A Typeface Just for Dyslexia? — The Book Designer

I came across this article and found it utterly fascinating.  The implications are wide spread.

A Typeface Just for Dyslexics?

by Joel Friedlander on October 17, 2012 · 32 comments

…Wikipedia calls dyslexia “…a very broad term defining a learning disability that impairs a person’s fluency or comprehension accuracy in being able to read,” and says it can affect as many as 5 – 10% of any given population…studies have shown that special typefaces could make reading more accurate for people with dyslexia and, to his credit, Gonzalez decided to create a typeface that addressed these issues, and then make it available for free.

Designer Abelardo Gonzalez says this about his design:

Letters have heavy weighted bottoms to add a kind of ‘gravity’ to each letter, helping to keep your brain from rotating them around in ways that can make them look like other letters. Consistently weighted bottoms can also help reinforce the line of text. The unique shapes of each letter can help prevent flipping and swapping.

Here’s a paragraph set in Adobe Minion Pro, 11 point.

Minion Pro

Here’s the same paragraph set in OpenDyslexic, 11 point.

Open Dyslexic

…Why wouldn’t all e-reader manufacturers make OpenDyslexic—or a similar font that has been shown to be helpful to people suffering from this disorder—available on all their readers?

It seems like the perfect way to use the flexibility of ereaders, with their ability—much to the chagrin of book designers—to change the font of any book in your library…

Read the entire article and get a download link for the font at:  A Typeface Just for Dyslexics? — The Book Designer.

I am always fascinated by simple, relatively low tech solutions for complex issues. If this is really helpful, I wold love to see it as a standard font option on all e-reader platforms.


Your Next Favorite Book: Second Chances

See what’s the author’s favorite part of her book, maybe it will be a favorite of yours too!

Title – Second Chances: The Courtship Wars

Author: Regina Jeffers

Find her at: www.rjeffers.com, http://reginajeffers.wordpress.com,     http://austenauthors.net, Twitter – @reginajeffers, Facebook – Regina Jeffers
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Length – 238 pages
Amazon (Paperback)


Book Description

Rushing through the concourse to make her way to the conference stage, Gillian Cornell comes face-to-face with the one man she finds most contemptible of everyone she knows, and suddenly her world tilts. His gaze tells stories she wants desperately to hear. As he undresses her with his eyes, Gillian finds all she can do is stumble through her opening remarks. The all-too-attractive cad challenges both her sensibility and her reputation as a competent sexologist.

Dr. Lucian Damron never allows any woman to capture his interest for long. He uses them to boost his career and for his own pleasures. Yet, Lucian cannot resist Gillian’s stubborn independence, her startling intelligence, and her surprising sensuality. Sinfully handsome, Lucian hides a badly wounded heart and a life of personal rejection.

Thrown together as the medical staff on Second Chances, a new reality show designed to reunite previously married couples, Lucian and Gillian soon pique the interest of the American viewing public, who tune in each week, fascinated by the passionate electricity between them. Thus begins an all-consuming courtship, plagued by potentially relationship-ending secrets and misunderstandings and played out scandalously on a national stage.

Regina’s favorite part

Gillian has been left as the guardian for her adopted Down Syndrome sister Barbara after their parents’ untimely deaths. In the story, Barbara participates in a Special Olympics event, and Gillian asks Lucian to join them. It is the day the Gillian realizes that she loves Lucian Damron. He earns Gillian’s trust by treating Barbara with kindness and respect. Barbara is based on the sister of my childhood friend, Lesley W. As we progressed through elementary, junior high, and high school, I observed Vicky, Lesley’s sister, as if she were part of my family. I celebrated her successes and wept at her defeats. Lesley’s parents have both passed, and she remains Vicky’s guardian. Vicky is in a special group home, but she holds a job and has friends, both male and female, and complains about TV shows, etc., etc. She lives as normal a life as a person of her persuasion can. When I wrote Barbara Cornelll in “Second Chances,” she was Vicky. I used a Downs youth in “A Touch of Cashémere” also, but he is not as well developed as Barbara. It was important to me to demonstrate that not all Down children are “disabled.”


So what to you think, could this be your next favorite book?

History A'la Carte 10-25-12

And now, a  new installment of History a’la Carte for your Thursday enjoyment. I am always amazed to find out how much I didn’t know that I didn’t know.

From Historical Research to Historical Fiction with Jess Steven Hughes

Take a peek into the process of writing historical fiction with author Jess Steven Hughes.

by Jess Steven Hughes

Jess Steven Hughes

Over the years I have accumulated a personal library of more than five hundred books on Celtic, Classical, Medieval and Mid-Eastern History which I use in the research and writing of my historical novels. This does not include various magazines, journals and other papers that I have collected, not to mention using the internet for the same purpose. I am always acquiring more information in an effort to make my novels as authentic as possible.

Before I wrote my first historical novel, The Sign of the Eagle, and the two novels I am currently writing, I had to learn the fundamentals of writing fiction as opposed to writing history. This included: plot, characterization, scene, setting, dialogue, descriptive narration, the difference between showing and not telling, etc. Only after I had attended writing seminars and workshops for several years did my abilities as an author of novels finally emerge..

Always keep in mind, I write first and foremost, FICTION; I don’t write HISTORY. I use historical events and backdrops for my stories. My historical novel, The Sign of the Eagle, which was recently accepted for publication by Sunbury Press (www.sunburypress.com) is an example. The story takes place in Milan and Rome in 71 A.D. The main character, Macha, is a Celtic woman married to a Roman officer, Titus. He has been wrongfully accused of treason and conspiring to assassinate the Emperor Vespasian. Macha must almost single-handedly prove his innocence.

Historians have speculated there were several conspiracies against the life of Emperor Vespasian, but only two appeared to have been recorded as found in The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius or in The Histories by Cassius Dio. Therefore, my story is a fictionalized account of one possible unrecorded attempt on Vespasian’s life. I wrote it from what I believe to be a different perspective using an unlikely protagonist, a Celtic woman. Why not?

Before I could fully develop The Sign of the Eagle, e.g. the characters, plotting, setting, scene, dialogue, etc., I started by researching the overall history of the Roman Empire and the Celtic world. Such books included but not limited to: History of Rome - Michael Grant; Rome - M. Rostovtzeff; From the Gracchi to Nero – H.H. Scullard, Invasion: the Roman Conquest of Britain - John Peddie; etc.

I continued with geographical locations. I narrowed down the story to Milan, Rome and the Italian country side. This included studying: Muir’s Historical Atlas: Ancient and Classical – Edited by R.F. Treharne and Harold Fullard; Atlas of the Roman World – Tim Cornell and John Matthews; The Ancient City: Life in Classical Athens and Rome - Peter Connolly and Hazel Dodge; etc.

I had to consider historical events that occurred prior to those in my novel which were important to the story’s background. Among these I included the great civil war of 69 A.D. known as the Year of the Four Emperors (Galba, Otho, Vitellius and Vespasian). For this I referred to: The Long Year A.D. 69 - Kenneth Wellesley; The Twelve Caesars - Michael Grant; The Twelve Caesars – Suetonius, The Army of the Caesars - Michael Grant; etc. In my story, Macha’s husband, Titus, fought in this war against the forces of the short-lived Emperor Vitellius at the Battle of Cremona. Titus was part of one of Vespasian’s advanced units.

Other events included the invasion of Britannia in 43 A.D. and the eventual capture of the British Chieftain, Caratacus, Macha’s father (see above Invasion, etc). He was brought to Rome along with his wife and Daughter and ultimately pardoned by the Emperor Claudius. We don’t know the daughter’s actual name, I chose a good Celtic name, Macha. Caratacus was ultimately pardoned and disappeared from history, but there was no reason why I could not use his daughter for a story.

For her background, I described her growing up being Romanized but clinging to many Celtic customs. Prior to the story, she married Titus, who was a born in Rome. His parents were Gauls, but his father was a Roman Senator, one of the first Gauls admitted to the Senate under the Emperor Claudius.

Because I used a Celtic protagonist, I had to research Celtic as well as Roman customs re: daily living, the role of women in the Celtic and Roman worlds, the gulf between the classes, slavery, etc.,  religion, the military (Celt and Roman), descriptions of city life, especially, in Rome, etc. My research included: A Day in Old Rome - W.S. Davis; Daily Life in Ancient RomeJerome Carcopino; A Roman Villa - Jacqueline Morely; The Sixteen Satires - Juvenal; The Epigrams of Martial – Translated by James Michie; The Satyricon – Petronius; Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity - Sarah B. Pomeroy; Celtic Women: Women in Celtic Society and Literature - Peter B. Ellis; The Gods of the Celts - Miranda Green; Celtic Art – Ruth and Vincent Megaw; The Complete Roman Army - Adrian Goldsworthy; The Roman Cavalry - Karen Dixon; The Vigiles of Imperial Rome - P.K. Baillie Reynolds; Fighting Elite: Celtic Warrior 300 B.C. – A.D. 100 – Stephen Allen and Wayne Reynolds; etc.

It was only after I had conducted sufficient research that I finally wrote my story. However, I wasn’t finished. I had to run the gauntlet of two writers groups, The Spokane Novelists and The Spokane Writers Group which month after month reviewed and bled all over my chapters until the manuscript finally met their expectations. Even then I wasn’t through, I sent my manuscript to a “Book Doctor,” an editor whom had spent many years with Harper-Collins before going into private business. Fortunately, she is a very ethical person (there are some real charlatans out there) who was very thorough and answered all my subsequent questions after she had reviewed and returned my novel for more work. My efforts paid off. After many rejection slips, The Sign of the Eagle was accepted for publication.

If you are interested in learning more about The Sign of the Eagle please check out my website .


Get to know Rosanne Lortz

I am so happy to welcome Rosanne Lortz this morning.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy getting to know her as much as I have.

  • When did you first start writing?
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had one or two half-finished stories in the works. My favorite projects were re-writing fables and fairy tales. “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” was one that I was particularly proud of–it was renamed “The Ant Who Cried Wolf,” and I had changed the characters into ants, aphids, and ladybugs.
  • What did you do with your earliest efforts? Do you still have them?
Regrettably, all of my earliest stories have gone the way of lost laundry socks. The one thing I do still have is my poetry journal, which contains adaptations of familiar stanzas like “Roses are red, violets are blue….” I still look at it frequently, and read excerpts to my students when I’m teaching a poetry class. It’s part of my pep talk to get high schoolers not to be embarrassed about showing their poetic efforts. “Hey, if I’m sharing with you something this awful that I wrote, you don’t have to be embarrassed to share any of your poems with the class.”
  • What made you choose to write in the genre you write in?
It wasn’t until I went to college that I knew I wanted to write about history. My history professor, inspired me with a love of historical research and primary sources. During my senior year, I wrote a hundred page thesis entitled: The Life and Death of Saint Thomas Becket: Type of Paul, Type of Peter, Type of Christ. While my fellow classmates groaned and agonized over their theses, I found (to my surprise) that writing mine was a lot of fun! I savored my sources, raced through my writing, and even derived a mysterious satisfaction from formulating footnotes. Loving to write stories and loving historical research turns out to be a great combination for writing historical fiction. Continue reading

History A'la Carte 10-17-12

And now, a  new installment of History a’la Carte for your Thursday enjoyment. I am always amazed to find out how much I didn’t know that I didn’t know.

Trying out a new format with week with article blurbs.  Tell me what you think about it–keep it this way or go back to the previous list only?

  • Regency mourning and burial customs
      • … unless you were very wealthy, having new mourning clothing sewn or garments set aside for the occasion was not possible. Most people made due with an existing wardrobe by dying to a dark color…Hats would be covered with black crepe, the bright ribbons or flowers removed. In some cases even that was not an option, the mourner left to adorn their plainest garments with a black ribbon or armband…
  • Cancer and medicine in the middle ages
      • …The Medieval belief was that black bile was systemic.  It wasn’t located in just one place.  Unless there was something wrong and it built up in a particular area.  Those log-jam build-ups of black bile were also known as tumors…
  • A fashion Accessory to Avoid–Hair Shirts
      • …Louis could be the poster child for cilices as a fashion accessory.  He so valued his hair-shirt and eventually (when persistent irritation to the skin on his torso caused his physicians to advise Louis him to set such shirts aside) his hair-belt (you don’t want to know where he wore that) that he left a used hair-belt to his daughter upon his death…
  • Politeness never goes out of style
      • …“In preparing a book of etiquette for ladies, I would lay down as the first rule, ‘Do unto others as you would others should do to you.”…politeness is inevitable if you follow this rule.    Faux pas made because of lack of etiquette knowledge are overcome by politeness.
  • Tudor Era Watering holes
      • London then, even in Tudor times, was a city of great variety, especially in terms of its eating places and watering holes. Whether you were a poor man looking for a quick bite to eat in your daily search for work, or an important merchant wishing to impress your clients or entertain a courtesan behind your wife’s back, London had the perfect spot for you.
  • A History of Clowns
      • The term “clown” is a derivative of cloyne from roughly the 1560s, meaning “rustic, boor, peasant.” The origin is uncertain, but perhaps from Scandinavian dialect (Icelandic klunni “clumsy, boorish fellow;” Swed. kluns “a hard knob, a clumsy fellow”), or akin to N.Fris. klönne, a “clumsy person,” or less likely from Latin colonus, “colonist, farmer”…
  • The Hidden Treasure Captured by Sir Francis Drake
      • But the key moment was when he captured a small fleet of transports loaded mostly with wood ‘about 16 or 17 hundred ton in weight.’ To a pirate like Drake, whose eyes glinted with Spanish gold, this may have seemed something of a disappointment at first. But he was smart enough, all the same, to know how important this cargo was, and exactly what to do with it.
  • Medical superstitions
      • …In Devon, to cure the quartan ague, you baked the patient’s urine into a cake, then fed the cake to a dog, who would take on the disease….
  • At the heart of a great estate is…
      • Now, there are two significant types of great landowners in the 18th century–the aristocratic Whig grandees who pretty much spend their time running the country, but who are rather less hands-on in regards to their estates, and the vast majority of Tory land-owning gentry, who are very hands-on.
  • A Visit to the Regency Era Opera
      • Female performers were seen as glorified prostitutes and shunned by society, which had some basis in fact Dorothea Jordan, had a long-running and much-publicized affair with the duke of Clarence, bearing him ten children
  • The London Tornado of 1091
      • A huge tornedo occurred on October 17th 1091 during the reign of King William II (called Rufus). This was the first recorded tornado in the British isles and it hit London hard. It is estimated to have been about T8 strength.
  • Defining the London Season
      • The English custom of the elite in society passing months in London rather than their country homes began somewhere in the 17th century and continued to dominate the culture until well after WWI.
  • The Lady’s Monthly Museum
      • ….  The contents include … articles titled:  Impostors, The Generous Host, Habit, a series of invented letters called The Old Woman, three chapters of a  serialised romance by the title of The Castle De Warrenne, the Editor’s Reply to Mrs. Saveall’s Letterwith some useful hints upon the government of the Temper, On Celibacy and Marriage, A Character, The Poor Sailor Boy, On a Passage in Sterne…and last, but not least, Jane of Flanders; Or, the Siege of Hennebonne, Scene III of a Drama in Two Acts which is continued from Volume IV (perfect for home dramatics)

A Layered Pages Interview with Helen Hollick

Found this at Layered Pages and though you guys might enjoy meeting Helen Hollick.

Interview with Author Helen Hollick

I would like to introduce Author Helen Hollick, winner of the BRAG Medallion…

Helen, I would like to begin by asking you about your reading interests. What was the last truly great book you’ve read?

The last book I read from cover to cover without much of a pause was Elizabeth Chadwick’s Lady of the English. I was fascinated because, although I know a little about the war between Stephen and Matilda, I had absolutely no idea that Adeliza, widow of Henry I had even existed. It was a great thrill to read a beautifully written novel, and learn some accurate history at the same time.

Have you ever read a book and afterward wish you’d never read it?

Yes. I used to plod on, hoping that something would get better, but I now rarely continue reading books that have not grabbed my interest by page 50 – my sight isn’t so good and I have too big a “to be read” pile to waste time reading something that has not enticed me into the story. What is also disappointing is to read a good, exciting, novel only to find the end falls flat!

What were your favorite books as a child?

Mostly pony stories. I so desperately wanted a pony of my own – reading about ponies was the next best thing. Jill’s Gymkhana by Ruby Ferguson was always my favourite. I was given it as a birthday present (I think I was about 9) I still have the book (and I still enjoy reading it!)

What is on your night stand?

I am reading Jenny Barden’s debut novel Mistress of the Sea

Of the books you have written, which is your favorite?

This is an unfair question LOL! It’s like asking a mother which one of her children is her favourite! The Kingmaking is special because it was my first published novel; Harold the King (entitled I am the Chosen King in the US) is favourite because Harold is a hero of mine. The Forever Queen is special because that is the first of my books to hit the bestseller listings, and Sea Witch is a favourite because I put my soul into writing it. So if I had to choose I’d pick…. Um….

I recently read, Sea Witch and enjoyed it very much! Please tell your audience a little about it.

Sea Witch is a blend of Sharpe meets Indiana Jones with a mix of Hornblower and Pirates of the Caribbean. It is the first of a pirate-based adventure fantasy series: with the fantasy being on the “plausible” side (as opposed to something magical like Harry Potter). I planned the series as an adventure romp at sea, with romance, action, a touch of mystery and a journey for my two main protagonists – Captain Jesamiah Acorne and his girlfriend/wife, Tiola. Think of it as a sailor’s yarn – fun to write, fun to read. I wrote Sea Witch because I loved the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie (and Jack Sparrow swept me off my feet). I wanted to read something that was similar, but all the sea stores were straight historical nautical fiction – Patrick O’Brian, C.S. Forrester, Julian Stockwin. Great books, but there’s not much “romance” and no fantasy – Jack Aubrey and Hornblower are wonderful characters but they aren’t Jack Sparrow! I couldn’t find a “pirate fix”…. So I wrote one myself.

Read the rest at: Layered Pages: Interview with Helen Holllick


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