Lane Diamond

Author, Editor, Publisher, Coach

Category: Uncategorized (page 2 of 3)

Is “Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day” in jeopardy?

Today is Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day nationally. How many of you knew that?

This is a fantastic idea. Kids need to read more, to know the wonder and majesty of the written word, to let their imaginations carry them to worlds created wholly on the page.

Yet with the advent of the eBook, and the slow (or maybe not-so-slow) dwindling of print books, might this laudable event be in jeopardy? The Borders bookstore chain is already gone. Barnes & Noble is cutting back on shelf space, rather drastically in some cases. Mom-and-Pop bookshops are struggling to keep their heads above water—those that haven’t already vanished.

Fewer people are buying print books at all, and those who are do so more often online, or through discounters like Wal-Mart and Target. So where are parents going to take their children in the future?

Perhaps it’s time we started a new tradition: a monthly Read with Your Child day. We could use the third Saturday of each month, for example, and dedicate two hours per month to actually sit down and read with our kids, to talk about books, about their favorite stories and characters—and why they made their choices.

I remain more convinced than ever that kids must read more, particularly in a world dominated by television and computer games. Use eReaders. Go ahead! I mean, let’s face it: eReaders are right up your kid’s alley. Just read with them. Please! It does for their brain development what TV and computer games cannot.

And then maybe—just maybe—we’ll stop hearing twenty-somethings toss out sentences like this real-life gem: “It’s like… so… I don’t know, kinda like… well, you know what I mean?”

My response: “Well, no, I don’t know what you mean. Perhaps if you spoke English.”

Her response: “OMG! Like… whatever!”

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Newer Pictures of an Older Me, Family Visit, and Giants on Mini-Planes

I’m catching up now from the time I took off for the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s a slog, but I’m getting there.

One of the things I did was update this website, along with various social media sites where I play, with some new pictures. They show the newer, older me. Yikes! That’s okay.

My little sister, Dawn Lane Vornholt (aka Laney Bird), took the pictures while I was visiting her and Rich, her husband, in Georgia over the Thanksgiving holiday. She’s accustomed to taking pictures of beautiful things—mostly birds. I hope her camera survived the shock.

I hadn’t seen little sis in over three years, not counting our Skype conversations, so it was great to catch up. I also got to visit with Rich, a fun guy with a great sense of humor, and even his three daughters (from previous marriage), Hayley, Anna and Piper—good peeps, one and all. Rich and Dawn were exceedingly generous, and I had a great time.

I managed to meet up with my business partner, D.T. Conklin, while I was in Georgia. As fate would have it, he lives a little over an hour from my sister. We hammered out some business, enjoyed some good food and drink, and I met his lovely wife, Kesh. Don’t know what she sees in him, but… no accounting for taste. (Just kidding!)

I used to fly routinely on business and pleasure, jumping on planes dozens of times per year. The past few years, however, flying has been a rarity. Thank God! Man, I hate cattle cars… I mean airports. And I hate being a giant on those itty-bitty planes.


I mean… I must be a giant, since my right shoulder hung out in the aisle even as my left shoulder cozied-up with the person seated to my left. I wish they built planes for giants like me—you know, people who weigh more than 100 pounds. A few people on the plane were twice my size—well, twice my weight—and man, did I feel sorry for the people sitting next to them! No offense, big people, but that can’t be comfortable on a mini-plane. And I must have been on a mini-plane.

It’s also not a fun thing to land in a mini-plane when the wind is gusting to 60 MPH.

If I’m lucky, I won’t have to get on a plane for a while. I figure it will be at east a year, as plans now stand. Maybe by then, they’ll have built planes large enough to seat adults comfortably.

One can dream.

So now it’s back to the grind, to a workload that borders on insane. I swear, I’m busier than a one-winged bee at a honeycomb convention. Oh well, I guess that’s why I get the big bucks. Oh wait! Ahhhh… never mind.

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The New Look of My Website

Yep, I updated the banner across the top of this site—finally got rid of the template image and put in something that makes sense to Lane Diamond, Author. How does it look?

I also added a link at right if you prefer to follow this blog via Networked Blogs on Facebook.

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If You’re a Poetry Fan, Perhaps You’ll Enjoy a Couple of My Modest Offerings

I started my writing pursuits at the ripe old age of 12 with some rather pedantic poetry. I’d be embarrassed to show most of that now. Of course, my poetry matured with me over the years, and I’m pleased with much of it—at least, not so embarrassed that I’m unwilling to share it.

I don’t visit the form often. It seems I must be in a specific, introspective frame of mind to feel the urge. Poetry has always offered me a certain cathartic release during difficult times, and I’m sure you’ll see that theme in some of my work.

I now offer some of my Poetry via a page at this website (tab at top). I’ll start slow, with just four offerings, but I’ll add to it as time allows. Please enjoy.

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Who has time to read for pleasure?

Like all writers, I came to writing through reading.  I didn’t kick my pleasure reading into high gear until 1980.  I was serving in the U.S. Air Force at Ramstein Air Base in [West] Germany.  I had time on my hands, sitting in my little efficiency apartment off base with no television and no phone in those pre-internet days.

I’d always been a proficient reader as a kid, but hadn’t done much of it.  Although I enjoyed a few exceptions, books tended to bore me, a sad alternative to playing outside with my friends.  In 1980, no longer a kid running around the neighborhood, I looked to reading as a remedy for boredom.  Wow!  I realized just how much I’d been missing.

I started with Stephen King (and his alter ego Richard Bachman), because he was producing a lot of material and could keep me engaged.  I also read everything Robert Ludlum had available.  Indeed, after I made my first trip to Berlin, and actually went through Checkpoint Charlie into communist East Germany, espionage thrillers moved to the front of my reading list.  Enter John LeCarre, Frederick Forsyth and others.

From that point on, I couldn’t even imagine life without books, though I’ve suffered some downtime—gaps in my reading—on occasion.  This, I’m sorry to say, is one of those occasions.  I’m so busy writing my own book, and editing the work of several authors in our Evolved Publishinggroup, that I just can’t seem to find time for pleasure reading.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m thrilled that our publishing venture is about to rocket forward.  Still, I miss the simple joy of reading without deadlines, without pressure to find every little word that doesn’t quite work, without authors breathing down my neck like a bunch of….

Just kidding.  Our authors are a fine, patient bunch.  Nonetheless, I’ll be glad to get past this initial big launch of our publishing venture (7-10 more books in the next 2-3 months).  I’ll be glad to relax at night with a snifter of cognac in one hand, a book or my Kindle in the other, and read for the shear escapist joy of it.

I’m curious: Which authors first hooked you on reading?

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Why Are So Many Snarks Circling the Internet Waters?

“The reputation through a thousand years may depend upon the conduct through a single moment.” – Ernest Bramah

I’ve been seeing quite a few heated conversations on the internet lately.  Of course, certain subjects lend themselves to such warfare more than do others, as do certain venues.  Nonetheless, I’ve been surprised by a few of them.

Who would have thought, for example, that posting a job opening at LinkedIn would generate snarky, combative responses?  Do potential applicants think that will leave them any chance of acceptance?  Really?  Who goes into a job interview, for example, and blurts right out, “Okay, Mr. Hiring Official, so what are you going to do for me?”  Yeah, there’s a recipe for success.

Well, once you realize that some of those snarky comments come from potential competitors, it’s easier to understand their attitudes, at least.  What I don’t understand is why they would they engage in that sort of activity on a site dedicated to professional advancement.

Seriously, what could such behavior possibly do for their reputations?

That brings me to the overall point of this post.  In the new internet environment, it seems to me that one must be careful not to weave a web of discontent and anger at every opportunity.  I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t be honest; of course, we should.  I am suggesting that sometimes it’s simply best to walk away.  Be polite.  Be quiet.  Don’t pick fights.

I doubt anyone wins those fights, in the end.  I suspect both parties are damaged, to some degree.  That naturally begs the question: What should I do if someone attacks me?  Should I not respond at all?

Well, sometimes yes… and sometimes no.  Perhaps a simple “Oh brother” or “Good grief” will make your point, and throw the dirt back on the muddy snark.  Perhaps you’ll require a larger response at times, but exercise caution.  Remember your mother’s admonition when you were in the third grade: “Just because Billy wants to jump off a bridge, doesn’t mean you have to jump off a bridge.”

In an electronic medium, where we never meet face-to-face or engage in coordinated physical activities, we have only our posted words to build and protect our reputations.  Furthermore, that reputation will be the primary means by which we build our business, whatever that may be.

It sure is difficult, at times.  I’ve encountered circumstances in which I wanted to unleash a barrage of 4-letter words.  Yet whom would that harm more?  My target… or me?

To quote the bard, “Aye, there’s the rub.”

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Authors – To Blog or Not To Blog

Blogger and soon-to-be-published author, Roni Loren, has posted a blog that’s already drawing some interesting comments.  I’m happy to recommend that you pop over and participate in the conversation.

Tell her Diamond sent you.  🙂

Is Blogging Dead?

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‘Til next time, and as always, remember: To write well, you must work hard.  To succeed in this tough gig, you mustn’t be lazy (or discouraged).

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Flash Fiction

Let me first say that I’m not a fan of flash fiction, particularly the 55-word variety.  In my experience, 9 out of 10 pieces are not worth the reading, even if it does take only a few seconds.  People don’t tell stories; they write anecdotes, ask questions, set up a possible story.

Yet I entered a flash fiction contest.  Go figure.

I found Austin Briggs’ contest on Twitter, liked what he was doing (Hey, I love any opportunity for a writer to make money!), and decided to both spread the good word and enter my own piece.

He provided this prompt: “Eccentric Woman.”

His essential guidelines were clear: 55-words max (includes the title), must contain a setting and at least one character, and must present a conflict and resolution.

Those are ambitious guidelines for a 55-word piece, and that’s ultimately why I decided to participate (my entry, Sipping, took 2nd place in July).  Did all entries adhere to those guidelines?  Did all the winners?  Hmmm….  As I said before, flash fiction so rarely gives us a story.

Nonetheless, Austin is doing a good thing for writers.  If you like flash fiction, and you’d like an opportunity to make a little money in a contest, please check it out.  You’ll find the July results here: Austin Briggs’ Flash Fiction Contest.

‘Til next time, and as always, remember: To write well, you must work hard.  To succeed in this tough gig, you mustn’t be lazy (or discouraged).

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Is Time Even Real?

I watched The Science Channel yesterday while having breakfast, a show hosted by Morgan Freeman called Through the Wormhole, and the subject was time.  The essential argument related to the properties of the so-called fourth dimension.

One scientist went so far as to argue that time is an illusion, not real, a construct of the human mind.  Only space exists, and it does so whether or not time is real.

I responded with a literary metaphor, and I think I should copyright it right here and now, before it slips away from me.  So here it is.

Time is the page upon which the story of space is written.  Burn the page, and the story is lost.

Someday, I think, we’re going to throw out the rest and decide that there really is only one dimension: space-time.  We’ll see.

‘Til next time, and as always, remember: To write well, you must work hard.  To succeed in this tough gig, you mustn’t be lazy (or discouraged).

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Writers Need To Make a Living Too

A recent online article by C. Hope Clark, Are we speaking for free, too?, prompted me to dust off a piece I wrote long ago at www.Writing.com.  I’ve decided to reprise it here, since I have a primarily new audience.

What’s a writer?

I once installed a new kitchen sink and garbage disposal in my condo.  That doesn’t make me a plumber.  I once built some shelves for my closet.  That doesn’t make me a carpenter.  I once watched a meteor shower streak through the night sky.  That doesn’t make me an astronomer.

Writers are professionals.  Professionals are paid for their work.  Hence, writers are paid for their work.

Everyone else is an “aspiring writer,” or a hobbyist.

As an example, if you write short fiction and you’ve looked around at print markets for your work, you’ve no doubt discovered that more outlets don’t pay than dopay.  Sure, they may offer “2 free contributor copies.”  Oh goodie!  Now I can eat something besides PB&J sandwiches and macaroni & cheese.  Oh wait!  Never mind.

Just in case that’s not bad enough, you might subsequently have this conversation:

MAGAZINE EDITOR: I discovered that you posted your story on a website where people have access to it.

ME: That’s right.  It’s an interactive writer’s site.  We review each other’s material and offer some constructive feedback, perhaps a little encouragement.  We can all use more of that.

EDITOR: Sure, but people can read your story there.

ME: Yes, this story has had 138 views as of this morning, primarily by other writers, no doubt. EDITOR: See, that’s what we consider “previously published,” and we expect “First-Time” rights. ME: But it’s 138 people.

EDITOR: That doesn’t matter.

ME: 138.  That’s 138 people in the whole world.  How many of those do you suppose are part of your 1,200 subscribers?

EDITOR: That’s not the point.  We pay for first-time rights.

ME: Really?  What do you pay?

EDITOR: We pay 2 free contributor copies.

ME: Oh goodie!  Now I can pay the rent this month!

(Pregnant pause)

Imagine calling a plumber to install your new water heater:

YOU: I’d like you to remove the old water heater, install my new one in the same spot, and dispose of the old one.

PLUMBER: Okay, that will require three hours of labor, which costs $180.  Additionally, there’s a $20 fee for disposing of your old water heater.

YOU: Well, I don’t actually offer money for plumbing services, but I will pay “2 free written references.”  Man, that’s gonna look good on your resume!

(Pregnant pause)

Yeah, how’s that new water heater working out?

It’s amazing how many magazine editors think we writers should feel “honored” that they want to publish our material… absolutely free.  Yep, we should be thrilled that their 1,200 readers (Oh joy!), or 800 readers (How wonderful!), or 300 readers (Are you kidding me?) are going to read our story.

Let’s close out that first conversation:

EDITOR: You know, this would be a good job if it weren’t for you damned writers!

Yeah, it’s so nice to be loved and respected.

I’ll give you a little hint, Dear Writer: You create this problem for yourself… every time you agree to work for free.  The sooner we all stop doing that, the sooner we’ll get paid for our work.  You have the power.  We have the power, and it’s time for a little peaceful revolution.

‘Til next time, and as always, remember: To write well, you must work hard.  To succeed in this tough gig, you mustn’t be lazy (or discouraged).

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