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e-maginings: Changing Times

August 16, 2012 by in category Archives tagged as , , , ,

As some of you know, I still work part-time at Fullerton Public Library as a substitute librarian. My job is to sit at the Information/Reference Desk, now casually labeled the “Ask Here” desk, and answer patrons questions.

The other morning, a patron came in looking for books by an author I’d never heard of. We didn’t have any of her books in print or as downloadable books, but the woman told me she had read the first book in a paranormal romance series read it and was hot to read the next. She’d gotten the first book as a Kindle freebie, so I went to Amazon and discovered that the books were indie published. Apparently, the author in question, H.P. Mallory, had been such a success with her two indie series, she now has a contract with Bantam for more books in the series.

This all reminded me of Stephanie Laurens’s Keynote Speech at the recent RWA conference. She talked about how the publishing industry has changed and is in the process of changing. The writing process is the same; the reading process is the same; but the distribution system has been upended. Authors now have more options than ever before, including going directly to the reader. If you missed the speech, it’s at Laurens’s website.

There’s an ancient Chinese proverb that says, “May you live in interesting times.” which is sometimes taken more of a curse than a blessing. Whatever you may think of the changes in the publishing industry, you can’t deny that we are living in interesting times.

Linda Mac

Linda McLaughlin 

aka Lyndi Lamont
Twitter: @LyndiLamont

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e-magings: Show Don’t Hide: The Necessary Pilcrow

April 16, 2012 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , ,
Last year, when my writing partner, Anne Farrell, and I decided to reissue our Precious Gem as an e-book, I knew I had my work cut out for me. I had to convert our messy, oft-changed, WordPerfect manuscript into a clean Word document. I’d always preferred WordPerfect, suing Word only when absolutely necessary, and knew very little about the program. Thanks to the useful Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker, I learned how to format paragraphs that automatically indent and I became acquainted with the Show/Hide feature in Word that reveals the document formatting.

I figured I was the only dummy in the writing game who didn’t know that, but it turns out, I wasn’t. Like a lot of older writers, I grew up in the typewriter era. So for any other Luddites out there, this is how you turn on Show/Hide. Click on the pilcrow (the little paragraph symbol at the left of the image) to reveal your formatting.

Another thing I learned is to never use tabs to begin a paragraph. In the example below I added a Tab before the second sentence, as shown by the little right-facing arrow. To remove all Tabs from a doc file, click in Find, type in ^t and Replace them all with nothing. In a blink of an eye, all your Tabs will disappear.

There’s a lot more to formatting a book for self-publishing, and I do recommend the free Smashwords Syle Guide to anyone who is thinking of doing so. Anne and I were able to get our book uploaded and Lex Valentine made us a fabulous cover, which I’d like to share. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Children’s librarian Amanda Lloyd values privacy above all else. Three years ago her wedding ended in disaster when her groom was arrested at the altar and the story of the ‘Embezzler’s Bride’ appeared in the supermarket tabloids. The experience has left her determined to avoid being caught in the public eye again. Until she meets a sexy single dad with a scandalous past.

Ex-racer Mitch Delaney is a public figure whose life has been plastered across the tabloids more than once. But he believes that anything worth doing is worth a risk, and he wants Amanda in his life. But when they draw the attention of the tabloids, his custody of his son is threatened. Amanda has waited twenty-eight years for the right man. But will happiness come at too high a price?

(Previously published as Private Affair, Kensington Precious Gem #121 by Lyn O’Farrell)

There’s more about Worth The Risk at my website, including an excerpt.

Linda Mac aka Lyndi Lamont

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e-maginings: That Is My Favorite Word

July 16, 2011 by in category Archives tagged as ,
coming from Amber Allure  
Aug. 2011
Linda McLaughlin aka Lyndi Lamont

Every writer has a favorite word. You know, the one that creeps into your writing, over and over again, when you’re not paying attention.

In my case, the word is “that”. Every time I have to submit a manuscript I try to remember to do a global search for the word “that” and cut as many as possible. If I don’t, my editor will point out how much I’ve overused the word. You’d think “that” would be a fairly invisible word, like “the” but it isn’t. Not quite anyway, another word I have to watch out for, especially when I’m writing a historical with British characters.

For some writers, the favorite word is the generally useless “very”. Even if it’s not your favorite word, it’s a good one to search out and eliminate wherever possible.

My former writing partner, Anne Farrell, and I are revising our old Precious Gem romance for self-publishing as an e-book. It has been thirteen years since it was released, way back in the last century. So we’re updating the manuscript and looking to revise and tighten it as we go, including cutting out as many that’s as possible.

So what’s your favorite word?

Linda Mac

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e-maginings: Internet Filter Bubbles & MBI’s

May 17, 2011 by in category Archives tagged as , , , ,

I haven’t posted here in a while, but yesterday I happened to discover two very interesting TED conference videos.

The first is Eli Paliser on “internet filter bubbles”, an unintended consequence of the personalization of the web. It should be of interest to all of us who use the web for research.


And Dr. Deborah Rhodes talk on mammography is of importance to all women, regardless of age:


What have you discovered lately?

Linda Mac
blog: http://flightsafancy.blogspot.com/

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e-maginings: Steampunk: The Next Big Thing?

November 16, 2010 by in category Archives tagged as ,

I know some of you are wondering, what in the heck is steampunk? Simply put, it’s Victorian-era science fiction, often inspired by the novels of Jules Verne. The graphic novel & movie, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, is probably the most obvious example.

Wikipedia defines Steampunk as:

…a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s.[1] Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain—that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; in other words, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc.

Not all Steampunk technology runs on steam power, there are also ray guns, dirigibles, clockwork mechanisms and mechanical computers based on Charles Babbage’s designs.

I’ve been hearing about steampunk for a couple of years now, so I jumped at the chance to take Suzanne Lazear’s online class through the LARA Chapter and I’m learning a lot. Suzanne wrote a great steampunk post at Castles & Guns that will explain it better than I can.

Like steam itself, steampunk is impossible to contain. Authors are using their imaginations to add fantasy and paranormal elements, to re-write history, and to heat up the Victorian era with erotic tales. There is steampunk romance, steamypunk (erotica) and gaslamp romance (Victorian-era romance with steampunk or fantasy elements, but without elaborate worldbuilding). And it’s not just books and short stories, movies & videogames. There are steampunk RPG’s (role playing games), steampunk conventions, steampunk fashion, and steampunk sex toys. Some people have even steampunked their homes!

But why steampunk and why now? Some think it’s a reaction to our economic recession. In the foreword to Steampunk Tales Free, publisher John H. Sondericker III writes: “With many of us feeling the stresses and strains of a world economy in decline, the time is right for the resurgence of escapism into the magnificent and fantastic worlds of classic pulp.”

There’s a nostalgia about steampunk, a longing for an era when technology wasn’t just useful, but often elegantly designed and built to last. I grew up around antique cars since that was my dad’s hobby. Those old cars were beautiful, with tufted leather seats and brass headlamps. And who can resist the charm of a steam locomotive like the one used for the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter movies?

Personally, I’m looking forward to exploring this fascinating genre a little more. What about you?

Linda McLaughlin
w/a Lyndi Lamont

Steampunk Resources:

Steamed! Writing steampunk fiction blog

Steampunk Writers Guild

Steampunk Links

Free The Princess: A practical literary guide to Steampunk and the Victorian Era

Article on Worldbuilding in Steampunk by author G. D. Falksen

Steampunk Emporium
: Authentic Period Clothing for a Better Tomorrow

article in Boston Globe on Steampunk, Nov. 4, 2010

And last but not least, Lady Clankington’s Cabinet of Carnal Curiosities (This is a hoot, but may not be safe for work)

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