Monday, November 30, 2009

Craig Karges & J. David Diosi

Since their new book was brought up at our last meeting, there are two opportunities to see them and have the book signed before our next meeting.  This coming Friday, December 4th, (I can’t believe it’s December already) they will be at the Stifel Fine Arts Center, 1330 National Rd, Wheeling from 4-6 pm.

Also, I just received the following e-mail:

JUST ADDED: Craig Karges and J. David Diosi on December 22!

NEW PROGRAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Craig Karges, Wheeling’s own “Extraordinist,” returns along with co-author J. David Diosi on Tuesday, December 22 at noon to discuss the new book, Extraordinary Tales: Stories from the Road. One part travel memoir and one part encyclopedia of the paranormal, the book takes readers around the world to explore the mystery of Atlantis, King Solomon's Mines, the Ark of the Covenant, Jack the Ripper, the secrets of the pyramids, Bigfoot, the White Witch of Jamaica, the Bermuda Triangle, and WV’s Mothman. It's a fun-filled world of ghosts, vampires and crystal skulls. Don't miss the pre-Christmas magic at Lunch With Books!

There was a good article on the writing of this book in Sunday’s Life section of the Wheeling News-Register.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Warning Flags


In regards to your
I sent this around some Pennwriters people and they flagged it as not good. Following are some comments I received:

It appears to be self-publishing website. Avoid.

I never heard of this agency, but red flags to me are:
* No contact information
* No full names of authors represented
* Lists upfront on the front page of the website "Special Program for Already Self-Published Authors".
* The "AEG Publishing Group" acquired this literary agency--a move that I can't imagine a traditional publisher doing.
* In AEG's press release, it states it is a Strategic Book Publishing and Strategic Book Marketing company. Sounds like a pay-to-publish or pay-to-market your books setup.
* Also in the press release, it states the reason for acquiring Strategic & Eloquent Books: "In their first 6 months of operations they have published over 100 authors and sold over 10,000 books. We think that is an amazing growth pattern." An average of 100 books per author sold in 6 months is NOT amazing.

It appears to fit "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" scenario.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Something interesting

There seems to be a lot of chatter in the industry about this. Some of you may be interested.

Also you may want to check out

Look for Writers Beware info. Very interesting.


Check it out

I came across this web-site and found it interesting. It almost sounds too good to be true. Is it legit? Let me know what you think.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

NOTES: Third Meeting, 10-12-09

by a very tardy Jason

— Our writers’ group meetings will perpetually be scheduled for the third Monday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Books-a-Million cafe at The Highlands

— Writers are encouraged to submit any topic ideas that they want to discuss at future meetings on this blog (preferably through a brand new post, rather than a comment).

— Similarly, writers are also encouraged to submit any recommendations, comments or complaints pertaining to our meetings so we can discuss them at future gatherings in an effort to improve our group.

— A few writers in the group recommended keeping “The Elements of Style,” by Strunk & White, on your desk because it has so many essential (and basic) tips that every writer should know. While discussing this, Fred said we should avoid using the passive voice in our writing. Someone at our meeting called it “a deal-killer.”

— Another writer recommended using the “OWL writing book,” but even after an online search, I’m not sure I found the specific book referred to in the meeting. There were several, writing-related books or programs that use the same acronym, so if someone could add a comment onto this post to specify the book, that would be great.

— We discussed how if you’re going to write under a pen name, when you submit your query letter, you’ll write: ___your name____ writing as ____ pen name ______.

From Jo’s Presentation on Online Writing Classes

— Jo personally feels the Writer’s Digest classes are the best value. They cost about $200 for a smaller class. Classes can range from 6 weeks to 6 months. Advanced writing classes are more expensive: about $600 (with a discount)

— She said she learned a lot more from these classes than her comparable, college-credit classes

— Jo said the classes are structured where you can work one on one with a published author, and that person’s experience can yield a wealth of knowledge.

— The way it works is you read bids and choose your instructor, and there’s never more than 8 people in a class at a time.

— The classes are very helpful and educational. You may think you know a lot already, but you may learn otherwise, so don’t be sensitive, Jo said.

— You can get a professional’s view of the business

— Your classmates can critique your writing (there’s an optional critic’s corner)

— Jo said this process ultimately helped her to gain confidence and trust herself

— She said the classes aren’t overly demanding, initially. Assignments can be anywhere from 250 to 2,000 words.

— But Jo took an accelerated course, and those are much more difficult to keep up with.

— You can have a compact 3-week class or have the same material spread out over 5 months.

— As you get into more advanced writing, you may be required to write 10,000 words every 3 weeks.

— Jo has worked out a schedule with her family, where her husband has helped allot her a specific time to write each week.

— Jo stuck with Writer’s Digest, but there are other similar courses, such as Gotham Writers Workshops, Writing, Writers, etc.

— Jo’s favorite is Writer’s Digest. She said they also offer a query letter class, getting an agent class, etc.

Re: Writing Contests: Jo said has a monthly contest, and the site has interesting critiquing methods.

At the meeting, Jo distributed various hand-outs with information about the online writing classes, as well as the writers’ contests.

Brief Report on Nearby Writers’ Conferences:

Rich looked into writers’ conferences that are within a day’s drive of the Ohio Valley. He said many of the usual suspects are victims of the sagging economy and are currently on a hiatus for the time being. But Rich said the W.V. Writers’ Conference at Cedar Lakes has a really nice, relaxed atmosphere. I think he said it was scheduled for the first or second week in June.

Rebecca, a publisher, spoke briefly about her life in the business. At our next meeting on Nov. 16, she’ll be giving a 10 min. presentation about publishing, but at our previous meeting, I noted a few of her comments:

— She started publishing in 2005.

— She edits books and also has a group of editors

— Rebecca, who’s a Christian book publisher, noted the importance of being familiar with your book’s characters, even intimate details such as their religious convictions.

— She said authors were welcome to approach her directly; they wouldn’t have to go through an agent. In fact, she hasn’t had her authors work through agents. She already gets plenty of direct submissions.

— Rebecca said she can tell by page 3 if an author has a grasp or good control of his or her story.

— Rebecca said a big deal-breaker was having erroneous, point-of-view mix-ups in your story.

— You can find Rebecca’s two partner companies, Hummingbird World Media and Double Edge Press, online at and, respectively.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Broken Link

Hmm...for some reason the link I posted won't open. But if you go to you should be able to find lots of other cool stuff :o)


20 Tips on Query Letters


Friday, November 6, 2009

Next Meeting

Hi all,

I regret to say that I will be unable to attend our next meeting -- my daughter has a school function that night. I'll definitely be looking forward to the next one, though. Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!