Friday, February 27, 2015

What's Pixar Have to Do With It?

My son shared this web page on Imgur with me.  This is really interesting.  It talks about how Pixar tells a story.  There are 22 rules, and all of them make sense.

(The link is here, if you can't click on the web page above:  http://imgur.com/gallery/E8xe0)

For example, the first rule is:  You admire a character more for trying than for their successes.  Wow.  That's true in just about every good story.  Think about The Wizard of Oz.  Dorothy didn't really succeed, but she really tried hard to get home.  She did a lot of things in the meantime, like set the mean old witch straight and save a few new friends, but her goal was never truly reached.  She didn't go home with the ruby slippers or all her friends, but just woke up.  However, you admire her.

I like rule number seven:  Come up with the ending before you figure out the middle.  I do that.  I know the ending...at least a working ending, before I write anything.  I usually concentrate on the first scene and the ending, and then figure out how to connect the two parts.

There are some other great ideas in this list.  You have to click at the bottom, before the comments, to see the entire list.

I could probably add a few more to the list, but these are great ideas to start with.

What do you think?  Do you agree with the list?  

Have a great week!
Markee

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Review of 'Fleeting Hope,' by Diane Craver



(cover taken from Barnes & Noble website)


If you like Amish romances, you'll love this one!  It's the third book of the series 'Dreams of Plain Daughters' about Ruth and David.

Ruth is an older, unmarried school marm.  She had her one chance at marriage to Daniel, but he died right before they were married.  Thus, she's alone.

Her neighbor, David, is a widower.  Some of his children are grown, and two of them are in Ruth's class at school.

This story describes the love story between these two, and how life is different in the Amish tradition.

I really liked this book, because I grew up in Lancaster, PA, one of the biggest Amish communities around.  This story, though, takes place in Ohio, but sticks to the Amish traditions I remember hearing about when I was a kid.  Even though I'm not Amish, I respect that they stick to their traditions and have a strong community.  Those ideas come out in this book, showing some of the struggles that they all face to remain pure to the Amish faith.

So I give this one five out of five stars!  Since Amazon won't let me post a review (I've been banned), I'm writing it here.

Thank you, Ms. Craver, for telling the story of Ruth and David.  It's a great book!  Keep writing!  I can't wait to read the fourth one, which is already out.

Have a great week!
Markee

Friday, February 13, 2015

Writing Shorts for Paige...

Paige Ryter's books are short stories, right now (I intend to write longer ones later, when I have time).  But are they really shorts?  Or are they considered novellas, or...what are they, exactly?

I went through this conundrum when I was working on the first Rick Shilling book, 'Ginger, Spice, and Everything Not Nice.'  The story wasn't long enough to be considered a full-length book, because I wanted to get it out before Christmas and ran out of time to write one that long.  I also wanted it to be a snappy book, not drawn out, but just long enough to give the reader a cute story for Christmas.

I went to the Internet and found lengths of books (fiction).  First, I looked up full-length novels.  They range from 40,000 words and up.  If the book is more than 110,000, that's considered an 'epic' novel.  However, depending on the genre, different lengths seem to be 'normal' or average for full-length.  See here for more information on the genre for full-length novel word count.

In general, if the story is shorter than full-length, which mine was, it falls into the following categories:

Short story:  7500 words and less
Novelette: 7500-17,500 words
Novella:  17,500-40,000 words

Also, I found this information from daringnovelist.blogspot.com:

Shorter stories use different techniques, and have different kinds of subjects, so the Short Mystery Fiction Society subdivides the shortest categories further for their Derringer Awards:


·                     Flash story: up to 1000 words
·                     Short short story: 1001 - 4000 words
·                     Long short story: 4001-8000 words

·                     Novelette: 8001-17,500 words

So short stories are even classified further.  I guess the 7500-8000 range is in that 'gray' area since two of my sources say different things.

My goal, for these books, is to make them a novella.  Novelette sounds too short, and a short story, to the average person, is probably anything less than novel length.  But a novella sounds about right--shorter than a novel, but long enough to have a good plot.

Thus, the Rick Shilling stories are considered novella length, but still packed with tons of action and a fun plot.  I hope you enjoy them!

Have a great week!
Markee/Paige
----------------------------------------------------------------
References:
http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/word-count-for-novels-and-childrens-books-the-definitive-post

http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/word-count.html

http://daringnovelist.blogspot.com/2011/04/novella-novelette-page-count-and-word.html




Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My Vampy Valentine--New Book!

Paige Ryter has a new novella out, just in time for Valentine's Day!


The website page is here:  http://paigeryter.com/myvampyvalentine.html

Blurb:
Lyra McCabe needs a date for Valentine's Day, or her alien mother will fix her up with a loser cat rancher. So Lyra signs up on a dating site online, as do creatures hunting for blood--especially alien blood.  Lyra meets many strange dates, but her Vampy Valentine is the strangest.


Chapter 1:

"Other World Dating Service.  Glampyra speaking.  How may I help you?"

Lyra McCabe grabbed her cup of tea and sat at the kitchen table, turning her attention toward the phone.  "I need a date for Valentine's Day."  She clicked on the laptop in front of her.  "I see you have a two-for-one deal for Valentine's Day?"

"Yes.  You can get two dates for the price of one, but you have to date them in the same hour.  Both dates."

That was odd.  "I can't possibly do that."

Glampyra laughed.  "That's why the bosses made the deal.  It's to hook you in and make you pay full price."  She gasped.  "Oops.  I forgot they're listening to this call.  Forget I said that."

"No problem."  Lyra didn't have much of a choice.  She had to use this dating service, since she wasn't completely human.  Her mom was from the planet Chocdoughno Seven, or Seven for short, so she considered herself half-alien.  Other World Dating Service should take care of the problem for her, at least that's what she hoped.

If only she could be left alone in her life, but it wasn't to be.  Her mother wanted her to date Prince Jasperon from Seven to strengthen some sort of diplomatic ties or something.  The guy was a rinjie farmer, but living off his parents' fame.  A rinjie was a type of cat that grew golden fur.  All Jasperon had to do was collect hairballs every day and sell them on the open market.  He wasn't poor, but lazy as anything.  He'd do about five minutes of work, put the fur balls on their world's type of Internet, and within minutes, had made a million US dollars.  Other than that, the guy had no motivation, cleaned out cat litter, and played video games all day long.  In other words, he was a loser.  Lyra was better off going to a dating service on Earth than deal with Prince Jasperon.  Besides, he wasn't even remotely handsome.  He looked like a cat if the lighting was right, and it was definitely right on the picture she'd seen.  She'd also talked to him online and the guy made a cereal box look more animated.

Lyra felt the need to explain to this woman on the phone.  "I have to find a date today.  Mom wants me dating by Valentine's Day, or she'll fix me up with a cat rancher."  Cats, rinjies, same thing.

"A cat rancher?  Wow.  That's a new one.  Let me see what I can do to help you."  Lyra heard clicking.  "Well, I'm going to create an account for you to go online, as soon as you give me your credit card number.  Or, you can do this yourself online."

Lyra trusted no one, but was desperate.  "I'll do it myself.  Thank you for clarifying the two-for-one deal."

"No problem.  That offer ends on Valentine's Day in exactly one week, so you have just a short amount of time get in on something that great."

Great?  Ridiculous.  "No thanks.  Have a nice day."  Lyra ended the call and stared at the website.  It was now or never.  She had to sign up or endure Jasperon's cat tales.  An involuntary shudder came over her, just thinking about it.

Lyra signed up, and then was faced with the page indicating the type of person she wanted to date.  "Outer world, inner world, off-world or in world?  What's that mean?" she said to no one.

The sliding glass door opened and Rick walked in.  He rarely knocked, but just walked into her house if the door wasn't locked.  He also had a key to her front door, but seemed to prefer her kitchen's sliding glass door.  She usually didn't mind, because her home seemed so lonely, sterile, and huge.  But right now, she didn't want him knowing what she was doing.

He fell into a chair at the table, seated across from her.  "We have a new client."

"We do?"  She lifted her eyes from the screen.  "Who?"

"Our neighbor.  Gladys Jenkins.  She thinks we have some sort of weirdo in our home owners association."

Lyra kept working, filling in what she could to indicate who she might want to date.  "Yeah?  Who?"

"The guy living in the dark house at the end of the street.  Gladys will pay us a thousand bucks if we find out the truth.  Since she's on the homeowner's counsel, I couldn't say no.  She knows what we do for a living."

"Good to know."  But Lyra kept working, not even glancing at Rick.

"Are you even listening to me?"

"Uh-huh."  But she couldn't care less.

All of a sudden, she felt a presence behind her.  "You're being too vague.  'Employed' will get you some guy who cleans sewers for a living."

She covered the screen with her arm and turned to look at his face.  "This is personal."

"I see that."  He grinned.  "So you're signing up for a dating service?"

"Yeah.  So?"

He sat back down.  "Your mom's on your case again?"

Lyra nodded.  "She's fixing me up with Prince Jasperon if I don't find a date for Valentine's Day.  I have one week, exactly.  Next Saturday at this time, I could be dealing with Jasperon if I don't hurry."

Rick grimaced and sucked in a breath.  "Rinjie boy?  He smells like cat urine and looks feline.  Rumor has it that he grooms himself with his tongue.  You do realize that, right?"

She sighed.  "At least.  He's really no one I want to date.  Ever.  I met him over the Internet and he was boring with a capital B.  Don't tell anyone, but I need to move on to someone from Earth so I can date them here."

Rick ran his hand over the table.  "You know, there are single men right in your neighborhood."

Lyra rolled her eyes.  "I'm not dating you.  We're coworkers and that's the kiss of death if we date."

He sighed.  "Fine.  Have it your way, for now.  Eventually, you're going to change your mind, but go ahead and play the dating game right now."  He reached out and spun the laptop toward him.  "What do you have so far?"

"Well, I want someone who's employed.  I'm stuck and am thinking off-world."

"I don't think 'off-worldly' is what you think it is.  I doubt they know they have aliens here."

"No?  What else would you put if you want someone half-alien and half earthling?"

"Off-world."  He chuckled.  "Yeah, I know.  It's stupid and really vague.  Okay.  Employed."  He put both of his hands on the keyboard.  "Let me help you with the rest.  This is going to take me two minutes and I'll find someone wonderful to date.  But you'll still want me after this wonderful man skips town."

"Then don't find me someone who'll skip town and I won't have that dilemma to deal with."

"Not to worry, dear Lyra.  I'm going to find someone great, just for you."  He chuckled and did a quick glance around her home before he got back to work.  "Done."  He turned the laptop back toward her.  "Keep an eye on your inbox and see who responds.  I think you'll find what you think is the man of your dreams, when he's really sitting right here in front of you."

She could only imagine what Rick had signed her up for.  How bad could it be, after all? 

See all buy links on the website page:  My Vampy Valentine
Current buy links (will update as they're available): 
 Amazon
 Kobo

Have a great week!
Paige (Markee)



Friday, February 6, 2015

Meet Paige Ryter!!!

One of my original pen names was Paige Ryter.  I knew a teacher at my son's middle school with the last name of Ryter (pronounced writer).  I thought it was a cool addition to the word 'Paige' so the name would be 'page writer.'  Thus, it stuck.  I published one romance novel with an epub under that name, but the epub went belly up and I'm still waiting for my rights back from that place, even though the contract was up years ago.

Thus, I had this pen name of Paige Ryter.  I also have the website, which is the main one with Bluehost.  I had to keep the name.  But I'd already published more romances under the name Markee Anderson, to get away from the epub.  I had to reinvent Paige's genre.

I love writing adventure stories, and love writing funny things, even though some readers don't think they're that funny.  So they're 'humorous,' I guess.  I also love writing funny paranormal and/or sci-fi things.  Thus, Paige's new identity was born.  I added 'Live the Adventure' for the tag line, because that kind of explains things and allows me to put just about any type of book in there, since life is an adventure.

I have one book out right now under the Paige Ryter name.  I put it out last Christmas (less than two months ago).  It's just a short story, but was really fun to write.

Here's the information for 'Ginger, Spice, and Everything Not Nice,' by Paige Ryter.

Webpage: http://paigeryter.com/blurb_gingerbread.html



~~~~~

Blurb:

It's Christmas Eve, and like every other day of the year, Lyra McCabe is baking cookies. However, her idea of the universe is about ready to extend when Rick Shilling, Entity Exterminator, runs through the door, shooting at living gingerbread men.

Time to expand your world, Lyra, and it's way past due!

Rick Shilling to the Rescue Story 1 -- NOVELLA LENGTH

~~~~~

Here's the first chapter excerpt:  http://paigeryter.com/excerpt_gingerbread.html

I plan to have more Rick Shilling to the Rescue stories, because the characters are just fun to write.

Check out this book!  It's light and easy to read, and may even make you smile or laugh.

Enjoy!
Markee/Paige

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February Newsletter

It's February!
(Now where's that pesky groundhog?)


It's been cold, but we're under the totals for snow accumulation for this season.  Now that I wrote that, you just KNOW that pesky groundhog is going to see his shadow and make my life miserable with snow, right? But in about a month or so, it'll all be forgotten as spring makes its way into Wisconsin and the northern hemisphere.  I can hardly wait!  At least the days are getting longer!  Wahoo!

Check out last month's events, below.  What a fun month!

Have a wonderful February!
SweetTale Books





What happened in January?


Well, I put out a book by Kyra Myles at the end of the month:


Blurb:

Lucy George thought she was the luckiest girl alive. At 17, she was chosen by accident to become Daria Tuff's racing double, making Daria win a lot. However, Daria's a drama queen and now that she's in college, Lucy's had enough. It doesn't help that the NSA wants to recruit Lucy, or that her dad's loan shark wants to kidnap her for collateral. Luck has run out for Lucky Lucy…or has it?

Other information about this book is listed at http://kyramyles.com/lucygeorge.html.  

We also got another dog, to add to our two other Boston terrier 'pack' of dogs.  This one is named Webster (after Noah Webster, the dictionary guy) and is a Frenchton (1/2 French bulldog, 1/2 Boston terrier).  He's adorable!

Here's a picture of him:



See more about our three dogs at http://kookybostons.blogspot.com/.  I have youtube videos (learning how to do those) and still shots of the three dogs there.



Yummy Bread Recipe:
(Tricks to make it light)

I have this problem.  When I used to make bread (and my whole family LOVES bread) from scratch, it would come out as a brick.  No kidding.  It was ridiculous!  No matter what recipe I used, we could've built a house with the bread bricks I'd create.

Over Christmas, I figured it out.  I now know how to make the BEST bread that's light and airy.

So here's what you do.  Take any bread recipe and proof the yeast before you make it (I use a bread maker, because I'm lazy and don't want to take all day working on bread).  How do you do that?  Put the yeast in 110 degree water.  110--that's about 45 seconds or so for a cup of water in the microwave.  USE A THERMOMETER!  Yeast is not forgiving!  Before you add anything else to this yeast, make sure it gets a bit frothy on the top.  If you're like me and can't wait, add a bit of sugar (it loves sugar) and it'll froth faster.

I use this recipe (very good, by the way).  It makes one big bread machine loaf, or two smaller loaves if you cook it yourself.  For the yeast, I heat up the cup of water for a minute in a coffee mug, and then add 1/4 cup to cool it off to 110 degrees.

Ingredients:
1 pkg yeast
1 1/4 cups water (heated to 110 degrees)
------------------------------------
3 cups flour (bread flour)
2 tbsp butter, melted
½ tbsp salt
½ tbsp sugar

Directions:
Heat water and make sure it's 110 degrees. Add yeast.  Wait for it to froth.
Add other ingredients to breadmaker (I put the salt on the bottom, because yeast doesn't like salt.)
Add yeast and water to breadmaker.
NOTE:  If dry, add 1-2 tbsp milk or water to the dough when it mixes.  

Set to 1.5 pound loaf, medium and press go.  It should rise and be delicious when done.  If you bake it in the oven, set the oven to 350 and bake for about 30 minutes.



Where to keep up with me

For lots of fun things, I blog a LOT.  I have five blogs, posting them over six days out of the week.  See all the feeds here: http://sweettalebooks.com/mybloglist.html.

Have a wonderful month!!!  I'm off to work on something for Valentine's Day for the Paige Ryter name, IF I get it done in time.  :)

SweetTale Books