Easter

Easter
Lily in Autumn

Tigress by Ellen Tsagaris

Tigress by Ellen Tsagaris
This is a story of Jack the Ripper with at Twist!

Ellen Tsagaris' The Bathory Chronicles; Vol. I Defiled is My Name

Ellen Tsagaris' The Bathory Chronicles; Vol. I Defiled is My Name
This is the first of a trilogy retelling the true story of the infamous countess as a youn adult novel. History is not always what it seems.

Wild Horse Runs Free

Wild Horse Runs Free
A Historical Novel by Ellen Tsagaris

With Love From Tin Lizzie

With Love From Tin Lizzie
Metal Heads, Metal Dolls, Mechanical Dolls and Automatons

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The Legend of Tugfest

The Legend of Tugfest
Dr. E is the Editor and A Contributor; proceeds to aid the Buffalo Bill Museum

Emma

Emma

Like My Spider

Like My Spider
It's Halloween!

Moth

Moth
Our Friend

Little Girl with Doll

Little Girl with Doll
16th C. Doll

A Jury of her Peeps

A Jury of her Peeps
"Peep Show" shadow box

Crowded Conditions

Crowded Conditions

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Opie Cat's Ancestors

Opie Cat's Ancestors
Current Cat still Sleeps on Victorian Doll Bed with Dolls!

First Thanksgiving Dinner

First Thanksgiving Dinner
Included goose and swan on the menu!

Autumn Still Life

Autumn Still Life
public domain

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Boadicea
The Original Bodacious Woman

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Angel Monument

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Sketch of children playing
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Friday, August 31, 2012

Here is a website, with interesting stories, available at the link below. One feature story talks about how the Academcy Awards went green. Be Green News; a great blog! http://begreenpackaging.wordpress.com/tag/academy-awards-goes-green/

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project: A Letter From Julie Powell

The Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project: A Letter From Julie Powell: Day... The Last You'll Ever Hear From L/J&J. Even though the Lawrence/ Julie & Julia Project technically ended weeks ago, I've tried to m...

From Gilbert White, The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne

He wrote this letter in arund 1770, 39 years before Darwin's birth. His memoir/writing style helped found a cult. Could he have read Bentham? Are my dates off? Didn't Kirkegaard address animals's feelings? I'm struck,by how very 21st century this account is, from the raven's POV. The Raven-tree "The saw was applied to the butt [of the tree], the wedges were inserted into the oepning, the woods echoed to the heavy blowes ofthe bettle orm allet, the tree nodded to its fall; but still the dam sat on. At last, when it gave way, the bird was flung from her nest; and though her parental affection deserved a better fate, was whipped down by the tress, which brought her dead to the ground."

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: Remarkable Creatures

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: Remarkable Creatures: Here is a freely shared excerpt from bookbrowse.com. I love this book, for its fossil history, Darwinian lore, and great portrayals of "uns...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: So, when is it an addition, cont'd

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: So, when is it an addition, cont'd: When is a hobby too much? Anyone ever read "A Gentle Madness," about collecting in general, or hobbies in particular, or "Magnificent Obsess...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Turning Chaos into Calm by Organization, and Other Myths

All myths are based in some truth or historical fact, or so I think, after studying history and reding mythology for most of my life. Today I browsed and shopped a little in the organic section of one of my local groceries. I noticed that the chain now has its own brand of organic food, and there were some specials. So, we are trying some frozen black bean burritos and a spankopita, which really, is Greek food, so ethnic, not necessarily organic. I will go back and do some ingredient comparison and price comparison. I have to wonder why organic food and products, and energy effecient items in generalm are so much more expensive than the usual items on the shelf. Is it because market retailors consider them a fad? Why should it cost so much more to stay healthy and out of doctors' offices than to live on junk food, or as one critic puts it, food0like subtances? That, I guess, is one of the myths/ mysteries of the universe. Here are my long awatied household tips, brought to you from the Nov. 2011 Issue of antique and crafts monthly. The holidays are near, and I see decorations for the big 3, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, already! I don't mind too much; this is my favorite time of year, when I'm in my glory. What can I say? I love organe; I love black. Red and Green are Celtic Colors; I love Celtic anything. My mom loves this time of year, and it brings me closer to her. Unfortunately, I never have enough money any more. All kinds of bills are due, and I manage to get sick a lot, allergies, and seasonal issues. Oh well. here are the tips from "Hints for Homeowners," p. 5: 1. Turning Chaos into Calm with Organization e.g, the garage [mine is both storage, and library space]. Use organizational groups like Gladiator Garage Works; the name itself is inspiring, to make your arge into a mulituse area. So, a. Allow yourself time to tackle the project. I love this, but I would love the person who could give time even more. b. Donate or recycle broken or unused item. c. look for wated space, e.g., cieoling raters, and create a plan of how the room will look. Choose an organizational system, or I say, create your own or watch Mission Oganization and laugh. I've often wanted to invite them over to say " I double-dog dare you." d. Place what you use most in the most easily accessible locations, not, like I do, where there is space. e. Put things used away in a timely manner [yes, we did learn everything we needed in kindergarten. Enjoy yuour space. 2. Cook up comfort foods [and I know there are lots of cookbooks like Healthy Exchanges and others recipes, that help you lighten the comfort food recipes and also take away calories. My mom liked substituting splenda for sugar, and sometimes, light margarine you can cook with for bother. Her melomacarona and baklava were still wonderful] a. Replace old range goods if neecded, like one recommended, the new Broan Evolution, which I personally know nothing about. b. tip; if you have to operate your rnage hood on hgih all the time to get rid of exhaust, you mayneed a new one. 3. Inspire a deisre for convervatoin, at p. 9; a. Visit a lake or ocean, and share that 97% of the world's water is salty or undrinkable. 2% is locked in icecalsp./laciers. That leaves 1% for all of us to live on. Find a role model, see the film, Rango, now on DVD. 4. Talk to zoo keepers and managers of aquariums, and visit the animals to learn about their haibtat. a. Save water indside, take short showers not baths all the time. b. Think before you flush; I've hear dthat pelnty of times. c. turn off water while brushing your teeth. d. Take not e and fix leaky faucets. e. Reuse aquairum water for hosueplants. 5. Outside: a. Us the hose where its needed, don't just randomly play, aim it at the thirstiest plants. b. water at nhight. Use a bucket and hose with a nozzle to wash the car . We have had a very dry summer, yet our corn crops are doing well. My flowers, not so much, but they are hanging on. I have worked so much that I've not been able to go swimming at all, but will be able to visit a barge next week. An interesting site; goggle Charity Water. Thanks to my over 30,000 readers on all my blogs, and as always, we love comments.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Some Tips




Old post of writing tips; Free To Share, despite the fact that some people got Pissy.  Well, this is what Free to Share Means. How wonderful it is to sit outside on cool mornings and evenings, no matter how far and inbetween they seem, to write a poem, or to sketch a flower. Give me my laptop and a MSS. or two, my iced coffee, maybe my music, and I'm happy. I've seen dragonflies, large ones with bodies that look as they are made of blown stained glass, gold finches, chipmonks who sit and keep me company, the occasional fox or groundhog, and deer that parade around, very sophisticated city deer, not shy at all. Enjoy the latest edition below; I hope you get inspired! W R I T I N G W O R L D A World of Writing Information - For Writers Around the World http://www.writing-world.com Issue 12:15 13,362 subscribers August 2, 2012 ***************************************************************** MANAGE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION: See the bottom of this newsletter for details on how to subscribe, unsubscribe, or contact the editors. ***************************************************************** IN THIS ISSUE: Writing World ================================================================= THE EDITOR'S DESK: Farewell to a Legend, by Moira Allen CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION: Creating Characters Readers Will Care About, by Victoria Grossack NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF WRITING WRITING JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES FEATURE: Writing to Pay the Bills - Updated, by Audrey Faye Henderson FREE STUFF FOR WRITERS: by Aline Lechaye THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers The Author's Bookshelf **************************************************************** WHAT DO MANY GREAT NOVELISTS HAVE IN COMMON? Salman Rushdie, F. Scott Fitzgerald and many more did this type writing before becoming famous novelists. Discover how fun, rewarding and incredibly lucrative copywriting can be. Visit: http://www.awaionline.com/go/index.php?ad=589682 ***************************************************************** PURSUE YOUR WRITING DREAM. If you've ever dreamed of writing and seeing your words in print, this may be your best chance to test that dream. Learn to create the kind of stories and articles that will sell to editors. Train with an experienced pro author. Free test. http://www.breakintoprint.com/W3253 ***************************************************************** THOUSANDS OF WRITERS USE FANSTORY.COM FOR: * Feedback. Get feedback for every poem and story that you write. * Contests. Over 40 contests are always open and free to enter. * Rankings. Statistics will show you how your writing is doing. http://www.fanstory.com/index1.jsp?at=38 ***************************************************************** DON'T GET SCAMMED! Choose the right Self Publishing Company for your book. What you need to know before choosing a self publishing company and the questions you should ask. http://dogearpublishing.net/self-publishing-companies.aspx ***************************************************************** FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK ================================================================= Farewell to a Legend -------------------- Many of you have already heard the sad news: As of October 2012, the longest-lived publication for writers will be suspending publication. The Writer is "going on hiatus" -- it will no longer be published by its current owner, Kalmbach Publishing, and if a buyer cannot be found, it will vanish from the writing scene forever. The Writer was established in 1887 by William Hills and Robert Luce, "to help all literary workers." It was published in Boston until 2000, when it was purchased by Kalmbach. Besides being one of the oldest magazines continuously published in the US, it had one of the longest continuous editorial management: A.S. Burack became its editor in 1936, and the magazine was taken over by his wife Sylvia upon his death in 1978. Sylvia remained the magazine's editor until selling the magazine to Kalmbach. I have fond memories of hunting down back issues of The Writer in the Berkeley public library, where I'd eat my lunch in some quiet corner of the stacks or tucked away in the children's room. I'd skimmed through Writer's Digest, but at that time, it was aimed more at the professional freelancer, and spoke of a world of which (then) I had little understanding. The Writer focused far more on the creative aspects of writing, and I read every issue I could get my hands on, cover to cover. The Writer was also the source of my first "writing article" sale -- "How to Be Your Own Editor," back in 1988. I sold several other articles to The Writer in its pre-Kalmbach days. After the sale, I became a regular contributor and, at one point, was managing two columns for the magazine. (In fact, I once got an angry e-mail from a reader who was incensed to discover that I had THREE items in the same issue -- two columns and a feature article. In her view, that just wasn't fair; apparently she had not experienced the same degree of success. She did offer me an opportunity to "make it up" to her, however, by giving her free tuition to one of my online classes. I declined.) I'd like to say that the demise of The Writer comes as a grave shock, but unfortunately, it doesn't. I always wondered why a publisher like Kalmbach acquired it in the first place; Kalmbach publishes craft and hobby magazines, on such topics as beads and jewelry and woodworking. I always wondered if the publishers fancied that writing was "just another hobby" -- that the magazine's readers were indulging in a recreational pastime, rather than pursuing a serious career or avocation. In recent years, it has seemed to me that the editorial focus has indeed downplayed the professional side of writing. More to the point, I noticed the recent "slimming down" of the publication. When a magazine suddenly loses 8 pages (or more) of content, you know it's in trouble. The writing field is a tough place to find advertisers, a problem that is even greater in these economic times. Between the loss of The Writer and Byline magazine, which also closed its doors recently, the print options for writers have dropped dramatically. Fortunately, writers can still find a vast wealth of writing information online, on sites like Writing-World.com and a host of others. Better yet, most of these sites are free -- no subscription required! Nevertheless, it's a sad day when a publication that has endured the Depression and two World Wars, and stood by writers through 125 years of turbulent history and economic upheavals, must come to an end because it's no longer "paying the bills." It will surely be mourned by thousands of loyal readers. Compared to The Writer, Writing-World.com seems like a virtual infant, pun intended. Who knows what changes it will see, over the decades to come? When I founded this site in 2001, I wasn't sure it would last a year, let alone a decade. Certainly I wasn't thinking in terms of "a century." But who knows? Perhaps, around 90 years from now, someone will be writing a tribute to Writing-World.com. I hope it won't be to mourn its demise! NOTE TO CONTRIBUTORS: If you are a regular contributor to The Writer, you'll have been informed by now that no further articles or queries are being accepted. The Writer is saving "selected" queries and submissions to forward to a new publisher, but these will be destroyed if no buyer is found. If this has stranded you in "submission limbo," Writing-World.com will be more than happy to consider your material. You'll find our complete submission guidelines at http://www.writing-world.com/admin1/guidelines.shtml -- Moira Allen, Editor Copyright 2012 Moira Allen ***************************************************************** YOU WILL NETWORK WITH 30+ EDITORS. Over 400 editors contribute their unique news and views each year. That's news and views to improve your chances to get published. Monthly newsletter. Get 2 issues FREE. http://www.thechildrenswriter.com/AY446 ***************************************************************** BOOK TEMPLATES REDUCE YOUR WORK AND WRITING MISTAKES. Formatted Word book templates are a godsend for writers. Templates for eBooks, Kindle, PDF, MOBI, printed books, and more. Available in all popular sizes. See them now at: http://www.booktemplate.org/ ***************************************************************** COLUMN: CRAFT FABULOUS FICTION, By Victoria Grossack We All Need Someone To Love: Creating Characters Readers Will Care About ================================================================= One of the ways to make sure that your readers keep turning the pages is to give them characters -- especially main characters, also known as protagonists -- whom they will care about. Now, this technique is not absolutely necessary for a successful novel. For example, in "Vanity Fair" by William Makepeace Thackeray, the author is very cynical about his main character. (I remember how shocked I was when I read it and realized how Thackeray felt. But I was only twelve, so this literary device was brand new to me.) However, for the most part, people will want to read about characters they love, with whom they identify, whom they want to emulate. How can you make this happen? There are a number of ways that you can make your characters more interesting and sympathetic to your readers. Here are some of them: YOUR READERS IDENTIFY WITH THE MAIN CHARACTER. One of the ways to make this happen is to give your main characters some of the same traits as your readers. These traits may be superficial, in that the characters are about the same age and the same sex, and so on -- potentially very important, for example, in writing children's stories, but in other situations as well. For example, when Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin," she wanted -- she NEEDED -- to gain the sympathy of white readers. So she made one of the characters, George, ALMOST white in color, so that it would be absurd, even for many of the anti-abolitionists, to insist that he be forced to remain a slave on the basis of his race. YOUR MAIN CHARACTER HAS A FAMILIAR OUTLOOK WHILE THE OTHER CHARACTERS DON'T. This is another way to have your readers identify with the main character, although it is less superficial. There are many ways in which this can occur. For example, if you are targeting Christian readers, you're probably going to want to have some Christian characters. Another way is to put a character with whom we identify into an unreasonable or at least an unfamiliar surrounding. Although this may deal with current political / religious events -- think of Betty Mahmoody's book, "Not without My Daughter" -- it can also be done by putting characters from today into periods in the past, such as time-travel books. For example, consider the classic, Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," or the more recent Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Or it can be done on an implicit basis, where a character with a familiar outlook is in a situation where the other characters have a less familiar outlook. For example, in "The Clan of the Cave Bear" by Jean Auel, a Cro-Magnon girl is adopted by a clan of Neanderthals; in "Pope Joan," by Donna Woolfolk Cross, young Joan does everything she can in order to learn to read and write. In these two last examples, the modern-day attitude that education for females is a good thing is something that is questioned severely by many of the other characters. YOUR MAIN CHARACTER IS A NICE PERSON. If your main character is in the process of killing someone, or even in the process of doing something nasty, such as being rude toward another character in an inferior position, your readers may learn to dislike the main character. Now, this doesn't mean that your readers will necessarily stop turning the pages. How do you make your main character a nice person? Thinking of another person kindly; doing a charitable act for someone less fortunate; resisting the temptation to do something. YOUR CHARACTER IS WORKING FOR "THE GOOD GUYS." There are many situations in which "the good guys" are clearly defined -- for example, the Allied side of World War II, or the police working to catch a particularly nasty criminal, such as a kidnapper or a murderer or part of the Mafia. Actually, in these situations, it is not the "good guys" who are clearly defined but the "bad guys." By having "bad guys" who are so clearly defined -- and who are so categorically dreadful -- you can introduce more shades of gray into your protagonists. Perhaps your protagonist is a prostitute, thief or even a drug dealer -- but saves the day when it comes down to stopping one of the worst of the bad guys' acts. YOUR CHARACTER IS THREATENED. If your characters are threatened, either in terms of life, limb, or property, the readers will tend to sympathize with them. YOUR CHARACTER IS IN A SITUATION THAT SEEMS UNFAIR. Your character may not be allowed to study, or to go to the ball, or may be forced to wait upon her less beautiful (as well as spiteful) stepsisters, despite being more deserving (in the case of Cinderella, more beautiful both in body and character). YOUR CHARACTER IS TRYING TO DO SOMETHING WORTHWHILE. Perhaps your main character is trying to become a doctor, despite tremendous odds (Noah Gordon's "The Physician") or trying to save the city or even the planet from destruction. Because of the goals that are sympathetic, the character will also be sympathetic. YOUR CHARACTER HAS IT HARDER THAN OTHERS. There are characters who have it harder than others and who will therefore gain our sympathy. Some true life examples include Helen Keller's "The Story of My Life" and Christy Brown's "My Left Foot" (the story of a man with cerebral palsy who was only able to control his left foot and learned, therefore to write -- and thus communicate with his family -- with that member). For a recent fictional example, consider the novel "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" by Mark Haddon, told in first person by Christopher John Francis Boone, a character who has autism, and thus has difficulty communicating with those around him. (This novel is also an example of a BRILLIANT development of voice.) Conclusion ---------- Often more than one of these devices is used at a time, either because they overlap or because you have decided to use more than one. You will also notice that many of these devices are situational -- not necessarily reflecting upon the innate qualities of the character, but in the setting and in the plot. You may also consider these devices manipulative. Well, I agree; they ARE manipulative. But manipulating the reader is not necessarily a bad thing. When readers pick up your story or novel, they are agreeing to manipulated -- but they want to be manipulated in such a way that they enjoy it. >>--------------------------------------------------<< A version of this article appeared at the Coffeehouse for Writer's Fiction Fix. Victoria Grossack studied Creative Writing and English Literature at Dartmouth College, and has published stories and articles in publications such as Contingencies, Women's World and I Love Cats. She teaches a variety of writing classes at http://www.coffeehouseforwriters.com/courses.html. Victoria Grossack is the co-author of the Tapestry of Bronze series (Jocasta; Children of Tantalus; The Road to Thebes; Arrow of Artemis) based on Greek myths and set in the late Bronze Age. Besides all this, Victoria is married with kids, and (though American) spends most of her time in Europe. Her hobbies include gardening, hiking and bird-watching. Visit her website at http://www.tapestryofbronze.com, or contact her at tapestry (at) tapestryofbronze (dot) com. Copyright 2012 Victoria Grossack ***************************************************************** A FREE MASTER CLASS IN CREATIVE WRITING SUCCESS. Enrol FREE in a 14-part 'mini course' in short-story writing success. This highly acclaimed Writers' Village 'Master Class' shows you how to get published - profitably - and win cash prizes in fiction contests. Discover how to open a chapter with 'wow' impact, add new energy to a scene, build a character in moments, sustain page-turning suspense even through long passages of exposition... plus 97 additional powerful ideas you can use at once. Enjoy the course without charge now at: http://www.writers-village.org/master-classes ***************************************************************** NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF WRITING ================================================================= The Writer Magazine Closes -------------------------- This came as a major shock to us, but The Writer Magazine is ceasing publication after 125 years. Officially it is going on a hiatus after the October 2012 issue, while the publisher, Kalmbach Publishing Co, looks for a buyer for the magazine. For more on this astonishing story, click here: http://tinyurl.com/d5upgss Want to Keep your Career as a Journalist? Don't make things up! --------------------------------------------------------------- We had more startling news this week as not one but two journalists are sacked for making things up. New Yorker journalist, Jonah Lehrer has been fired after it was discovered he had made up quotes from Bob Dylan for his book, "Imagine: How Creativity Works." Meanwhile, Connecticut reporter Paresh Jha has been fired from The New Canaan News after it was discovered that he made up quotes in 25 of his stories! For more on this unbelievable tales, click here: http://tinyurl.com/c6kwdn7 New Low Price for eBooks Sparks Controversy ------------------------------------------- Meanwhile back in the UK a storm is brewing over the fact that Sony and Amazon have both started to sell eBooks by bestselling authors for as little as 20p/31c. Sony apparently started the trend to draw readers to its new Reader Store, and Amazon has, naturally, matched their prices. For more on this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/d5wyuyv ***************************************************************** FEELING PRESSURED TO PRICE A JOB? Follow the 3-step process in Freelance Fee Setting: Quick Guide for When a Client Demands a Price NOW. This brief e-book is by the author of the award-winning What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants. Get it now at http://tinyurl.com/86qfupw ***************************************************************** Writing Jobs and Opportunities ================================================================= Literary Agency Seeking Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors ------------------------------------------------------------ We're writing to introduce you to The Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency and to let you know we are actively seeking clients in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres. We are a full service agency, representing writers at every stage of their career. The agency opened in 1984 and has always had an interest in both genres. We're privileged to represent a number of top talents in science fiction and fantasy such as John Scalzi, Karen Miller, Sharon Shinn, Gail Z. Martin, Ian Douglas/Bill Keith, Kay Kenyon, Mel Odom, and the recently signed James Cambias for whom we just sold his first novel. We are also proud to represent the estate of Gandalf Grand Master Award winning author Andre Norton. Our success in this area is not confined to the adult market, either. The agency has negotiated publication deals for young adult fantasies by Karen Miller, Mel Odom, Sharon Shinn, and Ed Willet as well. We are a very active, successful seller of translation rights with agents in all foreign markets and a track record of approximately fifty new licenses per year. We also successfully license film rights, audio-book rights, e-book rights and rights for publication in the United Kingdom. The ideal submission for us is an introductory letter, synopsis and the first three chapters of manuscript. We welcome electronic submissions to fantasy@ethanellenberg.com. We also welcome submission by mail with a self-addressed, stamped envelope for response. Please check our website (http://www.ethanellenberg.com) and follow the submission guidelines carefully. We remain upbeat, active and committed to the highest standards of professional conduct and representation. We are members in good standing of the Association of Author's Representatives and consistently receive high marks from all the top professional writers' organizations. We look forward to your submission. Sincerely, Ethan Ellenberg, President, Evan Gregory, Associate Agent ***************************************************************** FEATURE: Writing to Pay the Bills - Updated ================================================================= By Audrey Faye Henderson In August 2011, I wrote a feature for Writing-World.com entitled "Writing to Pay the Bills" ( http://www.writing-world.com/freelance/SEO.shtml) that described how to utilize content providers to supplement your writing income. I did not imagine that just a few short months later; the bottom would fall out of the content provider market - at least for writers. What happened? A Google algorithm adjustment called "Panda" (http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/03/the-panda-that-hates-farms/2/) that was implemented in phases throughout 2011. During the latter half of the year, the full effects of Panda shook up the entire content provider sector, and left many writers who had (almost certainly unwisely) depended on content providers to provide all or the bulk of their income to deal with the fallout. The Panda Effect ---------------- Panda was designed to "punish" websites deemed by Google to feature low-quality content by pushing them down in keyword search results. As a result, many websites found their traffic numbers sharply reduced, which had a knock-on effect of drastically cutting the click-through ad revenues that comprise the lifeblood of much of online content. Content providers adjusted to being downgraded in Google searches with a variety of strategies designed to improve their stature but that produced mixed results at best. In many cases, contract writers represented the collateral damage. Content providers across the board have clamped down on available work while increasing demands on longtime contractors and new writers alike. In many cases, the result has been what contractors call "title droughts" -- days, weeks or even months of little or no available work. Stricter requirements for accepted work forced writers to spend much more time and effort for each article than was previously required -- often with little or no corresponding increase in pay per finished article. Many contractors who had previously garnered four and even five figures each month through writing for content providers found that their earnings after Panda were slashed to a fraction of their previous levels. Writing for Content Providers Post Panda ---------------------------------------- In my original feature, I advised writers to contract with several different contract providers and to limit the overall time spent writing for any one of them. At that time, it was still possible to pick up several hundred dollars or more relatively quickly to cover an unexpected expense or to bridge the gaps between higher-paying work assignments. After Panda, for a sizeable number of writers who contract with content providers, this is no longer the case. Although content providers have not become extinct, it is much more difficult to earn anything approaching a consistent income by writing for content providers than it was less than a year ago. Some examples: 1) Demand Media Studios has forced many of its writers, including writers who have been under contract for years, to reapply for recently re-organized segments if they want to continue writing for those verticals. 2) Bright Hub has ceased providing assignments for all but a select group of writers contracted on what it calls an "ad hoc" basis. 3) The Writers Network and WiseGEEK have imposed freezes on applications from new writers until further notice. Given the present environment, I can no longer recommend mass content providers as potential writing outlets for professional freelancers. Especially given the low pay scale and ongoing "title droughts," any benefits (read: earnings) that you may gain from writing for a content provider will almost certainly fail to compensate for the effort necessary to obtain and execute your assigned work. However, if you choose to remain as a writer for content providers where you're presently under contract, or if you decide to attempt to sign on with one or more content providers as a new contractor, the following guidelines may minimize your stress levels. 1) Follow the application instructions precisely. Even with the low pay they offer, content providers that are still signing new writers are being inundated with applicants, which means they can afford to pick and choose. If you fail to comply with the required procedures, you may be immediately eliminated from consideration -- and many content providers do not allow writers who have been previously turned down to reapply. 2) Tailor your application materials to applicable specialty fields. For instance, if you're applying to write for a fashion-oriented content provider, emphasize your major in Fine Arts and provide samples from your makeup blog. For a content provider that targets the tech sector, promote your computer savvy and provide samples from your weekly gadget column for the local newspaper. 3) Be especially wary of providing original writing samples. Unscrupulous operators have always targeted gullible or desperate applicants to provide unpaid work under the guise of testing. In the post Panda world, you must be even more vigilant against scams. If you'll be paid for your work once you're under contract, be sure to get it in writing, preferably as part of the contractor's agreement. If you won't be paid for your work, steer clear of that particular content provider. 4) If you choose to submit an original sample, it MUST be original. Do not attempt to submit previously published work. In nearly all instances, the content provider will scan your work through a plagiarism filter, and if you "fail" the screening, you will be immediately eliminated from consideration. 5) Once you're under contract, document your work meticulously. This is essential if you are paid by the hour or must account for the time you devote to completing each assigned article. Your efficiency or your ability to account for your time may determine whether you are retained by the content provider. 6) Periodically re-evaluate your experience with the content provider. If you find that you're spending more time seeking available work than actually writing, you're wasting time that could be more productively spent seeking better-paying clients. Likewise, if you must rewrite every article, or experience high rejection rates, that particular content provider may be a poor fit for you. "On Spec" Content Providers --------------------------- One possible exception to the grim post Panda scenario may be Constant Content and similar content providers that allow you to submit your work "on spec" for inclusion in a catalogue of work available for potential buyers. Clients may also list prospective assignments, but within fixed price ranges. Writers are not expected to "bid" on the prices clients pay. Of course, you are not guaranteed to receive a quick payout (or any payout at all) with such a provider model. However, because you set your own prices for the bulk of your work, your potential pay per piece is significantly higher than for conventional content providers. I have sold several pieces through this type of content provider and have never received less than $50 for each one, and usually much more than that, even after the content provider took its cut as commission. Content providers that operate by the "on spec" submission model have also experienced an onslaught of new submissions post Panda. Unless you are a known quantity, expect lengthy waits to have your submitted work evaluated by the editors. The Hard Truth -------------- Before Panda, conventional content providers compensated for their low pay with rapid turnarounds, predictable, reliable up-front payouts -- and plenty of readily available work. No prospecting for clients, no writing on spec, no chasing down payments. Many writers came to view their assignments as "jobs," content to rely on income from one or more content providers to maintain their homes and provide for their families. As the content provider well ran dry, these writers often found themselves with few or no alternative sources of revenue -- with disastrous consequences. The fallout from Panda for content providers reinforced the hard truth that no professional freelancer should rely too heavily on a single client, or even on a single type of client, for the bulk of his or her income. >>--------------------------------------------------<< Audrey Faye Henderson is a writer, researcher, data analyst and policy analyst based in the Chicago area. Her company, http://www.knowledge-empowerment.net/, specializes in social policy analysis concerning fair housing, affordable housing, higher education for nontraditional students, community development with an asset based approach and sustainable development in the built environment Copyright 2012 Audrey Faye Henderson dba Knowledge Empowerment. For more information on ways to increase your writing income check out: http://www.writing-world.com/dawn/recession.shtml **************************************************************** EBOOK SELF-PUBLISHING EXPLAINED An epublishing revolution is sweeping the industry. We explain what is happening and show you how to self-publish your own eBooks. http://www.PublishYourOwnEbooks.com ***************************************************************** Free Stuff for Writers: Finding the Cool, Part 2 ================================================================= By Aline Lechaye August is here, and in my part of the world at least, it's still blisteringly hot. Thankfully, this month we're going to be looking at more cool sites on the internet, so hopefully that will help you through the extreme weather until autumn rolls round again. Ever wanted to save the world with your amazing superhero vocabulary powers? Now, thanks to Freerice (http://freerice.com/), you can do just that. Freerice is a non-profit website owned by the United Nations World Food Programme, and the two aims of the site are to provide free education for everyone and to end world hunger by providing free food to those in need. They've combined these two aims in an ingenious manner: every time you correctly answer a word definition question on the site, they will donate ten grains of rice through the World Food Programme. This challenge might as well have been specifically designed for writers! To learn more about how the site works, go to: http://freerice.com/about/faq. [Editor's Note: I've "played" this one and it's loads of fun!] If you're feeling bored and in need of some inspiration, Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/) is the best place to go. Basically, Pinterest is a place for users to collect and organize images that inspire them from all over the World Wide Web (so, yeah, it's like a virtual corkboard). Put together images of your hopes, fears, and dreams. Walk around the site and look at other people's boards. Do you feel inspired yet? Would you like to go back to high school? Specifically, would you like to go back to high school and relearn all those subjects that you hated and barely managed to pass? Yeah, probably not. But how about relearning all those subjects at your own pace, right from the comfort of your whole home? How about learning from videos that actually try to make it interesting? Khan Academy (http://www.khanacademy.org/) can make it happen. With over 3000 videos on various topics, this is the website to go to if you want to learn without the pressure of exams and pop quizzes. By the way, if you know someone who's going to be taking a standardized test (SAT Math! GMAT!) any time soon, you might want to let them know about the videos in the "test prep" section. The Generator Blog (http://generatorblog.blogspot.tw/) is not a place you want to go if you have something urgent planned within the next five hours. The Generator Blog is a blog full of -- you guessed it -- generators. Dozens of generators. Customize images in unusual ways, make your own action figures or fantasy characters, put your name on book covers (good for the ego!) or newspapers... if you can imagine it, you can probably find a generator relating to it on the blog. Just be warned -- generating stuff can be quite addictive! You may find it hard to tear yourself away once you've started! And finally, a nice relaxing website that will turn any frown upside down -- Storybird (http://storybird.com/). If you're the kind of person who loves picture books, or if you've got kids that love picture books, you're going to love Storybird. Why? Because this whole site is about picture books with absolutely amazing artwork and short, easy-to-follow storylines. You can even create your own stories using artwork submitted by artists on the site. The interface is easy to use: simply drag and drop images to the new page, type in your text, and repeat as needed. Storybird automatically generates a cover for your finished work, but you are free to change it if you wish. Watch the introduction video at http://storybird.com/tour/ to learn more. >>--------------------------------------------------<< Aline Lechaye is a translator, writer, and writing tutor who resides in Asia. She can be reached at alinelechaye@gmail.com. Copyright 2012 Aline Lechaye **************************************************************** THE WRITE SITES ================================================================= Writing Forums -------------- This site, as you can guess from its title, is a collection of forums on all aspects of creative writing. It has a wide selection of forums, all regularly updated and all very active. http://www.writingforums.org/ The Itch of Writing ------------------- This is a blog by British novelist Emma Darwin which I came across recently and have already bookmarked. It is, in Emma's words, about "Writing, reading writing, teaching writing and sometimes hating writing," and is full of fantastic advice, musings and resources on all aspects of writing. http://emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisitchofwriting/ Writing Excuses --------------- This is an unusual site that offers writing advice and exercises and prompts to help you with creative writing. Written by published novelists Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson and Dan Wells and cartoonist Howard Tyler, this blog is packed with great advice. http://www.writingexcuses.com/ AUGUST'S AWESOME BLOG: Write to Done, edited by Mary Jaksch ----------------------------------------------------------- Here's another blog packed with tips, inspiration and guidance, plus a nifty feature called "scene stealers" that provides a regular writing prompt. Like most blogs, this could use a more detailed navigation menu, but you can easily reach the different topical categories on the site, including: Art of Writing, Blogging, Copywriting, Creativity, Fiction, Freelancing, Scene Stealers, Uncategorized, and Writer's Toolbox. Loads of guest blog contributions, which keeps the content varied and interesting. http://writetodone.com/ ***************************************************************** SERIOUS ABOUT WRITING? Join the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors, the professional association with a career-building difference. We partner with you to create a strategic online presence with genuine credibility. You get a free NAIWE-linked website (and more) so you'll be where people come to find writers. Join us today at http://naiwe.com! ***************************************************************** THE COLOSSAL GUIDE TO WRITING CONTESTS... Moira Allen's "Writing To Win" is completely updated for 2012, featuring over 1600 contest listings for writers worldwide. The 2012 edition has more than 450 NEW listings. You won't find a more comprehensive guide to writing contests anywhere. Available in print and Kindle editions. Print: https://www.createspace.com/3778183 Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B007C98OUA/peregrine ***************************************************************** AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers ================================================================= Envious of the Clouds, by Amy Michelle Mosier Find this and more great books at http://www.writing-world.com/books/index.shtml Have you just had a book published? If so, let our readers know: just click on the link below to list your book. http://www.writing-world.com/books/listyours.shtml ***************************************************************** ADVERTISE in WRITING WORLD or on WRITING-WORLD.COM! For details on how to reach more than 100,000 writers a month with your product, service or book title, visit http://www.writing-world.com/admin1/adrates.shtml ***************************************************************** Writing World is a publication of Writing-World.com http://www.writing-world.com Editor and Publisher: MOIRA ALLEN (editors@writing-world.com) Newsletter Editor: DAWN COPEMAN (editorial@writing-world.com) Copyright 2012 Moira Allen Sutton House, Meads Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex To unsubscribe or change subscriber options visit: http://www.aweber.com/z/r/?LEyszKyMtCwcrMxs7GwMtEa0jKyMHJwsbCw= Actions Flag Clear flag Create a Filter Print Message Show Message Status View Message Source --------- Move to: Old Mail Sent Spam Recently Deleted Saved Mail Saved Chats Go to the previous message control+alt+pagedown Go to the next message control+alt+pageup Close message escape © 2012 AOL Inc. 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