Fencing Swords Explained: Foils, Epees, Sabres…

Useful knowledge on fencing! Did you know there are different kinds of swords? Learn the difference between epee, sabre, and a rapier.

Fencing Swords

If you’re new to fencing then you may be surprised to learn that there are different types of fencing swords and different competition rules for using them.

I used to think that fencing was fencing and that the swords were all alike. Now I know better, of course!

Types Of Fencing Swords

There are in fact three different sword types:

  • the Foil
  • the Epee, and
  • the Sabre

In fencing, you always duel against the same type of sword.

Foils

These are light-weight swords with a blade that is thin and rounded, so very flexible. They were originally made from rolled steel foil (hence the name).

Foils are the most common sword to start learning with. However, that doesn’t mean they are just for beginners. But the discipline and skills developed by training first with a foil can be transferred to the other two swords.

Foil Fencing Target Area (Torso Only)When duelling with foils, only the…

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Writing a Pitch-Perfect Query Letter

A very helpful post on writing a romance querry letter!

Romance Writers on the Journey

Article by Shelley Adina

You’ve finished your manuscript. Now it’s time to send it out into the world. But before you stuff all four hundred pages in the mail or zap your entire file through Cyberspace, you need to take the first step: submit a query letter. Today multi-published, RITA® Award-winning author Shelley Adina is here to teach us a four-step process that makes the task seem (almost) easy.

I met Shelley at the 2008 Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. At lunch and dinner the publishing professionals were spread throughout the dining hall, one at each table, and we attendees could chose the one with whom we wanted to sit. I’d done my homework and scouted out every writer of romance on the staff roster, so at lunch the first day I entered the dining hall and made a beeline for Shelley’s table. Only one other person, a nice…

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Shopping for Books: From paperbacks to eBooks

When I used to want to read a new book, back in the days of teenager-hood, I would often go to Walmart with my dad and talk him into buying me a book. These books were often Harlequin Desires (you know, the red ones!). I loved their short, sexy stories. Sometimes just how sexy things got surprised me. I still remember to this day reading my first blow job scene. Blew my mind, really. Nowadays, oral sex might be quite common in books, but for little ole’ me reading a HQ novel, I wasn’t expecting anything more than your typical loads of sexual tension and a good story.

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Of course the great thing about Walmart books is they’re cheap. I still remember picking up my first JR Ward novel there–long before she was a bestselling author and household name for paranormal romance lovers. Dark Lover was this eye-catching red cover sitting on the BOTTOM SHELF with a price marked-down sticker on it. Yeah, try to find that at a Walmart nowadays! I, being paranormally inclined, with a love for Charlaine Harris and Laurell K. Hamilton (met her once at a book signing where she signed a knife for me), was naturally intrigued by the story of Wrath and Beth. I bought it and devoured it. And re-read it. Again and again. I’d never read anything like that. It was so good. The early pages of that paperback copy have long since fallen out of the book. Last I checked, they were crammed inside the book.

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Overall, I’ve had positive experiences buying books at Walmart. It was better, in ways, compared to Borders (how I miss them and their Seattle’s Best Coffee!) or Barnes & Noble, which was always more expensive.

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Then, I went off to college. Books were my only escape, but I had no money to buy any and no car to take me to the library far across the city to check out a romance. The university library certainly didn’t have a single romance book in their academic library. Much to my complete disappointment. So, I would re-read books I already owned, but as anyone can tell you, that gets tiresome after awhile. You crave that new book, that new series or writer that will keep you up late at night devouring pages like it’s crack cocaine! So I began writing my own stories (of course, that’s a whole other story) in the meantime.

It was while sitting in my dorm with a roommate that wouldn’t talk to me, lonely and depressed being away from home, friends, without a car or a job that I found Ellora’s Cave. I’m going to take a moment to say that I’ll be ignoring the stories surrounding EC, which are disappointing, to say the least. Instead, I’m going to focus on my positive experiences around EC–the first ebooks I ever read.

Not only were they the first eBooks I ever read, they were also the first erotic romance and erotica stories I ever read. And they were so, so, soooo good. Like really good.

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Some authors I found there, which to this day, inspire me and are among my favorite authors in the whole-wide world are: Nathalie Gray (hence where I took my pen name from! ‘Grey’ is much closer to my maiden name and at the time there weren’t any other ‘Grey’s’ out there. Don’t even get my started on how many there are now!), Michelle M. Pillow (READ HER BOOKS! NOW!), Lorie O’Claire (the best shifter books I’ve read in my entire life), or Lisa Marie Rice (who’s Midnight Man has one of the most erotic heroes I’ve ever read, not to mention one of the hottest sex scenes I’ve ever read. Period.)

These authors kept me up late at night, spending dollar after dollar that I did not have! Remember, I had no job, not for lack of trying, mind you; so I had to call mommy (who’s not exactly well-off) and beg “please, can I get another EC book?” My poor mom…but these books were SO good I couldn’t stop reading and it was my only escape from loneliness and my only way to read anything new that wasn’t already on my bookshelf.

Ellora’s Cave were my first ebooks. This was an age before tablets and e-readers or the Kindle App or Nook App. The only way to read these books was to be emailed a PDF, LIT or EPUB version of the story, then it was up to you to open your Adobe PDF reader or some program to read the book. You had a limited timeline to download the book, after which the link would die and you couldn’t get refunded! And you could only read the ebooks on your computers! I would take my laptop into the bathroom with me while I took baths to read. Talk about steamy bubble baths. Who remembers the days pre-Kindle like this?

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Before these things we had this thing called “a paperback book”. Look it up, it’s a real thing.

Nowadays, when I want to find a new book, author, or series to get lost in, things are more difficult. Maybe it’s the saturation of so many books on the market, or difficulty navigating at places like Amazon, but I found that I predominantly shop books by subscriptions I’m a part of. Places such as BookBub, ReadFreely, BargainBooksy, Red Feather Romance, OHFB, Digital Book Today, KND, eBookSoda and so on.

When I’m ready for a new book, I open the latest emails from these websites to browse books. They’re not all new releases–I don’t mind. They’re not always discounted by time I find the book–I don’t care. I’ll pay full price. But these newsletter and email signups make up about 95% of books I purchase. I make it into a bookstore maybe once a year and that’s often to make a gift purchase. Besides, there’s absolutely no time anymore to read a paperback with this little guy squawking!

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Me and little Peanut 

I guess this blog was a long-winded piece intending to ask: How do you browse and buy books? Let me know!

 

I hit the USA TODAY Bestsellers List!

I did it.

*cough*

Ahem.

What I meant to say was: I DID IT!!!!!!

You are looking at (or reading at?) an official bestselling author. It’s like winning an Oscar, or a Grammy–for the rest of my life I get to put this title everywhere. My gravestone, on my books, on my website, on my imaginary nameplate that sits on my desk. You know, wherever.

Out of 150 slots on the USA TODAY list, I hit #119. As I mentioned in my Kboards post which tracked the sales and progression of me trying to hit the list with my book “The Bellum Sisters Bundle” –at least I wasn’t the first loser.

Bwahahaha.😀😀

That’s something my husband would say. Mean but funny.

If you require proof. Here it is: http://www.gannett-cdn.com/usatoday/editorial/life/booklist/usatodaybooks.pdf. Just remember #119. And you’ll see me sitting happily there like an overly fat and content cat.

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Tubbs. The cat. Neko Katsume. The only game I have time to play anymore. Look it up.

So, that’s all. I could drone on about Rogue Blood, the 4th book in the Untouchables series I’m working on. But WHO CARES!? I’m a bestseller and I just want to thank every reader who’s ever picked up one of my books and made my dream come true. Now I gotta get out of here before I shed an internet tear.

Happy wicked reading!

~*~*~ T. A. Grey ~*~*~

Amazon, you hit like a bitch.

Looks like Amazon lost another legit reviewer while the scammers continue on.

The Never Ending Book Basket

It’s taken me a bit of time to write this post, but I figured it’s about time to share the utter nonsense that’s happened between me and Amazon, and how a company that I once highly respected, has now become one that I have zero respect for.

I’ve thought about writing this post for weeks, what I would say and how I would capture everything that’s happened, and I’ll be honest with the fact that this post has taken on many forms, but finally I decided that it would just be easiest to state the facts.

So here it goes…

IMG_0376 This is the first email I got from Amazon. As some of you know, on February 24th I was sent an email from Amazon letting me know that I could no longer post reviews on their website, and that all of my previous reviews had been suppressed or removed…

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Amazon Reviews (what they’re really worth)

Pretty sure I’ve experienced this as well!

Author K.E. Garvey

Last week was a busy one. I had a proofreading job and an editing job, both due by Friday. Then, I received an email from my domain provider on Tuesday, which set off a chain of events that robbed roughly 20 hours from my already packed week. After a multitude of phone calls to my domain provider, an attorney, and more than 250 screenshots of someone’s malicious activity… I had to scramble to finish my contracted work. I was so ready for the weekend!

My original intention was to write a post about internet trolls in general with Amazon Reviews being a small portion of it, but as it turns out, there was too much material for just one post.

So, today is about Amazon and how cyber trolls take advantage of their review system. There have been other blogs about the same subject and I hate to add to the already bloated web…

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Amazon Takes Aim At Scammers But Hits Authors

A look into one of the negative aspects of Kindle Unlimited. I recently read a book on KU that had this same clickbait in the front of the book. I had never seen it before, so I clicked but it was for nothing I wanted — a sort of “special offer”. It wasn’t until I clicked that I realized the whole point was an effort to ensure the author receives full payout for their book. Such drastic measures only seems to point to further issues with the KU system.

David Gaughran

kuAmazon is an extremely innovative company – and usually quite responsive to self-publisher’s concerns – but sometimes it gets things very wrong too.

Today is one of those times.

I’ve received several reports from writers threatened with having books removed from sale, and heard even more worrying stories from others who had their titles actually removed from the Kindle Store without notice.

What were these authors guilty of? What crime did they commit for Amazon to adopt such heavy handed treatment? Something completely innocuous: the Table of Contents was at the rear of their books instead of at the front.

Yep, that’s it.

We’ll get to what might be the root cause of this crackdown in a moment, but Amazon is claiming that having a TOC in the end-matter instead of the front-matter is a breach of the (ever-changing, 100+ pages) Kindle Publishing Guidelines (PDF). Amazon says that rear TOCs result in…

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