Reference Books for Inspiration

I first acknowledged I was a writer in my heart when I read a dozen writing reference books cover-to-cover as though they were novels. There was a thrill in discovering something both foreign and familiar — learning about the nuances of development that I itched to put into practice, at the same time recognizing techniques that I do instinctively, pleased to think there was a writer’s scaffold in my brain.

Sometimes I forget that excitement, and writing feels like a commitment that I’m in too deep. Everything new I write sputters and dies within pages, if it doesn’t put me to sleep first. After the usual period of thinking it was all a mistake and I should quit right now, I find myself flipping through a few trigger books on my shelves, reading the underlined passages that clicked the first time I read them. Eventually that little glow starts to flicker inside again. So, I thought I would share some of these books with you. Continue reading “Reference Books for Inspiration”

Licensing Music for Book Trailers

Lord Russ and the Aloha SteamtrainYou just turned on the radio and heard the PERFECT song for your book trailer. Should you:

A) Stalk Beyoncé after a concert and ask her for permission to use it;

B) Use it without permission, because no one will find out until your book becomes a bestseller, at which point Beyoncé should be thanking you; or

C) Sing it yourself so you don’t have to worry about licensing — and because your mom says you’re as good as Beyoncé, anyway.

The correct answer is none of the above. At least in the United States, if you are going to link music to video, you need synchronization licenses both from the record label that owns rights to the recording AND from the songwriter(s)/publishing company(ies) that own rights to the music and lyrics. Even if you perform it yourself and don’t need the sound recording, you still need the sync license from the latter because the composition is copyrighted. provides a good summary of the different types of music copyrights at Continue reading “Licensing Music for Book Trailers”

National Poetry Day: Thursday, 03 October 2013

Some people have skipped over this post already, thinking they don’t “get” poetry or that their little rhymes or rushes of emotion spilled out in words are not “real” poetry. That’s certainly what I thought when I first heard about National Poetry Day. But October 3rd is not about the profound poetry of the elite. No, according to the website, it is “a nationwide celebration of poetry for everyone, everywhere: from assemblies, bus-queues, cafes, greengrocers, hospitals, ice-rinks to waiting-rooms, yacht clubs and zoos…a day when poetry slips off its dust-jacket and takes to the streets.”

Since 1994, on this designated day, school children take up the theme in pictures as well as words and even a rap or two. Poetry has been written and read on subways and in ambulances and in 140-character bits on Twitter. Four Welsh poets will be writing 100 poems in 24 hours.

Susannah Herbert, director of the Forward Arts Foundation, describes National Poetry Day as belonging to all who “have ever cried or laughed or loved or cursed and wished for words.” I know there is more than one writer here who fits that description, even if you don’t consider yourself a poet.

This year’s theme is Water. Imagine the wealth of poetry you could write if you were not bound by the definition.

I’ll leave you with this excerpt from Longfellow’s “The Day is Done”: Continue reading “National Poetry Day: Thursday, 03 October 2013”

Tutorial: Kindle for PC

Not everyone in the world has a Kindle device. Shocking, but true. So how are these sad and deprived people supposed to download your super special discounted promo ebook? Free Kindle Reading Apps. Yes, FREE! No strings attached. I can vouch for Kindle for PC because I have it on my computer, but there are also versions for Mac, tablets, and smartphones. You don’t even have to know what an “app” is to use it.

Every Kindle book page has a teeny tiny link that reads “Available on your PC” or “Available on your Mac” and links to a download page. It takes 2 steps: Click download. Click run. The rest of the installation happens automatically and puts an icon right on your desktop. Continue reading “Tutorial: Kindle for PC”