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Tips for a first-time author

I've been continuing to research the use of blogs for business, and ran across Debbie Weil's blog, in which she posted that she's writing a book about Corporate Blogging.  And since the book is about blogging, she's not only blogging about the publishing process, she's using the blog to help her write it. For instance, here she asks for tips for a first-time book author. And here she asks for suggestions on the proposed title and sub-title.  And here she asks for corporate-blog-related anecdotes

Since blogs are all about the exchange of ideas, what a great use of a blog to help a writer in her first book project.  Awesome, awesome!  I love the answers she's gotten for writing/organizational tips so far.

So if you're considering writing a book, no matter the genre, consider asking for feedback on a blog -- ask what people what to read about, ask what questions they want answered, ask about what's never been explained well, ask if your title is effective or sucky, ask what's currently missing from the market.  The answers are out there for the asking.


Film Title Quiz ANSWERS

I love checking out the stats for my blogs -- how many people have visited, and which sites have referred them.  (I'm up over 12,500 total hits for this blog, for example.  I'm pleased with that.)  One referrer blows my mind -- easily 25% of the traffic to this blog comes from Google -- people searching for "filmtitlequiz", get my blog in the top three results, from the Friday Movie Fun post I made in April.  (I also posted another Excel quiz link later.)  Just shows how popular the quiz is, and how many people tear their hair out when they can't get the last few answers!

I mentioned that my brother eventually "hacked" out an answer key, and mentioned that people could email me privately for the answers.  Quite a few have, so I decided to post them here.  I'm posting them separately from the quiz post, so you don't have to "peek" if you don't want to.

Here's the list my brother hacked out:

  1. Trading Places
  2. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
  3. Dick Tracy
  4. Wayne's World
  5. Top Secret
  6. Batman Forever
  7. Goldmember
  8. Officer and a Gentleman
  9. Footloose
  10. Stand By Me
  11. Notting Hill
  12. About a Boy
  13. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
  14. Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones
  15. The Usual Suspects
  16. Signs
  17. X-Men
  18. The Sixth Sense
  19. Dirty Dancing
  20. Titanic
  21. Singing in the Rain
  22. Back to the Future
  23. The Big Lebowski
  24. The Fifth Element
  25. Speed
  26. Big
  27. Jumanji
  28. The Color of Money
  29. Pushing Tin
  30. The Flintstones
  31. Pulp Fiction
  32. Ransom
  33. Full Metal Jacket
  34. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
  35. Hellraiser
  36. Independence Day
  37. ET
  38. Men in Black
  39. Swingers
  40. Porky's
  41. Shrek
  42. Matrix
  43. Grease
  44. Rambo: First Blood
  45. The Fast and the Furious
  46. The Wedding Singer
  47. Blues Brothers
  48. Purple Rain
  49. Water Boy
  50. White Men Can't Jump
  51. The Full Monty
  52. Jackie Brown
  53. Zoolander
  54. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings
  55. Sleepy Hollow
  56. Godzilla
  57. Bridget Jones's Diary
  58. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  59. Kingpin
  60. Evolution

Hope this helps put many of you out of your misery!  ;)

To those of you who find this blog entry through a Google search -- allow me to introduce myself.  I'm Angie Pedersen, author of the best-selling Book of Me series of books on scrapbook journaling.  Since I was kind enough to help you solve this quiz, you should buy my books.  Even if you don't scrapbook, you still have stories to tell.  The books also make nice gifts.  They really are quite good.  ;)


Capture the Moment

From WritersDigest.com:

Inspiration: How to capture the moment!
Poet and fiction writer Joyce Ferman Wells shares one of the ways she is able to preserve those unpredictable and often inconvenient moments when inspiration strikes:

Considering the difficulty in finding just the right moment for creating a poem, most aspiring poets keep a notebook handy for those times when ideas for poems seem to float around corners like wisps, wait impatiently at bus stops, or spring from newspaper headlines and obscure advertisements. Obviously, the type of notebook will vary with the individual. I started my writing career with a three by five unobtrusive notebook that I could tuck inside a purse or briefcase. As the muse hit me, I would demurely pull the notebook from my tote bag and jot a note or two. Later, I graduated to an eight by eleven spiral, three-subject notebook that I unabashedly carry with me everywhere. This portable filing system holds my notes and scribblings for an entire year at a time.

What goes in the journal? Just about everything, including my current weight. Seriously, I'm currently collecting newspaper headlines and outrageous advertisements from tabloids. "Imagine getting more," one ad read recently. I smiled and jotted it down. More what? I asked myself. More money? More time? More fun? Maybe not. Maybe more aggravation, more illness, more inches around the tummy. Imagine getting more. Just imagine. The musing led to a new poem that will be included in an upcoming anthology containing my work. So keep a notebook. With a notebook at our fingertips, we preserve our ideas and can capture and retain the energy of a moment. Even better, we can mine the inspiration weeks and months later.

This writer focuses on mostly fiction and poems (I think), but obviously the advice can apply to scrapbook journaling as well.  Keeping an inspiration notebook is sound advice for capturing snippets of conversations, random memories triggered by your surroundings, or future layout topics.  For example, I was drawn to Wells' mention of "imagine getting more", in the piece above.  More what, indeed?  How could this concept apply to a scrapbooking layout?  Imagine IF you got more?  Imagine getting more...free time?  Imagine getting more...satisfaction?  Imagine getting more...done?  What could you do with this topic?

If you kept an inspiration journal, you'd have just the place to explore ideas like this, and you'd know just where to turn when you do your scrapbook journaling.


Top 100 Speeches of All Time

Found this via Ken Leebow's blog today:

American Rhetoric's Top 100 Speeches

I'm filing it under Quotes in my Bookmarks.  I love using quotes from great historical speeches on my scrapbooking layouts.  I think it helps portray the "flavor" of that time in history. (And you might learn something about American History in the process!)  On this list of 100 speeches, you'll find not only the text of the speech, but in many cases, you'll also find an mp3 of the speech, which is kind of cool.  Something a little different for you iPod listening pleasure!  ;)

Also be sure to check out the rest of Leebow's Blogging about Incredible Blogs -- his tagline is "My mission is simple: Identify incredible blogs. I'll do the heavy lifting so you won't have to."  He's true to his word; I've found some cool and useful resources through his blog.


Wisdom of Commencement Speeches

Excellent advice from Brandy today: Whatever.  She comments on her lousy mood today, then receiving an email with this commencement address by Anna Quindlen.  Man, it seems like many of life's problems are solved in commencement addresses!

The first line in Anna's speech really sums it up:

I'm a novelist. My work is human nature. Real life is all I know. Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work.

It's a troublesome thing -- balancing work and Life -- no matter what job you have.  I know I'm working my butt off, still creating and crafting my career, and often sacrifice time with my kids.  Jen Newton of ScrapsAhoy.com did an awesome layout titled "I'm Sorry" that's featured in The Book of Us that addresses this issue -- working hard to provide for your kids, so you'll be able to do and have the things you want, but while you're working for them, you're also missing out on them.  It's so hard.

I'd write more about this topic, as it does often weigh on my mind as I sit here buried in the basement, but I have to go pick up said kids.  Today is my kids' last day of summer school (an enrichment program offered by the school district).  We're making sno-cones when they get home, and you can bet I'll take pictures.

Side note: other great commencement speeches:
Be Yourself by Anna Quindlen
Wear Sunscreen by Mary Schmich (not actually a commencement speech, but often attributed as one)
An archive of commencement speeches


Angie Pedersen...in your store??

As a result of my recent post (RE: class at Scrapbooker's Dream), a number of people emailed me privately to ask if I'm planning to come to their area in the near future.

Two comments on these questions:

  1. My travel calendar is here: http://www.scrapyourstories.com/meetangie.htm. I keep it (almost) consistently updated, so chances are it's correct.  If you don't see a location near you listed, I probably don't have plans to travel there (at this point).
  2. My travel calendar depends entirely on my classes being sponsored by a local store/retreat/convention/etc -- meaning they pay for my travel costs and teaching fees.  It has nothing to do with whether I want to visit a specific area -- I'm happy to go just about anywhere and teach!  ;) If you know a local store in your area that might be interested in bringing me in to teach some classes, give them this link: http://www.scrapyourstories.com/guestappearance.htm, then have them email me for more details.

How does it all work?  A local store owner (or event planner) emails me, and asks what she has to do to get me to teach a class at her store.  I usually respond with something pithy, like, "Just ask! ;)", then I also attach a PDF of details outlining my fees, travel arrangements, supplies for the classes, and links to my class descriptions and travel calendar.  If the rates work for her budget, we decide on a date, and start making arrangements.  Quite a few emails fly back and forth -- deciding which classes to offer, supply lists for the classes, discussion of supply substitutions, travel preferences, etc.  The weekend arrives, I fly out, teach my classes, everyone has a kick-butt time, and the store owner sells out of my books.  Win-win-win all around!  ;)

It may seem like some mystical thing, getting a "celebrity" to come out and teach, but really, it's as simple as an email.  I'd be willing to bet that'd be true for other "celebrities" too.  And since I put my email on so many things, it's particularly easy to get a hold of me!  ;)

Let me know if you have any questions!


American Film Institute's 100 Movie Quotes

Via Kegz.net:

The American Film Institute (AFI) revealed the top movie quotes of all time in AFI's 100 YEARS...100 MOVIE QUOTES, a three-hour special television event on CBS hosted by actor and action star Pierce Brosnan with commentary from many of Hollywood's most celebrated actors and filmmakers. A jury of 1,500 film artists, critics and historians selected "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn," spoken by Clark Gable in the celebrated Civil War epic, GONE WITH THE WIND as the most memorable movie quote of all time.

Check out the AFI site for the full list of quotes.  It might make a fun scrapbooking layout -- you could print out the list, and highlight or check the quotes from movies you've seen, or comment on "classic" quotes that were missed.


Class at Scrapbookers Dream

I'm teaching the Book of Us Tag Book I mentioned previously this Friday (June 24th), 7-9pm, at Scrapbooker's Dream in Independence, MO.  I just called, and SPACES ARE STILL AVAILABLE!  Here's the class description:

PaperloftfullJoin Book of Me author Angie Pedersen and learn how to create your own "Book of Us" tag album that celebrates friendships, soul mates, family, and more.  You'll complete a cute jumbo tag book with all the supplies provided, see album ideas, and get guided journaling tips on making the most of your most meaningful relationships.  We'll ink, tear, crumple, tak, and have fun!  Don't miss this chance to get the scoop straight from the source!

Here's what a recent student had to say:
"Angie's class was fabulous, as always... I need to get a tshirt made "Angie Pedersen's Official Groupie"!   We did an awesome tag book...I came away super pumped up and ready to work on some "Book of Us" pages---and not just for me and [my husband]!Smiling2
"

Call Scrapbooker's Dream at (816) 795-5450 to register for the class!


Movie Fun, Redux

Dude.  Remember that Film Title Quiz I posted back in April?  Check out this link (guaranteed to blow the rest of your day):

http://www.arnodewever.com/quiz/index.html

That link offers similar Excel quizzes on music artists, DVD covers, sports, food & drink, and much more.  Be warned -- it's totally addictive. ::evil grin::

What's funny is that ever since I posted that quiz to my blog, it's one of the top 5 things that brings people to my blog, even two months later.  People Google "filmtitlequiz", and come to my blog.  AND, even weirder, it's Google.ca -- so it's mostly Canadians.  Go figure, eh?