WEbooker of the WEek's Crappiest Job is for the Birds

Those poor folks from "The Office" seem to have it pretty bad, selling paper while suffering the blundering antics of Michael Scott. But they've got nothing on WEbooker of the WEek Breagadoir, who as a wee lad in Ireland in the '60s and '70s spent his days with his brothers "preparing" turkeys for market.

The toughest task was not decapitating the birds, a misstep that would cost Breagadoir 50 pence -- and some blood on his face. But a job well-done came with benefits. "We were highly in demand from all the turkey-rearing farmers around," Breagadoir explains. "We made the necessary cash to buy our meager Christmas presents and go to the cinema once or twice."

For more details on prepping turkeys, read Breagadoir's "Turkey Plucking and Massacres" in 101 Crappies Jobs Ever (And How We Survived Them). Got a story about your worst gig? Add it to the collection.

Naturally, Breagadoir's stint with the turkeys led to a career...teaching English in Paris? From then to now his jobs always have inspired his writing. His favorite WEbook project is French/Francais, a not-too-serious guidebook of French language and culture.

We caught up with Monsieur Breagadoir to ask him some not-too-serious questions.

How did you go from turkey farming to teaching English?

Bizarrely, I studied Marketing at college in Ireland but have somehow ended up being a teacher of EnglishBreagadoir
as a foreign language since 1984. On continental Europe it is as essential to be able to speak English as it is to have a driver's license, or to be able to read and write (and this is not an exaggeration). So it was a relatively easy solution for a native English speaking job seeker to get taken on by these schools. They tend not to be very discerning about qualifications, which was just as well in my case I can tell you.

Give us an essential piece of knowledge for someone visiting France?

Cafe au lait. This is coffee with lots of frothy milk, popular in the morning but beware: ordering this beverage after an evening meal is considered barbarian. And if you really want to impress the grumpy waitress at the brasserie, you shouldn't ask for a cafe au lait. You should just say, "Un grand creme, s'il vous plait."

Sting wrote a song about being an Englishman in New York. What's it like being an Irishman in Paris?

The French don't have any preconceived notions about the Irish. People who speak English as their native tongue are referred to as "Les Anglo-Saxons," and the French don't really make much of a distinction between the nations.

Do you miss the turkeys?

God no! I certainly don't miss disposing of them. But I still enjoy my Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner as much as ever. I never lost my appetite for delicious roast turkey.

Breagadoir has published several novels -- all in his head -- including "In Your Dreams" and "Get Real!"  When asked if he wanted to be WEbooker of the WEek, he said: "You mean, I get to shamelessly talk about myself. Have I died and gone to heaven?" Almost: a free WEbook t-shirt is in on its way to Paris. 

WEbooker of the WEek

Do you have a line on the wonderfullest writer on WEbook? The fantastickest feedbacker? Or anyone else who goes above and beyond to make WEbook the best writing, reading, and publishing community on the internet? Drop me an email, or visit my profile and send me a message with the title "WEbooker of the WEek" to nominate your favorite WEbooker and he or she will have a shot at joining the ranks of the immortals -- and getting a free WEbook T-shirt to boot.

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- William (TsungChi)

WEbooker of the WEek is Jersey Boy, Jan 20 Contributor

Most of us found our way to WEbook because we love to write, to read, and to support our fellow writers. Many of us dream of getting published. WEbooker of the WEek Ardethbey is no different, but he also has another dream. “I grew up just up the road from Asbury Park, NJ. You know, the Mecca of Springsteen,” he says. “When I stopped to buy a Snapple, I could literally run into Bruce Springsteen any day of the week.” But it hasn’t happened. Yet. And now that he’s living out of state, well, Ardethbey mostly focuses on his writing.

“I spent the better part of 10 years saying ‘hey look at this metaphorical box of stuff I can do’, without actually pursuing any of it,” he explains. “A year and a half ago I started a blog and have spent every day since working on something related to writing.”

Here’s more of what Ardethbey had to say in response to a few of our typically hard-hitting questions:

1) What do you miss about New Jersey?Ardethbey_Pic_sml
Most definitely I’d have to say the food. There is no better pizza in the world than on the Jersey Shore 
(Yeah! I said it.) I consider myself to be a pizza connoisseur, so that accolade comes in high regard. New Jersey’s close proximity to New York City has to be mentioned as well. I grew up in Jersey and was always afraid of the Big Apple with all its craziness. The last year I spent in NJ gave me the opportunity to spend quality time in NYC and I loved it. My story ‘212’ is about me saying goodbye…for now.

2) In your WEbook profile under “Character You’d Like to be for a Day,” you list Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web. What would you do as Wilbur for a day?

There is nothing like getting existential about becoming a pig that talks to spiders. See, the thing is, I think I really am Wilbur right now. Not just because I have a “writers belly,” but the idea behind him. I am old enough to know better, but still walk around in a haze of innocence and naivety. The perpetual dreamer. I don’t want to see the truth just outside the barn, but am forever intrigued when the outsiders whisper of its wonders.

3) What was the inspiration behind your project Hitchhiking Naked: The Legend of Billy Wylde and can you explain the project a little?
I started a short story called "Recollect" about a man who loses his memory after a bus accident where he is saved by a young Billy Wylde. Billy is kind of a gypsy, a real ne’er-do-well, and even though he often breaks all your stuff, he has a heart of gold. The project was kind of a viral experiment. I started the story on one blog as straight up fiction, then created another blog that was “written” by the main character of ‘Recollect’, Rob Lucas. Rob’s blogs started about him (a year after the short story) and featured his crazy Billy Stories, like the time Billy left Rob a note asking if he should wake him. Long story short (too late), the readers of Rob’s blog loved Billy and quickly all attention was on him. So ‘Hitchhiking Naked’ is Billy’s “Odyssey.” He’s off to discover who his estranged father was after news of his death.

4) Your essay “Hussein” was recently published in the Jan 20, 2009 WEbook. What are your thoughts on being included in the collection?

I was overwhelmed when I was selected.  This project was the very first I’d ever entered into with the chance of being published and I am so happy my words and thoughts were chosen. I am very excited and Barnes and Noble ordered my copy for me to pick up this weekend, which will be a real life moment for me.

WEbooker of the WEek

Do you have a line on the wonderfullest writer on WEbook? The fantastickest feedbacker? Or anyone else who goes above and beyond to make WEbook the best writing, reading, and publishing community on the internet? Drop me an email, or visit my profile and send me a message with the title "WEbooker of the WEek" to nominate your favorite WEbooker and he or she will have a shot at joining the ranks of the immortals -- and getting a free WEbook T-shirt to boot.

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What's New on WEbook: Read Easier, Export to Word, My Start, and More

We launched a few nifty new features we think you'll like today. Here are the relevant highlights:

First, and most importantly, you can now read a project from start to finish in a much easier format. Check it out. Visit a project you like, click on "Read Book" link right under the book cover. It gives you the table of contents and each chapter in order. Eager to hear what you think.

Tools_Screengrab_HighlightSecond, and pretty much just as cool, if you have a project on WEbook and are the Project Leader, check out new in the "My Tools" menu (left side of your project page) the tool for exporting to Word. 
Hey...how many of you have asked us for that? Okay, maybe it took us a bit longer than you wished but...we really hope you like it. Tell us either way.

MyStart_GraphicThird, we added a new feature called "My Start," a soon-to-be assortment of breakthrough stories from published authors. So far just one writer, but if you have folks who might like to tell their story, we'd love 
to hear from them. Click on Toolbox tab and then on the "My Start” graphic.

Fourth, been here a while? Now everyone will know, even when they're not in the forums. Your "join date," the date you joined WEbook, now appears on your profile under your avatar.

Fifth, we changed the hammer compliment from "practical" to "helpful" since practical doesn't mean much and helpful does. Please use this sparingly since there may be a time when you will all really care if you are regarded as a 'helpful" feedbacker or not. More on that later!

Okay, I'm sure you don't care that our shopping cart now looks like something designed by someone older than 10, but we do. And there are a few other details you'll see.

In all, we hope this improves your experience (especially making it simpler to read others' work and give great feedback).

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start reading, writing, and feedbacking.

-Sue (Pinhigh)

Creative Writing Advice #18: How To Write a Love Scene

Writingsecrets_cby Maya Rodale

Writing a love scene really isn’t much different than any other kind—there is setting, action, characters, dialogue, etc. Yet writing them can make an author nervous. Whether writing erotica or sweetly sensual moments, here are few tips to make your love scenes a pleasurable experience to write and to read.

Dim the lights and turn on some music. Pour yourself a drink, if that’ll help. Basically, set the mood in your writing space. Some people might be able to write erotica under fluorescen
t lights on the subway, but some of us need a slightly more romantic setting to let go. Likewise, take a moment to describe the 
setting of your love scene.

Forget about your mom reading it. Nothing kills the mood like imagining your mom or grandmother or boss reading over your shoulder as you type. Don't consider that while you’re writing! Think of an audience of strangers who paid good money for this. Or pretend no one will read it at all. Whatever you need to do to take the focus away from your insecurities and onto the page.

Research! Read other love scenes, watch porn (if you’re into it), and, you know, practice by yourself or with a partner. This is probably the most fun you’ll ever have with research. Take advantage of it.

Remember all the senses. Making love is a sensual experience, so represent as many senses as you can—touch, taste, sight, smell, sound. For example: how soft is her hair when he runs his fingers through it? What does the sound of his breath tell her about how aroused he is? Is it dark, candlelit, or early morning? Sometimes it helps to go back with different colored pencils and highlight each sense (every instance of sight underlined in green, etc). You’ll see what’s missing. Similarly, you’ve probably given your characters feelings, thoughts, a sense of humor, etc. Those things don’t stop at the bedroom door. Think of all those things as other senses to appeal to, and describe them in your sex scene.

Find sexy synonyms. “Insert Tab A into Slot B” kind of sums up the act of sex, but it’s lacking in romance, sensuality, and fun. The anatomical terms are correct, but can be reminiscent of the doctor’s office (generally not too hot, although…). Seek alternative words that are more seductive. Sex scenes in romance novels are a great place to start—they’re loaded with beautiful, sexy, and explicit language. There’s always the thesaurus, and ones that specialize in erotic words. I personally am partial to The Synonym Finder.

Last but not least, have fun with it! Your readers are more likely to enjoy reading it if you enjoyed writing it.

Maya Rodale is the author of two Regency-set historical romance novels, The Heir And The Spare and The Rogue And The Rival (yes, sex scenes are included!). Visit her on the web at www.mayarodale.com.

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WEbooker of the WEek Serves up Valentines with a Twist

Tired of flowers and chocolates? Need a totally original idea for Valentine’s Day this year? How about writing your beloved a story? Cool, right? BETH67WV, our WEbooker of the WEek, certainly thought so when she started The V-Day Project. But here’s the catch: If you want to contribute, you can’t use the words “love,” “Valentine’s Day,” “heart,” “cupid,” “flowers,” “roses,” “candy,” and “February.” How’s that for original?

WEbook caught up with BETH67WV recently to get the scoop on her unusual project and find out how she fell in love with words. “Although I'd always found the idea of writing intriguing, I'd never actually tried to write until about a year ago,” she explains. “My fiancĂ© had been deployed overseas and I'd begun blogging as a form of therapy and a way to occupy my time while he was away.”

Lucky for us, she found WEbook while searching for online writing courses—and the match was a perfect fit. “I’ve found so many good friends on WEbook that I no longer feel a need to find things to fill my time
while Patrick is away.”

Now, to that most curious of projects:

1) What inspired you to start The V-Day project?TheVDayProject_Cover
The main reason I felt compelled to start the project is because I am an incurable romantic at heart but, 
an article that had been submitted to the WTF? project had prompted several readers to leave feedback telling their own take on the holiday. Upon reading all the different views I thought it would be interesting to start a project about Valentine’s Day but, to make it a little difficult by banning the most common words associated with it.

2) If there was one thing you could change about Valentine’s Day, what would it be?

I hate the idea of waiting until this one designated day of the year to do something special for the one you love. I’d rather be surprised with a sweet, romantic notion any other day of the year. On Valentine’s Day we’ve come to expect our mates to buy us flowers, take us dancing or be otherwise overly romantic. It means more to me when Patrick does something special for me just because it’s Tuesday. I suppose I wouldn’t really change anything in particular about the day itself but, I just wish more people would put forth as much effort throughout the year to surprise each other with sweet nothings, instead of waiting until February 14th.

 3) What was the most romantic thing you’ve seen/heard/witnessed in the last year?

Although I myself am an incurable romantic, Patrick is not.  He’s more of the practical kind of romantic.  Not one to buy flowers or jewelry, he’s been known to surprise me with more practical and sincere things like a new stove complete with a big red bow, or spending his day off replacing my kitchen cabinets completely unannounced so as to surprise me when I got home from work.  When he was on his first deployment last year, he’d gotten online and ordered me an Irish Claddagh ring straight form Ireland, with the intention of surprising me with a proposal upon his return.  After he’d placed the order he realized he’d given our home address instead of his APO address where he was stationed so the ring was delivered straight to our house and arrived right on February 14th.  Even though it wasn’t intended to be a Valentine’s Day gift and, I didn’t get the proposal on bended knee, it was the most meaningful and unforgettable Valentine’s Day I’ve ever had.

4) For those who can’t spend the holiday with their significant other, what advice would you give for still trying to make it special?

First of all, I guess I really need to update my profile! Patrick actually left January 4, 2009 for his deployment.  There’s nothing easy about being a military spouse and, being separated from your loved one.  Today’s military families are afforded the luxuries of internet chatting and e-mail, and more frequent access to telephones to call home.  I don’t know how people survived during past wars, waiting weeks to receive a letter by snail mail. 

As for advice to those who are separated from loved ones on Valentine’s Day…Patrick and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day. As I said before, he does so many special and meaningful things for me throughout the year so; we don’t make a fuss over Valentine’s Day.  But, we work on keeping our relationship strong every day of every year.  While he’s deployed we make a point of chatting or emailing on a daily basis.  I send him a letter or card at least once a week, and a care package at least once a month.  And most importantly, we NEVER take each other for granted and, ALWAYS let each other know how much they’re loved and appreciated.

WEbooker of the WEek

Do you have a line on the wonderfullest writer on WEbook? The fantastickest feedbacker? Or anyone else who goes above and beyond to make WEbook the best writing, reading, and publishing community on the internet? Drop me an email, or visit my profile and send me a message with the title "WEbooker of the WEek" to nominate your favorite WEbooker and he or she will have a shot at joining the ranks of the immortals -- and getting a free WEbook T-shirt to boot.

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WEbooker Daphne Uviller Shines at Borders Book Reading

We WEbookers were rapt at last night’s book reading at a NYC Borders book store by active member of the WEbook.com community, Daphne Uviller (pen name: Daphne).  

Daphne is on a whirlwind book tour promoting her second book and first novel, Super in the City.  Published by Bantam Dell and available in paperback, Super is an engaging story of Zephyr Zuckerman, who in her early 20s landed an unsolicited and undesired job as the superintendent of her parents’ Greenwich Village brownstone. As a rule, I don’t read reviews of books before I read them. I love the element of surprise, and I bought the book yesterday at the book reading/signing. If you want to know more about the book ahead of time, check out the reviews at BN.com.Daphne

My personal favorite snippet is this one:

“One should not simply read Super in the City; one should gobble it up like candy.”
-Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love

In her short biographical comments last night, Daphne said she felt the book contained “Bits and thoughts and general effluvia of life.”  

What more do you need to know? The portions Daphne read last night were charming, sensitive, ironic, and, at times, very funny. I probably won’t gobble it up like candy. I will likely, instead, savor it like the middle portion of a Dunkin Boston Cream Donut.

Daphne has been working with WEbook in various ways (as an advisor, site member, and contributor to our next book, Jan 20 2009). She also shared her story of her breakthrough as a writer with WEbook.com in a terrific “My Start” piece.

Cheers, Daphne!

(pen name: Pinhigh)

WEbook Sends 101 Things to 101st Airborne

When Ryan Placchetti rotated back to the States after finishing a tour in Baghdad, he enrolled in West Chester University and began working towards a major in creative writing. One of his first efforts was “How to Fight a Bear,” the flagship essay of what became 101 Things Every Man Should Know How to Do. Ryan was coy about where he came up with the idea for the essay, but we figured that after a year in BaghdFlag_icecreamad there weren’t many animals that scared him anymore.

When Ryan heard that his old squad was set to return from Afghanistan in a few weeks, he thought it’d be nice if they had a welcome-home gift waiting for them. So WEbook sent a few complimentary boxes of 101 Things to Fort Campbell in Kentucky. Now, we don’t 
think that combat vets from the 101st Airborne need any advice on manliness, but we do think they’d get a kick out reading their old squad mate’s ideas on taking down alpha predators with his bare hands.

And who knows, maybe taking down bears is what the 101st does for fun?

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--Johnny WEbook

WEbooker of the Week is 101 Things Love Guru


 KarenGibson, contributor extraordinaire to 101 Things Every Man Should Know How to Do, is the first WEbooker of the WEek for February. There are myriad reasons why Karen was chosen, but much of it has to do with her “mad skillz” in the romantic arts. And since we’re entering Cupid’s silly season, who better to drop some knowledge on WEbook?

But first, about Karen: She can type about 180 wpm, which is a big part of why she’s been able to catch up on a writing obsession that’s been brewing since she was a kid. “I’m late to the party,” she says, “but I’m ready to dance.” In addition to her contributions to 101 Things (“Be a Chef in the Bedroom” and “Know How to Cook One Thing Well”), she is finishing up a suspense thriller and a non-fiction manuscript about raising a child with Asperger’s.

It gets better. Karen is also gifted in front of the camera. We asked all the contributors to 101 Things to create low-budget short videos about their essays—and guess who was the first to answer the call? Before you read on, click below and you’ll see why we love Karen so much. In case there is any doubt, the vid is her take on “Be a Chef in the Bedroom.” We think you’ll find it very, um, enlightening.

Post-production, we caught up with Karen to ask her about her experience as a contributor to 101 Things, her tips for Valentine’s Day, and her advice for men trying to navigate the holiday.

1. What was your favorite part about contributing to the newly published 101 Things Every Man Should Know How to Do?
One of the best part of contributing to 101 Things was the ability to read everyone else's entries as they came along and get my laugh for the day. I love, love, LOVE the Mr. Man entries. Also, having fellow writers read it, especially the men, and say, "That's bullsh--!, you can do better by us" was refreshing! 

2. In 101 Things, there’s a culinary theme to your two contributions. Are you trying to send a message to the men of the world?
Yes! If you want to get things cooking, learn your way around a kitchen. With the popularity of the Food Network, it's not that unusual to see a man in the kitchen, anymore. But I come from a generation where men were chefs and women were cooks. Thank God that's changed. In the same token, I think we need to realize that although equality is appreciated in the workplace and in society as a whole, men and women ARE different. Viva la difference! Sometimes, I think intimate relations between men and women have become too casual and I mourn that. I want to bring back passion in relationships. It doesn't have to end with the honeymoon! 

3. What was the funniest/best Valentine’s gift you’ve ever received?
Well, with all the above being said, my husband couldn't spell romantic when we got married. Through some very arduous trial and error, after 22 years of learning each other, things are much better. But one early Valentine's Day, he came home with flowers, a box of candy and a teddy bear. Awwww, right? However, what he SAID was, "Okay, I got the flowers, here's your candy and a cute stuffed animal. Happy Valentine's Day, baby! How's that?" Lesson 2 was on "the art of presentation". He's much, much better now ;)

4. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, what advice would give to men struggling to do something special for their significant other?

Don't rely on the traditional unless that is exactly what she likes and wants. Valentine's Day is all about showing your special someone WHY they are special to you and how thankful you are to have them to share your life with. So, if she just wants YOU to order the pizza and snuggle under the blanket and watch a chick flick with her, then that's the best gift you could give her. When it comes to women, the best gift is your attention. That's what women want most, in my humble opinion. Just bottom lining it for all the men out there.

5. If you could invent a new holiday, what would it be?
A new holiday? Acts of Random Kindness Day. On that day, everyone would perform as many acts of random kindness as they could from sun up to sun down. What a great day that would be, huh? And I think that once everyone realized how great that made them feel at the end of the day, they would do it more often and not need a holiday. Kind of like shopping other days other than the week before Christmas. You can do it anytime.

WEbooker of the WEek

Do you have a line on the wonderfullest writer on WEbook? The fantastickest feedbacker? Or anyone else who goes above and beyond to make WEbook the best writing, reading, and publishing community on the internet? Drop me an email, or visit my profile and send me a message with the title "WEbooker of the WEek" to nominate your favorite WEbooker and he or she will have a shot at joining the ranks of the immortals -- and getting a free WEbook T-shirt to boot.

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