Saturday, January 30, 2010

Arianna Huffington - The Huffington Post

Friday night I caught a great interview of Arianna Huffington by Elizabeth Brackett on The Friday Night Show, at WTTW, on Channel 11 in our neck of the woods.

As I listened, I admired her positive attitude, which she attributes to her mother who told her not to be afraid of failure. As a young girl from a poor family in Greece, Arianna dreamed of going to Cambridge and got there by means of a scholarship.

I was not only drawn to Arianna's engaging manner, but also to the fact that she authored 12 books, and was once a candidate for Governor of California. Her latest venture is The Huffington Post, The Internet Newspaper:News Blogs Video Community, which boasts an astronomical number of followers, something like 22 million visitors a month. She's a great believer in the power of the Internet, not only as entertainment, but also for information.

I'm not sure how long it'll be up at the WTTW site, but here's a link to her interview:  It's highly motivating and worth a listen. If you check it out, let me know how you like it.

Morgan Mandel

I Didn't Want to Do It

I didn't want to do it. Others have, but I thought maybe I could get away without it. Well, I can't keep coming over here all day and night to check the comment section, to delete a certain spammer that keeps showing up.

So, unfortunately, for now I'm doing the word verification thing. I hate to have people type in those extra letters. It's such an annoyance. I'm hoping that after a while the spammer will turn his or her attentions elsewhere and I can go back to letting my comment people not have to jump through hoops.

Anyway, please don't let it scare you away. I do appreciate your comments here.

Morgan Mandel

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Should Rascal Get Her Own Blog?

I'm not sure if Rascal should get her own blog or stay here. Or maybe, later after her book is ready, I'll send her off on her own.

I'm also not sure if I should keep my same name for my book about Rascal or figure out a new one. It's hard to decide these things.

In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out how to work the Adobe Photoshop software. I found some apps for the Iphone I'm checking out, plus a Children's Book for Dummies and Adobe Photoshop CS4 for Dummies.

Lots of learning and deciding.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ipad or Kindle? That is the Question - One of Many

Well, the great unveiling happened. The latest gizmo has emerged on the scene. With the revelation of the Ipad, questions buzzed in my head. Is it worth the extra money? How much bigger is it than a Kindle? It seems like it could be wider that the average Kindle, and I don't need the International one. I do know it's more expensive than a Kindle. I also know I'm not into playing games, so I wouldn't use it for that. Would I use if for music? Well, my Iphone does a great job on that already. Why carry around something larger if that's the purpose.

Would I use it for reading books? Now that is a good question. How would it compare comfortwise to a Kindle? I tried out a Kindle from our local library and my eyes were very happy - no strain.

Now, with the Ipad and it's color screen, I suppose I can see a nice cover on the screen. I like that idea. But what about glare? Will that be a factor? What about fonts? I guess they can be manipulated. Another big question - What about the price of Ibooks? Will they be more because of the fancier trappings? Amazon does have some great prices for kindle books right now. Will Apple want to compete or will it go for the higher market?

And what about publishing on the Ipad? Are self-publishers allowed?

I'm such an impatient person, but I guess I'll need to wait a little longer for the answers to all these questions. I'm kind of thinking I can't afford buying and maintaining this fun gizmo, especially since for me it would just be a glorified ereader, and not serve too many more purposes - still it is cute.

What about you? Are you tempted?

Going to the Dogs Over at Acme Authors Link

Going to the Dogs - See What I'm talking about at


Monday, January 25, 2010

Describe Your Work In Progress

Right now I've got two works in progress. One's a children's lesson book about my deaf dog, Rascal. The other is a thriller on aging targeted for the Boomer generation.

What about you? Tell us briefly about your work or works in progress in the comment section.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Beware - Don't Look If You're Easily Grossed Out

B.S. Photo - Rascal before the snow.

Whether or not you're a dog owner, you'll know what I'm talking about here.

The past few months, we've had tons of snow in our part of Illinois, but thanks to the recent warmer weather and rain, most of the white stuff has disappeared.

Hidden underneath the pretty white stuff was - to put it indelicately - a lot of crap. I spent a good part of Saturday and  this morning scooping it up with a shovel and depositing it into plastic garbage bags.

You may wonder how I can think of relating this nasty little chore to writing. Here goes -

After you've finished your manuscript, it may look beautiful and wonderful to you, but beware. Hidden under that false beauty can be all sorts of nasty piles of stuff that need to be removed. If you're savvy enough, you can tackle the cleanup job yourself. Otherwise, you may need the help of a critique group or editor to do the chore for you. Here are a few nasties to clean up:

Backstory dumps - Do readers really need to know right away every little thing that already happened?

Overly long descriptions - Sure, they look pretty, but do they move the story forward?

Adjectives and adverbs - They're the lazy way of writing and slow down a story. Make sure you have the best words for what you want to say, like action verbs and exact nouns.

Orphan letters - Did you start a word in your writing excitement, then begin another one without completing the first?

I told you I could do it. Never underestimate my ability to relate anything to writing. Anyway, today I'll be working on my Rascal manuscript and looking for spots to remove some of that, to put it indelicately, crap.

If you know of other hidden nasties to look for, please share with us. Or, maybe you have a dog and can relate to my chore today. (g)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Writers Reading

Just want to mention my contribution to the Writers Reading series at Un:Bound is up now. Yes, authors do read, believe it or not. At least this one does.

Please come on over  to see my books. Learn when, where and what I read at

Tell us what you read and where, while you're at it.

Morgan Mandel

EDITORS - AGENTS - Julia Quinn - Cherry Adair - SPRING FLING CONFERENCE This April


Spring Fling 2010 Writers’ Conference
Sponsor: Chicago North chapter RWA
Location: Hyatt/Deerfield, IL
Fee: $159
Date: April 23-24, 2010

Speakers: Keynote Speaker is Cherry Adair; Headline speaker is Julia Quinn; also attending: Paige Wheeler (agent), Amanda Bergeron (Avon/HarperCollins), and Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches Trashy Books. Publishing Houses: Avon/HarperCollins, Sourcebooks, Inc., Samhain and The Wild Rose Press. Agencies: Larsen Pomada Agency, Fox Literary, Folio Literary Mgmt, and Nancy Coffey Literary and Media Represenatives. Conference Features: Editor and agent pitch sessions; craft, career, and special interest workshops; Fire & Ice award ceremony, book signing, silent auction to benefit literacy charity, bookseller/librarian event and more.

FMI, or email .

After Diane commented asking if I would be going, I thought I better add a note - YES, I'll be there for sure. I wouldn't miss it for the world. It's my local chapter. I'll be offering more news on other chapter members in attendance once I have the list, but let's just say lots of them are published authors.

Do you like conferences? What's your favorite? Maybe you'd like to try this one.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Feel Good Story

The DH and I were very upset to read in the Daily Herald earlier that a man's pit bulls had been stolen. We know what unscrupulous people will do with that breed. Before Rascal, we didn't care for Amstaffs ourselves. That all changed when we adopted her.

Anyway, here's the new story we saw today, which makes us feel really good. It would make Rascal feel good, too, if she knew -

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rituals - What Are Yours? at Acme Today

It's Wednesday, so I'm posting at my group blog today. Come on over to tell us your rituals at
Rituals - What Are Yours?


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

As Time Goes By - Find it at Blood-Red Pencil

In deference to my wonderful guest, Penny Warner yesterday at Make Mine Mystery,  I didn't mention my post at Blood-Red Pencil called As Time Goes By - There's still time to check it out to and see if any of it applies to you -

Morgan Mandel

Monday, January 18, 2010

Penny Warner is my Guest Today at Make Mine Mystery

Come on over to to welcome my guest, Penny Warner, author of 50 books, with a new release, How to Host a Killer Party. She tells us in her post How to Survive a Book Event When Nobody's Heard of You.  -- Thanks, Morgan Mandel

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Google Is So Smart!

Last night the DH had trouble starting the hand-me-down laptop I gave him when I switched to a lighter one for the train. He'd push the Start button, the lights would go on, then turn off. We changed the adaptor, but that didn't help.

In desperation, I went to Google on my desktop computer and typed, "Dell Latitude D600 starter." It wasn't long before I found a link where other people had experienced the same problem as the DH. The solution was strange, but worth a try - Press the Start button, while firmly holding down F9 and F10.

We tried it. It worked!!

Google Is So Smart!!!

Have you had a similar experience when Google solved one of your problems?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Scary moment on way to today's book signing

Trust me, you don't want to be on the train enroute to your book signing, happen to check your email on your iPhone and see one from the bookseller saying Important!

Turns out someone took my glossy 8x10 poster, that's all, thank goodness.

I've got 4 more with various promo with me.

All is well so far for my book signing today at Barnes and Noble DePaul Center 1 East Jackson Chicago

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, January 11, 2010

Back to the Books Plus Book Signing Wednesday

I'm having a book signing for Killer Career Wednesday at Barnes & Noble DePaul Center, 1 East Jackson (Jackson & State) in Downtown Chicago, from 12-2pm

If you can stop by and say hi, I'd appreciate it.

Speaking of books - One of my resolutions for 2010 is to spend more time on my works in progress, Our Little Rascal, and Forever Young, because I want to get them finished this year. Some days I may not be blogging, but I will do so as often as time permits.

My other resolution is to lose weight. That's as tough as finding extra time to write.

We'll see how successful I am at keeping my resolutions.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Writing Day

Life has been hectic and I've not had time to indulge in what I want to do most, which is finish my works in progress - the book on Rascal, then the Boomer thriller.

So, I've declared today a Writing Day! I'll be back soon.


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Slush Piles

I don't like slush piles. They're scary and messy. Unfortunately, with the recent snowfall extending from Wednesday night, through Thursday and up until Friday morning, I find an overabundance of them.
If I must negotiate one, I tread carefully and hope I don't slip and fall.

The best thing to do is avoid them altogether. I look for spots that are either snow packed or kind of dry where it's easier for me to walk. I look for sheltered areas, like under awnings. I walk through buildings instead of outside when I can.

As a writer, I also try to avoid slush piles. A few ways to do that are:

1. Address your query to a specific editor or agent.
2. Pitch to an editor or agent at a conference. A good pitch may result in a submission request.
3. Research what an editor or agent wants before you submit anything to them.

Do you know of any other ways? What has worked or not worked for you?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Can't Stay Still

I can't stay still today.
That's because Killer Career is featured over at Chris Verstraete's Candid Canine site about First Graphs,

It's Wednesday, which means I'm over at
my group blog  discussing Those All Important First Graphs

If you have the time, please check out the blogs and leave a comment at one or both or here or all.


Monday, January 04, 2010

New Apple Whatever

I really want a kindle, but I also really want to see what Apple is cooking up. If I buy a kindle now, I may wish I'd saved that money and put it toward the new Whatever that's being hinted at by Apple.

To tantalize me, Yahoo keeps running an article this week, not really giving any new information, just speculating enough to whet my appetite.

I don't want to wait. I hate waiting, but I'll see if I can hold out. Hopefully, it won't be too long. If I like whatever the Whatever turns out to be, hopefully, it won't cost too much. Also, hopefully, it will work the way it should. Right now there's a glitch with the Iphone software making it necessary for me to jump through hoops to get my photos off the phone, which didn't happen before their update.

So, maybe I should get that kindle. I have enough Amazon points saved up. No, maybe I should wait.

What about you? Do you have a kindle? Are you curious about Apple's new Whatever?

Come On Over Please

On this back-to-the-day-job day, I find myself with two posts at other blogspots, so I'm hoping to divert your attention to them.

How Far Can You Go is at

Carola Dunn, Mystery Author, is over at

Comments are appreciated at one or both or here or all.

Morgan Mandel

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Double M Rewind at Make Mine Mystery

You'll find a Double M Rewind at Make Mine Mystery today. I'm choosing worthwhile posts and re-posting them here or on my group blogs. It's a shame to let them go to waste when many people didn't see them the first time around. This one is a guest post from Cyndia Depre about her pet writing peeves and contains much useful information.  Here's the link:

Tomorrow, I'll find another for your enjoyment, since I'm doing two days at Make Mine Mystery this week.