Category Archives: Copywriting

Blunderkins© Is Coming To Town

Her name is Shirley Epstein, aka Blunderkins©.

She has a nose for bad news and an uncanny knack for diving into the middle of murder, mayhem and mystery.  Fair, fat, fertile and a bit over 40, Shirley is also pretty good at dragging her long time, ever patient, inventor husband, Bert, into the fray with her.

In Blunderkins© Saves The Baby, Shirley finds death and destruction right in her own back yard when her new and very rich neighbor starts dumping a liquid fertilizer into the pond he shares with the Espteins, something that turns the water red and his lawn an emerald green.

At the heart of this mystery is a stolen baby and a human trafficking ring. Shirley gets the facts but she also gets caught and is headed for the same fate as the other murder victims.

Bert saves the day (and his wife) with his techno-talon, a hidden, high-tech surveillance system and a GPS chip embedded in Shirley’s wedding band the day they got married.

The manuscript is in the final round of editing; the book will be on Amazon Kindle before you know it and Shirley and Bert have already embarked on their next murder mystery entitled Blunderkins© & The Bad Husband.

NOTE:  The word and character, Blunderkins©  are copyrighted and the exclusive property of Patricia and Pasquale Muccigrosso.  Copyright © 2013. All rights are reserved. This character and books named for this title character may not be reproduced or used in any manner, whatsoever.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Copywriting, Freelance Writing, Love and Marriage, Mysteries, Publishing

Don’t Get Sued – 3 Sources of Copyright-Free Images from LKR Social Media

Blogging can be fun.  It can be profitable.  It can simply be a means of leaving behind a journal for grandchildren and maybe even grandchildren you will never know.

But blogging is still covered by the same copyright laws that govern all intellectual property including photographs.  And copyright law, which includes using someone else’s photographs,  is pretty rigid.

Under copyright law, there is little wiggle room for the usual excuses and “fair use” – not monetized, one time use, educational – does not cover theft of property.

This cautionary tale comes from Laura K. Roeder, an expert in the use of social media.   The person involved used only 3 pictures which she thought were covered.   Her initial fine was over $2,000. 00. Her apology and sincere explanation of why she thought it was okay to use them got the fine reduced $1650.00.

If she had paid for the use of the photos, her total cost would have been $148.50.

Bottom line, unless you take the photo, pay for the photo or know, unequivocally, that is is copyright free, don’t use it.  Roeder provides 3 sources where you can get photos for use on your blog. Check them out but seriously consider taking your own photos.  It’s safer.

3 Killer Sources of Copyright-Free Images to Avoid Getting Punched in the Face with a Lawsuit – LKR Social Media.

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Filed under Copywriting, Freelance Writing, Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing Advice

One Writer’s Mistakes – Buying But Not Reading

Writing has been in my blood for decades.  Words dance in my head from the moment I wake up to the moment my head drops onto the pillow.  Successful as a writer for magazines, professional groups and web sites, I still long for success as a writer of the Great American Novel — a wonderful goal that, at my current rate, I will never reach.

Why?  Because I persist in making all the mistakes that novice writers make starting with a common one — buying books — not reading or writing them.  I consider this…

Mistake #1

I am surrounded by books — on my desk, in the bookcase, on my nightstand, even in my car!   Pick a day or an hour and you will find me with two or three books “in progress.”  But somehow, with all that information filling every space in my rooms and in my head, this reader and writer has managed to ignore some of the best advice in the world.  I buy books on writing…but I don’t read them.

Ursula K. Le Guin’s book Steering The Craft languishes on my shelf beside Artful Sentences, Writing Dialogue and Modus Operandi.  I could start a lending library with all the books I own.  But instead of reading them, I dust them , look fondly at the titles and think about cracking one open until life intercedes and the books go back to gathering dust and fading in the sunlight.

Well, they did until last week when I idly picked up James Cross Giblin‘s Guide to Writing Children’s Books.  Giblin  has authored twenty-five books of his own and in his years at Clarion Books helped grow its titles to 400 books in print.  The man knows the children’s book market and he shares ideas, resources and just plain common sense advice in his guide.

I wrote my whole YA novel with that book sitting about six feet from my elbow.  Three hundred pages, three rewrites and my novel is still in the “shopping” stage.  Now, only two words dance in my head…if only.

So while I wrestle with the fact that I had insight and wisdom sitting on my shelf and chose to ignore it, here’s hoping that other, aspiring authors can learn from my mistake.  Don’t just buy books – read them!  Even the bad ones have something to offer.

There are many more writer’s mistakes to explore.  In the coming weeks, a few more mistakes that can derail your writing and a few more ways to avoid them.

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Filed under Business writing, Copywriting, Freelance Writing, Medical Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Articles, Writing for the Web, Writing Resources

Writing for The Examiner; An Exercise in Stupidity

Okay, I will admit it.  I was appealed to by the idea that I could write on a topic I love – horses – and get regional exposure.  So I signed on to write for The Wilmington Examiner.  I went through the application process and they did a background check on me that would have made a police department blush.  I was found “fit for writing” and given a chance to provide content to them.

I wrote for them from September 16th of 2009 until March of 2010.  Six months ago I stopped writing for them.  I held off posting this because I needed to decide if I was overreacting.  I don’t think I am.

I published close to 3 dozen articles that were well-written, well thought out, contained original content and included interviews with local, regional and national experts.  Then, one morning I received an email from The Examiner “auditor” informing me that an article I posted on natural fly control was not “local”, got  a verbal slap on the wrist and was reminded that I w0uld not get paid for articles that were deemed not local.

When I was done laughing, I sent them a note telling them why I would no longer be writing for them.

If you write for the The Examiner, you really cannot be writing for money.  Local articles earn the writer $1.00.  No that is not a typo – that’s 100 pennies.  The article in question took me several hours to put together.  At my usual writing rate, I would get $200 for 4 hours of work.  By writing this article, I lost $199.00 in income.

Beyond the obvious, if I had been writing for money, why would I have spent 6 months writing solid, appealing articles about horses, horse rescue and horse care to earn a total of $12.34?  I earn 4 times that, per hour, for articles written for three magazines for which I am a regular contributor.

So this is NOT about money.  This is about trying to contribute content about a topic I love so that people who live in the tri-state area (or anywhere in the world since the web isn’t geographically limited) would have yet another resource for solid information and entertaining stories about the equestrian world.  My average page views ran 1210; Wilmington Pets ran at a rate of 1228 and the average for pets, in general was 1457.  I’d say I had a readership.

The article in question covered a topic that a LOT of equestrians are interested in and used experts from several companies/places discussing their respective products.  It was linked to different web sites which should increase traffic to The Examiner’s site and was tagged for SEO.

So, who is the editorial genius that says writing from my desk in Pennsylvania has to be limited to….well, Pennsylvania?  And why?  This article was about flies.  Flies don’t limit themselves to the tri-state area.  They aren’t restricted to ADIs or zip codes.  Last time I checked, flies tend to hang around stables and barns.  And Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland are… duh…in horse country.

If The Examiner wants to incent writers to leave their enterprise, this is the way to do it.  As a former journalist and a frequent contributor to several magazines with readerships in the hundreds of thousands, I find their approach short-sighted and insulting.  I have written my entire life and the product that I produced for their web site was  top drawer.

The operative word in that last sentence is “was.”  I officially resigned and have not written for the Examiner since the email from the auditor.  To their credit, the auditor did send me an apology for the email but the damage was done.  Theirs is a business model that works for them but, not, I would wager for 99% of the writers toiling over articles for this company.  If you are a writer and you are smart, you will save your words for someone who appreciates the effort, literally and figuratively.

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Filed under Copywriting, Equestrian Articles, Freelance Writing, Mid-Atlantic Horse Stories, Writing About Horses, Writing Articles

Facing The End

Funny but I never thought I would be retired. Note the use of the word “be.” I am being retired from my current position effective 12/31/2009. It is a mutually agreed upon retirement but it is odd to be in this position.

I am currently presiding over my own professional death. And I have mixed feelings about it ranging from downright giddiness to stark terror. Writing has always helped me with uncomfortable situations before. I am hoping it will help me again.

Retiring will open up more time for writing. And I will actually be able to have a life instead of make a living….but will I be who I think I am when I am not driving into an office 54 miles away from my home? What will happen to all the skills I developed over all the years I worked? TBD, I guess.

Just 18 more working days.
More to come…

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Filed under Copywriting, Freelance Writing

What Makes A Writer Run

I was standing in a store yesterday waiting while someone tried to figure out how to mail the manuscript for my first novel to a publisher in Canada when, suddenly, right there, my next novel started to write itself.

Granted, I have had the idea and the high level outline for this one in my head for about 9 months but my character was strangely quiet. Then, while watching the various characters come in and out of this store, each with his or her own story, each wearing their hopes and dreams on their faces, Trish started to speak and I was ready for her.

One thing a writer is NEVER without is pen and paper so I whipped out my pad and wrote the words as fast as I could, barely keeping up with her/me. If you want to write, carry the gear. Guess why?

Because the way it comes into your head the first time you hear it is almost always the best way to write it! Even 15 minutes later, chances are you just won’t be able to capture the thought, the words, the scene the same way. And believe me, there is nothing worse than trying to remember the moment of inspiration.

So be prepared, listen and when the talking starts….start writing!

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Filed under Copywriting, Freelance Writing

When A Writer Runs Scared

Fear!  How is it possible that an experienced, mature writer can be struck by knee-knocking, palm sweating fear about submitting her writing?

It has struck me and struck me hard despite the fact that I have written for 30 years and been published that long, writing for magazines, papers, companies and venture capitalist.  My tween novel is done.  All the final edits came in from my proofreader and in the manuscript but it is still sitting on my desk.  The “why” is easy.

Rejection.  I don’t handle it well and this is a big opportunity for rejection — my first novel.

The query letter will be written today and the manuscript will be sent to the publisher of choice, tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

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Filed under Copywriting, Writing About Horses