A Day in the Life: Kye

Kye’s day begins simply enough: Grab whatever’s handy in the wardrobe, shave, then head downstairs for a huge breakfast from Carmela, with a pot of strong coffee.

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San Francisco theatrical newspaper 1875

After reading the morning newspaper with Chance, Kye usually spends the day working on one of his projects. If he’s not tinkering with something in his workroom or out in the shed, he’ll probably be over at Red’s working on some sort of firearm, or at one of the town’s blacksmith shops learning a new technique.

Lunch is whatever’s handy. He might eat at home, or he might stop at the closest restaurant or pub. Kye’s not nearly as picky as Chance is – he’s more drawn to plain cooking and large servings (or “all you can eat”).

If he’s not in the middle of a project, he might hook up with Chance in the late afternoon, for a visit to Woodward’s Gardens or a matinee performance at the theater.

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Woodward’s Gardens, San Francisco

Evenings might be spent in any sort of search for entertainment: theater, sports (Kye is partial to boxing matches), visiting or hosting friends, or attending a lecture or other educational exhibit. Kye and Chance generally eat dinner fairly late, either at a restaurant or at home, and stay out until all hours of the morning. This explains why they’re not usually up and about until well after most people have already eaten breakfast and gone about their daily business.

Once he gets back home, Kye is likely to tinker some more on his latest project, and then retire to his or Chance’s sitting room for the evening newspapers and conversation (with brandy and/or coffee and a cigar or cigarette).

Guest Post: Subject is Variable – Character is Everything

Today’s guest lecturer is Amanda Rosenblatt:

When writing anything, whether it is an OpEd blog, a creative short story, or a fact sheet, the character put into the text is crucial. When I say “character,” I do not mean a talking rabbit that solves crimes.

People who are lucky to find careers in writing aren’t always going to be lucky enough to write about what they want to. Some are very blessed to have gotten to release the content they wanted to, or they find success in self-publishing, but there are others who write about the subject matter they are given to work with.

Any true writer is just happy to write and can work with anything they are given. The written word is their broken glass, the subject being the glue, and the final product becoming the mosaic made from materials once deemed worthless.

A great example of this concept is “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.” The “My Little Pony” franchise before 2010 was successful at selling toys, but their films and TV series were lackluster in their reception, at best. Now, the fourth generation of the franchise is highly successful and noted for its depth in storytelling, as well as character building.

The people who created this generation were not the makers of the subject, being “My Little Pony.” The series was born from a toy Hasbro released in the early 1980s, so it is not new.

The writers worked with what they had to make something better. Something relevant to modern society that was educational and entertaining. Not only did it appeal to children, its target audience, but it even pulled in an adult audience, who lovingly call themselves Bronies or PegaSisters.

Were the writers for this show passionate about the subject matter at first? Likely no, since it was just another writing job and they were adults building the concept of a children’s show. But look at what they created with the subject matter given!

The moral of the story is that it shouldn’t matter if you are writing a technical manual, a satirical piece, or a feature story. Take the subject, give it life, infect it with character, and make the words work with you. You’ll give them all something to talk about, even if it’s completely by accident.

Amanda Rosenblatt is a fellow contributor to Answers.com with J.E.S. Hays, and a writer for VA Home Loan Centers. Follow the VA HLC Twitter account, or visit their site.

A Day in the Life: Carmela

Carmela’s day starts early. She’s got to cook her own family’s breakfast before she leaves for Chance and Kye’s house. Fortunately, the lads usually sleep late, so she’s got a little leeway to stop by the market on the way and pick up fresh ingredients for the day’s meal.

A Victorian Era Kitchen

A Victorian Era Kitchen

She’s also got great employers, which means she’s got a modern kitchen with the best equipment. It doesn’t take long to get the fire going in the stove and start the coffee. Before starting breakfast, she’ll put lunch on – usually a big pot of chili or soup, or maybe roast beef or chicken that she can slice for sandwiches later. She’ll also pop the day’s bread into the oven.

Carmela’s day is unusual for a cook because of the odd hours her employers keep. Breakfast can be as late as 9 or 10 o’clock, with lunch (when the lads are actually home for it) in the early afternoon. Their largest meal is the evening one, but Chance and Kye don’t expect her to stay until they arrive. They’re perfectly happy to have her leave a roast warming in the oven, or a pot of stew on the back burner.

A Victorian Era cook

A Victorian Era cook

Of course, when Chance throws one of his frequent get-togethers, the timing of the meals shifts around. Lunch will more than likely be a light affair, perhaps only a sandwich (or two or three, in Kye’s case), and dinner will be in the early evening. That’s when Carmela really gets to shine. She’ll spend the entire day working on the meal, producing four- or five-course meals that never cease to amaze the lads. They’ve offered numerous times to hire an assistant, but the most she’ll accept is a part-time scullery maid to wash and prepare the vegetables and meats.

She does accept the assistance of a couple of day-maids on such occasion, to clean up after the affair. This leaves her free to start the bread for the next day and get home to her own family at a reasonable hour of the evening.

A Victorian kitchen

A Victorian kitchen

Here’s an example of a fairly typical Victorian Era feast:

  • Savory soup
  • Roast turkey with dressing – or Chicken fricassee with rice – or Roast pork with potatoes
  • Two vegetable side dishes
  • Citrus ice
  • Fresh dinner rolls with butter
  • Jams, jellies and sweet pickles
  • Fancy cake
  • Punch, coffee and water or wine

4 Tricks for Goodreads Authors

Goodreads is an author’s Number One social media – or it should be! If you’re still a bit confused by the site, here are some tricks to help you succeed as a Goodreads Author.

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1. Focus on your reviews. Goodreads syndicates its reviews to a lot of big-name literary sites, so you want to increase your numbers. Here are some tips on that:

  • Post excerpts of your book on your Goodreads page
  • Link your blog to your Goodreads page – and don’t hesitate to make a blog post stating that your book is available for review!
  • Make sure your website has a Goodreads widget (available on the Goodreads site)
  • Join some Groups
  • Host a Giveaway

2. Maximize your profile. Make sure you’ve got everything filled in that can be filled in. Make sure you’ve got a link to your blog. Add a video if you have one – this is a great place for book trailers. Use your best professional photo.

3. Join an active Group and participate. Here are some tips for Groups:

  • Participation is key – join in on the polls and roundtable discussions. Nobody’s going to notice you if you just sit on the sidelines
  • Most groups have a bookshelf. Once you’ve established yourself as a contributing member, ask about adding your book to the shelf
  • If the group has freebie days (days when you can announce your giveaways), then participate – don’t make any sales announcements unless they do, though
  • Once you have an established readership, you can host your own Featured Author Group for your readers

4. Stay active. Don’t just set up your author page and vanish. Once a week, you should:

  • Add a book to your shelf – one you’ve read, are planning to read, or something that inspired you
  • Write a review for something you’ve read – and if you want to be a real darling, cross-post that review to Amazon!
  • Rate a book – you just give a book a “star” rating. Simple, right?
  • Update your blog or your Goodreads profile. If you don’t blog weekly, you can add a favorite quote or book passage to your profile. The key is to keep your profile active
  • Post something to your group – either a new topic, a comment or a response to something else
  • Add friends – find people in your group you want to follow, or reviewers, or other authors

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What are your favorite tips for Goodreads?