People of MAT: Susan Murrie Macdonald

More Alternative Truths, coming November 11, from B Cubed Press, is more than a book. It is people.

One of them is Susan Murrie Macdonald, co-author of “Donald, Where’s Your Taxes” in MAT and author of “As Prophesied of Old” in Alternative Truths.

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Susan Murrie Macdonald was a fifth generation Republican – her great-great-grandfather voted for Fremont in 1856 and Lincoln in 1860 – but left the party on November 9, 2016, after DJT was elected.  Susan can’t knit pink hats.  She doesn’t have piles of money to donate to politicians.  But she can write, so that’s what she did.  Inspired by the words of Walt Disney, Toni Morrison, and H. G. Wells, Susan called upon others to join her in the CREATE Initiative. “Sing. Compose. Write. Perform. Draw. Sculpt. Blog. Remind Americans of our better selves. Remember our rights and responsibilities as citizens, lest those rights be washed away.”

Walt Disney Dream Quote

“That’s what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again and again.” Walt Disney

Toni Morrison quote

“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.” Toni Morrison

H G Wells writing

“Civilization is in a race between education and catastrophe. Let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as our circumstances allow. For the truth is the greatest weapon we have.” H. G. Wells

Thousands of miles away, Bob Brown and Phyllis Irene Radford were doing the same thing, so Susan was eager to submit a story to their anthology. She was pleasantly surprised (OK, shocked but delighted) when Alternative Truths shot to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list.

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In addition to having a story in the first volume and a song in the second volume, Susan has been on the proofreading teams for both Alternative Truths and More Alternative Truths.  She is a freelance proofreader and copy editor, who has worked with B Cubed Press, Norilana Press, and Gold Rush Publishing.

B Cubed Press is glad to have Susan Murrie Macdonald on board and looks forward to introducing you to the other writers who are going to make this volume a must-have.

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Susan M. Macdonald, dressed as an extra for the 1908 county fair scene in TIME BOYS.

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What is Fanfic?

What is fanfic?  Is it a crime to write it?  Is it a sin?

There’s a lot of misunderstandings about fanfiction (aka fan fiction, fanfic), especially since ‘netfic became more popular than fanzines.  (Don’t worry.  All terms will be explained presently.)  Fanfic is generally defined as writing stories based on TV shows or movies, without the permission of the copyright holders.

Stephen Downes defines fanfiction as “any work which embellishes, alters or rewrites the work of another (usually a published author) with new storylines, characters, alternative endings, beginnings and substitute sets of morals, ideals or sexual politics.”

The Urban Dictionary says “fanfiction is when someone takes either the story or characters (or both) of a certain piece of work, whether it be a novel, tv show, movie, etc, and create their own story based on it. Sometimes people will take characters from one movie and put them in another, which is called a crossover. ”

Wikipedia says “Fan fiction or fanfiction (also abbreviated to fan ficfanfic or fic) is fiction about characters or settings from an original work of fiction, created by fans of that work rather than by its creator. It is a popular form of fan labor, particularly since the advent of the Internet.”

Please note the last seven words of the paragraph above.  Fanfic predates the Internet.  Many people are under the misapprehension that the Internet created fanfic.  The Internet simply made fanfic cheaper and more accessible.

Once upon a time, there was a TV show called Star Trek.  (You may have heard of it.)  Some fans felt three seasons wasn’t enough, so just as Tom Sawyer played Robin Hood and King Arthur with his friends, they played Captain Kirk and Lt. Uhura and Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy and Nurse Chapel and Scotty.  Only instead of going outside to play make believe, these fans wrote down their stories.  Some were good.  Some were dreadful.  Some were eventually professionally published (often with the names and serial numbers filed off).  Many of these writers wanted to do things that the censors wouldn’t let NBC do at the time:  “adult” stories, what-if stories, crossovers, deathfic.

Examples:

  • What if Spock went into pon farr and Kirk was the only other person there?
  • What if Spock and Kirk were stuck in the 1930s with Edith Keeler?
  • What if the Enterprise found Captain Buck Rogers’ capsule and thawed him out?
  • What if the Enterprise went forward in time and was trapped in the Planet of the Apes future?
  • What if Kirk were never rescued in “The Paradise Syndrome” and Spock became captain of the Enterprise?
  • What if Spock really killed Kirk in “Amok Time”?
  • What if the Enterprise met the Battlestar Galactica and its ragtag fugitive fleet?

These stories were printed in homemade magazines called fanzines (fan magazines).  The fans didn’t invent fanzines — they were already around, but more for discussing SF and fantasy than writing stories based on other people’s characters.  But with mimeograph machines in their parents’ garages, these fannish authors abducted the term fanzine and refused to give it back.  Eventually, printing methods improved.  Photocopying costs came down.  (Oddly, photocopying costs were much lower on the West Coast than the East Coast, which affected the price of ‘zines.)  Kinko’s made editors’ lives easier.

Once writers get in the habit of writing, they don’t stop.  Fans of one show seldom like just that show, they become fans of other shows.  Star Trek fanzines and letterzines started having material from other shows and movies.  Eventually, those shows and movies started having their own ‘zines.  There were genzines.  There were multimedia ‘zines.  Under the table and in a whisper, there were slash ‘zines and het ‘zines.

It was a glorious time for fanfic authors and readers.


Vocabulary:

AO3:  Archive of our Own (archiveofourown.org), a popular ‘netfic site that has quite a few “adult” stories, theoretically by invitation only, but it’s easy to get invited.

AU:  alternative universe, a what-if such as what if your favorite Harry Potter character that J. K. Rowling killed off lived, what if the Pevensie children stayed in Narnia, what if Leia Organa had been trained since childhood as a Jedi knight

canon:  what happened in the original material

crack or crackfic:  a very silly story, not meant to be taken seriously

crossover:  a story that combines the characters from two or more fandoms, such as Batman meeting Jessica Fletcher or Dr. Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory and Dr. Spemcer Reid of Criminal Minds collaborating on a physics project together/

crunching:  The Mills Brothers sang “you always hurt the one you love.”  Crunching is showing how much you love a favorite character by writing a story where he is physically and/or emotionally hurt.

deathfic:  a story that features the death of a major character

fanfic or fanfiction:  an amateur story written by a fan, based on characters and situations created by someone else (usually a TV show or movie, sometimes a book or series of books)

FanFiction.Net:  one of the more popular fanfic websites, sometimes referred to as the Pit of Voles because it obeys Sturgeon’s Law.  Proofreading is regrettably rare.

fanon:  something that happens so much in fanfic that it is accepted by other writers as semi-canonical

fanzine or ‘zine:  a homemade magazine containing fanfic stories, poems, artwork, etc.

genzine:  a fanzine that has stories rated G to PG-13, with limited sex in the stories

het:  R or X rated stories focusing on male characters with female characters

hurt/comfort or h/c:  a story where character A is badly hurt, so that character B can comfort and console him

letterzine:  a homemade magazine with little or no fiction, with the emphasis on letters between fans discussing and debating their favorite shows

Mary Sue:  a character who is beautiful, intelligent, has multiple skills, is often of royal or noble birth, frequently has psi-powers, a born leader, and whom the hero falls head-over-heels in love with; very common in beginning writer’s stories as they attempt to have a character who is good enough to keep up with the canon cast, and winds up outdoing them in every category.

multimedia:  a fanzine that has stories from multiple fandoms

‘netfic:  fanfic that originates on the Internet, instead of being published in a ‘zine first

slash:  stories of any rating focusing on romantic relationships between two characters of the same gender, especially if they were heterosexual in canon, ie, Ellison/Sandburg, Kirk/Spock, Solo/Kuryakin, etc.


Then came ‘netfic.  Now, ‘netfic is not inherently bad, just as ‘zines are not always good.  But ‘netfic has a tendency to jump from writer’s brain to keyboard to posted on-line, without stopping for a breath in between.  This is especially true of the younger writers.  Paula Smith had this to say of the difference in the writing process between ‘zines and ‘netfic:

In writing, there is a crucial step of rewrite which is not regularly being seen these days. This is one difference we noticed in the late 1990s with fans coming in from the Internet. In the old days, I would write the first draft of a story in longhand, type it up, read it again, fuss with it, type it up again. And then the editor would read it, recommend changes, and you would have to type the whole bloody thing up yet again. The stories went through the typewriter more than once, and a lot was changed slowly but crucially. I’ve noticed the difference in my own writing. Now, you write something, put it aside, write something, put it aside, and then jam it all together.  {Paula Smith}

On the one hand, ‘netfic is free.  (Due to printing costs, ‘zines can be as expensive as hardcover books.)  The feedback is almost instantaneous.  On the other hand, GIGO.  Since no editor looks over the story before it’s posted, typos abound in ‘netfic.  Typos aren’t unknown in fanzines, of course, but authors and editors at least try to catch and correct them.  As Paula Smith said, “Another difference is the level of literacy of people coming to it—and the level of entitlement about their level of literacy: “Well, I don’t care if this is misspelled because that’s how I want it to be.” I may sound a bit snotty, but heck, I’ve seen typos completely wreck the point of a story.”


Is fanfic a sin?  Is it a crime?

Most people say that fanfic violates copyright.  This is why is must be done on an amateur basis, and fanzine editors and publishers can only charge enough to get their printing and mailing costs back.  They cannot make a profit.

However, there’s the Fair Use argument.

Like every other potentially infringing thing we do on the Internet every day, from reblogging a photo on Tumblr to uploading a song cover to YouTube, in the U.S. fanfiction writers are protected by a magical thing called the Fair Use clause. The Fair Use clause states that if use of someone else’s work is “fair,” it’s OK. Traditionally, “fair” has usually been granted to purposes of education or commentary, but this is also the clause that allows and protects parody. (By Gavia Baker-Whitelaw AND Aja Romano )

Many “real” authors got their start in fanfic  Mercedes Lackey, Jean Lorrah, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Lois McMaster Bujold, Rosemary Edghill, Jean Graham.  Dr. Lorrah uses the supporting characters she developed in her Star Trek fanfic stories in her professionally published by Pocket Books Star Trek novels.  (I don’t know whether Pocket Books is aware of this.)  Take a close look at Bujold’s Hugo-winning Miles Vorkosigan series.  If you squint, you can see the roots of a Klingon admiral in Aral Vorkosigan and a Starfleet officer in Cordelia Naismith.  Rosemary Edghill’s Hellflower trilogy started life as Star Wars fanfic, with Butterfly St. Cyr as a business rival to Han Solo.  I’ve seen a series of romance novels where the heroes were very clearly based on the men of TV’s Magnificent Seven, although again, I’m not sure if the publisher was aware of that.

If you are willing to risk the legal issues, fanfic is a good way for writers to practice.  Since the settings and characters already exist, the writer can concentrate on plot, description, etc.  Fanfic does not require a plot; many fans see nothing wrong with a vignette that is just character development.

And then there’s the success story many fanfic readers and writers are both proud of and embarrassed by:  Fifty Shades of Gray.  It started life as Twilight fanfic.  People are pleased (and jealous) that one of their own made it to the big time.  They’re embarrassed because it’s so dreadful.  But then, so was Twilight, IMHO.

“Author Orson Scott Card (best known for the Enders Game series) once stated on his website, “to write fiction using my characters is morally identical to moving into my house without invitation and throwing out my family.” He changed his mind completely and since has assisted fan fiction contests, arguing to the Wall Street Journal that Every piece of fan fiction is an ad for my book. What kind of idiot would I be to want that to disappear?’ “(Wikipedia)

The inimitable but oft-imitated J. K. Rowling says she’s flattered by fanfic set in the Harry Potter universe.  (Which is a good thing, because there are over 776,000 HP stories at FanFiction.net and 154,267 HP stories at AO3.)  Shannon Hale admits she still writes fanfic on occasion.  Raymond Feist, Anne Rice, and George R. R. Martin are opposed to fanfic and have requested their fans not write any based on their novels.

I think fanfic is A, harmless fun, and B, good writing practice.  My opinion may change when other people start writing stories about my characters without permission.  As the saying goes, YMMV;  your mileage may vary.  What’s your opinion on fanfic?

I’m A Movie Star!

Last weekend my husband, daughter, and I were extras in a movie that was filming in our area.  It’s called Time Boys, and it should be released next summer.

#timeboysfeaturefilm

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The movie is written and directed by Randall Terry.  He’s a documentary maker; this is his first narrative feature.  Mr. Terry also plays Josiah O’Neil, a widowed inventor.

We were extras in the county fair scene set in 1908.

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Here’s my husband with Johnny McPhail, who plays the richest man in town.  His real life wife, Susan McPhail, played Miss Violet, a friend of the O’Neil family.  The “time boys” of the title were played by Mr. Terry’s real life sons.

My husband was assigned to the Civil War memorabilia booth, and he showed off various artifacts from the War Between the States to other extras who were playing fairgoers.  I spent most of my time sitting on a hay bale, clapping along to the music as the Dickens Dancers danced the Virginia Reel.  My daughter wound up joining the dancers.  She’d learned the Virginia Reel from watching Felicity, and filled in when one of the dancers had to go home early.

Josiah (or was it Joshua?) O’Neil is a widowed inventor who is trying to make a time machine.  He wants to go back in time to save his wife.  Somehow, his sons go forward to 2016 and must figure out how to get back to 1908.  This will be a family-friendly film, G or PG, with no more violence than juvenile fisticuffs and no foul language.

There was a lot of hurry up and wait, and we got a little sunburned, but it was fun.  We were fed.  We met some nice people.  We learned a little bit about movie making.  (When they say “quiet on the set,” they aren’t kidding.)  It took a day and a half to film what will only be a few minutes of movie.  I’m looking forward to seeing the movie when it’s released next summer.

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Beta Reading, Proofreading, Copy Editing: What’s The Difference?

I am a freelance proofreader and copy editor.  What’s the difference between beta reading, proofreading, copy editing, line editing, etc.?

Beta readers are the second readers of a story after the author.  Beta readers are never paid.  They’re friends doing a favor, or members of a writing group trading for you beta reading their work.  Beta readers vary considerably in their skills and focus:  some will check for SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation, And Grammar) errors.  In fanfic, some will check for consistency to canon.  Others will point out plot holes.

Proofreaders and copy editors are paid professionals (although you could get a friend to do it for you as a favor, if you have friends with the right skill set).

The copy editor goes before the proofreader.  If the material is an article for a magazine or newspaper, the copy editor makes sure it fits the house style in addition to finding and correcting errors.

Copyediting is the process of checking for mistakes, inconsistencies, and repetition. During this process, your manuscript is polished for publication.  Contrary to popular belief, the copyeditor is not a glorified spell checker.  The copyeditor is your partner in publication. He or she makes sure that your manuscript tells the best story possible. The copyeditor focuses on both the small details and the big picture. He or she must be meticulous and highly technical, while still aware of the overarching themes at work within your manuscript.

Proofreading, on the other hand, is the last step before printing.

The proofreader’s job is to check for quality before the book goes into mass production. He or she takes the original edited copy and compares it to the proof, making sure that there are no omissions or missing pages. The proofreader corrects awkward word or page breaks.  While he or she may do light editing (such as correcting inconsistent spelling or hyphenations), the professional proofreader is not a copyeditor. If too many errors are cited, he or she may return the proof for further copyediting.

Copyediting vs. copy editing is like gray vs. grey or judgement vs. judgment.  Either spelling is permitted.

I do not offer line editing at this time.

line edit addresses the creative content, writing style, and language use at the sentence and paragraph level. But the purpose of a line edit is not to comb your manuscript for errors – rather, a line edit focuses on the way you use language to communicate your story to the reader. Is your language clear, fluid, and pleasurable to read? Does it convey a sense of atmosphere, emotion, and tone? Do the words you’ve chosen convey a precise meaning, or are you using broad generalizations and clichés?

There are also developmental editors.  I am not a developmental editor.

Developmental editors (DEs) are concerned with the structure and con­tent of your book. If your manuscript lacks focus, your DE will help you find the right direction—the “right” direction generally being the most marketable.  Development editing is also where problems of inconsistent tone or an unclear audience often surface. Developmental editors perform many of the same editing tasks as an acquisitions editor, but unlike AEs, whose time is split between editing and the business side of pub­lishing, DEs can often give you more personal attention.

Elizabeth Donald, a horror writer and a journalist, offers a critique service that covers all these variations of editorial assistance.

  1. Level 1, overall critique.  Recommendation on sales possibilities, suggestions for the work that needs to be done.  Very basic critique, does not include mechanics or line edit.
  2. Level 2, mechanics critique.  Grammar, punctuation, spelling, formatting.
  3. Level 3, mid-level critique. Word choice, language, sense of flow, as well as grammar, punctuation, spelling, manuscript format.
  4. Level 4, full critique.  Plot structure, characterization, originality, and theme evaluation, as well as word choice, language, sense of flow, grammar, punctuation, spelling, manuscript format. Includes a recommendation on sales possibilities, with at least three suggested markets.

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For basic copy editing, I charge $25 an hour, at an estimated pace of 5-10 manuscript pages per hour.  For proofreading, I charge $20, at an estimated pace of 10-15 manuscript pages per hour.  For ghostwriting blogs, I charge $10 a page.  If you think I can help you improve your manuscript, hire me.

 

 

Bio Hazard ( a guest blog)

The B Cubed Press stable of writers were just discussing what should or shouldn’t go in an author’s bio. I think Demi Hungerford, the author of The Viscount’s Mouse (which I proofread), does a good job answering that question.

A Novel Approach

Have you ever been hit with the reality that as a writer, your fans want to know you? Yikes! Do you want to tell all to these readers? Do they need to know your mom collects Russian language books? Just how much do you need to say in a book bio?

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My First Story Sale (a guest blog by Melinda LaFevers)

This is by singer/storyteller/historical re-enactor/writer Melinda LaFevers. She is the letter S (for storyteller) in my children’s book, R is for Renaissance Faire. She is also going to be my co-anthologist in More Alternative Truths, and she assisted with the musical arrangement of the filk song I co-wrote with Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, “Donald, Where’s Your Taxes?” Thank you for being a guest blogger, Melinda.

Melinda's obscure thoughts...

For those who are unaware, I am a writer.  Now, I don’t just mean the occasional blog that I post (and I really need to post more often)

No, I mean I actually write fiction and non-fiction, and when I’m fortunate and blessed, I actually am able to sell them.  I have been writing poetry, songs, and music for decades, mostly for myself.

But a few years ago, I was inspired to write a story and offer it for sale.  It happened like this…

I am a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism.  This is a historical recreation group that studies the renaissance and middle ages.  They hold a large event in Mississippi in March called Gulf Wars – and by large, I mean 4-5000 people or more.  Also held in March, in Memphis, is a science fiction convention called MidSouthCon.  Usually there would be a fairly large contingent…

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32 Tales of Heroic Fantasy

Yesterday I received my contributor’s copies of Heroic Fantasy Short Stories, from Flame Tree Publishing.  It’s a handsome book, with 32 stories of adventure, tales of knights and kings, of wizards and warriors, of golems and gladiators.

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The book sells for $30 in the USA, or £20 in the UK.  It’s part of Flame Tree Publishing’s Gothic Fantasy series, and I’m very pleased to be in it.

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My story, “Erzabet and the Gladiators,” is the sixth story in the book, after Zach Chapman’s “Dragon and Wolf” and before John Buchan‘s “The Far Islands.”  Flame Tree Publishing describes it as an anthology of new and classic tales.

Of the sixteen new stories, all but four are debuting in this volume.  Authors from the United States, Canada, and South Africa have submitted their tales of adventure to be printed alongside classic authors such as Clark Ashton Smith, Lord Tweedsmuir, Snorri Sturluson, A. Merritt, Geoffrey Chaucer, Andrew Lang, Howard Pyle, William Morris, E. R. Eddison, Robert E. Howard, and some “Greek chappie” named Homer.  One story, “A Matter of Interpretation,” is M. Elizabeth Ticknor‘s first professional sale.

Dr. Philippa Semper, a professor at the University of Birmingham (the one in the UK that Tim Curry and Prime Ministers Neville Chamberlain and Stanley Baldwin attended, not the one in Alabama) wrote the foreward.

“These ancient and medieval heroes, however, rarely live ‘happily ever after.’  A hero is a risk-seeker, living right on the edge of endurance, a sacrifice-in-waiting.”

As I said back in May, I am delighted to have a story in Heroic Fantasy Short Stories.  I used the author’s biography to advertise for Alternative Truths and Krypton Radio.  

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“Erzabet and the Gladiators” is technically the first chapter of my fantasy novel Escape from Jandarra (working title), so I’d better stop committing bloggery and get back to work and finish my novel.

Heroic Fantasy Short Stories may be ordered through Amazon or directly from Flame Tree Publishing.

Haggis Rampant

My favorite part of a Renaissance Faire is the music.  As Patricia Wrede said, “Music and magic are brother and sister.”

Brownlee pere et fille on the bagpipes, with Frieman the Minstrel playing the bodhran.
Haggis Rampant and Frieman the Minstrel leading the queen and her court to the main gate.

At the third annual Mid-South Renaissance Faire,  we are fortunate in having excellent musicians.

Haggis Rampant is not only one of my favorite RenFaire bands, but they include two of my three favorite pipers, Steve and Gillian Brownlee.  (The third is Eric Rigler of Bad Haggis.) Naturally, with a name like Susan Murrie Macdonald, a member of Clan Murray by birth and Clan Donald by marriage, it’s no surprise I like the bagpipes.

Steve B Haggis Rampant
Steve Brownlee

Who are Haggis Rampant?  They’re a bagpipe and bodhrán trio.  They’re a family playing together.  They’re music with an attitude.  And Heaven have mercy, are they loud!

Haggis Rampant trio
Haggis Rampant:  Pam, Steve, and Gillian Brownlee

Normally, Haggis Rampant is a trio consisting of father Steve Brownlee and daughter Gillian Brownlee on the bagpipes and mother Pam Brownlee on the drums, both bodhrán and big bass drum.  Daughter Morgan Brownlee sometimes accompanies them; Morgan is a dancer, a drummer, and a fiddler.

Pam and Gillian
Pam and Gillian Brownlee

They’ve been at the Louisiana Renaissance Festival since 2000, and at the Mid-South Renaissance Faire since 2015.  They have CDs for sale if you want to hear their music, and appear in the ABC book R is for Renaissance Faire if you want a pictorial souvenir.   They also perform at Highland Games, Celtic festivals, music competitions, weddings, funerals, boat christenings, inaugurations, etc.  They did an impromptu performance at the Parthenon in Nashville, TN after the eclipse., which led the crowd of eclipse-watchers into spontaneous dancing.

Morgan, Mom, Gillian
Morgan, Pam, and Gillian Brownlee at the second annual Mid-South Renaissance Faire.

Steve Brownlee, an award winning piper,  has been playing bagpipes since 1996.  He has a wicked sense of humor, such as playing “Scotland the Brave” as he pipes the actress playing Queen Elizabeth of England to the front gate of the RenFaire, or playing “Rain, Rain, Go Away” during a shower.  (I’ve never heard that song on the bagpipes before, and I probably never will again.)  Pam Brownlee is an award winning bass drummer, who took up playing the bodhrán because accompanying Steve was the easiest way to spend time with her husband.  Gillian Brownlee has been a piper since 2003, when she was only a “wee beastie.” She plays the fiddle as well as the Great Highland Bagpipe, although her competition victories have been as a piper, not a fiddler.  Morgan Brownlee plays bodhrán, tenor drum, and violin, as well as dancing.  She’s won a competition or two herself for her solo drumming.  (What can I say?  They’re a family of overachievers, with talent to spare.)  Their shows include joking and teasing between the family members as well as great music.  Most of their music is traditional, but they do a bit of contemporary now and again.

Morgan and Dad
Morgan Brownlee on the tenor drum, accompanied by Steve Brownlee on the bagpipes

Their first album, Haggis Rampant (hard to find, may be out of print), is traditional, as is their third album, Trì.  Their second album, Wee Beastie, includes some of Steve’s own compositions as well as traditional Celtic music.  Their fourth album, The Silver Glens, is what they call their “quiet album” (or as quiet as a bagpipe CD can be).  “This album is a different mix for us. We’re usually playing music that makes our audiences want to jump up and shout “Freedom!” This time, to heck with creating energy; we wanted to record the music that stirs our souls.” Their fifth album, Burly!, includes Ken Petrie on the electric guitar and bass for a wild musical extravaganza.  Their sixth album is still in the planning stages, and they’ve not yet announced the theme of it.

Frieman and HR
Frieman the Minstrel, with Haggis Rampant, at the 2nd annual Mid-South Renaissance Faire

If you’re lucky enough be to able to catch one of their performances, by all means do so.  If you live too far away to be able to hear them in person, check out their CDs. Remember, they’re the letter R in my alphabet book R is for Renaissance Faire, autographed copies available for sale at the Mid-South Renaissance Faire, unautographed copies available through Amazon.

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Susan Murrie Macdonald with R IS FOR RENAISSANCE FAIRE.

 

Photos by Tom Sweeney, R. B. Macdonald, Reggie V. Miller, and Susan Murrie Macdonald

The Mid-South Renaissance Faire Is Coming To Millington!

If you live in Millington, TN, West Memphis, AR, Horn Lake, MS, Memphis, TN, or even Jonesboro, AR, you’ve probably seen the posters scattered around town. Maybe you picked up one of the discount postcards at the Millington Public Library. The third annual Mid-South Renaissance Faire is coming to Millington.

Millington TN - interactive road map       Map of usa stadium

The Mid-South Renaissance Faire has changed venue, and is moving from Shelby Farms Park in Memphis to USA Stadium in Millington. It will be here the last two weekends of August: 8/19, 8/20, 8/26, and 8/27. Hours are from 10:00 in the morning to 6:00 in the evening.

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What is a Renaissance Faire? Why should you go, and what do you do there?

         A A Renaissance Faire, or RenFaire, is a chance to go time traveling without a DeLorean or a blue police call box. It’s a public, family-friendly, outdoor gathering that recreates the Renaissance era to entertain its guests. Part county fair, part living history display, and part fairy tale come to life, it’s an improvisational theater where the audience is invited, indeed, encouraged to participate.

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, on stage and outdoorWhy should you come to the Mid-South Renaissance Faire? It’s fun and educational for the whole family, and less expensive than a trip to Discovery Park of America in Union City. It’s far less expensive than a trip to Six Flags in St. Louis. It’s also a chance to make new friends, as visitors will be coming to the Mid-South Renaissance Faire from Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Missouri. The entertainers and merchants are coming from all over the US: Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and more.

    

Why is the RenFaire coming to Millington a good thing?  Guests to the faire are coming from the entire Mid-South area. Entertainers are coming from the East Coast, Texas, and Louisiana. These people will sleep in Millington hotels and motels. They will eat in Millington restaurants. They will buy things at Millington stores. This will be good for the local economy.

         

If you’ve never been to a RenFaire (and the next nearest RenFaire is a four-hour drive away), you may not know what to expect. What do you do at a Renaissance Faire? Meet the queen and her court, and shout huzzah as Good Queen Bess parades through the village. Watch the knights jousting on horseback. Enjoy demonstrations of swordsmanship and archery, and maybe try it for yourself. Eat a turkey leg.

     

Play games like Giant Chess, Dunk the Dunce, Veggie Revenge, and Mini Tug of War. Climb Jacob’s Ladder. Listen to the minstrels: Haggis Rampant, John Ross, Melandra of the Woods, Frieman the Minstrel, Donal Hinely, and Memphis’ own Wood, Wind, and Wire. Watch the daring feats of aerialist Shelli Buttons and laugh at the comedy swordplay of the Lords of Adventure. The Mid-South Renaissance Faire also has a touch of magic: the Faerie Queen and her court, trolls, a leprechaun, and a dragon. There’s plenty of dancing, both dance troupes to amuse you and Elizabethan dance lessons where you can join in. Try your hand at brass rubbing. There are costume contests for dogs on Saturdays and humans and elves on Sundays. The pirates, alas, will only be there the second weekend.

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If you enjoy shopping, the RenFaire has plenty to tempt you: toys, clothing, goblets, fans, parasols, weaponry, leatherwork, autographed copies of R is for Renaissance Faire by local author Susan Macdonald, hats, baking mixes, jewelry, jam, candles, artwork, and more. If you come in 21st century clothing and decide you’d like to join into the fun, you can buy or rent RenFaire garb at the faire.

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There’s plenty to amuse the youngsters. In addition to the games and shows, there are two children’s quests. Boys and girls who complete either quest can be knighted by the queen. Listen to the storytellers. Meet the trolls. Buy ice cream from the Ice Cream Dragon.

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What is the setting of the Mid-South Renaissance Faire? The year is 1576.  Queen Elizabeth is on the throne.  Tired of the crowds of London, she and her court have come to the humble Shire of Shelby. The local villagers have organized a festival in the queen’s honor, inviting minstrels and merchants to come as they celebrate the royal visit.

    

Tickets are $10 for adults and teenagers, $5 for children ages 6-12, and $8 for senior citizens, students, and military personnel with proper ID. Children under five are admitted free. Parking is free.

          

If the Mid-South Renaissance Faire does well this year, it may choose Millington as its new home.  That would be a financial and cultural benefit to Millington.

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Wilt thou come to the Faire?

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Pictures by R. B. Macdonald and R. V. Miller.

 

 

Copy Editor for Hire

ANNOUNCEMENT

I earned the Poynter ACES Certificate in Editing yesterday from Poynter News University and American Copy Editors Society (ACES).   I am a member of ACES and a guest member of Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA).  Would you like to hire me to polish your prose?

I consider myself competent to offer both proofreading and basic copy editing services.  What’s the difference?  Proofreading is looking for SPAG errors (spelling, punctuation, and grammar).  It’s typically done when a story or article is nearly ready for publication.  Copy editing includes finding and correcting SPAG errors, but also checking for jargon, wordiness, awkward transitions, a character who changes the spelling of her name from chapter three to chapter seven, and making sure that the article fits the preferred style of the intended publication.   For an excellent explanation of copy editing vs. proofreading, I recommend this article. 

ACES Certificate

RATES

For basic copy editing, I charge $25 an hour, at an estimated pace of 5-10 manuscript pages per hour.

For proofreading, I charge $20, at an estimated pace of 10-15 manuscript pages per hour.

According to the Editorial Freelancers Association, the industry standard for a manuscript page is a firm 250 words.

[I do not do heavy copy editing, line editing, or website copy editing at this time.]

For ghostwriting blogs, I charge $10 for the first 250 words, $20 for a 251-500 word article, $30 for 501-750 words, etc.

For assisting an author to format their story into standard manuscript format, my rates are negotiable depending on the length of the story and whether or not I am also copy editing that story.  E-mail me to discuss it in private.

These prices are lower than the EFA suggested industry rates because the ink is barely dry on my certificate.  My prices will be rising to editorial standards once I am no longer a novice, so take advantage of these low rates now.  They won’t last more than a year.

TESTIMONIALS

“I have just gone through and implemented your recommendations, following your advice in all but the very fewest instances — the ones where you said I could get away with it as a matter of personal style. You have a magnificent eye for the errant typo, and your suggestions regarding grammar were spot-on in every instance.  You definitely spotted many places where I *thought* I knew the correct spelling…but didn’t! Dalmatian and monocle and others! As Mark Twain said — I’m sure you know the quote — “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble.  It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”  Thank you again and again and again! You are my hero, and I cannot thank you properly!”  Jefferson P. Swycaffer, author of Warsprite, Web of Futures, and the Concordat of Archive series.

Silver Crusade Cover

“Thank you so much! And you are a great proofreader! :-)”  Vera Nazarian, author of the Atlantis Grail series, Mansfield Park and Mummies, and Dreams of the Compass Rose.

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Susan Murrie Macdonald:  author, freelance journalist, blogger, ghostwriter, and freelance copy editor and proofreader

Susan Murrie with her children's  book

§  “Erzabet and the Gladiators,” Heroic Fantasy,  published by Flame Tree Publishing, July 2017

§ “Freckles and Long Neck,” Bumples issue #43,  published by Bumples.com, June 2017

§  “As Prophesied of Old,” Alternative Truths, published by B Cubed Press, April 2017

§  “Captain’s Claim,” published by eSpec Books, October, 2016

§  R is for Renaissance Faire, published by Highland Heather Press, May, 201

§  Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid, published by Highland Heather Press, Jan. 2016

§  “The Piper’s Wife,” Sword & Sorceress #30, published by MZB Literary Trust, Nov. 2015

§  “Two Princes” and “Vixen’s Song,” Barbarian Crowns, published by Horrified Press, July 2015

§  “Thank You, Thad,” Supernatural Colorado, published by WolfSinger Publications, Jan. 2015