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                    W R I T I N G   W O R L D

A World of Writing Information - For Writers Around the World


Issue 12:01           12,974 subscribers          January 5, 2012
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THE EDITOR'S DESK: Where Did 2011 Go?  by Moira Allen 
THE INQUIRING WRITER: What I would have changed in 2011, 
by Dawn Copeman
FEATURE: How to Create Your Writer's Brand Online, 
by Gail Kavanagh
COLUMN: Free Stuff for Writers: New Year's Resolutions? 
by Aline Lechaye
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
The Author's Bookshelf

Writing.Com is the online community for writers of all interests.
Create your free online portfolio and start writing today!
               ---> http://wwx.Writing.Com/ <---
Become a fan on Facebook: http://facebook.com/WritingCom 
Follow us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/WritingCom
WRITERSCOLLEGE.COM has 57 online courses. Prices are low. If you 
can reach our web site, you can take our courses. 
WRITE FOR CHILDREN. Achieve your dream of becoming a published
author. Writing books and stories for children is a great place to
start.  Learn the secrets 1-on-1 from a pro writer.  Train online
or by mail.  Free Test offered. 
* Feedback. Get feedback for every poem and story that you write.
* Contests. Over 40 contests are always open and free to enter.
* Rankings. Statistics will show you how your writing is doing.
DON'T GET SCAMMED!  Choose the right Self Publishing Company for
your book. What you need to know before choosing a self publishing
company and the questions you should ask.

FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK - read on for a special gift!
Where Did 2011 Go?  
Where did 2011 go?  That's the question I've heard from friends,
family, fellow writers, and just about everyone else I talk to. 
It's also a question I've been asking myself since around October,
when it became apparent that the year was drawing to a close and I
felt as if it has barely begun.
Where did it go?  Wasn't this the fastest year you've ever
experienced?  Didn't it go by in a flash?  I used to think that was
a comment one made as one got older, but this year I'm hearing it
from people of every age.  My sister, a teacher, says she hears it
from teens!
Of course, I have my theories.  "Busy-ness" ranks highest on my
list.  These days, we're bombarded with ads for devices that let us
text our friends whilst conference-calling our relatives whilst
surfing the web whilst updating our Facebook page whilst recording
our favorite shows whilst...  whatever.  Whatever you want to do,
apparently, there's an app for that.  The trouble with so-called
labor-saving devices is that they seem to lead to MORE labor, not
less.  When it takes an hour to accomplish one thing -- such as
washing the floors -- that hour seems to crawl by fairly slowly. 
When one uses that same hour to accomplish twenty-five things, time
vanishes in the blink of an eye -- and one looks up at the end of
the day to wonder where, exactly, that day went, and what we did
with it.
And that, I realized, is a big part of my problem.  While I don't
text and only rarely update my moribund Facebook page, I DO end up
wondering, quite often, what happened to my day and why my to-do
list looks very nearly the same in the evening as it did in the
morning.  The reason I don't know where my YEAR went is because I
don't know where each DAY went.  
My husband likes to quote the business axiom, "you can't manage
what you can't measure."  So I decided, for 2012, to find out just
where my time is going.  I may not be able to "get back" my time
this year, but at the very least, I can find out why I never seem
to have any.  My resolution, if you will, is to become a dedicated
I thought it would be simple.  Knowing there are datebooks and
planners on the market that let you schedule or TRACK tasks in
quarter-hour intervals, I bustled to the office-supply store,
filled with good intentions.  There I discovered that such planners
are clearly NOT designed with the freelance writer in mind.  Most
start the "workday" at 8 a.m. and end it at 5 p.m. -- and allot a
scant quarter-page to weekends, when, they clearly assume, the user
is not "working."  Hah!  I also discovered that they were rather
So I decided that the first step in tracking my time was to develop
my OWN time-tracker -- one that took into account the hours and
concerns of a WRITER.  My day, for example, doesn't end at five;
quite often it ends at midnight.  Saturdays and Sundays are just as
likely to be "working" days as any other day of the week.  I also
wanted to track more than just "what I did when."  I wanted a way
to note my accomplishments each week -- tasks completed, projects
begun -- a way to remind myself that even when time seems to
vanish, I really AM getting things done.
About halfway through the resulting spreadsheet, it dawned on me
that such a tool might be useful to other writers.  So I decided to
add a bit more to my "tracker": A weekly column for a to-do list,
upcoming deadlines, and goals.  And to dress it up just a bit more,
quotes from famous writers to keep the inspiration flowing. 
Finally I threw in a submission tracker at the end.
The result, I think, is a powerful tool for writers who want to
manage their time more effectively.  It provides a means, not only
of recording time spent on actual writing projects (which is a
vital part of setting rates or determining if a project is
worthwhile), but of recording all those snippets of time that go to
OTHER tasks.  This is the place to note that you spent three hours
reading other people's blogs, or an hour updating your Facebook
page, or two hours on your favorite game, or an hour on the phone
with your sister.  Because what my husband says is true: You can't
manage what you can't measure, and if you can't measure where your
time goes, you'll never be able to manage it more effectively.
But while I regard this as a tool, I also regard it as a source of
inspiration and encouragement.  It's all too easy to fall into the
trap of believing that we have "wasted" our days -- that hours and
days and weeks go by with no "real" accomplishment.  And that,
quite often, simply isn't true.  Instead, our accomplishments  --
the tasks we finished, the steps that we've completed, the things
we've learned along the way -- get submerged in the greater flow of
events.  By the end of the week, they're forgotten; by the end of
the month, we feel as if we've done hardly anything worthwhile. 
That's why I built in the "achievements" section -- to remind us to
take a moment to jot down those things that we DID accomplish,
before they are forgotten.

This planner is my gift to my readers for 2012.  You can download
the electronic version, in PDF format, absolutely free.  I am also
providing the Excel file, with instructions on how to tailor it to
match your own schedule (I know that many writers DO get up at 5
a.m. and write for two hours before breakfast; I just don't happen
to be one of them.)  Or, you can order a gorgeous hard-copy
directly from Lulu.com.  (BTW, Lulu is having a sale, so if you
order by tomorrow and use the code "ONEMORETHING" you'll save 25%.)
I don't know if this tool will make 2012 go any more slowly than
2011.  But my hope is that, by the end of it, you will be able to
say, "My time went quickly, but at least it was well spent!"
Happy New Year from Writing-World.com!
Moira Allen, Editor

How to get your planner:

PDF file: http://www.writing-world.com/admin1/planner.pdf 
(Right-click the link to save it to your hard drive, or click the
link and then select "save as" to download it.)

Excel file: http://www.writing-world.com/admin1/planner.xls
(I don't actually have this loaded yet, so please give me another
day or two before trying to download the Excel version.)

Hardcopy from Lulu.com: 
(Again, use the code ONEMORETHING to save 25% through January 6)

And while I'm on the subject of time and books, I'm afraid that the
2012 edition of "Writing to Win" is still not finished - so I am
extending the pre-order offer through the end of January. 
Pre-order this book by January 31 and save $6 off the cover price! 
Just go to http://www.writing-world.com/admin1/contests.shtml to
place your order.  When you do, I'll send you a PDF file of the
January contests so that you don't miss a deadline!


YOU WILL NETWORK WITH 30+ EDITORS Over 400 editors contribute their
unique news and views each year. That's news and views to improve
your chances to get published. Monthly newsletter. Get 2 issues
FREE. http://www.thechildrenswriter.com/AK254


The Inquiring Writer: What I would have changed in 2011 
By Dawn Copeman

Happy New Year!

And the first thing I want to talk about this year is what you
would have changed about last year if you could.    

So I think it's only fair to tell you what I would have changed
about last year first.  If I had a time-machine I would go back and
give myself a big kick up the butt in January last year to do more
online promotion and hunt down more and varied clients on the web. 
I finally got around to doing this in August, branching out into
new writing territory, and it has gone very well. If only I'd had
the nerve to try it sooner.  

In fact, many of you would give yourself prods to get more work
done, such as Dianna Whillet, who wrote: "I would have started
submitting work earlier on in the year, instead of putting it off
and putting it off. I was so nervous but it wasn't until November
that I bit the bullet and actually submitted a query. Imagine my
joy when it was accepted!  The sad thing is I'd been sitting on
that query for months.  This year I will get my queries out there!"
 Good for you, Dianna. 

Shauna R. Hess Viele has a similar retrospective resolution.  She
wrote: "Looking back over the past year, I've practiced and
polished, but no submissions occurred because I focused on
completing assignments in a writing course I was taking. (Mainly
because I wasn't forward-thinking enough.) I am pushing forward and
taking the next level in the program (it is through Jerry Jenkins'
Christian Writers Guild), and by the time I am done with this
course, I plan on having a good start on a manuscript for a novel.
In the meantime, I also plan to do serious market research in 2012
and start writing articles.

"What would I change about the past year? I would spend less time
on social network and game-playing sites! The social networking and
reading blogs can be inspiring, uplifting, and downright fun, but
therein lays the rub--before I know it, two hours have flown by,
and my intended time for writing is gone. I have enjoyed
reconnecting with classmates from years past, and have learned a
lot from writing blogs that I read, but I need to curb my online
time and just get BUSY.  Money isn't the only thing I need to

"Speaking of which, my time is up for today! Thanks for the
question, it definitely made me stop and take notice of what
I need to do."

You're welcome, Shauna.  That was the purpose of the question. 

A. Elizabeth Westmoreland is another one who would make better use
of her time.  She wrote: "The one writing-related thing I wish I
could change in 2011 is that I wish I had been better organized
with my time, so I could have worked on my current book more.  The
poor thing hasn't been touched in a while.

"This is definitely something I can fix in 2012!"

Sarah from Canada is a new writer and she also wishes she had spent
more time writing in 2011.  She wrote: "If I could go back in time
and give myself more motivation to work on my novel, if I could
actually write as many words as I had wished, I would most
certainly do it. I am very passionate about my story; however, I am
a grade case procrastinator, like many people, I am sure."

Well, yes, Sarah, many writers are, but thankfully we do have lots
of articles to help you with this.  Try this one for a start: 

Isadora Daystar, however, would do some particular research in one
area if she could go back in time.  She wrote: "I'd be more careful
to check on rights when I self-published for the first time this
year and would have taken more time to make a list of reviewers,
past and potential, so that my confusion (and many times theirs,
lol!) would be better manageable! Oh, and I'd give myself hard, way
early deadlines!"

If you are thinking of self-publishing this year, be sure to check
out Sue Lick's advice on rights here: 

Jonah Brown, however, our one male respondent, said he wouldn't
change a thing about 2011.  He wrote: "I finally found my writing
stride in 2011. I have managed to write for one hour a day, five
days a week and while that might not sound much, it has enabled me
to work on my novel, submit articles to magazines and even pick up
a monthly column in the town newspaper.  

"In previous years I'd tried to do too much. I work a full-time job
and I couldn't, in all honesty, get up at 5 am to write for three
hours before setting off to work, although one year this is what I
set myself to do. This year I settled for what I knew I could
realistically achieve.  I write for one hour a day when I get in
from work.  I can think about my writing at odd moments during the
day, coffee breaks, at the water cooler, lunch break etc., but I
save up the writing for that one precious hour.  I write as soon as
I get home before dinner. What can I say; less is, in my case,

Thanks for that, Jonah; I hope your experience can help others who
are struggling with their writing targets and goals.  If you are,
or if you've never set yourself goals for your writing, then check
out our articles on how to build a writer's plan here: 
http://www.writing-world.com/rights/plan.shtml and 

Okay, this month's question is from a new writer, Sarah in Canada. 
She wants to know about writing short stories and posting them
online.  She wrote: "If I were to write my story, but when I
reached the story's end I then decided to rewrite it so much that
it would, in effect, completely change the plot, should I make
these changes? Would it be weird if I was to post the first version
on my web site and then change it in the future?"

Can any of you short story writers out there help Sarah?  Or do you
have any burning issues to put to our writing community? If so,
then e-mail me at editorial@writing-world.com.

Until next time, 


Copyright 2012 Dawn Copeman


WIN PRIZES AND GET PUBLISHED! Find out how to submit your stories,
poetry, articles and books to hundreds of writing contests in the
US and internationally. WRITING TO WIN by Moira Allen is THE
one-stop resource you need to find contests around the world. 
for $6 off the regular price - order by January 31 by visiting



Record Number of Books Downloaded on Christmas Day 
Harper Collins has announced that over 100,000 of its eBook titles
were downloaded on Christmas Day in the UK, Australia and New
Zealand.  The company hasn't yet calculated the number of US
downloads of its books.  This represents an increase of 600% on the
average daily number of downloads. For more on this story visit: 

Kindle Has Most Successful Day Ever
Meanwhile in the US, Amazon reported that following the purchase of
over 1 million Kindles per week in the US in the run-up to
Christmas, Christmas Day saw the largest-ever number of Kindle
downloads. Interestingly, two of the most popular downloads that
day were self-published titles.  For more on this story visit: 

And Traditional Book Stores Enjoy Successful End of Year Too
Despite the first two news stories this month, traditional brick
and mortar book stores across the US did much better than expected
in December 2011.  In a survey for Publishers' Weekly, most said
that they had seen increased sales in December.  The closure of
Borders is given as one of the main reasons for their increase in
sales. For more on this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/6ty89kf


how to negotiate agreements, choose pricing strategies, define
tasks, deal with difficult customers, and much more in the award-
winning "What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and
Consultants" (2nd Edition) by Laurie Lewis. In print and Kindle
from Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/setyourfees


Writing Jobs and Opportunities

Punchnel's Open to All Sorts of Submissions
This online magazine has a wide variety of departments and is open
to an impressively wide range of submissions from recipes to
reviews, to travel essays, to poetry, to serialized fiction and
graphic novels.  They pay $10 on acceptance for first electronic
rights. http://www.punchnels.com/guidelines/

Crime Stories Wanted
OverMyDeadBody.com publishes all sorts of crime stories from cozy
to hardboiled as well as nonfiction pieces such as interviews with
crime writers.  They pay $0.01 a word and up to $25 for unsolicited
fiction. For more information and to see the complete guidelines
visit: http://www.overmydeadbody.com/wg2011.htm

Romance Publisher Open to Submissions
Decadent Publishing is open to submissions of romance novels for
its many imprints.  Visit the site for detailed guidelines: 


Celebrating a decade of designing websites for authors that reflect
their unique style and personality. Other design services include
book designs, marketing materials, and email campaigns. Contact
Shaila Abdullah for your design needs at http://myhouseofdesign.com/


FEATURE: How to Create Your Writer's Brand Online    
By Gail Kavanagh
Are you doing everything you can to promote your writer brand? 
Many writers don't even think about themselves as a brand, they
think of themselves as just writers. But most well established
writers are, in fact, a brand. Think of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman,
and Jan Karon. Each has a strong Internet presence, and a definable
print presence -- a brand.

These days, everything and everyone is a brand, from rock stars to
celebrity bloggers. Promoting that brand and keeping it fresh in
the public mind is what makes the difference between success and
failure. Writers are no different. When you go online, everything
you do is creating a brand, in the minds of publishers, potential
clients and readers.

So what are the guidelines to making sure you are a recognisable
writing brand, as unique in your own sphere as Stephen King or Jan
Karon, with a big following attracted to and interested in your
brand? You need to sit down and think about who you are, and what
you are writing, as well as your personal goals, and how you can
create a recognizable brand.

On the Internet, brands are associated with keywords. These
keywords not only include the name of the brand -- like Coca-Cola
-- but also elements associated with that brand. Think 'horror' and
'thriller' for Stephen King, 'Mitford' and 'Father Tim' for Jan
Karon. Keywords like 'vampire' and 'Lestat' will lead you to Anne
Rice. Keywords are vital for defining who you are and what you do

Use keywords to identify your brand elements. Think about yourself
as a writer and what you want to communicate to publishers and
clients. Does your list include words and phrases like 'trendy,'
'controversial,' or 'on the cutting edge?' Are you linked with
genres like horror, romance, or science fiction? Or does it include
words and phrases like 'reliable,' 'consistent,' 'attention to
detail?' Are you linked with concepts such as 'content,' 'editing,'
or 'journalism?' Can you use keywords such as 'experienced' and
'print published', or would keywords such as 'fresh approach' and
'new ideas' work better for you? 

List the keywords that describe you and your personal brand and
keep that list handy. You really need to accent the positive in
your keywords. Don't use words or phrases like 'amateur', 'newbie'
or 'old hand.' These give potential clients a pre-set impression of
writers who don't know all the ropes, or who know too many and are
set in their ways.

As many writers are well aware, a big part of success in writing is
finding your niche, what is special about you as a writer. J.K.
Rowling is a megabrand with her Harry Potter series. Note that the
name of the instantly recognizable character she created is in the
title of every book and movie. You see those words, you think J.K.
Rowling. You see Twilight, you think of Stephanie Meyer. Both these
writers, while so different in following and ability, know the
value of their brand.

You may not be a fiction writer -- you may enjoy writing about
crafts, cars or politics -- but so do thousands of other writers.
Your brand consists of the unique perspective and personal
experience you bring to your niche. You need to list what you bring
to your brand that no one else has. Maybe it's your background,
maybe it's the fact that you have often had to find solutions or
solve problems on your own. No one else has quite your approach or
your experience, and that is a big part of your brand.

In promoting your writing skills online, you have to make that
brand recognizable and appealing to consumers who you hope will
choose you for assignments. Who will buy your product? If you write
about rock bands and concerts, you may be aiming at the youth
market, or the nostalgic baby boomers who want to hear all about
your personal experiences at Woodstock. If you write about
collecting rare items, archaeology or history, the market may be
wealthier and more conservative. You will brand yourself
accordingly, coming across as someone who is in the know in these
fields. Above all, you want to create a brand that can be trusted.

Many of use associate brands with logos, and logos are important.
McDonald's Golden Arches are recognizable anywhere in the world.
But what does having a recognizable logo mean if you are a
freelance writer? If you have a company with a carefully chosen
name that includes services like editing and proofreading, you will
already know that a logo is important. It should be eye-catching
and relevant, not boring, and it is well worth getting a
professional to design one for you.

But freelance writers should give some thought to their logo too.
If you write articles, fiction or self-help books under your own
name, your name is your logo, and how you present that name to the
public is part of your brand. If you have a website, do you stop
and consider how to present your name as your logo? The font, the
size of the font -- even the colors you choose -- are all part of
your brand. You need to sit down and think about the styles and
colors that will support your brand. 

When you design a webpage or a header for a blog, keep your brand
firmly in mind. Decide on a color scheme and use that where you
can. If you are using a free blogging platform, choose a background
that ties in with your brand, or one you can customize. Choose your
fonts accordingly.  A plain Roman font gets the message across that
you are down to earth and reliable. Other fonts suggest different
brands -- a Gothic romance writer may use a fancy Old English font,
whereas a science or political writer may use something strikingly
modern, internationally recognizable and sans serif, like Helvetica.

The image you present to the public is also part of your brand. You
need more than a blurry snapshot as your bio pic. You need to be
consistent with your image across all your Internet activities. Do
you have different images uploaded at every website and blog? Get
one good image taken of you, a clear head and shoulders shot, and
use it consistently across the web.

Plan your bio image before it is taken. Pick out the main color you
have chosen for your brand, and match what you wear and the
background to the colors you are using as part of your brand. Use
your brand keywords and match the image to suit, so that publishers
and clients will have a visual image of your personal brand. When
they see those elements, you want them to be reminded of your brand.

Think of all the places you can promote your brand online -- not
just your website and blog, but Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and
others. Twitter can be a very good conduit for your brand, but
don't over promote on any of these outlets. Offer snippets of
advice, useful links, and random thoughts as well. As you gather
fans and followers in your social networking activities, you are
promoting your brand to them and their friends and followers.

Once you have created a consistent brand for all your Internet
activities, you will have your brand in mind wherever you present
yourself to the public, on forums or social networking sites. The
entertainment blogger may have a bubbly persona everywhere he or
she goes, because that is the brand. The archaeology and history
writer may only show up where there is some information on the
subject to be shared, and do so with restraint, because that is the
brand. Of course, both can log in anywhere under other identities
and not affect the brand.

Your personal brand is the key to marketing today. Knowing who you
are, who you want to aim your product at, and how to fix yourself
in their minds so that they go back to you time and again, is all
part of your brand. Whether you are planning to start writing
fiction or content, publishing eBooks or blogging, take time to sit
down and work out your brand. 

Gail Kavanagh is a freelance writer and reviewer living in
Queensland, Australia. Now retired, she has worked as a newspaper
reporter with considerable experience in the entertainment and
movie reviewing fields. She is a self publisher with several books
listed at lulu.com

Copyright 2012 Gail Kavanagh

For more advice building your writer's brand read this article:   

An epublishing revolution is sweeping the industry. We explain what
is happening and show you how to self-publish your own eBooks.


This is a comprehensive, completely free online book with templates
to help you to create your own writer's plan.  

This is a great blog where you get to see the writing world through
the eyes of an agent; the entry for Jan 3 was particularly
interesting.  But I want to draw your attention to this regularly
updated entry from 2008 that covers query tracking software.  This
could be just what you need to sort out your writing year. 

Daily Inspiration
Sometimes, we all need a prod as well as a coffee to get working; I
like these inspirational quotes for writers and artists.  They
always work for me.  See what you think.


Free Stuff for Writers: New Year's Resolutions?
By Aline Lechaye

2012: another year is here. Hopefully you all had a great Christmas
and are looking forward to getting back to the keyboard!

Write more this year: use "Written? Kitten!" to help you. It's
great for cat-loving authors who need an excuse to get back to work
after the Christmas break. Go to http://writtenkitten.net/ and
start typing. Cute pictures of kittens pop up for every hundred
words you write (or every two hundred, five hundred, or thousand
words, depending on how often you feel like rewarding yourself).
Warning: excessive cuteness of kittens may lead to inattention and
high levels of happiness -- please don't forget to save your
writing before you leave the site!

Read more this year too. Go to the library and see what they have
in the new arrivals section, or go to Amazon and look for free
e-books (there are more than you think!) to add to your Kindle
collection. (A little tip: go to the Kindle store and sort by
"Price: Low to High." The free ones should show up first.) Most
importantly, if you're looking for writing-related articles to
read, there's no better place to find them than Writing World
(http://www.writing-world.com/). There are articles on every single
writing related topic there is. Seriously. 

Try something new this year: write and draw your own comics! Can't
draw? Not to worry. We've found some of the best free comic
creation sites out there. All you have to do is come up with witty
dialogue. These wonderful websites will do the rest. 

At Pixton (http://www.pixton.com), the level of customization is
astounding, as well as amazingly easy. Start by choosing the format
and layout, and then select some characters to star in your comic.
Practically everything in the comic strip is customizable, from the
background to the characters' expressions and movements (it's
actually possible to turn a character's head a full 360 degrees!)
Finished works can be posted to the site or e-mailed to friends and
family. Free users need to have Pixton credits to print and
download their comics. Don't panic -- you don't have to pay for the
credits. You'll get some free ones when you sign up. Note that if
your internet connection is on the slow side, you may have to wait
a while for the site to load between steps. 

If you're looking for quick, easy and cute, you should check out
Strip Generator (http://stripgenerator.com). You start with a blank
comic strip that you can populate with characters, "beings," speech
bubbles, and props. Simply drag and drop characters from the top of
the edit screen and type in some one-liners. Once you're finished,
you can print out your work of art, or save it to your account for

Not satisfied with comics? Try your hand at animated cartoons using
GoAnimate (http://goanimate.com/). Start with a preset theme and
choose some characters to go with it. Type or record your desired
dialogue and watch the scene come to life! The site can take some
time to load on slower internet connections. Free users have a
limited amount of scenes and characters to choose from. 


Aline Lechaye is a translator, writer, and writing tutor who
resides in Asia. She can be reached at alinelechaye@gmail.com.

Copyright 2012 Aline Lechaye

AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers

Knight Sky, by Lee Henschel

Find these and more great books at

Have you just had a book published?  If so, let our readers know: 
just click on the link below to list your book.


on how to reach more than 100,000 writers a month with your 
product, service or book title, visit


Writing World is a publication of Writing-World.com

Editor and Publisher: MOIRA ALLEN (editors "at" writing-world.com) 

Newsletter Editor: DAWN COPEMAN (editorial "at" writing-world.com) 

Copyright 2012 Moira Allen

Copyright © 2017 by Moira Allen. All rights reserved.
All materials on this site are the property of their authors
and may not be reprinted without the author's written permission,
unless otherwise indicated.
For more information please contact Moira Allen, Editor