Friday, May 30, 2014

Flat Characters

Remember Flat Stanley?  It's a children's book (it's here:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002BY77AE) with the following description from the book page on Amazon:

"When Stanley Lambchop wakes up one morning, his brother, Arthur, is yelling. A bulletin board fell on Stanley during the night, and now he is only half an inch thick! Amazing things begin happening to him. Stanley gets rolled up, mailed, and flown like a kite. He even gets to help catch two dangerous art thieves. He may be flat, but he's a hero. This is the very first Flat Stanley adventure, updated with crisp new art."

Now, if you're the parent of a young child or know any young child, 'Flat Stanley' is an annual event.  Children around the age of first or second grade color in a Flat Stanley on paper, cut it out, and send it to some unsuspecting friend or relative to photograph with interesting things in their state.  I've done a few of these myself.

For a kid, a Flat Stanley is fun.  But for an author, a 'flat Stanley' is more like a flat character.  What's a flat character?  To me, it's one that's boring and has no personality.  The person has no interesting back story, nothing they are passionate about, and someone who is more 2-D than 3-D.  There are people like this in the world, but to an author, having a flat character means death for the whole book.

I've been working on two different books and lost interest in both.  I tried to figure out why.  I have flat characters!  Yikes!  No personality, and the plots are boring.

So I'm in the process of making my 'flat Stanley' characters 3-D by giving them something that yields character and passion about something--anything.

Have you ever had that in your writing, or have you read any books like this?

Have a wonderful week!
SweetTale Books

Thursday, May 29, 2014

2014 SUMMER COLLECTION ANTHOLOGY IS OUT!!! Check it out!

I'm one of the authors in a romance anthology entitled 2014 Summer Collection for this summer!  YAY!




Great reads by great authors!


Links:

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KMJB4NG
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/442711

ENJOY!  :)

Markee

Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day!

Here's wishing all the soldiers my deepest thanks for keeping this nation free.

Remember the fallen on Memorial Day and say a prayer of thanks!



SweetTale Books

Friday, May 23, 2014

The World, It Is a-Changin'

With thanks to Bob Dylan's song, 'The Times They Are a Changin' (here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7qQ6_RV4VQ) from WAY back in 1964, the world now seems to be changing a lot faster than when I was a kid.

Not only do we now have flat-screened televisions and e-readers, you can now type on tiny keyboards on iPhones and communicate via text, email, and Facebook.  I know...this isn't earth shattering, but when you think how far we've come, even since just the early 90s, it boggles the mind.

We just got a Galaxy Tab 3 with our latest Sprint changeover for our phones.  My daughter's laptop had broken (again) so I sent the Tab to her, thinking it could at least help her get emails at college.  They have laptops, etc., that you can rent from the library, but the last time she rented an iPad, she forgot to return it.  The next day, they had a bill ready for her for $300.  I couldn't believe it.  She complained and they dropped it to $20. So the Tab was a lot cheaper than any fine for that iPad.

She called me a little bit after she got the Tab and said she wanted to get a keyboard for it.  I didn't even know they HAD bluetooth keyboards.  As it turns out, they not only have keyboards but a bluetooth mouse to go with tablets.  I'm so old.  I had no idea and am behind in the latest technology.

So now, I want to get a keyboard for my Nook HD so I can take it on trips, instead of a full-sized laptop.  And to think, back when I was a kid, I had paper and a pencil to entertain me on trips.  Now I can carry a whole computer in my purse and be connected to the world or work on my books fast.  I don't have a smartphone but could use those too.

The world's a changin'.  I wonder what's next?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Plot errors...just like Gilligan's Island

I have to admit, television is really awful right now.  So, I've taken to watching Me TV (here: http://metvnetwork.com/).  Like TV Land (here: http://www.tvland.com/), they play old shows I grew up with (yeah, I'm old!).

One of my favorite shows is Gilligan's Island, believe it or not.  This show, in case you don't know, was a sitcom from the 1964-1967, described here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057751/.

Here's a clip of the opening credits, with the theme song (after season one, where they mention the Professor and Mary Ann):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cC6-E5XV_yE.  If you notice, they went on a three hour tour, got shipwrecked, and ended up on a deserted island.  Yes, other people visit the island during the show's episodes, but for some unknown (and plot exposition) reasons, they never seem to make it off the island.

Here are some clips, if you'd like to know more:
Radioactive vegetables clip:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3H2zZoxVFUY
The Honey Bees clip:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqp_Si4a10E

You can find more on youtube.com if you want to see more.

My son and I have watched a ton of these shows (my husband always finds something else to do--smart man).  We've decided that either audiences were stupid back then, or they just tolerated the show.  Why, you ask?  Plot holes!  Tons of them!

Here are a few examples.  The Professor (never has a name, nor do they tell us what the professor's degree is in) has a TON of books on the island.  Because of these books, he knows everything and can concoct any device known to man.  But can he fix the boat?  Nope.  Radio--piece of cake.  Raft--easy.  Boat fixing?  No-can-do.

The millionaire and his wife (Thurston Howell III, and Lovey) have a LOT of luggage, and money, like millions of dollars in cash.  The movie star (Ginger Grant) has only one dress with 'USS Minnow' from the boat on it in the first season, but every season after that, she seems to have many many dresses (I think she must've known about free delivery from the Internet or something, before the Internet was even around.)

If you notice, these people all brought a bunch of things on that teeny little boat, for a three hour tour (the weight of the items alone probably would've sunk the thing).  Three hours?  Would YOU take luggage, money, and research books along if you were going out for just three hours on a boat?  No way.  It might get wet.

Also, they have a way to make cakes (um...they have no flour, because they're on a tropical island), and always seem to have enough food.  I've watched enough Survivor to know you can't live on fruit and fish alone.  LOL!  Why don't they have some type of disease from lack of vitamins?  Would the professor just happen to find a cure for it, if they did?

The point is this.  Watch out for plot errors and holes when you write.  Your audiences are smarter, I think, than they were back in the day.

Here's another example--I also watch Emergency! from Me TV (I'm a Me TV junkie).  When someone has a bad car accident and passes out from a head injury, for example, they move the people without even putting them on a back brace.  I cringe when I see it, even though I'm not a medical person, because I've seen enough shows to know you don't do that.  You brace their necks if they're hurt.  They also tell the paramedics to give D5W or Ringer's Lactate no matter what.  Broken nail?  D5W.  Stuck in a girdle (remember that episode?)?  D5W.  Brain tumor?  D5W. I've slipped and called it WD40.  LOL!

Just remember, readers will remember plot errors or holes.

Smiles!
Markee

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!



Here's wishing you the best Mother's Day ever, either for yourself, or for that special surrogate mother in your life.  :)

Have a wonderful day!
Markee and all the authors at Sweet Tale Books

A New Blog!

I (Eryn Grace) have started a new blog!  It's about Christianity and things relating to life, in general.  Come join me at http://www.journeysoffaithbooks.blogspot.com/.

Have a wonderful day!
Eryn

Friday, May 9, 2014

What kind of writer are you?


Imagine the above picture, with me standing in-between.  Both dogs have leather leashes attached to harnesses.  Calvin (in the background) is pulling hard, trying to get ahead.  Hobbes (foreground) is lagging behind, enjoying every scent and leaf he comes across.  That's how I give our dogs walks every day, with my arms and hands pulled in two different directions.  No matter what, I have to cater to one or the other, until they walk together.

They remind me of readers (below).  Calvin (on the left) is interested in the next page, not willing to take his time to savor the words or even read them all.  Hobbes (on the right) not only wants to know what's on the page, but under it, around it, and probably through it, knowing him.


Given the different types of readers, what kind of writer are you?  Do you give little detail and want the pacing to go fast for the current market (that's what the rumor is), or do you give the reader lots of details, the setting, and really set the scene?  Do you describe every detail for Hobbes-types, or do you cater to the Calvin's of the world?  Or, are you the type who tries to satisfy everyone and include some scenery and detail along the way?

I have to admit, I write for Calvin on my first draft, or I'll forget the plot, myself.  But then I try to slow it down, so the Hobbes of the world will savor the story.

Smiles,
Markee





Thursday, May 1, 2014

Newsletter--May Flowers!



Welcome May!

When my mom was young, they used to run around the maypole every May 1 (May Day).  I never knew what it was about, but after reading Wikipedia (I know...teachers don't allow that to be accepted as fact, but I find it more real than some websites), it makes me wonder what they were teaching kids back in my mom's era (she was born in 1931).  Between the paganism and the phallic symbolism, I want to call my mom and find out if she's emotionally scarred. LOL!

Regardless, we have a ton of traditions in the summertime, and yes, summer's coming.  I can't wait.  I love all the summer foods, the farmer's markets, and the celebrations.  The flowers and weather in this area (Green Bay, WI) are fantastic!  We rarely get into the 90s and mostly are in the 70s.  We let our dogs run in and out of the house with our door open (and a Magic Mesh covering the door) all day long.  They love it.  We love it.  It certainly makes up for the winters.

However, the locals don't want this summer stuff up here in Wisconsin to catch on with the rest of the nation, so it's a secret.  When people ask, "What do you do in the summers up there in the 'tundra,'" the locals say, "Well, during that weekend in July, we usually grill out."  I think they're hiding the fact that the rest of the summer is GORGEOUS.

Free Book!!



I'd like to welcome any new newsletter readers by offering a FREE book from Smashwords from one of the authors on SweetTale Books.

This is one of Markee's books, entitled, 'All for Aaron.'  Here's the description:

When Kelly Foster divorced, her senatorial-hopeful ex-husband paid off the judge and Kelly's lawyer, enforcing unbelievable rules, including the fact that she may never date and her son has to attend a school for the profoundly autistic. If she breaks any of the rules, her autistic son will be taken from her and put in an institution, where she'll never see him again. But when Kelly meets her son's delectable teacher, Dr. Drew Miller, she has to keep her distance for her son's sake, sacrificing her own happiness with the man of her dreams.

Find it at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/20409 and use code XN79Z at the checkout.  The coupon's good until June 1, 2014.  Enjoy!

NOTE:  If you have problems putting this book on your kindle, go to this page: http://sweettalebooks.com/copyingtokindle.html.  Sendtokindle is the easiest way to transfer any book from your computer to your kindle.

Have a wonderful May!!!!

To leave you with a smile for this month, here's a picture of our Boston terrier, Hobbes, as he likes to go to sleep at night.  (Calvin, another Boston terrier, is his older brother.)  Hobbes won't let go of this ball, no matter what.  We have to pry it from his mouth so he can sleep peacefully.  And yes, we have more than one of these balls, but he loves the dirtiest one.
Have a super month!
SweetTale Books