Sunday, January 13, 2013

Intro to Kindle Publishing

Amazon Kindle
Amazon Kindle (Photo credit: agirregabiria)
Why would any writer want to avoid the large publishing  companies, (were all the big money is), and publish on the Amazon Kindle platform?  That has to be crazy talk, right?

Crazy like a fox, I think.  Amazon's Kindle Publishing platform may be the best opportunity for writers that has come along, well, since writing was invented, many thousands of years ago.  You just have to abide by their rules, (most of which are simply common sense).

You will not have to endure the endless waiting game and frustration, of sending your manuscript to publishers, only to receive a politely worded response that your book does not fit what they are looking for.  They never really explain exactly what they are looking for, do they?

There are some technical issues you will have to understand, such as formatting for electronic distribution.  It is not as simple as uploading your text from Word, but with a little research, you can overcome this obstacle. You will also have to find a way to get your own book cover art designed, but this is not as big a problem as you might think.

Unfortunately, there is one huge obstacle that writers need to understand, and it may not be an easy thing to digest.  When you write an ebook, you are not just a writer any more, like it or not, you are a now a writer/co-publisher.  This means if you want to be successful, you will have to think like a publisher and learn to market your books as well as write them.

Note:  if this seems distasteful to you, maybe you need to question how much you really want to be successful.  It  is simply a matter of learning a new skill.  It just might be something you enjoy, so go ahead and taste the green eggs.  Welcome to the new world of digital self-publishing!

Note to those who would like to comment on this blog.  Recently there has been a flood of comments to this post in particular.  Please do not try to post comments using the name Anonymous.  Use your real name or a nickname that you are using on the Internet.  

Any constructive comment on topic will be published.  If you are merely trying to promote your own website or products, this is not a very effective way to gain links.  It will not be a very effective strategy for your search engine optimization efforts to link back your website though a simple comment.  I cannot encourage this kind of tactic, or technique.  Google appreciates a wide variety of different types of links and various types of links through keywords, and phrases in their rankings.  Please visit for a thorough understanding of effective link building.

Thank you for your understanding.  

John  Lombaerde

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

How to write and publish on Kindle

Amazon Kindle eBook Reader
Amazon Kindle eBook Reader (Photo credit: goXunuReviews)
Note to all blog writers.  I recommend that you install Zemanta for Firefox, or for Chrome.  It is a great aid in blogging.  You can not only choose images that are freely available from the public domain, but you can get suggested links for recently written blog posts, and tags that are similar to your blog posts.

If you look at some of my previous posts here, you will see examples of this.  It not only adds some "spice" but improves the content of the blog as well.

Drop a comment below, if you would like additional information on how to use Zemanta.  Thanks.

PS - (Shhh!!!) This blog will soon have some content on how to write for Amazon Kindle.  I am now in the  process of investigation into the publishing and marketing possibilities.  .....  Maybe a blog isn't the best way to keep it a secret. Ok, the cat is out of the bag.  I will be soon releasing my first Kindle Book.

Look for a link to appear here, hopefully within the next 2 weeks.  In the meantime, check out the links below.

Thanks.  Happy Writing !

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Family Friendly links for the Holidays

English: Official Log of Family Friendly WIBI ...
English: Official Log of Family Friendly WIBI Christian radio. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Here are three family friendly links that can help to find movies and books suitable for your family for the Holidays.

You may find yourself with a few extra hours during this time, to take advantage of some family reading or entertainment. I hope that it proves to be true this year.

 Happy Holidays!

 John Lombaerde

Family Friendly Book List

Family Friendly Movie List

Very Literary Books for Children

Note to readers: this pleasant theme is one of  the optional templates available for free on Blogger, Google's easy to set-up and use blogging system.  Happy Blogging.
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Understanding untranslatable words and phrases in English

by John Lombaerde

It's been much too long since I posted here, and too long, in fact, since I've blogged on a regular basis.

I do profoundly miss it, and today, I suddenly found myself with an unexpected day off.  This is the explanation for my sudden written appearance on this treasured space.  I hope my words will be of some brief inspiration, and encourage discussion or thought.

In an effort to not be constrained by my native English, many years ago, I decided as a young college student to venture into a one year junior-year abroad program in the south of France.  It was a challenging adventure for me at the time, to leave behind America, and the day to day things to which we are so easily accustomed.

I have never regretted that decision, since it opened my eyes, (if only briefly), to the world of  Europe, as well as North Africa, during my summer travels to Morocco.  I have maintained my interest in French, but I have to admit, I have been more interested in Japanese and Korean for the last 20 years or so.  Sadly, my understanding in both languages, is quite poor.

It seems to me that we often fail to take into consideration the limitations of our own language, and in a very brief attempt to broaden our Anglophone perspective, I would  like to explore some words that have been found to be difficult or impossible to translate into English.

I am especially interested in words that are difficult to translate from Korean into English.  I hope you find this information as interesting as I do.

Koi No Yokan (Japanese): The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall into love. 
This is different than “love at first sight,” since it implies that you might have a sense of imminent love, somewhere down the road, without yet feeling it. The term captures the intimation of inevitable love in the future, rather than the instant attraction implied by love at first sight.

Cafuné (Brazilian Portugese): The act of tenderly running your fingers through someone's hair. 

Yuanfen (Chinese): A relationship by fate or destiny. This is a complex concept. It draws on principles of predetermination in Chinese culture, which dictate relationships, encounters and affinities, mostly among lovers and friends.
From what I glean, in common usage yuanfen means the "binding force" that links two people together in any relationship. 
But interestingly, “fate” isn’t the same thing as “destiny.” Even if lovers are fated to find each other they may not end up together. The proverb, “have fate without destiny,” describes couples who meet, but who don’t stay together, for whatever reason. It’s interesting, to distinguish in love between the fated and the destined. Romantic comedies, of course, confound the two.
Ya’aburnee (Arabic): “You bury me.” It’s a declaration of one’s hope that they’ll die before another person, because of how difficult it would be to live without them.
The online dictionary that lists this word calls it “morbid and beautiful.” It’s the “How Could I Live Without You?” slickly insincere cliché of dating, polished into a more earnest, poetic term.  
(Thanks to Pamela Haag at

Here are some Korean untranslatable words and phrases.
Answering negative questions.  I think I’ve confused a lot of teachers and friends by accidentally using the Korean convention of answering negative questions.  These questions perplex me and somehow I’ve always been at a loss as to how to answer them unambiguously with a simple “yes” or “no” in English.  Some types of negative questions have a certain contextual polarity associated with them that doesn’t necessarily match with what the question is actually asking, so that gets confusing too.  In English, I usually  end up having to support my yes/no answer with extra verbiage to make it less ambiguous.  My logical head prefers the succinct, unambiguous Korean mode of answering negative questions.
To illustrate how confusing it can get, take this example:
Question:  Aren’t you Korean?
English:  No.  (=No, I’m not Korean.)
Korean:  No.  (=No, you are wrong.  I am Korean.)
I’ve always found this an intriguing difference between English and Korean.  The “aren’t you…” or “isn’t that/this…” implies a relative degree of certainty in English.  A question like “Aren’t you Korean?” translates to something more like, “I’m pretty sure you’re Korean.”  So that’s why in English, the “yes” or “no” reply directly addresses the latter statement than the actual question.  But in Korean, the sentence reads more like “Are you not Korean?”  So the “yes” or “no” reply goes with the “not Korean” part of the sentence.

  1. 쓸 데 없다:  useless, unnecessary, superfluous.  I’ve used this phrase a lot in the context of “쓸 데 없는 걱정/말.”
  2. 고퀄리티:  This comes from attaching the Hanja 高 (높을 고, 높이 고) to the English word “quality.”  높다, as you might know, means “to be high.”
Putting it together, 쓸 데 없는 고퀄리티 = ridiculously high quality.
What exactly gets does that mean?  I actually see this phrase mostly referring to things that are elaborately well made, but cannot bring the maker any real attention or profit.  That is, the time and effort put into making the thing, far exceeds the payoff.  For example, a doodle like the one below:
I found an article about the phrase over at 10Asia and it ended with this rather profound statement:
자신에게 쓸 데 없으나 세상을 위해 고퀄리티를 포기하지 않는 이들을 일컬어 우리는 예술가라 부른다.

I’m in constant danger of using these words in the middle of an English conversation.

  1. 역시:  The best English equivalents I can come up with for this word are “naturally,” “obviously,” “as expected,” and “of course” but I still find that situations where that sounds odd in English.  역시 is such a pithy answer to a variety of different scenarios; I do wish there was a single, direct English equivalent.  For example, suppose your friend says something like, “콘서트 최고였어!  지드래곤은 진짜 멋있더라!”  To which you could very simply reply, “역시” to mean “naturally” or “of course.”  But say 지드래곤 was at an interview and said, “이번 생일부터 저의 선물로 돈을 기부하겠습니다.”   If you were the interviewer, you could say, “와~~ 역시 지드래곤 씨네요!” which uses 역시 to mean more like, “that’s what I would’ve expected from you.”

  2. 글쎄:  Such a delightfully noncommittal word.  It can mean “I guess,” “I dunno,” “maybe,” “not sure” or simply “hmmm.”  Just leave it to the listener to figure out what you really mean.

  3. 헐:  Oh yes, the word that perfectly sums up my entire existence!  I equate this sound with “OMG WHAT” or “HUH??” or “that’s crazy” – though my friend Yekyung tells me it can also be used when you mean 대~~~박.

  4. 길치:  길 means “way, street” and 치 is “person” – 길치 is a person with no sense of direction.  If only there was a word this succinct in English that describes my condition.  On a similar note, 음치, which is 음악 + 치, means a “tone-deaf person.”

  5. skinship:  Technically not Korean, doesn’t keep it from not being awesome.  I use PDA as a poor substitute, but skinship is so much better.

  6. 맞선:  The only reason I wish this word existed in English is so I’d be able to better explain the process of Indian arranged marriages to my American friends.  In Marathi, there’s a phrase we use that translates to “going to see the boy/girl” which basically means the same thing as  맞선.  In fact, the phrase “선 보다” translates beautifully into Marathi but sounds really clunky in English – essentially translating to “meeting each other with the intention of getting married.”  I usually explain this to my friends as “a very serious blind date arranged by one’s parents” which doesn’t have quite the same meaning or ring to it.

  7. 멍:  God, I love this word!  It’s basically the speechless, zoned-out, eye-glazed-over, “ehhhh” type of expression that you’d find on the face of every student forced to sit through a difficult lecture.  It’s ridiculously fun to say too.

  8. 짝사랑:  You could use “crush” but the point is that it’s unrequited and not all crushes are.  ”Unrequited love” is a mouthful to say and it doesn’t look quite as romantic when you’re trying to translate song lyrics.  What’s even harder to translated is when it’s used as a verb.  How does one properly translate 짝사랑 하다?  ”To have an unrequited love?” “To love someone one-sidedly?” Neither one really rolls off the tongue.

  9. 뒷모습:  This word makes me groan when I’m translating songs.  뒤 is “back, rear” and 모습 is “figure, image” and together, this word means “appearance from behind.”  Sure, you could translate this as “back” or “behind” but it often sounds flat in the context of a song.  If I’m feeling poetic, I usually translate 네 뒷모습 as “your retreating figure” but even that sound a bit… blargh.

Of course, these are excluding all those lovely ideophonic words and kinship terms which present such troubles for poor amateur translators like me!  What are some Korean words you wished existed in English?
(Thanks to Archana for the Korean phrases.  Nice job for a non-native Korean speaker)

All in all, a very nice list of words with particular English translation difficulty. I would add "chinoiserie" from the French to the list.

The origin of the word is from the world of art.  It was an appreciation of the complexity of detail and rather imaginary or fantastic, even romantic,Chinese artistic expression.  It could have been loosely used to describe any particular art object from China or the East Orient.

In modern colloquial slang, it can mean something that is particularly or overly complicated.  Even something particularly or unnecessarily complex as to be nearly incomprehensible.  The word could be used to describe a device or even a particular situation that is disproportionate in complexity compared with the purpose or intended meaning.

For example, the entrepreneur gave up trying to do business in the foreign country due to the  "chinoiseries", in dealing with all of the local laws and government bureaucracy.

I hope there are not too many words from outside the English language that you find to be "chinoiseries".

Happy writing!

Please visit the following 2 URLS for the background information used in this blog post.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Uplifting Literature

The most recent meeting of the Writers Haven took place at the Westchester County residence of Debby Grodner. This was our second meeting at the Grodner home and we are very grateful to Debby for her warm hospitality in welcoming our group. In addition to Debby, on hand were June Saunders, Kerry Pobanz, Gelo Fleisher, newcomers Lowell and Lesa Ellanson, and Bob Beebe. Lowell and Lesa are both published authors, Lowell having written a memoir of his spiritual journey entitled 'Wronged, Wrecked and Resurrected' and Lesa a novel entitled 'One and Whole' about a fairy-tale interracial marriage (which Lowell's and Lesa's is in real life). As Lesa shares on the back cover of her book: "Racial harmony comes when we no longer see skin color but when we look into the human heart. And, when we look deeply, the desire to love is what we all find." Lowell and Lesa certainly exemplify this sentiment in their own relationship.
As this time there was no particular agenda, we had a freewheeling discussion on a great many topics related to the Writers Haven's mission to create "literature appropriate to God's Kingdom." Inevitably this was contrasted to the fare we observe today in the culture around us and the great need for we Unificationists and our allies to create heavenly literature that can inspire people to live for God's ideal. The Ellansons mentioned that they are happy to offer their publishing company Neversink Press as a vehicle through which such literature can be published and distributed.
Our next meeting is tentatively planned for Sunday, July 8, 3:00-5:00, at a location to be announced. Anyone wishing to offer a presentation on a piece they have written, or are currently working on, please contact me sometime this week.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The All-Seeing Eye

We had a great meeting of the Writers Haven at the home of Bob and Karen Beebe last Sunday, April 1. In additon to NJ resident June Saunders, we had a contingent of three from NY: Debby Grodner, Gelo Fleisher and first-timer Josephine Hamad. The meeting started with an interesting discussion about how good writers create not just in front of their keyboards but wherever they are and whatever they are doing, whether it is doing the dishes, out for a walk, or playing with one's children. A good writer is absorbed by his/her characters, plots and settings. It is this absorption which brings them alive, sometimes to the point where they take on a life of their own and can seem to be more real than the people we are encountering in our daily lives because we are getting into and under their skins.

From there we went into a discussion of a short science fiction story Gelo presented entitled "The All-Seeing Eye" about an anthropologist who travels a zillion light-years to meet up with two scientists at a space station who are monitoring and trying to understand a cluster of "ships" that seem to be communicating with each other through colors and sounds. Unfortunately, the scientists have been couped up with each other way too long and can't seem to cooperate or agree on anything, which severely inhibits their mission. On an excursion out to the seemingly mother ship the anthropologist encounters an alien who explains the purpose of the ships as an information gathering center of everything happening in the universe. In this way they are attempting to be like God who is aware of everything (i.e., omniscient) and, so, cares about everything. In the process the anthropologist worries about his teenage son back on planet earth who has a tendency to wander city streets late at night, his thoughts transcending the vastness of space between them.

The quality of Gelo's writing and the intrigue of his topic generated a lively discussion for the rest of the meeting.

The next meeting will be held at the Saunders residence on Sunday, May 6. Tentatively Josephine has agreed to present some of her writing. I will be in touch with you before then to remind you and hopefully be able to send out some of Josephine's work as well.

In the meantime, all the best and God bless!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Fantasy Novella and the State of Literature

We had a wonderful meeting of our Writers Haven last Sunday, March 4, at the home of Kerry and Carol Pobanz. Present were Kerry, Debbie Grodner, Gelo Fleisher, and Bob Beebe. We started off with a discussion of the current state of literature in the 21st century, particularly how it has been affected by the digital revolution, which has upended the publishing industry. More and more writers are opting to self-publish, by-passing agents and the traditional print route. Many are publishing only electronic versions of their work, adding interactive features in the process. Another development we discussed is the blurring of lines between young adult (YA) and adult literature, as more and more adults are reading so-called YA books and whose themes contain much darker subject matter than in the past. A favorite theme has become romance amidst the ruins of a not-too-distant future civilization formerly known as America.

After this uplifting discussion, we went on to the main agenda of the meeting: a presentation by Gelo Fleisher of the beginning pages of his fantasy novella called The Night Thief, which you should have received by e-mail. He explained that most of his writing is in the science fiction genre, so this piece represents a departure from his usual work. Everyone was impressed by the fluidity and richness of his writing, the unfolding of his characters, and his strong narration. His first chapter left us hungering for more, which was only partially satisfied as Gelo has yet to fully work out the plot. We look forward to his next installment.

Our next meeting will be taking place at the Beebe residence Sunday, April 1st (no April fools!), 3:00-5:00 pm. The agenda is not yet clear. More on this when I send you an update as we get closer to the date.

Until then, all the best!