Thursday, December 24, 2009


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all

I want to wish each and everyone a wondrous, blissful Christmas and New Year. It is hard to believe that another year has almost ended. Last year I set my writing goals. They included finishing my novel’s editing and sending out my first query letters. To this end, I was successful. l am waiting for the New Year to continue seeking agent representation.

How about your last year’s goals, did you met or exceed them? For this coming year I wish all of you success in finding the perfect match between yourself and an agent. The pictures are from my farmstead (yesterday). At 6AM the wind dropped the temperatures down to minus 20.

(Jake, the best horse, cattle and sheep dog around. He even herds me up when it’s time to feed him)

(Like the US Mail, nothing prevents my horses from eating)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pet Peeves

This could be fun; something to let you vent your opinions and ideas. The rules are simple. No direct reference to specific names, websites or blogs can appear in your answers. My first Pet Peeve is in the form of a question.

It you have researched agents/publishers who publish books in your genre, what pet peeve prevents you from placing them on your short-list?

Any agent, who says in their submission guidelines, if they are not interested in your manuscript they, simply will not respond to your query. This falls into my “Bummer” category. I mean here you are after many years of writing, editing and researching whom to submit your query to and they tell you they will not take the time to acknowledge your efforts.

What are your pet peeves?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Conversation that you never want.

Hello, this is your Inner Voice speaking.
Oh boy, this could be trouble.
I read your manuscript and find it promising interesting good.
Thanks, I think.
Your writing is intriguing and still lacks something.
Wait a minute. If you are my Inner Voice, where were you when I wrote my ms?
I just returned from a three-year vacation in Germany.
Therefore, I can call you my Missing Voice.
Exactly--Hey, that is not fair--you tricked me.
Exactly. What do you mean my story lacks something?
It is a cute story with a twist; however, your antagonist is a retarded fish!
Fish, there is no stinking fish in my novel. What book did you read?
Moby Fish, something along that line. I remember now, it was about a big fish.
Sounds like you did more that take a vacation in Germany. How much beer did you absorb?
I thought so. I wonder if you are even my Inner Voice. My Inner Voice would be discussing style, character development, plot and dialogue. You know, topics pertaining to my writing skills. I believe you have been in Germany for more than 3 years.
Herman, it was only yesterday that I visited Deutschland.
Ah Ha, you have not read my novel. My name is David and your writer was Herman Melville; he passed away in 1891. You have been wandering aimlessly among writers for over a hundred years. My Inner Voice has been silent and I am guessing that is an indication that I have not made any major writing mistakes. You need a new writer to bother help. Read my mind and go help that person.
Thank you for clearing this up for me. I will leave now…ACQ here I come!
Boy--that was a narrow escape. Imagine my surprise when he confused me with the great Herman Melville. I believe I will work on my novel.
David, this is your Inner Voice. We need to talk.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thankgiving

Hello everyone

I want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and joyous time with your family and loved ones. My large turkey sits in the fridge, waiting for my stuffing (known throughout the entire universe and the Lesser Antilles). Complementing this will be my world famous Mince Meat pie, string beans, sweet and mashed potatoes. Probably should not forget the Croissants, dripping with real butter and clover honey. My family dinner will take place on Saturday…some of my relatives have to work tomorrow.

The other good news is that I have taken the plunge and submitted my first, of many, query letters. I am researching Agents and Publishers on Query Tracker. If you are not a member of this site, you should be. Sign-up is free and quick. Click on Find Agent, type in your genre and you are looking at a list of agents looking for your work.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The E-Book Reader War

     There is a lot of talk (and buying) about the different e-book readers currently on the market. To mention a few there is Amazon’s Kindle, the Sony e-book reader and Barns and Nobel’s Nook. The Nook features two screens, one for reading your book and the other smaller one for viewing in color the book cover. Qualcomm is also introducing a full color reader. Prices are still high for all of the readers and will have to lower to an acceptable level for the common person to afford one. If the e-book reader is the new wave of the future then I believe the price should be affordable for everyone, say a hundred dollars. Every time an e-book is sold and downloaded to a reader the company receives $10 to $13 dollars. I am not sure how much the author receives for each sale but you can guess it is minimal compared to the profit of the companies selling the product.

     Besides the price of an e-book reader dropping what features would you like to see if you purchased one? I will start this off. I would like to be able to hook it to my computer and upload my unpublished manuscript. I would also (as I read it) like to be able to edit it via a small keypad or at least underline the places to edit later. Finally I would like to be able to download it back into my computer. I am looking forward to reading your comments.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Moving the Needle

I read a post by literary agent Nathan Bransford where he discusses the dilemma of "what to publish that's facing editors, agents, sales assistants, marketers, and other assorted publishing types in New York." He says they are moving the needle, or making an impact on books that are published and sent to book stores. Who their making an impact on, is up for grabs. The publisher's bottom line comes to mind. As writers we have to ask ourselves who threads the needle and who pulls it through the publishing fabric.

The zeitgeist or ideas prevalent today can also be called fads. The vampire fad has almost run its course and its time for a change. Personally I would like to see the broad genre of SiFi/Fantasy take over. But alas, I fear that mindless zombies will take the public interest next.

We, the authors thread the needle and the agents, editors and anyone else down the line leading to our books being published, must pull it. If every writer wrote a single genre, the lines to the book stores would dwindle away. We can either flow with the zeitgeist or write what we are passionate about. I am fervent about SiFi/Fantasy and will thread the needle with my novel. What are your thoughts on fads? Do you think, I need money and will write a new twist on vampires or zombies or do you write only books you are passionate about?


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Free Text to Voice Translator

Tonight I Googled for free text to voice software. I wasn't expecting to stumble upon a professional program that would read aloud my WIP, but stumble I did. Second listing from the top was a link to Natural Reader Text to Voice Software. The welcome page began speaking as soon as it loaded. On the left side of the page are links to Natural Readers abilities and I tried them all. The free program was excellent for the use I wanted it for. After downloading the program I opened it up, wondering how I was going to hear my chapters read out loud.

On the bottom of the main control panel is a small button titled Go to miniboard. I selected it and a small control panel opened up. Holding the mouse button down, I moved it to the top of my page. Next I opened my MS Word Document and selected all of the text in that chapter. Clicking on the start button (on the miniboard) I was surprised to hear my text change to voice. I sat back and listened as the ladies voice read my script. I did notice a few places where commas were not needed so I edited it on the spot. My editing did not interfere with the text to speech process. One thing this program did was to pronounce a word incorrectly, or so I thought. After looking at the word I realized that I left out an R. This changed the meaning of the word. Funny, neither I nor my beta readers ever found this mistake.

There is also a professional version of this text to voice translator. The information for this and the free one is on their web page. This is a great editing tool.

Friday, November 6, 2009


"I like to tackle the hardest jobs initially. I should have edited my book first then written it."


A new look for the coveted Kreativ Blogger Award

I couldn't help but notice how manly this beautiful award is. Not that I am complaining about it. How about it guys! Can we us a different logo. Any suggestions will be welcomed. Here is a suggestion from old Pompeii, Italy.


My first blog award

Yesterday I was honored with the Kreativ Blogger award. I thank TK Richardson for passing this coveted award to me. Awesome responsibilities come with this prize.

? 1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
? 2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
? 3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
? 4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
? 5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
? 6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
? 7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

Yowza and I thought editing your manuscript was hard. I did number one and three (the easy part) then thought about number five. I have to pass this award on to seven more bloggers. I know, it sounds like a chain letter, but I can see a positive purpose. First you link and add seven more blogs to your site. Second you meet more interesting people in the writing world (that is if you select blogs of other writers).

Because I am a new person on the block in the world of blogging I realized that I do not know seven other bloggers. I could send it back to the person who gave it to me and the other six bloggers she nominated.


This is a golden opportunity for me to reach out and check out other writers blogs and pass the award on, one blog at a time. I Googled and Binged the award and only found references to others who received it. No mention of the original creator of the Kreativ Blogger Award.

My hat is off and thanks to the person responsible for this awesome honor.

Here is number four:

1. Trumpet and piano are my favorite instruments. I played the trumpet in both Big Bands and Dixieland groups.
2. While on a scuba diving trip off Catalina Island, I ran out of air at a depth of one hundred feet and had to blow and go all the way to the surface.
3. I have self taught myself to read and write Egyptian Hieroglyphics.
4. I drive a 1985, powder blue Corvette. I modified the engine giving me over thirty miles to the gallon.
5. I am working on cracking the Linear A script of ancient Greece.
6. The ghost of the former owner of my home is still here. It?s OK as he doesn?t eat much.
7. I have all rescued animals including two horses, four dogs and too many cats to count.

I will begin searching for writer blogs on ACQ and pass this wonderful honor on.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Create your own book trailer

Today’s blog is actually about another blog that I follow titled My Writing Masquerade, penned by T.K. Richardson, a talented writer and member of Agent Query Connect.

Her prose is infectious and in her own words:

These short stories are snapshots of life. It has been said a picture is worth a thousand words, but I say a thousand words can create a picture so vivid, layers so complex, that it can be remembered long after the image has faded. As a writer, a storyteller, an addict of words, these stories-- all captured with the lens of my imagination-- will hopefully resonate with you, the reader. I hope you enjoy them.

Both her blog and web site represent excellent examples of pre-marketing her newest complete YA novel, RETURN THE HEART. I enjoin all of you to check out her latest blog post, Make your own book trailer. Ms Richardson explains how easy it is to use Microsoft’s free Movie Maker program to market your own book. Last night I followed her advice, visited the internet and gathered a few free pictures. Later I used the program and made a simple slide show with written comments. I was impressed with the results. Now I can create a book trailer for my own SiFi/Fantasy MYSTERIOUS GIFT.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Agent Query Connect / Fantasy, Science-Fiction, and YA ResourceNetworking

Since this blog site is focused on Science Fiction and Fantasy writing I want to introduce you to a writer's site that I am a member of and interact with. Agent Query Connect. The writers group I belong to is called Fantasy, Science-Fiction, and YA Resource Networking. Click on groups and work your way down to the Fantasy, Science-Fiction, and YA Resource Networking group. You must request permission to join this group (hint, press the request button). If your writing interests are the same as the group you will not be denied entry. The founder and energy behind this phenomenal group is Clippership.

When I first heard her name I imagined an old salty sailor, with a pipe in her mouth and her hair blowing in the wind. Since joining I have found her to be a true friend and an accomplished writer. Her comments about my first attempt at writing a SiFi/Fantasy novel, pointed out my weaknesses and at the same time she gave me a pat on the back.

The other great benefit to joining this site is the members. I am amazed at their energy and writing skills. All levels of writers are represented and their comments are priceless. We do have our fun and contests and the comment section is filled with wisdom and mirth. I can truly say this site helped me to finish and edit my first novel, MYSTERIOUS GIFT.

Agent Query Connect has many other groups and assets for the writer no matter what your genre is. There is a group for critiquing query letters and another one titled First Page Critiques. The feature I enjoy using is the quick agent search. I can enter a genre, click the button and within seconds I am looking at a list of current agents.

If you write Science Fiction/Fantasy novels then I recommend that you check out this group.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Is it cool to post online sample chapters of your work before submitting to it to an agent/publisher?

The Lyons Literary LLC Agency (see blog archive for original post) posed a question on their site. Do free online sample chapters sell books? It’s a short article (my favorite kind) backed up by a comment section and a link to the Libre Digital web page. Notice, I said a short article, but with long arms reaching deep into the traditional publishing and book promotion market.

I followed the link to the LibreDigital and discovered that this is a company that boasts over 500 million page views of online book samples/chapters. They also hold book chapters for major publishing houses, authors and social networks. Some publishers are using their web site to promote upcoming books.

Libre Digital research shows that an average book purchaser spends over fifteen minutes reading sample chapters of books online. The number of pages they read before deciding to purchase the book is forty-six. Yikes, that means I would have to put six chapters of my current WIP online.

Comments on this article ranged from, I wouldn’t have purchased this book if I could not read a few sample chapters to you try shoes on before purchasing them, so why not read a few chapters of a book you are contemplating buying. The consensus of the commenter’s was that it is all right to put sample chapters online for everyone to read.

I agree that a sample chapter (or two, not six) will help sell e-books. It makes sense for a reader to want to read some of the author’s words check out his voice and read what the hook is. Add to this discussion the fact that more and more authors are putting up sample chapters on their WEB and BLOG sites. Are they giving away the store? Not according to Libre Digital and echoed by Lyons Literary Agency. They claim that books are selling. Not at record rates, but the way is now set to sell e-books and advertise books ready for publication. It’s the new wave of book marketing and as all things new will catch on as time goes by.

What are your thoughts on putting sample chapters online for all to read?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Two Setting World

Can you have two different settings in the world you create? This is exactly what the reader experiences in my DARKSIDE OF THE MEDALLION trilogy. One setting is ancient, filled with cities, religion, temples, gods and two different races of characters. The other setting is alien and futuristic. It consists of cities, spacecraft, Cyborgs, alien races, advanced technology and a shower with a force field that keeps water from spilling onto the floor.

How do you blend the two settings together? In my novel I use Seth, the ancient Egyptian god of chaos and evil, as the common thread that ties both settings together. Seth controls one entire alien race, forcing them to conquer all habitable planets. He also must defeat Jen, the Udorns and other ancient gods if he is to claim his title of supreme god, ruler of all. The stakes are set high for my protagonist. If she looses against Seth it means she is dead and eventually the human race will become slaves to Seth.

I created a two front war, one using ancient warriors and weapons and the other futuristic, using alien technology. My protagonist, JEN, brings the reader into both settings. As the story unfolds, the reader learns that neither front can help the other. It wouldn't be realistic to use a spacecraft to destroy an invading army of dead Egyptian-like warriors. The reader would feel cheated and probably toss the book into his slush pile.

The answer to the question, can you have two different settings in the world you create, is YES. This can be verified by looking at our own world. Suppose you wrote a novel based in Sao Palo Brazil. You protagonist must go on a trek into the deep Brazilian jungles and find a missing anthropologist. Your protagonist is surrounded and captured by a tribe of natives that have never seen a white man, used a phone, listened to music from a radio and think that passing overhead aircraft represents the wrath of the gods. There are many possibilities her for a great, two setting, story.

Let me know how you handle a two setting world.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Possibilities for Publication continued--Place/World

Let’s continue our discussion of your SiFi/F world. You remember--the place you fashioned for your story. The place your reader escapes to--explores and marvels at your creative talent. What makes your world work for your story? Does it have snow capped mountains or hot dry wastelands, cities with glass spires or small towns with a pub, indigenous people and strange critters?

When I read a good SiFi or Fantasy book I am whisked away to a different place and time. Sometime to a different planet where I meet alien races and ride in spaceships to the outer edges of the universe. Remember the Star Wars saga with many different planets, aliens, spaceships and creatures. Each planet and alien race was described with such detail that the reader (or movie viewer) was completely drawn into the author’s world. This is your job; to draw your reader in and make him/her believe that somewhere in time and space your world exists.

One of the problems authors often encounters creating their place is too much description. Not only does it tend to slow down the story it also forces many readers to skip to the good stuff, the action, conflict and the ending. What techniques do you use? Do you draw a map first and describe the setting or blunder in sprinkling cities, people/aliens, mountains, rivers as you need them?

I use a combination of short description through the eyes of the protagonist and a term I coined called reader discovery. When my protagonist travels through my place, the reader discovers, at the same time, what my protagonist sees (point of view description). My world is not only made up of solid objects it also includes sounds, smells, colors, animals; the list goes on.

When we build our world we need to show the reader that it is different from the one he/she lives in. We tend to think in the present and as such tend to write with the same technology. Imagine an alien who lives 120,000 light years from earth using the same toaster or toilet you use back home. Not to convincing for your reader. How about using a shower, which has no doors and uses a force field to keep water inside? Now we are getting somewhere. We do not have anything like that on earth and at the same time it is believable.

I would like to hear from you. How do you build your world (place)? How is your protagonist affected by the world you have thrust him/her into?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Publications for Writers

I decided to break up my blog into several topics. Yesterdays post was designed to get the reader to question my comments on writing. Today’s post falls under aids for the writer such as books and magazines. What does a novice writer have in common with a published author? Hint we both love to write is not the answer I am searching for. We both have and use publications written to help the writer improve his/her craft.

The word publications include books on writing, reference books for writers and writer’s magazines. Even the dictionary defines publication as the act of making printed material, especially books (Encarta Dictionary: English (North America). The internet has changed this definition to include eBooks, eZines and videos. The following list includes the books and magazines I own, have read and use to hone my craft.

1. Writing The Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2001, ISBN: 0-89879-995-3 (hardcover), ISBN: 1-58297-182-X (paperback).
2. Handbook of Novel Writing by the editors of Writer’s Digest. Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2002, ISBN: 0-89879-831-0 (paperback).
3. The Writers Handbook 2004 by Editor Barry Turner. Published by Macmillan, UK, (Look for the newest printing).
4. Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain. 13th printing, University of Oklahoma Press Norman, IBSN: 0-8061-1191-7 (paperback).
5. The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing by Meg Leder, Jack Heffron and the Editors of Writer’s Digest. Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2007,ISBN: 1-58297-159-5 (paperback).
6. Book Proposals That Sell by W. Terry Whalin. Write Now Publications, Nashville, TN 37222, 2005, ISBN: 1-932124-64-0 (paperback).
7. Universal Keys for Writers by Ann Raimes. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston New York, 2003 (Look for newest printing).
8. Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2008, 7th printing, ISBN: 978-1-58297-294-7 (paperback).
9. On Writing by Steven King. Pocket Books, New York, 2002, 16th printing, ISBN: 978-0-7434-5596-1 (paperback).
10. Poets and Writers Magazine by Poets and Writers, Inc. .
11. Writer’s Digest Magazine by Writer’s Digest.
12. The Writer Magazine by Kalmbach Publishing Co.

This is my list of books and magazines. Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass is an outstanding book. From the book: Insider advice for taking your fiction to the next level. My copy is dog-eared and underlined in red ink. He talks about setting the stakes for your protagonist, time and place, characters, plot, contemporary plot, multiple viewpoints, subplots, pace, voice, endings, advanced plot structures, theme and breaking out from the pack. Well worth reading and having a copy on your bookshelf. A few of the above books I purchased on eBay at a substantial savings. The remainder I bought from Amazon in their used book section. The books that are described as like new are in excellent condition. I will be glad to answer any question about the above publications. What writing books do you have and use?

Keep your pens filled with ink and keep writing.
David Ferretti

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Posibilities for Plublication

Possibilities for Publication

Welcome and thank you for reading my blog. Warning, if you become a regular reader you might get excited and begin writing Science Fiction and Fantasy (SiFi/F) novels. So who am I to write such a blog? Good question, if you ever find out please let me know. I have been searching for an answer for years.

I titled this blog Possibilities for Publication because in SiFi/F anything is possible. Wow, what a profound statement. Do you believe it? Let’s take the anything is possible phrase and talk about it. If you are writing a novel can you weave anything you think of into your story without dire consequences?

In an orderly world everything happens in a logical manner. If you write about this type of world anything you make up must meet the accepted norm for your world or your reader will not believe it. In the worlds of science fiction or fantasy the same rules apply. I do not recall Frodo from the Trilogy of the Rings ordering a hamburger. Why, because it would not fit into the world J.R.R. Tolkien created. The same logic must apply to anything you or I write. The phrase anything is possible is correct as long as your SiFi or fantasy world permits it. The good news is that you are the world’s creator. This puts a heavy responsibility on you.

The science fiction or fantasy world you dream of for your novel must be constructed using your descriptive words. Now I will date myself. Many of you will not remember the days of radio. Yes those days of yesteryear without TV or Mp3 players. Radio programs brought all of our entertainment into the house. I remember the advertisements some of which made my mouth water. Coca-Cola comes to mind. The announcer would talk about the product and at the same time open a bottle (yes we had glass bottles) next to his microphone. The sound of the liquid splashing over ice cubes was enough to make me rush to the refrigerator and grab…you guessed it, a Coke. Now apply this same principle to your descriptive writing when you describe your novels world and you will have the reader turning page after page. A good exercise would be to take the above Coca-Cola scene and put it into words.

Your job, should you accept it, is to create a place (another word for world) that allows your readers to escape to and believe all of it. Another question is what makes up a place? We will discuss this next.