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Five Senses to Good Writing

Five Senses to Good Writing

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by Debbie Vance Good writing should interact with all of the senses. This is not new knowledge. We all love reading books that make us really feel–feel the cool, November air rushing in our faces as we run down the leaf-strewn street to the library just before it closes, cheeks flushed pink and tongues bitter as we […]

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Coffee Break Rabbit Trail

Coffee Break Rabbit Trail

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by Debbie Vance It’s Tuesday afternoon and about time for a short coffee break. My short coffee break turned into a longer-than-expected-but-highly-educational rambling journey through The Paris Review Daily blogroll. First I found a bit on Flannery O’Connor–whose Prayer Journal just released today–and another bit on her hand-drawn cartoons. (Who knew?!) I learned that March 25–the official […]

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What Do You See in the Absence?

What Do You See in the Absence?

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by Debbie Vance Art has great meaning within our culture. Art can depict an event (take Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica”) or an entire cultural generation (take TS Eliot’s “The Waste Land”). Art is powerful–and expensive–and when lost, it leaves a great void. Today’s news reported on two different instances of art theft, and two methods of […]

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Building Blocks of Art: Anna Akhmatova and Robert Bringhurst

Building Blocks of Art: Anna Akhmatova and Robert Bringhurst

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by Debbie Vance So Robert Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographic Style finally arrives, and as I’m flipping through it, what catches my eye but poetry. The photograph to the left shows an excerpt from Anna Akhmatova’s, “In 1940,” showing both the original Russian and the translated English. Anna Akhmatova is of the poetic school of Acmeism, which came […]

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Geeking Out Over Typography

Geeking Out Over Typography

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by Debbie Vance Per the suggestion of a graphic designer friend, I recently ordered The Elements of Typographic Style by renowned typographer and poet Robert Bringhurst—“[He] brings clarity to the art of typography with this masterful style guide. Combining practical, theoretical, and historical, this book is a must for graphic artists, editors, or anyone working […]

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Frost Collects Like Small Stars: Big Finds at Little Bookstores, or, Why Your Writing Matters

Frost Collects Like Small Stars: Big Finds at Little Bookstores, or, Why Your Writing Matters

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by Debbie Vance There is a small used bookstore by my home that I frequent. (Not the one pictured here…this one is in Tel Aviv.) It has all the standard, well-known authors, all the bestselling pop fiction, all the shiny, colorful, awkward journals, but it also has poetry. Thin volume single copies of unknown poets. […]

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Pantoums and Ink: Baudelaire and Albrecht

Pantoums and Ink: Baudelaire and Albrecht

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by Debbie Vance Today has two bold subjects: #1 The pantoum, an oft-misunderstood poetic form, difficult to master, fun to try #2 Montreal artist Amber Albrecht’s beautiful collection of drawings and silkscreens, Idyll Part 1: The pantoum. The pantoum is simple, really. It consists of a series of quatrains where the second and fourth lines […]

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Must I Write?

Must I Write?

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by Debbie Vance Writers seem to have a natural penchant for self-criticism. We murder our own creative impulses with that knifing fear of failure, we torture ourselves with that mocking internal monologue, heck, we’ve even invented our very own word for failure. *ahem* writer’s block Worst of all, we allow ourselves to question the basic foundation […]

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Practice Makes Perfect

Practice Makes Perfect

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Maybe you’ve heard this saying before, “Practice makes perfect.” Often we think of this quote as referring to an athlete or a musician—but what about a writer? What roles does practice play in the development of the craft of writing? The truth is: everything. Practice has everything to do with honing the craft of being […]

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New Author Highlight--Marshall Bishop

New Author Highlight–Marshall Bishop

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Our authors are diverse in background, age, and experience–we like to highlight them to prove that, with enough fortitude and dedication, anyone can write a book and make it as good as it can possibly be. If you’re a beer-lover, more likely than not, you’ve tried and perhaps enjoyed a bottle of Shiner Bock. Turns […]

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"The Quiz" - An Interview with Author Jonathan Fletcher

“The Quiz” – An Interview with Author Jonathan Fletcher

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How did you start writing? I was teaching a course at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Columbia, SC on my understanding of Catholic Christology entitled “Scratching the Surface of Christian Transformation.” While Episcopalians or more broadly Anglicans may have repudiated a number of pieces of Catholic doctrine and church structure, they never repudiated the Catholic […]

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New Author Highlight--Lexee Booshay

New Author Highlight–Lexee Booshay

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To show you that you, yes YOU, can write and publish your book, we have decided to highlight an author a month. They are diverse in background, age, and experience and prove that, with enough fortitude and dedication, anyone can write a book and make it as good as it can possibly be. Meet Lexee […]

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New Ways to Fund Your Book

New Ways to Fund Your Book

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As more and more authors choose the control and profit margin of self-publishing, one of the first questions they, or perhaps other more financially-oriented friends, will ask is, “How much does it cost and how the heck am I going to pay for it?” Depending on the length of the book, and to really do […]

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Tricks of the Editorial Trade

Tricks of the Editorial Trade

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No matter who you are, no matter how many published manuscripts you have, everyone needs their material edited and sharpened. Here are a few tricks of the trade when it comes to editing your own material. Find Another Set of Eyes: I was talking with one of our Samizdat authors today and he made an […]

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A Season with the Kansas City Royals: An Interview with Author Ethan Bryan

A Season with the Kansas City Royals: An Interview with Author Ethan Bryan

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Oftentimes the best book ideas are the ones that catch you by surprise. They are a blend of passion and insight, brought together in a single idea. Take Ethan Bryan’s book, Run Home & Take a Bow, for example. After winning a contest for writing a new anthem for the Kansas City Royals, this lifelong […]

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Business That Builds Community

Business That Builds Community

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The Samizdat Group (Samizdat Creative and Conundrum Press) is rooted in building community—fostering relationships between publisher and author, authors with each other, authors with their readers, and all of us with the communities we call home. So we’ve implemented a model of corporate philanthropy where our authors and readers help us give to organizations promoting […]

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Writing From the Heart and the Head

Writing From the Heart and the Head

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There are certain movies that just seem to stick with you, don’t they? Perhaps it’s a plot line, or an image, a piece of music, or perhaps a piece of dialogue. No matter what it may be, the moment is etched in your mind—forever. Implanted in our memory, that particular moment touches something deep within […]

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From Christian Jihadist to Reconciler: Meet Author Colonel V. Doner

From Christian Jihadist to Reconciler: Meet Author Colonel V. Doner

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I was at the grocery store when I received the call from Colonel Doner about helping him publish his book. I can’t remember what I was there for because he had immediately swept me up with the force of his wit and experience. As I paced aisle 7, talking on my bluetooth and scaring away […]

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Reading to Write.

Reading to Write.

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One of the best pieces of writing advice I ever received was so simple I almost missed it. While at lunch with a friend and writing mentor, he offered this: If you want be a good writer, you need to read good writers. As an aspiring writer back then, I took this to heart. I […]

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A New Kind of Publishing Company

A New Kind of Publishing Company

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  In the two and a half years since the birth of Samizdat Creative Services, I’ve worked to position what we do in the huge gap between the “traditional” publishing and the “vanity” self-publishing book mills. The problem with exploring new territory is precisely defining where you’re going–in my case, creating an elevator speech summarizing […]

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From Gridiron to Author: Ian Gold

From Gridiron to Author: Ian Gold

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One of the great rewards of Samizdat Creative is being involved in projects that matter. Take “Plant, Water, Grow,” for example—one of our latest projects by new author Ian Gold. Ian walked away from a life in the NFL to pursue a life dedicated to sharing the life-transforming message of Jesus in a very unique […]

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Finding a Voice Amidst the Noise

Finding a Voice Amidst the Noise

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Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone has a point to make. You may not see yourself as a writer or communicator, but with the proliferation of blogs, Facebook, and Twitter, more and more people are entering the world of communication. With so many voices out there, how can you find your own unique voice, […]

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A Simpler Faith: Hope For People Who Struggle With Church

A Simpler Faith: Hope For People Who Struggle With Church

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Meet Ed Galisewski, a real life Joe Palooka from Jersey. A mens ministry leader for fifteen years, Ed has ministered to literally thousands of people. He’s been in and out (and in again) of church, learning to overcome his own struggles with the institution while still loving the body of Christ. Maybe, like him, you […]

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What Does “Keep 100% of Your Royalties” Really Mean?

What Does “Keep 100% of Your Royalties” Really Mean?

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  (This is part of the How to Navigate the Overcrowded World of Self-Publishing series.) One of your top concerns as a self-publishing author of course is how much you can make per book. It’s your book, you’re publishing it, so you should keep 100% of the royalties, right? Obviously, the answer is yes, but […]

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