A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon and Other Ravings from the Blogosphere

Novel by Edward C. Patterson

Where to Buy
International Sales (Paperback)


A fun and informative book chock full of good reading December 12, 2011
By J. Chambers Amazon

Readers who spend time on Kindle Boards, the Amazon forums, and other ebook websites and blogs should be familiar with prolific author Ed Patterson, since he's active on those sites. He's helped hundreds (or thousands) of would-be authors self-publish and market their books with his very helpful guide, "Are You Still Submitting Your Work to a Traditional Publisher?" Ed is also the creator and driving force behind Operation eBook Drop, a program where authors distribute their books for free to members of the armed forces who are deployed around the world.

The author's newest Kindle book, "A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon and Other Ravings from the Blogosphere," was published recently. I had been looking for an opportunity to use Amazon's new lending library feature, so the new book became my first loaner. The book is a compilation of previously published works by the author, some of which were blog or forum posts. There are four sections to the book:

1. A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon. This is a glossary of definitions of words and phrases used by authors, editors, and publishers. They're listed in no particular order or grouping, and some are the author's own take on traditional definitions. Some of my favorites were "Hanging a lantern" (the origin of the term actually dates back to silent movies), "Swifties" (derived from the old Tom Swift novels), "Litote" (an understatement created by a double negative), and the ever-popular "Split infinitive" (drives editors nuts).

There are dozens of definitions, and any author wannabe would benefit from perusing this section, since many of the definitions/explanations involve writing styles or techniques.

2. Extempore Thoughts for the Day. This was a popular series of daily thoughts - little snippets, actually, kind of like the writings found in fortune cookies, but without lottery numbers - posted on Kindle Boards over a period of about one year. There are 267 of them, ranging from fairly mundane to some pearls of wisdom to the purely whimsical. A few of my favorites:

#26 - Books, like chapels or cathedrals, must open their doors for reader meditation. Of course, authors must still pass the collection plate.

#74 - Charles Dickens came to me in a dream last night and gave me permission to dangle my participles. Thanks, Chuck, because Jane Austen is due for a visit tonight to teach me how to universally acknowledge everything.

#170 - Never regret a path not taken. If taken, you could be dead by now.

#175 - Critics and bedbugs have many things in common. They both suck your blood and are difficult to squash. However, at least you can ignore a critic. You're stuck with the bedbugs, although you're food for both.

3. Ask Miss Chatty. Miss Chatty was the nickname of a character in one of the author's novels, The Jade Owl (a first rate action thriller, by the way). Ask Miss Chatty is a fictional advice column written by "Miss Chatty" in response to letters from readers. Some are humorous, some are on the semi-serious and practical side, and some are actually recipes. Several of the letters and Miss Chatty's replies stood out for me:

* Advice to a person regarding diabetes (this resonated with me, since I'm diabetic).

* A defense of the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers who followed, with a skewering of the entitlement generation that we're raising now.

* A great-looking curry recipe.

* Thoughts on the merits of loose tea versus teabags.

* Man's best friend is not a dog.

* Practical advice on relieving the pain of a toothache.

Many of the letters were laugh-out-loud funny (or groan-out-loud!), including several that involved love and sex, and the sometimes bizarre predicaments that people get into with their love life.

Having read The Jade Owl, where Miss Chatty first appeared, I think this was my favorite section of the book, especially with the addition of a chapter from The Jade Owl that involved Miss Chatty, but was cut from the book by an editor.

4. New Leaves in the Wind: Five Essays from a Recovering Webaholic. The author briefly recapped his four decades of employment in the corporate world, including his work as a web designer. He gives a very brief, interesting history of the World Wide Web, then writes about the basics of web design and why many companies - including some big ones - don't make proper use of their websites or spend way too much money on web development with too little in return. He gives some very practical point-by-point steps for designing an effective website and implementing it.

For comic relief, there's a section on corporate "Branding Police" and how they make life hell for web designers.

The essays in the "New Leaves in the Wind" section were interesting reading; I'm not a web designer and know little about the subject, but I enjoyed the essays. They weren't about the nuts and bolts minutiae of web design, but more the overall approach to the subject and why some websites are more effective than others.

That's the book in a nutshell. It's a lot of diverse material, but it was all good stuff.