Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Who wrote the Bible again?

Since I sell used books via Amazon, I am often looking for stock numbers, condition notes, and other comments about books I plan to list. It's a bit time consuming but at least once a week, I find something that breaks the monotony and either makes me smile (or laugh out loud), or gives me a reason to shake my head (in chagrin).

I recently acquired two Giant Print editions of the Bible and in order to list one of them, I had to find the same item on Amazon in order to use their required stock number (since the Bible doesn't have an ISBN)

It took some scrolling through numerous listings to find what I was looking for but the task had it's moments because it appears other sellers just couldn't get a handle on how to handle the required "author" section of their Amazon listings.

Here are some of their creative approaches.

  • Holy Bible King James Version Giant Print Center-Column Reference Edition (893NB) by Many
  • Holy Bible, Keystone Giant Print Presentation Edition: King James Version by Bible
  • Holy Bible(Containing The Old and New Testaments): NKJV, New King James Version, Giant Print Center-Column (Reference... by Unknown
  • LARGE PRINT EDITION Authorized King James Version Holy Bible: Old Testament & New Testament (ILLUSTRATED) by God and Christian Miracle Foundation Press
  • LARGE PRINT EDITION The Catholic Bible | The Catholic Holy Bible - Church Authorized Douay-Rheims / Rheims-Douai... by God, Bible Kindle, The Catholic Bible and Christian Miracle Foundation Press
  • The Living Bible/Giant Print by Holy Spirit
  • Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments ; King James Version Giant Print Edition by A Regency Bible
  • Holy Bible - Giant Print - Toffee Leathersoft - Red Letter Edition (Read-Along References and Faith-Building Gift... by through the inspired writers God
  • So there you have it. Presenting The Bible by Many, Unknown, the Holy Sprit, and of course, BY GOD!

    Tuesday, December 2, 2014

    Rest in Peace, P.D. James

    It's interesting to observe how the death of someone you've never met can profoundly affect your emotions.

    When I learned about the death of P.D. James, I felt a little bit of my own breath slip out into the ether. No, I never met James, but her work as a mystery writer steered me to read a genre I had yet to start. While titles featuring her most notable investigator, the poetry-writing Adam Dalgliesh all eventually found a home on my bookshelves, it was Cordelia Gray who caught my eye one day at the Flamingo branch of the Clark County Library. My arms were burdened down with science fiction when I spotted An Unsuitable Job for a Woman on the table where I'd unloaded my week's finds.

    "Cool title," I said to myself, thinking about the unsuitable job I had to report to on a daily basis. Without even looking at the cover blurbs, I plopped the book on my pile, completing my two-week reading list to a total of seven books.

    I decided to read the James book first and within a few chapters, I was caught, mesmerized by the character development, the meticulous plotting, the subtle but necessary backstory and the vivid descriptions of a country I'd never visited.

    Off to the library the next day, I returned all the science fiction and picked up four more James titles, took them home and devoured them.

    What really caught my attention in these books was the way James wove little incidences into the fabric of her plot. Nothing happened without reason. There were no coincidences. There were no minor characters showing up and going away, never to be heard from again. Her style was tight; her sentence structure impecable, her major characters human, slightly flawed, dedicated.

    While I'm sure I don't measure up to James' expertise, I realize how much her process seeped into my own writing. My own former detective, Andrew Atkins, doesn't believe in coincidences, he takes the lint and string and torn pieces of fabric of life and tries to weave it back into whole cloth. He doesn't write poetry but he does have a deep appreciation for music, particularly classical and opera. Like Adam Dagliesh, Atkins knows the cloth will never be as it was before the crime, and while it won't be perfect, like life, it will go on to be useful again.

    Since that first P.D. James novel, I've read all her books, watched all the movies on PBS, and waited for the next release. Of course, unless she hid some unpolished or finished manuscripts in some drawer in her writing room, there will be no more.

    P.D. James died on  27 November 2014 at the age of 94. As I stated in the beginning, I never met her but I am ever so grateful for having met her work.

    Read theTerry Gross PBS Interview with P.D. James online.

    Wednesday, November 5, 2014

    We did our best!

    I picked up a book today titled Stories of Service, which consists of a bunch of articles about and from people who serve others, be they crisis counselors, volunteers, advocates, etc. I bought it because I admire people who can reach out to help those who can't help themselves.

    The book, subtitled Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Northwest National Service Symposium, was published at Portland State University.

    There are 2,100 copies of the first edition in print, according to the title page.

    When I opened the book, I noticed just above the date of May 2003 were the words,

    This book was proofread. We did our best.

    This made me smile because I know how difficult it can be to proofread. When I worked at a publishing company in LA many years ago, the company had four full-time proofreaders. One would read the edited manuscript word for word while another followed along with the proofing copy. When finished, they sent it back to editorial where any errors were corrected. Then, the corrected copy went back to the second set of proofreaders who mimicked the first crew. When they finished, and any changes were made, the editor gave it one last look.

    The completed work went to the printer who sent back a blue line. This went to the editor who, despite approving the work of four proofers, almost always found something wrong -- a typo or a misspelled name, or an incorrect date, or a missing end quote.

    Everyone who worked on the publication did his and her best but it seems as if some little error seemed to slip through. (And sometimes, we'd still find something wrong in the finished, printed copy.)

    So even though we know how important it is to proofread, proofread, proofread, unless we are perfect, our manuscripts won't be, but if we do it diligently, we can always know that in our hearts  ...

    We did our best!

    Thursday, October 2, 2014

    New Directions

    Since I've done two or three eBooks on my own, I was had the opportunity a few months back to work on a video poker book. Not unusual since I worked in the gaming publishing industry for many years and knew many authors and publishers, but also because I reviewed a number of books on the subject, wrote a few articles, ghosted a couple of books--and I've been known to play the game.

    I formatted the work for publication then published it under the banner of Green Felt Books.

    Doing that prompted me to look at other options for the clever name ... but it also made me realize how badly I've been neglecting all sorts of promotion for the stuff that I do to keep active and (not incidentally) to help supplement a retirement income sorely incapable of fulfilling retirement dreams.

    So I'll be changing directions a bit here, which is something I do naturally anyhow so for me, it won't be a major trauma. I have a naturally curious mind that's always interested in learning something new. I can't even say for certain where I'm going with all this but I do know I know I'm heading into new territory (I will, of course, continue to write) to discover more about, well, about anything that pops up.

    And ...

    All this will just continue to reinforce my belief that every day is a lesson.

    Oh, and here's a link to that video poker book.

    Monday, September 8, 2014

    Still alive, still kicking, just not here

    It's not like a million people read this blog, so I'm surprised to hear from one person, let alone several, who want to know why I'm not writing any longer.

    The answer has to be in the form of another question.

    What do you mean, not writing any longer?

    Just because I haven't been posting doesn't mean I'm not writing. In fact, I've just finished the first draft of a fourth novel, have been helping two other individuals with their manuscripts, and I've been writing articles.

    So, I have been busy creating both projects and money.

    And, I don't buy this "post everyday" mantra that so many "experts" recommend. I blog when I have something to say or when I have nothing else to do.

    I'd like to blog more often to please, entertain, inform, or even annoy my small cadre of readers. Truth is, I have about a dozen half-finished blog posts sitting in my documents folder on my laptop, all of which have been set aside in favor of other work.

    So, to those of you who have faithfully looked for some words on this site, I say thank you, and

    I WILL try to find time to finish those works in progress and slather this page with them.

    Monday, February 3, 2014

    Need a Story Idea?

    I must say, it’s been a very interesting day. Among the many pieces of totally ignorable emails and several valuable messages were three items in French, one sales pitch for a wrinkle cream that would make me look young again, one demand for action, one with the subject line that read “Winner” and one notice of eviction.

    French? I can’t read the language, can’t speak it, never, been to France, have never visited any links from that country and know only one person who lives in Paris. (These missives arrive at the rate of three or four a week and, naturally, I direct them to my spam folder where I eventually have to delete them.)

    I have to admit, the wrinkle cream sounds interesting but not enticing enough to lure me to the website, which I know will try to give me a “free” sample that will ding my credit card for shipping and handling then likely (if I don’t read the fine print and probably even if I do) will start charging the same card for unwanted shipments for months to come. Besides that, I earned my face and don’t want it to revert to years gone by. It just wouldn’t fit my body. (Of course, were I to follow through and order the “free” sample, my email address would probably be sold to some company that promised to make my body look younger as well.)

    The demand for action message (in 18 point type) made me chuckle. The sender insisted that I respond to this second request (There was no first.) and provide information so I could claim my Three Million Six Hundred Thousand British Pounds inheritance. (Note the upper case.) I didn’t read the entire message.

    Of course, that inheritance amount made me only partially wealthy because the amount of money coming to me as the result of a promotion held in 2014 was equally tantalizing: €2,000,000.00 Euros ( in US Dollars $2,477,700.69 USD ). Nice of them to put the value in amounts I can understand.

    Just think, with all that money, why would I need to write?

    And then there was the Notice of Eviction. How fascinating. Of course, it wasn’t fascinating enough for me to open the attachment. (Not to worry; I’m current on my mortgage payment and there’s no chance the city is going to take my place by eminent domain.)

    What does this have to do with the Writer Side of Me? Nothing really, except I know that at least one and maybe more of these will eventually become part of a novel or at the very least, the premise of an interesting short story.

    And when people ask me (as they often do) where I get my ideas, I no longer have to tell them about the people living inside my head and watch the glazed look of  “she’s crazy” take over their faces. I just tell them, “Oh, someone emailed the idea to me.”

    Where do your ideas come from?