10 March 2011


WRITING WITH AUTHORITY Online Course, 4-1-2011 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Nate Hardy, Internet Activities Coordinator


INSTRUCTORS: Jason Jack Miller and Heidi Ruby Miller

DATE: April 1 – May 2, 2011



The easiest way to engage your reader is by using concrete nouns and action verbs. In this one-month online course, Seton Hill University creative writing faculty Jason Jack Miller and Heidi Ruby Miller will show you how to analyze your writing and use easy techniques that will increase the authority of your voice. Participants will:

* Discover how to spot passive voice

* Scrutinize their writing for generic nouns and indefinite pronouns

* Learn to avoid weak verbs and overuse of “be” in all its forms

* Practice using strong synonyms to find the best action verb

* Apply word cloud research to make their plot come alive

FREE BONUS: Course participants will receive a free excerpt (.pdf) from the new writing guide, MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT: LESSONS IN WRITING POPULAR FICTION (Headline Books, Inc.) edited by Heidi Ruby Miller and Michael A. Arnzen with contributions from Jason Jack Miller et al.

Pennwriters Online Courses..."Building Careers, One Course At A Time". We have high satisfaction scores and repeat customer rates—-read more of our Testimonials!

Make your writing strong, commanding the attention of your audience. LIMITED CLASS SIZE. Enroll now.

$79 ($89 non-Pennwriters members) $89 ($99 non-Pennwriters members)




Heidi Ruby Miller is the co-editor of the writing guide, MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT: LESSONS IN WRITING POPULAR FICTION. A graduate from Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction Program, she has authored dozens of publications. Before becoming a full-time writer and adjunct faculty at Seton Hill University, Heidi worked as a contract archaeologist, an educational marketing coordinator, a foreign currency exchanger, and a world language teacher. To learn more about Heidi Ruby Miller, visit http://heidirubymiller.blogspot.com or email her at heidirubymiller at gmail.com

Jason Jack Miller is a writer, photographer and musician whose work has appeared online and in print in newspapers, magazines and literary journals, and as a smart phone travel app. He has co-authored a travel guide with his wife Heidi and served as a photographer-in-residence. Jason is an Authors Guild member who received a Master’s in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University where he is adjunct creative writing faculty. To learn more about Jason Jack Miller, visit http://jasonjackmiller.blogspot.com or email him at jasonjackmiller at gmail.com

09 March 2011

Public Education in PA to be cut by $1 billion


2010-2011 Actual State Budget Funding: $16,456,000

2011-2012 Proposed State Budget Funding: $14,056,022

2011-2012 Proposed State Budget Cut: $2,399,978

Public Education in PA to be cut by $1 billion

Today Governor Corbett unveiled the state budget that he is sending to the House and Senate for their consideration. The proposed cuts will have real and lasting consequences for your students and for you.

See how Governor Corbett's budget will impact your district at www.psea.org/schoolcuts.

If the Governor's budget stands, many of you who are reading this will not have a job next year. I am deeply saddened by this fact. I am also very concerned about the impact of these cuts on the children we teach and the great strides we have made over the past six years. Learn more at www.psea.org/goodnews.

We will share more information as we continue our analysis of the budget and accompanying legislation. I'm sure you have already heard about the Governor’s call for all public education employees to accept a one year pay freeze. I have scheduled a webinar with your local president within the week to discuss this and other issues regarding the Governor’s budget.

Policy Changes
For today, you need to know that in addition to slashing public education by 9.9%, the Governor is proposing many sweeping policy changes including, but not limited to:

* Elimination of State Support for Master's Salary Increases. No state subsidy to pay school employees beyond the bachelor's column.
* Private and Religious School Vouchers. Diverting tax dollars to private and religious school tuition.
* Economic Furloughs. Allowing school districts to furlough school employees for factors other than seniority.
* Property Tax Referenda. Voter approval for any property tax increase over inflation at the school district level.
* Merit Pay. Providing state resources to guide local districts in the development of merit pay plans.
* Lowering Standards. The governor's proposal lowers standards for becoming a teacher or a school nurse.

Please know that your PSEA Officers, Board of Directors, and staff all stand ready to partner with you in these serious financial and policy debates.

To prevail in these discussions, YOUR voice must be heard and I need you to stand up for your students, your job, and public education.

Act Now
E-mail your legislators to express your concern over Governor Corbett's proposed budget.

Take Action Now

07 March 2011

Jon Stewart on Education.

Here's all you need to know. Thanks, Pic.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Crisis in Dairyland - For Richer and Poorer - Teachers and Wall Street
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Scott Turow on Random House: Local Booksellers May Be the Big Winners

From the Authors Guild:

Random House, the largest trade book publisher in the U.S., announced last week that it is adopting the agency model for selling e-books. For readers and authors concerned about a diverse literary marketplace, this is welcome news, a chance for online bookselling to avoid the winner-take-all trap. Random House's move gives brick-and-mortar bookstores, many of which are now selling e-books but cannot afford to lose money on those sales, a fighting chance in the new print + digital landscape.

"Book retailers have faced extraordinary challenges in recent years," said Authors Guild President Scott Turow, "a double whammy of recession and a shift to digital books that had cut many stores out. For anyone who loves bookstores, this is the best news out of the publishing industry in a long time. Random House's move may prove to be a lifeline for some bookstores."

Apple introduced the agency model into bookselling last year when it launched the iPad and the iBookstore. In January 2010, as Steve Jobs was announcing Apple's new device, Amazon controlled an estimated 90% of the U.S. e-book market. The price of entry into that market was steep: Amazon, using the reseller model for e-books, was routinely selling e-books at a substantial loss to build the market and to ward off competitors such as Barnes & Noble, which had just begun selling the Nook. As we described in last month's alert (How Apple Saved Barnes & Noble. Probably.):

Apple wouldn't sell e-books under the reseller model that Amazon had been using to lock down the market. (Under that model, the publisher sells e-books to a reseller at a discount of about 50%. The reseller can then sell the e-book at any price, constrained only by antitrust law and the reseller's ability to absorb losses.) Instead, Apple would sell e-books under the same "agency model" it used for iPhone apps. Under the agency model, Apple acts as the publisher's agent, selling e-books at the price established by the publisher and taking a 30% commission on each sale. To participate, a publisher would have to agree to a set of ceilings on e-book prices, generally $12.99 or $13.99 for new books. A publisher would also have to agree not to sell to others under more favorable terms.

If the agency model took hold, unfettered discounting of e-books would be out. Amazon would lose its ability to buy market share in a nascent, booming industry.

Macmillan leapt at the agency model, and Amazon fought back. In a dramatic, week-long showdown, Amazon removed the buy buttons from print and digital editions of virtually all of Macmillan's books. Macmillan stood firm, and five of the big six trade publishers (all except Random House) quickly adopted the agency model. The Guild immediately backed the agency model as essential for creating a healthy, diverse e-book retailing environment, even though it would mean lower royalties for many authors in the near term.

Barnes & Noble benefitted more than anyone from publishers' adoption of the agency model. It still had to subsidize sales of many Random House titles to stay in the game with Amazon, but it didn't have to lose money on the sales of other titles. Barnes & Noble's share of the e-book market grew at a pace that surprised everyone in the industry and is now approaching 20%.

The biggest beneficiaries of Random House's shift to the agency model may be independent booksellers, many of which are now selling e-books through an arrangement with Google. While Barnes & Noble could absorb some losses in selling Random House e-books, this was out of the question for most independent booksellers. Many readers will soon be able to support their local booksellers when they buy e-books, without paying a stiff price for their loyalty.

"Getting local booksellers into the e-book game is essential," said Mr. Turow. "Equally essential, if e-books are going to help sustain a vibrant literary culture, is restoring the traditional division of proceeds between authors and publishers. Random House and other major publishers have a lot of work to do on that score."

For a discussion of e-book royalties, see E-Book Royalty Math: The House Always Wins and The E-Book Royalty Mess: An Interim Fix.

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