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Jokes for Writers

A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell. He decided to check out each place first. As he went down into the fiery pits of hell, he saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a sweatshop. As they worked, they were repeatedly whipped.

“Not good,” said the writer. “May I see heaven now please?”

Up in heaven, he saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a sweatshop. As they worked, they, too, were whipped.

“Hang on,” said the writer. “This is the same as hell!”

“No, it’s not,” came a voice. “Here, your work gets published!”

 

A panda walks into a bar. He orders a drink and a meal. When he’s finished, he pulls out a gun and shoots a waiter, then turns to go. The barman shouts: “Hey, why did you do that?”

“I’m a panda,” replies the panda. “Look it up.” Then he goes.

The barman pulls out a dictionary and looks up ‘panda’. He reads: Asiatic mammal. Eats shoots and leaves.

 

A woman went to a bookstore and asked the salesman, “Where’s the self-help section?”

He answered, “If I tell you, it will defeat the purpose.”

 

What’s the difference between publishers and terrorists?

You can negotiate with terrorists.

 

Some good books:
French Overpopulation by Francis Crowded

Fallen Underwear by Lucy Lastic

The French Chef by Sue Flay

Look Younger by Fay Slift

Neither a Borrower Nora Lender Bee

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Sunday Stuff

Three things that caught my eye this weekend. The first two are good morale boosters for all authors like me thinking of self-publishing on Kindle.

A recent Pollack book

1. Neil Pollack in a New York Times interview says: “My self-published product may not be the easiest proposition for mainstream publishers. It will be short, it’s about Jews and basketball and bumbling fascists, doesn’t involve teenage vampire sex or the Knights Templars, and wouldn’t be likely to sustain a $9.99 download price, which is the low end of what publishers are charging now for new e-books. Here are the economics: I’m going to charge five bucks, or $4.99 a download. For every book sold, my online vendor will send me 70 percent of the revenue. In raw dollar amounts, that’s more than three times what I’d get from a mainstream publisher for each paperback sale. If I manage to score a thousand downloads, which I almost certainly will at that price point (I have a large family), I’ll make 3,500 bucks, and if I get 5,000 downloads, I’m looking at $17,500. Quickly, I’ll have earned the equivalent of a pleasant advance for this book.”

2. From: Kindle Self-Publishing. John Locke, author of Saving Rachel says: “The first time I saw the business model for selling eBooks on Kindle, my eyes lit up like a kid at Christmas,” says John, “because Kindle doesn’t just level the playing field for self-published authors, it actually slants it in our favour. For the first time in history there’s an advantage to being an independent author!”

His advice: Write the types of books you like to read and are good at writing. In John’s case that’s light entertainment. “I offer my readers a fun, breezy read,” says John. “If I can give them some chuckles and hold their interest for a few hours, I feel I’ve earned my 99 cents.”

3. And here’s a cool free e-book of poetry by Christopher L Jones. I can honestly say this is the best poetry I’ve read in a long time.

 

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First Class News

I’ve just heard that some First Class children (that’s first year primary school in Ireland) are reading my book Anna’s Secret Granny as a class project and are hoping to ask me lots of questions about it. I’m delighted! I loved doing workshops with children when I was in Ireland, and I did a lot of them. I do miss that side of my previous life. So it will be wonderful to get involved with this class in Kildare.

I’ll keep you posted about what we get up to!

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Twenty great quotes about writing

I hope you’ll enjoy these. I’ve put my favourite three in bold – they sum me and my writing up quite well.

 

1.       There are two kinds of writer: those that make you think, and those that make you wonder. Brian Aldiss

2.       Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. Anon

3.       Writers, like teeth, are divided into incisors and grinders. Walter Bagehot

4.       He was such a bad writer, they revoked his poetic license. Milton Berle

5.       It is perfectly okay to write garbage–as long as you edit brilliantly. C. J. Cherryh

6.       Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. E. L. Doctorow

7. Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. E.L. Doctorow

8.       Writing is easy:  All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. Gene Fowler

9.       Every author in some way portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will. Goethe

10.   A synonym is a word you use when you can’t spell the other one. Baltasar Gracián

11.   Easy reading is damn hard writing. Nathaniel Hawthorne

12.   A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing. Eugene Ionesco

13.   Many suffer from the incurable disease of writing, and it becomes chronic in their sick minds. Juvenal

14.   If you want to get rich from writing, write the sort of thing that’s read by persons who move their lips when they’re reading to themselves. Don Marquis

15.   Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning:  I wanted to know what I was going to say. Sharon O’Brien

16.   Writing is a way of talking without being interrupted. Jules Renard

17.   The first chapter sells the book; the last chapter sells the next book. Mickey Spillane

18.   I do not like to write – I like to have written. Gloria Steinem

19.   How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live. Henry David Thoreau

20.   Keep a diary and one day it’ll keep you. Mae West

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Apologies

Just a quick apology if you visited this page in the last few days and found nothing here. Chris was transferring our websites to a new server. All done, so back to normal imminently with some new posts.

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Three cheers for Lucy

In my career as an editor, both in-house but mainly freelance, I must have worked with hundreds of authors on hundreds of books.

But I have to say that the nicest author I’ve ever come across is Lucy Hamill. Lucy, a retired teacher and department head, has written some wonderful French textbooks for Edco in Ireland. They are modern, lively and inspiring. Lucy is permanently brimming with brilliant ideas. It’s hard to keep up with her!

Lucy is also incredibly kind. Today she sent my Irish-food-deprived family a box of goodies, pictures above, to say ‘thank you’ for the work I’ve recently been doing with her on her latest book, Panache. Last summer, she came to visit with husband Sam and little dog Todd, and treated all five Daggs to a wonderful meal at La Bonne Auberge in Nouzerines. It’s not often editors get such treats from authors. Thank you Lucy!

 

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August Challenge

I may have to sacrifice a bit of knitting time too ...

This August is going to be a big month for us. On the 9th, Chris and I celebrate our silver wedding anniversary, and on the 13th, it will be five years since we arrived here. We’re having a big party on the 7th to jointly mark these occasions. Actually, I mean huge! And I’ve set myself the challenge of having self-published a book on the Kindle by then too. And why not? It’s something I want to do and it’s achievable with a bit of hard work between now and then.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No wonder he's smiling! Photo from peoplefamous.why.com

I really do want to get my head down and start producing adult fiction. In particular, I want to get my life in France book out. It’s not just that I’m loving writing it, and that I think it will be fun to read too, but I have been spurred on by Peter Mayle’s success. I recently read that he is about to sell up his current home – for nearly 6 million pounds! And I imagine he’ll be going for somewhere bigger. He’s had a phenomenally successful writing career which came on the back of his moving to France. He’s deserved it. His books are very well written and extremely entertaining. For Christmas, my sister gave me the DVD of the TV series based on A Year in Provence. I was horrified to see that it bears next to no resemblance whatsoever to the book. I can’t see why the producers felt the need to make such changes. The book is wonderful.

 

I could handle moving into a mansion in the not-too-distant future with the proceeds of a writing career like his, no problem. So I’d better stop blogging and get another 1000 words written …

P.S. Keep an eye on the ‘My books’ page. I’m steadily adding a few more titles every day so you can see what I’ve been up to in the past.

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Books Are Cool is back

Books Are Cool, my books and writing website – me being Stephanie Dagg – is back. It started out back in 1996 when I began my authoring career as a children’s writer in Ireland. The site was aimed at kids with online stories they could contribute to, games, colouring pages, and poems and competitions. A lot of people had a lot of fun.

 

And I certainly had fun as an author in Ireland. I visited schools and libraries, handed out awards, toured round Irish bookshops with Don Conroy and enjoyed my writing.

 

 

 

 

 

Then the life of Dagg family changed dramatically in 2006 when we moved to France. As well as leaving Ireland behind, I left my children’s authoring behind. Building our new lives and business here took a lot of energy, on top of looking after our 75 acre farm, taking care of our herd of llamas and alpacas and our three lakes of carp, renovating two very old houses. We run a gite and carp fishery and offer llama and alpaca treks. Books Are Cool, like my writing, took a back seat.

But we’re back! I’m writing for adults now. Children’s writing was fun, and I have a couple of Young Adult ideas swilling around in my head at the moment, but my main focus will be grown up books. Which I am intending to self-publish on Kindle. I bought a Kindle in January and have become hooked. Take a look at these blog entries about it from my living in France blog, Blog in France. (Kindle Thoughts, Curling up with a Good Kindle)

In my post Write Back Where I Belong I talked about getting more books with my name on the spine onto the shelves. That was pre-Kindle. I will definitely be going the electronic route, so I’ll be doing a lot of research on that and sharing my findings with you.

I’m mainly working on three books – Something Fishy, my fishing mystery, a vaguely-knitting-based mystery and my moving to France book. All are coming along well and I’ll be posting up snippets in the very near future.

As part of my preparation for my France book, working title Heads Above the Water, I’ve read a lot of books written by other ex-pats. Some have been brilliant, some have been dull, some have been downright dreadful! Anyway, I shall be including reviews of the good ones. I don’t like doing bad reviews, there doesn’t seem much point.

So join me as I get busy again at my computer!