Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quote of the Week

"You see, we are here, as far as I can tell, to help each other; our brothers, our sisters, our friends, our enemies. That is to help each other and not hurt each other."

--- Stevie Ray Vaughan

Sunday, December 14, 2008

That Perfect Gift

Are you a last minute Christmas shopper? Me too. So, if you're wondering what to get for someone, allow me to make the same suggestion other writers have been making: Books. New or used, they make great gifts, especially if you can get them signed or find a rare book. So, here are a few of my suggestions (some are newer books, some not so much, but I think they're all great):

Anything of William Shakespeare's

The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
The Price by Alexandra Sokoloff
When the Elephants Dance by Tess Uriza Holthe
Killer Instinct by Joseph Finder
Beloved by Toni Morrison
My Name is Will by Jess Winfield
Nox Dormienda by Kelli Stanley
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
Once Were Cops by Ken Bruen
Boneyard by Michelle Gagnon
Just After Sunset by Stephen King
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
The Complete Collected Poems of Mya Angelou
The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Okay, hopefully that list will give you a few ideas. And remember (even if I did link to Amazon for the book descriptions) please be sure to support your local independent bookseller.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Quote of the Week

"You can only be young once. But you can always be immature."

--- Dave Barry

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Story Not Included

Before I get to this, I just need to do bit of housekeeping. I just remembered that I never picked a winner for the chap book for Nox Dormienda, that I was giving away to a commenter from my post Hodie Ego sum Centum (Today I am 100). So, without further ado, the winner of the chap book is Stephen D. Rogers. Congratulations Stephen. Could you please e-mail me at rj@rjmangahas.com with your snail mail so I can get your prize off to you? Now, that that's taken care of, on with the post.

There are certainly a lot of changes going on in the publishing industry, not just with the reorganizing, but also with the technology involved. Today there are e-readers, such as the Kindle from Amazon and print on demand services where anybody with a credit card can pay some money and call themselves published. But there is another thing that has changed in the publishing industy and that's HOW people write. In olden times, it was carvings on a cave wall. In Shakespeare's day it was a feather quill and parchement. Later, pencils and pens, then typewriters and finally word processors. But that too has evolved.

There are now a variety of programs used to assist in writing: From Final Draft for screenplays and stage plays to New Novelist for, well, novels. Many of these programs have features such as automatic formating, character databases, virtual index cards complete with corkboard and push pins and outline modes. Yes, sir. These are loaded with all sorts of neat things. Plus according to the ads, they will help the user write the next big blockbuster or Great American Novel. But you know what? Despite all the bells and whistles these programs have, there's one thing that none of them can do: and that's write the actual story. Listen, it doesn't matter how fancy these wriitng programs are. The story has to come from you. As I said, long before all this fancy technology, books and screenplays were being written. People just used real index cards and corkboards.

As for myself, I do a majority of my writing on a laptop. But when it comes to certain scenes and editing (on hard copy mind you) I rely on the Faber Castell 9000 3B Drawing pencil.

So, how about you all? What do you prefer to write with? Whether you're a writer or not, I'm interested to know.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Quote of the Week

"The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power."

--- Toni Morrison