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Newsletter Dated: 11/1/2002 9:20:45 AM
Subject: Author Andrea Campbell’s Newsletter
*** Greetings! ***
This newsletter is being sent to you because you are a writer, family member, professional friend of Andrea’s, or a fan and reader of her books. If you are new to the list, welcome. There are a ton of newsletters and e-zines out there to read, thanks for requesting and reading mine. I am excited about this venue because it gives me the opportunity to reach larger numbers of people in a much shorter time. It will also contain more personal content and address things I don’t discuss on my web site.
Have questions, comments, or ideas for future publication? I look forward to your input and never turn down helpful hints. This newsletter is a continued work-in-progress and I hope you will stay around to see new features in every bi-monthly issue.
*** Holiday Season ***
It’s hard to believe the holiday season is upon us. Events and party activities seem to sneak up more silently and quickly with each passing year. In the past two months I have received the following party-related question from more than one source—We’ve heard that there’s a new trend out there: time-strapped hosts are cutting back on the hours of their cocktail parties (6-10 or 2 hours instead of 4 hours), serving fewer courses at dinner parties, and generally just trying to get guests in and out. They want to see friends but they also want to put the kids to sleep, watch their favorite TV programs, and get a good night’s sleep. We’d love your comments. . .
Here is my response:
Shorter cocktail parties, a lighter dinner menu, a quick festive hello? Is this the trend for entertaining in the first decade of the twenty-first century? Okay, let’s go with that!
Have you ever noticed how productive people become in a time crunch? It seems the busier you are, the more you want to do! As a party-giver and gameplayer extraordinaire, I think it’s a great idea that some hosts are abbreviating their socials. Why should they spend weeks to plan an event if they just want to visit with friends? Do relatives need to monopolize an entire Sunday to be with family? Must children be forced to remain "party active" for five hours or more? If you can’t labor over a party that tries to impress, is that a crime?. . .
. . . No! parties, above all, are for enjoying other people. People are the engine that drive get-togethers. Sure, it’s nice to have lavish decorations, the best silver and strings of party lights, but it’s also okay to use pottery containers, light a few choice candles, and offer quick but tasty snacks, (that’s what the microwave is for and Rumaki* tastes great, pizza rolls are neat, and ice-cold shrimp is always a plus). Play a game that makes everyone say "Hello," listen to a little upbeat music, share a few updates, and wind it up. You get the glow of good friends, save money on the sitter, and are still able to share a cup of cocoa with your honey before midnight.
Adaptation of time is easy. And if it keeps us in the loop with loved ones, why not? I say! If we postpone our lives until we have time to live them, we may never realize that much-needed connection with others. As a friend of mine said recently, "I’d rather run out of life before I get everything done, than run out of dreams while I still have life." Live life in the fast-lane, have a quick soirée.
*To make Rumaki: Wrap a half-strip of bacon around a whole water chestnut or chicken liver and secure with a wooden toothpick. Brush with a good quality soy sauce and let marinate in the frig for about an hour. Microwave on high for about 35 seconds (do not let the bacon burn); delightful!
Pick up a copy of either Perfect Party Games or Great Games for Great Parties for lots of inspired quick-hit games and contests. These titles are under ten dollars each and make great gifts. Autographed copies can be purchased from my web site at: www.andreacampbell.com Click on "Buy Books" and shop with security using PayPal.
*** So Happy ***
I just signed a contract with Sterling Publishers for a new book entitled: Gotcha! How Science and The Law Catch Criminals. This particular title is targeting the children’s market, ages 10 and up. The book will explore actual criminal cases including puzzles and activities for the reader. If you have an idea worth exploring or possess a penchant for puzzles, please let me know.
*** Speaking of Time ***
Writers, are you frazzled with juggling your deadlines? Have you lost the Midas’ touch for steady creation? Here are some tips to help you map your writing life back to where it belongs—on the path to productivity:
• Analyze your time and life track by actually writing down your goals. Sometimes the effort of putting your objectives into words helps to solidify what you really want and should be working on.
• Keep your cell phone private. The only time I share my cell phone number is when I’m traveling. Unneeded calls are time-wasters, not to mention dangerous if double-tasking keeps your mind off the road when driving.
• Rest between projects. Sometimes we’re just too tired to press on and when we do, the results are less-than-satisfactory. A change of pace may add renewed enthusiasm to help you forge ahead with spirit.
• Speaking of spirit, spend a little time praying, listening to music or just being alone. (And don’t feel guilty about it, that defeats the purpose.)
• Clear a cluttered desk. Devote an hour or so before Friday to reorganize your piles.
• Save all your errands for one day.
• Cook larger portions and freeze one half for next week’s menu.
• During a break, spend some time learning shortcuts for the Internet or writing software programs.
• Ask your friends to brainstorm ideas for you. E-group lists are perfect for this. (Additional research always spurs me on as well—that little known fact or surprise that begs to be shared is sometimes the impetus to get going.)
• Hang a new bulletin board and use your calendar. Update your postings on a regular basis. If something looks like a time-waster, will not advance your career, or is more than you can juggle, oh, my! beg off.
• Listen to your body. Skin erupting, feeling bloated, hair, skin and nails dry? You need to take a spa day—and I don’t mean going to one of those expensive retreats (time spent traveling would only make things worse). Just take an evening away from West Wing, fill that tub, and soak and lubricate your body and your soul (try bath salts, they really give a good glow)...
*** Bouchercon 2002 Nuggets***
Bouchercon 2002 has been scratched off the calendar and we’re almost back to speed. I do enjoy the occasional seminar, it reminds me what it is like in the >near real< world. After the investment in time I generally put into learning craft, studying marketing, and other matters, I don’t hear too many new ideas at conferences any more. But here are a few gems from Bouchercon worth keeping:
From the high testosterone panel consisting of Harlan Coben, T. Jefferson Parker, Jeff Abbott, Steven Thayer and Philip Reed, topic Suspending Disbelief:
• Handling time is difficult, I do it chronologically except when using diaries.
• Make your motive believable—why would they kill someone?
• Find an impossible situation and then answer it.
From the panel on Multiple POV with Barbara D’Amato, Jack Bludis, Deborah Crombie and Robert Ferrigo:
• Multiple POV gives more complex story lines. You can use different genders, backgrounds, characters; it provides a method for tension
• When you write a love scene or one of violence, what would happen if you changed the dynamic? Say, what would happen if the judge is a cool character and the hitman is insecure, inept, or on his first day on the job?
• Introduce the main character as soon as possible but not too soon. Discovery of a body by the cleaning lady—not the main character, who is the protagonist and the owner of the cleaning business is better for added tension and stress.
• Learn when to break a scene. Lay out all the last pages of each chapter. If each ends with a conversation, use the setting or something else to change it up.
From Lone Justice on Friday at 9:00 am.
• S.J. Rozan: Hong Kong as a setting—why? to put Lydia in her element, of course. I went to New Jersey to tackle football as a theme for high school sports—because there is none in New York because of the lack of fields. So, I dealt with suburban boys… I’d say, Arrange the flowers in a vase, but paint it from behind. Use places you don’t know about but find interesting.
• Laurie R. King: I use scattered research such as diaries and memoirs set in that period. I picked up an old period magazine in London, it’s great! Keep a running list of questions when you’re writing and fill them in later.
From Timing is Everything with Carole Nelson Douglas, Barbara Hambly, Pat Wynn, and others.
• Wynn: I have used Gadzooks! But no thee and thou. I use the OED and am careful of anachronisms. (Do cheat occasionally.) The OED is not always right. Read contemporary writers of that period to get a sense of the way people thought. You have to assume that people are always people.
*** A Grammar Tizzy ***
In my capacity as an expert for Pitsco’s "Ask An Expert" site, I get all types of queries (many from accused criminals, I fear). In any event, this next ditty concerns grammar, not my strong suit. I’ll present the question for you here, and the responses from the experts will follow.
Question: Please tell me which of the sentences is correct.
1. The two bedrooms can function independently of each other while simultaneously forming an internal corridor.
2. The two bedrooms can function independent of each other while simultaneously forming an internal corridor.
Answer from Linda Devore firstname.lastname@example.org They function independently, or independent of each other, but not independently of each other.
Linda thought she would present this query to other colleagues, here are some other responses:
• Context would make a lot of difference for me. One’s an adjective and describes a noun, the other’s an adverb and describes how something is done….IMHO, either "independent" or "independently" can be used with "of," and either can be used, well, independently.
• I agree with you: Things function independently, or independent of each other.
• I say >independently of.<
• A couple of them said they would omit "each other," but I think sometimes that is a necessary distinction.
As you can see, they don’t all agree. . .I wonder if it is a regional distinction…
*** Freebie ***
I will send an autographed copy of my book Bringing Up Ziggy: What Raising A Helping Hands Monkey Taught Me About Love, Commitment and Sacrifice to the first email request I receive. Put "Book Giveaway" in the subject line and include your mailing address in the body of the letter.
*** ASJA Conference 2003 ***
I am pleased to announce that I am moderator for a panel at next year’s American Society of Journalists and Authors’ East Conference to be held May 2-4, 2003, at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. Most sessions are an hour, my groups has an hour, forty minutes!
The name of the session is: Writing That Works: Connecting With Your Reader.
Trade secrets from top authors on how to create compelling turn-the-page writing. Advice on craft, structure and style that will take your work to a higher level and attract the attention of the best agents and editors.
My panelists are the best! Roy Peter Clark is a writing and journalism expert affiliated with the Poynter Institute. Philip Gerard creates in many different mediums from nonfiction to novels to radio essays, as well as writing scripts for Public TV. His book Writing Creative Nonfiction and Writing A Book That Makes A Difference are both in my library. Rebecca McClanahan has had published three books about writing including Word Painting. A poet extraordinaire and expert in personal essay writing, we are happy to have her. Patricia T. O’Conner has been an editor at the Des Moines Register, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, where she spent 11 years on the Sunday Book Review section. She’s the bestselling author of three books about language Woe Is I, Words Fail Me, and You Send Me, and appears monthly on public radio as WNYC’s "language maven."
For more information visit: http://www.asja.org
*** Future Newsletters ***
In upcoming newsletters I hope to answer reader’s questions, share a new story or two, talk more about publishing, and provide additional writer’s tips. If there is any area of my life or work you would like to discuss, from autopsy to monkeys, just send me a note. Thanks for the read. : 0 )
Copyright©2002 Andrea Campbell If you wish to quote from here fine, just attribute it to me and my web site.