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mumbling_sage
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Story Addict--my new home on the web

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May 11th, 2013

Long story short, I’m living off what I earn through my writing right now. This isn’t so bad, except writing income tends to arrive over the course of months, and is less than helpful when you need money right away. So to meet some expenses in the meantime, I’m hiring myself out as a manuscript editor and self-publishing a guidebook for writers who want to get their work into print.

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The Starter Guide for Professional Writers is a whole-picture handbook that helps you finish your story (whether by the age old butt-in-chair method or with the help of your imaginary friends), revise it, and publish it—whether online, in a magazine, though an Indie press, or with a New York publisher. The publishing industry looks really scary at first, but I think too many talented writers let themselves become so intimidated they never take the first steps to publishing, and getting paid for, their work. Over the years I've guided many friends and fellow newbies in the day-to-day of writing and selling, now I've written down my experience and advice to guide you all the way from the blankness of page one to the challenge of letting readers know your book is there on the shelves.

I’m running an IndieGoGo campaign as a way to take ‘pre-orders’ of the book and to raise some money for formatting, design, and distribution expenses. As encouragement I’m offering not only signed copies of the book but also the chance to get your first chapter reviewed b yours truly—or your entire manuscript if you want to be my hero. The campaign is here: http://igg.me/at/pro-writers-starter-guide/x/447089

Even if you’re not a writer, you can help out by signal boosting and by considering the purchase of my books (or any books; anything you buy after clicking through the affiliate links on my webpage will earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you).

February 19th, 2013

 As an example of the fun stuff you're missing by not following my blogspot site, I've now posted a revised version of my short story "The Family," which I originally shared as part of Crossed Genres Stories for Haiti project. The idea was that writers would post a free short story, and readers could show their appreciation by donating what in their minds the story was worth to a cause--in CG's case, causes supporting cleanup after the earthquake in 2010. A bit like sponsors supporting someone racing for the cure. But instead of doing something easy like running a marathon, we write fiction.

Anyway, I've polished and expanded the original version of "The Family," which I'm now offering as a part of a fundraising service learning project my class is doing as part of our trip to Ghana. The charity we're supporting, Capacity Rural International, operates locally among five villages in the rural north. We're raising funds to provide scholarships, microloans, and a tractor rental to the community there. You know I'm a big fan of microfinance--see my link to Kiva there in the sidebar, which I'm keeping up even as I dismantle the restof this blog. However, the loans CRI is providing will be small--around $25 US--and in communities where conventional finance, even micofinance, is unlikely to reach. Women will use the loans to buy improved seeds to increase agricultural yield, which they can use to better feed their families and sell any left over for some extra income. The scholarships will allow qualifying students to attend trade school. There's more information on my student group's IndieGoGo campaign page.
As for the story itself, it starts when a young woman wakes up in her car. Going 35 miles per hour. Then things start to get weird.

Check it out!

Note: The IndieGoGo campaign ends March 4th--we have to have time to gather the collected funds to deliver during our trip. We can accept donations through PayPal a while longer, until March 15th or so. In the event of receiving funds after the cut-off date for delivery, I will speak with my professor and find a way to ensure the money is forwarded to CRI in the future, either on its own or as part of next year's student project deliveries.

February 10th, 2013

The Dawn of a New Era

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Hello! My blog has now moved to Story Addict: Therese Arkenberg's Home on the Web. There I'll continue to talk about my writing, publications, and causes.

I'll still be on certain LiveJournal groups, but for the most part Story Addict on blogspot is now my internet base of choice. The publications list I'm keeping there is also far more up to date and organized than any ever done before. 

I can also be found on LinkedIn, Facebook (official author page; though you can find me and send a friend request if we know each other better), LibraryThing, and GoodReads. I'm also still getting updates from LiveJournal, so if you'd like to get in contact directly, as questions, or find me on other networks, PM me. 

February 9th, 2013

I am currently doing a massive update/revamp/housecleaning of my social networking accounts. This will also, of necessity given my limited time and resources, involve some culling. I fear this journal is one of the culled. But do not fear too much! As I clean up other accounts, I will be sure to do a final post here linking to them so those who wish to follow me can do so. I will continue to use this account to participate in certain groups, but the journal will no longer be updated. Clearly, it hasn't been regularly updated in a long time as it is--it's just I would rather make that clear and official rather than just leaving it to gather dust.

One of my plans includes getting myself an actual author's website, so that will be fun and exciting!

May 22nd, 2012

Adventures in Bookmarks

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My promotional efforts for Aqua Vitae have included producing a set of gorgeous bookmarks with information about the novel. I've been aided with the design expertise of a friend, and it's been an interesting learning experience.

Following the advice of this article, we uploaded our design onto Vistaprint, actually making postcards rather than bookmarks (does VistaPrint even have a bookmark option? I don't remember seeing it.) Each postcard featured the bookmark pattern twice, so I then had to use the library guillotine* to cut them to size.

I'm satisfied with the finished product, and for writers (or anyone, really) wishing to do the same, I have only a few additions to the advice contained in the above linked post. 

First, I cannot stress enough, be sure to get a VistaPrint discount. You could get it offline, or you could subscribe to their mailing list, or you could borrow a code from your friend. But get one, because VistaPrint prices add up very quickly--they charge, so far as I can tell, for each subset of a service. The finished bookmarks are gorgeous, but printing them in color on both front and back added at least a dozen dollars to my order. I'd suggest you find a coupon that takes a large chunk off your total order for that reason (rather than getting individual services for free or at a reduced price--you'd still have to pay for the other services).

Remember to orient the images on the postcard the way the article shows you! My friend and I followed the instructions and the bookmarks turned out fine. Otherwise they'd have been printed upside down.

Be careful how you cut the postcards. You get two to four bookmarks to each postcard, and it can be tempting to cut many at one time so cut short the amount of time you'll spend at the guillotine (it took me half an hour to cut 200 postcards, give or take). However, you really should only cut one postcard at a time--the glossy paper stock on the postcards doesn't cut easily in a thick stack. I lost some bookmarks trying. Also, I'd advise cutting with the glossy-side of the postcards facing down, although you may wish to experiment on your own. This was a library paper cutter with an old blade that I was using, and sharper ones may be able to manage more.

Lastly, when designing the image to upload on VistaPrint, add very generous margins. You'll need them to cut out the finished product. Also, VistaPrint's printing may leave some blank slivers on the edges of the cards. You can decide whether they're worth trimming off if they occur.

Also, the prices per card drop drastically as you make larger and larger orders. If I run through this batch of bookmarks, I'll order more and more of them.

There ya go! Sage's advice on how to make promotional bookmarks using VistaPrint. Oh, it also helps if you get a design wizard to help create them. Have I mentioned how gorgeous mine are?

*Aka the choppy paper-cutter things. If guillotine is not the real word for them, I don't want to use the real word, because saying I've used a guillotine sounds too cool. I am a grown-up.

March 16th, 2012

Aqua Vitae Giveaways!

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If you want to win a copy of Aqua Vitae, it's your lucky weekend! I've posted giveaways on both Goodreads and Library Thing.

You can enter the Goodreads giveaway here.

And LibraryThing here.

January 4th, 2012

That is, Aqua Vitae is at last available on Amazon.com.

It also has garnered a rather nice four-star review.

This winter break is going by in a blur of promotional activities and short story writing, editing, and submitting. It's a whirlwind, but I don't mind. 2011 was not a particularly kind year to me (was it to anybody?), and I'd as soon bury it beneath some gems from 2012. The boyfriend's down from Stevens Point and will be until I drive him back on the 8th, and this weekend will also include some activities for the two volunteer programs I've signed up for--one is the VITA tax prep program, another is with the local fair trade shop and education center in Waukesha. I still have two weeks until school starts in which to juggle writing, friends, and volunteer activities. For now, at least, I feel pretty good.

August 3rd, 2011

Kiva's new promotion is extremely well-timed. If you follow the link below, you'll be able to make your first $25 loan through Kiva for free! if you've been considering joining, I hope this will make the decision easier for you.

http://kiva.org/invitedby/theresearkenberg

August 1st, 2011

This is the first section of the rough draft of my paper, part of a philosophical research project undertaken this summer to determine the extent of our obligations towards the poor worldwide. In light of these facts, what do you think our obligations to end poverty are? (That's not a rhetorical question; I'd love to discuss any or all of these points with anyone who's interested.)

Additional notes and citations appear at the bottom of this post.

1. The Problem of Poverty
More than three billion people, almost half the world’s population, live below the World Bank’s poverty line of $2.50 US per capita consumption per day. The poorest half of the world’s adults hold 1.1% of global wealth1. The extremely poor, those living under $1 US per day, number one billion 2 and die at a rate of 18 million a year3. One billion human beings are chronically undernourished, 2.5 billion lack access to proper sanitation and 2 billion lack access to essential drugs. This leaves them vulnerable to and unable to treat diseases like malaria, pneumonia, tuberculosis, diarrhea, childhood illnesses, and AIDS. They lack the savings and resources to cushion misfortunes caused by natural disasters, civil war, or accidents. There are 218 million child laborers in the world, 8 million of them working as slaves or bonded laborers, child soldiers, or prostitutes4.
Those living in these appalling* circumstances are unable to escape them; with barely enough income to survive on, they are unable to save or invest, to maintain necessary infrastructure or capital for economic growth, or to compensate for disadvantages caused by poor and worsening climate, cultural barriers against race, religion, or sex, and international trade sanctions5. This is what development expert Jeffery Sachs calls a poverty trap: the state of extreme poverty itself leaves the poor unable to achieve economic growth without outside help.
Despite this, it is possible for the severe poverty that is the normal state of half of humanity to be ended. The collective shortfall of the 3 billion people living below the poverty line is only 2% of global household income, of which the top decile (tenth) of the world population earns 71.1%. As it is, 0.33% of US Gross National Income is committed to official development aid, out of a promised 0.7% 6. Those who believe it is the responsibility of the poor to raise themselves out of poverty will be gratified to know that remittances earned by foreign workers in developed countries and sent home amount to three times as much as foreign aid7.

1. Politics as Usual, Thomas Pogge, page 13
2. The End of Poverty, Jeffery Sachs, page 19
3. Politics as Usual, 11
4. Freedom from Poverty as a Human Right, edited by Thomas Pogge, page 13.
*I debated using an emotionally charged adjective here, but in the previous paragraph I just mentioned dying of diarrhea and living as a child prostitute, I think ‘appalling’ is an acceptable word choice.
5. The End of Poverty pages 57-61
6. Freedom from Poverty as a Human Right, page 27. To rephrase, this is one-third of one percent out of a promised seven-tenths of one percent.
Poverty.com offers this template (http://www.poverty.com/printletter.html) for a letter to your government encouraging it to take concrete steps to reach the promised 0.7% aid goal.
7. Globalizing Justice, by Richard W. Miller, page 79.
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