#Read #Authors – #Copyright #Infringement #Notification…

islandeditions:

This is a very important message from Chris The Story Reading Ape about those piracy sites we’ve been discovering online – they’re not about piracy and stealing our intellectual property! Here’s what you can and should do, as an author or a reader, to help get rid of them, for good!

Originally posted on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog:

copyright-culprit

I have been hearing from a LOT recently that more SCAM BOOK SITES are appearing online in ever increasing numbers…

What can YOU do about it?

If you are an author and YOUR book(s) are being offered without your permission – issue DMCA Notices (SEE BELOW FIRST)

If you are a readerPLEASE DO NOT USE THESE SITES!

It may be tempting to get books FOR FREE or at greatly reduced prices but…

They may be a click farm looking for your email

and you will be infected with a virus.

*****

AUTHORS – VERY IMPORTANT!!!

DO NOT SEND THE OFFENDING SITE A DIRECT NOTICE.

If they are on Facebook – Use Facebook’s reporting form to remove their link source from Facebook’s server.

My attorney warns me not to click on them, but to send a form letter to their server.

You can find out their server here:

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There’ll Be Some Changes Made …

islandeditions:

Here’s what’s happening over at my other blog, Reading Recommendations …

Originally posted on Reading Recommendations:

I was reminded of the Mark Knopfler/Chet Atkins duet when beginning to write this post about the *NEW AND IMPROVED* Reading Recommendations! Although, I won’t be wearing a toupée anytime soon!

blog logo

After promoting more than 200 authors and their books, I decided to change the focus of this blog. For a few months I have been contacting authors directly – those I’ve discovered through Goodreads, through interviews conducted by other bloggers, Facebook, or authors I know personally. And that’s been working well for me as I believe readers will agree these promotions I’ve presented have been terrific. I know many of you have discovered new favourite authors through this blog, because you’ve told me so. But all of this does take a lot of time in tracking down the authors, getting them to send their completed questionnaires in a timely fashion (tap, tap, tap!), then formatting and scheduling the…

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Drop Everything and Read

islandeditions:

Here’s a great event that should be celebrated every day of the year!

Originally posted on Nicholas C. Rossis:

Oh D.E.A.R.!

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksD.E.A.R. stands for “Drop Everything and Read“. This is a month-long celebration of reading designed to remind folks of all ages to make reading a priority activity in their lives. With declining literacy among children and adults, it is now more important than ever for reading to be encouraged and cherished as a worthy past time.

D.E.A.R. programs have been held nationwide on April 12th in honor of Beverly Cleary’s birthday, since she first wrote about D.E.A.R. in Ramona Quimby, Age 8. Inspired by letters from readers sharing their enthusiasm for the D.E.A.R. activities implemented in their schools, Mrs. Cleary decided to give the same experience to Ramona and her classmates. As D.E.A.R. has grown in popularity and scope, the program has expanded to span the entire month of April . . . offering classrooms and communities additional time to celebrate!

Can D.E.A.R. be celebrated anytime?

Every…

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Guest Post: How to Write Travel Memoirs by Gordon Cope – Part 3

Gordon Cope was previously featured on Reading Recommendations and offered to write this new 3-part series about writing travel memoirs.

How to Write Travel Memoirs

I recently attended the San Miguel de Allende Writer’s Conference, held each February. In addition to fantastic speakers (Alice Walker, Gloria Steinem and Scott Turow this year), the conference runs over 50 seminars on everything from ePublishing to poetry. When an instructor asks for a raise-of-hands to show who is working on what genre, the memoir always wins.

The memoir genre is not held in high regard; I once heard it described as the bastard son of non-fiction. But for aspiring writers, it is an enjoyable, accessible vehicle; the travel memoir, especially, inspires nascent authors to grasp their digital mice and let their imaginations flow.

Having read many travel memoirs (and written three), I recently sat down and pondered exactly what makes a travel memoir a success, which I measure by the ability of the author to include me as a companion in their exploration of fascinating and exotic lands.

As part of the Tenth Anniversary of the publishing of A Paris Moment, I offer some tips and advice on how to write a travel memoir.

Moraine Lake Alberta

PART 3

MARKETING YOUR TRAVEL MEMOIR
FINDING A TRADITIONAL PUBLISHER

Now that you have finished your travel memoir, it is time for the public to enjoy it.

Traditionally, authors approach publishers with query letters. If you wish to go this route, find a number of publishers that have put out books similar to your work, outline the highlights of your manuscript and ask if they would like to consider it for publication.

I should note that, in almost 30 years of writing and sending query letters, I have never had a positive response. Publishers receive thousands of unsolicited queries every year, and unless you are a celebrity or prominent expert, they will not seriously consider your work. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule, but they are exceedingly rare.

How, then, do you interest a publisher? I have had three travel memoirs and one mystery thriller published by four different houses. Here’s how I did it:

Step 1. Make friends with published authors. When I had completed A Paris Moment, I approached an old friend, Brian Brennan, who had several books of non-fiction published. I asked if he would recommend me to his publisher, and he agreed. Charlene Dobmeier, head of Fifth House in Calgary, read my work and agreed to publish it in hard cover. Once you are an established author, publishers are much more willing to consider your work.

Step 2. Don’t know any authors? Join a guild, and you will soon meet some. Most provinces and states have some form of writer’s guild. The Writer’s Guild of Alberta, for instance, offers unpublished authors the opportunity to join; for a very modest annual fee, you will be invited to social events, readings, conferences and workshops where you will be rubbing shoulders with aspiring writers and veterans.

Authors, even very famous ones, are generally very approachable and pleased when you show interest in their work. I recently had the opportunity to ask Lawrence Hill to sign my copy of The Book of Negroes, and he was as happy as a kid in a candy store to do so. Writing is a solitary occupation, and authors appreciate the opportunity to socialize and meet new people. Simply asking for advice or opinions is an excellent way to start building rapport.

As you make friends and learn more about the profession of writing, you will eventually reach the point where asking for help in seeking a publisher will be a natural extension of your relationships. Most publishers will gladly give serious attention to a manuscript from an unknown writer if an author in their stable gives a recommendation. sphynx in Egypt

SELF PUBLISHING

Self-publishing has become a viable alternative to traditional publishing. In fact, if you do not currently have a track record in traditional publishing, I recommend you devote time and effort to learning more about the nuts and bolts of being your own publisher. It’s not easy, and you can waste a lot of money, but if done right, you can have the reward of seeing your own name in print.

Learn as much as you can. Every year, I attend the San Miguel de Allende Writer’s Conference in Mexico. It’s a lot of fun, and there are many workshops devoted to self-publishing. I also have the opportunity to talk to authors who have already gone down that route, and they are a wealth of information.

Come up with a plan. As an author, you are responsible for creating the manuscript, but as a publisher, you are responsible for editing the manuscript, creating a cover and layout, producing the book, marketing, distributing and collecting payment. Each step is unique and necessary in order to be successful. You have to decide what parts you are going to do, and when it will be necessary to hire a professional. If you don’t sort that out, you can waste a lot of time and/or money. Once again, learn everything you can before you begin.

Some Nuts & Bolts Advice. The publishing rights for A Paris Moment recently reverted to me after the publisher stopped printing it. In order to learn more about self-publishing, I decided to launch the 10th anniversary edition in eBook form as a test case. I had the benefit of already having a manuscript that had been professionally edited and a cover that had been professionally designed.

I hired Human Powered Design (HPD), a Calgary-based eBook company, to convert my manuscript to the proper eBook files. It cost me around $200, but the money was well spent, as they created files for Kindle and Apple readers that looks very professional. You can do it yourself, of course, but if you have ever purchased a book where there are missing pages, changes in type settings, etc., you know how annoying it is to a reader.

HPD also obtained my ISBN, distributed my files to Amazon and the Apple store, and aggregates my royalties for a monthly payment. Note that I went with the eBook version only. If you wish to publish hard or soft cover, you have to create a PDF file and either print off a set amount, like 1000 copies, or do print-on-demand.

Keeping Costs Down. You can spend thousands of dollars having your manuscript turned into a book at sites like CreateSpace, Amazon’s online book publishing service. Depending on what package you purchase, they edit and format your manuscript and devise a cover, then distribute it and collect royalties. The downside is that you don’t really learn much about how it’s all done, and you have to sell a lot of books to recoup your losses. You can produce an eBook or have hard copies printed out.

My advice is to stick to the eBook format for your first project. Spend money to have a professional edit your book, and a professional to design your cover (check around on the internet to find specialists). These two steps will cost around $500 each, but they will catapult your work over most of the competition.

Build Your Marketing Platform. Go to WordPress and purchase a website template. They look very professional and are easy to manage. Learn to link Facebook, Twitter and other social media to your website. Start your own blog, and contribute to others. Build an email list of friends and acquaintances who will be interested in hearing that your book is available in eBook form.

As a final reminder, the best way to learn is to find other authors who have blazed a trail before you. As I mentioned earlier, joining guilds, taking courses and attending conferences are excellent ways of meeting people and discovering resources. You are about to set out on a journey that is going to take several years to complete; enjoy every step of the way!

One last excerpt from A Paris Moment:

They are performing Mozart at Sainte-Chapelle tonight. The 12th century church, built by Saint-Louis, has to be one of my favorite buildings in the world. Nestled into the courtyard of the Palais du Justice on the Ile de la Cité, the church is appealing not only for its architectural splendor, but also for its story. In 1239, Beaudoin, Emperor of Constantinople, needed money for a military venture, and hocked the crown of thorns to the Venetians. When Beaudoin couldn’t repay the debt, the Venetians contacted the King of France. Louis knew a celestial bargain when he saw one and redeemed the crown, along with a few handy sacred nails and slivers of wood that had been thrown in to sweeten the bargain.

Naturally, Louis needed a suitable space to house the holy relics, and he commissioned Pierre of Montreuil to build the chapel, which the architect knocked out in three years, the exterior walls being composed solely of stained glass and delicate, almost ethereal stone columns.

Henley on Thames bluebells The effect is truly amazing. Sitting in the main chapel, my eyes follow colorful biblical scenes as they ascend the walls to the immense roof, which is painted blue and covered with gold fleurs-de-lys that sparkle like stars in the night sky. The notes from the string quartet float through the air and fill this magical place with perfect music, no doubt pleasing the spirits of Jesus, Saint-Louis and Mozart.

Curiously, the earthly whereabouts of all three men share a similar dispersal; Christ, of course, got up and left the tomb for points celestial under his own steam; the remnants of Saint-Louis were exhumed from their resting spot in Saint-Denis during the Revolution and scattered to the four winds; and Mozart, who ended up in a pauper’s grave, had his bones dispersed by scavenging dogs. May they all rest peacefully tonight in Sainte-Chapelle.

Part One
Part Two

Gordon Cope was also a guest blogger of a 3-part series about the San Miguel Writers’ Conference. Here’s Part One. As well, he also contributed a 3-part series on the Femmes Fatales of Paris. Here’s Part One of that.

Guest Post: How to Write Travel Memoirs by Gordon Cope – Part 2

Gordon Cope was previously featured on Reading Recommendations and offered to write this new 3-part series about writing travel memoirs.

How to Write Travel Memoirs

I recently attended the San Miguel de Allende Writer’s Conference, held each February. In addition to fantastic speakers (Alice Walker, Gloria Steinem and Scott Turow this year), the conference runs over 50 seminars on everything from ePublishing to poetry. When an instructor asks for a raise-of-hands to show who is working on what genre, the memoir always wins.

The memoir genre is not held in high regard; I once heard it described as the bastard son of non-fiction. But for aspiring writers, it is an enjoyable, accessible vehicle; the travel memoir, especially, inspires nascent authors to grasp their digital mice and let their imaginations flow.

Having read many travel memoirs (and written three), I recently sat down and pondered exactly what makes a travel memoir a success, which I measure by the ability of the author to include me as a companion in their exploration of fascinating and exotic lands.

As part of the Tenth Anniversary of the publishing of A Paris Moment, I offer some tips and advice on how to write a travel memoir.

Window box in the Dordogne

PART 2

CHOOSING A STRUCTURE
WHERE TO START, WHERE TO FINISH

Like all journeys, the travel memoir has to have a beginning, a middle and an end. This sounds obvious, but most manuscripts that get mired down and never finished suffer from this basic lack of structure.

Clearly, an actual physical excursion, like a cruise to Alaska, has a point of embarkation, a voyage to geographical destinations, and an eventual return to port. Simple. But a journey of spiritual discovery, say to an Ashram, doesn’t begin with the narrator getting on a plane to India, it begins when the narrator realizes that there is a need for a spiritual awakening, either through an actual event or the reckoning that something is missing from the moral compass. And the memoir doesn’t end with the return to normal life, but rather when the instigating event is internally resolved.

By sorting out your beginning, middle and end prior to writing, you make your journey clear enough in your own mind that communicating it to the reader becomes far easier, and thus easier to finish the manuscript.

THE SKELETON

Just like every animal needs a skeleton to hang its flesh upon, every memoir needs a structure to give continuity to your observations. You don’t have to be an English major to understand how a book is constructed however; all you need to do is devote a little time to analyse what is sitting right under your nose.

A Paris Moment arose from observations I had been making while living in Paris. While my wife Linda worked, I would spend my days out in the streets of Paris, shopping, visiting tourist sites and interacting with my neighbours and the general population. I would then write emails to friends, describing my experiences. My friends insisted that I should string them together into a full manuscript.

When I decided to write A Paris Moment, I conducted this exercise on Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence. I purchased a used paperback edition and pencilled in my observations right into the text. Here is what I discovered:

• The book is divided into 12 chapters, starting in January and running through to December. Each chapter is around 5000 words long, leading to a total length of approximately 60,000 words.
• Each chapter is broken down into a dozen anecdotes. They include the following topics; food, local cultural event, personally embarrassing moment, interaction with local citizens, tourist destination, flora, fauna, description of weather, regional quirks social quirks, artistic expression (theatre, music, etc.), and wine.

FORMING A CHAPTER OUT OF ANECDOTES

Reading a book that was simply an anthology of anecdotes would be quite boring, however. Mayle used several techniques to create continuity, flow and a sense of narrative. The first was the simple procedure of chronological progression; each chapter is a month sequentially presented, in order. This allowed him to sort his anecdotes based on seasonality; the emergence in spring of the first wild flowers, summer fetes, fall hunting season and winter storms.

The flow of one anecdote to another is guided by a sophisticated use of bridging. It can be relatively simple; if Anecdote A describes a sudden blizzard, Anecdote B can be introduced as “When I emerged from our home the following day, half the snow had already melted, forming rivulets of water that cheerfully uprooted carrots from my garden.”

You can juxtapose two diametrically opposite anecdotes (an encounter with a surly French waiter, then a very helpful neighbour), have the narrator walk from point A to point B, describe visual or auditory impressions that allow the narrator to segue from one topic to the next, etc.

Here is an anecdote bridge from A Paris Moment. It takes place shortly after the 9/11 attack in New York. I bridge between the French response to the terrorist attack, and buying coffee.

By the beginning of October, the cylindrical metal garbage cans that dot every corner of the city have been replaced by translucent green plastic bags with Vigipirate! scrawled across the front, no doubt to encourage mad bombers into safely discarding any unwanted explosives. Paratroopers in black berets and semi-automatic rifles lounge stylishly in the Metro stations. A portable canteen on rue des Rosiers has been set up to serve boeuf bourguignon to the platoons of federal police that patrol the Jewish quarter. Parisians, it seems, have already adapted to the terrorist threat. I take my shopping cart and try to do the same.

As I cross rue des Archives in search of fresh courgettes, the smell of fresh ground coffee grips me firmly by the nose. I jerk to a stop and peer through a window at a huge pile of burlap bags from Brazil and surmise that this is the source of the olfactory adhesive. I enter. The tiny shop is dominated by an immense, stainless-steel coffee roaster. A very tall man with wisps of hair emanating randomly from his scalp is bent over the roaster, stirring the beans with rapt attention.

I stand for several moments being comprehensively ignored. Finally, I cough. The coffee man rotates his head around like an owl and stares at me. “What do you want?”

Like a good Canadian, I stifle a wisecrack and stick to the script. “I’d like to buy some coffee, please.”

“What kind of machine do you have?”

“A flat-bottomed drip filter.”

The coffee man shrugs as though my machine isn’t fit to strain pigeon droppings, but he momentarily abandons his ministrations to lift down a package of beans marked Spécial Fort and grind them to specification. “Anything else?”

Linda and I both enjoy the thick, heady taste of espresso in the morning, so I pick up a pack sitting on the counter. “I’d like some of this espresso.”

“Do you own an espresso machine?”

“No, I’ll just run it through my drip machine.”

The coffee man reaches over the counter and snatches the bag out of my hand. “Espresso is for espresso machines.” He sticks the bag out of sight and reach.

You don’t argue with a man who keeps a hot roaster behind the till. I take my Spécial Fort home and brew it up and find it to be surprisingly good. I can’t help but imagine how nice the espresso would taste, however. I return the next week, again asking for some espresso.

The coffee man shakes his head. “You said you don’t own an espresso machine.”

I fall back on my innate knack for improvisation. “Um, I just bought one.”

“Oh?” The coffee man arches one eyebrow. “What kind — the Ducati 750 with dual injectors?”

“Yes, that’s the one.”

The coffee man smiles in triumph. “And how do you brew coffee with a motorcycle, Monsieur?”

Busted. I take my Special Fort and flee Inspector Poirot’s lair. Sacre Coeur

Finally, Mayle has local characters, including the local plumber, a grouchy neighbour, a friendly restauranteur and a local official, who periodically interact with the narrator in order to give a story-like flow to the book. This particular technique is best achieved when your travel memoir is set in one place over an extended period of time, but other devices can also be used, such as a pet or acquaintance traveling along or, in the case of Tom Hanks stranded alone in the film Cast Away, a volleyball named Wilson.

Part One
Part Three

Gordon Cope was also a guest blogger of a 3-part series about the San Miguel Writers’ Conference. Here’s Part One. As well, he also contributed a 3-part series on the Femmes Fatales of Paris. Here’s Part One of that.

Guest Post: How to Write Travel Memoirs by Gordon Cope – Part 1

Gordon Cope was previously featured on Reading Recommendations and offered to write this new 3-part series about writing travel memoirs.

How to Write Travel Memoirs

I recently attended the San Miguel de Allende Writer’s Conference, held each February. In addition to fantastic speakers (Alice Walker, Gloria Steinem and Scott Turow this year), the conference runs over 50 seminars on everything from ePublishing to poetry. When an instructor asks for a raise-of-hands to show who is working on what genre, the memoir always wins.

The memoir genre is not held in high regard; I once heard it described as the bastard son of non-fiction. But for aspiring writers, it is an enjoyable, accessible vehicle; the travel memoir, especially, inspires nascent authors to grasp their digital mice and let their imaginations flow.

Having read many travel memoirs (and written three), I recently sat down and pondered exactly what makes a travel memoir a success, which I measure by the ability of the author to include me as a companion in their exploration of fascinating and exotic lands.

As part of the Tenth Anniversary of the publishing of A Paris Moment, I offer some tips and advice on how to write a travel memoir.

Cafe in France

PART ONE

WHAT KIND OF TRAVEL MEMOIR SHOULD YOU WRITE?

If you do a web search of the ‘top ten travel memoirs’, you will find an immense gamut of books that have been catalogued by sales, polls, critical reviews and columnist choices. Here are some of my favourites, in no particular order.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Gilbert goes on a year-long tour of Italy, India and Indonesia in her search for the meaning of life.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Strayed creates a candid and funny autobiography wrapped in her solo mountain hike.

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
Bryson has written a score of travel memoirs, mostly based on geography; Notes covers his journey through the UK.

Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
Mayes purchases and renovates an ancient home in Tuscany.

My Life in France by Julia Child
Child describes how she became a chef in Paris.

McCarthy’s Bar by Pete McCarthy
An hilarious account of a British writer’s search for his ancestral roots in Ireland.

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
Mayle and his wife purchase a dilapidated home in rural Provence and spend a year renovating it.

I recommend that, while writing, you seek out and read several travel memoirs; not only do they serve as inspiration for your own efforts, they will also offer insights into how you will eventually structure your own tome.

TRAVEL WRITING VS TRAVEL MEMOIRS

If you were simply writing a travel book, you would generally concentrate on describing museums, restaurants, historical buildings and other tourism-related activities and destinations.

A travel memoir, on the other hand, has the added dimension of your unique interpretation of what you are seeing and experiencing – your inner space. By doing so, you move beyond the superficial facts and evoke a much greater experience for the reader; they join you as a companion and journey along.

How do you incorporate your inner space? Describing your emotional reactions to entering Notre Dame, say, or memories evoked by the smell of lilies in the flower market near the Hotel Dieu hospital on Ile de la Cité, add a personal touch.

But most of your inner space is revealed through personal revelations that pertain to your memoir subject. When the opportunity to spend a year in Paris arose, one of my chief concerns was my woeful lack of facility with the French language. Here is an excerpt from the first chapter of A Paris Moment, when we are contemplating moving to Paris:

I grew up in a town where children were arbitrarily punished with compulsory French lessons. Madame Trussler was a hatchet-faced woman who would order us to conjugate verbs for a half-hour every morning until she could stand it no more, and would harangue us in a salty French that we were never able to locate in our primers.

After two years of sufferance, I was released from Madame Trussler’s ministrations and fled to senior high school where, through the kind of luck experienced by passengers on the Titanic, I was assigned to her husband, Monsieur Trussler. Although he struggled manfully to pound the niceties of French into my thick skull, the highlight of five years of lessons was my ability to order a peanut-butter and banana sandwich.

Not that I was afraid of going to a country where I did not comprehend the language – I once spent a year in Australia — but there are strict laws in France against abusing the language. My version of French went way past abuse, more in the area of aggravated assault. I envisioned the language police pulling me over to the curb and forcing me to speak into a voice analyzer to confirm that I was well over the limit of tolerance. I would then be cuffed and hauled before a magistrate who would sentence me to four years with Madame Trussler. Would I risk going to Paris for that?

CHOOSING A VEHICLE

The obvious, and clearly favourite, vehicle for a travel memoir is a journey, preferably extended, in which the author covers considerable ground. This has several advantages; it delineates the book into the start of a journey, the middle, and the end, and it also gives the opportunity to record a large amount of description. River Seine

But a travel memoir can also take place in one location, such as A Year in Provence. The advantage with one location is that the author can incorporate local neighbours and acquaintances as characters in the narrative. If the author is in one place for at least a year, then they can record seasonal variations, annual events and other occasions that make up the fabric of a community. I personally prefer this type of memoir, as it offers the opportunity to explore a much wider palette of experiences, and creates a rich, colorful texture for the reader.

In some cases, a travel memoir doesn’t really have to be about travel at all. It can be a journey through an experience; such as an illness, an educational session or a spiritual awakening. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love takes place in Italy, India and Bali, but the exotic locations are really a subtext to her journey toward self-respect and enlightenment.

GENERATING CONTENT

The advantage of a travel memoir over a novel or a screenplay is that you do not have to invent characters, plot or physical locations. The bulk of your manuscript can be observations on many different topics; food, local cultural events, personally embarrassing moments, interaction with local citizens, tourist destinations, flora, fauna, descriptions of weather, regional social quirks, and artistic expression (theatre, music, etc.). Each observation can be written in the form of an anecdote. Here is a description of a restaurant in Paris, taken from A Paris Moment:

Exploring for a new place to eat in Paris is a joy; shall it be mouth-watering lamb roasted in rosemary, or perhaps duck in orange liqueur sauce? Who cares? Just walk into the nearest brasserie and order the special of the day and a bottle of the house red and prepare to be amazed.

We no sooner round the corner onto rue Vieille du Temple when we spot Restaurant Robert & Louise amid the swirling mist. I had passed along this stretch of road countless times but had never made much note of its presence. A tiny signboard decorated with leaping flames of fire juts out from a thicket of ivy over the doorway. The windows, covered with red and white checked curtains, obscure the business within. The menu in the window is short on details. A notice forewarns “no credit cards are accepted.” The only indication that the restaurant is open for business is the tiny square of white cardboard, labeled fermé, which has been turned to its blank side. I can hardly imagine a more cavalier attitude to self-promotion in all of Paris. We immediately decide to give it a try.

We are met at the door by the head waitress who shakes her head gravely when we reveal we have no dinner reservations. She escorts us to a table for two, a tiny, semi-circular affair designed for circus performers. We squeeze past the adjacent patrons and make ourselves as comfortable as is possible in the Spartan cane chairs.
I look around the room and conclude that only the French can make decrepitude so charming. The oak beams holding up the roof are in such parlous condition that even the woodworms have decamped; the furniture appears to have been hewn from logs by unemployed catapult builders.

The proprietors are similarly antique. Robert, with a shock of white hair and stooped shoulders, holds court at a dining table at the back of the restaurant near a roaring fireplace. A large, raw rib roast rests upon the table along with a cutting board and knife. When a patron orders an entrecote, Robert cuts the requisite amount then hands it to the chef, who salts and peppers the meat before placing it in the cheminée, a flat, iron griddle in the fireplace.

Louise shuffles around the restaurant in her house slippers placing wooden plates and razor sharp cutlery on the tables. When she comes to take our order, she explains that they have run the restaurant for the last 40 years in the manner of the original establishment, built shortly after 1650. The only significant changes over the interceding centuries appeared to be a large fridge and the table fork.

We choose the tantalizingly-labeled entrecote for three. I also request an assortment of escargots and veal head, but Louise ignores my entreaties for appetizers. “The entrecote will be sufficient,” she explains, and promptly commands Robert to open a Brouilly for our table.

Gladly abandoning his butchery duties, Robert advances to the bar at the front of the restaurant and pours himself a restorative glass of red wine before engaging in the laborious task. He relishes his duties, carefully removing the lead wrapper then examining the top of the cork for signs of ignoble mold, before extracting the cork with a spindly screw.

The entrecote arrives shortly thereafter, accompanied by a salad, a large plate of pan-fried potatoes and a small black Poodle named Isaiah, who positions himself strategically below the roast beef. Unfortunately for Isaiah, the meat has been seared to perfection on the outside while still retaining a pink, tender juiciness on the inside, and we selfishly reduce the roast to its component rib.

After the main course, Louise returns to ask us if we would like a cheese plate or a dessert plate.

“What is in the cheese plate?” I ask.

Louise ponders for a moment. “Cheese.”

“And the dessert plate?”

“Why, dessert, of course.”

Thus clarified, we order the cheese plate which, as promised, contains cheese, in this case slices of Brie, Camembert and a delicious moldy something in the fashion of Gorgonzola. By the end of the meal, we are too full to even find room for coffee. Amid hearty praise for the meal, we pay the bill and make our way back out into the swirling mists, glad for the umpteenth time that we are living in the greatest culinary city in the world.

In order to create enough content for a travel memoir, you will need approximately 100 anecdotes ranging from 500-1000 words. Writing one anecdote a day would take slightly over three months, but you are unlikely to have an experience, research it and write an anecdote every 24 hours. It took me approximately one year to generate 100 anecdotes for A Paris Moment.

A NOTE ON REAL LIFE VS REALITY

There is a spectrum in a travel memoir that stretches from the absolute truth to absolute fiction. You can actually visit the geographical locations in Bill Bryson’s books, and, with a little work, find the people he meets. In the early 1960s, John Steinbeck set out on a solo journey around the US in a camper van with his dog. Travels with Charley was published as a travel memoir, and achieved great acclaim. Later, journalists following in his footsteps concluded that much of the book was fiction (not a great shock, considering he was, first and foremost, an novelist). When the 50th anniversary edition was published in 2012, his biographer, Jay Parina, noted the following in the introduction:

“It would be a mistake to take this travelogue too literally, as Steinbeck was at heart a novelist, and he added countless touches – changing the sequence of events, elaborating on scenes, inventing dialogue – that one associates more with fiction than nonfiction.

“It should be kept in mind, when reading this travelogue, that Steinbeck took liberties with the facts, inventing freely when it served his purposes, using everything in the arsenal of the novelist to make this book a readable, vivid narrative. The book remains ‘true’ in the way all good novels or narratives are true. That is, it provides an aesthetic vision of America at a certain time. The evocation of its people and places stay forever in the mind, and Steinbeck’s understanding of his country at this tipping point in its history was nothing short of extraordinary. It reflects his decades of observation and the years spent in honing his craft.”

For your travel memoir, I recommend you record the sights, smells, images, sounds, social and cultural interactions and tactical sensations of each geographical location you encounter as accurately as you can. Your impressions of all these sensations, on the other hand, is your own personal journey and you can explore whatever interpretation that grabs your fancy.

In Part 2, we will explore how to structure a travel memoir.

Part Two
Part Three

Gordon Cope was also a guest blogger of a 3-part series about the San Miguel Writers’ Conference. Here’s Part One. As well, he also contributed a 3-part series on the Femmes Fatales of Paris. Here’s Part One of that.

Guest Blogger Susan M. Toy

islandeditions:

Thanks to Amy Reade who is hosting my guest post today on her blog, Reade and Write! This one is for all you Readers!

Originally posted on Reade and Write:

This week I would like to welcome guest blogger Susan M. Toy, whose blogs I enjoy very much and who has much to teach writers:

 KindReaders...ThankYou!!!

 joan didion quote

Kind Readers,

Since I am an Author, you mean the world to me, because without you the words I write have no meaning at all. So I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you, from the bottom of my heart, for taking the time to read what I write. You make me the Author that I am, and I owe you everything!

You, on the other hand, owe me nothing. You’ve done your bit by reading. You definitely do not owe me a written review on an online site – especially if you’re not used to writing reviews of whatever you read. I’m speaking for myself here when I say that…

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A Year of Paying It Forward

islandeditions:

Here’s Dylan Hearn with an update to his Pay It Forward blog post of a year ago …

Originally posted on Suffolk Scribblings:

Pay it forward

A year ago almost to the day I had an epiphany. At the time I was spending an awful lot of effort encouraging people to buy my recently published book, Second Chance, but realised every book I’d bought myself up until that point was published by one of the major publishers. I’d not bought, or read, an indie book, yet here I was trying to persuade others to buy mine.

The reason for not buying indie wasn’t snobbery but laziness. I bought books from authors I knew. I rarely tried anything new, and it was even rarer for me to read outside of my favourite genre comfort zone. Yet I’d received lots of support from the indie writing community, both how to write and publish a book, as well as lifting me up when my spirits were down. I knew I wanted to do something to pay the community back and support my…

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Book Marketing Timeline ‘6 to 12 months before Release’ Infograph

islandeditions:

I love infographics! And this is a particularly useful one for anyone writing a book they plan to publish …

Originally posted on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog:

book-marketing-infographic

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Two Trailers showing #TSRA Hall of Fame #Authors – A Blogaversary Present…

islandeditions:

Congratulations to Chris The Story Reading Ape on celebrating two years of blogging! Check out the two videos he’s created that list every author who has visited the blog and been added to his Authors Hall of Fame! (including me!)

Originally posted on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog:

In thanks for all those authors who have supported and contributed to The Story Reading Ape’s Blog for the past TWO YEARS, (Blogaversary TODAY), I thought it would be nice for you to be recognised AND to give you something you can display on your own blogs and websites…

So…

Here are TWOAuthor Hall of Fame Promo Trailers that you are FREE to use, refer or link to, reblog, tweet, share on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, StumbleUpon and many other places.

If you can’t remember when you first entered the Hall of Fame, go to it HERE, find YOUR name, click on it, and see the date (top of article) your Guest Author article was posted.

NOTE: If you posted updated or other articles after the first one, find the links to the previous ones in the latest article revealed and follow all such links through to the original…

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