A Curmudgeonly Look at Poetry

POETRY (002) by Gordon LongI know poetry is supposed to be creative. You don’t have to follow the rules if you don’t want to. You just put your pen to the paper and write. Then you dump it all on us and expect us to appreciate your art.

Well, I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. I get about one book of poetry a week sent to me for a review. I turn most of them away, and it’s not because I’m an old curmudgeon, or because I’m a stickler for “proper English.” The first reason is that I try to read them out loud following the format they’re written in, and it all sounds like gobbledygook. Continue reading “A Curmudgeonly Look at Poetry”

Track Changes in MS Word

accept or reject pixabay button-32259_640I don’t know about you, but I hate it when Microsoft issues a new upgrade to its Office programs, especially Word. I like Word; I use it every day and I know where everything is and what it does. But nooooo, MS has to issue new upgrades so it’s NEW and IMPROVED. It’s like car companies that put out a new version of a car and they just have to put the gas tank on the left side instead of the right side, just so you know you’ve got the latest thing. Blurgh.

But I digress.

Because MS releases periodic upgrades to Word, we often need to update our tutorials, as well. Way back in 2013, Laurie Boris wrote an excellent one on how to use Word’s track changes using Word for a Mac. This tutorial will concentrate on Word for PC. Many things will be similar, but not all. Continue reading “Track Changes in MS Word”

Author Tips: Choosing Names for Your Characters

authors and character names feedback-2849602_960_720 (004)Some years ago, I wrote about the importance of names for characters, and things to consider when choosing them. More recently, other issues about names have come up for me, and I thought it was time to do an update.

When writing a novel, choosing names for your characters can be alternately fun and frustrating. I would doubt that any of my books go from start to finish with all the same names; many of them undergo several iterations before I’m happy with them. Personally, I love figuring out a name for a new, important character, but it can be a long and bumpy journey, especially if I don’t think it through completely. Here are some things to consider: Continue reading “Author Tips: Choosing Names for Your Characters”

When the Reading Audience is Captive

Smashwords givebackSW
Sale has been extended to May 31

There isn’t a corner of the world the Coronavirus hasn’t hit (well, maybe Antarctica) and now millions of people are stuck at home with nothing to do. Some are diehard readers, and others choose to binge watch stuff on Netflix or another online platform. For many people the social isolation is too much to bear. They can’t figure out how to productively pass the time. And then there are those of us who spend much of our year in social isolation, and this is just business as usual.

Smashwords has set out to ease the pain of isolation. They’re holding a sitewide Author Give Back program that lasts from March 20 to May 31. Authors can enroll some, or all, of their books, and those can either be listed as free, or you can set a discounted price. I’ve been a part of Smashwords for many years, and each time they have an event like Christmas in July or another promotion, I’ve always enrolled my books and short stories. Readers can find the sale books here. This is a good, free way to get your books promoted. But do you make money off giving away books? Yes, you do! Continue reading “When the Reading Audience is Captive”