On mystery  tips, translations, archaic language, and feedback (Write Stuff 1214)
Writing News for the Sunshine State
& the Solar System
Editor: Howard Denson
December 2014

In This Issue:
NFW to have a ‘séance’ to learn secrets of the Great Mystery Writers    
Translations open the market for self-published writers – Brad Hall   
Close encounters with archaic language – Howard Denson   
Clay Writers to repeat feedback session Dec. 17   
FWA wraps its mind around December…and writing   
BookMark to welcome Mary Atwood and James W. Hall   
Stuff from a Writer’s Quill — Julio    Cortázar   
Stuff from hither and yon   
The Wrong Stuff – Howard Denson   
Writers Born This Month
Meetings of NFW and Other Groups   
Useful    Links   
Need someone to critique a manuscript?   
The Write Staff
NFW to have a ‘séance’ to learn secrets of the Great Mystery Writers
When December rolls around, what is more natural than a nice meeting focusing on murder, murder most foul. Howard Denson will act as the medium on Saturday, Dec. 13 for the North Florida Writers. Denson claims it will be a séance to discover the secrets of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Conan Doyle, and Baroness P.G. James.
Denson is the editor of this newsletter, but, more to the point of mystery or crime writing, he is the author of “Mowbray and the Sharks” (Amazon) about gangsters, Nazis, and ghosts. An upcoming mystery is “A Grievance with Death,” which focuses on deaths in a state college in the Sunshine state.
“Generally all good stories begin with a crime,” he says, pointing to Cain and Abel in the Bible, the murder of the old king in “Oedipus Rex,” or adultery in “The Iliad.”
For the critiques, someone other than the author of respective works will read aloud the submissions (up to 20 double-spaced TYPED pages of prose, and reasonable amounts of poetry or lyrics). Authors may not defend their work, but they may attach questions they would like answered (e.g., “Is the scene on the beach convincing?”). Authors should listen to the words and rhythms of their creations.
Future meeting dates and locales:.
Jan. 10 – noon, Riverside VyStar – Speaker: Edward Baldwin
Feb. 14 – noon, Riverside VyStar – Speaker: Carrol Wolverton
Mar. 14 – noon, Riverside VyStar – Speaker: TBA
Apr. 11 – noon, Riverside VyStar – Speaker: TBA


The NFW meets at the VyStar Credit Union (760 Riverside Ave., next to the Fuller Warren Bridge and Saturday’s Riverside Arts Market).

The meeting, which is free and open to the public, will begin at noon and end before 3 p.m.

Parking: VyStar requests that NFW members and guests park on the side of the buildings to leave spaces for their regular customers.

Translations open the market
for self-published writers
Odds are when you write and self-publish a book, you will write and publish it in English, the only language you know. While Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Lulu, Createspace, and various other platforms publish books around the world, these books are mostly all in English.
So the fact that your masterpiece is available on the Kindle in Japan means nothing when the 127 million inhabitants of that country cannot even read it.
Having your book available in only one language cuts out billions of people from being able to read it, and thus, you miss out on the untold number of sales your book could make around the world. Just translating your book to Spanish opens it up to 470 million potential readers, that’s nearly double the number of native English speakers.
Until now, the average self-published writer was out of luck when it came to translation services for their books. They could either shell out a large pile of money for the services of a translator, or they could opt to not translate their book.
One translation success story is the Harry Potter series. As of 2013, there were 120 million books in the US, while 450 million have been sold worldwide in over 200 territories and 73 languages.
Today there are several options available to self-published writers.
Right now the largest group in the self-published translation field is Babelcube. They are more of a translation services broker, uniting authors who would like their books translated and translators who want to translate books. There is no upfront fee for using Babelcube. If your translated book sells, then the income from that translated book is split between you, the translator, and Babelcube.
I have actually used Babelcube’s services as both a translator and as a writer looking for people to translate a book. Earlier this summer, I translated the first book in the Promise duology by Maya Shepherd from German to English. I then turned around and created an author account on the site and uploaded a few books. Within two days, two different translators asked me if they could translate two different books into Spanish. A week later, another translator was working on a Portuguese translation of one book, and in late October, a fourth translator offered to translate that same book into Italian.
The upside with working with Babelcube is most of the system is automated. Once the translator has translated the book, you, the author, create a cover for the book using the new translated title, and then the Babelcube system turns it into an epub, mobi, and other file types to sell on various websites. These files are then sent to a network of over 300 retailers, including many regional or country retailers, so, while not every translated book will end up in all 300+ retailers, it will end up in the ones that will be most able to sell it. For the books that are long enough, they also do print publishing.
However, the downside with Babelcube is a lack of verification. There is no way to find out if the translation is the best translation it could be. You could put the resultant text into Google Translate and translate it back to English, but, as is the case with mechanical translation, you would not know if the translation that would be regurgitated back to you bore any resemblance to the actual translation.
Another option for self-published writers is Freelancer. Freelancer deals in far more than just novel translation, just about anything that can be freelanced can be found on Freelancer. On Freelancer, the way to find a freelance translator is to sign up for the site, go through the funding of your account, and post a want-ad looking for a translator for your project. This option is far more expensive than the Babelcube option as you have to actually pay the freelancer for the work, and the fee could be anywhere from $30 and up.
But there are two positives to this site:
1.        You can get more people interested in translating your project and thus have more sample translations of a chapter of your book you can look through for a good translator that fits your budget.
2.        And Freelancer requires their freelancers to take knowledge assessment exams for nearly every discipline they offer freelancing services for. For example, Freelancer has several levels of not just German language ability, but German to English translation as well.
But once the resultant translation is done, it is up to you to market it on the various online shops.
It is still the early days of self-published authors having access to easy-to-use translation services, but there is no reason why an author wouldn’t want his or her work available to a wider audience.
Brad Hall is a teacher, writer, translator, chicken farmer, and tax professional living in Jacksonville, Florida. He says he is always busy with a project of some kind or another.

Close encounters
with archaic language
I was thinking about my close encounters with archaic or old-fashioned language and trying to remember the first word or phrase that dumbfounded my little grey cells. That bafflement was probably in the King James Version of the Bible. I knew as a kid that I could go all week without anyone saying “behold the Pontiac” or “verily, verily, Trigger and Champion are damned fine horses.”
The KJV came out when Shakespeare was still writing his plays, so the Bard added many other language puzzles to be sorted through. For example, I had to figure out what a “varlet” was, not to mention “prithee” and “fie.” As a kid, I thought “fie” was prissy, although the giant did chase after Abbott and Costello, not to mention Mickey Mouse, and bellow “fe, fi, fo, fum.” As an adult, when I regularly attended plays put on by the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Anniston and Montgomery, I detected that “fie” wasn’t sissy or prissy. When Bruce Cromer delivered a “fie” as Hamlet or Romeo, you really heard another f-word in your mind.
You may wonder about the origin of “fe fi fo fum” from “Jack and the Beanstalk.” You would discover that Joseph Jacob didn’t create the phrase. It was around during the time of Shakespeare (and earlier, no doubt). I heard Cromer play Edgar in “King Lear” and say: “Fie, foh, and fum, I smell the blood of a British man.”
As a youngster, I had no idea what they were talking about in “Othello” or other plays when they chatted about “making the beast with two backs.” Maybe it had something to do with kissing. My Cool Index score would drop considerably if I revealed how old I was before I finally understood what the metaphor meant.
However, in a course on 17th-18th Century writing, I was ahead of a big galoot from Two Egg, Florida, and could roll my eyes when he remarked, “The guys back then sure did have a lot of mistresses.” We were reading Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress,” followed by several letters addressed to Mistress Jones, Montague, or whomever.
In a course on Elizabethan, Tudor, and Stuart poetry and prose, I imagined a world full of scuba divers. They were always referring to “divers problems” or “divers men and women.” Luckily, I didn’t raise my hand and reveal my ignorance. Finally, I learned that “divers” was simply another spelling for the adjective “diverse.”
As I became older and old, I delighted in strange constructions in writing. For example, from the 1840s or so, someone had written, “Faction contains a great deal of latent caloric.” I had only thought of the word “caloric” as relating to weight, but a search of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) revealed that it had a different meaning in the 18th and early 19th centuries. “Caloric” was also a term used in physics and was derived from the belief in “a hypothetical fluid substance formerly thought to be responsible for the phenomena of heat.”
My students all thought that I was torturing them when I required them to write a 1,500-word paper tracing a topic through three issues of The New York Times (their birthday, say, April 1, 1987; then April 1 on 1907, 1917, or another year ending in 7; and then a similar date in the 1800s ending in 7). One student, focusing on deaths or obituaries, had discovered an obit about a man who had died of…(what’s this?) calculus. Hmm, I thought, at least that D in trigonometry didn’t kill me.
Together, the student and I looked up the word in the “C” volume of the OED and learned that “calculus” could also refer to “a hard mass formed by minerals within the body, especially in the kidney or gall bladder.”
We Southerners, for example, often use archaic constructions that are obscure to ears from other regions. “Grits” is a well-known example. This word for a porridge comes from the Old English word "grytt," meaning coarse meal (from corn in America; wheat in Europe). Parts of the United Kingdom may call their porridges “groats.”
At Florida State, my Smith Hall dorm-mates, Mel from New Jersey and Vic from Puerto Rico, laughed when I referred to a “stob” in the ground. They said there was no such word, but, since I had heard it, and used it, all of my life, I knew it existed. I found the word in our old Webster’s Unabridged, 3rd edition. It’s a Scottish word that refers to a broken limb or stake. In Middle English, it is close to the word “stub.”
So. . .
Prithee, fair mistress, do you not behold such strange and divers old words? Verily, verily, did I not tell you it would be so?



Clay Writers to repeat feedback session Dec. 17
Clay Writers Group Leader
Our first feedback session was so successful that we’re going to repeat the process. Bring along your revised biographical essay. If you didn’t attend, bring your bio anyway. Here’s your chance to get quality feedback and use a powerful checklist to assess the strengths of writing: your own and others.
Bring along 3 copies of your bio (double-spaced, 150 words maximum). Join us to receive tips and share feedback in a positive learning environment.
Who: Maureen Jung, Ph.D. and the group
What: “Crafting a Compelling Writer Bio/Profile: Part 2”
Where: Orange Park Public Library, 2054 Plainfield Ave., off Kingsley Ave.
When: Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, 6:15 to 8 p.m.
I began leading writing workshops at University of California, Santa Barbara, during the 1980s. For the past decade, I have focused on workplace communication and healthcare.
In addition to our mini-workshop on the 17th, we’ll have time for questions and answers about “Embedded in Clay,” the working title for the FWA/CCW anthology. Interested in contributing to the project? Let me know. Our brief discussion follows the workshop portion of the meeting.
FWA Clay County Writers is a writing group sponsored by the Florida Writers Assn. Monthly meetings (the third Wednesday) are devoted to presentations by speakers and authors discussing areas of their expertise. Our programs focus on the art, craft, and business of writing.
To learn more, join us on Facebook at “Clay County Writers.”
Looking forward to seeing you at our next meeting! Be sure to spread the word.

FWA wraps its mind around December…and writing
The December Northeast Florida FWA blog post is live and awaiting your attention. See what’s happening. Who’s doing what at which meeting. And where to best spend your time to improve your writing. 
It’s all here for your reading enjoyment. Happy holidays, everyone. – Vic DiGenti

BookMark to welcome Mary Atwood and James W. Hall
The BookMark in Neptune Beach will host a local writer, Mary Atwood, and thriller writer James W. Hall during early December, according to owner Rona Brinless.
Mary Atwood, “Historic Homes of Florida’s First Coast,” 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4 [That’s tonight!]
Local author and artist Mary Atwood will be at The BookMark at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4, to talk about and sign copies of her book "Historic Homes of Florida's First Coast." A long-time Jacksonville resident, Atwood uses her award-winning photography skills to explore the homes of early colonial settlers, wealthy plantation owners, illustrious Florida artists, and those responsible for shaping Florida's First Coast. This area is rich in multicultural heritage and historical significance, and its historic homes stand as a testament to this intriguing past. This book allows readers to visit the places that inspired Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and British composer Frederick Delius, among others. William Weeks and Wayne W. Wood also contributed to this book.
James W. Hall, “The Big Finish” (Minotaur), 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 8
In last year's “Going Dark,” series, hero Thorn's son Flynn disappeared into a radical eco-movement group.  Now, rushing to find him after a call for help via postcard, Thorn is told that Flynn had been acting as an informant for the FBI and was executed when his undercover activities were discovered.  But the truth may prove to be pretty thorny.  This is Shamus and Edgar Award-winning author Hall's 11th Thorn book.

The BookMark is located at 220 First St., Neptune Beach, Florida 32266.

For more information: Contact Ms. Brinlee at 904.241.9026 or bkmark@bellsouth.net

Stuff from a writer’s quill
Skill alone cannot teach or produce a great short story, which condenses the obsession of the creature; it is a hallucinatory presence manifest from the first sentence to fascinate the reader, to make him lose contact with the dull reality that surrounds him, submerging him in another that is more intense and compelling.
-- Julio Cortázar


Stuff from hither and yon
Click on each link to go directly to the story.


What makes a book a classic?
Laura Miller, author of “The Magician’s Book,” explores what makes a book a classic. To be precise, why is one book filed under fiction and another one under classics in a bookstore? You may argue about whether Kurt Vonnegut or P.G. Wodehouse deserves to be in the classics section. http://www.salon.com/2014/01/30/what_makes_a_book_a_classic/


Hay-on-Wye: the town of books
Hay-on-Wye in Wales draws a large number of book lovers looking for bargain across more than 40 bookstores selling mostly second-hand books. The town is also home to the Hay Literature Festival which brings some 80,000 writers, publishers and literature fans from all across the world at end of May each year. http://www.amusingplanet.com/2014/11/hay-on-wye-town-of-books.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+amusingplanet+%28Amusing+Planet%29

A Point of View: The writer who foresaw the rise of the totalitarian state
In an opinion piece, John Gray writes: “When Fyodor Dostoyevsky described in his novels how ideas have the power to change human lives, he knew something of what he was writing about.” The 19th Century Russian writer went on to pen “Crime and Punishment,” “The Idiot,” and “The Brothers Karamazov.”

Writers born this month
To check out the names of writers who were born this month, go to this website:
The list includes novelists, poets, playwrights, nonfiction authors, writers for the small and silver screen, and others.
Looking for your favorite writer? Hit “find” at the website and type in your favorite’s name. Keep scrolling to find writers born in other months.
With misgivings, the list generally omits lyricists (to avoid the plethora of garage-band guitarists who knock out a lyric in two minutes to go with a tune). Often lyricists are accomplished in other writing areas and may cause their inclusion (e.g., Bob Dylan, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter).
Unfortunately, some writers fret about identity theft and will only say they were born in 1972 or whenever. Typically that means they don’t get included on a “born this day” list. Recommendation: Writers may wish to create a “pen birthday”; that way, their names stay on the public’s radar.
If you see that we have omitted a writer, give us his or her name (and preferably a way to verify the belly-button day).

Meetings of NFW and other groups
For a listing of meetings of the NFW and other groups in Northeast Florida, click here http://howarddenson.webs.com/meetingsofunfothers.htm


Some Useful Links
Writers, poets, and playwrights will find useful tools at http://howarddenson.webs.com/usefullinksforwriters.htm.


Need someone to critique a manuscript?
If you have a finished manuscript that you want critiqued or proofread, then look for someone at http://howarddenson.webs.com/potentialcritiquers.htm. Check out their entries on the website to see if they suit your needs. They include the following: Robert Blade Writing & Editing (rmblade@aol.com); Frank Green of The Bard Society (frankgrn@comcast.net); JJ Grindstaff-Swathwood (jgswathwood@gmail.com); Brad Hall (variablerush@gmail.com); Joseph Kaval (joseph.kaval@gmail.com); and Richard Levine (Richie.ALevine@gmail.com).


The Write Staff
President: Howard Denson (hd3nson@hotmail. com)
Vice President: Joyce Davidson (davent2010@comcast. net)
Secretary: Kathy Marsh (kathygmarsh@bellsouth. net)
Treasurer: Richard Levine (richie.alevine@gmail.com)
Presidents Emeritus: Frank Green, Dan Murphy, Howard Denson, Nate Tolar, Joyce Davidson, Margaret Gloag, Richard Levine, Bob Alexander, JoAnn Harter Murray, Carrol Wolverton, Margie Sauls, Stewart Neal.