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  • gigigalt 7:54 pm on March 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Help Writing Romantic Fiction, Historic Fiction, Historic Foods, , ,   

    History Fiction Authors: A Site You’ll Love––Party Planners, too! 



    Every so often I find a site that is a rare find. Not anything I’d find in Wikipedia. I discovered another one today. If you’re a historic fiction writer, you will want to take a look at this. It will blow you away. At least it did me. As you know, with historical fiction, the story needn’t be factual, but it should have been possible. For starters, you need to know what was used for transportation, who was in power, the fashions worn, and what foods were traditionally served––how they were presented.

    This sounds simple enough––a little research––right? It wasn’t for me. Discovering the eating habits of a particular era, can be difficult. But not anymore.

    Here is an excerpt from Ivan Day’s extraordinary blog:

    “As well as details of our courses, you will find a wealth of material in this site on food history issues. There are galleries of photographs of historic table settings re-created by Ivan Day. In addition there are extensive pages of recipes and other features you will find on no other website.To enter, move your cursor over the swan pie recipe in the centre column. Please note that this site is best viewed at a screen resolution of 1280 x 1024. It is also very image-rich, so please be patient if some pages take a little time to download. It is worth waiting.”



    P.S. And the handsome chef? That’s Picasso. You will meet him in “Paraidse 2: A Love Story from Harbor Springs to Cross Village.”
  • gigigalt 6:57 am on October 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: and Ethinicity: It’s All How You Write It . . .Writers Helper, , Color, Help Writing Romantic Fiction, Home Schooling, Race,   

    Color, Race, and Ethnicity: It’s All How You Write It . . . 

    Color and Race

    (In The U.S.A.)

    Only two of the five enumerated races are  labeled by a color: white and black

    1. The white race, refers to a “person having origins in any of the original people’s of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

    2. The black race, also called “African American” on the US Census,  refers to a “person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.

    The other three races are not labeled by color:

    3. Asian

    4. American Indian and Alaska Native

    5. Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander.

    Note: Chicago Manual of Style 16th. Edition Requires No Hyphens


    To Sum Up: There are only five recognized races in USA:

    1. White

    2. American Indian and Alaska Native

    3. Black

    4. Asian

    5. Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander.




    Pick one:

    a. I am Hispanic or Latino

    b.  I am  not Hispanic or Latino.



    According to Chicago Manual Of Style: 16 th. Edition: The common designations of ethnic groups by color are usually lowercased unless a particular publisher or author prefers otherwise.


    The Black population has been bolstered by a growing West Indian American sub-group with origins in Jamaica, Hati, Trinidad, and Tobago, and Barbados. In 2008 they were estimated to be 2.5 million strong.


     National Groups and Associated Adjectives


    Names of ethnic and national groups are capitalized. Adjectives associated with these names are also capitalized.

    Aborigines; an Aborigine; Aboriginal art

    African Americans; African American culture

    American Indians; an American Indian

    Arabs; Arabian

    Asians; Asian influence in the West; an Asian American

    the British; a British person or, colloquially, a Britisher, a Brit

    Caucasians; a Caucasian

    Chicanos; a Chicano; a Chicana

    European Americans

    the French; a Frenchman; a Frenchwoman

    French Canadians

    Hispanics; a Hispanic

    Hopis; a Hopi; Hopi customs

    Inuit; Inuit sculpture

    Italian Americans; an Italian American neighborhood

    Jews; a Jew; Jewish ethnicity

    Latinos; a Latino; a Latina; Latino immigration

    Native Americans; Native American poetry (see text below)

    New Zealanders; New Zealand immigration

    Pygmies; a Pygmy; Pygmy peoples

    Romanies; a Romany; the Romany people

    Many among those who trace their roots to the aboriginal people’s of the Americas prefer American Indians to Native Americans, and in certain historical works Indians may be more appropriate. Canadians often speak of First Peoples (and of First Nations). 


    Note: There are  Native Americans who prefer to be called even more specifically by their tribe name. There are also other designations such as: Woodland Indians. More about this another time. I have other sources I’d like to check.


    Plural form for Native American group names

    According to current preference, names of Native American groups usually form their plural by adding s. In earlier writings the s was often omitted (indeed, Webster’s has continued to present both forms as equal variants).

    the Hopis of northeastern Arizona (not Hopi)

    the language spoken by Cherokees


    the languages of the Iroquois



    I received this message this morning. from J.R. It sheds new light. This is what it said:

    The word “Asian” has different meanings in the US and in the UK. Here we describe people from areas such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc as “Asians” but Americans use the word to mean people of Far Eastern origins – those who used to be called Orientals until the term became pejorative. I’ve often wondered what word is used in the US to describe what we call Asians? (BTW, it’s ethnicity – you’ve added an extra ‘i’)

    Thank you, J.R.!  Here’s what I found in Wiki:

    Various attempts have been made, under the British Raj and since, to classify the population of India according to a racial typology. After the independence, in pursuance of the Government’s policy to discourage distinctions between communities based on race, the 1951 Census of India did away with racial classifications. The national Census of independent India does not recognize any racial groups in India.[1]


    This is fascinating. I need to discuss this with J.R.. In the meantime, anybody who can offer further insight, please write me.

    • Andy Szpuk 8:44 am on October 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      A useful breakdown, Gigi.

    • Jacqualine Aul 8:11 am on July 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      SEO Services Orange County Magnificent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too excellent. I really like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it smart. I cant wait to read much more from you. This is really a great website.

    • Debby Hanoka 2:44 pm on August 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Gigi. I just discovered your blog and I love it! If I may contribute just a few words …

      As a “Jew,” I prefer to be called “a Jewish person” because it better categorizes what I am in a way that cannot possibly be misunderstood or sound degrading. As much as I dislike categorizing myself like that, I realize that sometimes it is necessary.

      To refer to “Native Americans” or “American Indians” I use the same term as Angela Davis did in her book Women, Race, & Class: Native American Indian. Don’t misunderstand — I’m not trying to get political here. I am simply stating an inclusive term which I use when it is relevant. But if a Native American Indian person wishes to be identified by their Tribal or some other name, then I will do that.

      Best wishes, and keep blogging!

    • gigigalt 8:44 pm on December 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Dear Debby, I just discovered your note. So sorry for the long delay in replying! Thanks for your input. I think whether one should call a person a “Jew” or “Jewish” or “Jewish Person” is a touchy one. (Jewish people live all over the world and the definition is very broad.) Personally, I have never called a Jewish person, a Jew.” Why? Because it is often said by hateful people and is not meant kindly. The word, Jewish, sounds softer to my ears. I realize it shouldn’t make any difference whether I use the word Jew or Jewish, but perhaps because over the years I have heard the word Jew (a perfectly good word!) used unkindly, I never have the urge to use it. As with most everything in life, when in doubt, take the kindest approach. Also, when possible, I ask a friend what he or she prefers to be called. Many thanks for your feedback and encouraging words! Happy holidays!

  • gigigalt 1:29 am on October 24, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Are Foods and Drinks Capitalized? Excerpt from: How Do I Write Thee (forthcoming) Writers Helper, Help Writing Romantic Fiction,   

    Are Food and Drink Capitalized? 

    Photo By Permission: Vin_Jaune.jpj Wiki Commons


    Is it Swiss Cheese or swiss cheese? Is it French fries or french fries? Is it Irish coffee or irish coffee? A Manhattan or manhattan?

    Seeing all the above written both ways, I finally gave up and checked it out in the Chicago Manual of Style. Being a person who’s always liked my food and drink capitalized, I find now, there are other ways.

    The easiest foolproof route for you to take is: DON’T CAPITALIZE the names of food and drink.

    EVEN, if the given name of a nationality, city, region, or person is part of the name of the food or drink. Example: French, Swiss, Manhattan, Daiquiri, Champagne, Margarita, or Bloody Mary.

    However, if you are required to write according to the dictates of another style guide, adhere to it’s guidelines which may vary somewhat.

    Note: If you are like I am, and cringe when you see the name of fine wine and food in lower case letters, you can instead use registered trademark names or the name of a particular dish such as “Julie Child’s Baked Alaska.” You can also write your own recipe and name it, such as “Sadie’s Seduction Sorbet.”

    Give your imagination free rein, and have fun with it, just make sure not to write anything derogatory about a trademark product or established business.

    P.S. I wrote this article sometime ago. To be on the safe side I looked up the subject to see what  Megan Fogerty, had to say. After going over it again, I feel fairly comfortable with it. But check it out for yourself and let me know what you think––especially any of you out there who are wine and food experts––you would know better than I would.



    brussels sprouts

    french dressing
    french fries
    scotch whisky; scotch
    swiss cheese (not made in Switzerland)&lt
    • scotland golf course 12:07 pm on October 24, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Good blog! I really love how it is easy on my eyes and the data are well written. I’m wondering how I could be notified when a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your feed which must do the trick! Have a nice day!

    • Myron Woodson 1:33 pm on October 24, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I simply want to mention I am just newbie to blogging and certainly loved this web blog. More than likely I’m going to bookmark your blog . You surely come with incredible stories. Many thanks for sharing your web-site.

      • gigigalt 9:16 am on November 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Hey Myron. Many thanks. I appreciated you fine comment. : )

    • cs965 3:40 am on November 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Your articles and your choice of wines.
      Ce vin est la plus noble expression du cépage savagnin.

  • gigigalt 4:39 pm on March 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Don't steal from photographers! E-books Photos: To Pay Or Not to Pay?, Help Writing Romantic Fiction,   

    Picking E-Book Covers 

    There can be quite a difference among the photo companies who sell photos. I recently learned that at least one popular company, only allows their photos to be used for blogs. It does not allow their photos to be used in all e-books–many can are only for editorial use. (Read the fine print.) I was shocked to learn, I could owe tnem as mucha as could as much as 100. per photo if I wanted to use the photo for an e-book and a print book. I stopped using them. Then in 2013, I saw they had changed the rules. Now I buy from them again. (The fee of $100.00 is understandable if I sold 500,000 books, but to pay it ahead of time, on an e- book I offer for free, that may or may not sell in the future, seems unreasonable.)

    Free Photos?

    Most of the photo stock company advertise their photo’s are free. But they are not. What they usually mean is you will not have to pay on-going royalties. Be sure to read the fine print, and the various contracts within each photo company. My companies I can call on the phone. They are usually helpful.

    Another company I checked with, allows you to use any photo you purchase from them, up to 500,000 copies. Books you give away, are not counted in the 500,000 number. However, once you reach 500,000, their photos are twice the price of the company mentioned above. I also learned from them, by rights (you don’t have to) but in my opinion, you should give photography credit in your acknowledgements. There is a proper way to do this, so check with the company from whom you purchase your photos. Or, write to me.

    E-book covers are so much fun!  I love them and suspect you do also, or will shortly.

    First off, be sure to pay for any photos you use.  Don’t assume they are free and you can take them from the internet. These photo’s belong to a photographer who deserves to be paid–the same as you do–for the stories you write. So, if you plan to design your own covers using photos you find on the internet, do the right thing, and make sure you pay for the right to use them.

    The photo companies ads will often say: “Free” but that doesn’t mean you get them for free. It only means you do not have to enter a long-term royalty agreement.

    Caution: There is a code embedded into the corner each photo that will lead companies to your doorstep. You can’t see it. Sometimes you can click on it. Other photos will have various marks you and everyone else can see. (Think of it as you would hanging your laundry on a clothes line with the name “Holiday Inn” stamped all over your towels.) Some photographers (trying to protect the product of their hard work) have been known to corrupt author’s computer files.

    So if any of you out there are unknowingly taking photos and not paying for them–reform. : )

    Note: With some photos, until you put the photo in your computers trash basket, your system will continue to do strange things. If it blows up, then it’s evident you have confiscated far too many photos. (Just kidding.)


    The photos on-line from reputable companies are affordable. Small ones (for a blog) in the 851 x 564 pixel range. For covers, Amazon now recommends:

    • TIFF (.tif/.tiff) or JPEG (.jpeg/.jpg) format
    • At least 1000 pixels on the longest side, with an ideal height/width ratio of 1.6. 
2500 pixels on the longest side is preferred

    Some photos are very expensive, but most of them this size will be about $3.00. to $12.00 each.

    You can also use Public Domain Photo and ones published via Wikipedia. But realize there are risks involved in doing this––however when you deal with a company––one I know of, has built in liability insurance.The extra cost per photo is worth it to me. One company I know of provides this––there may be others. And if you are going to the expense of printing paper book, it is doubly important to use caution. There are also rules on how you use the photographs. Read them carefully.




    Something To Consider:

    If you take your own photographs with a newer camera, chances are your photos are embedded with personal information that bring you unwanted attention. As I understand it, (from a professional internet person who works for a nationally known author of #1 computer books) “Snaps” is a program that will remove identifying information from your photographs.



    Pre-made/Custom Book Covers


    Note: This company was brought to my attention by a satisfied customer. (I consider him a reliable source.) Covers created by this designer will cost you about $25.00. Turn around time is excellent. You can usually have your cover within a few days.

    Copyright 2012 Gigi Galt

    • Alan Jankowski 8:16 am on March 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hey Miss Galt…you must have just seen my video pick of the day over on Facebook…:)

      And yes, the cover is the first thing people see…so, it’s worth making it look good…if you are not good with Photoshop or similar program, consider hiring someone who is…or pay for professional cover design…
      As far as photos…here’s a site where you can find public images for covers and other uses…it was recommended by someone recently…


      • gigigalt 9:22 am on March 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Haven’t seen your video pick of the day, but they are always good. My guess is that you would have picked a Monkey’s video because of the death of Davey Jones. R.I.P.

        And yes, what you say here underlines everything i said in my blog today. I will check out your “free” site. Most that say they are free, are not, but if this is, it could very well be a good site for those not willing to pay for their photographs. It would be wise however, to verify the pixels and quality of the photos. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. : )

    • gigigalt 8:38 am on March 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Alan. I will check it out.

    • Joel Friedlander 8:25 pm on March 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I removed the link. Sorry for the legal problems you are having with the man who has infringed upon your copyright. I have removed all traces of both of you. Sorry for your problems. It is fine. The article here is my own work, covered by my own copyright. I did not need the link.

      Note: Mr. Friedlander objected to the second link which was credited to another man. He did not (understandably) want a link to his website being credited to the person who had infringed upon his copyright.

    • Walston 7:12 am on March 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I always think that a photo on the front of a book should bear some relationship with the contents inside. I feel cheated if it isn’t so. I guess we all have been cheated. I make sure that I’m not cheated twice. I don’t read any more of their books. A photograph should be chosen carefully. It should use every one of its thousand words to reflect the story. It is the story that is most important and if an author allows a picture to trump it, the author has betrayed their own work. I often find that the best book covers have geometric designs on the cover. These are what attract my attention. They are often simple and avoid grandiosity. On the cover are words that summarise the story. These are helpful. They help one to choose. So long as they are honest.

    • gigigalt 9:02 am on March 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, Walston. Well said, and a great addition to this discussion. Thank you!

  • gigigalt 7:27 am on February 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Book Publishing Contracts: "Take it or Leave it?", Help Writing Romantic Fiction,   

    Book Publishing Contracts: Take it or Leave it? 


    Don’t throw your hands up in the air and assume you can’t understand what is in the contract before you.
    And for your sake and that of your family, don’t cave into a cigar puffing publisher that shrugs his shoulders and pronounces, “Take it or leave it.” You always have options, and one of your options may be to refuse to do business with pricks. Let’s face it, you had the brains to write a book, you can learn to understand contracts. It’s not rocket science. And to be sure you haven’t missed anything, you’ll get the final okay from an attorney who doesn’t charge you an arm and leg. Remember they work by the hour, so you do your homework first. Make sure you aren’t dealing with a shyster that is learning at your expense.

    Attorney Lloyd J. Jassin tells what not to miss when drafting and negotiating your book publish contract. He says, “For authors, it is helpful to keep in mind that most contracts are not take-it-or-leave-it propositions. Be courteous. Be tactful. Knowing what to ask for is critical. Use an agent or attorney who understands the parameters of the typical publishing deal to negotiate your contract. Working through an agent or attorney allows the author to preserve his creative relationship with the editor or publishing house.”

    I highly recommend the following article to all authors and publishers. Even if, you have been in the business a long time, there have been many changes in the industry, and more to come in 2012.


    Copyright 2012 Gigi Galt

  • gigigalt 6:37 pm on February 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Help Writing Romantic Fiction, Straight Talk From Cowgirls Who Write,   

    Cowgirls Write Rein Free 

    Straight Talk From Cowgirls Who Write


    I don’t know if Maria Langer would like to be called a cowgirl or not. But when a friend put me on to Maria’s blog a few weeks ago, as I read it, that’s the image that popped into in my head. I could even hear her voice. I’ve known a few who talked like her. They’re the kind who got you as a kid to go horse back riding and talked you into a 2,500 mile trip on a whim. They’ll always be stuck in my head as cowgirls–amazing straight talking women–the kind that come out shooting from the hip and telling the world how it is with them. They were oblivious to public opinion. Today, they still are.

    My instincts tell me that women like that always tell the truth and that listeners, are free to take it or leave it. My heart wishes I had the grit to ride the range with them–at least for a day or two–strong, free and fearless. But, no doubt, I’d get saddle sore quick–want to go back to a soft chair and my laptop. There are people who live their adventures and ones like me who write about them. Maria Langer’s does both.

    As near as I can figure, when she isn’t flying around the skies taking pictures, she writes. To date, she’s published 79 book. Her fascinating blog is called, “An Ecletic Mind.” Being a freelance writer, commercial helicopter pilot, and serious amateur photographer, must leave little time for faults. The only thing wrong with her? Her blogs are so good–you can’t stop reading them.



    Copyright 2012 by Gigi Galt

    • Maria 8:19 pm on February 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Whoa, fellow cowgirl! Thanks for the kind words. You’re making me blush right down to my boot tips.

      You certainly see right through me. I’m definitely a straight talker who says what’s on my mind. Gets me into plenty of trouble, too. (Apparently, many people don’t want the truth — or what I think might be the truth. Who knew?)

      I appreciate the plug and will try to keep on writing — especially if it means getting nice surprises like this blog post.

      Cowgirl up!


    • gigigalt 7:06 pm on February 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Howdy Maria! I am honored. The hired man will park your horse out back. Come on in and make yourself at home. You’ll be guest of honor at the hoedown. We’ll even have a Box Social. The cowboys all love that. Lol. Seriously, thanks for showing up to say hello–for giving thanks for the mention and not being mad. What a wonderful surprise! You made my day. : ) Gigi

    • Noussa 7:00 am on May 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Very cute Danielle! I’m sure the cute little piotsl will love it! Now she just needs some cute little cowgirl pants with FRINGE on them! =-) My oldest daughter had one pair of red cowgirl pants with fringe when she was little, and she started cutting paper into fringe pants and drawing fringe pants on her pictures and everything. She LOVED em!!! Maybe i should buy or make a pair for her now that she’s almost 21! Whatdya think?!=-)

    • gigigalt 2:43 am on August 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for your comment Noussa. I somehow missed this. Sorry for the delay. I appreciate your

      Excerpt deleted from 3/16/13 Duffy

      P.S. Joe from Country Time Schools, Pauline Black from the YMCA, Richie Feurgason, Jerry Zilinsky, Nancy Sanders, and Troy Faunceten, were near me by the piano. I told Pauline, “Somebody should be video taping this!” She said, “Someone is!” Later, Don Lessner asked Maxine’s friends Gladys, Bea and Paul, if they knew, who the video man was. They didn’t. Later, Barb Nesbitt, Lorie Kunkle, Diane Bartz, and Coach McCahill all tried to find him, but to no avail.. He’d vanished. Or so it seems, however, if it ever shows up, I will be sure to send you and your uncle a copy.

  • gigigalt 7:45 am on February 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Help Writing Romantic Fiction, , Where In The World? A Real Location Or Fake?   

    Where In The World? A Real Location or Fictional? 


    Advantages of the Real Location

    1. The allure of real location increases your stories marketability.

    2. Readers of historical fiction enjoy learning facts about time periods–enjoyment is enhanced.

    3. Getting the support of the community about which you are writing.

    Disadvantages of Real Location:

    1. Although it’s true you don’t have to invent street names and other details about the location, the opposite side of that argument is that you need to know all those details.
    2. Readers will catch small errors. While they might forgive a few discrepancies, chances are that if you make serious errors, they’ll tell you and–even worse–the world. No liberties or assumptions permitted.

    Extra Work Involved:

    1. Reading everything you can about your location.

    2. Looking for old pictures.

    3. Visiting the site at the appropriate time of year.

    4.Time spent enlisting the help of local experts.



    The Seekers (Seekerville) with Audra Harders

    Title: “Author Beware – It’s Not as Easy as it Seems: Using Real Locations for Your Book’s Setting

    This great article by Amanda Cabot appeared in  Seekerville. She was the guest blogger of  Audra Harders‬

    “Amanda is the former director of Information Technology. She  has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages. She is now a full time writer of Christian historical romances. Amanda is delighted that her Texas Dreams trilogy received critical acclaim, in part because of their historical authenticity, and that the staff at Fort Laramie found her research so accurate that they’re carrying Summer of Promise, the first book in the Westward Winds series, in their gift shop.”  Seekerville.



    Three-masted schooner Linden of Mariehamn, Åland.

    Photo: Wiki Commons/Kevin Murray

    • Alan Jankowski 12:43 pm on February 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      It’s a lot easier to use a real local these days thanks to Wiki and Mapquest and the like…a few clicks and you can usually get all the details you need…

    • gigigalt 1:54 am on February 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, absolutely. One New York Times best selling author who writes five books at a time, recently revealed in an interview she does most research–by internet, map quest, email and telephone. But for authentic historical novels, such as Amanda’s Texas Dreams Trilogy, although the research may include internet searches, it goes far beyond it. (The link to the Seekerville post explains the difference between gathering first hand information and internet based research.) Next, I will be posting the story of another author who describes in great detail, how he exclusively uses the internet to write his romantic fantasy’s.)

    • Clark C. Gable 4:20 am on February 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Breaking away from familiar surroundings to find love. Traveling to an untamed wilderness filled with strong independent and daring men. The life of a young woman exposed to the perils of the land and the uncertainty of her future. A very powerful setting for romance.

    • gigigalt 2:16 pm on February 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, Mr. Gable. Powerful indeed. If you are not writing romantic stories, it’s a pity. This sounds like a story i’d like to read. You DO have a way with words. Nice to hear from you again. : )

    • cwc6161 6:50 pm on February 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Thank goodness for research! In my current WIP, I knew that I wanted to set one (possibly more, it’s still a WIP) scene at an off-campus hamburger joint that’s been at the same Tallahassee, FL, locale for more than fifty years. I’d visited the location just two years ago, but just to make sure, before I wrote the scene I decided to Google it. Lo and behold, the building still stands, but one year ago the restaurant’s ownership changed hands, it has a new name, and it’s no longer a burger joint. Just goes to show that one quick search can save a writer from egg on his or her face!


    • gigigalt 6:01 am on February 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hey Candice. Thanks for sharing this! Btw, when you say “WIP” are you referring to The Women’s International Perspective–the global source for women’s perspectives.? Would you be willing to share a little about this? : )

      • Walston 7:54 pm on February 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        I guess I’m lucky but I don’t use any special locations- I only use generic ones. I think that a lot of people use real locations unnecessarily. Mostly, it’s the people who make a story- not the location. I think it would be best to i rename one that I know. When one thinks about it, most places are generic- one can often work out what a place has by the number of people in it- pubs and post offices, banks and halls, Churches and news agents etc. In fiction it is fine and I wouldn’t dream of writing any thing else. Setting fiction in a real place seems problematic to me.

    • gigigalt 11:28 am on February 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      My Dear Mr. Walston. You make an excellent case for NOT using real locations. I thank you, and I am sure others will also. But when writing long stories, I put my characters, not only where I can
      imagine, but where my readers can also.

      This works better for me, but all that really matters, is the end result. Is it a good story?

      I appreciate your addition to this discussion!


    • gigigalt 2:48 am on August 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      P.S. Hello Walston! Read today’s blog––8-26-12–– entitled: Love Boxes: What Is A Fiction Travel Book? I think you may find it interesting. I have much stronger feelings about this now after working with it for sometime. ; )

  • gigigalt 11:41 am on February 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Help Writing Romantic Fiction, How To Build A Great Title: Title Tricks!,   

    How To Build A Great Title: Title Tricks! 


    Darlene Quinn, the best-selling author of “The Web” series, writes an outstanding blog to help other writers. Her interviews are always exceptional, but this one’s a must read! Her guest blogger is Sylvia Ney.


    “Some writers can’t seem to create a title until their story is complete. Others often start stories based on a title. Below is an exercise I recommend to help spark the imagination.”


  • gigigalt 4:54 pm on February 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Do It!, Help Writing Romantic Fiction, If You Can Put It Into Dialogue,   

    If You Can Put It Into Dialogue, Do It! 

    “As a general rule, if you can put something in dialogue, you probably should.”

    Leslie Wainger

    Executive Editor, Harlequin Books

    • Alan Jankowski 12:47 pm on February 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Lol…I think that’s a bit extreme, but I know you shouldn’t go too long without dialogue…you don’t want pages to go by without anyone speaking…it would be like “Where did the people go?” Did they leave?

      • gigigalt 1:08 pm on February 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Not really Alan, however, you do have a point. Because the quote is out of context, it could be taken that way. But in case you didn’t notice whose quote this is, let me assure you, that Leslie Wainger knows what she is talking about. I will come back and write a complete explanation if you promise to humble yourself and read it. Seriously, it was good of you to comment. (Had to kid you a bit!)

        • Walston 5:28 pm on February 26, 2012 Permalink

          I’m not sure about dialogue. (Does “di” refer to there being two and if so can we have two alogues?)

          Some times dialogue is wonderful but not always. It can become ponderous trying to attribute the dialogue. Like with all writing, some times it can be very destructive to the sense and flow of a story.

          I like to use dialogue in a limited way. To say the things I don’t want to say it’s wonderful to be able to attribute it to some one else, Also, I like to use it for emphasis. It’s also good to use it to break up a story a little but really, if that’s why it’s being used perhaps the plot should be looked at. I think it has a place in humour too.

          I think that dialogue can be a trap. It tends to cause a lot more writing and often it is unnecessary. I like to look at dialogue and if I think it could be removed without any detriment to the story some thing ought to be cut.

          Often I see stories written where they use ordinary prose only to repeat it in dialogue.

          Just because an author uses dialogue doesn’t mean the author is good. Indeed, I think it can be a problem, particularly if it isn’t handled properly. Another trap is that in the prose the character is described and then suddenly they are talking and the dialogue doesn’t match the character as described at all.. Another problem I have noted all too frequently is that the dialogue can be much too simplistic and grammatically correct. Most people don’t speak like that.

          I suspect that one of the great advantages of dialogue is that it breaks up the pages of print, which reinforces that it is essential to have small paragraphs.

        • gigigalt 12:15 pm on February 28, 2012 Permalink

          All well said! You have made some very good points. Thanks so much! P.S. I will get back to this a.s.a.p.

  • gigigalt 2:14 pm on February 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Don't MissThis!. How to "Hook, Help Writing Romantic Fiction, Logline,   

    "Hook, Logline, and Pitch?" Don't MissThis!" 

    Don’t Miss This! It’s Great. 

    The following are excerpts by Anne R. Allen, a guest on Ruth Harris’s blog. In January, Ruth’s Blog was nominated for the Top Writing Blogs Award by ECollegeFinder.org.

    Read this article in its entirety. It’s practical and easy to digest–a great guideline for any writer. (Don’t you just love a “cheat sheet” that gets the job done without all the detours?) Not saying you still won’t have some work to do, but at least you aren’t sidetracked. It saves so much time.

    For starters Ms. Allen says:

    1. “A PITCH can contain either or both of the above. You can make a pitch in writing or in person. It tells you–in the shortest amount of time—what your book is about and why somebody should buy it.”

    2.” LOGLINE is a term that once applied only to screenplays, but has crept into the literary world. It consists of one or two sentences describing the story’s premise, like a film description in TV Guide.”

    3. “A HOOK is longer—a paragraph or two giving the characters, premise, and conflict, like a book jacket cover blurb. The hook should be the main component of a query letter to an agent, editor, or reviewer and is essential for your back copy or Amazon blurb”

    The article breaks it all down, step by step and shows you how to do it by examples she provides.


    • Alan Jankowski 5:55 pm on February 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I noticed Anne is on MWiDP…I’ll be with that publisher soon, this month as matter of fact…I guess I’m in good company…and where did you go Gigi?

    • gigigalt 2:31 am on February 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Yes. An independent e-book publisher (MWiDP). It does sound like good company!

    • Anne R. Allen 6:17 pm on February 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks much for the shout-out. Actually, it’s my blog, and Ruth is my once-a-month blog partner. It’s called Anne R. Allen’s Blog…with Ruth Harris. We were thrilled to get the nomination. Unfortunately the voting got a little messed up when a couple of nominees used bots to rack up points and crashed the site. But they’ve finally got it up and running for a few hours before the deadline tonight.

      I’m so glad you found my post on hooks, etc so useful. Really appreciate the kudos.

      And yes, Mark, Saffi and co at MWiDP are fantastic people to work with!

    • gigigalt 4:07 pm on February 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Many thanks for writing Anne! Sorry for the confusion. I came across something on Ruth Harris first, and that in turn led me to your blog. (Your book shelf was what first drew my attention–one of my favorite books is “Women Who Run with the Wolves,” By Clarissa Pinkola Estés) Thanks again for writing about the “hooks.” As fantasy minded as I am, I love the down to earth and practical. I plan to refer to it often. Best wishes and congratulations to you and Ruth and your associates.

    • Biscari 8:51 am on December 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I read this paragraph completely regarding the comparison of newest and earlier technologies, it’s amazing article.

  • gigigalt 8:17 am on February 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Said" words you can use instead, Help Writing Romantic Fiction,   

    Grammatical Parking Spaces: Your Favorite Said Words? 

    There’s nothing wrong with simply using “said” in your dialogues. It is about as unoticablle as the word “the.” The main thing to remember is that often the word “said,” or any word used in place of it, is not even necessary. If you can eliminate the “he said,” and the “she said,” and the reader still knows who is speaking, all the better. Another thing, is that when we proof a story, is to watch if we have unnecessarily, repeated the names of the hero and heroine. Again, if the reader knows who is speaking, repeating names will only make his or her dialogue sound stiff and artificial. All this said, here is a list I started recently of what I call “said words,” ones that can substitute for the word, “said.”
























    Called out






    Photo Courtesy: Bobby Jones (WC-PD)

    • Clark C. Gable 3:16 am on February 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I enjoy the image produced by: She whispered in a breathy voice ” . . .”

    • gigigalt 5:20 am on February 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, amazing, isn’t it, how so few words can conjure up such a vivid picture. Thanks for sharing this Mr. Gable. (Forgive my being so formal by calling you Mr. Gable, but it feels right. I used to watch an old movie, where Marilyn Monre kept calling Clark Gable, “Mr. Gable.” The way she said it was indeed a cross between a whisper and breathless sigh. Exciting. Lol.

      • Walston 2:05 am on February 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Doesn’t this reinforce the need to be careful with dialogue? Isn’t it saying that dialogue too often has an element of “falseness” to it.

        While the list is useful in that one needs to introduce it with a feeling of authenticity ( which is so often lacking,) it is also saying that dialogue can very rapidly trap a writer.

        I think that dialogue is subservient to the sense of driving the story. If the story doesn’t move in terms of its plot its not going to be improved with dialogue. If it’s moving, then, I suspect the reader won’t really mind if it’s delivered with or without dialogue.

        I have formed the belief that if the paragraphs are short it is as useful as dialogue. Basically, readers want to be able to read in bite sized chunks and not be swamped with a maze of verbiage which is a long paragraph. Dialogue or small paragraphs can deliver this.

        If dialogue is to be used it should be done very carefully and authentically. It shouldn’t be used as a tool to lift a story out of having been bogged down. I think readers can sense it when this is done.

        I listen to people when they tell stories. In oral story telling, dialogue is used sparingly. The story isn’t normally framed by dialogue. It’s invariably used for emphasis, I think that is very instructive.

        What am I saying? I am the one who has written a whole story, pages long, which consisted of a single quote! I’m only saying that rules can be broken, that often they should be and that in writing, one should be authentic in driving the story. Using dialogue can be the most rapid way to lose authenticity and drive. The writer should be very careful in using dialogue, Used well it can be brilliant, but this is unfortunately uncommon.

        • gigigalt 12:22 pm on February 28, 2012 Permalink

          Whiston. Once again, you have contributed valuable and thought provoking insight. Love it! Thank you so much. I will get back to this a.s.a.p. Gigi

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