New Word I Just Learned: Blad

“Blad” sounds like a third-rate vampire knock-off movie (either as a mix of “blood” and “Vlad” if it is a classic vampire movie –or– as a misspelling of “Blade” which is a different kind of vampire/vampire-hunter protagonist), and maybe it is, but it is also an underused publishing term.

papereen-26-1420209A “blad” is a booklet, used as an advertisement. It’s probably a mashup of the words “blurb” and “ad.” And the publishing industry uses them frequently, though you may recognize them differently in the current digital age. For instance, the “Look Inside” feature on most Amazon book listings is essentially a “blad.”

In doing my research for the word, I’ve come across another reason why “blad” should be brought back into use. It is also a bit of a play on words, because “blad” is related to the word “blade,” which is the Proto-Germanic version of “leaf”. Think about a blade of grass. Same thing. But, wait a second! What are the pages of a book called? Leaves. Thus, on a whole different level a “blad” is a subsection of a book.

So now that you know, you can help me make “blad” popular again.*

*I have no idea if it was ever a popular word. But I think it should be.

LOTR Audiobook Giveaway

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Here’s the deal. The second installment of The Hobbit is due to hit theaters soon, so in honor of all things Tolkien, I’m giving away this audiobook CD box set of the dramatized Lord of the Rings trilogy. I’ll even throw in that Hobbit Lego Minifig.

How can you enter to win?

Simply leave a comment with the answer to this question: If you were a character from the Lord of the Rings, what race of character would you be and why?

And you need a refresher, click here for a past post on the different character races available. I didn’t include any of the evil races in that post, but feel free to identify with those as well.

The winner will be chosen at random and notified on Friday, November 22nd. Really good responses will be given two chances to win. Good luck!

Flash Fiction Challenge | Before, But After…

The last contest I did was fun for me, but it lacked in participation. Maybe my prize wasn’t good enough. Anyway, here’s the new contest:

Before, But After… – A One-Sentence Biography.

Craft a single sentence that provides a bit of depth on a character of your creation. Each biography should follow the format below.

Before he was arrested for tax evasion, but after his time as Lieutenant Governor  of Maryland, Jeff Small worked as the greeter for a major retail chain.

or

Before her body hit the bottom, but after she jumped from the heights of the Grand Canyon, 23-year-old Jennifer Bennington discovered that she was happiest when falling.

The one-sentence biography can be about an existing character or a completely original character to this contest. You also don’t have to be a writer to enter the contest, just willing to participate.

To enter, just leave your sentence in the comments of this post. A winner will be chosen at random from among the participants.

The prize: This set of books.

Set includes The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, and The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens.

What are you waiting for?

The contest ends July 20th, 2012. All comments must be in by then. And like usual, I can only ship within the continental US.

Breathe Rachelle, the Baker Can’t Be Older than Jesus – or – Links

Link and Report Card Day! I hope you are as excited as I am. I’ve scoured the internet in search of the best, and I’ve come back with 4 links that won’t disappoint.

Breathe Christian Writer's ConferenceFirst is the website for the Breathe Conference. It’s a writers’ conference organized by The Guild, a group of published ladies who live in West Michigan and gather regularly to support each others’ writing. The Breathe Conference is unlike other writers’ conferences in how incredibly supportive it is. When other conferences leave you feeling intimidated and unfit to write, Breathe encourages while it teaches. The conference is in October, so there is plenty of time to sign up. There are even scholarships available, so if you want to check it out, try for one of those.

Older Than Jesus is the blog by Alison Hodgson, a member of the Guild and one of the organizers of the Breathe Conference. Alison’s writing captures her personality well, both the funny bits and the more serious bits. She’s one of the nicest and snarkiest people I know, and she holds a special place for me as a reader in that she was the person who introduced me to the writings of Jasper Ffrorde.

Rachelle GardnerI learned about Rachelle Gardner’s blog from my coworker Chris Jager. Chris runs the fiction department at Baker and writes for the store’s fiction blog as well as the online magazine, Family Fiction. But back to Rachelle’s blog… Rachelle is a literary agent with a lot of great information for writers about the world of publishing. If you are a writer, do yourself a favor and check out her blog.

The final link is for the academically-minded Christian. My friend and coworker Louis McBride started the store’s academic blog, The Baker Book House Church Connection, at the behest of Andrew Rogers as a way to connect to churches in the area and inform the pastors about the newest and best books available to them. I remember Louis being skeptical, but like he does everything else, he grinned and gave it his best effort. Now, it is a well respected blog among Christian academic circles, the influence of which spreads far beyond the West Michigan church arena. Louis is always insightful, and if you don’t feel smarter after reading his blog, you may not be able to read (how are you reading this right now then?).

How I did this week. Also, fun links!Now for the report card portion of the post. I only added about 500 words to my novel this week, so I could have done better there. On the upside, my blogging is going like gangbusters. If today’s post goes over like last week’s post, I’ll get pushed over the not-at-all-important-in-the-long-run number of 1000 all-time visits, which is still a pretty cool thing. Overall, I’m going to give myself a B- for this week’s writing. Better luck next time, me!

Two last plugs, if you somehow missed the contests that I am running, this one ends Monday and is super easy, and this one ends at the end of the month and is considerably more difficult. Either way, I’m giving away books, so check it out and share the news with your friends. Thanks for reading this week!

PS – I’ll be continuing my Bookstore Symbiosis series next Monday, in case you were interested in such things.

Report Cards, Writing, Blogging, and Hidden Messages, Oh My!

Here we are. It’s been an eventful week on the blog. I had my most hits to date on Monday (65 for those of you who like to know that sort of thing). I introduced the main character from my WIP, and posted a review of a book within the same genre. And, I started my first book giveaway (you can still enter to win until Monday morning when I pull the winner).

How I did this week. Also, fun links!As far as a grade for my writing report card goes, I’ll give myself a B. In taking time for blogging (which is totally worthwhile in its own right), I’ve not taken as much time to work on my novel.

Perhaps I’ll do better this next week.

Perhaps I won’t. But I’ll try.

You should visit me again to find out.

But I digress, let’s get on to the week’s top links!

In first place, I’d like to share another link to my writer friend Bob. He and I made a gentleman’s challenge this past week to see who could get a certain amount of hits on a given day. I’m new at this, and Bob has been blogging for a while, so it was an ambitious challenge for me to make. Anyway, I’m convinced that Bob is cheating, because he did a post this week that was pure quality. If you are a writer or have ever encounter’s writer’s block, check out this link.

Right up there with Bob’s post is this post from a blog called “Writing is Hard Work”. Truer words were never spoken (or written, as it were). The post linked here gives 6 ways to begin a novel. So if the reason that you haven’t experienced writer’s block yet is because you haven’t started a novel, here are some good ways to get started.

Then, for other bloggers out there, I came across this post on blogging mistakes that is quite good. I got permission to link to it here because I found it helpful as a guy just wading into this murk we call blogging.

Here’s one for all of my non-writer, non-blogger friends. Jessie Clemence and her husband Eric were one of the first people to befriend me when I got to Western Michigan University. After only one year of getting to know them, they graduated and I didn’t expect to see them again, but after a year or so, they moved to Grand Rapids and we reconnected. As it happened, in one of the summers between school years, I had two jobs. I worked in a dirty warehouse in the morning, then moonlighted as a waiter at Big Boy at night. My own house was too far away to be able to go home and clean up between shifts, so Eric and Jessie let me come over and use their shower. They are truly some of the nicest people out there. Anyway, check out Jessie’s blog. It’s filled with spiritual inspiration for people in general and families in specific.

Dare I forget to mention my contest again? If you just stumbled upon my blog, I’ve got a contest going, the prize for which is a shiny used set of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Maybe you’ve read it, maybe you own it, but wouldn’t you like to tell everyone you know that this contest is going on? Come on, please?

And that’s pretty much it. If this week’s contest goes over well, I’ll do another one. I work at a bookstore and have access to lots of great books that I can use to giveaway. I’ve already got some good responses and suggestions for my blog, so I hope to continually improve it as I go. Thanks for stopping by!

Yowsa! (Did you catch the hidden message in today’s post? If you did, pass it on to my brother here.)

Win Stuff | The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings Box Set

Leave me a comment with your ideas for this blog. Now. Do it now.

You could be as happy as me if you win this set of books.

Here’s the deal. I’m giving away a box set of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. It is the set that I bought right after the Fellowship of the Ring came out in theaters. I bought it to replace the well-worn copies that my dad had laying around. Well, I still have those well-worn copies. Also, my wife brought a really nice hardcover set into the marriage. As much as it pains me to say this, I don’t need three copies of the same series. So I’m giving this box set away.

If you’ve never read the whole series, now’s your chance. If you are quick about it, you can just finish them in time for the arrival of The Hobbit (part one) in the theaters this December.

So how can you win?

Simple. Just tell me what you’d like to see from this blog of mine. Share with me any questions that you have, any ideas for posts, any themes or categories that I’m lacking. Just leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win. I’ll pull the winner next Monday, April 30th, and announce the results here on my blog.

The Fine Print: I’m not made of money, so although I love international comments, I can’t ship internationally. Sorry about that.