader joins the survivors as they struggle from grief to recovery; and becomes part of this family's event-filled new life and experiences in sometimes brutal, sometimes compassionate nineteenth century mid-America.

The novel is in the form of a two volume family memoir, written by family members to be passed down to their children, grandchildren and successive generations.

Most chapters incorporate a nineteenth century ballad, a poetic composition created by family members. The majority of the book is prose narrative delivered by Jeremiah James or one of his immediate family.

One of the focuses of the James family memoir is the treatment and mistreatment of children in the nineteenth century. Jeremiah James's sons introduce him to a succession of abused, abandoned, and challenged youths who are rescued by becoming adopted or fostered by the caring and generous James family.

When you "Click To Look Inside" Cherry Valley Road Ballads , you will be able to read a generous 4+ chapters of the saga, a two-book set complete in this one volume.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 7:19:44 AM PDT
Stephen King is right!

Posted on Jun 12, 2012 11:49:50 AM PDT
Kodai Okuda says:
Gideon Krieg didn't join the Earth Federal Space Marines to become a hero. He didn't know why he signed up. Maybe it was to impress the girl he was madly in love with, or maybe it was to prove to himself he was worth something. Deeper still, perhaps it was due to the woman that plagued his dreams...sometimes his nightmares. Whatever had drawn him into the war, it did not prepare him for the destiny that lay ahead.

The Stygian Conspiracy (Nexus Arcana)

Posted on Jun 13, 2012 9:35:11 AM PDT
kb walker says:
Yes, I also agree with Stephen King, Oldog & James. I'm staggered whenever a wanna-be author at an author's group or a workshop actually boasts about not reading much! I usually try to avoid a situation where I might have to read their work.

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 9:31:39 PM PDT
Oldog_Oltrix says:
It's time for the Cafe to offer another Author's Special, advice and information for those of us who find gratification in the art of literary composition; on the house, of course. If you don't care for advice in any flavor, then just walk on by this offer and try one of our other virtual beverages and taste treats.

One of my favorite gifts is a copy of _Characters & Viewpoint_ by Orson Scott Card, a scholarly yet very readable 226-page trade paperback. If you're looking for a read that is almost certain to make you a better fiction writer, this is one you should consider seriously.

One of Card's observations caught my eye today, and I felt compelled to pass it along to you: "One of the surest signs of an amateur story is when strange or important events happen around the narrator or point-of-view character, and he doesn't have an attitude toward them." I re-read the quote and analyzed it carefully, and noted the key phrase "STRANGE OR IMPORTANT EVENTS".

For the price of your admission today, you're going to get two pieces of advice. The first, from one of our most prolific and respected authors, you have already received. If something strange or important happens and you don't have your "voice character" respond to it, you are going to look like the most inept kind of literary doofus.

The second piece of advice, from your 69-year-old literary nobody Cafe host, is the flip side of Card's card; if you waste your reader's time having your "voice character" repeatedly reacting to ordinary or trivial events, you run the risk of appearing equally inept and foolish.

Now there is an important difference between these two pieces of advice. Card's observation is one of those "must do" commandments. If something significant to the story line occurs, you really lose credibility if your "voice character" doesn't display a reaction to the event. You also lose a crucial opportunity to manipulate your reader's feeling toward your "voice character" and perhaps other central characters as well as an opportunity to manipulate the direction of the story line.

The second piece of advice, my advice, is not a hard and fast commandment. It is simply a caution that you'd better have a pretty darned good reason for having your "voice character" react to an ordinary or trivial event, and you'd better follow up on it soon.

An example, s'il vous plait: "Mayor Dillingham left the meeting, and through the window I watched him pitch his expended cigar butt into the street. His Honor is a pig, fouling our town's environment wherever he passes by. I cannot abide the man."

It's hard to imagine a reader who isn't left with a "what was that all about?" feeling about this apparent over-reaction to a trivial event. It's hard to imagine a reader who isn't awaiting some clarification in the near future. Having displayed a character's unusual attitude, a competent author is now obligated to explain it further and soon. Why did you create this unusual attitude? Is the narrator a neatness freak? Does the narrator have a grudge against the mayor? Who is unlikable here? The narrator? The mayor? Both?

Having created the incident, you must now make use of it soon or wear the "dunce" hat.

Posted on Jun 17, 2012 10:52:55 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 17, 2012 11:17:23 AM PDT
Oldog_Oltrix says:
David Watson, if you see this, please post a response. We will talk a bit about your short stories and how to get other writers to look at them, we will give you an opportunity to meet some writers and readers who will be pleased to help you. Are you around here yet?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 5:22:13 PM PDT
David Watson says:
Okay, I see it. I'll be around at 9:00 PM EST. Thanks. Sorry about my confusion on how this works.

Posted on Jun 17, 2012 5:22:46 PM PDT
Miss M says:
Hi Oldog,
Just me. Just wanted to mention another up and coming writer who's been participating in the Kindle Book Forum - yes, things got uncomfortable there so she's started another thread here in the MOA. Would definitely recommend her posts.
cheers, and hope the new book is doing well!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 5:51:43 PM PDT
Oldog_Oltrix says:
Thanks, MM --

We'll definitely try to make use of Carole's resource if it fits what David is looking for.

Feel free to hang around and contribute -- this isn't private.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 5:53:55 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 17, 2012 5:54:25 PM PDT
Oldog_Oltrix says:
Confusion is no problem here. There is so much to learn and find that even the old-timers are confused part of the time. Some of them admit it, and some of them try to cover their tracks with anger and abuse.

Posted on Jun 17, 2012 5:56:26 PM PDT
Oldog_Oltrix says:
Hi David --

I'm Larry the Oldog, aka Lawrence Cartwright, published (finally) author and MOA gadfly. I'm a poet and a short story writer (more about that shortly).

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 5:59:28 PM PDT
David Watson says:
Okay, its 8:59, and I'm here.

Posted on Jun 17, 2012 6:02:19 PM PDT
Oldog_Oltrix says:
And a warm welcome to you !!!

First question -- Do you have a favorite genre, or one that you write in more often than others? Mine right now is historical fiction.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 6:02:32 PM PDT
David Watson says:
Hi. I'm David Watson. I write short stories, when I'm not at my day job. I appreciate any help. I'm interested to know how this chit-chat work? Does it auto-refresh or do I need to keep updating the web page myself?
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