Thursday, January 31, 2008

AAA LLLooonnnggg DDDaaayyy

Just got home at 11:30! What a day. Left the house at 7:30 a.m. First it was off to exercise, then Republican Headquarters for three hours, then Patti and I headed over to Bullhead City for a trip to Smart & Final, then lunch at the Panda Express (yummy orange chicken), then over to Laughlin for a trip to the factory stores, then to The Watchman for watch batteries and and finally a little gambling at the Riverside, then the Avi. No big win tonight!

But, the good part of my day was that I moved 'Lita' along before I left this a.m. Not sure how good the episode was, but I'll find out when I edit tomorrow.

Did some editing on my 'Regardless'. It's still my favorite of the six I've written, but alas my guys will probably never break free from being between the opening word and 'The End'. Too controversial and too cross genre!

Got an email from a Wings ePress author, Harley, with a list of questions for an interview with Shirley about her new novel. I let him know I'm book solid until Sunday night and suggested he call Lorraine or Shirley directly. I feel bad about not doing it, but I am so booked up with things to do until then that I just can't fit it in. Hope Shirley understands.

I'm tired! I think I hear my pillow calling so ciao!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

An Acceptance!!

At last, Shirley's pre-book release data is complete. In fact, the editor liked the interview questions I sent. I'll look forward to the release date on Feb. 1. And, to the dinner Shirley is treating me to at Shugrue's!

Moved 'Lita' along again today. Not sure about this section. A lot of 'walking around' phrases. I think maybe there will be some tightening up when I edit tomorrow.

Got a real surprise today. Received an email from the editor of Laughter Loaf. The ezine has been on hiatus due to illness, but he's bringing it back for Feb. He had my short story 'National Save the Quill Day' sceduled for last year, but it never happened. So, he wants to use it for Feb. Of course, I agreed. What a nice surprise!!

Had a lot of errands to run today, still I managed to send off my short story 'Becoming Her Own Woman' to Copper Nickel a Univ. of Colo. anthology. They won't read it until next month, but at least they have it.

Talked with Kim tonight. Always a pleasure. How did I raise such a wonderful woman!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Helping a Friend

What a day! Phew, I'm tired. Started off with taking care of Shirley's requirements with her editor. Then it got more complicated. They needed a 'teaser' (an excerpt from the book) and Shirley's bio. I managed to get that together by using Shirley's website and a steamy paragraph from the story. Then, I find out that each author must 'interview' another author who is to be published on the 1st. So, I had to create questions for a stranger, then answer questions from another stranger. Fortunately, I had a prototype from the interview I gave to Long Story Short. I cut it down and set it out to someone named Eleanor. She answered quickly and I forwarded it on to the publisher. Then I got a request from a writer named Harley. I referred him to Shirley's website. I hope he can work from that. I admire Shirley and really don't mind doing this, but it was an awful lot in a very short time. I hope all is done now and that they will do a good job for Shirley.

In the midst of all this, I moved 'Lita' along. I think I like it. I'll know when I edit it tomorrow. Sometimes it's hard to put what I've written away until the next day without editing it, but I find I spot more areas to improve if I've walked away from it for while.

I did manage to crit a FlashXer piece today from Joan. It was good to see her subbing again. But, alas, no submissions were sent today. Sad! Tomorrow, for sure.

Went to the scholarship selection meeting today for the Pioneers. As a whole, the caliber of the seniors asking for awards was the poorest I've seen in the dozen or more years I've worked on the committee. Their ability to write an essay about themselves and their goals was for the most part sub par. We finally decided on two, but we really didn't find much to get excited about.

Dave called this evening. He and Nancy wanted me to come over to see the Blues Bros., but I was with the girls at bingo.

Monday, January 28, 2008

To Blog or Not - Benefits Still Not Clear

Well, the blog forum has come and gone. A little over a dozen folks showed up. I gave a quick over view, with a handout, of the why, how and results of a personal blog. Prof. Mark showed up and took over the program. He provided a thick handout with lots of info and he was a good speaker. But, well you could see the but coming, I was hoping for a beginner to expert program, but he directed us to high hit blogs to show how they can be used to gather info. I was hoping to discover ways to improve a beginner's site (he did mention graphics and music additions draw folks) and how to draw people to it. Still, it was worth the trip to the college for some of the info and it was good to see several of the folks. It seems like ages since our last writer's meeting. I'm soooo looking forward to Saturday.

Interesting day for writing. First, I moved 'Lita' along. Got that baby delivered. Now, I have to save Lita's life. What fun!

Then, I received a call from Shirley. She had the galleys for her novel sent to me for a final look. Her editor needs it yesterday. She needed me to call her editor and work out a time frame. I told her today was totally booked. But, she is such an inspiration that I couldn't totally turn her down. I told her I'll try to do it tomorrow a.m. I called her editor and she says if she doesn't get it soon, Shirley will miss the first of the month publishing date. I'd hate for that to happen, but I can only do what I can. Tomorrow a.m. should do it.

I was working on a book submission when Shirley called. Anne had sent me some agents/publishers in England, so I found one that looked like a match. I sent out my my query letter that speaks to all my novels, but I did focus on 'Abby' and gave a descriptive paragraph. I emailed the letter, an 'Abby' synopsis, a resume and a short bio. Will be interesting to see if the agency responds.

Also, still haven't answered Susan's letters asking for advice on writing. I'll have to do that tomorrow. I still haven't figured out what to tell her about writer's block as I've never had it.

After the forum, Lois and I went to Bob's. We were bad and had a scrumptious desert!! Hell, one needs to treat oneself now and again. And it was a treat!!!! Indeed!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

To End in a Preposition or Not, That is the Question...

Good writing day. Started by helping Shirley to edit her ebook. She is in favor of ending her sentences with prepositions and apparently this doesn't sit well with her editor. But Shirley held her ground. It is her writer's voice and I respect her for staying firm. As for me, I try not to do it, but occasionally no other word will work.

Then it was on to 'Lita'! Moved along nicely today. Going at the speed and direction I like. Feels good to be 'walking' with the Ferrells again.

Hope to get in some crits for Flasher's-Dozen tonight. That will make my writing day complete.

Tomorrow is the blog forum. I have my outline as to what to say, but my real hope for the program is to learn how to make it more inviting and to get folks to the site to see my links to 'After the War, Before the Peace' and 'Hannah'. I think if people check out the sites, they'll be interested. So, I'll keep this short tonight and work some more on the presentation. Should have lots to share tomorrow!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Tomorrow, for sure!

Not too much writing again today, but was able to move 'Lita' along. I'm past the 'not sure' stage and feel good about the direction of the story now. Worked some more on my writer's scrapbook and got my published books noted. After all this time, it still feels good to see my byline under a story.

In one of the older publications is a poem that was constructed using random lines from other poems. It was an assignment from one of my college profs. It isn't great by any means, but every time I read it, I see something new in it.

Finished the newsletter, I mean really finished. It's copied, stuffed, labeled and stamped. I'll mail it tomorrow.

Looked at Shirley Wolford's draft from her editor. Looks like it will need very little editing, so I'll call her tomorrow and get it sent back to her editor. Amazing women - 93, blind and can't walk - still she writes. She is truly an inspiration!

Still haven't answered Susan's questions about writer's block and sentence length. tomorrow for sure.

Also, formed an outline for the Blog forum on Monday. Tomorrow, I'll get it down on paper. There's really not much to say. I did it, I play with it, I share it, but mostly no one sees it. Still, I really enjoy pulling it up each day and adding to my tracking of my writing. But, I do hate to admit, like today, that I didn't submit anything today. Tomorrow, for sure!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Characters telling stories

Lots of writing today, but not my creative kind. Oh, I did manage to move 'Lita' along. Interesting, I thought. In fact, I read a paragraph to Patti and she thought it worked well. We talked a little about characters and how a writer draws them depending on the writer's own experiences. Can men be strong, but soft? Can they be firm without being brutal? In my world they can, but in my world they can also be brutal, so it's all back to how each character tells his/her side of a story to the writer. At least, that seems to be how it works with me.

As to the other writing that filled my day, it was the Pioneer newsletter. I hate spending the time doing it, but I do enjoy the actual creation of articles. This was a four pager!

I received an email from Cindi via Flashers-Dozen today, so she has joined. What a great addition to the group. I called her and we have a movie/coffee time set for Sunday. I enjoy visiting with her and listening to her take on writing and life in general.

No submissions today. I must get back to subbing my books out. Counting 'Lita', I've now got eight novels written and over 275 short stories. I must try to get my work out there. I did promise myself I'd do it this year and it's only January, so there's still hope!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Crits & Hastings - A Good Day

An all day 'writing' day. First, I moved 'Lita' along. I'm pleased with the new direction. Then, gathered up my crit of Dave's 'Drift' and we had our bi-weekly meeting. It was interesting in that I think we bring good perspectives to each other. I see human type things that need to be brought into Dave's story and he shows me where I'm not portraying a typical male reaction in certain situations. Lots of things to think about and to use to smarten up our stories. Then, had a great beans and cornbread dinner prepared by Nancy. Delicious!!

Then, it was off to Hastings for our monthly readings. Small, but verbal, group in attendance - Vivian, Rob, Jilma, Anne, Dave, Lois and me. Of course, the stories/poems read were outstanding, at least in my opinion. I shared my 'S' alliteration piece and it got a lot of laughs.

The group was interested in submission techniques, so I said I'd bring some samples to the next meeting. Also, we talked about blogs and the Blog Forum at the college on Monday. I'm still not sure how much help I'll be, but I can explain why I did it, how I did it and what I ultimately hope it will accomplish.

It rained this morning. Just a little, but enough to wet the streets and dust everything off.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Compliments, ah ......

Busy day, still I managed to move 'Lita' forward. Also, got an email from Michelle on DeskDrawer about a Sci-Fi contest with no entry fee and the winners get published in an upcoming anthology. So, I sent 'Worth the Ride'. Can't hurt.

Ran into Pat at Safeway today. All is set-up for the blog forum on the 28th. She said the Prof. in the computer lab has a nice program ready. All I need to do is speak about why and how I started a blog.

Then, in the same store I ran into Anne. She's back from Colorado. It was like a mutual admiration society. She said nice things about me and my writing, the same things I think about her. She'll be at Hastings tomorrow which will be a great addition. We talked about marketing our books in England. She found an on-line list of agents/publishers in England and emailed it to me. I think I found a couple that may be interested. I hope to find the time to at least email query them in the next couple of days.

Then, I ran into Marian from my Republican Women's club. She is reading my book and she had some really nice things to say about it and about my writing. Gosh I love hearing that they like my characters. The club is doing a feature story on her this month. She is going to recommend they do one on me. Can't hurt.

The 20 'After the War, Before the Peace' books I ordered from Xlibris have arrived. I'm glad to get them before Spring Fling and it will be nice to have them for the forum on the 28th.

Tomorrow I meet with Dave for our one-on-one crits. His 'Drift' is quite brutal, but quite sad. He certainly knows how to tell a tale. Poor guy is having to crit my chick lit, but it's nice to get the male POV.

Had to bring the goodies for the club bingo tonight. I think I shocked everyone by actually baking some cookies. Of course, I had cheese cake for back up!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sex for the Sake of Sex?

Slow writing day. Although I did move 'Lita' along. Today was a love scene. Hope I managed to get the right balance between relevant character development and sex for sex sake. After I edit it tomorrow, I'll have a good idea if it worked or not, then when I have Dave crit it, I'll get more feedback.

Oh, I did do some other type of writing today, my Pioneer newsletter. It's so different than fiction. I have to be so careful of facts. I don't envy the work a non-fiction writer has to put in to get the facts correct. I like my make believe world where I'm the creator and if I say it works, it works. So different than real life!

I am just about done getting all my press clippings and info on my writing put into a scrapbook. I worried for awhile about how it would look, but the truth is I'll probably be the only one who looks at it. Also, putting a copy of all my published stories, both on-line and in print, in a notebook. I'm actually enjoying looking at some of those that got published three or four years ago.

Got another email from Susan today. She and her girlfriend have questions about putting words together. I'll have to analyse their queries and give them feedback. I'm flattered that they ask.

Stayed home most of the day, except for this evening. I went to bingo with Sharon, Shirley and Wanda. Shirley won, but the rest of us just had fun! Streets are starting to get tore up all over the neighborhood as the sewer project goes forward. Pretty soon no one will be able to get to our house in this area! Grrrr. with that, I'll leave now and get some beauty sleep. Adieu!

Monday, January 21, 2008

What If ...

Had lunch with Shirley Wolford today. She's 93, blind and can hardly walk, yet still she wants to write. She has two thirds of a story written and has found a collaborator who wants to work with her to get it completed. She is a strong personality and I'm not sure she would be easy to work with, but she has PASSION for the art of the written word. During our conversations today, she talked about the frustration she feels in not being able to go to her office and sit down to her computer and write. For her, writing is her reason for living. She made me think about what I would do in her shoes and I must admit it was a frightening thought. It brought home my thoughts about making the most of the time we have here. It's all we're guaranteed. For all we know, that's all there is - no heaven, no hell - just first breath to last. It must be used wisely!

Got another email from niece Susan asking what to do about writer's block. She says that often during the day she has dozens of ideas for stories. Then, she sits down at her computer and draws a blank. I haven't answered her yet. Not sure what to say. I've never had that problem. Oh, some days what I've written is really bad, but still it is words that I put together and can either add to/subtract from/delete them. No writer's blank for me, so I'll have to ponder for a day or so as to how I should answer her question.

Moved 'Lita' along. In fact, moved them to a new scenario. They are back in Ciudad Acuna. Also, managed to send out five crits today. Always a fun thing to do. And, I sent a not off to Sandra about Cindie joining Flasher's Dozen and Sandra sent her an invite. I look forward to reading her work. Also, sent off a short story today to a place called 7th Dimension.

I heard from Do and she will miss the next two writer's meeting. She's taking a trip to Mexico. She certainly does travel. Spain in the summer, Havasu in the winter and now Mexico.

Had a board meeting at the property owners assoc. tonight. Only two more meetings and I'm off the board!!! Lots of talk of finances tonight, but not much expertise to make financial decisions. Isn't that always the way! Well, just heard my 'you've got mail' buzz, so I'll sing off for now. slàn leat!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Writer's Need Second Jobs?

Nothing exciting the past couple of days on my writing. Just sending thanks to those who looked up and read my story on Apollo's Lyre. Oh, I did call a local writer who read my blog and was interested in my three on-line writer's groups. I like all of them, but I think she'd get the most benefit out of Flasher's-dozen. It's small and almost all subs are critted. I warned her that some of the crits get a little rough and edgy, but she's ready for it and she would be such a benefit to the group what with her being an English teacher.

Moved 'Lita' along. Took my own advice and just data-dumped and it really moved. I think it was a good scene. Now, when I edit it tomorrow, I'll see if I feel the same.

I got a kick out of an email from my niece Susan. She says she wants to be a writer, too. She wanted to know if you need to hold down a second job until one's writing begins to make money. I told her YES! But, I also told her that if she wants to be a writer, that she should go for it and be persistent. I told her not to wait until she's retired, keep at it while you're young.

Also, my grandson Alex wrote an interesting piece about his ski trip to Whistler, Canada. I don't think he aspires to be a writer, but he seems to have a good ninth grade english teacher. The Whistler story came from an assignment to 'show' not 'tell' a story. Yep, sometimes a hard thing to do, but Alex came up with a nice, story using all the senses.

Went out to dinner at Chili's last night with the Hollies. Good food, good company. Then, tonight I went over to the casino for a couple of hours. It was a donate night. Talked with a young man from Alaska on the boat ride home. He was a character. Either the boat ride or the casino seems to draw them. Well, 8 a.m. comes early and I'm having lunch with writer Shirley Wolford tomorrow so must get my beauty sleep. Goodnight for now.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Publication & Rejection - All in a day's email!

I had forgotten that Apollo's Lyre accepted my 'Christmas Lights' for publication on their website. I found a reminder about it today and checked out the site. Wow. Not only do they have my story, they have one from Sandra and one from Wayne from DeskDrawer and a couple from Jeannie from my local writer's group. So cool!!!

On the down side of submissions, I received a rejection from Flash Fiction Online for my story 'Bringing Home the Troops. They felt it had no ending, that it was the start of a longer story. Oh, well. One nice thing, tho, the editor made some comments about over use of similar words too closely together. It was a good catch. I'll fix it and resub it some where.

My meeting last night with JOan and Lois was fun, as always. Got some good comments on the story I submitted, 'In the Eye of the Beholder'. I submitted my recent 'Recognizing a Good Man' to them for next time. I was surprised that Lois didn't submit some of her Sci-Fi story and that JOan didn't give us more of 'Teri'.

I finally typed up the hand written eulogy on Dave that I gave when we delivered his ashes into the sea up in Home Spit, Alaska this summer. It turned out nice. I'm going to put it in the book I made up of his obits and cards.

Tomorrow is the special program at MCC for Dr. Jung. If it wasn't taking the place of the writer's meeting, I'd probably drop by, but I'm so disappointed that the group gave priority to a special program over our crit session. We seem to be getting more and more away from the critting and networking and perhaps that's a good thing for some of the members, it's just not what I'm looking for in a writer's group. I really have come to love the people and respect their comments, because I know that they have all helped me grow as a writer.

I moved 'Lita' forward today and I liked this particular segment. I'm finding that I'm worrying about what folks will like/dislike about the story which is hampering me in just doing my usual data/story line dump. I need to just write, then when I go back to edit I'll see what needs to be added/changed/deleted. There, now that I've said it, perhaps I'll do it.

Went to the doctor today and she seems to think my nagging sore throat is from allergies and stomach acids. She gave me some meds to try for 3 weeks and she'll check it again. I hate taking pills, but I also hate the thought that my throat has serious problems, so I guess I'll take the damn pills. Ugh!!

Well, the wind has died down, but it is still damn cold for Lake Havasu City. Think I'll sign off and go to bed early tonight! Maybe do some crosswords puzzles while snuggled under the comforter. Ciao!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Denny's Night

Have my regular crit meeting today with JOan and Lois at Denny's tonight. I do so look forward to them. I haven't decided what to submit as yet. JOan's story was her 'Teri' story about the happenings during the Sturgeon Biker week. It is a wild story that she's telling well. Lois' story is a 'twilight zone' tale. She's so good at sci-fi. I haven't had much feedback on my recent subs to DeskDrawer, FlashXer or Flashers-Dozen. I think a 900 plus word count deters folks. Still, the feedback I did receive was good.

I've been trying to work on what I'm going to talk about when I do the blog forum on Jan. 28th. Thank goodness there will be a professor there to be the main speaker.

Also, made some headway with 'Lita' this morning. I'm having trouble with conflict - how much, how little. Guess I'll just take Stephen King's advice and just write. I'll worry about editing later.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Critting, Ending & Winning

Managed to do quite a few crits today for my DeskDrawer writer's group. It is always amazing to me how we can get a prompt, this week it was a giraffe looking into a car window, and have so many different takes on what it brings to mind. Many wrote in the giraffe's POV. Very interesting.

Got more info on the blogging class at the MCC Writer's Forum. It starts at 7:00 p.m. and I'm to tell how I got started blogging and what it has done for me, or something like that. Then, one of the MCC professors will fill us in on the technical side of blogging. Should be an interesting forum.

That's about it for writing today, but two other things happened today worth mentioning. First, this was my final Telephone Pioneer meeting as president. Yeah! This frees up more time for writing, I hope. Then, tonight I went to bingo and won $40!!! And so, it was a good day - critting, ending and winning. Who could ask for more!

Monday, January 14, 2008

I Hear Voices!

Another month!! Where does the time go. I arrived in the Bay Area on the 18th of Dec. Had too much fun with kids and grandkids to spend time with my blog or with writing. When I got back here to Lake Havasu City, it was one commitment after another. I wasn't writing, at all! Then yesterday, I had coffee with a writer friend. Cindi is about to publish a novel she's been perfecting over the past few years. We talked about how a writer thinks and of the voices we hear and how the characters demand that their story be told and be told their way! I haven't written an original word since the 18th of Dec. and I MISS it. The words of one of my English professors kept ringing in my ear. She asked me if I was a writer, I told her I thought I was. She asked if I wrote everyday and I said no. She told me 'True writers write every day, even if it's only 20 to 30 minutes, but they do it everyday.' She had a lot more to say about this, but the phrase 'writers write everyday' really hit home. So, this morning, I went to DeskDrawer and got a prompt. It was a picture of a giraffe bent over and looking into a car. From that I got ideas for a story about a guy at work who sticks his neck out to make points with a co-worker, then ends up killing her. Odd idea from such a colorful, fun picture. Have gotten one feedback and she liked it. Said it reminded her of the TV show LA Law. I like that!

Also, I'm still working with Dave to crit each other's novels. He give me about 25 pages of 'Drift', while I've not worked on 'Lita'. And this was supposed to be my year of writing and submitting!

Speaking of submitting, I did manage to send my short story,'Bringing Home the Troops', to 'Flashfiction On-Line', but haven't' heard anything yet.

The date is finally finalized for the MCC's Writer's Forum on blogs. I've been asked to share my blogging experience, but the main speaker will be on of the college professors. I'm hoping to learn a lot more about how to make a popular blog.

Got the dates for this year's 'Spring Fling'. I'll moderate a class on journaling on Feb. 5th and one on short story writing on Feb. 6th. I have so much fun at these sessions. The excitement and genuine interest level of these seniors is contagious. They motivate me! I was down to only 2 copies of 'After the War, Before the Peace', so I ordered some from Xlibris. Hope they arrive in time for the classes. I usually sell a few to the attendees.

So, I spilled my guts about my writing. Gee, it feels good. I must do this again tomorrow!!