Category Archives: Publishing

Apparitions – Ghost Riders or Ghostwriters

“Riders in the Sky” was written and recorded by Stan Jones accompanied by the Death Valley Rangers  (Mercury 1949). Jones, the composer, drifted away, shrouded by ghostly cowboys floating into obscurity when Vaughn Monroe’s RCA recording became more popular.

Ghostwriters (GW) are another secret veiled by the clouds. Their roles vary. Sometimes a GW  interviews a person about specific events and shapes them into a blob of words that eventually becomes an inspirational book. Sometimes the ghostwriter begins with another person’s notes or ideas and whittles them into a memoir or self-help book. Sometimes a ghostwriter cuts and clips a poorly written fiction manuscript and embellishes it until it gleams like a cowboy’s silver belt buckle. That—and payment—are his reward because the published book wears the name of the fictitious writer.

“But that’s cheating,” you say.

The ghostwriter says it’s payment for work similar to writing a technical report, or create advertising copy while freelancing or salaried by a company. I say it’s like picking cotton.

 

Property of Violet Carr Moore

My father approved of producing without bragging rights. We picked cotton for pennies per pound. Father carried the stuffed ten-foot canvas cotton sacks over his shoulder to the hanging scales. He penciled the weight in a notebook, deposited it back into the pocket of his work shirt, and hoisted the bag onto his shoulder again. He climbed a wooden ladder resting against a wire-sided trailer and emptied the sack onto puffy fiber from other laborers. The owner towed the overstuffed trailer to a gin where it was baled with cotton from other farmers. The gin sold the bales to a textile maker which produced bolts of fabric with their brand printed in the selvage (My father would have said selvedge, the  British spelling, but he had no interest in sewing—that was woman’s work.) My mother bought yardage from the local Five and Dime and made my clothes. From the remnants, she pieced quilts. The cotton we picked in it’s refined stage clothed and warmed us.

Today, I salute Donald Bain (March 6, 1935 – October 26, 2017), the ghostwriter of the “Murder She Wrote” novels accredited to Jessica Fletcher, the Margaret Truman Capital Crime series, and many other ghostwritten books. In 2003, he published Lights Out with his name embellished above the title on the front cover. That brought Mr. Bain out of anonymity into the spotlight. Now he receives recognition as the original books are republished with his name on the covers, but there may be a few still clothed in secrecy, like the cotton my family picked that wore another name.

Yi-pi-yi-ay, yi-pi-yi-o!

 

 

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Memoir, Publishing, Writing

Grammar Cop

computer-books-pencilsThere much ado on Capitol Hill about the importance of spelling. It’s about time. Ask me. I’m a grammar cop with a badge to prove it.

I’m a writer—at least that’s how I use to identify myself before I realized that editing is my niche. I’m a member of California Writers Club Tri-Valley Branch also known as Tri-Valley Writers. I’ve been part of a novel group, one of the individualized critique groups that meet monthly. There I’m known as the grammarian—often editing English more than critiquing the story.

Grammar Police Award

Grammar Police Award

Long before Trump was elected president, Lani Longshore, a multi-talented crafter, presented me with a Grammar Police shield embroidered on the right inside of a folding credential case. My editing card fits in a clear plastic slot on the left. I seldom have to flash it because most writers know I spout Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) rules as often as President Trump tweets.

If I had made this award public sooner, perhaps the U.S. Library of Congress would have consulted me (or at least the 16th Edition of CMOS) and been spared the embarrassment of a grammar error in President Trump’s inaugural poster.

Too late to correct the posters but production has been halted. If you bought a first run at $16.95, the odds are that someday it will be a collector’s item—not because of the grammar error but because of the wasted taxpayer dollars for a reprint that reads:

No dream 2 big, no challenge 2 great…

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Editing, Events, Publishing, Reading, Writing

Writer’s Advice – Third Quote Challenge

Well-known philosophers—mostly dead—push to the front, vying for mention in this last quote challenge.

“Either write things worthy reading, or do things worth the writing.”

―Benjamin Franklin

Pencils

I’m trying, Ben, but you forgot to publish the DIY how-to section.

“The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.”

―Agatha Christie

Book stack climber

Sorry, Ms. Christie, but California is in its fourth year of drought. Until El Niño arrives, I’m using paper plates. The trip out to the green waste receptacle is too short to do anything more than wonder if I’ve scheduled my next blog post.

“Don’t get it right – get it WRITTEN!”

―Lee Child

Start-Finish-Road

Thanks, Lee. I probably know more about Jack Reacher than real-life people because you took your own advice and published twenty novels with him as the protagonist.  Reacher even has short stories to keep me posted on his activities between hardcover books.

CrimeSceneTape

I’ve published a couple of nonfiction books and dozens of short stories, but my first mystery manuscript is old enough to go to kindergarten. Why haven’t I followed Lee Child’s advice and published it?

“I’d rather edit manuscripts written by others.”

―Violet Carr Moore

1 Comment

Filed under Blogging, Editing, Memoir, Publishing, Reading, Writing

Prince George’s Treehouse – Don’t Try This At Home

My fiction novel critique group is one of the best for reality checks. From how many seconds it takes for a body to fall from a San Francisco skyscraper roof to driving hours from Arizona to Texas, they question the reality. Things like a locked vehicle left in the parking lot, then idling at the curb in the next chapter cause eyebrows to raise during the discussion. As a group, they help individual writers avoid obvious mistakes that stop the reader. Question

Esther Crain, the author in this Yahoo Parenting publication, should have submitted her story about Prince George’s new hideaway to my critique group for a reality fact check.

“When Prince George needs a little alone time, he retreats to this recently refurbished thatched-roof treehouse, built for his dad, Prince William, in 1989, when he was a boy.”

Alone time for a two-year old?

 

Dog pulling luggage

 

“He’s always lived in grand style: first at Kensington Palace in London, and, more recently, to a magnificent estate in the English countryside, with his parents and new baby sister.

But now, 2-year-old Prince George has new digs where he can hide away by himself when royal life gets too stuffy. He’s got his very own treehouse, located in the garden grounds at his grandfather Prince Charles’s country estate, Highgrove.” (Prince George’s Treehouse in Yahoo Parenting )

 

New digs to escape royalty?

Crown-34435__180

 

Cute if this were a twist on the fictional Hansel and Gretel story, but this is real life. Prince George is royalty.

 

hansel-and-gretel-house-264848__180

 

Since  Esther Crain didn’t consult my fact-checking critique group, Yahoo Parenting should have added a DON’T- TRY-THIS-AT-HOME warning for copycat parents not to leave their red-and-white-clad toddlers alone in a Highgrove look-alike backyard tree house.

caution-642510__180

 

3 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Publishing, Reading, Writing

Flash Fiction Published

“Showdown,” my western flash fiction has been published in Impressions, the 2015 Las Positas College anthology. The book is more than 300 pages of prose, poetry, and art.  So, what’s so exciting about my short-short story?

I don’t write westerns. Well, at least I didn’t. I’m known for my nonfiction memoirs, inspirational and spiritual tales. I dabble in mysteries, my favorite fiction genre, but none have been published. One evening, this old west tale sashayed across my computer screen like cowboys and cowgirls square dancing.

______________________________________

 Main Street Western

Showdown

Violet Carr Moore

© 2015

“Get the women and children off the street,” Sheriff Brady said. “I don’t want anyone hurt when the Claytons get here.”

“Billy Joe’s got no call to challenge you for puttin’ his no-good brother in jail,” the deputy said, silver hair nodding toward the scruffy cowboy in a cell. “I’m tired of the Claytons runnin’ this town. That’s why I closed down the Mercantile this mornin’ and put on this badge.”

“I don’t know why I let you talk me into deputizing you.” The Sheriff raked his strong tanned hands through wavy black hair that touched his collar. “You’re sure you want to do this?”

“Dead certain.”

“Then clear the street.”

Sheriff Brady lifted the 1851 Colt Revolver from his gun belt hanging on a peg behind a shabby oak desk. He touched the cylinder engraved with a scene from the Second Texas Navy Battle near Campeche, Mexico. The sheriff flipped the revolver open, counted six .36 caliber rounds, and thumbed the cylinder closed. He shoved the pistol into the holster, hung it back on the peg, and reached for his lariat.

“You’re a dead man, Sheriff,” Sam Clayton taunted from his cell. “You and that tin-badge deputy both.”

They made an odd pair. The deputy was old—too old for a gunfight. The sheriff was young—too young to die.

Sheriff Brady closed the door and stepped off the boardwalk. Anxious women stared through windows of the millinery shop. Boot-clad feet crowded beneath the swinging saloon doors as three riders approached in a cloud of dust. They reigned up their horses in a triangle facing the sheriff.

“Billy Joe.” The sheriff acknowledged the leader at the front when the dust settled. “You and your brothers best go on home and leave Sam’s fate to the judge.”

“Can’t do that, Sheriff. Claytons stick together. Now, you gonna go strap on a gun so I can kill you in a fair-and-square showdown?”

“I’m faster than you, so this is fair.” The Sheriff twirled the lariat with an easy rhythm. “Tell your brothers to back off or my deputy will drop them.”

“Nobody’s crazy enough to stand with you against us Claytons.” Billy Joe’s hand inched toward his pistol.

A blast from the Mercantile roof slammed the other two Claytons to the ground and spooked the horses into fast trots. Sheriff Brady dropped the lariat over Billy Joe and cinched his arms tight. Townspeople ran into the street and cheered.

“Glad to see you’re okay, son,” the deputy said as she rounded the corner, carrying a double-barrel, ten-gauge shotgun, her calico skirt curling around her ankles. “I vowed not to kill again after we came west, but you’re all I got left since your pa died at Campeche.” She unpinned the star and handed it to the sheriff. “See you tonight at supper.”

Deputy Sheriff Badge

1 Comment

Filed under Publishing, Reading, Writing

Water Thieves

CrimeSceneTape

I’m a fan of Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock, the husband/wife FBI team created by New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. I follow her novel releases and future projects. After her April newsletter update about Showdown, she added this plea for relief from the California drought.

I would appreciate it, as would 40 million other people in my state,  if you would go outside,  doesn’t have to be a full moon, dance in a circle and chant to the rain gods to soak up the sun and squeeze out all excess liquid, from the shores to the mountains in California. We’re talking serious drought here, folks, so please save us from our two-minute showers.

I second that, Ms. Coulter. Maybe you can get Savich and Sherlock to take a side trip to look for water thieves while they track the serial killer in Los Angeles. If they’re up to their eyes in swirling dust, how about a scene where they chase the perp through a downpour?

Raining cats and dogs

If neither fits, I wish your rain dancers success. I need my fifteen-minute showers back to soothe my aching muscles while I plan the next scene in my mystery manuscript.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, Publishing, Writing

Wanted – Dead or Alive

Should I have created a more genteel title? Okay, how about “Looking for class of 1945-1946?” Misleading because it sounds like a graduating class.  Maybe, “Looking for Stephens Elementary first-grade classmates?” There were nearly one hundred first graders back then and only 39 in Mrs. Buffington’s class of 1945-46. (Did I say only 39? That was a huge class with no teacher’s assistant.)

How about this title?

Wanted Dead or Alive

Mrs. Buffington’s first grade class of 1945-46

While my twin, Vi Parsons, and I prepared for our March 10th book launch of Double Take, our stories of growing up in Chowchilla, California, we dug out childhood photos and memorabilia to display at two hometown authors events. Well, not exactly our hometown since we were born hundreds of miles southeast of Highway 99, but the town where life unfolded for us like purple morning glories on a spring day.

We compared first grade class photos, but they were different. Mine is the original with Mrs. Buffington dressed in her schoolteacher black dress, hatless, with 33 students looking like World War II refugees. Somehow, she wrangled a second photoshoot to include all 39 students after she donned her Sunday best hat and frock and prepped all of us to dress a little less like ragamuffins.

First Grade Mrs. Buffington

That’s me, front row, dead center, sitting between girls I don’t remember. My twin is second from the left between Betty and Judy.  I also recognize Necia, Eva, Pearl, Margaret, and Donald, maybe Lawrence in the front row. The second row stretches my sketchy memory cells with positive IDs for Keith and Loretta and Lorelei. In the back row, I recognize Philip and Gene, but a couple of others look familiar.

My twin and I are planning to organize a reunion of the “live” bunch and gather memorial information for the others. If you or family members are in this photo, or if you recognize a friend, email me at info@carrtwins.com.

 

P.S. Double Take by Vi Parsons and Violet Moore, published by Carr Twins & Co., is available from Amazon and www.carrtwins.com.

 

DOUBLE TAKE FRONT COVER 2014

 

6 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Events, Memoir, Publishing, Writing