Avatar Movie

The Avatar movie has some pretty deep philosophical under tones and plot. It can be applied to several historical situations as well as current global situations. The fact that the human race in the movie is trying to exploit the indigenous people of a planet called Pandora for a resource that doesn’t even belong to them is reminiscent of the wars over the centuries. Everything from the wars in our history over religion, resources and differences of political opinion.

The very fact that the planet is named Pandora, a reference to opening up Pandora’s Box and unleashing destruction and chaos in our world all for power, greed and money. The religious undertones of the movie are flavored with several cultures such as Native American, Aboriginal, and Pagan. The only thing that concerned me and left a bad taste in my mouth was a reference to the Pagan beliefs being heretic like. The contempt was apparent for Pagan beliefs, perhaps this was done to create creative conflict for resolution in the movie but it did grate on my nerves being that I am Pagan myself.

The cinematic processes of the movie are spectacular, beautifully done and integrated into a seamless live acting and CGI environment that blows the mind with spectacular scenes of action and touching deep moments. The use of an “Avatar” or hybrid of human and alien DNA to infiltrate the Indigenous people and learn their ways as an intelligence gathering is an interesting concept. The references to Mother Nature and the natural path was pleasingly accurate. Very natural flow for the plot, they were well informed and researched their subject on natural religion very well.

Overall, despite the reference to being a heretic if one is Pagan, it was a very good movie with a deep philosophical story line that is applicable to the every day revolutions of the world from all cultures and walks of life and societies. It’s very eye opening with great action scenes, phenomenal acting. The sub plot of a love story fits well with the main plot and supports it well enough. It was a very well written screen play that was adapted into to movie format beautifully. It’s touching, makes you think about the global issues we are all facing and is profoundly applicable to our own lives in so many ways. It felt realistic as far as movies go. It really brings to light how messed up our species is but how our species can and does redeem itself in many ways.

Blogging Detriment to Health?

According to PayU2Blog there are articles out there in the news that state that it is detrimental to your physical and mental health to be payed to blog. Without actually having read the articles I’m going to assume (let’s hope my assumptions here don’t make an ass of me) that the articles are insinuating that being payed to blog has bloggers sitting at their computers at all hours every day, all day long blogging away and ticking away the time. Now I highly doubt that all bloggers do this, payed or not. Most people hold down jobs and take care of families and households.

From what I understand of the information provided by PayU2Blog is that the blogger is the one who dictates how much they want to blog, how little or much they want to earn from blogging. I don’t believe their staff are down the blogger’s throats about blogging to get payed by them. It’s a voluntary basis situation as far as I can tell. Now maybe there are a bunch of bloggers that actually do what these supposed news articles are alleging, sure there very much are. It may very well be detrimental to lead a sedentary and non active lifestyle but that type of lifestyle crops up whether it’s blogging, watching the boob tube or cruising the Internet on forum boards. I think it’s up to the individual to care about their health physically personally. It’s not like the people paying bloggers to blog are holding a weapon against the bloggers temple and whipping a proverbial chain and whip all the while screaming in the blogger’s ear – blog blog blog, damned you blog.

As for it being detrimental to your mental state and health. Hogwash I say, any good psychiatrist or psychologist, therapist and what have you will tell you that a journal is healthy for any person on a psychological level. It releases the stress of emotional turmoil, let’s off steam and provides an avenue to work out the psychological effects of stressful situations or just daily life in general in a visual medium. Depression sufferers (like myself) are encouraged to journal about what gets their goad, what drives them crazy or the mental & emotional states they find themselves in. If it weren’t for my blog, my journals and my ability to release the stress emotionally and mentally I’d be a basket case. It’s my release.

I think these people who down the paying a blogger to blog just have their undies in a wad over a new and up and coming idea that maybe they didn’t think about and aren’t making money off of. Now a days it seems like everything is bad for you one day and then the next it’s “oh wait, never mind, our bad, we were wrong – it’s good for you”. Blogging has brought the world together, made it smaller and easier to communicate, and express ideas and thoughts that normally may not have been expressed.

I say kuddos to those who get paid to blog and kuddos to the companies that provide the opportunity to do so!

Witch Hunts in The Media

So, long time no see you are thinking. Yup, been busy. Very busy. It’s only fitting that I start blogging again with a comment on the twitter debate about a mom tweeting about her child passing away in the family pool.

News Article of mom tweeting live as her child is dying…

At first, I was very much WTF? Twittering while your 2 year old son is dying? Come on…

Then I got to thinking, we all go to our own little neck of the woods online for support and prayers from our own personal virtual communities too. There’s places like Circle of Moms, Mothering.com, C2PP.com and other communities of like minded people. We ask for prayers, support, advice, help…

My “WTF?” now lies on NY Times shoulders. How can a major media outlet take a grieving family and slap them in the spot light without all the details of the situation, put a nasty spin on it and then set their readers against this grieving family, this mother who does not have her baby to hold tonight and vilify them with such ease? For the bottom line? The almighty dollar? Profit? What has happened to home grown true journalism? Where did it go, what makes a large media outlet feel it’s okay to spin a story (and that is basically what it is, a story) at the expense of people who are hurting?

Bryson Ross, bless his little old soul, was the same age as my son Brysten. Their names are even similar. Today I sit here, crying for a child and mother I’ve never met because that could have been me. That could have been any number of us parents. Accidents do happen and by the Gods it is a hard pill to swallow when they do happen. The media outlet has made us pawns of a witch hunt. Pitting us against each other in the comment boxes as we argue back and forth about the trivialities of this or that. Arguing about what if’s – there are no what if’s – the death of child is an absolute and while we argue back and forth a grieving family sits in the corner horrified, mortified and vilified – alone, ostracized and made sinister by the media – what painful thoughts must be running through their heads as they watch the masses rip their family apart and pick at the bones like vultures gathered around the drying out carcasses?

What are they feeling so profoundly in their heart of hearts. Mom must be feeling guilt – you know any parent blames themselves for an accident, even if it’s no fault of their own. What about that 11 year old sibling – the guilt and self blame that child must be leveling on their shoulders right now. The what if’s the if only the grief must be so utterly devastating. Now look at all of us arguing over a stupid set of tweets – something that any one of us who’ve lost a loved one would feel and do is to seek support from those we trust, care for and even those we don’t know.

The internet has brought people from across the globe into each others homes just as back in the day a whole town rallied together at the side of a mother who lost a child. So what she tweeted about her loss, that is her prerogative and her right to seek support and prayers from whom ever she chooses. Honestly, what is wrong with seeking prayers and support from even the people we don’t know. Whole congregations of church goers pray for people they don’t know, have never met and never will meet through out the years. We don’t persecute them for doing, why persecute a woman asking for it?

Publish America

As some of you may know, I’m a writer. I already have 5 publications and many numerous articles. I also have a plethora of works in progress that are on going at the moment but I want to talk about Publish America (aka PA).

I’m part of a writing forum called AW (Absolute Writer) and the consensus there, despite PA’s claims, is that PA is a pay to play publisher – more accurately it’s a vanity publisher and a bad one. They’ve been sued several times by people who have been scammed by them from what I understand. If you look around, even the BBB in Maryland (where they operate) has many complaints about them.

Maryland BBB

To Quote the BBB:

Based on BBB files, this business has a BBB Rating of F on a scale from A+ to F.

Reasons for this rating include:
Failure to honor commitment to arbitrate or mediate disputes.
103 complaints filed against business
2 complaints filed against business that were not resolved.

And:

BBB processed a total of 103 complaints about this company in the last 36 months, our standard reporting period. Of the total of 103 complaints closed in 36 months, 63 were closed in the last year.

These complaints concerned :
7 regarding Billing or Collection Issues
49 regarding Contract Issues
10 regarding Customer Service Issues
13 regarding Delivery Issues
8 regarding Product Issues
2 regarding Refund or Exchange Issues
3 regarding Sales Practice Issues
11 regarding Service Issues

These complaints were closed as:
57 Resolved
2 Unresolved
44 Administratively Closed

Then the owner or supposed owner of PA at the time (no longer owner) Miranda Prather has this in the Wiki files about her:

Miranda Prather is an American woman who gained national attention in July 1997 after police arrested her for faking a hate crime. A lesbian, Prather was a graduate assistant and president of the campus gay and lesbian support group at Eastern New Mexico University.

Is this seriously a company that any author wants to get involved with? They are worse than a vanity, pay to play publisher. They treat their “authors” like customers and their customers like crap. There is no level they don’t seem to stoop to in the way they treat people. It’s pretty amazingly disheartening to watch authors be treated to “Nonsense, stop the crap” when asking for simple feedback on a question in the PA forums and in email. They have consistently sold their authors their own books, degraded the level of quality compared to pricing of those books and have even claimed they put their books on the shelf in the past but never delivered.

They hold your book “ransom” for 7 years, rarely ever releasing it before hand at request of the author. I know it’s hard to get an agent, to get a publisher. It can be infuriatingly frustrating but I promise you this – PA isn’t looking for your work except to exploit it and you as an author. Please don’t get taken in by these alleged scam artists. It’s not worth the heartache or the headache. Value yourself, your work and the time and effort you’ve put into it. Rejections from real publishers and agents are not personal, they are just the journey to the ultimate goal – being legitimately published.

I want to add that ripoff report has 44 reports on Publish America in their ripoffs complaints database. That’s 3 pages so far – PA Ripoff Reports

Then there is the Atlantis Nights fiasco that had PA out themselves a few years ago. The official website is called Travis Tea : Atlantis Nights

Now, apparently Publish America became America Star Books. After that, they went defunct. The previous owner, Miranda Prather gave way to co-owners Lawrence Clopper & Willem Meiners. After a lawsuit, multiple BBB complaints, Writer Beware\SFWA blogging about multiple warnings and Absolute Write members posting thread upon thread about them – they disappeared.

I’m, as a publishing industry professional and a writer, very grateful to people like Victoria Strauss and groups like SFWA for the deep dive research that they do.  It’s amazing what some companies go to at length for to prey on others. What is it exactly that they prey on? The deep desire for a new author to be “legit published”. That feeling of someone wants and likes my work. That exhilarating high of “send us your manuscript, we want to publish you”.

There is one thing that I do disagree with about Publish America\America Star Books. They are not, were never and well… will never be a true “POD publisher”. Not in the sense that I and many others see the definition as today because POD is a tool and not just a “type of publishing”. POD publishing then and now are very different. POD or publish on demand is now a main staple and huge market tool (thanks Amazon) both to smaller publishing houses such as The Three Little Sisters Publishing and Indie authors alike.

Publish America\America Star Books only used the tool as a vanity, pay to play publisher to line their silver pockets. There should be a distinction between what a publisher is and what publishing tools they use are. Just like InDesign, POD is a tool not a type of publisher, of course this is my opinion, I don’t expect others to agree with it and some will, some won’t and some will say explain further.

Keep your eye on the blogs at Three Little Sisters and Black Cat Editing for an expose on how our experiences a few months ago (and again just recently) went with other traditional publishers and retrieval of publishing rights. We will be talking about how the publishing industry reacts to a request of publication rights back, what the difference between copyrights and publication rights are, what you can possibly do when dealing with a belligerent publishing house who is refusing to cooperate or how to track down a literary agent when the agency has folded (that one was fun – note sarcasm). We, Larisa and I, will both be writing about this experience and probably vlogging\pod casting about it in the future as well.

For now, I applaud you Victoria ET AL for the job well done and helping to inform the writing community to keep them safer than they might have been navigating this crazy little publishing world we all live in. I appreciate the hard work that you folks do.

Fictional Dialog & Quotations

Tack tack tack…grumble…
backspace..wait there is no backspace… sigh.

What’s appropriate and what’s not? Well, generally, there are three ways to quote long fictional dialogue that spans numerous pages.

The first way is to use open and closed quotations on each paragraph with no indentation.

For example:

“This is why we may use open and closed quotations for each paragraph”

“A second paragraph will have the opened and closed quotations as well”

The second way to use open and closed quotations is to start with an open quotation mark then indent each paragraph within the dialogue as it spans the pages.

For example:

“This is why we may use an open quotation mark to start the first paragraph. This method is the second method used for dialogue that spans multiple pages.

Then we indent the next set of paragraphs while ending our dialogue with a closed quotation mark to indicate the end of the fictional character speaking”

You are likely wondering, well, where is the descriptor language that most readers see with dialogue ( “I’ll explain!” remarked Sheal. )

Generally, when we are doing long fictional dialogue that spans multiple pages the use of descriptor language (as above) is not used. The character is usually telling a first person point of view story in their own words which contains the descriptors.

The third way by-passes quotation marks altogether, this is generally normally used in inner dialogue rather than outer dialogue. It is to italicize the dialogue.

For example: 

Inner dialogue is italicized to indicate that it is spoken inwardly to the character themselves. Usually inner dialogue is the character thinking rather than speaking.

“When I speak to someone, I use the open and close quotation marks so that the person I am speaking to, and the reader, know that I am speaking out loud.”

As you can see in the examples given above, there are several very effective ways to indicate when a character is speaking inwardly or outwardly. There are other methods, but the general rule I, as a copy editor and layout designer, use are the three most common examples shown here.

For figuring out inner and outer dialogue I use the general rule that if the character is speaking in his/her head – no quotes\italicized. If the character is speaking to someone else – either method of open\closed quotation marks depending on if the dialogue spans a few sentences or a few pages. Both are acceptable for long dialogue while the first example is acceptable for sentences of dialogue.

Editor’s Emporium

“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”


― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Here at the Editor’s Emporium you will find a bit of everything. From my take on the publishing world, to documentation technology and everything in between.

Let me introduce myself, I’m Sheal. You’re local resident Dark Tower – constant reader – lover of all things unicorn and cats. I’m a document technician and publishing editor and layout designer. I am one of three partners at Three Little Sisters LLC, I’m an owner and executive coordinator there with my other two partners Larisa (President) and Sarah (Art Director).

Three Little Sisters LLC

I’m also a traditional published and indie published author. I’ve been published twice traditionally, once with Reader Jack’s Horror Anthology (2008) and I recently revamped and will be republishing These Chains with Three Little Sisters Publishing (under the TLS LLC). Along with that title comes a new title but not so new horror novella called Junked. Both are set to release April 1, 2019. Just in time for April’s Alcohol Awareness campaign.

You’re wondering how I came up with Black Cat Editing & Design aren’t you… well… let me show you how I came up with that name to begin with:

This cat has been a riot, she came to me feral and was the true definition of homicidal muffin on legs. It took me six weeks to get her to come out of the box I had given to her and to stop hissing and spitting at every thing and person that moved. She was a nightmare when she first came into our household. Wouldn’t let anyone near or touch her but soon enough the little furry devil on toe beans decided, of course, on her own terms I was an “okay” human to ignore on occasion and sometimes get a belly rub from before becoming the half feral bag of nope in the living feline flesh. Today she is my little familiar and feline supervisor at Black Cat Editing, which is so aptly named for her. If you like it here, might I impress upon you to subscribe to my feed and hang around for a little while.