WHY I ENJOY READING AUTHOR BIOS

yurkovich-polaroidDianne and I just completed our sixth anthology, entitled WHAT SORT OF FUCKERY IS THIS? It was a long project, easily the longest project (both in terms of book length and number of contributors) we’d undertaken in our fledgling publishing endeavor. At times I wasn’t sure we could pull it off.

It may come as no surprise to learn that it takes longer to produce a collection than it takes to produce a full-length novel. The main reason, in my experience, has been that there is a lot more to do in terms of communication. When producing a novel, we’re working with a single individual. Conversely, when producing a collection with upward of 40 or so contributors, a lot more messaging is going on throughout the entire production process. It’s not good, but it’s not bad either. It’s just part of the business, though it does take time.

Of course, working with a number of authors means that you get to learn a bit about them. Not a lot, but a few things. With this most recent collection, I’ve been fortunate to engage with a few of the contributors beyond their manuscripts. Those brief exchanges mean a lot to me because they help me in terms of humanizing the authors we publish. For example, it’s pretty unlikely I’m going to meet face to face with one of our international authors during the production cycle. But in exchanging messages with them that transcend the work we are each doing, there is a greater sense of knowing each other. Which brings me to author bios.

I probably enjoy reading the author bios of our contributors as much as their actual work. Every bio is unique. Of course it is. And every author has a story to tell. I’m not referring to the work they are producing but the actual lives they’ve lived that has resulted in their unique, one-of-a-kind author bio that will publish in the collections where their stories are found. We also publish these bios on our website with photos of our authors. I cannot tell you how much I enjoy this small aspect of the process. Matching a face to a bio makes it even more real for me. To date, I believe we have worked with 59 authors in 21 months. Sometimes I wonder how we get it done.

One reason, of course, is that we simply put in the hours. This is why I’m awake so late on a work night, working on our Contributors web page, adding small photos and brief windows into the lives of the authors we’ve published, each a fascinating story of its own. Over the next few days the page will be fully revised, and there it will remain, until the next Halloween collection arrives in early October 2019, at which point I’ll be back here again, updating the page with new faces and new stories.

I look forward to making these new acquaintances, perhaps even yours.

DY

OUR FIRST NATIONAL AWARD

PRESS RELEASE

July 29, 2019 – Dianne Pearce, publisher of Devil’s Party Press of Milton, DE, recently attended the 2019 National Federation of Press Women’s (NFPW) 2019 Professional Communication Contest, which took place on Saturday, June 29, in Baton Rouge, LA. Pearce was in attendance to accept the award for Best Original Short Story Collection for Equinox, published by Devil’s Party Press in 2018. Equinox is a 168-page softcover collection of short fiction based loosely on the theme of the vernal equinox.

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Dianne Pearce (right) accepting the National Press Women’s Association Award for best short story collection (for Equinox) with NFPW President Mariann Wolf-Astrauskas in Baton Rouge, LA

Prior to the NFPW award, Pearce’s Equinox took first place in the state competition earlier in the year, which is overseen by the Delaware Press Association (DPA). Pearce received the state award for Equinox (along with several other awards) at the DPA’s Contest Awards Banquet, held May 2, 2019, in Wilmington. By placing first at the state level, Equinox advanced to the national competition overseen by the NFPW, where the book competed against other top submissions from across the country.

The 2019 NFPW Communication Awards Ceremony was held at Baton Rouge’s Hotel Hilton. Several hundred journalists, authors, and other communicators were also in attendance. Founded in 1937, the NFPW is a US-based organization of consisting of professional women and men pursuing careers in the field of communications including electronic, broadcast and print journalism, publishing, marketing, design, and advertising.

“At a time in which journalistic freedom is under attack, organizations like the Delaware Press Association and the National Federation of Press Women are needed now more than ever,” Pearce said. “It is an honor to have had Equinox recognized by both of these important groups.”

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EQUINOX

Devil’s Party Press (DPP), an independent publishing house located in Milton, DE, was formed in 2017 by Dianne Pearce. DPP works exclusively with authors over forty years of age. To date, DPP has published six short story collections and five original full-length novels. Equinox is available at Amazon, the Devil’s Party Press online store, and at select bookstores.

More at:
devilspartypress.com
nfpw.org
delawarepressassociation.org

PAPER AND TREASURE CHESTS

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I’ve nothing against digital books and, in fact, read them quite often. There is, however, something wonderful about holding a book that the digital experience cannot quite match. The paper texture, the scent of the ink, the crispness of the pages, the ability to physically bend a page. It’s an entire experience, and I would certainly miss it were it taken away.

In the not-too-distant-future we’ll be offering our catalog of books, which is currently available in print format only, in digital format. Because even though I enjoy physical paper books, I’m just one person. You may feel entirely different than I do, and you may be asking, “Why can’t I get your titles on Kindle?” It’s on the horizon along with various other goals.

Today, our first full-length novel went on sale. It’s entitled One of the Madding Crowd and was written by author David W. Dutton. It’s telling, I think, that this is our first-published novel. Telling because David was such a joy to work with–so open to changes and suggestions–that he’s likely spoiled me. In the months that we collaborated on transforming his manuscript to a printed, bound book, we developed a smooth working cadence. The manuscript was also fairly tight, which also made my job a bit easier than it might otherwise had been. Lastly, David was very responsive to target deadlines and, in my opinion, went way above and beyond what I’d expect of an author. But I know, too, that he did this because it’s his name on the cover and title page. DPP published the book, but David was extremely proactive in identifying and helping to solve whatever challenges arose during the editing of the manuscript, and for that I’ll always be grateful.

One of the Madding Crowd is the story of Marc Steadman. You don’t know Marc, but trust me, by the end of the book, you’ll come to know and understand him quite well. You’ll discover Marc’s strengths and weaknesses–his finer points and the flaws that make him all-too human. As an author, David has many strengths, and one of his greatest is characterization. Whether you experience David’s story via a paper book or a digital file, I think you’ll enjoy it. I’ve read it several times, and each time have walked away with a greater appreciation of David’s ability to clearly and concisely tell an interesting story.

While I’m pleased with each of the titles DPP has published in our first year of operations, I feel especially fortunate to have David’s book in our catalog. It’s a little treasure that now just happens to be in our treasure chest. For a long time, David’s book resided in the digital world–as an electronic manuscript. No doubt it still exists somewhere on his laptop, but it’s also here, as a 262-page print novel, in my hands, in David’s hands, and perhaps in yours as well.

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BUY A BOOK…

buybook.jpgMmmmm….. Sunday morning. Everyone is asleep, except you. You quietly wander into the kitchen, make yourself a warm cup, take your book and your furry friend, and curl up somewhere quiet to read and sip under the window light.

And so do I.

Devil’s Party Press anthologies, perfect for that private hour before the world finds you. Or try a novel, and keep coming back to your morning sanctuary.

PS: Our online store is now live. Click the logo below to take a look…

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SO, YOU WANT TO INCLUDE SONG LYRICS IN YOUR MANUSCRIPT – A PRIMER

You have this amazing scene in your novel or short story in which your protagonists are speeding along in their ’68 Ford Mustang and you realize just how cool it would be if they are listening to the car stereo and cruising to Cake’s “Stickshifts and Safetybelts.” And so you craft your scene something like this…

Charise dropped the Mustang into second gear as she approached the intersection of First and Grand. Trevor fumbled with the radio dial, stopping on 88.5 WGML, and John McCrea’s voice flooded the car’s quad speakers.

     I need you here with me
     Not way over in a bucketseat

The light ahead was red. Charise slammed the brakes with both feet, momentarily drowning out Cake’s uptempo guitar riffs, as the vehicle skidded to a halt, nearly avoiding a rear-end collision with the Kia stopped directly ahead.

Whether you know it or not, you’ve just opened up a big can of potential legality. Regardless of whether you intend to publish your story on your own blog or web site, or if you plan to submit your work to a publisher, something’s got to be addressed.

Aside from works in the public domain, you cannot publish copyrighted lyrics in your story and publish it without prior permission of the copyright holder. You can, however, reference song titles, artists, and bands/musicians. In the example above, it would be fine to reference Cake, John McCrea, and the song title “Stickshifts and Safetybelts.” No permission is needed for these references. However, it’s quite another matter to include lyrics from the song.

So what to do?

Self-Publishing: If you are planning to self-publish, and if you are adamant that the lyrics must be included, then you’ll need to track down the copyright holder to obtain permission. This can be easy or challenging. Start with a Google search and see where it takes you. Most likely there will be some fee, and will may vary based on several factors (such as your estimated print run or the size of your online audience). But as a self-publisher that lacks a permissions department, you’re going to have to do the leg work on your own. Assuming you are granted permission, you’ll need to cite this in your published work. The copyright holder will likely provide the citation text to be included. Always include it.

Publishing Through a Publishing House: If your manuscript has been accepted for publication by a reputable publishing house, then your publisher liaison will take on the task of securing the necessary copyright permissions. Depending on how that goes, you might asked to remove the lyrics. Either way, the publisher will work through any negotiations to occur and should incur the necessary expenses.

Recognize, however, that not all requests to reprint lyrics will be accepted. The Hendrix Corporation, for example, which manages the permission requests of the Jimi Hendrix music catalog, has specific requirements around grants of permission. For example, the corporation prohibits the use of Hendrix’s lyrics in stories that reference drug or alcohol use, regardless of how benign that use might be. We recently requested permission to run lyrics from “Purple Haze” for a nonfiction work in an anthology. However, this request was politely declined because the manuscript that would have included the lyrics contained some minor reference to alcohol consumption. Did the removal of the lyrics affect the overall story? In this publisher’s opinion: Not at all. A good story isn’t (or shouldn’t be) dependent upon lyrics inclusion for the most part.

Others have suggested that, rather than include actual lyrics, a writer can simply use his or her imagination to craft a fictional artist, song title, and lyrics. This is a fine and creative approach, though the end result may lack the punch you were going for.

Lastly, you can avoid potential issues entirely by referencing the song title, the artist, etc, but refraining from including actual song lyrics. If you write something like…

Kara hopped aboard the Harley Davidson Electra Glide and throttled the engine as Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” echoed in her mind.

…your audience will get the tone you’re setting. They don’t need the lyrics to be explicitly spelled out for them in black and white. Thus, mood is evoked without needing permissions.

Long-story short: Published lyrics can be included in your work. However, if self-publishing, before including lyrics, be sure you’ve taken the necessary precautions to avoid potential lawsuits. A reputable publisher will take on this task for you. Always cite permission, once received. Lastly, avoid assuming that it’s okay to include lyrics in your story without obtaining permission because you think that “no one will ever know or find out.”

Someone will always know. Someone will always find out.

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DIGGING A DITCH

Regardless of whether you’ve been writing for days or decades, you’ve probably heard at least some of the quotes about writing. One of my favorites is by Patrick Dennis…

Writing isn’t hard – no harder than digging a ditch.

The truth of the matter is that writing is work. Anyone who says otherwise has either never attempted to write or doesn’t understand what it means to write. For many writers, the most difficult part seems to be finding the time to sit down and start digging that ditch. I won’t attempt to insult your intelligence by offering suggestions on how to do this. If you write, then you probably already either have a plan that you use (or are planning to use). I will echo the sentiments of other writers who state that repetition is key. Just as you would not expect to make much progress in digging a ditch if you were only to dig up a couple shovelfuls of earth every few weeks, the same is true of writing.

There is, of course, the art of percolating, of allowing the writing to occur within your mind on a more-or-less constant basis. Nothing wrong with this, and in fact it can be an invaluable approach, provided you take the follow-up steps and actually transfer the ideas in your head onto paper be it paper or digital.

Regardless of where you are in your writing pursuit, be sure to gift yourself time to hone your craft. And make no mistake, writing is a gift you give to yourself. No one else can give it to you. Writing is a lofty, solitary task that takes practice, perseverance, and patience. And no, I’m not going to refer to these as the 3 Ps even though that would fit into a nice little advice package.

Write and write often. The stories you tell and the worlds you create are limited only by your imagination and by the time you gift yourself toward polishing your skills.

Start digging.

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EDITING

We’re getting together the new anthology, AURORA. Editing is a big part of its assembly.

Editing is different all-together, in my mind, from proofreading, though both are important in their way.

Proofreaders look for mistakes–misspelled words, incorrect punctuation, style points. It’s not the most enervating job you’re ever gonna do, but it is vital to the finished project.

Editing is usually thought of as cutting, as if when you wrote you made a dress that was too big for the client, and now you have to cut two sizes off of it, bluntly, and with your scissors. And when you cut it down you are going to lose the very lovely bird that was woven into the fabric at just the right spot to hit the shoulder of the dress. Couldn’t the client just get fatter?

Editing, though, is not really about cutting. It’s much more like flower arranging than tailoring. You, the writer, have amassed a lovely bunch of flowers for the vase. Each is beautiful in its own right. However, in this tall vase you’ve chosen, the stem of this astilbe is too short. I suggest leaving it out or using it in a smaller vase. I want to use all your colors if I can, but the pink scabiosa look faded against the orange tiger lilies. I will suggest you add a few white ones in between, maybe the Queen Ann’s Lace, to bolster the pink rather than compete with it.

Accepting an editor’s changes is always optional. However, depending on the publisher, by choosing not to accept the edits, you may risk remaining unpublished. It can be a very black and white situation that leaves many writers feeling unappreciated, and without agency.

That’s truly not what I want to have happen between you and I when I edit your manuscript. If I am going to put time into editing something you’ve written, it is because I love it. Otherwise, I would simply not accept it at all. So, when I edit it, I am really hoping that I have helped you to refine your voice, make your message clearer, make your jokes funnier, keep your pace and flow intact, and point out holes you may not have seen. I try to be you, outside of your body, but in love with your work, and looking to nourish it, not change it.

It really is my goal to publish older writers, to have their stories heard. Editing is a free service a publisher provides for the writer; or, it should be. You shouldn’t have to pay for editing with cash, check, or story. Like a jeweler with a rough-cut stone, I’m not there to change you from an emerald to a ruby, I’m there to help you polish your work to a high shine.

Happy July! The summer is racing by this year in hot gusts of air! It makes me want to retreat to any air-conditioned spot where I can work on my novel. It makes those of us who work at Devil’s Party Press want to read full-length manuscripts and find some good ones to publish in 2019/20. What have you been working on? Could this be the summer you transition from writer to author?

Dianne (sent from my messy desk!)

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RECAP OF DATE NIGHT PART 2: THE EQUINOX BOOK LAUNCH

On June 22, 2018, we held part two of our two-part book launch in support of the recently published EQUINOX literature anthology. The event, dubbed “Date Night,” took place at Milton’s popular Suburban Farmhouse coffee shop and eatery, located at 108 Federal Street. A sizable crowd showed up for the book launch, which featured live performances from several of the EQUINOX contributors including William Crandell and Carrie Sz Keane.

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Music was provided by guitarist David Ara, who performed a variety of original songs throughout the evening. Following the scheduled EQUINOX readers and a brief intermission, an open-mic session commenced. The session included poet Tara A. O’Brien Elliott of Salisbury, MD, who was recently awarded the first-place prize in the upcoming AURORA anthology. Ms. O’Brien Elliott read four original poems.

We have two readings scheduled for August in support of the AURORA anthology. The anthology is scheduled to publish in mid-July and the live events will also occur at The Suburban Farmhouse.

Our heartfelt thanks to those who turned out tonight, and, of course, to Kristin Heathcote-Latham and the entire staff at The Suburban Farmhouse.

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DPP CONGRATULATES THE AURORA LITERATURE ANTHOLOGY CONTEST WINNERS

DPP is pleased to announce the three winners in the AURORA literature anthology writing contest . . .

• First Place: Tara A. Elliott, Salisbury, MD
• Second Place: Liliana Widocks, Bolton, Lancs, UK
• Third Place: Linda Federman, Rehoboth, DE

More details, and the complete list of contributors, will be coming soon.

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Meanwhile, be sure to check out our current contest for the crime-mystery anthology, CRIME TIME. We’re accepting submissions now through September 15.

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