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A Frog, Food, and Cajun Culture: A Trip to Louisiana

Originally posted on my Contingency Writer’s Blog

I arrived home at about midnight this morning after a 10-day trip in Louisiana. The primary reasons for my visit were to see family, and to work on a romance novel and the third Detective Games entry; although it became a great deal more.

Instead of a linear progression for this blog post, I’d like to try out bullet points!

  • I tried my hand… er, legs, at Irish dancing. My cousins had been Irish dancing for years, and I had come along to support them. Their instructor welcomed me to join in as well. My fencing instructor had always said I should go dancing, and about a year apart from his remarks, I was clumsily thumping across a multipurpose ballet studio.
  • Trekking through Jean Lafitte National Park, I wished I had first put on some bug spray, with the presence of a multitude of mosquitos. But the beauty of the marsh and swamplands were incredible, and afforded the opportunity for many pictures.
A tiny tree frog

A tiny tree frog

A young alligator surfaces near a walkway

A young alligator surfaces near a walkway

  • We visited Destrehan Plantation and took a tour of the grounds, with its grand trees covered in Spanish moss, and learnt of the vast history, including the day to day lives of the household owners and the enslaved, as well as the construction process and architectural functions. At the end, a blacksmith with a heavy cajun accent, demonstrated the use of his forge.
  • The food. Oh boy, the food. The delicious simplicity of red beans and rice, messy po’ boys, savory gumbo and jambalaya, fun flavors with stuffed snowballs, and the mandatory beignets (from Café du Monde) I had to have on a daily basis.
DSCN1373]

Beignets and powdered sugar! Yum!

Savory gumbo!

Savory gumbo!

  • The French Quarter was a fun experience, with sights to see, a banana smoothie in hand, and trinkets to be had in the market.
DSCN1329

The Jackson equestrian statue

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The Serialization of eBooks: The Rationale Behind The Unknown

Originally posted on my Contingency Writer’s Blog

Charles Dickens (Public Domain)

Charles Dickens (Public Domain)

In 2014, I conducted a poll inquiring what readers thought of “book serializations.” Out of a varied group of 41
respondents, 31.7% indicated that they did not know the meaning of ‘book serialization.’ 26.9% indicated a relatively neutral attitude,19.5% had a negative outlook, and 14.7% were positive towards book serializations. The opinion of the remainder was dependent upon factors such as the genre of book serializations, and the format (e.g. comics, manga) [1].

Being only a group of 41 respondents, it isn’t a representative sample of the general readership. However, it did provide a measure of insight – these reactions were mixed or unestablished.

The meaning of ‘book serialization’ varies. Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote serials, although they varied in length. In general, a book serialization entails a story begin broken up into parts, and then published in a periodical or in eBook form, rather than the entirety of the story begin published in a novel.

The question to ask may be, ‘why serialize in the first place?’ Unless the traditional format is such (e.g. comic books), why serialize mainstream genres?

The answer for me was a multi-faceted one. Firstly, why not? The fact that it’s a relatively unseen medium in novel-dominated genres does not indicate that it is unsuccessful. Could it not open up an untapped market? I thought of myself. I used to be an avid reader of novels. From my elementary into early high school years (primary to secondary), I was frequently looking for new books. As my schoolwork increased, and I was given assigned readings, however, I found that my desire and ability to recreationally read decreased. I began to shy away from 300+ page books. Yet, if a story was short enough, I would be more likely to read it. For I still loved to read. Now, there are readers who make time no matter the workload. They’re ravenous readers year round. There are also readers like myself who enjoy reading, but find it more challenging to make time, and for which serials could be a fantastic prospect.

Writing Cubism

The Trials & Tribulations of Writing

Secondly, serials are great when there’s little time to spare on the writing. I had written about three novellas before I became interested in serializations. These novellas generally took a couple of years or more to develop, and I saw my writing style mature over the course of each project. However, I did not believe these novellas to be worthy of publication. I saw need for improvement. I then wrote two short stories (“War at Our Doorstep” and “400 Years of Silence”), which would become my first published eBooks. I felt fairly confident in my writing style, and the reviews I received were generally favorable if not exceeding my expectations. Shortly after, I had the idea for my current Detective Games series. The setting would vary across the world, and the character roster would be expansive. It would be a hefty project, and certainly take me beyond 300+ pages. But I wasn’t ready to write another novella, much less a novel. I was (am) in college and the coursework didn’t allow for as much free time or mental energy as I would require. So I wrote my first serial, and often found greater motivation than I had for my longer projects.

Thirdly, serials can be great for testing the market and trying out new ideas without fully committing to a novel. The idea of the Detective Games wasn’t an ordinary one. Detectives across the world linked by a common villain? Exploring the journeys of each detective, in each region (thus far the United States, France, England, and Ireland have been utilized. My vision is to include South American, Eastern European, Middle Eastern, African, and Asian countries with detective adventures as well) and then uniting them all in a finale? I wanted to get more feedback than could be offered by beta readers. Publishing serials could provide the feedback I needed (as indicated with the feedback I received with short stories), without requiring me to travel the globe and finish the novel first. Likewise, it could be beneficial to the readers who, as aforementioned, wanted shorter stories to read.

Design #2

The upcoming second installment in The Detective Games series.

Finally, it could gradually provide resources and exposure. Over time, readers could discover the series as it was being released, as opposed to releasing a single colossal book or trilogy. It could generate more exposure through the additional releases, revenues to continue supporting the series (rather than potentially waiting for years, or even never earning enough to cover the costs of time spent), and allow for the series to be cancelled if the reaction was overly negative. The alternative being years upon years spent on a dismal book. Readers couldalso contribute to the series as it progressed by providing feedback and speculation – establishing a collaborative environment – rather than an author or editor calling all the shots. And it could be fun!

As it stands, the Detective Games has one installment. I’m receiving a great deal of feedback, and have finished the next installment and am having it beta read. Although the revenues are very small at this point, that’s not the point. I’m engaging readers and learning along the way. Revenues can come as the series progresses and gains greater exposure. In my experience, serializations are a worthwhile endeavor. In addition to benefits separate to author and reader, they may also serve to bring both groups closer together. That’s ideal in establishing a lasting impact.

Side Notes

  • I’ve been utilizing Write On by Kindle, Goodreads, and WattPad to gather more feedback prior to publishing serials, and I’ve received a great deal of constructive feedback!

Set Afire

Today we used our fireplace for the first time in a long while. Naturally, this provided a great opportunity for some photography.

As the fire died down to embers, and the crackle quieted to a murmur, the remaining wood chips were lit up in the remains of the fire's fierce glow.

As the fire died down to embers, and the crackle quieted to a murmur, the remaining wood chips were lit up in the last of the fire’s fierce glow.

A New Adventure Has Begun

And unfortunately, it has little to do with Bilbo Baggins. Though it may at some point (I’ve just gotten into LoTR!). I am starting a new blog with a much more specialized focus, and as a result, am also limited this blog as well. The Adventure Writer’s Blog may continue to host reviews, photographs, poems, and the like. But the vast majority of my writing / literary endeavors will now be recorded at the “The Contingency Writer” blog.

Thank-you to all who have joined me throughout the years! I hope you will continue to enjoy posts here at the Adventure Writer’s Blog.

C.W. Blog

The Contingency Writer’s Blog is now its own separate entity, available at contingencywriter.wordpress.com!

Welcome to the Adventure Writer’s Blog!

This website contains my first, humble experiences as a blogger. I’ve reviewed movies, video games, and TV shows.

I’ve also posted stories, shared pictures, and more! It’s quite the conglomeration, really.

Such content will be continued, but now the writing aspects are being given their own home at:

contingencywriter.wordpress.com

Thanks for joining me, and I hope you enjoy your time on the AW Blog!

Click here to get started!

Norman & Oliver: Goldendoodles

Recently our family got two members bigger. Enter: Norman and Oliver, the Goldendoodles.

When their owner came unto very unfortunate circumstances, she decided it was time to give these two boys a new home. That’s when my family came in. They loved the dogs, and asked if I would be willing to walk them and invest time in caring for them. Having never met the dogs, but anxious to have another pet since our Akita passed away,  I agreed.

A proper looking fellow in this picture, but quite goofy in actuality! Oliver must be pet in a very certain way, and most certainly not upon the head! Only his back and belly will suffice. He is also the most excitable of the two, and one might identify him by his consistent panting.

A proper looking fellow in this picture, but quite goofy in actuality! Oliver must be pet in a very certain way, and most certainly not upon the head! Only his back and belly will suffice. He is also the most excitable of the two, and one might identify him by his consistent panting.

 

Probably the "alpha dog" of the two. When Norman barks, Oliver chimes right in. When Norman lies upon the couch, Oliver thinks it's a good idea too...

Probably the “alpha dog” of the two. When Norman barks, Oliver chimes right in. When Norman lies upon the couch, Oliver thinks it’s a good idea too…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fruit Smoothie: The Perfect Balance

Tasty, and with a nice peach color!

Tasty, and with a nice peach color! (green from the pear, although one could subtly add some vegetables!)

Tonight I was meddling in smoothies, and put together one that is the perfect balance of sweet and not too tangy. The flavor is mostly that of pear and apple, with a significant hint of strawberry.

The smoothie is made up of approximately…

5x Strawberries, 5x Carrots, 1x small container of Blueberry Yogurt, 1x Pear, 1x Apple (a sweet one!), a small bowl of ice, one scoop of vanilla ice cream. (Optional to decrease thickness): 1-2 cup/s water.

Serves around four people.

I excluded the water, because I don’t mind the thickness, and I wanted all the flavors at their height. To remedy this however, one could substitute fruit juice, which would add rather than take away any flavor.

Plus, if you or your friends are among the camp who dislike yogurt but would readily eat it for its health benefits if not for the flavor, then this smoothie is prime way to do so as the yogurt isn’t very prominent.

Contingency Writer: The New Adventure Writer’s Blog

Retaining the same URL as before, I have decided to change the name of this blog to “Contingency Writer” : Spur of the moment contemplations, reviews, and wondrous tales.

As I tend to post quaint poems, various other literary pieces, and the occasional photography highlight, on a spur of the moment basis, I thought this would be a most fitting revision. And there are already numerous “adventure writers.” It didn’t hurt to innovate a little.

I would also like to welcome one who is new to the WordPress blogosphere, a friend and skilled programmer: the contingency coder.

 

One Couplet After Another

I found a thread within a message board while upon a website I frequent, and found that it challenged viewers to write couplets. So I began with one… and then another… and soon found that I had a poem going.

I grunt and I yawn,

I spot a frollicking Faun.

The Faun says to me,

Why so pouty?

It is Writer’s Block I say,

Oh if only I had a day,

Where I could write with ease,

Instead of getting words by a squeeze.

It’s Friday again,

Just look at Big Ben,

When it hits midnight,

I’ll have a chapter to write!

Sir, the Faun says to me,

Do not be so whiny!

The words await you right here,

Amdist the trees and the deer.

You see that one nibbling there?

He doesn’t have such a care!

He’s living life but with eyes open wide,

He doesn’t have such a need to decide,

Which words to keep and which words to throw,

It’s as his footsteps in the snow.

They just happen, I say!

In the course of the day.

So shall the words come,

Says the Faun, like the beat of a drum,

They are consistently there,

Just look about somewhere,

And let the inspiration flow,

The story shall come to you, I know!