So, how did your NaNo WriMo Go?

Big Congrats to everyone who finished the 2011 National Novel Writing Month project today with 50K words (and their sanity still intact). And to those that won’t finish with the requisite wordage, a very good effort!

Over the past month we’ve seen several postings on the Office of Light  & Letters blog, we’ve though, wow, wish we could run out and by thatbook.  Most recently our favorite “wish I could read it NOW!” was

When Pink Hippo Fell by awesome speller

Lizzie returns to the small beachside town of Eastbourne, trying to put aside memories of her family’s abrupt departure from there ten years earlier when she was a girl. But no sooner does she start working in her granny’s rock candy shop than she comes across the stuffed pink hippo she left behind…and she finds that whatever it was trying to tell her as a child, it is trying much harder to tell her now. The more she becomes involved, the more Ryan, her ex-boyfriend’s twin brother, does, too, despite her best attempts to keep him out of the increasing danger that threatens to take her life.

Anyway, we want to take this moment to pass on this important message from the NaNoWriMo organization . . .

An Important Message about NaNoWriMo’s Future

Dear Writer,

National Novel Writing Month needs your help.

This year, we’ve spent nearly $1 million to put on NaNoWriMo and the Young Writers Program. With that money, we’ve provided a free creative writing adventure to over 2,000 classrooms, supported 500 NaNoWriMo chapters and 400 public libraries, and inspired 300,000 participants around the world.

We’re a small, grassroots nonprofit, and most of our funding comes from people like you—writers who make a tax-deductible donation through our online Donation Station.

We’ve received contributions from 7% of this year’s writers. Those donations have covered half of our expenses, and we thank everyone mightily who has contributed. We now need to raise the rest to avoid cuts to NaNoWriMo and the Young Writers Program in 2012.

We believe in you. And we believe passionately in our programs. In my 13 years with the organization, there’s never been a moment when those programs have needed your support more than they do right now. Please donate today.

Chris Baty

P.S. You can see how your donation will be spent in our annual budget, or in this animated short about the Office of Letters and Light.

How the ePub thing ended up . . .Or, in and out of Wonderland.

Ok, here’s how the whole ePub adventure ended up.

While it’s always nice to do things in house, sometimes it’s more cost-effective to pay for an outside conversion.  These times include, when doing it in house is adding an undue burden on the health/safety of yourself or others, or when the hours used cost more than the money spent.

At the end of the day, we have so many projects on right now, doing the ePub conversion in-house was going to cost more than shipping it out to

Could we have done it in house? Yes.  And we do plan to, in the future. As we got stuck into the process, we quickly realize we could do it. It wasn’t rocket science, or even . . . theoretical physics.

The various web resources available through (and other websites) and books, such as Elizabeth Castro’s, EPub straight to the point, and software, such as Scrivener, all make doing a conversion quick, easy, and within anyone’s grasp.

The only thing you really need to create an ePub (& Kindle) is a PC or Mac with the right OS and enough memory to begin with. Throw on Scrivener for $45 and your there.

Given the average novel conversion runs about $100- $150, even if you bought a brand new computer just for this purpose (making ePUBs/kindles), after producing 3 or 4 books yourself, you’d have  spent only the money you would have spent paying someone else to do it, but you’d still have the ability to infinitely make books, or rework and update or correct the books you’d already made.

In short, you’d be crazy to pay someone to convert your book unless you want to insure a very professional look on the order of your PDF for your print manufacturer, feel that the content of the book is too graphic heavy and you’re afraid to tackle it (but you’ll pay for that too), are extremely pressed for time and by this we mean someone is paying you more for the time you’ll spend doing the conversion than you’ll spend on the conversion, or you are suffering health issues.

Another issue too is wait time. Quality conversion services are generally backed up.  ebookarchitects is running 13-14 weeks.  In other words, 4 months.  Some people just don’t want to wait that long. And in most cases, for simple text conversions, you don’t have to, if you’re willing to do it yourself.

Published in: on November 29, 2011 at 2:02 AM  Leave a Comment  
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The start of advent . . . the adventure begins or gets lost in translation, your pick.

Well for those of you out in the pews, and you know who you are, a long-awaited translation was released this weekend:  A new version of the Mass.  Reactions were mixed, as was to be expected. But if changing a few words is all it takes to shipwreck your faith in Christ or your church? You might want to check out another faith or another church.

Published in: on November 28, 2011 at 2:02 AM  Leave a Comment  
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White Friday . . .

Do yourself (and everyone else a favor), step outside and enjoy the day.

Don’t spend it, spending.

Stay home. Enjoy some cocoa or tea.  Play with your family, friends, or pets.

Because all to soon the winter comes.

And at the end of your life, what you’ll remember, what they’ll remember, is that day.


Published in: on November 25, 2011 at 2:02 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Thanksgiving Ernie Ford style

As Tennessee Ernie Ford once said . . .

Thank you for joining with us in our fun. You know, we all have so much to be thankful for. This nation has come through a trying period. But we’re still a united people with a pride in our past, and a faith in our future.

Bless this house, oh Lord, we pray,

Make it safe by night and day.

Bless these walls, so firm and stout,

Keeping want and trouble out.

Bless the roof and chimneys tall,

Let thy peace lie over all.

Bless this door that it may prove,

Ever open to joy and love.

Bless this window shining bright,

Letting in God’s heavenly light.

Bless the hearth ablazing there,

With smoke ascending like a prayer.

Bless the folk who dwell within,

Keep them pure and free from sin.

Bless us all that we may be,

Fit, oh Lord, to dwell with Thee.

Bless us all, that one day we

May dwell above with thee.

–by Helen Taylor

If you’ve never heard this song, you can see & hear it here:  Click on the bottom video. It’s starts at the 4 minutes 30 second mark, when everyone is seated at the table and Ernie is standing at the head.

Published in: on November 24, 2011 at 2:29 AM  Leave a Comment  
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The most literary cities in the world, does not include Hay-on-Wye. Why?

File:Hay-On-Wye Booksellers - - 235428.jpg


National Geographic Traveler came out with a list of the  top 10 literary cities.  Feel free to agree or disagree. In order of precedence

  1. Edinburgh
  2. Dublin
  3. London
  4. Paris
  5. St Petersburg
  6. Stockholm
  7. Portland, Oregon
  8. Washington, DC
  9. Melbourne, Australia
  10. Santiago, Chile

It’s a strange list, frankly speaking.  The top 3 are all in the UK. It overlooks cities like New York, or San Francisco. Or even Seattle.  Asia apparently doesn’t exist, nor does the Middle East, or Africa.  So weird.

For our money, the most literary city in the UK is the one that sells literature . . . Hay-on-Wye. If you have not been to the Hay Festival, (or a Hay Festival somewhere in the world), described by Bill Clinton as “A woodstock for the mind,” you don’t love books enough!


Is your state living in the Twilight Zone?

Apparently more than 800K Goodreads members have read Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.  So many in fact that Goodreads made a map on which states are hot for the book and which are decided stone cold.

It’s not quite clear why some states love the book more than others, but for a full take, pop on over to Goodreads. The graphic would seem to indicate that 16 and 30 years olds are the most avid reviewers (readers) with women out pacing men by 12:1!

Our state is fairly immune to the books charms, however, it may be because we prefer film versions of everything.

Published in: on November 22, 2011 at 2:02 AM  Comments (1)  
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