Posts by webmasterDHP

John Steinbeck

Posted by on Jun 12, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

So I almost misquoted one of my favorite authors in writing this blog post. I know I haven’t written one in a long time, and for that, all I can say is that sometimes life gets in the way. Now, if you haven’t figured out who the author I almost misquoted is by the title, I can’t really help there, but I can say that John Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors for several reasons, and not one of them is because he was required reading in high school. There were other authors I couldn’t stand who were from the same era, and my English teachers (some of them) would be completely shocked if they knew how much I hated reading the works of authors like Hemingway (gasp!). Back to Steinbeck: his fiction was short, his prose simplistic, but his words packed a punch. His descriptions created pictures in the readers’ minds that were both vivid and real. I remember the first story of his that we were required to read, The Pearl. I loved it. The book opens with the main characters getting up to do their typical work on a typical day. From the setting, the actions the characters take, etc., we know all we need to know about them. He sets up foreshadowing in the first chapter as well, then punches us with a parent’s worst fear: their child being deathly ill and not having the resources (money, medicine, etc.) to help. The story takes the reader through a roller coaster of emotion, all the way to the end. Whether he was making a social commentary with his stories, or just writing his stories to entertain, there is always a takeaway. Speaking of takeaways, there was supposed to be a lesson in this story too, but it turns out (as many stories do), to be something completely different than what I originally intended. So, if you want a lesson from this article, there are a few: first, make sure you do your research, even if you believe that you are correct; second, your writing doesn’t have to be long in order to be effective; and third, if you haven’t read anything by Steinbeck, I’d highly recommend reading his works to understand what I’m talking...

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Nuclear Power Plants

Posted by on Oct 28, 2016 in Tales of the Weird | 0 comments

Recently, the thriller, The Defect was published by Deer Hawk, and I now know more than I probably wanted to know about nuclear power plants. Previously, my knowledge of them was that there were some still in existence, and that, while the incidence of issues with a nuclear power plant are very low, they can cause great havoc when something goes wrong (Japan, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl) but in my daily life, I never actually thought about them…until I edited the book. Here are a few things I’ve learned: I learned about the inner workings of a nuclear power plant, and how one is decommissioned. There are 60 nuclear power plants in the U.S. Many are near large cities (for good reason, they need more power than suburban areas). There have been fifty-seven nuclear incidents since Chernobyl and most of them have been in the U.S. Chernobyl was the only nuclear accident in history to cause deaths. People think that with homeland security, a terrorist attack couldn’t happen on U.S. soil, but something happened in 2013 at one of the power plants in Tennessee where two shots were fired and the assailant got away. The area around Chernobyl is still unlivable. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go hide in a corner and rock back and forth. *****Correction: there have been two nuclear accidents that have cost people’s lives. One was in the United States, but the incident didn’t kill anyone with radiation, steam was the killer...

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Oh the Things You Can Learn

Posted by on Apr 15, 2016 in Weirder than Fiction, Writing | 0 comments

I love what I do. I don’t think I’d keep going if I didn’t, no matter how good the pay was. I have gone from working at one job I hated to taking a 2/3 pay cut and working at a job I loved before…actually, I’ve done that on multiple occasions and have never regretted it. However, I love writing, publishing, and editing, no matter how teeth-grindingly frustrating it can be at times, I still love it. One of the reasons I love editing is the fact that I’m constantly learning new things. There are several types of editors in the world: acquisitions editors, proofreaders, line editors, content editors, copy editors, production editors, etc. The list goes on, but I’m not talking about which editor you should choose, there are several blogs about that. Instead, I’m going to talk about bees. Yes, you read that right, and no, I’m not going to talk about how hard bees work, even though reading about them exhausted me because of all they do. Bees are particularly fascinating creatures. I’ve been fascinated with them since I had to do a report on them in third grade, but being a content editor for a book, I learned so much more about them than I previously knew. As a content editor, I have to verify facts, and I’ve learned some awesome things because of it.  I learned that the colors of the Aurora Borealis are dependent on the gases in the atmosphere, and that there are both northern and southern lights. But, back to bees. I thought I knew a lot about bees. After all, I’ve read a lot about them, but when I read the interview that Stephen Doster did in Georgia Witness with Thomas Dennard, I learned just how much I didn’t know about them. I learned that certain flowers only open for one day, and that bees will fly miles to get nectar. I also learned that bees use their bodies to control the temperature of the hives. I was hooked. How brilliant is that? A hive’s average temperature is 94 degrees and in order to keep it at that temperature, bees will fan their wings in the summertime to cool the hive down, and in the colder months, they will band together and vibrate, creating heat and keeping the hive at around 94 degrees even in cold weather. So, why am I talking about something completely off the topic of writing? What’s the take away from this? Read! It doesn’t’ matter whether the book is fiction or nonfiction. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading romance or horror. There’s something to be learned from every book, even if it’s what not to...

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Book Hangovers

Posted by on Mar 29, 2016 in Writing | 0 comments

Oh, the book hangover, the dreaded day after staying up all night reading a good book until you’re a wreck the next day for work. Most of us have been there, drinking way too much coffee, too early in the morning to get to your day job and try to work while still traumatized by the characters in the book you just finished. And while you finished the book, the book wasn’t finished with you. You still mourn for the characters you loved in the book that may have passed under circumstances you never imagined. Heaven forbid if the bad guy wins or the book ended on a cliffhanger and the next book isn’t out yet. Yes, while the world continues to spin, it seems your private world is ending. As readers, this is what we want. We want characters that affect us, characters we can relate to, that we have an emotional connection to. As writers, we want the same to be said of our books. So, how do we do it? The answer is both simple and amazingly complex, easy and terrifying. We have to put ourselves and our experiences into the stories. As Robert Frost once said, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” Simply put, if we don’t put our emotions into the book we are writing, if we don’t feel the words as they are being put on paper, neither will the reader. We can’t tell readers how to feel, they have to feel it in their souls. We have to put the words we’re uncomfortable with on paper. We have to put the action as we see it on paper. As writers, we have to put the hard stuff down. When writers truly write something, they are tearing away a piece of their souls and putting that on paper. That’s the way writers keep readers coming back for more. They give the raw pieces of themselves, their hopes, dreams, and fears away, and pray that it’s enough. Seems tough, doesn’t it? It is. But, the only people who ever said writing was easy were the ones who haven’t tried to...

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Do Your Research

Posted by on Feb 15, 2016 in Writing | 0 comments

I know I seem to have a lot of pet peeves, but ninety-nine percent of them are focused on the one thing I love: the written word. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, I love the written word. I love stories, I love new worlds and histories. I love meeting new characters, fiction or nonfiction. My library just keeps growing, and I hope it never stops. However, I’ve been reading a rash of books lately, well, it’s not just been lately, but I’ve finally gotten fed up with it, that have a copious amount of errors. I understand homophones and words that sound similar, especially in the day and age of dictation software. I sometimes (rarely, but sometimes) chuckle when I see exasperated when a person meant exacerbated, but please, for the love of all that is holy, do your research. If your main character, for example, is based on a true, historical figure, like Genghis Khan, please do not confuse him with someone like Atilla the Hun. I was recently reading a book about Genghis Khan and I had to put it down because the author spelled his name wrong. It seems crazy to do so for a single mistake, and I told myself this very thing, but then it was done over and over. The author either misspelled his name or didn’t capitalize it. The author had other dates and such wrong, so I stopped reading. Sadly, if I had not known the differences between what the author was claiming and what is historically known about him, I might be inclined to believe the author. So why is this relevant, you might ask? What am I trying to say here? Simply this: Make sure you get your facts straight or people will put down your book. If you are doing historical fiction, nonfiction, or fiction set in today’s world, get your facts straight. If you are writing science fiction or fantasy, make sure your world makes sense and don’t just say that magic is the reason for inconsistency or come up with a lame excuse as to why your characters or plot lines aren’t consistent. Getting your characters, plot lines, timelines, historical facts, or whatever else right the first time before it comes to publication will save you a lot of hate and discontent later on down the road, especially when you start getting one star reviews because people love to hate on stuff on the Internet. Do authors and editors make mistakes? Of course. We’re all human, nobody is perfect. However, getting a good editor, looking up facts, and verifying sources will go a long way to making your work enjoyable to others. It may help get you some extra stars on a review...

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