Tuesday, October 21, 2014


We’re back today with Brian Klems ….  Rita

Follow me on Twitter: @BrianKlems
Check out my humor book,
Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl.
Sign up for his free weekly eNewsletter:
WD Newsletter 

How Do I Copyright My Manuscript?
Q: I recently finished a novel and want to know what I can do to have it copyrighted. Is there a special process? –Sylvia R.
A: Whenever you put something in a tangible format—written on paper, typed on computer, chiseled on stone tablets—it’s copyrighted and protected under U.S. copyright law. No tricks. No magic. It’s as simple as that.
Of course, if someone steals your work and presents it as his own, the burden of proof falls on you to show that you created it first (and own the copyright). This, as you can imagine, can be tricky. To give yourself better protection you can also officially register your work with the United States Copyright Office. The downside is it’ll cost you roughly $35-45 per manuscript. The upside is that if anyone steals your work, you’ll not only have proof of copyright ownership, but also be able to sue for more money and damages.
Now I’m not suggesting you officially register every story you’ve ever written, as that can get costly—that decision is up to you. But it’s certainly worth considering for any manuscript of great length and value to you.
Brian A. Klems is the online managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine

Can You Copyright a Pseudonym?

Q: Do I need to get a copyright for a pseudonym, or will a copyright for the book under my chosen pen name be sufficient?—Al de Araujo

A: The name H.G. Wells isn’t copyrighted. Neither is Michael Crichton. Why? Under U.S. law you can’t copyright a name, real or fictitious. Copyrights protect authorship, such as short stories, poems or novels.
You can register a manuscript under a pen name at the copyright office ( www.copyright.gov ). You’ll have to provide some information, including your real address. But if you really want to keep your true identity under wraps, set up a post office box and have information from the office sent there.
It’s important to get your pen name on record so the Copyright Office can acknowledge the proper life span of the copyright. Work created by authors not identified by the Copyright Office have a copyright life of only 95 years from publication or 120 years from the work’s creation—whichever comes first. If a writer identifies herself to the copyright office and registers her pen name, the copyright term for the work is the author’s life plus 70 years. Which means if I get hit by a bus tomorrow my work is still protected until 2078.
It’s also important to check with the office first and do online searches to avoid using names of real people or names that have already been taken by other authors. While you can’t copyright a name, you can get sued for identity theft. Also, publishers can get pretty angry if you try to pass yourself off as someone famous like J.K. Rowling or Dean Koontz. Stick with something unique.

Brian A. Klems is the online managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine

Monday, October 20, 2014


Once again, I’ve run across a saved blog by Brian Klems – that I found so worthwhile and a great once to share with you… so for my next couple of blogs – I’ll be sharing from Brian.  I’m a big fan of his!  Yes, I know it’s from 2009 – but some information is just worth reading….  Rita

Follow me on Twitter: @BrianKlems
Check out my humor book,
Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl.
Sign up for his free weekly eNewsletter:
WD Newsletter 
We’re writers, not legal experts—and yet, every time we put words down on paper a number of legal questions arise. How do I copyright my work? Do I need to? Am I allowed to quotes song lyrics? Can I use someone else’s character in my book? And that’s just the tip of the pencil. Here I’ve collected a writer’s set of FAQs about legal issues that will help you navigate the basics.

Can You Copyright an Idea?
Q: I have a fantastic idea for a book. I’m unclear on copyright rules and I want to protect my idea from someone else copying it. What steps should a person take in order to protect an idea until it comes into print? –Brian

A: I hate to break the bad news, but you can’t copyright an idea. Nobody can. Section 102(b) of the Copyright Act specifically states: “In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated or embodied in such work.
“So if copyright law doesn’t protect an idea, what exactly does it protect?
Copyrights cover “original works of authorship” that the author fixes in a tangible form (written on paper, typed on computer, scribbled by crayon on a napkin, etc.). In other words, it protects the specifics of your book after it’s written. No one can steal, reprint or profit from your work without your consent. Though, no matter how hard you try, you can’t safeguard the idea behind your story.
Think about it like this: No one directly copied William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet word-for-word and slapped their name on it, but they have used his idea—a love story about two young people from rival families— over and over again. West Side Story fits the bill (two lovers from rival gangs). Even Disney’s High School Musical has the same plot (rival high school cliques).

Now before all you overachievers point out that Shakespeare’s work has out-lived its copyright protection and is now part of the public domain, remember this: both West Side Story and High School Musical are copyrighted, so no one can steal significant details from them. But, much like your idea, they can’t stop others from using the basic concept.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Freebits with Ginger #frifreebits

Welcome to Friday...it's time for more of Destiny's Bride.  Hope you enjoy the six I've selected this week.  Remember, last week, Cecile got her first glimpse of Walt's Ranch...the place he plans as their home.  Let's see what happens next:


Walt was up before the sun the next morning, eager to get an early start. The cocky rooster crowed as Cecile dragged herself out of bed and slugged toward the kitchen. She’d never been an enthusiastic morning person. After pouring herself a cup of coffee from the pot Walt had brewed, she sat at the table, her head propped on her arm, while she willed her eyes to stay open. 

“Good morning, beautiful.” 

“Umm hmm” she muttered, still dozing. 

When he walked over in sock-clad feet and planted a kiss on her forehead, she looked up at him through half-lidded eyes. The truth dawned. He was leaving for Castroville. She squared her shoulders, determined not to make his departure any harder than it had to be, and began gathering food for his trip. While he pulled on his boots, she filled Aunt May’s basket full of biscuits, jam, and the last of the bacon. 

Walt walked up behind Cecile and put his arms around her. “Cece, I hate leaving you here alone, but the sooner I go, the sooner I can get back.” 

She stiffened at his mention of alone. “I know you have to go and that I have to stay here to take care of things, but that doesn’t make me feel any better. I’m miles from nowhere.” She hadn’t meant to add to his guilt for leaving, but her words spilled out before she thought. 


Finally settled in their home, Walt has to go for winter supplies, but someone has to stay behind and tend the animals.  You guessed it:  Cecile, and she's not happy.  In fact, she has no idea where she is and where he has to go.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


We all get it - men and women are different. No surprise there, right?    And let’s be honest if you’re a female writer – you write like a woman.  If you’re a male writer – you write like a man.  Well, let’s hope that’s not the case!

The thing is - we’d like both males and females to read and like our books.  Creating characters of the opposite sex can be tricky – and when we write – we need to constantly ask ourselves, “Would a guy say that? Or “Would a woman behave that way?”  Learning the male/female ‘language’ can boost your success as an author.

I find having a ‘male’ review my books is a great tool – if I can get him to respond quickly.  But that’s not always an option.  What is an option is learning to understand how the male/female character thinks, acts, reacts, postulates, speaks, and even internalizes.

Consider Helen Fielding’s runaway hit Bridget Jones’s Diary. The name on the cover of the book is Holly Denham.  Its real author is Bill Surie, who wrote so convincingly that readers had no problem believing the story had been written by a woman.  J.K. Rowling is so good at transcending gender (and age) that her books are devoured by girls and boys (and women and men) by the millions.
It’s important to consider the impact of your own gender when writing.  You can do this by educating yourself about how men and women differ, which will help you understand what your opposite gender would truly say, behave, respond, and internalize.
It’s like the comment – talk the talk and walk the walk.  It’s really true.  If male and female characters talk, react, and behave the same, your reader will notice and most likely lose faith in the story.  We never want that to happen.  When I wrote my latest novel, Thunder, I watched a ton of wrestling interviews in hopes of capturing the male wrestler’s mentality, mannerisms, and language. 
Women and men see and feel things differently.  For instance, “I’m sorry we’re so late. We were driving along and slid across back ice, and went into the ditch.  I didn’t think we’d ever get out.”  Or, “A damn patch of black ice sent me sailing across the road and slamming down into the ditch.  I threw my Jeep into four-wheel and got us out in record time.”  Same story – two different perspectives.  I’ll bet I don’t have to ask which gender said what sentence.
When writing the ‘male’ I keep in mind what he’s accomplished – like the fight he won, the child he saved, the bear he slayed.  Women, however, focus on the relationship and emotions of the story.  Who the fight affected, how the child changed the man, or how the bear got him the respect he needed in the tribe.

It’s important to keep in mind not all women and men think or behave the same way.  How boring would it be if they did?  The words from Edward Abbey always come to mind: “It is the difference between men and women, not the sameness, that creates the tension and the delight.”
Read the Writer’s Guide To Character Traits By Dr. Linda Edelstein if you need a list of unusual traits, quirks, flaws and strengths to make your characters unique and lively?  It’s a fabulous eye-opener!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Page Straight From Nancy Bell #apagestraightfrom

Laurel’s Quest
Nancy Bell

Laurel looked at Aisling, who had been strangely quiet through the whole conversation. Aisling was staring intently at the bottom right square of the rainy kitchen window. She narrowed her eyes trying to see what her friend was looking at. All Laurel could make out was the black rain running down the panes of glass like tears. Suddenly, Aisling sat up, and her face brightened. She jumped out of her chair and headed for the door into the back garden. Laurel looked around the room and met Sarie’s inscrutable gaze.

“Where are you going in such a hurry, Aisling child?” Sarie asked quietly.

“There’s someone in the garden I need to talk to,” Aisling said over her shoulder, as she opened the door on the wet windy night.

“Won’t you need a coat?” Laurel got to her feet and grabbed Emily’s heavy shawl from the back of a chair. She hesitated, uncertain whether she should follow. Aisling was already out of the door, leaving a waft of cool wet air in her wake as the door shut behind her.

Should I go out with Aisling, or is this something I have no right to interfere with? Sarie shrugged and raised her eyebrows. “Go if you like,” she said.

Laurel wrapped the shawl around her shoulders before she opened the door into the dark night. Just out of the patch of light from the big kitchen window, Aisling knelt on the wet grass. Her hair lay still and dry on her back, while Laurel’s was already wet and flying about in the wild wind.

Trepidation slowed her steps. This was too weird and way out of her league. Were all her new friends engaged in some kind of supernatural game? The light from the kitchen faded, and the air around Aisling shimmered with rainbow lights. She was only a couple of feet away from the girl, but the shimmer separated them, and somehow it kept the wild night away from Aisling and her secret friend. Laurel peered through the coruscating rainbow shimmer to see who it was Aisling spoke with. There was a twiggy-looking brown man about the size of a small child holding Aisling’s hand.

There was an impression of a tiny wrinkled face with a long sharp nose and bright black eyes. Her stomach jumped into her throat as those eyes fastened on hers, and the thin lips stretched into a smile. The small man made a funny gesture, and there was a sudden streak of lightening across the sky. Laurel blinked, and then there was only Aisling kneeling in the wet grass.

Nancy M Bell has publishing credits in poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Nancy has presented at the Surrey International Writers Conference and the Writers Guild of Alberta Conference. She is currently working on Book 3 of her series The Cornwall Adventures.
Please visit her webpage http://www.nancymbell.ca
You can find her on Facebook at http://facebook.com/NancyMBell

Follow on twitter: @emilypikkasso  

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