Tag Archives: writers

The End…

I’ve often thought about my own demise. Not in a tragic, sad way but how I might ease the grief of those left behind. I’ve chosen cremation rather than burial so my children aren’t burdened by an annual trek to decorate graves. Since I’ve been a free spirit most of my life, I would like to end things on the same note. There’s a lovely box canyon near Sedona, Arizona where my family will release my ashes.

Unfortunately, that process takes all the fun out of planning my epitaph. I’d envisioned a headstone with the following engraved script, “She led a storied life. The End.” In lieu of a funeral, I’ve requested a wake with lots food and alcohol. Perhaps I’ll have a memorial card printed so I can use my epitaph.

You see, I believe in laughing through the bad times as well as the good times. I anticipate many funny anecdotes and head shaking “Can you believe she did that?” stories at my wake. At least, that’s what I hope to achieve. In death, as in life, I would like to leave people with a smile.

So after that maudlin diatribe, I started thinking. What kind of epitaphs were inscribed on some our great author’s headstones? As prolific as many were in producing memorable scribe, it’s rather sad to note most failed to carry the talent to their tombstone. Here’s some of the better ones I found.

Oscar Wilde:

Alien tears will fill for him
Pity’s long-broken ern,
For his mourners will be outcast men,
And outcasts always mourn.
 Benjamin Franklin:
The Body of B. Franklin, printer
Like the Cover of an old Book
Its contents torn out
And stripped of its lettering & guilding
Lies here food for worms
For, it will as he believed appear once more
In a new and more elegant edition
Corrected and improved by the Author.

 Robert Frost:
I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.
 Edgar Allan Poe:
“Quoth the raven, Nevermore.” 
Virginia Woolf:
Against you I will fling myself,
Unvanquished and unyielding, O Death!
Eugenia Price:
Light…And Eternity and Love
And all are mine at last
Agatha Christie:
Sleepe after toyle, Port after stormie seas,
Ease after warre, Death after life does greatly please.

S.H.I.N.E. Online

What better way to jumpstart your writing goals than with a writing challenge?

This past year has been a rough one for me. I’ve relocated geographically – as in moved to TWO different states – and all but lost my muse in the process. I found blogging a great way to keep myself motivated during times when I couldn’t see more than a paragraph or two ahead. Just keep tapping at that keyboard, I told myself. I felt like Poe’s damn raven…tap, tap tapping…

I’m settled in North Carolina. Life has reached a manageable chaos. Once again, I’m struggling to find coherent strings of words to post. Then along came SHINE Online.

I simply commit to blogging at least twice a week. I can do that, right? I already blog once a week at www.newkidonthewritersblock.blogspot.com  I review books each month at http://theseasonforromance.com Updating my own blog should be cake. Of course, if that were true, I’d already be doing it. 

You see, I’m the kind of person who works best when I make a commitment to others. I’ll break my neck to keep my promise. To follow through and meet that deadline. Yep, that’s me…True Blue Deb. Responsible, reliable and goal oriented. For others. Not for me.

Hmmm…I think a psychologist might have a field day with that last paragraph.

I digress. SHINE Online is great motivation for bloggers. The acronym stands for:

  • S: Stand Out
  • H: Help
  • I: Inspire
  • N: Navigate
  • E: Engage

It’s the brainchild of Julie Isaac who can be found at  http://blog.writingspirit.com/  Click on the link for more info or better yet, come join us in this writing challenge for the next 111 days. All those “ones” are good luck, you know 😉

Do You Judge A Book By Its Cover?

Most of us do. At least if you’re a reader of mass market paperbacks. The cover art determines if we pick up the book and read the back cover blurb.

Here’s how it usually goes for me: I look at the cover, something catches my eye (a nice set of male abs always works), I flip the book and scan the blurb, I turn it back over and imagine the characters in the midst of conflict, I turn it back over re-read the blurb (more slowly this time), and if I like what I read on the back and I what I saw on the front, I hug that puppy to my chest like gold bullion and race to the nearest checkout counter.

So yeah…in my humble opinion, cover art is THAT important!

Does the author have any say in what goes on the front cover?

I’ve discussed this issue with several published writers (since I’m unpublished, I have to go with their experiences) and what I learned was “sometimes”. A nebulous answer because it depends on so many factors.

• Does the writer have an agent? “Sometimes” agents will negotiate or help fight for decent cover art.

• Does the publishing contract include consultation on cover art? Not usually, especially for a debut author, but “sometimes” it can be negotiated. Once again, negotiations for debut writers or those with limited publication are not common since most contracts are standard.

• Is the novel published in category? “Sometimes” the cover must adhere to a distinct design predetermined by the house. Think Harlequin Intrigue. The consistency in cover design is synonymous with the line. This is a good thing for those readers focused on a specific sub-genre.

• Will the book be published only in digital format? “Sometimes” e-book publishers will allow the author’s input on cover design. “Sometimes” but not always. I’ve talked to one author who was allowed to send in her ideas for the cover and given three options to choose from. I spoke with another who basically said what they gave her was what she got.

• Are you an Indie writer pursuing self-publishing through Smashwords or any one of several avenues popping up for the DIY author? If so, and you’re somewhat computer savvy, you can design your own cover art. You have complete control. Or “sometimes” writers hire a graphic artist to design the cover for them with varying degrees of creative input.There are lots of great websites available when designing your own cover art. Many are easy on the pocketbook. I’ve listed some great resources for your perusal:

Stock.XCHNG http://sxc.hu/
DeviantART http://www.deviantart.com/
Romance Novel Covers http://romancenovelcovers.com/
IStockPhoto.com http://www.istockphoto.com/

Work some magic on Photoshop or your favorite photo editing software and voila! A cover for your soon-to-be released e-book. Make sure you design the cover so it reads clearly in small size. Most readers will be perusing a thumbnail copy of your cover as part of an online catalog.

If you’ve had experience with designing your own cover or have other sites you would like to recommend, I’d love to hear about it!

Here’s wishing each and every one of you a fulfilling New Year. May all your dreams and aspirations come true!