Book Review: Sullivan’s War, All Good Men Serve the Devil

Sullivan’s War 1: The Story

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Cover art,

Rick Sullivan is an idealist, bent on ending a corrupt government’s strangle hold on his home planet of Edaline.  Sullivan is the bad-guy and not above killing people to accomplish his goal.

Frank Allen is an investigator in the equivalent of a galaxy-spanning FBI.  Someone killed a planetary assemblyman, Frank is part of the team sent to investigate.  This quickly pits him against Sullivan in a planet hopping game of hide and seek that comes to involve an assembly of colorful and often loathsome characters.  There is little regard for The Law among the fringe planets and Allen and his team meet with opposition even from among their own side. Continue reading Book Review: Sullivan’s War, All Good Men Serve the Devil

Be Nice To Nerds Who Don’t Fear Failure

What would you attempt to do if you were guaranteed that you would not fail?

The biggest reason most of do not attempt to do amazing things is that we fear failure.

Regina Dugan, former director of DARPA, now with Google, gave this TEDTalk on failure. Her observations about fear of failure and scientific advancement are inspiring, but she also shows new video of some of DARPA’s most ambitious projects and that alone makes it worth watching.  She also reminds us that nearly all major scientific advances are created by nerds.  So, you should be nice to nerds.

What would you attempt to create if you could refuse to fear failure?


(If this does not play for you: View it on YouTube)

As a fan (and hopeful author) of speculative fiction, it is encouraging to me to know that humankind has not stopped testing the limits of possibility.  Although, perhaps “encouraging” is not the best word, as some of what we’re looking at is worrisome, as the interview at the end of the video suggests.  Still, when we open our minds and envision new and wondrous places, machines and societies, we are not engaging in mere fancy, we are pioneering the future.

This Business of Writing: Direct Expenses

Today, Dear Reader, we conclude the series on the business of writing and welcome back Brigitte A. Thompson as she shares her professional advice as an accountant and author.

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Bookkeeping is an essential part of the business of writing. Determining what you can claim as a business expense and how to substantiate those deductions require an understanding of the Federal tax code.

Some common direct expenses for writers are listed below along with tips on how to make them deductible. Continue reading This Business of Writing: Direct Expenses

Tax Tip: Automobile Expenses for Writers

We welcome back accounting professional and author, Brigitte A. Thompson as she continues her helpful advice to writers with a tax tip.

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Automobile Expenses for Writers

Driving to the local office store to purchase writing supplies can generate a tax deduction with proper documentation. This is what you need to know.

The miles that you drive which are related to the operation of your business, or the actual expenses required to maintain your automobile can generate tax deductions. This is one of the most overlooked tax deductions for writers.

You will need to choose one method based on the options below. Continue reading Tax Tip: Automobile Expenses for Writers

This Business of Writing: Recordkeeping

Today, Dear Reader, we continue the series on the business of writing and welcome back Brigitte A. Thompson as she shares her professional advice as an accountant and author.

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Bookkeeping is an essential part of the business of writing and includes storage of receipts, invoices, statements as well as all the required documents to substantiate both income and expenses.

Business Recordkeeping Options for Writers

To justify expenses, it is important to establish a system of recordkeeping that works for you. Some things need to be recorded daily, while others can be done weekly or monthly. It is imperative that you get into the habit of saving and recording everything related to your writing business. All invoices, receipts, credit card slips and bank statements are essential documentation that should be kept. Continue reading This Business of Writing: Recordkeeping

My Interview with Brigitte Thompson

InterviewJust a quick notice that the interview conducted by author, blogger, and CPA Brigitte Thompson has been posted at Writers in Business.  Please pop in and say “Hi.”  Read this great interview.

Many thanks to Brigitte for taking the time to conduct this interview and for her contributions to The Write Stuff during the Month of March as she shares her financial expertise with all of us.

Brigitte shares her tax tips and record keeping wisdom with writers in her newest title, Bookkeeping Basics for Freelance Writers.

When Less is Less and Fewer, Fewer

fewer, less, grammar usageOne of my greatest pet peeves about modern writing is the flagrant misuse of the word “less”.  I see it everywhere, even so called professional journalists are saying such things as “…we have 20 less laps to go in the race…”  Advertisements claim, “Now with less calories” or “We have less waiting lines”.  Less has become the defacto identifier for all quantity comparisons.

Prior to the eighteenth century, this would have been perfectly acceptable, but since that time it has been accepted that “fewer” is to be used when talking about things that can be counted individually, “less” when taking about items or amounts that are not individually countable.  Let’s look at some examples. Continue reading When Less is Less and Fewer, Fewer

This Business of Writing: Ordinary and Necessary Expenses

Today, Dear Reader, we continue the series on the business of writing and welcome back Brigitte A. Thompson as she shares her professional advice as an accountant and author.

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Bookkeeping is an essential part of the business of writing, especially identifying and tracking expenses. Business expenses are considered an operating cost.  The more legitimate business expenses that we can document, the lower our tax payments will be.

Ordinary and Necessary Business Expenses for Writers:

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that our writing expenses be ordinary and necessary in order for them to be acceptable. An ordinary expense is defined as common and accepted in our profession. A necessary expense means we need to spend this money in order to operate the business. The expenses must not be considered extravagant. They must be an essential part of doing business as a writer. It is important to differentiate between personal expenses and business expenses.  Continue reading This Business of Writing: Ordinary and Necessary Expenses

Tax Tips for Writers: Business Meals

We welcome back accounting professional and author, Brigitte A. Thompson as she continues her helpful advice to writers.

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Writers may choose to meet with their agents over lunch or they might arrange to meet a subject to interview at a local bagel shop. The cost of the meal can be a tax deduction with proper purpose and documentation.

1. The primary purpose of your business meal must be related to your writing business.

2. You must conduct business during the meeting such as discussing the storyline of a new book or determining which publications are interested in your current article.

3. Be sure to save the receipt. It should contain pertinent information such as the name of business, location, date of the meeting, time, who was present, total charge, and how it was paid for. You can use the back of this receipt to record a summary of what was discussed.

The amount you can deduct is limited to 50% of the actual unreimbursed costs. The IRS is considering an increase in this amount to allow 80% reimbursement. As of this writing, the deduction has not been raised. You can Visit the IRS Web site for updates.

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Author of Bookkeeping Basics for Freelance Writers available on Amazon:

The information provided is intended to be general and based on the Federal Tax laws of the United States. As such, it is subject to change. This information is not intended to be used as a substitute for financial or legal advice. Be sure to consult your tax advisor on all tax matters.