Friday, August 26, 2016

Writing Acronyms on Twitter

I follow a lot of authors on Twitter.  Sometimes, they put hashtag and a bunch of letters.  I have no idea what they are, so I have to look them up.  Unfortunately, as soon as I do and see those letters again, I forget what they are.

So I'm starting a list of letters I notice.  When I'm done, I'll put it as a page on this blog so anyone can refer back to it.

Here goes:

#WIP:  Work in progress--what they author is working on right now
#IARTG:  Indie Author Retweet Group:  IARTG will retweet it
#IAN1:  Independent Author Network
#RRBC:  Rave Reviews Book Club
#SMM:  social media marketing
#KIDLIT:  Children's literature
#CR4U:  Clean Reads for You
#YA:  Young adult literature
#SNRTG:  social networking retweet group
#ASMSG:  authors' social medial support group
#histfic:  historical fiction
#amwriting:  a chat hashtag where you can join in at any time.  See AmWriting.Org
#amreading: What the tweeter is currently reading
#t4us:  a group of authors/tweeters who commit to retweet each other

Once I get more, I'll add them and put it on a page by itself.  Not easy to do, because they're not defined in any one place, but I have to figure it out.

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Reference:  #tagdef

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Day to Yourself

Last Saturday was cold and rainy.  Couldn't mow and had to even turn off the air conditioning and opt for a jacket.  No kidding.  This is August, but welcome to Green Bay, WI.  Autumn can give us a taste early in these parts.

Since I couldn't do much else on Saturday, I  I pulled out some of my old published works and read them back-to-back.  I was reading the Timeless Tales series, of Christian romances with a hint of fairy tales or nursery rhymes.  I edited as I went and will be fixing up a few things I found--not much, but just a bit.

I have to admit, it was one of the best days ever.  I got to do what I wanted to do and not bow down to anyone's current emotional crises.  Fortunately, my kids didn't bug me, my husband is wrapped up in a computer game (Space Chem from Steam--it's addictive), and even the dogs didn't want my attention.  Fantastic!

I envy the person who can read whenever they want to, and have the day to themselves.  Yes, I love my family, but like in every family, they can suck me into doing things I'd rather not be involved in, like cleaning, emotional crises (that they think are crises), and things like that.

If you ever get the chance, get a book (I have a bunch of them if you're interested), take time for yourself, and read.  Sometimes (and in my case), the characters and story will follow you long after you're done with the book.  Fun stuff!

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Tattooed Character

Every once in a while, I write about a character with a tattoo (they're usually a minor character or the antagonist).  I know tattoos are becoming more popular, and some of them are gorgeous works of art.  So I decided to do a bit of research on the tattoo, to find out more before I make one of my protagonists want one.

This is what I found out:

Tattoos have been around since at least 6,000 BC and possibly as far back as 12,000 BC.  Primitive man used the skin for a canvas for art.  It also showed the person's standing in the tribe.  It was believed that a tattoo of an animal would bring protection of an attack from that very same animal.

In both ancient and modern times, tattoos were thought to be a way for spirits to ensure passage into the spirit world.  Some people believe it would ward off evil and ensure positive occupation in the spirit world.

Other groups use tattooing for religious practices, or to connect with a deceased loved one or family member.  They were also used to indicate a person's trade or skill.

Even so, some cultures use it as a brand.  In the first millennium AD, Japan adopted what the Chinese did and branded wrongdoers.  Some cultures even used it to brand their slaves.  Others used it to indicate the criminal's crime, branding it on their foreheads.  Eventually, those tattooed with a mark of guilt or punishment began to be proud of their tattoos.  They're still a mark of honor among criminals today.

In Tahiti, tattoos were given when a person reached adulthood, telling the history of the person's life.  In other cultures, they're used for physical health, good luck, clan indicators, and even love charms. Today, in the United States, they've become more commonplace, to indicate a work of art.

But tattoos were not always accepted or commonplace.  In the early 1900s, the cultural view of tattooing was so poor that tattooing went underground.  Tattooists worked in the sleazier sections of town, or were only known by word of mouth.  People who were tattooed traveled with circuses and freak shows.

In 1961, there was an outbreak of hepatitis and tattooing was pretty much gone.  Tattoo parlors were considered dirty, and were held in disrepute.  Because of health code violations, tattoo shops in NY were shut down.

During WWII, the Nazis tattooed the prisoners at Auschwitz with tattoos, permanent reminders of a horrible experience.  Only those prisoners selected for work were tattooed.  The ones sent immediately to death had no tattoos.

Further atrocities occurred in Nazi concentration camps with tattoos.  Ilse Koch was married to the first commandant of the concentration camp in Buchenwald.  She would choose prisoners with tattoos, so she could make leather lamp shades for her home.  She would stroll through the camp, looking over the prisoners in a provocative way.  It's also believed they also made soap from human fat at that site.

The Bible has

Wow.  I know a bunch of people with tattoos and have told them about what the Nazis did.  But they seem to turn a blind ear and eye to all of it.

So my protagonist finds out about what happened in the concentration camps and immediately wants the tattoo removed, so he/she isn't the first to die.  But the thing never completely goes away, and he/she is reminded daily of what could come if history repeats itself.

Since I also write Christian romances, I decided to consult what the Bible says.  There are direct passages that warn against any type of adornment, all summed up in this article:  What does the Bible say about tattoos / body piercings?

Hmmm...the makings of a plot?  It kind of reminds me of Shakespeare's character MacBeth that wanted to wash away the blood from his hands.  No matter how much he washes, the stain remains, forever a brand for what they've done.  And, if it's a Christian romance, they'll be even more ashamed.  Hunh...gotta love conflict when writing a book!

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

A Brief History of Tattoos
The Origin of Ink: Tattoos Through Time
History of Tattooing
The History of Tattoos
Buchenwald Concentration Camp Atrocities
What does the Bible say about tattoos / body piercings?
What does the Bible say about tattoos?
Piercings And Tattoos
What does the Bible say about body piercing and tattoos?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

When your get up and go has gotten up and gone

Ever have a week when you just didn't want to do anything?  That was last week for me.  I just wanted to read.  Since I'm not employed outside the house, there's not a rush to do much of anything.  The only deadlines I have are self-imposed.  You might think that's a great thing, but trust's a hindrance.

So last week...I read.  A lot.  I edited old books and found a few typos. I'm working on republishing them to get rid of typos and things that don't make sense.

I've decided I need more weeks like this, when my get up and go has disappeared.  It makes me reflect on life a bit more, and lets me relax.  I also get more creative when that happens...and I bake more. LOL!

So when your get up and go has gotten up and gone, take heed.  It'll come back but only if you take the time to smell the roses and take a little time for yourself.

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Monday, August 22, 2016

Things I Learned from Watching the Olympics

Here are a few things I learned from watching the Olympics.

  • There are jealous people everywhere.
  • Even if you win gold, someone will always try to be better than you.
  • Your fame is fleeting, but family and friends are around forever.
  • In order to win, concentrate on one thing and do it well.
  • Taking a risk is important to being number 1.

And the most important thing I learned:

  • Luck helps, but hard work pays off.

This list can be applied to anything.  For writing, you have to put in tons of hours and learn how to write.  It took me over ten years and I'm still learning.

Have any more to add?

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Friday, August 19, 2016

Kinetic typography: What is it?

I've recently learned a bit about kinetic typography.  Kinetic typography is 'moving text.'  Adobe's After Effects is a perfect way to make the text move.

However, I don't have After Effects.  So I used a few free products to do the following video.

Granted, I don't have 'flying text' or anything spinning, but overall, it's a neat way to get a point across, fast, in 20 seconds.

To make that video, I used to make each individual frame.  Then I put it all into Movie Maker, changing the duration for each frame to match the words.  After that was all done, I uploaded it to youtube.

I could've done more animations in Movie Maker, but I wanted to keep it simple.

I hope that helps you if you want to make a quick video to put on Twitter or Youtube.

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Thursday, August 18, 2016

What's your writing rut?

When I wrote 'Finding a Heart of Peace,' by Eryn Grace, I had an agent who required me to edit better.  I'm glad she did, actually, but at first, I thought she was crazy.

I asked a friend of mine (Lauran) to edit for me.  She's not a writer (yet) but has aspirations.  As for editing, I consider her to be top-notch.  She knows what works and what agents are looking for, as well as the general public.  She's done a bit of editing for another friend, who has books with various publishers.

Anyway, Lauran looked over my book.  She was worried that I'd be upset with what she had to say, but I told her I needed help.  The agent was demanding it.  I can't thank Lauran enough for what she did for me.  Amazing!

It seems I have a writing 'rut,' like many writers do.  I use 'walked,' for example, WAY too often.  I start sentences with '-ing' words (present participle) that don't make sense.  For example, 'Turning around, she grabbed her purse.'  Does that mean she keeps turning and turning?  It would read better as 'Once she turned around, she grabbed her purse,' for example.  I also used 'she glanced his way.'  I don't know where I picked all of this up, but I'm slowing going back through my old books and fixing those things.  It doesn't change the plot at all, but just tightens the writing a bit.  I'm also trying to change some of the covers, to update them a bit.

So how did she edit my book?  In a simple but useful method.  First, she went through it from page 1 to the end, finding any plot holes and weird things.  Then, she went through the book BACKWARD.  No kidding.  From end to beginning, she looked at the structure of each sentence.   I never thought about it, but it's a great idea.  She also found replacement words for simple word structures as she went.

In the end, the book looked like it should've looked, like a book you'd take off the shelves.  The wording was amazing.  The word 'walked' disappeared in most of the book.  And, those pesky '-ing' words that begin a sentence are gone.  She also made the passive more active by taking out more present participles.  So, for example, she'd make 'We were baking...'  to 'We baked...'  It's more active.

I have to thank Lauran so much.  She opened my eyes to many problems I didn't know I had, and made my books so much better!

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books