Literature Inspired Halloween

Jay Gatsby & Daisy Buchanon

We all have opinions on Daisy Buchanan, mainly because we were forced to read ” The Great Gatsby” in high school and all hated her. Or I’m projecting myself onto you. Either way, the girl has amazing taste wherever she’s portrayed. And Jay Gatsby is obviously dynamite in the style department. You and your SO can hit the art deco with relative ease for a Hallowee that’s unstoppable, unlike Jay and Daisy’s love story. 

Twins From the Shining

It’s ok if you don’t have a twin. I mean, sometimes people get hungry in the womb. But you should have a partner to execute this easy costume. All you need are some penny loafers, white socks and a cute little blue dress. Boom! You and your new twin are unstoppble. A major plus to this costume is you can appreciate Stephen King’s works without being a cliche this year (AKA Pennywise). 

The Biologist from “Annihilation”

With the movie coming up, you should all be reading this book. Even before the movie was a thing, you should’ve read this book. This is perfect for doing your makeup really cool and going cheap on the costume itself. The Biologist is still open for interpretation and will make an awesome conversation piece, which you’ll need because you obviously didn’t take any of my couples’ suggestions. Dot your skin with suddenly blooming spores and vines, and make your cheeks and eyes glow to emphasize the extraterrestrial “brightness” she received from sticking her face in a wad of unidentified spores in Area X. The sky is the limit, or maybe the “border” of Area X is. You’ll be unstoppable.

The Ill-Fated Oedipus

Halloween is generally about tales of human misfortune and suffering. Oedipus’ story is definitely that. The ease of this unstoppable costume is what makes it pretty great. Everyone has a sheet they can make into a toga and then just add the finishing touches by putting fake blood all over your eyes. Pro tip: Don’t ask your mom to do it with you. Uh, the costume. Or anything else too deep into the Oedipus character either.

Darl & Dewey Dell

Grab some overall and some weird flowery, country dress from the ARC (’cause they have better deals than Goodwill), shove a ten dollar bill into your girlfriend’s hand and walk around with a dead look in your eyes. Maybe even go a step farther and have her ask people if this is enough for an abortion at your local pharmacy. This is by far the laziest costume on this list, but also has the darkest comedy associated with it making it a real winner. #AsILayLaughing. #Unstoppable

Priss & Roy (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep)

I wanted to put J.R Sebastion as this entry, but then realized that without a team of little people dressed as soldiers for your accessories it would be hard for this costume to make sense. So get out your favorite eye-liner from middle school and coon up your entire eye section of your face. Discount option for Roy: use white spray paint instead of hair dye to achieve that awesome toehead look. Ignore the fumes, you’ll be unstoppable. 

Esther Greenwood (The Bell Jar)

This costume will be the perfect excuse to have as many emotional breakdowns, while either drunk or sober, for the entire night. That’s the dictionary defnition of unstoppable if you ask us. All you need are some modest heels, a green skirt, a white dress shirt, and a bell jar to carry around. Don’t bring the bottle of prescription pills, that would negate the option of freaking out whenever you want over pretty much nothing. 

Sherlock Holmes

This one is only sort of a cop out, however, it’s included because it would be endless fun to get dressed up in a plaid hat, and trench coat and state the obvious to people like it’s some grand discovery. When you want to leave the party, you can always use the excuse of going to harass Scotland Yard. 

The Phantom of the Opera

This would seem like a couple’s costume, but actually Phantom does not end up with Christine. So really, he’s as lonely as you are. Grab a cape and a mask and go around talking about this chick youre obsessed with who, for some reason still thinks of you as her father though you’ve tried to communicate that’s not the case. 

Henry VIII

He’s in alot of books, so he totally counts. In my opinion, the version to try and imitate is the one for Phillipa Gregory’s “The Taming of the Queen” not only because he’s a horrible villain in it, but also because of his pearl encrusted codpiece that he grinds Kateryn Parr’s face into after she advises him on religious interpretations. It’s cooler because she was one of the first women to be published under her own name. 

Kateryn Parr

If you like books and believe in women’s rights, do Kateryn Parr. Not only do you get to dress up in a beautiful Tudor era gown but you can also rattle off facts about her historical importance and overall genius as a writer, which I imagine is widely appreciated among my readers because we’re a publishing press. 

 

Thanks for reading! Have a happy Halloween in your sophisticated, sorta hipster costumes that you’ll have to explain to your friends that don’t read, but who arent necessarily illiterate!

 

 

 

Unstoppable Literary Halloween Costumes

Jay Gatsby & Daisy Buchanon

We all have opinions on Daisy Buchanan, mainly because we were forced to read “The Great Gatsby” in high school and all hated her. Or I’m projecting myself onto you. Either way, the girl has amazing taste wherever she’s portrayed. And Jay Gatsby is obviously dynamite in the style department. You and your SO can hit the art deco with relative ease for a Halloween that’s unstoppable, unlike Jay and Daisy’s love story.

Twins From the Shining

It’s ok if you don’t have a twin. I mean, sometimes people get hungry in the womb. But you should have a partner to execute this easy costume. All you need are some penny loafers, white socks, and a cute little blue dress. Boom! You and your new twin are unstoppable. A major plus to this costume is you can appreciate Stephen King’s works without being a cliche this year (AKA Pennywise).

The Biologist from “Annihilation”

With the movie coming up, you should all be reading this book. Even before the movie was a thing, you should’ve read this book. This is perfect for doing your makeup really cool and going cheap on the costume itself. The Biologist is still open for interpretation and will make an awesome conversation piece, which you’ll need because you obviously didn’t take any of my couples’ suggestions. Dot your skin with suddenly blooming spores and vines, and make your cheeks and eyes glow to emphasize the extraterrestrial “brightness” she received from sticking her face in a wad of unidentified spores in Area X. The sky is the limit, or maybe the “border” of Area X is. You’ll be unstoppable.

The Ill-Fated Oedipus

Halloween is generally about tales of human misfortune and suffering. Oedipus’ story is unstoppably shitty. The ease of this costume is what makes it pretty great. Everyone has a sheet they can make into a toga and then just add the finishing touches by putting fake blood all over your eyes. Pro tip: Don’t ask your mom to do it with you. The costume or anything else too deep into the Oedipus character either.

Darl & Dewey Dell

Grab some overalls and some weird flowery, country dress from the ARC (’cause they have better deals than Goodwill), shove a ten dollar bill into your girlfriend’s hand and walk around with a dead look in your eyes. Maybe even go a step farther and have her ask people if this is enough for an abortion at your local pharmacy. This is by far the laziest costume on this list, but also has the darkest comedy associated with it, making it a real winner. #AsILayLaughing. #Unstoppable

Priss & Roy (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep)

I wanted to put J.R Sebastion as this entry but then realized that without a team of little people dressed as soldiers for your accessories it would be hard for this costume to make sense. So get out your favorite eye-liner from middle school and coon up the entire eye section of your face. Discount option for Roy: use white spray paint instead of hair dye to achieve that awesome toehead look. Ignore the fumes, you’re now Roy Batty- AKA unstoppable.

Esther Greenwood (The Bell Jar)

This costume will be the perfect excuse to have many emotional breakdowns, while either drunk or sober, for the entire night. That’s the dictionary definition of unstoppable if you ask me. All you need are some modest heels, a green skirt, a white dress shirt, and a bell jar to carry around. Don’t bring the bottle of prescription pills, that would negate the option of freaking out whenever you want over pretty much nothing.

Sherlock Holmes

This one is only sort of a cop out, however, it’s included because it would be endless fun to get dressed up in a plaid hat, and trench coat and unstoppably state the obvious to people like it’s some grand discovery. When you want to leave the party, you can always use the excuse of going to harass Scotland Yard.

The Phantom of the Opera

This would seem like a couple’s costume, but actually Phantom does not end up with Christine. So really, he’s as unstoppably lonely as you are. Grab a cape and a mask and go around talking about this chick you’re obsessed with who, for some reason, still thinks of you as her father though you’ve tried to communicate that’s not the case.

Henry VIII

He’s in a lot of books, so he totally counts. In my opinion, the version to try and imitate is the one from Phillipa Gregory’s “The Taming of the Queen,” not only because he’s a horrible villain in it, but also because of his unstoppable, pearl-encrusted codpiece that he grinds Kateryn Parr’s face into after she advises him on religious interpretations. It’s a cut above because she was one of the first women to be published under her own name.

Kateryn Parr

If you like books and believe in women’s rights, do Kateryn Parr. Not only do you get to dress up in a beautiful Tudor-era gown but you can also rattle off facts about her historical importance and overall unstoppable power as a writer, which I imagine is widely appreciated among my readers because we’re a publishing press and don’t attract people who don’t like books.

 

Thanks for reading! Have a happy Halloween in your sophisticated, sorta hipster costumes that you’ll have to explain to your friends that don’t read, but who aren’t necessarily illiterate!

Sofia Ashford wrote this to entertain you, just like her novel “The Belle of Eden” which you can purchase in print or ebook here.

Perfect Gifts for Readers and Writers

Every year we all scramble to figure out gifts for people. Because, although you openly claim to be proud of your hard earned asshole badge, you dont want to look like one during the holidays. Thus, since Pint Sized Press generally focuses on readers and writers we decided we’d compile a list of suitable gifts for the reader or writer in your family.

  1. The Banned Book’s Mug

It’s from Out Of Print, which is like the ultimate place to buy writer and reader merch. They have everything ranging from t-shirts with quotes, to socks with Edgar Allan Poe’s face as polka-dots. This mug, when heat activated, displays the titles of various banned books. It’s really very V for Vendetta if you think about it. Grab one for twelve bucks (and every order gets a free pair of mismatched library socks) here.

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2. Literary Candles

These lovely little balls of wax are intended to submerge your senses in your favorite story. The scents are inspired by your favorite books! Obviously, it’d be great to pop open one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s masterpieces and light up your 221b baker street candle. Hopefully the candle smells better than a late 19th-century bachelor pad. Pick it up here.

literary-candles

3. Tequila  Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist

A cookbook specifically for cocktails. But also with literary themes. Because every good writer is a good drinker, and it’s pretty clear that anyone who reads wants to feel fancy when they’re drinking. Book based drinks is everything everyone who likes words on paper wants. Most likely. It’s on amazon too, which is cool cause #freeshipping. It’s here.

tequila-mockingbird

4. Temporary Tattoos

Since Hollister and various other teeny bopper shops have made it popular to advertise with your body, everyone clearly wants to use temporary tattoos to show off how well-read they are. There are packages for Jane Austin, Walden, Sherlock Holmes and much more. Because you can’t be hipster with just the lensless glasses and man bun, you need literary tattoos too. Find them here.

tatoo

5. Edgar Allan Poe Secular Saint Candle.

Yeah, I know it’s the second candle on the list. But think about it. They have so many practical uses and this one you can add to your shrine of Eddy. Or put it in your bathroom to light instead of using Febreeze (#versatile). As Gone Reading states “Appropriately identified as the Patron Saint of Bohemians, Cryptology and Detectives (see photo), this candle will prominently proclaim your love of Poe for all your friends to see.” See, it’s barely even blasphemy. Order it here.

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6.Writers Block.

Haha. Writers love puns. We fucking love them. Ask anyone. And no, it’s not too much for a block of wood. Technically 200 is too much for a block of wood as well. Check it.

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7. Dead Writers Perfume.

Some would argue dead writers are the best writers, which really sells this little bottle of smelly stuff. It comes in heliotrope, black tea, and tobacco. It’s creative, it’s original, and if it ends up smelling bad its the thought that counts anyway. Find it here.

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If these did not satisfy your gift lust then hold your horses, sweet cheeks. I’ll be updating with another list before long. Mainly because it turns out making a list of gifts for a category of people is way easier than trying to figure out gifts for individuals I actually know.

Another thing you could give a writer is one of our fabulous services for their manuscript, you can find those here.

Find more of Sofia’s clever writing on our blog or in her new novel“The Belle of Eden”

Spontaneous Drunk Writing Prompt

What’s the point of getting drunk and watching comedy on a Tuesday night when you have other responsibilities if youre not going to come up with a writing prompt? There’s obviously no point at that junction. So here is the writing prompt that wine has, in fact, prompted.

I was watching “Horrible Bosses” cause I need to hear the revolutionary and motivating line from Kevin Spacey: “You have to put some band-aids on your nipples to win a marathon”.  Thus I began to ponder how one might find a nearby every day assassin. For there must be people who live in Colorado right by a military base (Colorado Springs so not that close, but who cares) who kill for money. Who offer to eliminate your shitty boss, sister-in-law, or perhaps spouse (no judgement) for a certain amount of money.

Your prompt, therefore, is to write to Pint Sized Press a craigslist add advertising this service in the best, and least professional terms possible. Best one gets a repost over all sorts of social media. So, dig into the sniper/ James Bond trained version of you and post a craigslist add. Because #21stcentury.

The long road to a good book cover

The cover of the book is maybe one of the most important things involved with publishing. Because, surprise surprise, everyone is gonna judge it based off of just that. You know what you see on Amazon when you’re scrolling through books? Covers. You know what the first thing is you see when you’re walking by the shelf? Probably the cover. Even if it is, for some reason laying with the back facing the audience, most folks will pick it up, flip it over, and look at the cover. So please, when I tell you this thing, get it done professionally. Don’t open up Publisher, play around for a couple hours and fill in images on Paint with black so they overlay makes it look like a 12-year old’s fan fiction book cover. Much like these ones below. This is not my best work, but I’m not a graphic designer so it doesn’t really matter. #noregrets

Don’t pop open Picmonkey (actually an awesome site for photo editing, check it out) and screw around with stock photos for a while. We’ve -hopefully- all seen where that gets you. Your book cover, the deciding factor for most fools on whether or not they pick up your lovely manuscript, will look like utter crap. And that’s to be expected, unless of course you are a professional graphic designer and you’re just having a bad day or something.

This is one of the few things I actually do think you should pay for. As far as bookmarks, maybe even media design, if you’re pinching pennies you might be able to bypass it or find it pretty cheap. But the cover is literally paramount, maybe even more important than how well the manuscript was edited. For covers are precisely like first impressions, if you go to a job interview and your outfit and hair look like a poorly executed Photoshop project, you’re not gonna get the job.

It really is as simple as that. Don’t make a bad first impression. Don’t put together your own cover based on your maybe skewed vision of your own story with your poor Publisher/Photoshop skills.

As another note, when using a graphic designer be sure to give them the proper templates for what website you’re going to use. Make sure they’re giving you the whole shebang. You want the spine, back cover, and front to look uniform and that is their job. Ask them to put whatever you order from them in 300 dpi or above and make sure they transferred it to CMYK format, or else your colors won’t print right and your stuff will come out grainy and looking cheap.

When designing your cover, have fun with it! It’s your book that you’ve worked on forever and it should be a lot of fun to think through cover possibilities. Sift through the symbolism loaded down in your book, the major themes you want to portray, all of it. Designing is the fun part, that’s for sure.

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

 

Sofia B Ashford

 

If you wanna read more of my ingenious works you might glance at the rest of the blogs or our Facebook. Or you might take a gander at my new title “The Belle of Eden” that you can buy here.

Critique Groups

critique-group-blogOh. My. God. Critique Groups. I woke up today on the wrong side of the bed and decided to rant about critique groups. Lemme tell you something about these, if you’re looking to join one or create one, anything. Make sure the people who are participating actually have good writing. It’s not about whether or not their critique is valid based on their own quality. It’s not about discrimination. It’s about whether or not you can actually handle reading their entire (industry standards generally imply 90k word) work. Which would imply then, that you’d feasibly be reading this manuscript, if you meet once per week, for approximately two years. Two years of reading potentially utter tripe? I don’t want to see you devastated by this terrible inconvenience. I don’t want to witness your potential pain. Thus, I am telling you watch out for bad writing in critique groups.

Otherwise, there’s literally a million places you can go to find one. Be smart, Google it locally. Look up something on Meetup, that is how I found two of mine and several other lucrative get-togethers, I might add. It’s a good site, I recommend it.

Back to the actual story. The original critique group I started in was great. Great critique with good writers. Beware, they can devolve into the above situation where one reads what is tantamount to crap every single week and have to critique it as nicely as possible. The issue is not simply the shitty writing, it is the lack of interest in actual improvement. Surprisingly, for the number of different groups I’ve attended there exists the shocking theme that very few people actually want a real critique and actually listen to what is being said about their work. Perhaps it’s related to age, that you hit a certain age and then suddenly think you’re infallible. Perhaps it’s just laziness. Either way, someone with this behavior is genuinely what ruins a night if not your entire mood about writing. Because then you’ll start to worry that your own work is just as bad and that is a sure-fire way to take the wind out of your sails.

So avoid the idiots and prosper.

 

Toodles,

Sofia B Ashford

P.S. this is also, in my opinion, a feasible replacement for the nightmare that is extensive beta reading (like between 5 and 10 people).

If you want to read more of my inspired writing, check out the other blogs and follow us on FB, the posts are oh so informative. Or you could read my newly released title “The Belle of Eden,” which is available here.

Editing

As a writer, editing is, unfortunately, going to be a huge part of your life. Whether it be content or copy it’s going to be there, looming over your shoulder and breathing down your neck in probably the most ominous fashion it can manage. Bearing that in mind, I will attempt to make it easier on you with a few little gems of wisdom.

First off, this is my sort of “part 2” for beta reading. Considering content editing is essentially beta reading. So here’s my number one piece of advice: Don’t use a free editor. Don’t enlist your mother who has an English degree, don’t even talk to your English teacher. In some cases, avoid friends at all costs. I know a lot of people who write and have had to have their stuff edited before they publish or start querying.  Out of all eight of them, I know only one who has had a good experience using a friend as an editor. He is, obviously the exception to the rule. This is because his friend had worked 20 years for reputable publications and was actually viewing his deal (he still paid, just at a lower price) as a business transaction. In every other instance, I know of, including my own sob story, that has not been the case. I have a friend who enlisted the help of her buddy who copy edits for a living and owns a publishing company, she paid him hundreds of dollars and he still could not perform in a timely manner. In another instance, another friend of mine hired the copy editor for a radio station (a friend who owed a favor), at which point she took way too much time and did not do a thorough job. Money is pretty much the purest motivator and you’re going to want someone who will respect you as a client and not some fogey who’s going to print off a book for their coffee table.

Which leads me to my next piece of advice- and believe me, folks, it’ll get preachy- my one regret for my most recently published book is that I didn’t get an industry professional to content edit (i.e. beta read) the manuscript. They’re going to offer opinions and point out things the average reader isn’t going to because nobody else really knows how to target an audience, or actually produce a book worth buying. Another friend of mine used a publishing company’s beta services, it cost about a hundred bucks and they were able to point out major flaws after she had proofed it through regular readers, such as pointing out things that the audience  would likely view as creepy, and how not to undermine her female characters.  By no means am I saying use Pint Sized service, but use someone’s. Cause it’s worth it.

Know that by the end you’re probably still not going to feel like it’s ready. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, that you’ll hate the work or the characters by the end. That it’ll never seem ready. But I’m here to tell you it won’t seem ready, and you will learn to dislike if not low-key hate your work when it’s all said and done. But there will come a point when you know that’s probably as far as it can go, or should go without too much more pain, anguish, and suffering on your part or the part of the people you’ve hired. So have no worries. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Keep this in mind on your journey: it’s 300 percent worth it to pay. Imagine it like this, if you see an indie movie that’s poorly made you’re going to chalk it up to a poor budget and walk away knowing you wasted your time. That is precisely how your readers will feel. You are starting a business, you are creating a product that people WILL want to buy. Make sure they aren’t going to be disappointed. Not everything, unfortunately, is a Pinterest DIY project. But the presence of mason jars in the editing process would probably make it so much more bearable.

Happy reading and writing

 

Please Check out Pint Sized Services on our page and feel free to read more of my writing in my newly released title “The Belle of Eden” here.

Toodles,

Sofia B Ashford

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The Publishing Process Part 1

In lieu of our newest feature that we’re trying to market to you, I thought it would be fitting to talk about the benefits and loopholes one must look for when searching out beta readers. As a writer and a rather social individual, I’ve many friends who’ve finished novels and thus used beta readers in that process. If you’re going the traditional route of editing your novel, you’ve probably gone through a critique group of some form and edited to the fullest extent and now you believe you are ready to show other individuals your work in its entirety. It seems so simple right? Just print up the manuscript (hopefully not paying Kinkos an absorbent amount of money to do so) and handing it out to a few friends and loved ones. Well, unfortunately, I’m here to tell you it’s not so simple. Inversely, however, I’m also here to tell you how to avoid the hiccups myself and friends had to hurdle.

Process:

This is a point of contention among my colleagues and I. Some think it’s better to do it all in one shot, others think it’s easier spread out. Either way you slice it, there appears to be no speed track for this undertaking that we might call “showing other people”. What I’ve found to be the fastest and most efficient way of completing this step is to break it into sections. Because unfortunately nowadays no one has any real urgency to read. Yes, you’re going to hope your book captures their attention and completely spell binds them, but this is the age of television and Xbox Ones, and I’m afraid folks just aren’t as avid readers as they used to be let’s say in the 1800s or something. So, the way myself and few others have become accustomed to doing it, is we break it into sections. What that looks like is you collect a couple friends who are willing to read, and you separate them into manageable number groups, like if you have 7, do a group of 4 first and 3 last. Once you’ve collected your beta readers (a whole other battle we’ll discuss) you should separate them into sections depending on who you think will finish it faster and who you think will be more thorough as well as whether or not they are in your ultimate target market. My advice is to start with the more thorough individuals first, mostly because those that are faster will be a breath of fresh air afterward and will make it easier on you to put in those final edits they’ll give you because you’ll have them sooner rather than later. Choose like three readers at a time, and then this is the key, set up deadlines for them. Deadlines will keep your readers at least moderately on track and give them a sense of urgency. Schedule, depending on how fast you want it back, weekly to monthly appointments with each one and tell them what’s expected in these meetings. Use these get together to discuss their comments and how they’re finding your book. Talk about all the English class jargon you can and use it not only as a point of critique but as a point of kudos! For after you leave their presence you’ll have to go home and put all of those edits to the page. It will be a long process that you’ll get tired of quickly if they aren’t complementing you along the way. In truth, it’ll be hard not to enjoy their feedback no matter what flavor it takes on because your work will be getting attention at long last and that will always feel good.

As an aside, there is a wonderful program now open to the public that makes the beta reading process that much easier on you and your readers. You can find it here :

https://www.betabooks.co/

 

Happy writing and reading!

-Sofia B

Please check out the book that I put through numerous rounds of beta reading, the newly released title “The Belle of Eden”  Here

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Welcome To Pint Sized Press!

If you’ve chosen to visit this webpage (whether purposefully or by accident), I feel it’s safe to assume that you are one of the following: 1. A reader of vast and resolute subjects, 2. A writer of content fictional or nonfictional, but either way wondrous, 3. A gatherer of intellect who might have gotten click happy and had the fortune to stumble upon us.

Whatever it was that brought you here, we thank you! For it is you (reader, writer, knowledge collector), that keeps us inspired.  Without you, this world would be a bleak place lacking creativity and imagination.

Who are we? We are a small group of dreamers who believe in dragons, buried treasure, and that our Hogwarts letter is still going to come. In today’s world everyone has at least one story to tell, and we at Pint Sized Press want to help make sure it’s the best story possible.

What is it we do? Our main focus is to help ensure that any book that is close to being published, will be up to publishing standards. Currently, we are offering our beta services: where we read to makes sure all plot holes are covered and the content is consistent. To find more information or to address any inquires:  https://pintsizedpressllc.wordpress.com/beta-reading/

Other features that will soon be up and running include formatting, marketing, audiobooks, and copy editing.

Feel free to contact us at https://pintsizedpressllc.wordpress.com/contact/ with any questions, comments, and querying. We would love to hear from you!
                                                                                                                            – Jenna and Sofia