Saylor's Goodreads Bookshelf

Saylor's books

Animal Farm
Where the Sidewalk Ends
The Great Gatsby
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Catcher in the Rye
Of Mice and Men
The Alchemist
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Lord of the Flies
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Little Women
A Tale of Two Cities
The Count of Monte Cristo
Les Misérables
Moby-Dick or, The Whale
The Joy Luck Club
The Memory Keeper's Daughter

Saylor's favorite books »


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Friday, July 29, 2011

forgive me for I have e-sinned

Sorry about that.  I unlocked the comments section if anyone feels the burning desire to comment.

A disheartening conversation

So I went to a picnic recently and struck up a conversation with a dude.  He seemed like a nice dude.  Pleasant.  Conversant.  Light hearted.  In the course of the conversation we spoke about e-books and he asked if I was going to list them as free.  And here come’s the good part:

“No, I wish I could actually but I just can’t.  It’s not financially feasible for me.”  I said.
“But the podcasts are free.”
“Yes and I’m still paying that off.”  I said.
“That’s too bad, you should make them free.  All those e-books should be free.”
“Well, I don’t think writer’s could afford that.  I know I couldn’t.”
THEN HE SAID:  “Get a job.  That way you could list them for free.”

The only time I am dumbstruck is when two thoughts in my brain collide.  A physical instinct:  to punch him in the throat.  And the idea:  relax he’s just kidding.

So I blinked and waited a beat.  Then laughed.  Then stopped laughing.  Blink. Blink.  Questions and thoughts were racing through my mind.  Is he stupid?  Is he kidding?  If I punch him in the throat my partner and her friend who was hosting the picnic will be mad at me.  But how mad?  And finally realizing that in fact he was not kidding he is just ignorant.  Then I became fascinated by his thoughts.  He believed all art should be free.  But commercial art like going to the movies or a theatre people should pay because there was rent involved to the art houses.  He didn’t seem stoned or drunk, mind you.  He was sober while saying this.  So, what if I rent an office while I write, does that make me commercial?  I asked him.  No, he said, because I could write at home.  I don’t need an office to write.  Isn’t he clever?  He should run for president of the United States. 

I simply explained to him that writing was my job.  I work for myself.  I write, produce, and publish my work.  Therefore I see myself as a commercial enterprise and as such in would not be in my company’s interests to give away products that it takes hundreds of man-hours to produce.  I said that in one breath.  It was his turn to blink. 

I had heard of these people but had never encountered one in the wild.  He had no idea that he was being insulting and debasing to writers at large.  He was just offering his insights – to make the e-world a better place.  I could have questioned him into a corner using his own failed logic thereby enlightening him.  But I didn’t.  Everyone’s entitled to his or her opinions.  And besides I learned a long time ago you cannot argue with crazy people, two year olds, and the willfully ignorant.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ten pages a day

Let's face it, we read cozy mysteries for an escape.  But who has the time?

That's why I came up with my 10 pages a day reading diet.  (Seriously, I had to or nothing would get read.)  Okay it's embarrassing to admit but sometimes those 10 pages are read on the john.  (Oh where's your humanity, like you've never come screaming into the house, your bladder ready to burst, squatted down and read the mail on the pot!  Pfft, who do you think you're fooling here.)

I read a lot of different things not only my writing genre.  So instead of giving a reading list here's what I don't read:

Chick Lit.  - I don't get it.  Sorry ladies I support you in every other possible way.  I will come to your book signings, I will plus 1 you on google, I will "like" you on facebook, I just can't read another blessed chick lit babysitter - secretary tell all - my boss is a schmo chick lit book.

Historical accounts. - Because they bore me.  Except for Shelby Foote.  I would read cartoons by him.

Science Fiction - With obvious well circulated exceptions.

Religious Genre - I don't get it either.

Self - Help - If I needed to help myself psychologically I would go to a doctor.

Military Genre - Nope, not for me.

Romance - See Military Genre.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing I see wrong with reading or writing any of the aforementioned general subject area's. It's just not specifically not for me.  I have read several books in each category but finally came to the realization that nope, these aren't for me.

But you know who I've recently discovered?  Erma Bombeck.  She's been gone a while so the books are a bit dated however she was clever and witty and that never gets old.

My favorite thing to read?  How to manuals and text books.  (Not books for dummy's or that other one, I don't like those.)  I discovered the Time Life series when I was a kid and got hooked.  For me it was as if there was someone teaching me how to help myself.  I read everything from Apple Growing to Yodeling.  I also have several "essential knowledge" books and text books from classes I never took in college - I just wanted to read the text book.

Gay Lead Characters

My friend Suzy:  So your lead characters are gay?
Me:  Well there are four leads.  A gay couple and a hetero couple.
Suzy:  And no one has said anything to you?
Me:  Like hate mail or something?
Suzy:  Yeah.
Me:  No.  I really don't think people care.

And I really don't.  I'm sure there are those who feel strongly one way or another but they've been mercifully quiet on the topic.  I also believe the silence speaks volumes about the audience.  Perhaps it's wishful thinking but I like to think of  O Line's audience as mature, well rounded, well travelled, and educated individuals.  In other words, worldly people who have a life and care more about how we treat our differences than subjugating others to their own tenets.  I don't think there is anything didactic about the gay character's or plot lines so I think it may also breed familiarity for someone who thinks they may not know anyone who is gay.  (Or worse, someone who only sees gay characters on television.)

I made it a point not to put a spot light on the "gay" as well.  I just don't think this is the proper forum for that.  I could write a novel about the trials and tribulations of what being gay means economically, socially, and politically but then it wouldn't be a mystery (or very fun for that matter).

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How I write?

It’s a lot like cooking, I think.  When I’m planning to write I take out a huge sheet of sketching paper and plot out my main story points.  (Planning the menu?) I also put down everything I can think of pertaining to the story - who when how why where and what – everything.  Then I research and read.  Everything I can get my hands on:  shampoo bottles, magazines, blogs, how-to manuals, fiction, non-fiction, etc. (Gathering the ingredients?) 
Then I get a black and white composition notebook and two fresh number 2 pencils and start writing the draft on the right side of the pages.  I leave the left side blank for notes and changes. (Mixing the ingredients?) That’s my first draft completed. Then I put it down again. (Letting it stew?)
After that I begin to write it out on the computer and add or take away scenes, incorporating any notes I’ve made in the notebook.  I print that out and read it.  I make note cards of all the scenes and make sure the sequence is correct.  I generally move things around and rewrite at this point.  Rewrite and rewrite again. Switch scenes over and over.
I type out a second draft and give it to my partner to read.  (Serving the dish?) She tells me what’s wrong with it, in her opinion.  We debate it.  I get mad and walk away, knowing she’s right.  Then I come back and do the final draft and start handing it to my editor. 

I’m a bit picky about what pencils or pens I hand write out my draft out in.  It has to feel right.  And while I’m typing the first draft I like to be called Rita.  But I have no tricks or weird habits - nothing like that...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday edits

I mentioned before about editing a manuscript. I have a lot to say about this.  Here's some of it: if I didn't have someone edit my work I would start sentences with comma's and apparently am a run on sentence addict.  Whatever.  I believe everyone should have an editor.  Even if it's just a copy editor.   Writers need someone looking over our shoulders and pointing out what's wrong.  Personally I don't want someone telling me how clever my work is or how fun I am to work with.  I want someone who'll challenge me.  Someone who'll point to every misplaced comma, misspelled word, and misused adjective.  Leave the hand holding to your partner, lover, or pet.

Which leads me to my second point.  Find someone who cares and is smarter than you.  Whether they care about you, your reputation, or themselves (if they're the named editor.)  I'm lucky enough to have a wonderful (and very smart) person acting as my editor.  I know she cares because she threatened me with excommunication from her world if I ever tried to publish something without her looking at it first.

And possibly last, but probably not:  If you don't have one, grow a thick skin.  Personally, I think everything I write is brilliant.  Not everyone agrees with me and they are not shy about sharing it.  Having my stories (at the very least) copyedited gives me confidence.  Because I know deep down I still get confused about plural, singular, singular possessive, first person plural possessive WHAT! and all that jazz.  I'm not an editor.  I tell stories and the very last thing in the world I want is for someone to put down my story because they can't understand what the heck I'm saying.

Which leads me to my final point:  if you're a writer you don't always need a publisher but you'll always need an editor.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Countdown has begun!

Starting on August 2nd, The O Line Mysteries Book series will be available on Kindle and Nook.  The paperback books will be available a couple of weeks after that.  We are VERY excited to bring the extended version of the podcast in print, whether digital print or otherwise.

There will be 6 books, the re-release of Lorna's satirical self-help book, and a book of short stories directly from the first season podcast.  The podcast isn't going anywhere, we intend on keeping it up.

And for those of you who have read my pre-edited works before, (ahem-Kelly-ahem), you'll be happy to note they are being professionally edited.