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The Pecman

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The Pecman last won the day on January 25 2016

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About The Pecman

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  1. Dialogue Punctuation

    I think that would be pretty clunky in a published story, because it just looks incompetent. I wouldn't have a problem if the novel or short story reproduced a written note from one of the characters, and the note had misspellings from the character. By the same token, you have a book like The Color Purple, but it was purported to be a diary of the lead character, so that justified all kinds of misspellings and bad English... all of which became better over time, as the character became more educated.
  2. I had quite a few email conversations with Dom over the years, and he was a good guy -- perfectly willing to discuss his writing decisions, open and honest when it was clear he might have made the wrong choice, and very much interested in the writing process. The last email I got from him was in 2007, and he gave me the impression he was having some trouble with his current project. I always tried to encourage him and told him several times he should consider making his work available to mainstream publishers. Nowadays, I bet he could do very well as an eBook author. But inspiration is a tricky, delicate thing. It strikes or it doesn't, and sometimes the realities of life crash down upon you and get in the way of writing. I hope whatever challenges he has are something he can overcome, and Dom can find his way back to the keyboard sometime soon.
  3. Dialogue Punctuation

    The AP Style Guide does suggest a space before and after em-dashes, but you could make an argument that this is so that it looks good in the newspaper. But I think it also looks better for online reading, which I suspect is where most of our vast audience is these days. I like this explanation: In The Elements of Typographic Style – which is the unofficial bible of the modern typographer  –  Robert Bringhurst recommends that dashes in text should be the en dash flanked by two spaces. This is much less visually disruptive than using the em dash with no space—which is recommended in editorial style books such as The Chicago Manual of Style —  because there is less tension between the dash and the characters on either side of it. Why go against The Chicago Manual of Style in this case? The reason is that style manuals are concerned mostly with punctuation, not typography. An en dash surrounded by spaces achieves the same effect as an em dash with no spaces, but typographically it is less disruptive. This was a big debate between my editor and me when I was writing my book. The practice of using two hyphens for a dash is a holdover from the days of typewriters. Besides being visually disruptive to smooth blocks of text, it is now unnecessary with the richer character sets that are available to typographers. The en dash is also used to indicate ranges of numbers (such as “7–10 days”), although it isn’t flanked by spaces in this case. http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/08/15/mind-your-en-and-em-dashes-typographic-etiquette/ There are interesting twists these days on graphics and typesetting with the problem of print, eBooks, websites, and other eBook readers. I do think about typefaces and what might be more appropriate for one kind of story than another; I'd be reluctant to go with a modern sans-serif font for a historical story, for example.
  4. Dialogue Punctuation

    And my brother the typesetter/graphic artist insists on an en-space prior to an em-dash. He's drilled that enough in me over the years — much to my consternation — that I ultimately conceded to his expertise. I agree to a point with your examples, except that both are clumsy phrases. I'd throw them both out and rewrite them for clarity.
  5. Growing Readership?

    God, I hate it when people use the word "grow" as a verb. How about: "What are some good ways to increase your readership for stories?" That works. (I also can't stand using "impact" as an adjective: "How has your story impacted readers?" vs. "What kind of impact has your story had on readers?") Promotion is one of the most difficult things about publish-on-demand authors, and it's the same for eBooks and online fiction. Mark Arbour's comments above are 100% right, but still omits how to get the word out, which is the missing link for commercial success.
  6. Ah, that is the question. My take is, they have a lot to accomplish in the end of 1864 and the first few months of 1865. Don't forget that our two boys couldn't even get back to 2013 if they wanted to for now, because the only time gateway is inside a cave that's partially collapsed with mud and (soon) snow. When it thaws out in April 1865... we'll see. But who's to say they wind up in 2013? What if it's 1945? What if they materialize in outer space? What if they wind up back in The Land of the Lost with dinosaurs? Time-travel is a tricky thing.
  7. The Beatles

    Love the Beatles, love all the music, but the soundalikes on Glee left me cold. I thought they were very perfunctory, corny, and added nothing to the genre. I think the Glee producers are desperately flailing at trying to put energy and life into the show, which is not gonna be easy with one of the leads dead of an overdose. I think nothing short of introducing 7 or 8 new (much younger) characters could help. And forgive me, but I'm tired of looking at "high school kids" who are close to 30.
  8. Dialogue Punctuation

    I generally go with the Chicago Manual of Style: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/facsimile/CMSfacsimile_all.pdf And they go with the four period thing. But to me, adding another punctuation mark to an elipse or a quoted sentence that ends with an em-dash just looks goofy. I'm not gonna do it. For one thing, a sentence that ends with an ellipse is not a complete sentence, so screw it. A lot of this stuff actually gets changed by the typesetter (forgive me, I'm old school and have actually dealt with typesetters) or the art director, so it's not always up to the writer as to what gets in print. Guaranteed, if you're Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, they won't alter a semicolon without your approval. The rest of us don't that freedom in commercial publishing.
  9. And I just posted the formatted eBook to the download section here on GA. Turned out pretty well, I think. This is a revised version that updates the original novel and fixes a myriad of small typos, and also expands the ending a little bit.
  10. Version 4

    697 downloads

    Jason Thomas is a 15-year-old student vacationing in modern-day St. Louis, Missouri, a talented singer and musician grieving over the death of his father six months earlier. While exploring an underground cavern on the outskirts of town, he gets injured in a cave-in and emerges to discover he's in a very different time and place. The story details his struggles to survive in a world he clearly does not fit in, as well as dealing with a possibly romantic relationship with a troubled boy who hides many secrets. The plot's twists and turns ultimately lead him to make several decisions: should he risk changing the future, or make major sacrifices in order to keep destiny the way it was intended to be?

    Free

  11. And an update: I'm pleased to say that, after a six-year struggle to complete this novel, I have finally finished the first draft of all 16 chapters of my time-travel story, Pieces of Destiny. With luck, chapter 15 and the finale, Chapter 16, will be up on AD in the next few days. I have to thank my friends and advisers, Cole, VWL, and The Dude, for providing lots of feedback and behind-the-scenes criticism that helped shape some of the story's fine points. This was a very daunting experience, partly because of the relatively large amount of research I had to do in order to understand the world of 1864, but also to find a way to get a fairly complex story down on paper. I think I had writers' block for a solid two years just because I was overwhelmed at the sheer amount of detail I had to cover in the final four chapters. (That, plus a career change and some personal setbacks, none of which were simple or easy.) My friend and fellow author Luz Rojo, along with my partner Roddy, were instrumental in prodding me at every opportunity for me to complete the story, and I'm glad to say we finally crossed that finish line. All of it is told through the eyes of a gay 2013 teenager, so this is not so much a historical novel as a combination romance, coming-of-age story, and also a mystery with several (I hope) surprising twists and turns. The ending gets fairly dark and violent, but I always knew we were headed in this direction. And I think I've taken care of every loose plot end -- and there were quite a few, plus some I'll deal with in the next book. I am planning at least a second book, which will continue the adventures and I think will finish the time-travel side (for the lead character, anyway), and will veer far away from rural America and go out West, and eventually to the East coast of 1865 America right after the Civil War. But... I say no more. We'll see if and when the sequel happens.
  12. There's a catch-all statement you can say in the initial indicia: "Any trademarks or company names used in this story are the property of their owners and are not intended to be an infringement." James Bond can wear a Rolex and drink a rum & Coke without anybody getting sued. It is different with film & TV, where if brand names are visible, you do have to get them cleared in some cases. Generally, car manufacturers don't mind if (say) a "Ford" logo is visible in a chase scene, so stuff like that is not a problem. Trademarks and copyrights are different points of law that sometimes overlap. Quoting song lyrics is definitely a dicey area in publishing, but I strongly tend to doubt they're going to chase you if it's for non-commercial use. The moment you try to sell the story as a book (physical media or eBook), then it's going to cost you money to get it cleared.
  13. I tend to doubt that anybody is going to get sued for quoting a few lines from a song for amateur fiction posted on the net, especially if there's attribution (writers' names, copyright info, and so on). But the moment you use it commercially, as with a paid eBook or published book, then you definitely have to get permission. I seem to recall a case where no less than Stephen King mentioned in an interview that he had a 1980s book where he attempted to quote from a Beach Boys lyric as a chapter sub-heading, and the publisher quoted him a $100,000+ pricetag. Granted, it's different if you're a guy who's already had a dozen novels that have sold in the millions of copies, vs. an unknown who'd be lucky to sell a few thousand copies. Still, King was annoyed enough that he dropped the song and replaced it with another that cost him a fraction of that price. There is also such a thing as fair use, and I'm curious as to where the line is drawn between fair use and a legitimate copyright infringement. I'm definitely a guy who will quote from song lyrics in my novels on occasion -- even used a song title as the title for my first novel, Groovy Kind of Love -- but I've generally gone back and whittled down the lyrical content so it's not too intrusive. I think what the music publishers are really concerned about is the plethora of sites out there that reproduce thousands and thousands of song lyrics for free, while raking in all kinds of money on banner ads and ringtones. Clearly, authors who are writing gay fiction for a small audience are not in this category. I think suing any author would be a stretch.
  14. Chapter 14 is now up. Took me a while, but we'll eventually get there. Lots of meat in this one -- never a dull moment. As I'm sure other authors will attest, sometimes the twists and turns of life get in the way of allowing us time to write. In my case, at least the story is done in my head, so it's just a matter of sitting down and getting it all out on paper. I have another novel in addition to Destiny, Jagged Angel, which goes in a radically different direction. A fourth novel, Project Cerulean Blue, is kind of a weird sci-fi thing I threw together for laughs, but that one's on the back burner for the moment.
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