Monday, October 31, 2011

NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month (also known as NaNoWriMo) is an annual internet-based creative writing project which challenges participants to write 50,000 words of a new novel between November 1 and November 30.

Writers wishing to participate first register on the project's website, where they can post profiles and information about their novels, including synopsis and excerpts. Word counts are validated on the site, with writers submitting a copy of their novel for automatic counting.

Pep talks give advice along the way, and the extended NaNoWriMo forums offer the chance to interact, motivate each other, and procrastinate.

About NaNoWriMo
This writing project was started by Chris Baty in July 1999 with 21 participants in the San Francisco Bay area. In 2000, it was moved to November "to more fully take advantage of the miserable weather" and launched an official website. With more writers joining each year, NaNoWriMo turned into a global event. In 2010, over 200,000 people took part - writing a total of over 2.8 billion words.

NaNoWriMo Website

related links: other web projects; on writing

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Worship (qarrtsiluni)

What is it at the centre of someone’s life? What is it that we are reaching for? What is it that we create rituals around?

Edited by Fiona Robyn and Kaspalita, qarrtsiluni's current theme issue "Worship" gathers satirical and humorous pieces as well as serious essays, stories, poems, images and vidoes: accounts that are in worship of something, sacred or profane, or that are accounts of worship, as well as pieces that are critical of worship.

The issue runs until January, with new pieces added on a daily basisaily basis at qarrtsiluni/Worship

More than a dozen pieces of worship are online already, and offer an inspiring and thought-provoking variety of angles and styles. Here some recommendations: the poem Ghost Money by Jenni B. Baker, the video While Sitting in Church by James Brush, the poem winter escapes by Daniela Elza, and the light painting silence by Paul Bilger (included in the feature image).

The editors: Fiona Robyn is a novelist, Buddhist and creativity coach and blogs about being a writer at Writing Our Way Home. Kaspalita is a Buddhist priest and blogger and is married to Fiona.

About qarrtsiluni
qarrtsiluni offers cutting-edge electronic delivery of original, thematically organized poetry, prose, and art, and its almost-daily posts are available online both as text and audio, read by the authors; the magazine can be accessed via browsers, email, feed readers, portable music listening devices, and through the print editions. The title comes from an Iñupiaq word that means “sitting together in the darkness, waiting for something to burst.” Qarrtsiluni's managing editors are Dave Bonta and Beth Adams; three of the four issues each year are guest-edited by teams of two invited editors and the magazine sponsors an annual chapbook contest.

qarrtsiluni: the Worship issue
theme issue

related links: anthologies, philosophical

Monday, October 24, 2011

Walking the Tiger's Path - Paul Kendel (Tendril)

Paul Kendel's book Walking the Tiger's Path - A Soldier’s Spiritual Journey in Iraq addresses the horrors of war from an extraordinary human perspective.

In 2005, Paul Kendel deployed with his National Guard unit out of Georgia to Iraq, hoping to use his knowledge of that land to bridge the gap between American soldiers and Iraqi civilians. However, the realities of war crushed his idealism when his buddies began dying at the hands of the enemy. Eventually, his ongoing concern for the Iraqi people alienated some of his comrades, and he felt the sting of growing conflict within himself.

Turning to the books on Buddhist teachings he had brought with him, he found solace in the written words. On a whim, he emailed Shambhala International and requested assistance. An unexpected response and ongoing support from Buddhist teacher and meditation instructor Margot Neuman helped him to retain a sane and humble humanity in a situation that often plummeted into lethal insanity.

An excerpt of the book is online at Issuu: Walking the Tiger's Path.

Paul M. Kendel’s (SSG Ret.) first experience with the current “War on Terror” began with a deployment to Saudi Arabia with the California National Guard following 9/11. In 2005, the military deployed him to Iraq. Kendel holds an M.A. in both History and Anthropology, and is currently teaching world history and special education in Jacksonville, Florida.

About Tendril Press
Tendril Press is a selective independent Press publishing thought provoking, educational, inspirational and humanitarian books for adults and children.

Paul Kendel: Walking the Tiger's Path
A Soldier’s Spiritual Journey in Iraq
320 pages

related links: the human conditioneast/west, nonfiction

Monday, October 17, 2011

Magpie Days - Julia Davies

In July and August, the 100 Days Project gathered story writers, poets, painters, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, and programmers together for 100 days of creative effort; unique yet built on the work of others in the collective; ranging between the participants for theme, motif, or other inspirational method.

In "Magpie Days", 100-Day-participant  Julia Davies collected her works - each of them inspired or derived by another participant's day, which is included, too. A diary of creativity and of own / outer voice, this collection leads through flowers, volcanoes, lines, curves and asemic writing.

Julia notes: "Me, I have a magpie mind, pouncing on bright and beautiful things, I guess I would like to see if I have an artistic voice, or am a collector/reflector... What can I say about the 100 days project? It was a spur, a net full of sparkles and patterns, full of things that slipped through my fingers and some that did not. I rifled through the pretty things, the skin tingling true things; paused, not long enough, at the things that made me think, and rushed at the things that made me feel. - I wanted to find my voice as a writer, or maybe as an artist, but I was so distracted by all that was on offer for me, daily! I find a voice, or two, but whether they were mine I am not sure. I look beyond now and occasionally spin stuff out of the mind threads that connected us. I want next years project to come already."

Julia Davies is a practised reader and a practising writer, and lives in Germany. She blogs at practice makes perfect.

Magpie Days 2011
The collection is online at Issuu as e-book in 4 parts, and also available as printed book.
- Magpie Days 001-025
- Magpie Days 026-050
- Magpie Days 051-075
- Magpie Days 076-100

Friday, October 14, 2011

I’m Here Right? - Josh Rank (Deckfight)

Josh Rank moved to Atlanta from Wisconsin after college. He didn’t have a job, he didn’t know much about the South. What he found is included in this chapbook of first-person essays: I'm Here Right? Stuff on selling meat from the back of a truck, witnessing a takedown at the jail, getting hit by a car and more. All in Josh’s deadpan, but forthright style.

The chapbook is available in various free pdf and e-book formats.

Josh Rank blogs at These Things I Know and occasionally writes music reviews for the indie music webpage Deckfight. An interview with him is up at LCB: Interview with writer Josh Rank.

Deckfight Press
Deckfight Press is part of Deckfight and is into chapbooks of the pdf and epub kind. Recent chapbooks include: "A Patchwork of Rooms Furnished by Mistakes" by J. Bradley, "Firehouse Neckbrace" by Josh Spiler and others - here's a Deckfight book list.

Josh Rank: I’m Here Right?
chapbook, 37 pages

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A quick guide to Book Publishing Services (Lulu, Smashwords, Createspace, Issuu...)

This isn't news: the digital revolution changed the way books are produced, and also the way they are read.

Print on Demand (POD) makes it possible to create single copies of books, which allows to publish books for smaller and special audiences. Parallel, e-readers make it possible to read e-books in a new, leisure way.

Together, this leads to a growing range of publishing formats, and publishing services, which are especially interesting for small presses and for authors.

Below is a list of service providers, with examples of printed books and e-books that are featured in the blueprint book blog.

Lulu is a company offering publishing, printing in various sizes, and distribution (including e-books).
Since their founding in 2002, Lulu has published over 1.1 million titles by creators in over 200 countries and territories and adds 20,000 new titles to their catalogue a month.
links: Lulu webpage, wiki-page
examples: "lulu"-books in this blog (print books + e-books)
cover: if you want to publish a book at CreateSpace, here some advice for creating the book cover

A publishing/printing/distribution service that provides free tools to help self-publish and distribute books, DVDs, CDs etc. on-demand at CreateSpace and via (CreateSpace belongs to Amazon, thus the listing, which only works for, no other countries)
link: CreateSpace
examples: CreateSpace-books in this blog
cover: if you want to publish a book at CreateSpace, here some advice for creating the book cover

An ebook publishing and distribution platform for ebook authors, publishers, agents and readers that offers multi-format ebooks, ready for immediate sampling and purchase, and readable on any e-reading device.
link: Smashwords
examples: Smashword-books in this blog
how-to-guide: Smashword Style Guide + Marketing Guide

Issuu is a digital publishing platform that delivers full-color reading experiences of magazines, catalogs, and newspapers.
link: Issuu
examples: Issuu-books in this blog

Related links: Red Lemonade, exPress tutorial, Wiki-Pages 
Other blueprint How-to posts:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Never Never Stories - Jason Sanford (Spotlight)

Ranging from science fiction to fantasy, the 10 stories contained in Never Never Stories by Jason Sanford could also be named: "Best Of" - they have won the Interzone Readers’ Poll, been nominated for the BSFA Award, longlisted for the British Fantasy Award, and printed in numerous magazines and book anthologies including Year's Best SF.

The collection also contains an original essay on archeology and fantasy and a cover by award-winning artist Vincent Chong.

"Sanford expertly blends world building and storytelling. In fact, he makes it look easy."
- SF Signal

There also is an ebook edition of Never Never Stories - it contains all of the content from the print edition along with four additional stories (one of which has never been published) plus a different introduction. One of the storíes is online as excerpt: The Ships Like Clouds.

Jason Sanford's stories have received a number of awards and honors, including being a finalist for the 2009 Nebula Award for Best Novella, winning both the 2008 and 2009 Interzone Readers' Polls, receiving a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship, being nominated for the BSFA Award, and being longlisted for the British Fantasy Award. He also co-founded the literary journal storySouth, through which he runs the annual Million Writers Award.

About Spotlight Publishing
Spotlight Publishing is an independent press based in North Carolina, a press that is focused on producing collections of short stories (single-author collections and anthologies), as well as books by established authors that are either out of print with the original publisher, or different from the type of book the author is best known for.

Jason Sanford: Never Never Stories
story collection
240 pages

Friday, October 07, 2011

New Collected Poems - Tomas Tranströmer (Bloodaxe)

Tomas Tranströmer is Sweden’s most important poet, and was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature. The Academy honoured him "because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality". (Nobel Prize page)

Tranströmer's publisher in Britain, Bloodaxe, has a features with notes on a new edition of his work "New Collected Poems", 3 poems in translation with the original included, and a biography online at: Tomas Tranströmer at 80.

New Collected Poems includes all the poems Tranströmer has written during the past forty years, including those from the Bloodaxe Collected Poems of 1987, as well as three later collections, For Living and Dead (1989), The Sad Gondola (1996) and The Great Enigma (2004), and a prose memoir.

For more of Tranströmer's poetry, visit Prelude at Words without Borders, and After a Death + Outskirts at (there's also an essay on his work up at Poetry: Too Much of the Air).

Tomas Tranströmer was born in Stockholm in 1931, graduated as a psychologist in 1956 with additional studies history, religion, and literature, and worked as a psychologist for juvenile offenders for many years. He suffered a stroke in 1990 that left him partially paralyzed and unable to speak; however, he would continue to write and publish poetry though the early 2000s. He is regularly shortlisted for the Nobel Prize, and has received several public recognitions and prizes for his poetry. (wiki-page)

About Bloodaxe
Bloodaxe Books is an independent literary publishing house, founded in Newcastle in 1978 by Neil Astley joined in 1982 by chairman Simon Thirsk. In time, it turned into Britain's premier poetry publisher, with an international reputation for quality in literature and excellence in design.

Tomas Tranströmer: New Collected Poems (Bloodaxe)
poetry collection
256 pages

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

House of Worship - Marcus Speh

In "House of Worship", Marcus Speh gathers 15 of his flash fiction stories in an experimental approach: the stories are a first selection of a planned larger collection. House of Worship is available at Red Lemonade, a platform that takes a different approach to publishing, and offers the full texts of its print books as online reads.

Marcus explains: "I'd like to publish my 100+ best flash fiction pieces (with a handful of short stories) written 2009—2011. Unburdened by offers from publishers, I decided to try something else: with little effort, I've put up 15 of these stories, all previously published, at Red Lemonade, a new literary community plus publishing press, based on the Cursor platform of Richard Eoin Nash, award-winning former publisher of Berkeley-based Soft Skull Press.

Nash has created Cursor for "folks who run indie presses, or want to start one, or run a web community but would like that community to be able to publish books." [R Nash] Red Lemonade, a community of DRM-free original writing, is still in "beta" mode, but welcomes new members and has just opened its bookshop. Meanwhile, my collection titled "House of Worship", is still looking for a publisher who worships "Absurd, Germanic and Existentialist" flash fiction."

Marcus Speh is a writer, ex-particle physicist, professor, executive coach, project lead, web head, father, fictionaut, former fencer and paratrooper, current maitre d' of kaffe in katmandu, curator of the 1000 shipwrecked penguins project and participant of 100 Days 2011, who lives in Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg.

Marcus Speh: House of Worship
a flash collection