Mark D Swartz Mark D Swartz

Best-selling author of non-fiction. Former columnist with a leading North American newspaper. Follow me as I work on my first novel - a thought provoking story with unexpected twists.

All articles by Mark D Swartz

 

Let AI Choose Your Babysitter – Not!

Predictim Halts Launch But Raises Alarms Who wouldn’t want AI to choose which babysitter you hire? Predictim thought it was such a great idea it staked its business model on it. “Piece of mind for families” is their comforting motto. At Least They’re Honest About Questionable Claims Except their Disclaimer reads...
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Mark’s Review of Thomas Wolfe’s Kingdom Of Speech

My rating: 3 of 5 stars Eloquently argued, though tendentious to the point of screed. Thomas Wolfe eviscerates the theories of Charles Darwin (evolution based on natural selection) and Noam Chomsky (linguistics as an innate language acquisition device that produces a universal grammar). An Informative Lecture I love how it...
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First Experience With A Cover Designer On Fiverr Was Meh

NEEDED A MOCKUP JUST TO SEE HOW IT MIGHT LOOK So…my first experience with a cover designer on Fiverr. In one word: bleh. In good part it was my fault, because I was in a hurry and didn’t want to spend more than $150 Cdn total for all four unique...
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Researching Intersex For My Protagonist

Intersex. Non-binary biology. DSD (Differences in Sexual Development). This condition used to be known as “hermaphrodite,” a term that today is considered neither technically accurate nor socially acceptable. The more I find out about it the more I understand why. I chose to give my protagonist intersex biology. Why? For...
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Some Pros & Cons of HootSuite for Managing My Social Media Posts

So, been using HootSuite for a while to help me centrally manage my social media postings. It’s tagline is, after all, “Manage all your social media in one place.” Thing is I have mixed opinions about this tool. It does enable me to organize my Tweets, Posts and Updates in...
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How I Increased My Twitter Impressions 2,000% vs. Month Ago

My initial #pre-marketing efforts are bearing fruit. As a novice novelist-in-process I consider Twitter a key social media property. @MarkDSwartz is gaining some traction. Here’s how I increased twitter organic impressions 2,000 percent over a 28 day period, May to June 2017. Not Starting From Scratch Note that I’d worked...
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Briefly Meeting Camilla Gibb 20 Years Ago – Part 1

I was visiting GoodReads the other day, updating my profile as I prepare to pre-market myself as a novelist-in-process. On a whim I checked out the page of a writer whose oeuvre, and reputation, has soared over the past two decades. It turns out her debut novel (Mouthing The Words)...
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Deciding On My Social Media Strategy

Of all the pre-writing promotional tactics at my beck and call, deciding on my social media strategy tops the list. Which for me is kind of a shame, since I’m not thrilled about the constant self-boasting – and artificially polished imagery – that saturates the web. Is this something of...
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Smiling Children With Down Syndrome On French TV Controversy

The debate about how to represent images of children with Down Syndrome on French TV rages on. “Smiling Down Syndrome Kids Banned from French TV in Case they Offend Post-Abortive Women” by Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.  Nov 24 2016. France’s Conseil d’État (State Council) has confirmed its ban of the award-winning...
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Must Children With Down Syndrome Be Beautiful To Be Accepted?

Down Syndrome Beauty Asher Nash is a beautiful 15 month old child. His parents felt he was so adorable they submitted his photo to a talent agency that was looking for kids to represent OshKosh in advertisements. The agency did not present Asher’s photos to their client. Emails appear to...
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Have Started Novel Pre-Writing In Earnest

And so it begins. The adventure I’d been forced to defer for years is upon me. My keyboard is getting a workout. There’s the 15 pages of “What If’s” to help spark plot and character concepts. Another 10 pages of “Starting Stuff,” in which I outline my idealized reader (curious...
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Aziz Ansari Find Funny in Empathy

How encouraging to see that empathy – the understanding and sharing of emotions and experiences of another person (Merriam-Webster.com) – is a focus in the upcoming Netflix sitcom Master of None. In an age of Twitter storms and social shouting, does it sometimes feel that listening-to-understand gets quashed? I, for...
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Should Parents Choose Intersex Gender?

According to an excellent Daily Beast article on intersex children and gender choice, “Even as transgender rights progress, intersex children are still left in legal limbo.” Here’s the crux of this piece, which deals with should parents choose the gender of their intersex children: ‘…left out of all this good...
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Finally I have my branding: CoFictions

It took a while but I’ve decided to use CoFictions as the primary branding for my fiction self-publishing endeavors. It captures the essence of targeting specific category readers (and their particular genres) in ways that broaden the reach of a an individual work of fiction. Can’t say more than that...
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Reading Richard Ford’s “The Lay Of The Land”

I am now about 110 pages into the second novel of Richard Ford’s Bascombe trilogy. So far it reflects the author’s penchant for reflective writing and the search for meaning in the banality of daily living. It is challenging to find Bascombe a truly sympathetic character at this point. Sure...
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More thoughts on Naming

Was pondering the naming architecture further. What about “Categorate?” Sounds more professional – but still awkward and contrived – compared to Categorify (or Categoryfy, or Categorafy, all three of which I’ve registered. Will continue to explore the naming hierarchy for my self-publishing brand. More thoughts on naming may seem like...
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Nomenclature for genrefying is coming along

I’m thinking of substituting one of the following terms with regard to branding my  self-published fiction: cogenre genrafy cosubject subjectafy cocategory categorafy coversioning versionafy Will be giving this more consideration in near future. For now I just wanted to get these terms into the public sphere in case I need...
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An Intersex vs. Hermaphrodite Naming Tiff

MY IGNORANT ERROR I logged into Twitter recently for the first time in a while, and learned that I had committed an intersex vs. hermaphrodite naming faux pas. A few weeks ago someone in the intersex community had @replied to me. This person, an intersex advocate, reasonably pointed out that I had...
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Is Cli-Fi A New Genre?

Climate Fiction. I first heard of it just today, though apparently it’s been around since concerns over climate change first emerged. That’s decades ago. Remember Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring? Back in 1962 she sounded the alarm over our planet’s altered ecosystem. She was labelled an alarmist by many. However today...
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My Intent Is To Genrefy My Writing

One of the differentiating elements of my debut novel is the notion of genrefying it. As an author who has begun to write my first novel, and as an appreciator of the need to market oneself uniquely and in a targeted manner – especially when self-publishing, as I plan to...
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Insulting Autsim Commercial That Ends Hopefully?

Video Starts By Vilifying Autism The video here claims to be the work of #AutismSpeaks, a controversial organization that advocates in the autism realm. The entire first half of the vignette depicts autism as taking delight in ruining lives. For instance, it says “I will make sure your marriage fails,”...
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Some Reasons Not To Change An Autistic Person

From a concerned mother: RT @mamabegood (Brenda Rothman) “The response to autism has usually been to work on changing the child. If they are highly reactive to noise, we think we need to get them used to it. If they are playing alone and not with others, we think we need to...
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Should Religious Conscience Justify Discrimination Against Gays?

Discrimination. It is supposed to be outlawed by the government and constitution. So should we allow exceptions if your religious beliefs conflict with legal reality? According to the Christian Post, “The #ACLU is busy chipping away at religious freedom in our country again. They have successfully brought suit in the...
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Are People With Autism An Endangered Species?

Are People With Autism Endangered? The Autism Right To Life Debate – it’s raging now that “cures” and embryo therapy are being developed in earnest. There will come a time in the not too distant future when we’ll have the medical technology to “fix” embryos with genetic markers for Autism...
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Brief Review of Superb Novel The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini My rating: 5 of 5 stars A beautifully written, evocative novel of growing up in a society riven by war, betrayals and efforts toward redemption. Afghanistan in the mid 1970’s serves as the early backdrop as two young friends, star-crossed by class yet inseparable,...
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Broke 1,000 Twitter Followers

Hit some important (though not earth shattering) social media landmarks yesterday. As of this morning: FB Friends 885, Page Likes 305. Yesterday morning I broke 1,000 Twitter Followers. But of those, at least 70 were garbage. So I used Unfollow.me and ManageFlitter.com to prune them, forcing “unfollows” of the junk...
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Book Review: “The Hypnotist” by Sarah Sheard

The Hypnotist is the first book I read by Toronto psychotherapist and author Sarah Sheard. It was back in 2001, at a time when I was contemplating becoming a novelist who, like Sheard, would draw upon their professional experience to inform a book’s plot and themes. I ended up focusing on my nonficton writing...
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Try and fail, but don’t fail to try

Try and fail, but don’t fail to try...
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