#PitchWars Mentee Blog Analysis

August 16, 2015 Blogging, Writing Comments (7) 1376

Let’s begin with the reason there’s a mentee blog hop at all: If you’re looking to enter the publishing industry, you need to have an online presence. There is some disagreement as to what exactly that presence should be (in particular, whether actively blogging is worth a writer’s time) but nearly everyone agrees you need some presence to help market yourself and your work, and that you shouldn’t wait until after you are published to start.

It seems like that message got around, because it’s been less than 48 hours since we opened the #PimpMyBio blog hop and we’ve already got over 100 listings. As I went through and stalked mentees, I got curious about how people were making use of the web, and so I thought I’d take a survey and quantify some trends. The following is based on a review of our first 107 applicants; I will update this data periodically as the list grows. Continue Reading

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PitchWars 2015: #PimpMyBio Contestant Blog Hop

August 14, 2015 Writing Comments (148) 22408

Hi there, fellow writers! I’m delighted to announce the third annual PitchWars mentee blog hop, affectionately known on Twitter by the hashtag #PimpMyBio. Dannie Morin, 2015 mentor and host in our first two years, asked me to take over this year, and I couldn’t be more excited.


First and foremost, one point must be made explicit:

** This is not an official Pitchwars event and is in no way required. **

This is something fun, a way for contestants to show some personality, get to know one another, and cheer each other on. As it happens, I know some mentors take the time to read contestant bios, but you do not have to write a bio to compete in PitchWars.

Is that all clear? Good, then let’s proceed. Continue Reading

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Why Trump is still on top

August 10, 2015 Politics / Religion Comments (0) 520

It was clear from the very first question at the Republican Primary Debate on Thursday night that Donald Trump was going to win. When the candidates were asked as a group, in the very first question in the very first debate, whether they would swear to support the eventual nominee and promise not to run as independent, only Trump refused. Twitter pundits immediately labeled it a mistake, but once again they missed Trump’s savvy: On a stage with ten would-be Presidents, Trump raised his hand and bought himself extra time in the spotlight.

What’s surprising about Trump is not that he remains the front-runner after that debate; what’s surprising is how many pundits and analysts didn’t expect him to be. Long-time political experts are baffled by Trump, wrongly predicting his demise with each breaking mini-scandal; but they misunderstand Trump and his success, because they misunderstand Republican voters.

Trump’s second question was even more revealing. Challenged by Megyn Kelly about the demeaning way he treats women, Trump didn’t back down. He responded with a dig at old foe Rosie O’Donnell, and then unflinchingly defended his conduct. “The big problem this country has is being politically correct,” he said . The audience laughed, and then cheered, and the camera cut back to Megyn Kelly’s bemused expression. That happened several times during the debate: A Trump answer, an audience cheer, and a shot of a moderator barely concealing their frustration. Continue Reading

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Farewell, Jon Stewart. Thanks for keeping us sane.

August 6, 2015 In The News, Politics / Religion Comments (0) 668

Jon StewartI’m not one for celebrity worship. Frankly I get annoyed by the public competition that follows a celebrity’s death or retirement, as writers try to one-up each other with maudlin remembrance–often quoting words spoken in-character, written by someone else.

That said, I am going to take a minute today to talk about Jon Stewart, because Jon Stewart to me is more than just some celebrity.

It’s so cliche to say “this celebrity touched my life,” but Jon Stewart’s work on the Daily Show really does have personal significance for me. It might be exaggeration to say “the Daily Show kept me sane,” but then again it might not. I remember one day in particular, during the darkest days of the Bush regime, when I felt especially lost and hopeless. I don’t remember the reason–maybe it was another failure by Congress to repeal the Patriot Act, maybe something to do with Gitmo–but I remember going home from work feeling really despondent. I remember it was the Daily Show that night that turned me around, that made me laugh at the very thing that had felt so crushing, that shrunk it down and made it manageable. Continue Reading

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How the F*** Is This a Thing? Kate Brelin’s “For Such a Time”

August 5, 2015 Books Comments (1) 436

Hey, so a thing happened.

A person, her name is Kate Breslin, wrote a book. It’s called “For Such a Time.” Note that I am not linking that title to anything. There’s a reason.

This book is about a Jewish woman in 1944, in a Nazi concentration camp, who falls in love with a Nazi commander. That love affair redeems said Nazi  commander, they rescue a bunch of people from the camps [which, note, never happened] and then the Jewish woman converts to Christianity. There is a magic Bible that turns up repeatedly to inspire the heroes. Also, this is a retelling of the Book of Esther.

I’m not going to go on at length about why this is such an awful, deplorable, grotesque abomination of a concept. I will let other people do that, and recommend you go read. Those people:

What I am going to point out is this: For Such a Time is Kate Breslin’s first novel, which presumably means that: Continue Reading

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Pitch Wars 2015: Mentee Bio FAQ

August 5, 2015 Writing Comments (1) 628

1. What’s the deal with the Pitch Wars mentee bio thing?

It’s a fun, totally optional and unofficial way for mentees to get to know each other, and for mentors to stalk and study their would-be mentors. We follow the pattern of the mentor blog hop, but encourage creativity and variety. Continue Reading

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Cartoon: The Candidate’s New Clothing

August 4, 2015 Artwork, Comics, Politics / Religion Comments (0) 1444

You can fairly say a lot of things about Donald Trump. That he misrepresents the Republican brand is not one of them.

More cartoons here.

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Cartoon: HitchBOT in Philadelphia

August 3, 2015 Artwork, Comics Comments (0) 1362

Basically just a sketch. Since I still think of Philadelphia as home, this feels fair.

In case you’re unfamiliar: yes, in the early 1970s that was Philadelphia’s actual marketing slogan.

More cartoons here. 

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