Wednesday, February 2, 2011

World of Writing - & Green Office Tips

-- Brummets in the Media --

Hey everyone, have you ever wondered how you can make your office at home or at work be just a little greener? And save some money too?? 

I'd like to invite  you to check out an article of ours that was published recently by Frugal Marketing:


-- World of Writing --

 Ah... It's time for another World of Writing Interview feature...
As many of our regular readers are already aware, I started out by numbering each interview as it came out, you know #39... etc.  But lost count! lol - And I'm pretty sure that it is not important enough to go back and research that. ...So they'll now be just listed as World of Writing interviews, OK? :)

Today's guest was suggested to us by publicist Charlotte Tomic - so a shout out to her for sending Steve Piacente our way. Steve, a published author, has recently released a "thrilling novel" titled: Bella. His lifetime in the writing industry was what appealed to me the most for today's feature - he's written for numerous publications and newspapers, including the Tampa Tribune, and later became a popular speechwriter. Today this web-savvy writer works with a team doing online work.. find out more at: GetBella.com


Lillian: Tell us something about yourself.

Steve: I have made a living writing since 1976, when I graduated from American University in Washington, D.C. I began as a high school sportswriter, shifted to news, and returned to Washington in 1985 as correspondent for the Tampa Tribune. Today I teach journalism part-time to AU students in a classroom where I once took classes. Of course where we had Royal typewriters and access to the library, my students work on Macs and have access to the world via the Internet. One thing I don’t tell them is that I got a C in the class I teach! Toward the end of my newspaper career, I returned to school and earned a Masters in Fiction from Johns Hopkins University. As I began writing fiction seriously, my last newspaper job came to an end and I wound up as a speechwriter in the federal government. Today I am deputy communications director at the U.S. General Services Administration, responsible for our websites and new media team.

Lillian: Did you choose writing as a profession, or did it choose you:

Steve: I learned early I couldn’t do the math and science, but I also learned I was able to write about the people who could do the math and science. The correct path seemed obvious. I also learned early that I enjoyed telling stories. Growing up in New York, I was very private, but also filled with a need to share my thoughts, and so writing became my vehicle. Later, as an undergraduate, the only question was how I could make a living as a writer. A friend introduced me to the editor of our college paper, who assigned a feature on the bearded lady at the circus. (A photo documenting this momentous event lives on our AU class blog at: http://09wmcblog.blogspot.com/) An internship with the Baltimore Sun my senior year honed my appetite for daily reporting. Two weeks after graduation, I landed my first job, covering high school football for the Naples Daily News.

Lillian: What are common mistakes authors make?

Steve: Good writing quickly establishes a link between author and reader, common ground filled with ah-ha moments that reach and tickle the senses. I think too many writers settle for obvious telling, when subtle showing is more artful and, ultimately, more rewarding. As well, I think too many writers fail to recognize the difference between real-life conversation and on-page dialogue. The latter must keep the story moving forward, either by imparting information or revealing something important about the characters. Last, I think more authors would benefit from “listening” to their characters, rather than moving them around like pieces on a chessboard. One technique I use is to interview my characters. I literally take time out from writing, craft 7-10 questions for the main characters, and then try to answer the questions in the characters’ voices. I utilized this technique in Bella and was surprised by some of the answers I got, which in turn led to (hopefully) unexpected twists and turns in the story.

Lillian: What are your greatest obstacles and motivators when it comes to writing?

Steve: Years of grouchy editors and daily newspaper deadlines cured me of writer’s block. Spend six months covering the police beat for some hard driving, chain-smoking night editor and you’d see what I mean. For a long time, making the front page was a tremendous incentive. Eventually that wore off and I wanted to write longer, more in-depth pieces that explored relationships, personalities and motivation – the kind of stuff editors would always rip from my stories. When I finally switched to fiction, I found it was hard to slow down time and expand moments in a way that would build reader interest and anticipation. I had been taught for years to write in the inverted pyramid style, which requires a straightforward presentation of the 5 Ws. I can still hear one editor yelling across the newsroom, Hey, Piacente, anything longer than 12 inches is gonna get cut from the bottom.

Lillian: What is your favorite memory in your career as a writer?

Steve: In 34 years as a professional writer, there are many fond memories – front-page stories that documented scandals, elections, individual achievements and much more – to the day my proof copy of Bella arrived in the mail. But my favorite memory involves a short story called Four Hands, which I wrote during my first class in the Hopkins program. I was working on another piece in our family room downstairs, while upstairs my two daughters, then 14 and 12, were practicing a piano piece for an upcoming recital. Their teacher had given them a duet that required four hands, two for the high notes, two for the lower register. There was more fighting than playing, and I was about to lay down the law when I realized that a better story than the one I was writing was sitting right in front of me on the piano bench. I used the practice sessions to reveal the girls’ characters, made the dad a renowned conductor worried more about his reputation than his children, and the recital, when all goes horribly wrong, as his moment of enlightenment. Four Hands not only got me an A, a small literary magazine also published it – my first published fiction.

Lillian: What do you think about self-publishing?

Steve: There used to be one key to the literary castle. You wrote your book, wooed all the agents you could find, and hopefully landed one who could hook you up with a publisher. If you didn’t get the agent, you didn’t get the key, and all you got to write was an angry passage in your diary. Technology’s changed the landscape, to my mind for the better. We self-published Bella and are in the process of getting it before average people without the help of any middlemen. Thus, real people will decide if my book is worth reading. That said, there is a significant challenge when an author moves from creative writing to creative marketing. We have taken on that challenge by creating a web site www.getbella.com that features a video trailer, an interactive reader map, and illustrated excerpts. We are also well represented on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. (Each page of the web site links to our pages). Finally, I am also writing a how-to blog on self-publishing (Back Story) that tells how we’ve reached this point. The most recent post includes a video of our launch at the National Press Club www.getbella.com/blog/ I very much like self-publishing and am amazed by the technology that has enabled us to reach prospective readers around the world.


Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, information about their radio program, newsletter, blogs, and more at: www.brummet.ca 
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4 comments:

  1. You have an in interesting approach to your writing!I too, see that there are many "keys to the castle" and am developing my marketing tools... Have you tried purchasing mailing lists of book readers to widen your prospective audience net?

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  2. Hi Barry, no, we're trying to keep costs down and use social media tools as much as possible. That said, we did outsource the task of compiling contact information for book clubs across America. We got back a nice Excel spreadsheet with hundreds of names - all for $35. My advice is to think hard about your own networks, don't be shy about asking for help, and then reach out to your friends' friends and colleagues. Also take a look at our reader map at www.getbella.com. This has proved a popular and useful tool.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Steve Piacente has fantastic writing skills and I truly enjoyed reading his novel Bella. Great interview! Thank you for sharing!

    You can find my review for Bella by Steve Piacente Here

    and my Author Interview with Steve Piacente Here

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your energy consumption can also be reduced by turning your lights off if you can have your windows open. More to that, if you can use windows for ventilation purposes, then your AC can be suspended if there’s no extreme need.

    ReplyDelete

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