Posts Tagged ‘books’

Small #Presses and #Contracts: What to Watch Out For

August 19, 2013 4 comments

Some small presses are good for a writer, others not so much. How do you tell the difference? Check out the link below for some great advice. If you want to know how to protect yourself as a writer (from bad contracts/agents/publishers) I have lot of posts on my blog. Anyway, click here for the link.

Guest Blog: Writers of Anthology

September 17, 2011 Leave a comment

All Things Dark and Dastardly Anthology—Finding the Darkness Within

Murder, mystery, horror, and a splash of urban fantasy—that’s what makes up the anthology All Things Dark and Dastardly.  When the All Things Writing bloggers began creating this fun little book, we really weren’t sure how it would turn out.  After all, everyone in the group writes in completely different genres! However, we discovered a unifying link—darkness. If a story is dark, foreboding and just a bit twisted, it tends to get a solid thumbs up from our collective minds! It seemed only natural that we’d put our own stories together and create something that appealed to the darker side of humanity.

Dark stories stir readers on many different levels. They are an outlet for the wicked things we sometimes think about but would never actually do. Or would we? There’s always that possibility that one could lose control and take matters into their own hands, creating a dastardly outcome. A perfect example of this can be seen in Jeff Lindsay’s complex character, Dexter, who is brought to life on TV with eerie perfection by Anthony C. Hall on the Showtime series of the same name.  Dexter is a serial killer. However, he only kills other serial killers. He follows a very strict code of conduct taught to him by his cop father. Talk about darkness!  Dexter is appealing because even though a reader or viewer might despise his actions, it’s hard not to root for him, too. He’s doing what most people would never be brave enough to attempt, and in his own way, he serves justice to those who might never receive it in the legal system. You definitely are tapping in to your inner darkness when you find yourself hoping that Dexter is going to slice and dice the bad guy.

It’s this same kind of inner darkness that we’ve tried to capture in our book All Things Dark and Dastardly. We’ve taken ordinary situations—getting a tattoo, visiting a water park, or opening a can of soup—and given them a foreboding spin. The tattoo takes on a life of its own, taunting and tormenting its new owner until they face their sins or are consumed by them.  A dragon themed ride at the waterpark is “wished” to life, causing havoc for those looking for innocent summer fun.  And just what do you do when you open a can of soup only to find a hairy finger in it that you’re pretty sure belonged to your recently deceased mother?  Ah, life can be tough when you live in a dark and dastardly world…

Brought to you by award winning writers Kaye George, Steve Metze, and Mary Ann Loesch, All Things Dark and Dastardly will be available in October. For more information or to get writing tips sure to help channel your dark side, check out

GUEST BLOG: Earl Staggs

August 15, 2011 2 comments


Remember those “Paint by Number” kits from years ago? Anyone could pick up a brush, put the right color in the right space and produce something called a painting. Would it be great art? Not likely. You can’t produce great art simply by following the numbers.

Two people can tell the same joke. One will leave an audience rolling on the floor in laughter, one will leave them yawning. People will sigh and say, “Some can tell ’em, some can’t.”  Call it talent, call it a gift. You either have it or you don’t.

It’s the same with writing. A lot of people learn the basics of writing and write by the numbers. They take one writing class after another, try one genre after another, one formula after another, and reach a point where they can string words together and tell a story.  Can they turn out truly great writing?  Very unlikely. It depends on whether or not they had genuine talent to begin with.

Spencer Tracy, legendary actor with a wry sense of humor, used to say when asked how to be an actor, “Learn your lines, say them at the right time, and don’t bump into the furniture.”

Anyone can do that and be an actor. There’s no mistaking, however, those actors born with genuine and immense talent within them. Every once in a while, for example, a Meryl Streep comes along. For her, the furniture moves out of the way.

I believe it’s the same with writing. Anyone can learn the basics and produce acceptable, even good writing. To lead readers to tears, rapture, rage or revulsion, however, you must have a special gift. You’re either born with it or you’re not.

When the truly gifted ones sit down to write, they may have to write, rewrite and rewrite again, but eventually, the best words, plots and characters appear, and no one bumps into the furniture.


For a few good laughs and a trip down memory lane, read “The Day I Almost Became A Great Writer and “White Hats and Happy Trails” at:

Derringer Award winning author Earl Staggs has seen many of his short stories published in magazines and anthologies. He served as Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Magazine and as President of the Short Mystery Fiction Society. His novel MEMORY OF A MURDER earned thirteen Five Star reviews online at Amazon and B&N. His column “Write Tight” appears in the online magazine Apollo’s Lyre. He is also a contributing blog member of Murderous Musings and Make Mine Mystery. He hosts workshops for the Muse Online Writers Conference and the Catholic Writers Conference Online and is a frequent speaker at conferences and writers groups.  Read about his latest, SHORT STORIES OF EARL STAGGS, at

Who Owns Digital Rights to Backlists?

Backlist titles – books that were published years ago – are the subject of a new tussle between publishers and authors. These titles can potentially provide guaranteed revenue to publishers without much extra input.

Authors claim they own the rights because their contracts do not explicitly spell out digital rights, but publishers beg to differ.

Click here for an older article in the NY Times which talks about this.

Typos in Books

An interesting article from the NY Times on typos in published work. Click here for the article.

Categories: On Writing Tags: , ,

How NOT to write a bestseller

Read an interesting post this morning that I think is worth sharing. About what sells in America (and what does not). Click here for the entire post.

Davidar Returns to India

David Davidar, the man who, as head of Penguin India, took Indian publishing to new heights, is back. He is setting up the Aleph Book Company in collaboration with Rupa, India. Stay tuned.

Categories: Publishing Trends Tags: , ,

South Asian Literature Prize

Prize is US $50,000. Deadline May 15, 2011. Books pertaining to the South Asian region should have been published between Jan 1, 2010 and Dec 31, 2010. Click here for details.

Categories: Contests Tags: , , ,

Literary Agent Interviews

Agent interviews are a good way of finding out where a particular literary the agent’s interests lie. I found a site with a few interviews. Check them out. Like always, research before you query. Don’t depend on a single source. Click here for the interview.

Picking A Literary Agent

April 29, 2011 Leave a comment

According to Chuck Sambuchino, Editor of The Guide to Literary Agents , there are 1300 odd Literary agents in the US alone. What makes one decide to pick over another? In your query to the agent, he recommends including a line as to why you are contacting the agent. One easy way to establish a connection with an agent is simply to cite something they’ve said in an interview. He has approximately 150 agent interviews so far on the GLA blog.  Click here for the interviews. If you can quickly explain a compelling reason, then the agent realizes that you’ve done your homework and targeted them for a reason. This is a good thing.

He also lists the best agent blogs of 2011 on his website. Well worth the read.   Click here for details.