James Patterson Explains Why His Books Sell Like Crazy

From WSJ’s Speakeasy, the beginning of the article:

Let’s shoot the breeze for a bit,” says James Patterson, exuding a relaxed attitude on a recent morning at his Palm Beach home despite the fact that he has 13 books coming out this year. He had 11 last year. To date, the 65-year-old author has published 95 books—his most recent, “Guilty Wives,” hit shelves this week—and according to Nielsen ranks as the country’s top-selling author.

Those numbers have added up to big business: Mr. Patterson earns more than $80 million a year, according to people familiar with his publishing empire.

$80 million a year—a nice gig.

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What Is a Literary Novel?

An article from the Huffington Post by Warren Adler wrestles with the definition of a “literary novel.” He opens with this statementL

I have been baffled for years over what constitutes the definition of a “literary” novel.

Don’t we all, Mr. Adler—at least those interested in literature and definitions. Yet, doesn’t it seem odd that people steeped in the use of words—for years—have yet to provide an adequate definition of what makes a book “literary fiction?” Perhaps it is due to over-analysis.

 

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10 Myths About Introverts, Revisited

Referenced before, but worth noting—from Jerry Brito:

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

Continue reading

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99 Tiny Stories…

99 Tiny Stories to Make You Think, Smile and Cry. These nice little human interest stories sometimes made me think and smile, worthy of the title, but they didn’t make me cry…and I wonder why the producer of the title thought that was a necessary description?

 

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To Accept What Cannot Be Helped

From The American Scholar, an essay by Ann Hulbert that delves into an underlying theme of my novel, Waiting for Zoë.

“Accepting what cannot be helped”—a kind of stoicism.

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On Linguistics

Angry words—Will one researcher’s discovery deep in the Amazon destroy the foundation of modern linguistics? Taking aim at Noam Chomsky…Hmmmm. The beginning of the article from The Chronicle of Higher Education:

A Christian missionary sets out to convert a remote Amazonian tribe. He lives with them for years in primitive conditions, learns their extremely difficult language, risks his life battling malaria, giant anacondas, and sometimes the tribe itself. In a plot twist, instead of converting them he loses his faith, morphing from an evangelist trying to translate the Bible into an academic determined to understand the people he’s come to respect and love.

Along the way, the former missionary discovers that the language these people speak doesn’t follow one of the fundamental tenets of linguistics, a finding that would seem to turn the field on its head, undermine basic assumptions about how children learn to communicate, and dethrone the discipline’s long-reigning king, who also happens to be among the most well-known and influential intellectuals of the 20th century.

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18 Everyday English Words That Come from Irish

From Accredited Online Colleges—an interesting list to “dazzle your friends with your knowledge of the Irish origins of some common English words….”

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Insisting on the right to a trial

From the New York Times, a surprising (well, maybe not) article titled Go to Trial—Crash the Justice System. The question being explored:

What would happen if we organized thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of people charged with crimes to refuse to play the game, to refuse to plea out? What if they all insisted on their Sixth Amendment right to trial? Couldn’t we bring the whole system to a halt just like that?”

And here is what’s going on:

But in this era of mass incarceration — when our nation’s prison population has quintupled in a few decades partly as a result of the war on drugs and the “get tough” movement — these rights are, for the overwhelming majority of people hauled into courtrooms across America, theoretical. More than 90 percent of criminal cases are never tried before a jury. Most people charged with crimes forfeit their constitutional rights and plead guilty.

“The truth is that government officials have deliberately engineered the system to assure that the jury trial system established by the Constitution is seldom used,” said Timothy Lynch, director of the criminal justice project at the libertarian Cato Institute. In other words: the system is rigged.

Amazing…read the whole thing to better understand the consequences. (Hat tip: Instapundit)

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Some Lost Novels

From The Daily Beast, an article listing ten lost but recently found novels. The introduction:

A sense of romance encircles the concept of the lost novel, sequestered as it is for decades, maybe even centuries, in a dusty attic or library or briefcase, robbing the adoring public of a great writer’s unpublished work. When that writer is a legendary one, the discovery of such a manuscript can ripple through the literary world and rekindle the excitement generated by his or her most lauded work. In this respect, the publishing world has gotten lucky lately.

See all ten at the link.

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Why Swear Words?

The blog, Barking up the wrong tree asks, Is there any real need for swear words? And then answers it:

If you’re trying to emotionally affect the listener and make them remember what you say, yes.

Swear words don’t have magic powers but our brains do react to them differently and the effects can be measured.

 

See the link for an explanation plus related links.

I occasionally swear, but one couldn’t say that I am marked by the practice. I use it sparingly, and usually for the effect intended. Teenagers who write on blogs seem to be the most prolific users…or people like Al Swearengen whose character made liberal use of it on the HBO series Deadwood.

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