Authors Answer 39 – Critique and Writing Groups

A get help from others all time. Here’s how Jay’s Authors get their help.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

We’ve talked about beta readers before. But how about other forms of help? There are groups that writers can join to get help in many ways. Critique groups are good for help in whatever way the writer requests, whether it’s grammar, style, whether it’s likeable, and so on. Writing groups vary, as well. Some are online, some are in person.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 39: Do you use critique groups or writer’s groups? Are they helpful?

Allen Tiffany

Yes, and absolutely. Writing is as lonely a task as there is. And the product we create comes out of that isolation, so it is imperative that we get feedback. As I highlighted in an earlier post here reference beta readers, I greatly value the nuanced feedback a critique group can provide. Unlike betas who tend to give you feedback on an entire story, a writers group is much more focused at a more tactical…

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I’m not hiding

Dear you,
Hi my loyal loyal readers. Especially those of you who stopped by to read wn old post or leave a comment to let me know you liked something. I feel I’ve let you down this month with so few new posts. I aas hoping to blog our trip beacuse remembering all that has happened is going to be tough. I do have some photographic evidence that I can’t wait to share with you. But you’ll have to wait until we get back. Don’t worry, we won’t be too much longer then it will be back to life as we know it.

We are currently in Maryland and head to Virginia tomorrow for some much needed catch up with some “old” friends. So hang in there and we can play catch up upon my return.

Your blogger
Eric
aka Stomperdad

Authors Answer 38 – Summer Reading

What are you reading this summer? Here’s what the Authors are into…

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Summer, time for the beach, time for summer sports, time to go basking in the sun. Or maybe you’d prefer to read in the shade or in an air-conditioned home. Well, I like doing all these things, but this is about reading. Let’s find out what everyone’s doing this summer.

beachQuestion 38: It’s summer, so what’s on your summer reading list?

Tracey Lynn Tobin

Ha ha ha…what’s on my summer reading list? That’s a good one. I don’t have a “summer” reading list because my capability to commit to a reading list is pretty much non-existent. For one thing, I never seem to be able to find the time to read these days (and yes, I know how horrible that sounds). For another thing, whenever I try to commit to reading something new I end up getting the urge to read an old favorite, and that favorite almost always wins…

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No One Strapped to the Roof

Well, not yet anyway. We were on the road for about 10 hours yesterday. The kids had a few breakdowns when they got bored so they would irritate each other. Our plan was to make it half way, which we did. Crash spotted a hotel and said, “We could stay there.” We responded with, “We could, but we’ve been only been driving for an hour and 15 minutes!” So, of course, every hotel we saw after that we ask Crash if he wanted to stop there for the night. We laughed.

Have you ever confused 2 cyclers for horses? Easy mistake, right? What confused me most is why 2 people would ride their horses on the shoulder of a major highway. That’s because they were riding bikes, not horses.

Then Bang went trigger happy with his camera. I can’t wait to see the pictures. Cement trucks. 18 wheelers. Overpasses. Hopefully, they’re not all a blur.

Now, it’s  5:30 am. DW and Crash just got out of the shower. I have a hunch we’ll be on the road by 6:30 for our next 8 hour leg. Ma and Pa (and an aunt, uncle and cousins) will be excited when we finally get there!

Party Game! Come Join the fun!

This is an easy game…

I’ll give you 2 words. All you have to do is change one. Scroll all the way down to see what the newest word is, change a word and leave your answer in the comments. And be sure to share so we can get as many words as possible!

Here’s an example:

Hot Dog
Hot summer
hot lips
lip stick

Lets see where this takes us!

I’ll start us off with the words

Swimming Pool

Hamster In A Wheel Moment

Anyone with kids, pets or kids and pets understands the never ending cycle of cleaning house. Someone’s gotta do it.

A Momma's View

I just had another hamster in a wheel moment. You know, when you feel like you keep going and you do it over and over and over again? I usually have moments like this when it comes down to cleaning. I like a clean house. I’m not a clean freak so there will always be some dust somewhere or something I might have forgotten to clean. But I like it to be nice and clean and tidy to a certain point.

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For the Birds

This is my 200th post! 200! I was going to do a big celebratory post, but I forgot. So maybe on Monday we can celebrate. Everyone is welcome to the party!

Anyway, on with today’s post…

We enjoy birds. Most birds, anyway. The pigeons and seagulls can piss off. We have several feeders set up around our house. We have bell feeders out front. The birds love to peck the seeds and nuts off them. We have a feeder in the backyard to attract the ugly, greedy pigeons away from the feeders close to the house. We have four feeders near our kitchen window – two of them are for finches, one is for hummingbirds and one is for shelled peanuts to feed some of them bigger birds that aren’t pigeons. Grackles, bluejays (but not the Toronto kind), and crows.

Yes, we like crows. They’re smart. They’re not greedy. Selfish maybe, but not greedy. And if you’re lucky they bring you shiny gifts. We haven’t been lucky yet. DW loves to capture shots of the birds that visit our house for a meal or two or hundred. I thought I would share some of her photos with you.

A crow holding a peanut under his foot to crack open the shell

A crow holding a peanut under his foot to crack open the shell (taken back in April)

blue jay

Bluejay taking a peanut

cedar waxwing

Cedar Waxwing having rest

Grackle

Grackle waiting his turn for a peanut

hummingbird

Hummingbird waiting his turn

Junco

Junco looking for dropped seeds

purple finch

Purple finch (though they look red to us) at the bell feeder

red wing blackbird

Red wing blackbird at the homemade feeder (which was replaced by the bell feeder)

Woodpecker

Red Headed Woodpecker. Though, technically this one was not at our house, they do come by.

yellow finches

Hot spot for yellow finches

Quaker Parrot

This pretty birdy lives inside. Piper is Quaker Parrot.

Happy 200th post and don’t forget to come celebrate right here on my blog on Monday!

The Passports

We applied for Crash’s passport on July 7th at a U.S. Consulate. The appointment went so smoothly it was eerie. We knew we were scheduled to travel on the 21st and it was supposed to to take 10 days for the passport to get to us. However, if it took 12 days it would arrive the day we were planning to leave. I really wasn’t counting on the government to give a rats ass when we were planning on traveling. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It only took 8 days. Eight.

DW and Bang’s passports were ready at the passport office last Monday. The passport office is 3 hours away. Fortunately, a trustworthy friend was going there this weekend anyway. WHOO. She got a gift card to the liquor store 🙂 She’s a teacher. We know she’ll use it. She’ll be returning to town on Sunday with our final 2 passports.

So we’re all set. I’ve already began making a list of things to remember to take. Socks, underwear, shoes, and other important things like Stuffies.

Now, I just finished a 10k run while pushing Bang. He loves going with me. He’s finishing his bedtime snack of toast and yogurt  (or bed lunch as his Nanny calls it). Then it’s up the stairs and into bed. Crash is having a sleepover at Nanny and Pop’s house. So it’ll be a quiet evening, though starting a bit late. It’s all good. It’s summer time.

Sorry, no deep, philosophical thoughts or profound lessons today. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Authors Answer 37 – Beta Readers

Beta readers – those people you get to read your book before your book is published. Here’s what authors think of using such people.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Authors rarely work alone. They usually have professionals doing editing, book cover, and so on. However, before the book is published, many authors like to get help from other sources, unpaid sources.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 37: Do you use beta readers? How many?

Allen Tiffany

I absolutely use beta readers! But let me share my definition of “beta readers” so I can answer this clearly. I think of beta readers as someone who will read a manuscript “cover to cover” and provide at least as much feedback on the story as they do on grammar, word choice, paragraph structure, etc. Often – for better and worse — betas are not writers.

One thing about betas that we must be attentive to is that they are generally hard to find, and they don’t want to be asked to repeatedly read works in progress, so you usually only get to use them once per…

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Farmin’ and Gardenin’

My dad’s parents were farmers. They raised chickens and tended crops. There may have been livestock, but I’m not exactly sure. If there was, I don’t remember it or it was before my time. Hence, my dad grew up on a farm. He knows how to tend to plants. It shows, too. The plants he grows around his house thrive under his care. He is the “Plant Manager”.

I didn’t grow up on a farm, but with grandparents (and friends) with a farm, I spent plenty of time on them. So I don’t think it’s such a coincidence that I came to work on a farm when I was 13. I started out as a farm hand, essentially. Move stuff here. Move stuff over there. Plant these seeds. Water those plants. Cut this asparagus. Pick those raspberries. Pick these blackberries. Lay irrigation pipe. Pick melons until the trailer is full. And the tomatoes! And Peppers! Rows and rows and rows, each 250 (thousand?) yards long. I loved it. Later, after graduating high school, still working on the same farm, I started scouting crops. Corn mostly. Sometimes peas. Sometimes Potatoes. Sometimes in Maryland. Sometimes in Delaware. Sometimes in New Jersey. I loved it.

Why the history? Because I still tend a farm. Well, not a farm, per say. A vegetable garden is just a tiny farm, right? Since getting our own place here in Canada, I’ve planted a tiny farm every summer. Broccoli, lettuce and green peppers. This year I have onions and a jalapeno plant. Last year I tried carrots, but they turned out like a homeless alien’s toes.

The difference between my vegetables this year from years past is where they were born. I used to start them from seed myself. This year I bought them from a local grower (also a good friend) who has her own impressive greenhouse. All I had to do was make the 15 minute drive to pick them up. So here’s my Public Service Announcement for today.

Buy local.

plants

Instant garden

It may not be the prettiest, but it will be tasty! Those are re-purposed pallets filled with soil, peat, and compost. Onions on the far left. Lettuce in the middle left. Peppers in the middle right. Broccoli on the far right. An added bonus is that it’s something the whole family can do. Both Crash and Bang helped dig the holes, pulled the plants from the pots, and plant them. They love getting their hands dirty as much as I do.

Do you enjoy gardening? Flowers, vegetables, or both? What is your favorite plant to grow?