Posts Tagged ‘Humor’

Quiz! How to Tell If You Should Do Your Own Book Cover

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Lots of authors are diving into the self-publishing waters. Before I say anything else let me say this: Self-Publishing is the best thing to happen to authors since the debut of the word processor.

But that’s no excuse for horrific covers. If you are an author you are unlikely to have the necessary design skills to pull together an effective book cover. I’m not saying it’s impossible. Absolutely there are authors who have the skills. But do you? I’ve put together a handy quiz for you to make a quick check of the likelihood that you can do this on your own:

All questions relate to book covers:

  1. Have you ever made a living doing design or graphics work for the web?
  2. If you were to choose a font for your book, would you
    1. select a font from the list that shows up in your graphics program
    2. Find a font website and choose a serif and a sans-serif font to license
  3. Do you know what kerning is and why you might need to do this?
  4. In the past 10 days, have you looked at a color wheel?
  5. Have you ever read a book about typography or read five or more articles about typography by people who do typography for a living?
  6. Are there 3 or more cover artists whose work you instantly recognize?

How to Score

If you answered yes to Question 1 give yourself 15 points
If you answered yes to 2A deduct 50 points.
If you answered yes to 2B give yourself 1 point
Give yourself 1 point for every yes for questions 3-6.

I’ll wait while you do the arithmetic….

Points Scored

20 or more: You can probably do your own cover.
6-19: you MIGHT be able to do your own cover.
5: Not yet.
4: Unlikely.
3: No.
2: I’m sorry, no.
1: Please don’t.
Any negative number: hell no.

You’re welcome!



Bad Writing

Sunday, December 12th, 2010



This and That with Poll

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

First off, this:

xkcd cartoon of Period Speech

Period Speech

I know this is not a brand new one, but it’s still funny. xkcd so often is.

I’m pretty much over my cold but now my son has it. I’m going to do another poll because I can. (You can select more than one answer!)

I Read eBooks on:

View Results

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Stand Back! Carolyn Does Math!

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

NB: If you’re reading this in a feed, there’s a poll and I think you have to click through to the post to actually participate in the poll. Which I admit is a silly poll. But whatever. This is my blog.

I’ve been thinking about DNF books.

Specifically, I’m thinking of instituting a rule about how many eye rolls it takes before a book becomes a DNF (Did Not Finish). You know how you’re reading a book and you encounter something so stupid you roll your eyes? Everything’s cool until the hero stops in the middle of saving the free world to take a call from his broker and buy 15,000 shares of Amalgamated Wigets. I know. Total Eye Roll moment.

Here’s how it would work. A book becomes a DNF when some threshold number of eye rolls (X) is equal to 1 eye roll per some ratio of pages (NP) per the total number of pages in the book (TP).

We can’t set a constant value for the number of pages read per eye roll because that would not account for the variation in total pages across books. A shorter book should have fewer pages per eye roll than a longer one. That is to say, should a longer book have more allowable eye rolls because there are more pages? Or is there some set number of eye rolls allowed per book regardless of the number of pages?

How’s a poor reader to figure out when to abandon ship? Let’s do some math.

Suppose the value of X is not constant:

DNF where (TP/NP) >= X

Let’s plug in a few values and see what we get. Suppose TP= 324 and suppose we decide 1 eye roll per 20 pages is our threshold (therefore NP = 20) . We do the following calculation:

324/20 = 16.2

If X= 16.2 then for a book of 324 pages, 1 eye roll every 20 pages would be acceptable for a total of 16.2 eye rolls. That seems like a lot to me, but then I’m strict. You’d have to read with a pen and a note pad or something to keep track, but hey, it’s science and there’s record keeping involved.

What if our tolerance is lower? Suppose it’s 1 eye roll per 50 pages.
TP = 324
NP = 50

324/50 = 6.48

So, this would mean that the rule would allow a total of 6.48 eye rolls for the entire book. You could totally have that rule though. Before you start every book, you note the total number of pages, set a value for NP and derive your eye roll tolerance level.

But wait. This number seems high to me. Eye rolls are eye rolls, and there should be a limit no matter what. Personally, after my third eye roll, I’m thinking of throwing the book against the wall, regardless of its length.

So, let’s do that math. The formula’s a bit different this time since this time we must solve for NP:


TP = 324
X = 3

Ah. This would mean that for every 108 pages read in a book of 324 pages, we should encounter only 1 eye roll. If you get to page 150 and have already encountered 2 eye roll moments, then it’s time to give up. Probably. Unless the sex is really hot or you’re dying to know what happens to the heroine. Or something.

What if the book is only, say, 200 pages?

NP = ?


I know you’re all thinking, Holy Heck! This formula means a 200 page book is Satan! For me, yes. I’m thinking the value of X might be different for every person, so you’d have to figure out what number of pages equals your Satan book and then never ever read a book of that length. This is really handy!

I can perform this calculation and not only know exactly when I have reached my DNF point but avoid my Satan book.

And now (ta da!!!!) for the whole point of this post: testing to see if my polling widget thingee works:

ETA: Looks like the poll does not work at all. Darn. But click anyway. Or answer in the comments or something.
I fixed the poll! Yay!

What is your value of X?

View Results

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Or maybe I should never do math ever.

What do you think?


Personality Disorders of the Creative Writer

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Most writers consider themselves introverts, and with a few exceptions *coughVictorialDahlcough* I’d say that’s true. Think about it. Where does a creative writer spend a whole lot of time? Alone. In front of her computer. And there are people talking to her that NOBODY CAN SEE. When she’s not communicating with these voices in her head, she’s probably thinking about them.

Suppose one day you’re having a perfectly normal conversation with someone you just met, or maybe someone you know in passing. In the middle of conversation she suddenly gets a vacant expression. How rude! She’s zoned out on you. And then she says:

Do you think it would be easier to kill someone with a ballpoint pen or a spork? 1

You may not need to back away slowly and then run for your life. She’s probably just an author. To test your theory, you say say this:

How many words in your MS (pronounce this “emm ess”) so far?

If the answer isn’t numeric, then you run.

This sort of thing happens to authors all the time. They spend inordinate time alone and when they are with other people, it’s pretty certain those people are not writers, too. By and large we’re a strange bunch, given to drifting off and mentally rewriting Chapter 10.

But, you might say, I go to signings (oh bless you! ThankYouThankYouThankYou!!!) and you authors are smiling like Vanna White pimping vowels. You make conversation with anyone who walks within 20 feet of where you’re sitting. You tell complete strangers about your book, you shove bookmark into my hands whether I want them or not!


This abnormally chipper behavior comes at a cost. We are introverts thrust into the world of the extrovert, and let me tell you, it’s exhausting. Draining. By the time you get home you’re ready to crawl into bed and sleep for 12 hours straight only you can’t because you have to catch up on your word count so you don’t miss deadline. For most authors, no one has heard of us. Readers are not champing at the bit to get a signed copy of a book by some weirdo person they never heard of, and we can tell most of you are sorry you accidentally walked into our gravitational field . . . (evil laugh). We only want you to try our book. Look at the pretty cover! And the words, they tell a story you will LOVE if only— no no, don’t go away. Here have bookmark. Yes, I love Nora Roberts, too. She’s a great author, I agree but my book it’s about ohgoddon’tleaveme. Mostly it only gets worse from there.

So, if, at a conference, such as RWA or what have you, there is a place for an author to go where she can assure herself of a friendly, understanding reception while she gets ready to go be an extrovert, which goes against everything in her marrow, she might just go there. To be ready. To spend a few minutes with people who know what she is and don’t expect anything. It’s an oasis. Thank goodness. For a little bit we can be our introverted selves.

There are a lot of reasons why it’s hard to be an author, and for many of us, having to be an extrovert when we’re not, is one of them.

Answer to the ballpoint pen vs. Spork question

The spork. Doh.


Group Write Along or Carolyn’s Experimenting Again!

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Over at the Risky Regencies, I’m doing a big aspearament where people leave a comment per the parameters I’ve made up in the post, and next week I will cobble together a story using the comments.

Check it out. Leave your contribution. There’s some good ones, already, but more awesomeness will only help and be funnier.


Fun, she said, more fun!

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

At the end of this post, I have some questions for you but first, it’s National Poetry Month, so here is a poem by yours truly:

Chocolate, A Dirge To Perfection

Just now I finished my hot chocolate
Oh hot chocolate,
My mind is lonely
Without you
And yet the inside of
my belly
Seems quite content.
Such power you have
Over my matter and mind.

And now, just so you appreciate the difference between good and bad, chocolate and no chocolate, here is a poem by a real poet:

At Eleusis, by H.D.

What the did,
they did for Dionysos,
for ecstasy’s sake:

now take the basket,
think of the moment you count
most foul in your life;
conjure it.
pray to it;
your face is bleak, you retract,
you dare not remember it:

it is too late.
The next stands by the altar step,
a child’s face yet not innocent,
it will prove adequate, but you,
I could have spelt your peril at the gate,
yet for your mind’s sake,
though you could not enter,

What they did.
they did for Dionysos,
for ecstasy’s sake:

Now take the basket–
(ah face in a dream,
did I not know your heart,
I would falter,
for each that fares onward
is my child;
ah can you wonder
that my hands shake,
that my knees tremble,
I a mortal, set in the goddess’ place?)

Now for the questions:

My blog has been boring lately. What should I do for more fun and games here?

Maybe a poetry blog contest? Like, everyone write a poem on the subject of chocolate and somebody will win something?




How about a picture of your pet contest? And if you don’t have a pet, make one up or lie or something.

Please help.


First, some Humor….

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

xkcd comic about Sporks

That’s one of my all time favorite cartoons. And I love xkcd

I’m not procrastinating by the way. Yesterday, I pulled out the chapter outline for The Next Historical and added in all the new stuff and then rearranged the new and the old so I’d know what the new chapter order should be and which ones needed to be deleted. Two of them. The others I think have enough to warrant staying for a total rewrite. Then I reordered my chapters. Then I read Travels in Turkey and Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt (1844) and got some really good background information. But I had to also do some quick side research on The Levant Company to confirm a suspicion of mine about the Consuls. Uh, yes, it’s true. The British Consuls were appointed but apparently needed to be approved by the Levant Company which was kind of the Middle Eastern equivalent of the East India Company. Politics and commerce. Hand in hand.

Today, my son had a soccer game in a town about 35 minutes away after which we went to Art in the Park where he ate a lot of food and looked at art. I bought a couple of things that will go into the contest stash and a couple of things I liked for me. Then I went grocery shopping then we came home. I was at the computer for a bit and when I actually fell asleep sitting up for a minute, I figured I needed a nap which I did for 2 hours. Then dinner, then cleaning up and now blogging. And so, maybe I surfed the web a bit, maybe.

Anyhoo — off to get SOME work done because I have two deleted chapters to make up…


Terribly Important Stuff!!

Monday, May 19th, 2008

First off, I’m Goofy! yes, I know. Not news to those who know me. It was a tie between Goofy and Cinderella and Goofy won. Just as well as I actually have a Goofy toy on my desk.

Which Disney Character is your Alter Ego?
created with
You scored as Goofy

Your alter ego is Goofy! You are fun and great to be around, and you are always willing to help others. You aren’t worried about embarrassing yourself, so you are one who is more willing to try new things.







The Beast


Peter Pan


Cruella De Ville


Snow White




Donald Duck


Sleeping Beauty


In other news, Amy Pierpont of my paranormal publisher Grand Central Publishing was over at Risky Regencies today and made mention of me. That was exciting!