Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Boundless on writing

Boundless Webzine, regular home to my own articles, is featuring a series on writing this week. I've enjoyed both articles so far and thought I'd share them with you.

Yesterday's article was "On writing" by Andree Seu. Though her "reach out and throttle you" writing style took me a minute to get used to, her rapid-fire advice is excellent, pithy, and an entertaining read.

Today's article, Thomas Jeffries' "Writing by the Book," examines many of the literary devices used by the Bible writers, from the prophets to David to Paul. Not only can writers learn a few techniques and principles by studying the unique style guide we call scripture, they might stumble across a few truths, too. This article is for anyone whose interest is piqued by writing or literary studies.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Father Poster

Friday, April 25, 2008

published: Praying Like Paul

After I wrote Heart to Heart: Meeting With God in the Lord's Prayer, I found myself wanting to know more about prayer as it was practiced in the Bible. For a few weeks I read and studied every one of Paul's written prayers. This article, published on, is the partial fruit of that study.

It was an amazing study! I learned a lot about cutting to the heart of things when I pray for others, for the church as a whole, and for myself. I hope you enjoy the article :).

Here's the link.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

sick days

Several years ago, I worked at a daycare. When I got sick (which wasn't often), I called my boss and told her that I couldn't come in. She wasn't interested in contracting whatever plague I had and spreading it through the ranks anyway, so she invariably said "ok" and found someone to cover for me.

That done, I got to lay around home, doing absolutely nothing and having not a care in the world.

Now that I work at home, I have a different sort of boss: the Almighty Deadline. And the thing about deadlines is that they do not go away, nor can anyone cover them for you, nor do they listen to my bronchially-maladjusted pleadings and decide they don't want to catch my cold. They are inexorable.

I am sick (rather very) this week, as my overflowing Kleenex-laden waste basket will testify, but deadlines still loom. The nice thing, though, is that even though I have to go to work, "work" can mean laying in bed all day, typing from a prostrate position. It means nice breezes coming through my window, sage tea simmering on the stove, and a sister who brings me cookies every now and then.

Things could be worse :).

Monday, April 21, 2008

we have contact

I have now been home for officially one week. The two and a half weeks prior to that, I was in the Niagara Falls region with my cousin and Tales of the Heartily Homeschooled co-author, Carolyn Currey (and her wonderful family). Carolyn and I went for long walks, rambled around the woods as they came slowly to April life, made plans for our Christmas dance tour, and did hours and hours and hours' worth of author stuff.

No, we didn't write. We emailed.

Marketing is not my favourite part of being a writer! However, I am pleased to say that in two and a half weeks, Carolyn and I managed to contact local, state, and provincial homeschool support groups in all ten Canadian provinces and all fifty U.S. states. The point of all this emailing was to let people know about our Family Fun Story Contest and our upcoming book.

We've made a lot of great contacts who have passed the information out to hundreds of families. It was a lot of work, and not very fun except when we amused ourselves by comparing support group acronyms, but I'm amazed by the internet and very grateful to all the folks who are helping us spread the word.


Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Beautiful Piano: new CD from a friend

Debbie Fortnum, a wonderful indie singer/songwriter who has worked with our fledgling ballet company, Soli Deo Gloria, has just released her CD The Beautiful Piano to WalMarts across Canada! This is beautiful music with a heart of worship. I encourage you to check it out! The next few weeks will determine whether WalMart sees this as a viable CD or not. You can hear clips from The Beautiful Piano here.

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Amazon's Terrible, Horrible, No-Good Idea

The small and self-publishing industries are all agog lately over Amazon's latest--and in my opinion, very bad--business decision.

First, a little background. Many publishers have moved away from the traditional book production method of printing thousands of books at once. Instead, they use POD--Print On Demand--technology to print their books in varying sized batches, even printing one at a time to be shipped directly to customers.

Very many small presses (including mine, Little Dozen Press), vanity presses, university presses, self-publishers, and even large publishers who want to keep their backlists in print use POD. I use Lighting Source Inc, one of the best POD printers in existence, to print and ship my books. This is a very cost effective way for me to get my work in print and to readers, and also for me to offer publication to others.

In the past, Amazon has always listed and offered POD books for sale through their Web site, just as they do traditionally printed books. However, in the past week, they have revealed that this shall all change. You see, several years ago, Amazon acquired their own POD printer--BookSurge. And now, they have informed publishers who use POD that they can either use BookSurge to print their books or lose their ability to be sold directly from Amazon.

What does that mean for a small press like me? It means that if I want to be sold through Amazon, I must reformat my books, enter a publishing agreement with BookSurge that may cost upwards of $1000, and use an inferior printer--BookSurge does not have the quality or track record of LSI). The other option is joining Amazon's Advantage Program, which involves a huge wholesale discount and enough fees to cost me far more than it's worth.)

What do I think of that? Frankly, I think Amazon's making a big mistake. Their decision smacks of bullying. It puts severe financial pressure on publishers who use POD technology--enough pressure to potentially put some of them out of business. Amazon's stated reasons for their decision don't make a lot of sense, and they're not making themselves especially popular with the people--publishers, writers, and readers--who have made them successful.

The Amazon story was originally broken by Angela Hoy of WritersWeekly, who's doing an excellent job of tracking the whole thing here:

I'll be removing my Amazon affiliate links from this blog and from my Web site, although as of this moment Little Dozen's books are still available from Amazon. A week ago I was a big fan of Amazon--not anymore.

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