Category Archives: Books

Library Week, Children’s Book Day & Other Fun Holidays in April

There are all kinds of things going on during the month of April that an author can piggyback on to promote your books!

April is National Poetry Month, National Humor Month, Lawn & Garden Month, Sexual Assualt Awareness Month and others.

The first week in April if Library Week and the second week is Garden Week.  Visit Holiday Insights to see what the other weeks are.

 

April 1 – April Fool’s Day

April 2 – Children’s Book Day

April 3 – World Party Day

April 4 – Tell a Lie Day

April 5 – Go for Broke Day

April 6 – Sorry Charlie Day – sounds like a broken romance is in there somewhere

April 7 – National Beer Day

April 8 – Zoo Lover’s Day

April 9 – Winston Churchill Day

April 10 – National Sibling’s Day

April 11 – National Submarine Day – is that sandwich or the boat?

April 12 – Walk on Your Wildside Day

April 13 – National Peach Cobbler Day

April 14 – Ex-Spouse Day

April 15 – That Suck’s Day

April16 – Save the Elephant Day

April 17 – National Cheeseball Day

April 18 – Newspaper Columnists Day

April 19 – National Garlic Day

April 20 – Look Alike Day

April 21 – Kindergarten Day

April 22 – Earth Day (U.S.A.)

April 23 – World Laboratory Day

April 24 – Pig in a Blanket Day

April 25 – East Meets West Day

April 26 – Richter Scale Day  – is your book about an earthquake or does one happen in your book?

April 27 – Tell a Story Day

April 28 – Great Poetry Reading Day

April 29 – National Shrimp Scampi Day

April 30 – National Honesty Day

 

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Filed under Authors, Books, Cookbooks, Marketing, poetry, Romance

March is Irish American Month & Other Fun Holidays

There are many fun holidays during the month of March starting with the whole month has been designated as Irish American Month!

Here are some special and fun holidays during the month of March.  For more holidays visit Holiday Insights.

Hope you are able to use one of the fun holidays to promote your book.

 

March 1 – National Pig Day

March 2 – Old Stuff Day

March 3 – I Want You to Be Happy Day

March 4 – Hug a GI Day – does your book have a military or ex-military character?

March 5 – Multiple Personality Day – does your book discuss mental health issues?

March 6 – National Frozen Food Day – does your character cook using frozen foods?

March 7 – National Crown Roast of Pork Day

March 8 – International (Working) Women’s Day

March 9 – Panic Day

March 10 – Middle Name Pride Day

March 11 – Johnny Appleseed Day

March 12 – Plant a Flower Day

March 13 – Ear Muff Day

March 14 – National Pi Day

March 15 – Everything Thing You Think is Wrong Day

March 16 – Everything You Do is Right Day

March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day

March 18 – Goddess of Fertility Day

March 19 – Poultry Day

March 20 – Proposal Day

March 21 – Fragrance Day

March 22 – National Goof Off Day

March 23 – National Puppy Day

March 24 – National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day

March 25 – Waffle Day

March 26 – Make Up Your Own Holiday Day

March 27 – National “Joe” Day

March 28 – Something on a Stick Day

March 29 – Smoke and Mirrors Day —-oooooh a great day to promote a mystery!

March 30 – National Doctor’s Day

March 31 – World Backup Day

 

 

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February Fun Holidays – Promote your book around these days

Looking to add fun to your book promotions?

When you combine your characters, themes, etc. to a holiday, you never know what kind of engagement you are going to get from your audience!

February 1 – Bubble Gum Day – Example: Check out Julia Cook’s Bubble Gum Brain Activity and Idea Book or The Bubble Gum Girl by Jim O’Brien and Michele Phillips.  They could have a contest to giveaway, well, bubble gum!

February 2 – Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day

February 2 – Ground Hog Day

February 3 – Feed the Birds Day – any book about birds, have a bird in it or a type of bird mentioned in the title

February 3 – Superbowl Sunday – books about football or football players

February 4 – Stuffed Mushroom Day – think cookbooks and books with recipes.

February 5 – National Weatherman’s Day

February 6 – National Chopstick Day

February 7 – Send a Card to a Friend Day

February 8 – Kite Flying Day

February 9 – National Pizza Day

February 10 – Umbrella Day

February 11 – White T-Shirt Day

February 12 – National Lost Penny Day

February 13 – Get a Different Name Day

February 14 – Valentine’s Day

February 15 – Singles Awareness Day

February 16 – Do a Grouch a Favor Day

February 17 – Random Acts of Kindness Day

February 18 – National Drink Wine Day

February 19 – National Chocolate Mint Day

February 20 – Love Your Pet Day

February 21 – Card Reading Day

February 22 – Walking the Dog Day

February 23 – Tennis Day

February 24 – National Tortilla Chip Day

February 25 – Pistol Patent Day

February 26 – Carnival Day

February 27 – Polar Bear Day

February 28 – Floral Design Day

See all of February’s Holidays at Holiday Insights.

 

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3 Things I Learned Promoting Other Authors’ Books

Happy 2019!  January is almost over.  While I have not been writing blog posts, I have been writing, researching, and promoting other authors’ work.

Here are three things that I have learned while promoting other authors’ work/books.

One:

If you agree to promote/market someone’s book, never, under any circumstance agree to accept a percentage of sales as payment!  Just don’t do it!

I recently saw on a social media post where an author was asking for proposals – what percentage of sales would you accept to promote their books. One hundred percent of zero is still zero! You could easily spend 40-100 or more hours per month promoting a book for someone and there may be no sales. Again one hundred percent of zero is still zero.  If you do this, you can see that you will spend lots of energy and get nothing in return.  Again, don’t do it!

Two:

Publicist charge for their work and give no guarantee that the book will sell.

Decide in advance what you are willing to do to promote the book.  Are you willing to write press releases?  Will you distribute the press releases?  Where will you distribute them?  Give the author this information upfront in a contract with a disclaimer that you make no guarantee their book will sell.  If this is the first time working with an individual ask for all the money up front, then provide that individual with a weekly report of the work you did- how many news releases did you write (they get a copy of these as they may know of other places to distribute them themselves), how many places did you distribute them to- online press release sites, newspaper book editors, libraries, bookstores, promote on your own social media site, contacted podcast hosts looking for authors to interview, etc.  (Note – if you decide to market and promote someone’s book, do lots more research on what you should and should not do.)

Three:

Before you decide to promote a book, read the book.

Those promoting and marketing books make contacts and those contacts trust you when you recommend a book to them.  Before sure the book is worthy of promotion.  I used to market and promote books for a local small publishing company.  I assumed (you know what they say about assuming – it makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me’) the person I was working with was actually reading the books they were publishing. WRONG!  They were not.  I promoted a book to a company with all the spit and shine I could muster.  They agreed to look at the book and I made arrangements for the publishing company to send them a free copy of the book to review.  A few days later I was contacted and asked how could I market such rubbish.  I didn’t understand until I read the book.  It was total rubbish.  The book was ridiculed with bad grammar and punctuation and the story plot was all over the place.  If I had bothered to read the book, I would have seen this beginning with chapter one.  I took the publishing company’s word that this was an excellent book.  Because I had not read the book before agreeing to market it, I not only lost sales for the publishing company, my reputation took a hard hit.  (NOTE – you probably won’t have this issue with a traditional publishing company, but be wary of the vanity presses).

 

(NOTE – well-known authors will probably not contact you to promote/market their books.  They usually have a traditional publishing company to do that for them.)

 

 

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Review of The President Is Missing

The President is Missing

By: Bill Clinton and James Patterson

Publisher: Little Brown and Company and Knopf

Publication Date: June 4, 2018

 

One of my summer reads was Bill Clinton’s and James Patterson’s book, The President is Missing.   I give this book 5 stars as it is definitely a page-turner.

President Duncan, recently widowed and with health issues, is the main character.  His daughter asks him about “Dark Ages,” a code word about cyber terrorism known only to his cabinet of eight.  With this new found knowledge, the President realizes he has a traitor within his cabinet, but who?  At the same time the Speaker of the House, Lester Rhodes, wants to impeach him for, supposedly, letting Suliman Cindoruk the leader of the Sons of Jihad and a cyber terrorist escape.

Nina, a cyber hacker contacts the president, but she doesn’t know who she can trusts.  So, she gives the president instructions to follow.  President Duncan follows Nina’s instructions and meets her partner, Augie who knows only how to locate the virus but does not have the password to delete or stop it.  When the President and Augie are close to meeting up with Nina, she is killed by an assassin named Bach.  But, who hired, Bach?  During the shootout, Augie is hustled into the vehicle with the president by the Secret Service.  Close to the White House, the President’s motorcade is attacked and the president decides to go into hiding at a cabin deep in the woods.  Here the president is surrounded by only a few trusted secret service agents and a team of cyber experts from the United States, Germany, and Russia, who are trying to find the virus that has been planted into the United States infrastructure software. If the virus isn’t stopped, the country could be thrown into total chaos.

Who is behind the cyber attack?  Suliman Cindoruk or someone else?  Who is the traitor in the White House and why?  Who is the assassin, Bach?  Who does Bach want to assassinate?  Who hired Bach?

I wanted to know the answers to these questions and other readers will want to know too.

In this day and age, there is a possibility of a cyber attack occurring somewhere in the world.  It gives me some comfort knowing that there are people who are working every day to prevent a cyber attack.

 

 

 

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Filed under Authors, Book Reviews, Books, Fiction, Genre, Suspense

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is an event celebrating the freedom to read and is held the last week in September.  Banned Books Week brings together the entire reading/book community in support of the freedom to seek out and express ideas.

Books that have been on the banned books list include (an by the way, you can vote for these on the Great American Read:

F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby.

Joseph Heller. Catch-22.

Zora Neal Hurston. Their Eyes Were Watching God.

J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter series.

Jack London. The Call of the Wild.

Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird.  

Margaret Mitchell. Gone With the Wind.

Toni Morrison. Beloved.

George Orwell. 1984.

J. D. Salinger. The Catcher in the Rye.

John Steinbeck. The Grapes of Wrath.

Alice Walker. The Color Purple.

 

And so many more books.

 

 

 

 

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Author Bette A. Stevens, Inspired by Nature

Today Bette A. Stevens is joining me for the Wednesday Author Interview series.

Welcome, Bette.

Q:  Can you tell us a little about yourself?

A: I am a writer inspired by nature and human nature.  As a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five, I live in Central Maine on a 37-acre renovated farmstead where I enjoy reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature.  I advocate for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies–an endangered species (and milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).  My husband and I raise our own fruit and vegetables organically and share the bounties of our labor with family, friends and neighbors.  We retired in 2005 after spending several years working at traditional jobs in Maine, California and Virginia.  My childhood years were spent in California and New York, enjoying daily life and hoiliday events with family, including dozens of cousins.  Now that our human children are grown, we have had the privilege of being the adoptive parents of a delightful black feline named Midnight.  Life is good and adventures abound.

Q:  When and what made you decide to be a writer?

A:  I’ve been writing most of my life–initially it was in the form of photo blurbs and poems to celebrate family outings and events over the years.  During the 1980s I worked in the business world as an editor/writer/photographer, honing my skills in business writing.  By the early 1990s, after taking courses in journalism, creative writing and poetry at University of Maine Orono while pursuing a degree in education, I discovered that writing was a strong point in my repertoire of skills and one that pursued with passion.  Teaching became a career and sharing my passion for reading and writing with upper elementary and middle school students for over a decade before retirement was a genuine delight.

Q:  Can you tell us something about the genre of your books and why you write in that genre?

A:  Children’s Books–written to educate, entertain and inspire (Ages 4-11).

Amazing Matilda, A Monarch’s Tale (Children’s picture book based on the life cycle of the monarch butterfly inspiring kids to reach for their dreams)

The Tangram Zoo & Word Puzzles Too! (Children’s educational/activity book integrating language arts, science, social science and math)

Historical Fiction–written to inform, entertain and inspire (Middle grade-Adult).

Pure Trash, the Story (Short story prequel to Dog Bone Soup)

Dog Bone Soup, A Boomer’s Journey (Novel) (Compelling family drama-Shawn Daniels grows to manhood in a society where the poor are often quickly wrongly judged)

Q: Where do you get your ideas from?

A:  Ideas come from the world around me–whether in people, places, or things-inspirations abound.

Q:  Are you working on a new book at the moment?

A: Front and Center is a poetry collection that follows my personal journey through Maine’s four seasons.  I’m also working on another poetry collection that centers on gardens and nature in addition to historical research for a novel.

Q:  Which writers inspire you?

A: There are so many, but here are the first ones that come to mind: Beatrix Potter, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Mark Twain, C. S. Lewis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Harper Lee, Amy Tan, Maya Angelou, Diane Siebert, Tony Johnston, Khaled Hosseini, and Shel Silverstein.

Q: What book are you reading at present?

A: Nomadland (Surviving American in the Twenty First Century) by Jessica Bruder.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: READ. READ. READ.  Reading is the first step to becoming a better writer.  One of the top writer’s resource on my shelf is On Writing by Stephen King.  It’s not one of those stuffy book of Do This and Don’t Do That, it’s the story of King’s own writing journey and the book is packed with the nuggets he’s discovered along the way.

But the reading doesn’t stop there.  I belong to local and virtual book clubs, where we read and discuss books.  I’ve never read a book that I didn’t learn something from–and when I’m engaged in a book, my writer-self is right there with me learning how to improve my craft.

WRITE. WRITE. WRITE.  Get writing. Yup, that’s what writers do.  One a single piece for my blog, I may write, edit, and rewrite several times before publishing a given post.  When I’m working on a book–now that’s a different story.  Ask for editorial help from two or three readers along the way.

Save a copy of every draft just in case.  Email those drafts to yourself, labeling each one.  If your computer crashes, you’ll be so glad you did.  For novels, I do this chapter by chapter and date them.

Between edits, take breaks so you can look at the work with fresh eyes.  It’s amazing what you’ll discover as you travel the path to publications.

FINALLY--Be sure to hire a professional editor before you publish your book.

Q:  Do you have any advice on how to market your books?

A:  For me, marketing is all about building relationships.  Join groups that share your interests and book themes.  Don’t forget to actively support fellow member writers.  Be sure to use tags and categories for all of your blog posts and include descriptions and book links for your book covers and photos.  Follow, read and share book marketing posts that are helpful to you and thank the bloggers who post them.

Q:  What would you consider to be the worst thing about being an author?

A:  When it comes to being an author, getting any book to the stage where I’m ready to publish can be exhausting.  But after all the hard work, once that book is in my hands, I’m exhilarated.

Q:  What do you like to do when you are not writing, your hobbies, etc.?

A: Spending time with family is top on a very long list.  Then there’s reading, gardening and preserving our abundant produce  from the farmstead (and watching for those amazing monarch butterflies searching for the milkweed interspersed in our flower and vegetable gardens), bird watching, playing with Kitty Middie, walking trails on the farmstead and taking photographs, reading to children at our local library and schools, visiting with family and friends, Bible study on Tuesday mornings, day trips to the coast with hubby Dan, supporting friends who are involved in local theatre productions, book club at our local library and the list goes one…

Q: How long on average does it take your to write a book?

A: For me it’s been about a year from first draft to publication.

Q: What is your schedule like when you are writing?

A: Being a night-owl, I generally write for two or three hours in the evening.  But, my schedule changes drastically when a new book is about to be born and life gets CRAZY!

Q: Who designed your book(s) cover(s)?

A: I’ve designed all of my book covers with CreateSpace’s Cover Creator.

Q: How are your books published?

A: I use CreateSpace for print books and Amazons KDP for eBooks.

Q: What is your favorite quote?

A: The quote below always reminds me that books provide us with a free and fantastic mode of transportation that can take us anywhere any time.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…” Mark Twin, (“Innocents Abroad”)

Q: What is your favorite books?

A:  The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye.

Q:  How can readers connect with you?  Facebook, Twitter, Website, etc.

A: Website/Blog: http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/authorbetteastevens.officialfanpage?ref=hl

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6037707.Bette_A_Stevens

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BetteAStevens

Q: Where can readers purchase your books?

A: All of my books can be purchased on Amazon where I invite you to take “A Look Inside.”

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author.betteastevens

Q: Would you give us an excerpt from your book or one of your books?

A: Here’s an excerpt and a page illustration from Amazing Matilda, A Monarch Butterfly’s Journey (Children’s Literature/Ages 4-110 written and illustrated by me.

Excerpt:

“I do so want to fly,” Matilda sighed. Just then a cottontail rabbit hopped up onto the ledge where Toad had sat.

“Why, you don’t look like you can fly,” chuckled Rabbit. “You don’t have any wings!”

“Sparrow said that I must have patience and follow my instincts. You and Toad say that I need wings, too. Where can I find all of those things?” Matilda asked Rabbit.

“As for wings, I don’t know where you can find them. In fact, I don’t care anything about them. But I am an expert on patience and instincts,” Rabbit boasted as she twitched her black nose, making her whiskers sparkle as they danced up and down.

“When I was just a bit of a bunny, Papa told me that I must have patience, too. I so wanted to bound up onto this rock ledge where I could see the whole world. But, I could not do it. I could barely hop a short distance before I would fall backwards, flip-flop, right into the tall grass. But, Papa said that I must not give up. He told me it would take patience to learn to do all of the things I wanted to do. He said I could do anything that I wanted to if I only tried long enough and hard enough.

“Papa was right. I kept trying. I kept hopping and hopping and hopping, until at last I could bound. Every day I would land a little farther. Now I can reach this very ledge any time I want to see the whole world,” Rabbit boasted as she bounded across the field.”

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Filed under Authors, Awards, Books, Children's Books, e-books, Genre, Historical Fiction

Author Bruce Dodson Answers 20 Questions

Today’s author interview is with Bruce Dodson, author of Lost in Seattle, You Never Know, and various articles and short stories.

Bruce Louis Dodson is an expat living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, 2 dogs and a cat. He is a collagist, photographer and writer of fiction and poetry.

His work has appeared in: Barely South Review -Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology , Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review(IN), 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books – Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad – Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves(AU), Pirene’s Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology – Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac, Litro Magazine,  mgversion2>datura, Maintenant 11, Glassworks, Door Is A Jar, So It Goes-Kurt Vonnegut Museum, and Popshot.

Welcome, Bruce.

1  Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m basically a poet, an expat living in Sweden for the last five years. I’m a five-star introvert who turned eighty this year, a fact I’m reluctant to admit. There’s a bias that talent recedes with age, and there may be grains of truth in that. Major publishers have little interest in authors my age. The good part of this is getting to a point of not caring, a certain sense of freedom, an expanded poetic license, an uncaring for rejections. Strangely enough, I have had more acceptance in these last years than ever before.

2  When and what made you decide you wanted to be a writer?

I always dabbled, the usual things, high school newspapers and such and High Times magazine. Five years of college removed time for creative writing. I was a design major. I remember submitting a horribly amateur fiction piece to Playboy magazine in the mid-fifties and was pleased to receive a nice printed rejection slip from the editors.

I did not take writing seriously until San Francisco in the sixties when my work began to be published in the S.F. Bay Guardian I met poet Charles Plymell in San Francisco during the sixties. He is probably the person most responsible for my efforts.

After college, I spent three years in the regular Army. Eighteen months were spent in Asmara, Eritrea. I don’t remember writing anything while in the service. There was too much going on. I fell in love with Africa and was hell-bent on experience, absorbing all I could of it. A gathering of tongue. Much of my work has connection to my travels.

After the Army, I was living in San Francisco in the Haight. This was the mid-1960s. I had just turned thirty and was writing some. I got lucky with a series about riding on the 7 Haight bus. It was picked up by the San Francisco Bay Area Guardian, a large, small newspaper at that time. The story ran for five weeks and drew a lot of attention. I wrote a few poems and began submitting to lit mags. Submitting was a stone drag in those days. Mailed submits with self-addressed stamped envelopes which were not always returned—tedious. Computers opened a door for me. Writing was faster with no need for white out, ribbons and paper. Submissions go so much faster now. There are still, “Did not responds,” but without the cost of time, envelopes and stamps.

I started writing more in the seventies, my first book in the mid-eighties.

3. Can you tell us something about the genre of your books and why you write in that genre?

I think my books could be called creative non-fiction, all but one which remains unfinished.

4. Where do you get your ideas from?

I have always loved to travel and did as much as I could, going as far as I could. I have never held a permanent job. I worked contracts that lasted from nine months to a bit over a year. The pay was good gave months of free time were wonderful. I’ve traveled to Brazil, Nepal, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Lebanon Italy and much of Europe.

5. Are you working on a new book at the moment?

I’m working on two, new, old books that have been years in process. One is a Coming of Age theme, the other, my magnum opus, takes place in India, a thousand years ago. Sometimes I think I’ll never finish it—perhaps when I’m older.

I have recently re-written two 8,000 word stories I had filed with Amazon but withdrew and revised. You Never Know, is about a fortune teller in Brazil. Hope Takes a Holliday follows an energetic and clever old lady woman with Alzheimer’s who escapes a care facility.  Both of these stories based on experience.   

6. Which writers inspire you?

Cormac McCarthy for his absolute brilliance. Charles Bukowski for his ability to get your attention in a hurry. Somerset Maugham for the beauty of his prose.

7. What book are you reading at present?

I’ve been going through short stories in a stack of old Paris Reviews. Last book was Good Sweden Bad Sweden, by Paul Rapacioli — Very interesting, and relevant.

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Filed under Authors, Books, Genre, Non-Fiction

Anthony Bourdain & Clementine Paddleford Chronicled How People Ate

*Disclaimer – Photo of Anthony Bourdain is from Google Images*

I was saddened to hear about the death of food writer Anthony Bourdain.  I enjoyed watching his television show, Anthony Bourdain: Parts UnknownHe traveled to places many didn’t go and he took his television viewers along on the trip.  Bourdain visited with the locals and ate local food.

This is the same thing Clementine Paddleford did, except she never had a television show.

Both Bourdain and Paddleford traveled where they wanted to go, talked to whomever they wanted to talk to, and tasted the food they wanted to eat, then they shared the stories with viewers and readers.

Anthony Bourdain attended the Culinary Institute of American, became a chef, and a food writer.  Clementine Paddleford had a degree in journalism.  She never attended a culinary school, was never a chef, but she was a well-known food writer.

Sadly, Anthony Bourdain committed suicide and it was rumored that Clementine Paddleford tried, but failed.  Let me say, there is no proof that Paddleford tried to commit suicide and family members said it was strictly a rumor.

What made Bourdain and Paddleford well-known?

They chronicled how people ate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I am pretty sure that someone is already thinking about or in the process of writing Anthony Bourdain’s biography, a biography of Clementine Paddleford has been written.  It is titled Hometown Appetites: The Story of Clementine Paddleford, the Forgotten Food Writer Who Chronicled How America Ate (NY: Gotham), 2008.

 

Excerpt: From Chapter 2

“In the late summer of 1921, Warren G. Harding was in the White House, Allied forces occupied the Rhineland, the U. S. Congress had just passed a quota on immigration, and Adolf Hitler became head of the Nazi Party.  On the heels of World War I, isolationism was in and multiculturalism wasn’t even on the horizon.  For Clementine Paddleford, newly arrived in New York City and the proud renter of a room in a boarding house at 520 West 122nd Street, on Morningside Heights north of Columbia University, this meant facing one of Manhattan’s challenges and figuring out how to conquer it: the subway.

“There she was, in homemade outfits Jennie had lovingly stitched from patterns Paddleford had picked, summer-weight wool suits, blouses with big bows at the neck, a tote bag at her side loaded with pencils and pads, the picture of a career gal of the day, and a greenhorn at that.  At her first act of independence in the city, Paddleford enrolled in graduate-level-journalism courses at New York University, despite her proximity to Columbia.  These met three evenings a week and required a long subway trip.”

 

Both How America Eats and Hometown Appetites are filled with recipes.  One of my favorite summer beverages is from these books: Plumade.

Ingredients:

6 small black plums, washed, pitted, and quartered

9 cups water

1/4 cup sugar

2, 2-inch cinnamon sticks

1 lemon rind, grated

3 lemons, juiced

3 oranges, juiced

In a large stockpot over medium-low heat, stew plums in water until very soft and the liquid is a deep rose color, about 15 minutes.  Strain juice, return to pot and add to it the sugar and cinnamon.  Heat gently until sugar is dissolved, two to three minutes.  Add grated lemon rind and cook three more minutes.  Strain again.  Stir in lemon and orange juice and serve in tall glasses with chipped ice.

Yields: 10 to 12 servings.

 

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Filed under Authors, Biography, Books, Cookbooks, Genre

Beta readers, who are they, what do they do, and where to find them?

Who are beta readers?  Beta readers are volunteers willing to read an authors work knowing the work has not usually been professionally edited.  The authors provide the work, free of charge to beta readers.

What do beta readers do?  They help proofread for punctuation and grammar.  You will be surprised how many misspelled words, missing punctuation, and wrong verb/adverb/pronoun, etc. show up in an unpolished work.

Beta readers also try to catch those pesky inconsistencies in a story.  You know what I am talking about.  On page forty you read about an electrical fire and the fire department has spewed gallons of water and foam onto the structure, then on page forty-two, the structure has electricity.  Or a character dies on page fifty-five just to magically appear alive on page eighty without an explanation.  Yes, those inconsistencies.

Beta readers also will give feedback to an author on what is working in the story and what is not.  They will let the author know if they did not understand something in the narrative or are confused by the narrative.  Beta readers will even question if a passage is actually relevant to the story or they will suggest adding more to the story to flush it out in more detail.

Where to find beta readers:

  • Ask friends, colleagues, writing club members, etc.
  • Put a plea in your newsletter asking if anyone is interested in beta reading.
  • Ask on social media sites.
  • Ask bloggers who write about books.

Why should an author use a beta reader?

Authors are too close to their work.  Using volunteer beta readers is free proofreading, editing, etc. of your book.  No, beta readers, should not take place of a professional proofreader or editor.  They are your first, second, third, etc.  set of eyes in catching as many errors as possible.

If you can afford to pay a professional editor and/or proofreader, good for you.  Not everyone can afford to do so.  Therefore, many authors rely upon beta readers.

So, the next time you finish a book and you tired of reading and re-reading your own work, ask beta readers for help.

 

 

 

 

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