Michael W. Perry
The writings of Michael W. Perry are many and varied. They range from an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's children's stories (Stories for Girls) to a scholarly 447-page look at the causes of World War II (Chesterton on War and Peace). He is the author of Untangling Tolkien, the only book-length, day-by-day chronology of The Lord of the Rings, and has contributed to encyclopedias on the writings of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R Tolkien, as well as the many scandals of U.S. presidents (Presidential Scandals). His books have been translated into Polish (Klucz Do Tolkena) and Italian (Eugenetica e altri malanni).
Most recently, he's taking a look back at the experiences that shaped his life. Three books in the 'hospital series' look at what it was like to care for children with cancer (Nights with Leukemia) and teenagers (Hospital Gowns and Other Embarrassments), as well as a telling criticism of legally sanctioned medical mistreatment given to a teen-aged girl (Caria, The Girl Who Couldn't Say No).
That'll be followed by a series on politically driven hatred in America. The first in the series, tentatively named To Kill a Mockingbird Revisited, will describe what it was like to grow up in the South in the last days of segregation, one-generation removed and some forty miles from the town described in Harper Lee's popular novel.
* Assistant editor and major contributor: The C. S. Lewis Readers Encyclopedia (Zondervan, 1998), winner of the 1999 Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Gold Medallion Book Award as the best biography/autobiography.
* Major contributor: Presidential Scandals (CQ Press, 1999).
* Editor of a research edition of G. K. Chesterton's Eugenics and Other Evils (2000) that was praised in by bestselling author Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park), who said that: "The editor of this editor of this edition has included may quotations from eugenicists of the 1920s, who read astonishingly like toe words of contemporary prophets of doom."
* Author of Untangling Tolkien (2003), a detailed chronology of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and a must-have reference work for Tolkien fans.
* Contributor: J. R. R. Tolkien Encyclopedia by Michael D. C. Drout. (Routledge, 2006)
* Editor of Chesterton on War and Peace: Battling the Ideas and Movements that Led to Nazism and World War II. Winner of the American Chesterton Society "Outline of Sanity" award for 2009.
Where to find Michael W. Perry online
Where to buy in print
Lily's Ride: Saving her Father from the Ku Klux Klan
It's sunset in rural North Carolina just after the Civil War. Lily's parents are away when an anonymous note warns the Klan intends to kill her father that very night. To rescue him, Lily must ride her father's thoroughbred stallion on the same roads over which a hundred Klansmen from three counties are traveling. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that: "The night ride of young Lily Servosse
Hospital Gowns and Other Embarrassments: A Teen Girl's Guide to Hospitals
With needles, strangers, and embarrassing situations, hospitals can be scary places, particularly if you’re a teen girl. I can’t do anything about needles. That’s up to your doctor. But I can tell you how to change those strangers into friends and how to avoid that embarrassment with skill and tact. That’s because I cared for girls just like you at one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals.
Smashwords book reviews by Michael W. Perry
- Smashwords Style Guide
on April 28, 2010
George Paxton's February 27, 2010 comment is 'spot on.' The #1 problem with creating ebooks for Smashwords is that all the documentation, including that by Mark Coker, assumes that writers will be working The Microsoft Way, which is the ugly, time-consuming, inefficient, inflexible way that Microsoft Word is structured to encourage.
As Paxton notes, proper writing for publication uses stylesheets (aka "named styles"). A first-level heading, for instanced, is attached to a style called Heading 1, a quote is given the style Quote and so on. Even word-level formatting like italics is done with text styles. Absolutely no in-place formatting is used in laying out the book. Font, font size, indention etc are all defined in the style definition. That makes attaching and changing the formatting easy. In a couple of seconds, every formatting trait for an entire book can be changed.
Microsoft, in its infinite stupidity, makes doing that incredibly difficult, particularly in comparison to properly designed products such as InDesign. In Word, named styles are buried in the Format menu behind a series of convoluted buttons and additional windows that must have been created by a sadist intent on filling the life of everyone who uses Word with drudgery. The result is a style system so awful, few use it. Instead, they hand enter the formatting every time it changes.
I know. I layout books for publishers. Virtually every time I get a Word document from an author, I find it cluttered with an infinite number of little author-made formatting tweaks that have to be stripped out to fit the publisher's style guide. It's virtually impossible to get them to think otherwise. They are slaves of The Microsoft Way.
Smashwords needs to escape from The Microsoft Way. It needs to give us a book template with styles for every formatting feature users are likely to need and that their reformatting software can handle. We shouldn't be having to spend our time klutzing with Word's clumsy hand formatting and rules or fretting with what the result we look like. We should be concentrating on what we are saying not fretting over what our guesses at formatting will look like after it has been run through Smashword software.
In short, give us Word templates with styles that do all the work of formatting and give good results at your output. Free us to focus on content not on formatting.
Contact me if you'd like to discuss this in more detail.