John Oliver on Brexit and Trump — and which is the greater disaster?

February 18, 2019

In case you don’t know of John Oliver, he’s a Brit who emigrated to the U.S. and performs on the more sophisticated version of SNL called “Last Week Tonight”. Although very funny, his scenes are much more based on research and deep thought. In this interview with “The Guardian”, Oliver gives his considered opinion concerning the repercussions of Brexit, Trump’s presidency, and the future of Mo Salah and Liverpool FC. This is TV worth watching.

John Oliver at HBO headquarters for his show Last Week Tonight



How to redeem a gifted Audible Book direct from the author

November 30, 2018

If you are interested in historical fiction about strong female leaders, try this!

via How to redeem a gifted Audible Book direct from the author

A Salute to C.S. Lewis

November 30, 2018

lewis via A Salute to C.S. Lewis


How to Write a First Draft

November 28, 2018

via How to Write a First Draft

Don’t Blog. Write!

November 25, 2018

Some great thoughts about becoming a ‘writer’, when so many people believe they can’t.

via Don’t Blog. Write!

Obama’s 2011 Thanksgiving Address

November 22, 2018

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Getting Your Book Translated Into Other Languages

March 21, 2018

Many writers have thought about getting their books translated, but are worried about the expense. This is certainly an issue, as it is both good for visibility (‘platform’) and adjunct sales.


I have tried to use BabelCube, with no success. I had a couple of offers to translate one of my books, but the deal never got done. I think most of the people they connect you with are amateurs looking for something easy. Furthermore, you sacrifice a lot in using that service. If I remember correctly, the translator gets something like 85% of the profits, which leaves you more like you would from a publishing company. Fair enough, I suppose, but you also lose some control over the product, as you only get a short period to approve the translation. If you have only one book and are not concerned with money, but simply in getting your book out there in different languages, that’s probably a reasonable way to go. All in all, I chose not to pursue that route any longer.


As an alternative to employing both a professional translator and then an editor, I have devised a less expensive way, especially as I currently have half a dozen books. First, use a translating software. Then employ a good editor for quality and accuracy.


If you want to use a professional software, I found several. For example, there is Systran Professional Translator – Spanish Language $249. I don’t know how good it is, but it is more oriented to business documents.  If you have several books, it might be worth the cost.


However, there are several pretty good free versions you can download. They include Google Translator, Microsoft Translate, and the one I tried, Babylon. I tested it on the prologue of “The Grindstone”. I’m not fluent in Spanish, but good enough to know it was a very good translation. On the positive side, it kept the paragraph formatting and phrases I had in Italics, and punctuated the sentences well. On the downside, it did not translate colloquialisms (e.g., ain’t) and some contractions, as well as words it did not have in its dictionary, such as ‘bastard’. Some of those I could correct, others could just be left for the editor. You can probably increase the dictionary, although I did not check.


With the free software, you have to do the manuscript in chunks (such as chapters), and spend your own time checking for the non-translated portions. But then you get to hand a pretty close translation to a professional editor of that language who would be charged with making those corrections anyhow, as well as ensuring the quality of the translation. This gives you complete control of the final product, and gets that first big step done at little or no monetary cost.


If you are a serious writer, having translations of your work is a powerful tool. If you spend the time, you can greatly reduce the costs while maintaining control of your work. Good luck!


Thus Spake the NRA … and their Minion, Trump

November 8, 2017


“Fools and Mortals” by Bernard Cornwell

November 8, 2017

via Book Corner: Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell

I’m a huge fan of Cornwell (currently reading his “Last Kingdom” series), and my WIP (work in progress) is called “The Shakespeares and the Crown”, so I am very excited to read his version of Will’s story. Cornwell’s a great storyteller, and I hope to glean a couple of lessons from his work.

Garry Kasparov: “Trump is a wake-up call for the free world.”

September 20, 2017

Garry Kasparov as a child

Many people have criticized Donald Trump as a person and a president, and many have called him dangerous, both domestically and internationally. Today I read some very interesting comments by a man who was born and raised in Russia, the brilliant chess player Garry Kasparov. As someone who knows the Soviet system intimately, Kasparov’s logic was, needless to say, impeccable, and his warning was chilling. You might wish to read the entire interview printed in the “Boston Globe”, to find out what he said.