Friday, May 25, 2007

Great Review for 'After the War, Before the Peace'

Quite a week. Two rejections for short stories and one GREAT book review. Won't dwell on the rejections, have already resubmitted them to other places. Joyce Handzo read my 'After the War, Before the Peace' and gave it a rating of 9, the highest rating for her website of The Library Reviews. Don't know when it will appear on their site, but her review was wonderful! She loved my brothers and their story. Other than that it's been a slow week for any writing news. Oh, I did join a web site called Book Place. A lot of the Virtual Tales folks have joined it, so I thought it couldn't hurt. It's another venue to make folks aware of my 'Hannah', which by the way is on its last few episodes before I turn it into an ebook. Eventually, it will become a POD. Nice to have two books in print! One of my rejections was for my novelette 'Finding Amy'. I had sent it to a romance on-line publisher of ebooks. They felt it wasn't romance per se because of a rape scene between a husband and wife and a speculative ending. Oh, well, one man's junk is another's prize. They didn't say it was junk, just not for them and felt I should submit it to a more mainstream site. I did. Still waiting to hear from a POD publisher on 'Deborah's Story', the sequel to 'After the War, ...' As it's said, no news is good news. No meeting with Dave this week on my novel 'Abby' because I had to pick up friends in Vegas and his daughter is visiting. Dave & I meet again next Thursday. I'm really into my Dean Koontz book, Darkfall', that I'm reading for my monthly book club. I don't like the creepy, crawly voodoo things, but the overall story is a chick lit, crime story. I'm enjoying it more than I thought I would. As to personal stuff, my new air conditioner was sent to the wrong city and I still don't have it. Good thing the evaporative coolers are working so good. The local A/C installer is blaming it on AHS and AHS is blaming it on the local A/C installers. I tend to believe AHS. Thursday moringing I heard water running and found my hot water heater exploding! I turned off the water and called AHS. Friday morning a local plumber showed up and installed a new one! Again, only cost $55! Yahoo, that AHS insurance is great! Oh, and on my way to pick up my friends in Vegas, I stopped at a small casino in Searchlight, NV and won $80! So, all in all, a good week. So, I'm off to bed for sweet dreams about the great review of 'After the War, Before the Peace.'

Monday, May 21, 2007

Writer groups and wisdom from Isaac Asimov

Let's see, what's happened since last posting. Had a fun luncheon with Lois and JOan at Chuey's. We were celebrating JOan's birthday. As always, it was a great time. She is always so positive and encouraging. Met with Dave and gave him my final thoughts on his 'rite of passage' story. Good story with interesting takes on life and surroundings as interpreted by a teenage boy. I felt he got a little heaving with some Vietnam War info. I think he can use some of it, but it has to be in 1st person to match the rest of the story. He gave me feedback on 'Abby'. He is upset with Abby and feels she's a user of people. Boo Hoo :-( I mean for her to be a doer, with a positive attitude. I'll have to look at his remarks and maybe tone Abby down some. Then, Thursday night was our monthly meeting at Hasting. Only five showed up, but heard some good stories. Dave read some deep poetry that stirred everyone. Vivian was all excited as she shared her recent cruise and trip to New York. Saturday was our local writer's group meeting. Small group, but good crits. We had time, so we really talked the stories through. I submitted my story 'Weathering a Storm' to FlashXer. The feedback was mostly negative as to the plot believability. Seems a man can't know his wife is having an affair and have him react with reconciliation vs anger. Did get a couple of positives. Guess we're the romantics in the group. I sent my 'Happy Faces' story out to Flashers-Dozen and DeskDrawer. Also, got negative crits regarding the plot. Guess a man's baby MUST be his own, no matter how happy a child makes his wife. What great groups to get such good feedback. I should quit one of them, but I do like the people and would miss several of them, so I do, at least, the minimum requirements each month. Hope to get to submitting again tomorrow. I have a quote by Isaac Asimov tacked by my computer. 'You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist.' Thank you, Mr. Asimov, for the proverbial kick in the butt!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A little of this, a little of that ...

It's been another wild week and I've been lax with my blog, again. I'm hopeless. Let's see what's happened in the past week or so. Had my local writer's meeting. We crit our prompt of 'writer's block'. It was fun. Almost everyone took a different approach, so it made for an interesting session. Then on Thurs. I had my meeting with Dave with our one-on-one crit of our novels. His story of a young man's rite of passage took a turn for growth and I liked his main characters better in these chapters. Lot's of growth. Then he educated me about guns. I had one of my characters use a Derringer and fire five shots. Problem is a Derringer only has two shots! Good catch on his part. Then Thurs. night Lois, JOan and I had our monthly meeting. Good feedback, good motivation and lots of good camaraderie. Then on Saturday, we had our local book club. We reviewed the books of Carl Hiaasen. He's a light read, with crazy characters working their way through a thin plot. I read 'Skinny Dip'. I'd read another of his books and so would most of the members. Then a friend and I went up to Laughlin for a night and went to see country singer, Vince Gill. He put on a two hour show. He covered a lot of music styles - country, blues, bluegrass and jazz. Did a lot of talking with the audience that gave you a feeling of 'knowing' him. It was fun. Monday, I took my blind, 93-year-old fellow writer, Shirley Wolford, over to the local bookstore to place two of her latest novels. She is amazing! She has one more book about to go to her editor. She may do a book signing this fall. Like I said, she is amazing. Also, got another chapter of 'Hannah' done. It may be my second to last before I'm able to put an end on the story. Then, it will be offered as an ebook. I really had a lot of action and introduced an old type of switchblade into the story. Thank goodness for the Internet for some research on what was available in the 1880s in Texas. I'm anxious to get June's feedback. She is such a great editor. I've got quite a few submissions out there that I'm waiting to hear back on. Got two rejections! Oh well, their loss! :-) Right? :-) Oh, and on top of everything else, I got around to applying for my passport for our trip to Alaska. I hope I get it in time. We will only be on the ground for 2 hours in BC, but because of that, we'll need to go through immigration when we get to Anchorage. Also, had the A/C company that installed my new A/C out to check about it's poor output. Seems they put in too small of a unit. They apologized and are going to replace it this week. Good thing it's been hot, but dry, so my evaporative coolers are keeping the place cool.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Why We Write?

On one of my on-line writer groups, a member posted an excerpt from an essay "Why I Write" by George Orwell. I found it interesting so I've copied it here.

'Putting aside the need to earn a living, I think there are four great motives for writing, at any rate for writing prose. They exist in different degrees in every writer, and in any one writer the proportions will vary from time to time, according to the atmosphere in which he is living. They are:
(i) Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc. It is humbug to pretend this is not a motive, and a strong one. Writers share this characteristic with scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers, soldiers, successful businessmen — in short, with the whole top crust of humanity. The great mass of human beings are not acutely selfish. After the age of about thirty they almost abandon the sense of being individuals at all — and live chiefly for others, or are simply smothered under drudgery. But there is also the minority of gifted, willful people who are determined to live their own lives to the end, and writers belong in this class. Serious writers, I should say, are on the whole more vain and self-centered than journalists, though less interested in money.'

To be honest, I see a lot of myself in this excerpt. As I think about my writer friends, I see a lot of it in them, too. The two things that jumped out at me was the 'determined to live their own lives' and 'less interested in money' observations. As to the 'on the whole more vain and self-centered.' No way! :-) Anyway, I thought it was an insightful piece. I'm trying to get back in the submission groove. Sent out three this week. Whahoo! My one-on-one book review with Dave is going well. He's creating a 'rite of passage'saga. He's walking a fine line with the boy's sexual awakening. He's staying vivid, without being lurid. Nice work. His crits of my 'Abby' are insightful and will help me tighten the work. Tomorrow is my meeting with my local writers group. We'll crit the 'Writer's Block' assignment and submit a 'writer's choice' piece. I had a brain fade and didn't hold my writer's block sub to 250 words. Darn. I like that exercise. It has really helped me cut to the chase in my work. Got to run. The laundry is calling me. Out to dinner Wednesday night, out last night and out again tonight! Yahoo!