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Showing posts from June, 2011

Barbara Marr is Back

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Friend of the blog, Karen Cantwell, has a new offering this summer. Cantwell's hilarious Barbara Marr returns in another suburban mystery, Citizen Insane.



Here is a synopsis.

If you think PTA meetings are boring, then you haven’t attended one in Barbara Marr’s neighborhood, where murder is on the agenda. Always one to stumble into trouble, Barb learns the hard way that a seemingly innocent yearbook scandal is actually part of a more sinister and deadly plot. Join soccer mom and movie lover Barbara Marr in this second laugh-out-loud, chaotic mystery, where high-profile crime and suburban living collide in an unexpected fashion.


Citizen Insane is available for Kindle and Nook for only $0.99.

Editing for Grammarphobes: Summer Fun

It is almost Independence Day in the United States, and the temperature is heating up in Chicago. Unfortunately, the humidity level is rising as well, condemning me to countless days of unreliable, frizzy hair and a perpetual state of sticky malaise.

But, what about the words associated with the season?

Summer

The word, “summer,” much like all of the seasonal names should not be capitalized unless the season is being personified, such as in poetry or a particularly lively piece of writing.

Example

summer solstice
summer vacation
summer

Personification Example

And Summer, with her sun beating down mercilessly and omnipresent mosquitoes...

Sunbathe

The word, “sunbathe,” should be one word, not split into two. This also goes for the verb forms of sunbathed and sunbathing.

Sun

When referring to the sun, keep it lowercase. The word is not a proper noun like other heavenly bodies, such as Venus or Saturn. The only time it should be capitalized is when referred to in its Greek (Helios) or Latin (Sol)…

Flash Fiction Fridays: Top Five Coming in July

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Join us next week as we start counting down the top five pieces of microfiction that have received the most page views since Bibliophilic Blather began running Flash Fiction Fridays ten months ago.

The top five are from writers of various genres and represent the wonderful array of stories that has come to be the hallmark of Flash Fiction Fridays. Some are from the beginning back in September 2010; others are fairly recent.
Which stories do you think made the list? 




Whisper Giveaway Winners
Congratulations to R. Doug Wicker and Helen Smith on winning the A Whisper to a Scream giveaway in celebration of the paperback release. And thanks to everyone who stopped by the release party and/or commented. It was lots of fun.

A Whisper to a Scream: Now in Paperback

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Welcome. 

It is an exciting day here at Bibliophilic Blather. My first novel, A Whisper to a Scream, has been released in paperback and is now available through amazon.com. Here is my Author Central page that has links to both the print and electronic versions.

Amazon Author Central: Karen Wojcik Berner
May I get you a beverage?
















Or perhaps something a little stronger?
















How about something to eat?



















And what's a party without music? 




I got the idea for this book in the shower, of all places. Of course, at that time in my life, my sons were much younger, seven and two, so the shower was the only place I could get a moment’s peace. I had this image of a woman who was almost invisible, lugging children around a grocery store. Then came the opening line, “At 35 years old, Sarah Anderson discovered something quite shocking. She had Attention Deficit Disorder – she didn’t get any.”

I also could not shake a very vivid dream I had a few nights before, the details of which I cannot divulge because …

Editing for Grammarphobes: Bell Ringers

Monday greetings to you. I hope all of the dads out there had a great Father’s Day.

Here are three more commonly misspelled words. They did not make our Red Flag List from the 6/6/11 post, but a little bell dings in my head to remind me that they should also be double-checked when editing.

Indispensable

If you are anything like me, you think it should be spelled ible for some reason, but, alas, it is not.

Judgment 

Like acknowledgment, judgment does not have an “e” after the “g.”

Forward/Foreword 

The first spelling means “near, being at or belonging to the forepart,” according to Merriam-Webster.com. It can also be defined as “strongly inclined or moving, tending or leading toward a position in the front.”

However, in publishing, a foreword is “the prefatory comments (as for a book) especially when written by someone other than the author.”


Only Three More Days 

Join me on Wednesday to celebrate the paperback release of A Whisper to a Scream. There will be music, virtual snacks and the …

Flash Fiction Fridays: Taking Flight

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Today, Sharon Cupp Pennington favors us with another award-winning piece. 


The Lovely Goodbye
By Sharon Cupp Pennington


I stood on the pier’s first rickety step, gazed at a perfect sky and whispered to no one in particular, “Today Linda shall have her wings.”


She had wanted to be a flight attendant since we were kids, to be free to travel a world she’d voraciously read about in National Geographic. She ended up grounded in California, married to a controlling ex-ball player. Mother of five, teacher of many, dead of breast cancer at forty-two.


The weathered planks vibrated underfoot as I neared the T, shoved tousled hair out of my eyes and leaned into a wind whose restlessness matched my own. That’s when I saw the child standing barefoot at the end of the pier. Her soaring kite painted ribbons of color against a backdrop of electric blue and arcing gulls. Its long, knotted tail whipped this way and that as if shouting, “Follow me, follow me.”


The child’s denim shorts and red t-shirt appeared…

Seven Days Until Whisper Paperback Release

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The countdown begins! A Whisper to a Scream will be released in paperback next Wednesday, June 22.


Here is the new cover.




Amanda Kelsey at Razzle Dazzle Designs did a great job of conveying the emotions of both Sarah and Annie, didn't she?


The Bibliophiles

I have always been interested in people’s backstories. How did they get to where they are today? What ramifications does the past have on the present?

So I decided to bring a group of people together, bound only by their love of classic literature, and see what transpired.

The result is The Bibliophiles Series, which begins with A Whisper to a Scream, the story of Sarah Anderson, a stay-at-home mother of two, and Annie Jacobs, a PR executive dealing with fertility issues, and continues with each novel devoted to one or two of the Classics Book Club members, including their fearless leader, Edwina Hipplewhite.

You can meet the Bibliophiles on their page on my new, updated and redesigned website at www.karenberner.com. There is also …

Editing for Grammarphobes: The Necessary Tedium

Okay, so you have completed your big-picture continuity editing (see last Wednesday’s blog, 6/8/11). Now it is time to put all of your grammatical ducks in a row. I know most of you hate this part, but it is crucial to your success. No novel is perfect. There will always be some errors; we are human, after all. But, as writers, it is our responsibility to use our tools of the trade correctly.

Spelling

Do not trust spell check. Often, it misses homophones, and that is one of those mistakes that can make a brilliant storyteller look like a complete moron. Check dialogue and slang terms. Make sure character names are spelled consistently. Double check place names. Be on the lookout for our red flag words from the 6/6/11 blog, as well as common mistakes, such as your/you’re and to/too/two.

Punctuation

Make sure all of your periods, commas and apostrophes are correct. Remember, don’t make something possessive, if you want it to be plural.

Wrong: Weather on the 5’s (the fives cannot have any…

Flash Fiction Fridays: Escape Month Continues

Here is my piece of flash that garnered an honorable mention in the WOW! Women on Writing Winter 2011 Flash Fiction Contest. It is a little longer than our usual 500 words because the contest parameters were 750 words or less.


Sheep Boy
By Karen Wojcik Berner


Okay. Mail the bills. Go to the bank. Get bread and milk and, oh yeah, Brianna wanted more markers for school. Twenty minutes until the bus dropped the kids off. Just enough time to pick up a quick cappuccino.

“Hey, how are ya? Care to sample our new low-fat crumb cake? Not that you need it or anything.”

Leah gave the kid a WTF look.

“No, I meant the low-fat part. You look pretty good to me.”

Good save. He was cute, this kid, with his fuzzy white-guy ‘fro all the college boys were sporting lately. She wanted to shear him. “I’ll have a medium nonfat cappuccino, extra hot, please.”

“Extra hot indeed.” He smirked, then called out her order to a taller, skinnier fuzzy guy with a square Herman Munster head. Him, she had no desire to she…

Editing for Grammarphobes: Continuity

In film editing, “continuity” focuses on smooth transitions of time or space. It also connotes psychological or symbolic association of ideas. A writer can apply this to editing his or her novel. Here are a few things to look for regarding “big picture” editing.


Does the story make sense? 

Read your novel. I know it seems obvious, but try to remain impartial, and read it from start to finish just like your readers. Does anything leave you scratching your head? How did Joe get to Planet X? No idea? That might pose a problem.


Does it flow well? 

Is there a consistency in tone? Does the writing style and voice sound the same throughout the piece, whether you wrote it in one month or over five years? Do the characters sound the same throughout the novel? Does each character have a distinct voice? Are they easy to tell apart, even without dialogue tags?


Do the details stay consistent? 

Authenticity is in the details. Whether you are writing literary fiction or fantasy, writers have to stay t…

Editing for Grammarphobes: Red Flag Words

Everyone who wants to be a writer did not study English in college or work on his or her high school newspaper. Maybe you are following up on a life-long dream that seemed too “pie-in-the-sky” to pursue seriously. Maybe you have come to love writing later in life. Maybe you were paying more attention to the girl across the aisle from you than to how to use an apostrophe correctly.

Whatever the reason, how do you know what to look for when editing and proofreading your novel?

Somewhere along my educational way, probably in journalism class, I received a list of the most commonly misspelled words. We were told to memorize them, not necessarily how to spell them, but rather to commit the words to memory so every time you came across one when you were editing, it would raise a red flag in your mind and remind you to double check the spelling.

Here is the list of 25 Most Commonly Misspelled Words.

accommodate
consensus
acknowledgment
argument
commitment
deductible
dependent
embarrass
hara…

Flash Fiction Fridays: Escape

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Cleveland W. Gibson starts off June month with a magical tale of transformation. Enjoy.


The Totem Pole Escape 
By Cleveland W. Gibson


I am a jungle Totem pole, so scared of the night, because bad things happen, things I can't put right.

I am scared of little things, things you might not see, but they all have long legs, and walk and walk on me.

I feel the lick of the spider, the patter of hairy feet, the snakes also keep coming. Ugh! Beetles never look neat.

It is because when it comes to walking, I feel I have the curse, I cannot escape or leave this jungle, for better or for worse. And I must.

Then I heard that sound, in the middle of the night, the devil striking matches, turning dark into daylight.

The flames creep up from tiny, they grow to terror tall, dwarfing all the green trees, me too, who now looks small.

Up high in a soot-black forest, the smoke curls to the sky, but trouble didn't end there and it's why I know I cry. The chainsaws cuts the trees, one day they&#…

And July’s Flash Fiction Fridays Theme Is...Summer!

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Ahhh. Days filled with fun in the sun. More flexible schedules. Barbecues. Swimming. Hanging out at the lake or by the ocean. A summer romance, perhaps? Or memories of your own personal independence at summer camp.

Whatever summer means to you, it’s time to start sending in your flash fiction pieces for July’s summer theme. Please submit 500 words or less on your fictional interpretation of summer. The deadline is June 27.

Please send submissions to karen@karenberner.com. Put "Flash Fiction Fridays" in the subject line and include a short bio with your story. If you aren't doing so already, please sign up to follow Bibliophilic Blather, so we can build our online writing community. 
Thanks. I look forward to reading your work.


Watch Out! Mama’s Coming for You 
Friend of the blog, Robin Morris, has released a new novel. Here is a synopsis.




One scary mother.
As the Conover family drives from L.A. to Chicago, increasingly strange things begin happening. Nine-year-old Michael s…