Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Open book hop – What name should you write under   Leave a comment

Do you write under a pseudonym? If so, why? If not, would you ever consider it?

When Michael and my Sir Chocolate books were first accepted for publication by TSL Publications, I considered using my maiden name instead of my married name. I had published a number of non-fiction books and articles as Robbie Cheadle and thought it might be better to separate my work writing and my private writing by publishing as Roberta Eaton.

When I broached this idea with my husband, he wasn’t keen on my publishing under my maiden name. He preferred that I use Robbie Cheadle and so I did. I then proceeded to publish Silly Willy goes to Cape Town, While the Bombs Fell, co-authored with my mother, Elsie Patricia Eaton, and my poetry book, Open a new door, co-authored with South African poet, Kim Blades under that name.

When I started…

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Posted June 29, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

AEM Straight   Leave a comment

Magical World Web

June 29, 2020

Do you write under a pseudonym? If so, why? If not, would you ever consider it?

I don’t write under a pseudonym, but I don’t write under my legal name, either. I use my initials as a nickname, and write under that. Some may consider that a pseudonym, but I don’t. I’m not hiding who I am. I just decided that of all the times in my life people have called me something, or refused to call me something, that for once I was going to take control of who I was. So I chose Aem, which is a nick of Amy anyway, and owned it.

At this point, I wouldn’t ever consider using a pseudonym. But you know how that goes. I’ve said many things in life before I fully understood what I was talking about, and had to eat my words later, even if it…

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Posted June 29, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

It’s All in the Name   Leave a comment

Source: It’s All in the Name

Posted June 29, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

NVDT #45 – Bachman, Box, Westmacott and Broklifarts   Leave a comment

Not Very Deep Thoughts

The Prompt – Do you write under a pseudonym? If so, why? If not, would you ever consider it?

No. But there are plenty of reasons why “you” (literal usage) would choose to

  • You write crap. But you’re pretty sure that one day you’ll get better and write something significant.
  • You’re on the lam.
  • You don’t want to embarrass or offend your mom.
  • You obtain your material from the lives of people you know.
  • You obtain your material via access to protected information like medical, legal, financial or other “privacy protected” files through work or “friends.”
  • You want to write something out of your usual content type or style.
  • You ghostwrite.
  • You have more books as yourself than the publisher or public wants in a year.
  • You write for publishing house serials or monthly release shelf fillers akin to Romance or Adventure Hero.
  • You have a reputation, good or bad…

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Posted June 29, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Richard Dee’s Pen Name   Leave a comment

Article

Posted June 29, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Writing Real-life in My Books   1 comment

Lyndell Williams

Mis Quince Años (29)#openbook

What's the most unusual experience you've ever had? Have you included it in one of your books?

Authors, like most creatives, often use their talents to weave stories reflecting their lives, I am no different. I have included some wonderful, horrible and pretty strange things that happened to me over the years in books.

In Sweet Love-Bitter Fruit, Toni’s struggle with infertility and getting the people around her to understand her pain reflects my own years of frustration. It was difficult, but I was able to channel a lot of pain to connect with readers with similar experiences and giving those who haven’t to empathize with the hurt that comes from unfulfilled desires. Linking fiction with real-life motivates my writing.

In My Way to You, I created a scene with the main characters, Regina and Simon similar to an unusual situation I found myself in with my…

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Posted June 15, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

NVDT #43 – Don’t Trip   1 comment

Not Very Deep Thoughts

The Prompt – What’s the most unusual experience you’ve ever had? Have you included it in one of your books?

HA!

The young woman who smelled like a sex and alcohol all-nighter walked away down the terminal corridor, her unkempt ponytail a bouncing pendulum against a black, sprayed-on record company t-shirt.

“God she drives me nuts,” the guy on my right said. “Did you hear all that shit? What is she, twelve?”

“Marketing is full of star fuckers and picture leaners. She’ll wake up one day and hear the ‘hose bag with an Amex’ noises behind her and decide to turn pro.”

“Maybe. Or she’ll keep at until she’s too old or fat to be cute and fuckable for AR and end up in inside sales. I need a beer.” He pushed himself out of the plastic airport bucket chair. “You?”

“No. But watch your step. The floor’s littered with…

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Posted June 15, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Would You Believe? #OpenBook Blog Hop   Leave a comment

June 15, 2020 What’s the most unusual experience you’ve ever had? Have you included it in one of your books? I’ve done some unusual things in my life. Some people might classify t…

Source: Would You Believe? #OpenBook Blog Hop

Posted June 15, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Open Book Blog Hop – 15th June   1 comment

Stevie Turner

Welcome to this week’s Open  Book Blog Hop.  Today’s topic is:

What’s the most unusual experience you’ve ever had?  Have you included it in one of your books?

I’ve had 3 unusual experiences that were all to do with the same subject.  The experiences all took place within a short time of each other during 2007, and gave me the answer I was seeking.

I had asked the spirit world for help.  I was sure that my life was about to come to a premature end after discovering a recurrence of stage IV thyroid cancer necessitating the first of 2 neck dissections and subsequent external beam radiotherapy treatment.

The first experience after I mentally called for help occurred almost straight away.  A ‘red glow’ light bulb suddenly burst in our electric fire, which wasn’t even switched on at the time.

The second experience consisted of me sitting up in bed…

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Posted June 15, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Getting It Right   5 comments

What are the ethics of writing about historical figures?

Rules:

1. Link your blog to this hop.

2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.

3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.

4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.

5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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Awesome Power

Telling people’s stories is a tricky business. When I was a journalist, I had a code of ethics I was supposed to follow. Believe it or not, journalists supposedly have a Code of Ethics. I don’t think any of us seriously believe today’s “journalists” follow that code. Maybe Sharyl Atkisson (an investigative journalist) does, but when reporters sit down with a gay, atheist classical liberal for most of day and then report he’s the leader of the American alt-right — clearly something has gone off the rails with regard to seeking the truth and reporting it.

Researchers dig into the lives of other people to tell their stories. When the subjects are living people they can sue you for getting it wrong, although it is really expensive and very difficult to actually win a case when you’re a public figure and since everybody these days has some public interface — you’re pretty safe in lying about anyone you like — which is why people do it. Most reporters today show no signs of ever reading that code of ethics and most of the people I know who have been the subject of a news feature didn’t think the reporter got their story right.

Living people have options for correcting the abusive retelling of their stories to support the political and/or social agendas of the news curators, but historical figures are not able to demand fair treatment. Many historians seem to feel free to cast historical figures in their own image and historical fiction writers — well, why do they need to get their facts right? They have a message to assert. What should they feel obligated to present the historical figure as the person they were when they were alive?

I am not speaking of all historical friend writers. My friend Becky Akers spends years researching her subjects before she writes about them, just for one example. She usually writes from the perspective of someone who was near the historical figure, so that she can allow the actual person to remain who they are and leave the interpretation to the fictional character. I’m sure there are other writers who take their craft just as seriously — and then there are all the others who don’t.

Great Responsibility

As a reporter, I felt a great responsibility to get the story right. I didn’t always have editors who agreed with me — which is one reason I am no longer a reporter.

Similarly, I don’t write historical fiction because I am aware of the great responsibility to get the story right. The only foray I’ve made into that arena is an alternative history short based on the question – What might have happened if the US Constitution had not been ratified?

I based the main character on an ancestor who I know a little bit about because his son told his story in a journal 20 years after the fact. The satellite characters were, many of them, historical figures who we know a little bit about by what they did in history. It was a short, so I couldn’t go deeply into their personalities, but I tried to write their broad strokes to correlate with what is known about them from history.

I felt I had an obligation to get my presentation of their characters right.

We Are Writing Their Story, Not Ours

One way that I make a little side money is to edit Master’s theses and Doctoral dissertations. I live in a university town with a large portion of the student body coming from other parts of the world, so I generally pick up a project or two every year. I’ve gotten to delve into all sorts of subjects, most often science subjects, but including treatment of historical events and characters. My job is to correct their English errors, but I’m a journalist at my center, so I often google their facts. I’ve learned some wonderful things about many people who lived in history. I’ve also learned that a lot of historians feel free to make claims about people who would never have agreed with that backward-looking take on their lives.

Some of that is understandable. We view history through our cultural lens. I think slavery is wrong and was a horrible institution because I was raised in the 20th century where every school child is taught from kindergarten forward to believe slavery is evil and those who owned slaves were irredeemable scoundrels. Thomas Jefferson, a slave-owner, couldn’t possibly have been against slavery. If he were, he’d have freed his slaves. Of course, his story was more nuanced than that. The son of slave owners, he inherited the slaves he owned and that inheritance already had an encumbrance of debt on it. By law, he couldn’t free his slave because they were collateral on his father’s debt, which he still owed when he wrote “all men are created equal”. He wasn’t being disingenuous when he wrote those words. He was actually trying to be crafty. The only way he could get out of being a slave-owner was for the government to outlaw slavery. England was still more than a half-century away from outlawing slavery, so Jefferson’s only hope of the law changing was another government. That’s not the only reason he supported the American Revolution, but it was the reason he wrote that controversial phrase. The American government didn’t outlaw slavery in his lifetime, therefore he remained a slave-owner who was against slavery. But we see him through out own cultural lens and historians and fiction writers rarely struggle beyond that barrier because it’s easier to write themselves into the character rather than get to know the character’s reality.

Our Obligation

So, the answer to the question is, I believe we have an obligation to our subjects to be considerate of who they were when they were alive. Don’t write them as a paragon of virtue or a troll of evil, but also don’t put yourself and your cultural biases into a character who lived in another era. I think the ethics of writing any story demands we get the character’s story as right as we can possibly make it.

It was their life after all, not ours. Which is not to say that you can’t have some fun, invent some interactions they didn’t have but could have, and have some of those side characters represent your viewpoint, but that writing historical fiction does not, in my opinion, grant us a right to lie about the person whose story we’re writing.

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