Tuesday, March 24, 2015

2015 Linked Reading Challenge

What is the 2015 Linked Reading Challenge?
The 2015 Linked Reading Challenge is a yearlong challenge for reading a unique genre of boojks called linked short stories or short story cycles. This genre lies somewhere between short story collections and the novel. The most recent popular book in this genre is Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.

A list of a few dozen examples can be found here. As I come across more books in this genre I will be adding them to the list.

Reviewing the Books
If you are writing book reviews, I want you to do more than just tell why you liked it or not. I want you to describe where on the short story collection to novel spectrum this book lies. Was it more like a short story collection or a novel? How were the stories connected? Were they connected by theme, place, or by people?

The Levels:
Weak Link: 1 - 4 books
Strong Link: 5 - 9 books
Stronger Link: 10 - 14 books
Strongest Link: 15 - 19 books
Unbreakable Link: 20 or more books

The Rules: 
This challenge ends Dec 31, 2015.

You may sign up anytime during the year.

You may include books of any format including traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks.

Books may be mainstream, literary, YA, romance, etc.

You may reread books.

Books may count towards other reading challenges.

Use the hashtag #2015LinkedReadingChallenge

If you could be so kind, please place the 2015 Linked Reading Challenge banner on your blog to help spread the word.

Please link back to this blog, post about it on Facebook, Tweet about it, and so on to help spread the word.

Signing Up
Before signing up, please create a post or page where you will list all the books you have read and then use that link for your Linky Tools below. If you don't have a blog you can still sign up by using a link to your Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and so on.

Writing Linked Short Stories

My Camp NaNoWriMo Book Synopsis: A series of linked short stories about how people are connected with each other in unexpected ways

I have wanted to write this book for about 2 years now. There's a problem though. I know how to write a short story. I know how to write a novel. But I don't know how to write linked short stories. I probably should have started doing this research long before now considering Camp NaNoWriMo starts in a week but better late than never. I may spend the entire year working on this project since there is another round of Camp NaNoWriMo in July and then NaNoWriMo in November.

In this post, I want to do two things. First, I want to create a list of links about linked short stories. This will be informational and instructional links on how to write a short story cycle (the proper name of this genre.) 

Second, I want to create a list of published linked short stories to read. The only short story cycle I knew of was The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank but it turns out there are dozens of books written using linked stories. I got most of the books on this list from a Goodread's thread but as I did more research I found even more examples. 

Linked Stories and the Short Story Cycle

Nonfiction Books about Linked Short Stories
The Short Story Cycle: A Genre Companion & Reference Guide by Susan Garland Mann

A List of Linked Short Stories
The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank
The Alice Stories by Lee Kercheval
Bodies in Motion by Mary Anne Mohanraj
Why the Devil Chose New England for His Work by Jason Brown
Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollack
Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
Later, at the Bar by Rebecca Barry Alice Munro's
The Beggar Maid by Alice Munro
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Time Enough for Love by Robert A Heinlein
The Things They Carried by Tim O' Brien
Self-Help by Lorrie Moore
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan After The Quake by Haruki Murakam
Moral Disorder by Margaret Atwood
The Nightingales of Troy by Alice Fulton
Close to Spiderman by Ivan E. Coyote
Our Kind by Kate Walbert
Ideas of Heaven by Joan Silber
Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx
Varieties of Exile by Mavis Gallant
Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson
Dubliners by James Joyce
The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu
Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
Stones for Ibarra by Harriet Doerr
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Last Call by K.L. Cook
Mary and O’Neil by Justin Cronin
In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin
Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachmann
A Visit From The Good Squad by Jennifer Egan
So Much a Part of You by Polly Dugan

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Author is Selling the Rights to Her Book on eBay Part Two

A while back I wrote a post about a published author who is selling the rights to her book on eBay. I never checked back to see if she had sold the rights or not. I never bothered because I knew the answer and believe me, I'm no psychic. 

Today I clicked on the link once more and found something rather unexpected. 

Phoebe Valentine is no longer selling her book right with $100,000 as the starting bid and with the Buy It Now price at $200,000. She has a new eBay listing. Logic would tell you that since it didn't sell, she would lower the price, right?


The bidding now starts at $200,000 and the Buy It Now price is at $400,000!

You would think she had at least taken the time to correct the typos in her item description but she didn't do that either. Would is still spelled "woud" and even her publishing house is also spelled incorrectly as two words when Authorhouse is one word. The very website she describes as being associated with the book Megadates.com is spelled wrong in her item description. She actually calls it meagdates.com.

I did another Google search but found nothing more than I had before other than my own blog post about it. 

Phoebe Valentine, if you are reading this, I would love to write an article about you or do an interview with you! I've never met anyone who sold their book rights on eBay before. The whole thing just has me completely fascinated. 

I still wonder if this person is actually Phoebe Valentine. The fact that the price has been raised makes me truly think it's a scam. If I could talk to Phoebe Valentine I could find out if it's really her. And I still want to know if it's actually legal to sell your book rights over eBay.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Author is Selling the Rights to Her Book on eBay

When I'm bored I like to look up the most expensive items in various categories on eBay. Today I typed in "books" and clicked the button to list the most expensive first and came across a published author selling the rights to her book. She is sending the original manuscript along with a copy of the paperback. The bidding price starts at $100,000 with the Buy It Now price at $200,000.

Is this even legal? Doesn't the publishing house own the right to her book, not her? Does sending someone the original manuscript actually transfer any book rights?

According to AuthorHouse, it is a self publishing company so you maintain creative control of the book. So I don't see any reason why this wouldn't be legal but I'm no expert.

Here is the description of her eBay listing:

I am selling the rights to my book I wrote in 2004 that describes my experiences of Internet Dating. The book reflects my true experiences, and is written in a comical, sexy fashion. I set out to prove that Internet Dating was nothing more than a format for many sexual encounters. I was out to prove that no matter what your age you could have a date every night of the week and most of the encounters were with married men asking for discreet encounters.
 I published the book through "Author House" online who printed the paperbacks. However I was unable to promote the book, because that was an extra cost I could not afford. "Author House" sold my books online through "Amazon", and everyone I verbally spread the news too, about the book, bought it and loved it. This book would be great for a screen writer or producer and woud make for a very funy movie or sitcom. I am asking the price shown because of all the work I put into it and all the the personal stories I personally experienced myself, and I need the money.
 For all the interested bidders, you can email me and I will send you a sample of a chapter. Only honest bidders please. Contact me through Ebay please.
 The reason I am selling all rights and giving the winning bidder my original transcript,t is over the years I have become closer than ever to God and want no ties to this book anymore. This book is like the first "50 Shades of Grey". MeagDates.Com was registered and the ISBN# was 141847489. My author name was Phoebe Valentine. You can Google the book online for more information also. This new listing is the lowest price I will go. I put many hours to write this and will not just give it away.

I was curious about this listing and decided to do a little research. Phoebe Valentine is indeed that author of a book called MegaDates.Com: My Internet Dating Encounters that is available at Amazon.com among other book sellers.

However there are some oddities about the eBay listing that makes me wonder if it is legitimate.

First of all, the lack of paragraph spacing and typos. I copied and pasted it exactly as it is written. If I was trying to sell my manuscript online to the highest bidder I would make sure there weren't any spelling errors in the item description.

Second, in the description "Author House" is spelled as two words. This is actually incorrect. According to website it is all one word and written AuthorHouse. She doesn't know how to spell her own publisher correctly?

Third, the person listing the manuscript says "Please contact me through eBay only." Now I know it's against eBay policy to contact a seller or buyer outside of eBay, but I would want some kind of proof that this seller actually is Phoebe Valentine. I'd also want some kind of legally binding contract saying if I make this into a million dollar movie you can't sue me, but that's me.

How is the buyer to know this is truly the original manuscript and not just a copy some scam artist decided to type up using the paperback copy of the book?

I decided to do a little digging and I also found the manuscript and book rights listed at a website called Bachpads.com which is described as a bachelor pad decorating website. What an odd place to sell the rights to your book.

Other than listings for the actual paperback book, I could find absolutely nothing about Phoebe Valentine. I wanted to at least contact her and send an email saying I saw your listing on eBay and I'm concerned it may not be legitimate.

Lastly, I'd like to point out the obvious. Whether she found God or not, her name will always be associated with the book. If someone were to buy the book rights and turn the book into a screenplay or television show, Phoebe Valentine would become even more famous for the book she wants to distance herself from. While I'm sure she'd like to believe she could truly distance herself from it, in this day and age of doxxing I'm sure someone would find out her real name.

I'm sure I'm going to have to chalk this up to an unsolved mystery. Is this really the original manuscript by the original author? I will probably never know. All I can do is click "watch" on the eBay listing and see if anyone actually bids on it.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Writing Books for Mothers

I was reading Amy Poeller's memoir Yes Please and realized I agreed with her on something. In her memoir, she talks about the struggle of having to write her book and be a parent. She says that she wishes there were more books about writing with kids.

I know, right!?

I realized that it had been a long time since I looked up what books are out there. A really long time. In fact, the last time I had checked was before ebooks were even a thing. Turns out there are more books on writing and mothering than there was back when books were still only available on paper. Not a lot more, but some.

Here is a list of what I found:

Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids by Christina Katz

Pen on Fire: A Busy Woman's Guide to Igniting the Writer Within by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett 

Mom Blogging For Dummies by Wendy Piersall and Heather B. Armstrong

Writing Motherhood by Lisa Garrigues 

Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers by Kate Hopper

I also have found that books on working at home can have useful advice for mothers who want to write. This list is far more extensive.

Here is a list of those:

So You Want to Be a Work-At-Home Mom: A Christian's Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business by Jill Hart and Diana Ennen 

Home but Not Alone: The Parents' Work-At-Home Handbook  by Katherine Murray

The Work at Home Balancing Act: The Professional Resource Guide for Managing Yourself, Your Work, and Your Family at Home by Sandy Anderson

The Entrepreneurial Parent: How to Earn Your Living and Still Enjoy Your Family, Your Work and Your Life by Paul Edwards and Sarah Edwards 

Working at Home While the Kids Are There, Too by Loriann Hoff Oberlin 

Mompreneurs: A Mother's Practical Step-by-Step Guide to Work-at-Home Success by Ellen H. Parlapiano and Patricia Cobe 

Balanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom by Tricia Goyer

WORK AT HOME MOM SURVIVAL GUIDE: How To Manage A Home Business While Raising A Healthy Happy Family by Joquena Lomelino and MéLisa Lomelino

Moms The Original Entrepreneur: You Can Run A Successful Home & Business by LaTersa Blakely 

How To Become A Successful Work At Home Mom by Pamela Odimegwu

Saturday, January 3, 2015

My 2015 Writing Goals

1. Treat writing as a career choice not a hobby.

2. Make a writing schedule. Treat these scheduled writing times as seriously as any other appointment.

3. Use this blog to build my audience. This includes networking, making the blog look more professional, and posting on a regular basis.

4. Establish a writing platform.

5. Read, read, read! Complete all the reading challenges I have set for myself on my blog Books Are Portable Magic.

 6. Complete the following writing assignments by Dec 31, 2015:

Write 12 poems (the list can be found here)

Write 12 short stories (the list can be found here)

Write 12 essays (the list can be found here)

Complete the rough draft of 1 novel
Working Title is:

6. Participate and win at least one Novel Writing Month challenge
Month won:

7. Submit my work for publication and be published by Dec 31, 2015.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

I Won NaNoWriMo!

I am so proud of myself! I have written 50,293 words!

Most of what I wrote was memoir. At first I was really unsure about writing memoir but in the end I am really glad I decided to do it. I learned so much about myself and my own voice. I learned what issues in my life are important for me to write about and what values really matter to me.

While what I wrote was memoir, I say that in the loosest possible way. My manuscript does not follow any sort of story arc and does not really have an ending. I think that is what I learned the most writing memoir. I am still in the process of living my story and it couldn't be a solid book yet because many of my life issues are still unresolved.

Much of what I wrote could be developed into some good essays or chapters though and I think all of this has given me a great start on writing a more structured memoir. Although I do love the idea of writing a book of essays as well.

I actually have some memoir that I wrote for a FebNoWriMo a couple years ago. I want to combine that manuscript with the one I have just written. I have so much material for a memoir now and it makes me extremely excited.

I plan on doing all of this rereading and editing in March and am really anxious for NaNoEdMo (National Novel Writing Month). They say they will be back in 2015. Hopefully the website will be active. Active website or no, I do want to work on reading through all I have written and editing it into an worthwhile book. Well hopefully it will be worthwhile book.

In the meantime, I am just going to bask in the afterglow of having won NaNoWriMo! If you follow this blog then you know I have really been struggling with getting any writing done and for me to have won this year is huge. HUGE!

I also will be working on getting this blog in better shape. I went through and deleted so much content which I really regret now. I need to work on building this blog back up and creating a real writing platform.

Most of all, I need to keep writing! This past November was wonderful but I need to keep this up. I need to keep writing. I feel like I have found my love for writing again. I can't wait to start working on essays, short stories, and a novel. I even want to start writing poetry again.

Writing this memoir for NaNoWriMo has made me realize it's not too late. It's never too late. I do feel like I missed out on a lot of years of good writing but I won't dwell on that anymore. I feel like winning NaNoWriMo has given newfound confidence to be the writer...no author that I have always wanted to be.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Deciding to Write Memoir for NaNoWriMo

It's kind of a last minute decision but I've decided to write a memoir for NaNoWriMo after all. I've actually been debating this for months. While I do want to write a novel, I have strong feelings that if I'm going to write a memoir than now is the time to do it.


Because on Oct 15th it was my 39th birthday. I suppose maybe it would make more sense to write a memoir when I'm 40 but I feel like then it will be a new era in my life. I want to reflect about everything up until becoming 40. Writing this memoir will be for me so at this point I won't be writing for an audience. It will be an opportunity for me to explore the most significant events and people of my life and how they have shaped who I am.

I have always lived by the axiom "Know thyself" and feel that before I begin my forties, I need to have a better understanding of myself. I make it no secret that I struggle with borderline personality disorder and my biggest issue with the mental illness are my problems with my identity. As much as I want to write a fictional story, I know I NEED to do this for myself. It will address my mental health, help me grieve my lost loved ones, help me see where I've been, help me figure out what's next for me, and there's always the bonus of generating material for blog posts. (This blog is sorely lacking posts ever since I "cleaned it up.")

I do hope to eventually turn what I write into a published book. However, much of what I write will involve sensitive material regarding people that are still living and I'm not sure that I want any of that made public. Because of this I've often considered turning those stories into a novel based on my life experiences. 

Who knows? Maybe as the month of NaNoWriMo progresses my story will morph into a mostly true book with some fictional aspects to it. But then that would render the point of exploring the significant things of my life for personal examination pointless. Maybe I should make a rule for myself? Everything in the first 3 weeks of NaNoWriMo has to be 100% true but the last week I will let myself take the story wherever I want.

Even though there isn't much time left before NaNoWriMo starts (only nine days) I know if I walk into it without any kind of outline it will be a disaster. I still need some kind of plan. Even though this writing project is for myself, I'm still going to research the narrative arch in memoir and nonfiction writing. I don't want this to just be a month long exercise in journal writing. 

To be honest, this isn't the first time I attempted a memoir for NaNoWriMo. I did it once before in 2011 when my fictional story started to fizzle. It wasn't really a memoir though. It wasn't even a series of essays. What I wrote just turned into really long and repetitive diary-like entries. It was lazy writing. I just cared about reaching my word count instead of writing anything that resembled creative nonfiction. I won NaNoWriMo that year but it felt like I had cheated.

Maybe this second attempt at doing a memoir is me trying to make up for 2011. I want to write a memoir the right way, if there even is such a thing. Or maybe I'm just being pretentious. I just know I don't want this NaNoWriMo to turn into a 50,000 word diary entry.

Monday, September 1, 2014

How Do You Fix the Problem of Separate Blogs?

So I got rid of some of my blogs but I was still having problems with them being separate. Some months ago I had the idea to give all my blogs the same layout so when you click on them they look like they are all part of the same blog even though they aren't. Unfortunately they all still had different headers.

This was pretty good but I realized tonight that it didn't go far enough. I've been agonizing over the idea of keeping only one blog but which one? I was trying to decided between keeping the domain with my name (juliecornewell.com) or the domain with my niche name (thesinglemommyblog.com). 

I came across this wonderful article called 4 Considerations in Picking a Website Name that gave the pros and cons of using your real name or a niche name. Ideally I would like to move everything to this blog but The Single Mommy has a bigger readership. I also am constantly wondering what I would do if I ever became a married mommy and my niche title was no longer fitting. That is a real problem that I hope I have to deal with someday! I was trying to come up with a way that I could merge them but not give up either domain names. 

I was visiting other bloggers (specifically authors) to see how they did it. When I clicked on a separate part of the blog it came to me. Their blogs are divided up by categories. The three blogs I've kept all have the same layout, but what if they also had the same header and the titles started with The Single Mommy Blog but had the subheading My Writing and My Art?

Problem solved!

I also decided to clean up the old posts on this blog. Again. I know I've done that what seems like a dozen times in the last four years. There's now only a handful of posts and those are different pieces of writing that I have done. I will be adding more examples of my writing, articles on writing, writing challenges, writing prompts, and posts about things like NaNoWriMo. Well maybe. I need to do some much needed research and studying on how to write a writing blog and create a platform.

According to When Do Writers Need Multiple Blogs? writers should not blog about the writing process. Kristen Lamb says blogging about our writing projects and how they are going is draining. It makes me wonder if that was my problem all along with this blog. For the past four years I've been trying to figure out how to blog about the writing process and I just could never get the hang of it.

So to be honest, I'm not quite sure what is going to end up on this blog. After four years, it is still a work in progress. Regardless of what goes on this particular section of my blog (and yes despite the different urls I consider it all part of The Single Mommy Blog now) it's all more synergistic. That certainly isn't a bad thing.