Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Exciting Deliveries

I got some exciting deliveries today.  I am taking a course from EFA (that's the Editorial Freelancers Association, in case you were not aware) and had to order some books.  I got two of them in the mail today, but the UPS man just delivered the one that made me smile the most.

Before, I had this:

Let's just say it was a bit dated:

Yes, those are 3.5" floppy disks.  Some of you may remember them; some of you may have never heard of them. 
I checked the publication date: 1992.

This dictionary is one year older than my son.  Since I can't exchange my son for a newer model, I did this instead:

Publication date: 2012.  Includes a registration code for an online subscription and a digital download. 

Welcome to the future!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Character Traits

I've been thinking about creating a tag line for The Atwater Group, to tie it into the initials TAG. 

The very first thing I think of when I see TAG is Talented And Gifted, which was the name of the educational program my son was a part of in elementary school.  I'd like to think I'm a talented and gifted proofreader/copy editor, but somehow that doesn't bring across what I can do for you, the Indie Author.  It sounds more like a mother who is proud of her son!

I thought about using the Bookshelf Muse's Character Traits listed on their website.  So, here is what the tagline could be:

Definition: given to the heedful anticipation of the needs and wants of others
Positives: Thoughtfuls are always thinking of others and trying to make others happy. Their selflessness makes them easy to like. They are often an inspiration to others, who see their thoughtfulness as something to be emulated. By nature, people who put the needs and desires of others above their own often exhibit other positive qualities: generosity, encouragement, a hard work ethic, and a willingness to do the jobs no one else wants to do.

Definition: having a desire to achieve a particular goal
Positives: Ambitious people are hard-working and determined. They don't give up easily. They often are visionaries who can see amazing futures while others only see roadblocks. Ambition requires great focus and single-mindedness that enables most people with this trait to succeed at their goals.
Definition:  liberal in giving; bighearted.
Positives: Generous characters are fulfilled by bringing comfort to others, hoping to add to their happiness and satisfaction in a meaningful way. They are satisfied with what they have as they view it as 'enough', and hold a high appreciation for their circumstances and the important people in their life. Generous people are content, and derive pleasure through giving. They often make good listeners, and are very observant. If they see a need, they step forward to fill it to the best of their ability, rather than wait for someone else to do it. Generous people are charismatic and inspire kindness and generosity in others through unselfish acts. They see giving as being a duty as a decent human being. 

But still, I'm not sure "Thoughtful. Ambitious. Generous." really helps anyone know what I can bring to their manuscript.  Maybe "Timely. Affordable. Grammar Geek."  

You guys are the writers - any ideas out there for me?

Sunday, August 19, 2012


I've been a bit MIA online this past week.  I had a "free" week (translation = no manuscripts to work on) and wouldn't you know it, something came along to take up all my free time. 

I spent the week helping my mother organize her space to make it easier to get around while she is on crutches (broken ankle) and then upgraded to a wheelchair (she fell while getting up on the crutches and probably has a torn rotator cuff).

But I have been thinking of all of you while I was gone, hoping none of you have been missing me too much or dealing with this:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

'A' is for Awesome Authors

I was checking out Twitter last night, and one of my authors (yes, I do think of you as "mine") linked to an interview with Sue Grafton.  You probably know Sue Grafton - mystery writer who latched onto a "clever" titling system ("A" is For Alibi, "B" is For Burglar, etc.).  I do not recall that I have ever read one of her books, but I do know who she is and that she has fans around the world.

Well, now she might have lost some of those fans.  Her interview has a paragraph that is pretty insulting to those who self-publish.

And here is the response M.J. Pullen had for her.  One of my favorite lines of M.J.'s - I may be a lot of things, Sue Grafton, but lazy isn't one of them.

I know that as self-publishing authors, you face challenges.  Yes, you are probably writing in your spare time, in the bathroom, on the bus, while your kid plays on the swing set, on a break from your "it-pays-the-mortgage" job, and anywhere and everywhere else you are.  You have to get a cover done.  You have to get the manuscript into the hands of beta readers.  You have to get it proofed. {Please, get it proofed!}  You have to get it formatted.  You have to promote.  You have to self-promote (which can be harder than just promoting your book!). You have to be able to take the criticism and rantings and ravings and cyber-stalking of those that hate you.  You have to be able to take the criticism and rantings and ravings and cyber-stalking of those that love you.

And you have to face the scorn of those in the "old" system as they see you steal their thunder.

So, read Sue's interview.  Then read M.J.'s response.  And tell me, are you lazy? Or are you a proud self-publisher, ready to face the challenges head-on?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Word a Day Will Keep the Vocab Monster At Bay

Looking to expand your vocabulary?  Subscribe to's A.Word.A.Day.  You will receive emails Monday - Friday, all based on a particular theme.  It includes the pronunciation (with audio!), meanings, etymology, an example or two of the word's usage, and a link to see the word in a visual thesaurus.  Over the weekend, you receive a summary of the emails they got on the words of the week.  But one of the coolest features is the Thought For Today, giving you some great quotes, at the bottom of each email.  Subscribe today!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Where the Magic Happens

Here's where it all happens...check out my workspace.  I love my two monitors (couldn't live without them both...well, not happily anyway!).  I have an external keyboard (slightly curved key layout makes it easier for me to type).  My handy-dandy reference stuff is nearby - Chicago Manual of Style 16th Edition, dictionary, and copies of all my notes in the binders. My wall of notes, reminders, upcoming manuscripts, and funny stuff gets rearranged about once every three months to keep it fresh. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Author Interview - Caterina Torres

Let's talk with Caterina Torres, author of Zombie Whisperer


1)      What were your favorite books growing up? My favorite books growing up were the Harry Potter series, Kindred, and 1984. I loved Harry Potter because it was filled with good guys, bad guys, magic, and the pressures of growing up. I loved Kindred because it shows the differences between the prejudices of today and back then, and the writing style drew me in without problem. I love 1984 because it is such a great example of how society can be when the government has completely taken over, monopolizing the people’s thoughts and actions.
2)      Now that you have, let’s say—some life experience, what would you tell your younger self? I would tell my younger self to slow down. Patience is greatly needed to make it in this business. There might be deadlines down the road, but a lot of time is spent waiting – waiting for critique partners and beta readers to give their opinions; waiting for the editor to finish their part; waiting for agents to respond to emails; waiting for reviews to come in after the book is published. Patience is the key ingredient I wish I understood when I started writing.
3)      Describe your typical day. Get through an eight hour shift at work, come home and cook dinner, hop on the computer for a bit of downtime, and lastly, get lost in writing. I usually like to integrate some sort of chat amongst my friends as well.
4)      Who is your favorite character in your books? My favorite character is Cassidy Ryan, the main bad guy in Zombie Whisperer. Why, you might ask? I love (fictional) villains. It’s so easy for them – they have no rules, no morals, nothing that holds them back. They do what they want to do, when they want to do it. I love Jane Smith, the protagonist in Zombie Whisperer, but she has to comply with the needs of the many. She can’t be selfish because there is a greater cause than what she’s going through.
5)      What do you do when writer’s block shows up, settles in, and makes itself comfortable? I whine. No, I’m just kidding (only partly kidding). I usually try to figure out the cause to my writer’s block. Is it the story? Am I stressed out? Am I ignoring my character’s wishes (yes, they have a mind of their own)? Once I find the problem, I do my best to resolve it and move on with the story. One time, I stopped in the middle of a Work In Progress and wrote another book to get back in the groove.
6)      Do you find yourself pulling details from “real life” or does your imagination rule the roost? I try to keep my stories as close as I can to “real life.” Even if they include the undead, I write in things that make them seem more alive than dead. Were they scientifically created? What types of “real life” problems would occur during a zombie apocalypse? The few times when my imagination ruled the roost was when I stretched the truth.
7)      What was the first manuscript you wrote (even if it never saw the light of day)? I wrote my first manuscript when I was thirteen years old. It was called A Girl Named Tress and it was about this young girl with special powers. She was originally born on another planet, but because of an immediate threat, was shipped to Earth when she was just a baby. She was adopted into a normal family and didn’t know how special she was until puberty, when her powers blossomed. One of these days, I promise to revisit it and re-write it.
8)      Have you ever pursued traditional publishing? Or did you go straight for indie publishing? At first I pursued traditional publishing, but because of one reason or another, I abandoned that path and self-published. I do hope to do both paths one day, however, because I believe they each have their own positive traits I could benefit from.
9)      What Works In Progress are brewing?  Any target dates for publication? I have two WIP’s – one is book #2 of my Zombie Trilogy titled Biohazard Tattoo and the other is an Adult Paranormal titled Death’s List. Book #2 is only half finished, so there is no target date for publication yet. I’m hoping to query agents for Death’s List.
10)   How can fans reach you?Fan can reach me in many different ways:
There’s my website (which is also my blog) –
Twitter – or @CaterinaTorres
Email –