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For those who have made their social media home Google Plus, there are some really great places for geeks to hang out. One of the premier spots is Charlie Hoover’s Geek Question of the Day. Recently, Hoover expanded the Daily Question into a podcast format. You can listen to several of my favorite authors be interviewed by Hoover and the lovely Aalia Khan. But coming up this week, they will be asking me a variety of geeky questions. You can read about the interview and find links to listen here.

I know several thousand authors prepping for National Novel Writing Month (November) right now. For some, it’s their very first novel, and they’ve challenged themselves to learn the discipline of sitting down and writing every day. For others, it’s a semi-annual event to help them focus on just one book, putting aside their lives’ distractions to zero in on publishing their books. For many long-time authors, this is just one month that they spend helping new authors hone their craft. 

Whatever stage you’re at, there are many resources available to help guide you in your NaNoWriMo journey. I could talk for quite some length about many books, websites, articles, and blogs. But, today, I’d like to give you just one. Mike Reeves-McMillan is an author of over 15 works of various lengths, both fiction and non-fiction. In The Well-Presented Manuscript, he lays out everything you need to know to have a successful book. Whether you’re self-published or traditional published, he will help you find the diamond in your rough draft. 

So, get with it! You’ve got three weeks to read this, and finish planning out your novel.

The Well-Presented Manuscript

Our local television station has a “Morning Mind Bender” feature each morning. They ask a question and everyone in the news room guesses it, viewers can call in the answer to be entered for a prize, and then they give the answer at the end of the morning news. My mother watches this, along with Jeopardy, every day.

This week, my mom and I ran errands together. Specifically errands concerning settling my grandfather’s estate and setting up care for my grandmother. At one point, my mom turned to me to say: The Morning Mind Bender so greatly offended me yesterday, I emailed KNWA.

I guess to really understand how shocking this news truly was, you have to know my mother is a Luddite. She only started texting five years ago when all of her best friends made a joint commitment to text instead of call her. She only got email about six months ago when I set it up for her and specifically put it on her phone, then showed her how to use it. She still doesn’t have Facebook or any other online accounts. But bad grammar and misinformation is enough to make the woman email the television station. Apparently.

The question was:
What was Mark Twains penname?
A. Option
B. Samuel Clemens
C. Option
D. Option

The points of offense?
1. No apostrophe was used in “Twain’s.”
2. They did not put a space in “pen name.”
3.Twain was Clemens’ pen name, not the other way around.

If you ever wondered how someone grows up to become an editor? Listening to your mother read Shakespeare to you at six helps. Having her tell you every time she harangues some employee somewhere for simple grammar mistakes helps even more. I may or may not have called up a detail shop for misspelling “vaccumm” on their sign once. I’m not like my mother at all.

But the conversation made me start thinking about non de plumes. As an author, do you use one or more? (I have one that I publish children’s poetry under.) What is your favorite famous pen name? (Personally, I like Silence Dogood the best.) I’d love to know the record for the author with the most non de plumes. I think I’ll go look that up now…

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